Waymo hires Avis to look after its autonomous cars in Arizona

Enlarge (credit: Waymo)

Back in April, we reported on Waymo’s plans to offer an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. The project has been spun off from Google’s self-driving car project, and Waymo is using a fleet of adapted Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans to perfect its self-driving technology. Today, the company announced it is entering into a deal with the rental car company Avis to service and store the vehicles.

Autonomous ride-hailing services are being viewed by car and tech companies as a potential gold mine in a near future where car ownership is losing its luster. Instead of selling autonomous vehicles directly to the public—which will happen eventually—operating the fleets themselves means they can be commercially insured, solving (for the time being) one of the big unanswered questions about the evolving technology. But owning and operating a fleet of vehicles is easier to do if you’re a car manufacturer with the resources and experience already in-house. Hence this Waymo-Avis deal.

Waymo will own the autonomous test fleet and will pay Avis to look after the vehicles. The move proved to be quite positive for the latter’s share price, which rose by 12.5 percent this morning once news broke. That’s understandable, as the rental car industry is one that could be seriously affected by the arrival of autonomous vehicles, although it’s worth remembering that for the first few years, such services will be geofenced to certain metropolitan areas.

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Source: Ars Technica

The High-Tech Jobs That Created India's Gilded Generation Are Disappearing

An anonymous reader shares a report: Information technology services account for 9.5 percent of the India’s gross domestic product, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), but now, after decades of boom, the future of the industry seems precarious. Since May, workers’ groups have reported unusually numerous layoffs. The Forum for IT Employees (FITE) estimates that 60,000 workers have lost their jobs in the past few months (syndicated source). “Employees are being rated as poor performers so companies can get rid of them,” said FITE’s Chennai coordinator, Vinod A.J. IT companies and some government officials say the numbers have been exaggerated, but industry experts say the country’s digital wunderkinds have much to fear. “For the first time, companies are touching middle management,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, chief of a recruitment firm called Head Hunters India. Bias against Indians abroad is also compounding workers’ fears of layoffs and downsizing at home. President Trump has stoked anxiety among Indian techies, who make up the majority of applicants for the H-1B visa program for highly skilled foreign workers. Trump has talked about sharply restricting H-1Bs, and this year the number of applications dropped a staggering 16 percent as companies prepared for Trump’s immigration cutbacks. Instead, Indian outsourcing companies such as Infosys started recruiting Americans, bowing to Trump’s calls for “America First.” On Monday, India’s Prime Minister Modi will meet Trump to talk about trade, visas and climate issues.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: SlashDot

Amazon Echo Show review: Seeing is believing

Siri may have ushered in the era of the digital assistant, but Amazon's Echo (with Alexa) really took that concept and put it in our homes. The Echo wasn't an immediate, breakout hit — but having Alexa around to ask questions, manage smart-home devi…
Source: Engadget

This is seriously the greatest Fire TV accessory that has ever been created

Fire TV Remote Keyboard

If you own an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, you know how fantastic these devices are. There’s a reason the Fire TV line is one of Amazon’s best-selling product lines of all time. The Fire TV gives you access to more apps and content than you can possibly watch in a lifetime, and it’s all available in a sleek, user-friendly interface. As great as the Fire TV is, however, there’s a simple way to make it even better.

The iPazzPort Mini bluetooth Keyboard for Fire TV or for the Fire TV Stick are seriously the greatest Fire TV accessories that have ever been created. Just pop in your remote, and you’ve got a full QWERTY keyboard at your fingertips at all times.

Here are some more details from the product page:

  • The iPazzPort for Fire TV allows you to easily enter text for searches in a traditional type writer layout. No need to hunt and peck with the Amazon remote.(Doesn’t work with Fire TV Stick)
  • Easily connects with your existing Fire TV with an included USB receiver. Just plug it into the back of the Fire TV and it connects easily
  • The included silicone sleeve allows you to combine the iPazzPort and the Amazon remote into a single unit. Keep both together for ease of use…and no more losing remote controls
  • If not work or lost connection with device,re-sync as below steps:1.Under setting. select Device;2.Developer options;3.Under
  • ADB debugging, switch ON to OFF; 4.Replug the usb dongle to use it. Then hit any keys to test. If still can’t work, contact seller directly to get further solution.

iPazzPort KP-810-30B Mini bluetooth Keyboard for Fire TV Stick with QWERTY: $16.79

Mini Wireless Keyboard Work with Fire TV Voice Search Remote by iPazzPort for Fire TV Box(Not f…: $19.99

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Source: Boy Genius Report (BGR)

Google Earth launches Voyager feature with lesson plans and educational tours for classrooms, put together by scientists, nonprofits, and other storytellers (Sarah Perez/TechCrunch)


Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:

Google Earth launches Voyager feature with lesson plans and educational tours for classrooms, put together by scientists, nonprofits, and other storytellers  —  In April, Google introduced a revamped, reimagined version of Google Earth, which included a number of new features that go beyond visualizing …


Source: TechMeme