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Report Uncovers Cause of 2018 Self-Driving Uber Fatality

Plus, new tech IDs people by the sound of their bones, the number of tweens who have their own smartphones, and a giant ocean buoy that designers believe will generate enough energy to power a small town.

by / December 2019

AVs vs. Jaywalkers

When a self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018, it wasn’t initially clear why the vehicle failed to stop when it detected her presence. The findings of a report from the National Transportation Safety Board say the reason is relatively simple: Uber didn’t teach its cars about jaywalking. While there were other contributing factors, including the infrastructure of the road and the fact that the victim was walking a bicycle, Uber reports it has worked to improve the safety of its automated vehicles. Source: Wired

Sounding Off

A new form of biometric identification looks beyond what’s on the surface and concentrates on the sound of your bones. Using a method known as bioacoustic modeling, a research team from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute in South Korea developed a system that measures the unique sound waves generated by a person’s body. It does this by vibrating a body part, like your hand, and measuring the sound generated by things like joint stiffness and bone weight. And since those aspects are very difficult to fake, it’s a highly secure method of identification. Source: Digital Trends


More than half of American 11-year-olds now have their own smartphones, up from 31 percent just four years ago, according to a report from Common Sense Media. Tweens, roughly those ages 8 to 12, report spending most of their screen time watching TV and videos, followed by about one-third of time spent playing games. Usage is similar among older teens, although the study finds that 91 percent of 18-year-olds own smartphones. Source: Quartz

Atta Buoy

Over the next year, a company called Ocean Energy will be testing a new method of harnessing waves into renewable energy in the Pacific: a massive 826-ton buoy. The steel behemoth is built in an L shape with a turbine that sits above the water and spins whether water is being pulled away from it or rushing in. Designers anticipate it could create enough energy to power a small town. Source: Digital Trends

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Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.

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