Self-Driving Cars Can Soon Cruise This State’s Highways Without Anyone Inside

No human back-up driver would be required.

California regulators on Wednesday unveiled revised rules that would allow self-driving cars to travel the state’s highways without human drivers for the first time as early as next year, a move that won the support of automakers.

The new rules represent a compromise with automotive and technology companies, which had objected to many of the requirements previously proposed by the state.

The California rules could still conflict with proposed federal legislation that would largely bar states from regulating autonomous vehicles.

But they are a boost for automakers who want to be able to deploy vehicles without human controls in California.

More than 40 companies are testing self-driving vehicles in California with human controls, and most automakers have autonomous research centers in the state, which is the largest U.S. auto market.

The new rules are expected to take effect by June 2018, the state said.

Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent company Alphabet, Ford Motor, Tesla, <a href=””>Apple</a&gt;, and General Motors had sought changes in California.

Previous rules had demanded that firms submit safety assessment reports to state regulators and seek new approval for updated vehicles.

Existing rules also require a backup human driver to be in all driverless vehicles.

Wade Newton, a spokesman for trade group the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said Wednesday it appeared that California had recognized that “certain onerous” requirements could delay deployment of self-driving technology.

“We appreciate the (state’s) attempts to streamline requirements consistent with the recently updated federal guidance,” Newton said.

But the Association of Global Automakers, a trade group representing mostly Asian and European automakers, said California did not go far enough.

“A special permit is still required to deploy, creating regulatory uncertainty and raising concerns about the ability of autonomous vehicles to cross state lines,” it said.

Companies would still need a California permit to test or deploy vehicles on state roads.

California would also require automakers and tech firms to record information about autonomous sensors in the 30 seconds before a collision. Vehicles must follow all state laws “except when necessary for the safety of the vehicle’s occupants” or other road users.

Consumer Watchdog criticized the revisions, saying California should stick to its earlier, stricter state requirements.

The group noted local communities could not block testing under the proposal.

Last week, a Senate panel approved a bill aimed at speeding the use of self-driving cars without human controls in the United States, a measure that also bars states from imposing regulatory road blocks.

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Automakers would be able to win exemptions from safety rules that require human controls if they met certain requirements. States could set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but not performance standards.

General Motors chief executive Mary Barra told Reuters on Tuesday that the federal legislation “allows us to get this technology on the road,” but declined to say when the automaker might seek approval for exemptions.


5 Brand New iOS 11 Features You'll Want to Try Out As Soon As Possible (Look Away, Android Fans)

Apple might be known for its devices–but the world arguably wouldn’t be the same without their innovative strides with the iPhone–but today, Apple shows off just how much it’s been looking at its program side with the official release of iOS 11. Although there are tons of features to enjoy, here are the best of the best to try out.

1. Do Not Disturb for safer driving

Based on vehicle movement or Bluetooth connections, iOS 11 automatically puts you in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while on the road. It can send an automatic reply if a message does come in so others know you can’t respond. I love the proactive approach and stance Apple is taking here on trying to put a stop to distracted driving and frankly, it could save lives.

2. Siri upgrades

Siri and I aren’t exactly at ‘bff status’ yet, but we’re getting there — she (or he, depending on your settings) has selective listening, which can be an aggravation at times. Needless to say, Apple has invested a lot into enhancing the overall Siri experience, including making her sound more like human speech. Siri also can now translate from English into several other languages and customize suggestion based on your device and app usage.

3. What’s up, Dock?

Sitting at the bottom of your screen, the new dock allows you to both launch and switch between apps and play with your windows. It’s much easier to work with more than one app at a time via Split View and Slide Over, and you can tweak what’s in the dock with simple drag and drop of apps and folders.

4. Camera bonuses

Looking to power up your Pokemon Go experience or just mess with your brain? On top of AR, the camera now has LED flash support, new filters, and can scan QR codes without a separate app.

5. Pay friends

Watch out, Venmo.

Owe a buddy $ 10 for pizza? Need to pay your rent to your roomie? Kid find their perfect outfit at the mall? Starting in the fall, Apple will link Apple Pay with Messages, so you can transfer money as you chat. It’s not out just yet, but it’s an incredibly smart move given that companies like Facebook include in-chat payment and digital banking is increasing in popularity. And don’t scoff, either — for all you millennials out there that swear by Venmo (like myself), this is about convenience and eliminating clicks/steps.

P.S. You can pay using Siri, too.

Needless to say, this is only the tip of the iceberg. For a full download on iOS 11’s capabilities, check out their comprehensive guide, here.


Microsoft’s budget Windows VR headsets roll out to developers soon

A lucky few developers will be able to get their hands on a low-cost Windows virtual reality headset starting this month. Microsoft announced Wednesday that the Acer Mixed Reality Developer Edition headset will start rolling out to a handpicked batch of software makers starting the end of March, with more coming later.

This marks the first release of a Windows Mixed Reality headset, which Microsoft first previewed last year. The headsets are supposed to stand out from the crowd because of a lower price and their support for “inside-out” tracking that uses sensors on the device to determine a user’s position, rather than relying on external trackers to gather that information. That’s why Microsoft is calling them mixed reality headsets.

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Whitney Houston And Michael Jackson’s Deaths: Gone Too Soon

‘You will always remember where you were … when you heard the news,’ Simon Cowell says, echoing the sentiments after Jackson’s death.
By Tomika L. Anderson

<P>Few people will forget where they were when they heard that the King of Pop, <a href=”/news/articles/1614744/michael-jackson-dies-at-50.jhtml”>Michael Jackson, had died</a> in June 2009. And now, the same can be said for 1980s and ’90s <a href=”/news/articles/1679029/whitney-houston-dead.jhtml”>Queen of Pop Whitney Houston</a>. </P><P> </P><P></p><div class=”player-placeholder right” title=”Celebrities React To Whitney Houston’s Passing” id=”″ width=”240″ height=”211″></div><p> </P><P> </P><P>The beloved, long-suffering singer died Saturday inside a Beverly Hills hotel room, hours before she was expected to attend a <a href=”/news/articles/1679046/whitney-houston-dies-grammys-clive-davis.jhtml”>pre-Grammy Awards party thrown by her longtime mentor Clive Davis</a>. </P><P> </P><P>And while the official cause of death is yet unknown &#8212; what’s been speculated so far is that <a href=”/news/articles/1679049/whitney-houston-dies-details.jhtml”>Houston may have drowned</a> in the bathtub after taking prescription drugs, including Xanax &#8212; given her very public struggle with substance abuse, depression and anxiety over the past decade, it’s hard not to conclude that some drug- or alcohol-related accident may have been to blame. </P><P> </P><P>It’s much like, most recently, British singer Amy Winehouse and the late, great Michael Jackson before her, who died after taking a fatal cocktail of propofol and two other drugs. Also like Jackson, Houston’s sudden death &#8212; at the age of 48 &#8212; has stopped the world in its tracks, an enormous, one-of-a-kind musical flame forever extinguished. </P><P> </P><P>Even Jackson’s brother, Jermaine &#8212; who was first introduced to Houston years ago by Clive Davis at the same Beverly Hills Hilton where the singer passed away &#8212; could not help but draw the comparison. In an interview with CNN overnight, he paid tribute to the two fallen musical giants. “They shared a lot of success in the late ’80s and they were great friends,” he said. “I’m happy and honored to have been a part of their lives.” </P><P> </P><P>And oh, what lives they led: Like Jackson &#8212; who died at just 50 years old, after years of struggling with personal demons &#8212; Houston, too, had an intensely profound and everlasting impact on the world of entertainment. </P><P> </P><P>Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and countless other chart-topping entertainers have all name-checked her as their musical mentor, icon and inspiration: To date, she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with more than 170 million albums, songs and videos sold. </P><P> </P><P>In her lifetime, Houston achieved what precious few of them have or ever will &#8212; stacking an astonishing 415 awards, including six Grammys, two Emmys, 22 American Music Awards, 30 <i>Billboard</i> Awards. </P><P> </P><P>Her voice, in its prime, was a national treasure. </P><P> </P><P>”X Factor” mastermind Simon Cowell may have summed it up the best: On “Piers Morgan Tonight,” he said, “She was one of the greatest voices in our lifetime. Whitney was the number one singer that other singers want to emulate. People like that can’t be manufactured. They’ve either got, it or they don’t.” </P><P> </P><P>He added, “You will always remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news.” </P><P> </P><P>Like Michael before her, gone too soon. </P><P> </P><P><center><embed src=”” width=”460″ height=”260″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowFullScreen=”true” allowScriptAccess=”always” base=”.” flashVars=””></embed></center> </P><P> </P><P><b>MTV News’ Sway and James Montgomery will be live from the <a href=””>Grammys</a> red carpet tonight starting at 5 p.m. ET to get reactions from music’s biggest stars on the death of Whitney Houston. Watch reactions and remembrances at</b> </P><P> </P><P><I>Share your condolences with Whitney’s family and friends on our <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Facebook</a> page.</I></p>

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IDG Contributor Network: IoT security will soon be common in the enterprise, Gartner says

A fifth of all businesses will have deployed IoT-related security by the end of 2017, analyst Gartner thinks.

Dedicated digital security services that are committed to “protecting business initiatives using devices and services in the Internet of Things” will be in place by then, the research and advisory company says.

Gartner made the statement in a press release on its website in relation to a security and risk management summit earlier this month in Mumbai.

‘Reshape IT’

“The IoT redefines security,” Ganesh Ramamoorthy, research vice president at Gartner, said in the press release.

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