Plus, Germany doubles its number of EV chargers, a small restaurant hires a robot and Apple Maps improves its bike-sharing services.
While most Google Street View footage is shot from the roof of a car, a new option in one Japanese city is getting a little closer to the ground. Odate is a city in the Akita prefecture, the birthplace of Akita dogs. To bring attention to the dogs’ legacy in the city, Odate has partnered with Google and strapped cameras to the harnesses of two Akitas named Ako and Asuka so Google Maps users can see what the city looks like on four legs. The dogs visited, among other locations, a hot-spring foot bath, the Akita Dog Museum and a mountain path. And since the cameras are perched on Ako and Asuka’s backs, Google’s 360-degree view means cameos from their fluffy tails and ears. Source: The Verge
As electric vehicles (EVs) grow in popularity, infrastructure must also change to accommodate them, and German telecommunications company Telekom is prepared to more than double the number of EV charging stations in the country by as early as 2020. The company plans to convert 12,000 Verteilerkästen (utilities distribution boxes) into charging stations, adding to the existing 10,800 ports. Source: TreeHugger
A small Korean restaurant in Milpitas, Calif., has made a high-tech hire. At Kang Nam Tofu House, a robot delivers orders to tables. While this might incite fears that robots will soon eliminate the need for human servers, these bots from Bear Robotics are designed to assist traditional servers, taking over the manual labor elements of restaurant work and allowing humans to focus on customer service. The pedestal-shaped robot uses sensors to navigate the dining room, has the location of each table programmed into it and is controlled via a tablet. The owner of both Kang Nam Tofu House and the robotics company are one in the same, and since the bot, named Penny, came on board at the restaurant, customer service has improved and tips have increased. Source: Fast Company
In an effort to keep up with the competition, Apple Maps has added locations of bike-sharing services to its offerings. In a partnership with bike-sharing data company Ito World, the feature has rolled out to 175 cities in 36 countries worldwide. While Apple’s maps did previously have some bike-sharing data, integrating Ito World’s data sets greatly expands the app. Source: Tech Crunch