Plus, Google expands to 24 U.S. states with a $13 billion investment, Audi’s new vehicle-to-infrastructure tech helps drivers hit only green lights, and smart crosswalks could help reduce pedestrian fatalities.
China wants to be the first country to launch a solar power station — in space. The interstellar object would orbit the Earth at 36,000 kilometers (about 22,400 miles) and would theoretically be able to gather massive amounts of energy from the sun as it would never lose the light. Scientists plan to launch small versions of the power stations by 2025, with a megawatt-level upgrade in 2030 and a gigawatt boost by 2050. Source: Engadget
Part of the aim of connected and autonomous vehicles is to make driving safer, easier and more efficient. Audi in February took another step in that direction with the launch of a new vehicle-to-infrastructure feature: telling drivers how fast to go to hit all green lights. The Green Light Optimization Speed Advisory system works with data from Oregon-based Traffic Technology Services, which has data streams from 4,700 intersections in 13 U.S. cities. It calculates the ideal speed for getting green lights by noting the distance to the next intersection and signal timing data. Audi sees the feature as a stress-reducer: fewer stops means smoother commutes and less road rage. Source: Wired
A smart crosswalk offers one solution to the dangerous combination of distracted driving and walking while using a smartphone. Designed at the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology, the system uses thermal imaging to detect approaching pedestrians and flashes lights at oncoming drivers. Those on foot get alerts on their smartphones via a warning image, audible alarm and vibration. The cost for each smart crosswalk is estimated at $13,000. Source: New Atlas
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google plans to spend $13 billion in 2019 as it expands its territory to include a total of 24 U.S. states, 13 of which will be home to data centers. In a press release, CEO Sundar Pichai anticipated the move would add more than 10,000 construction jobs in states like Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina and said it would make this “the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.” Source: Google