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Self-Driving Semi Truck Licensed to Drive in Nevada

An autonomous 18-wheeler has been given a license to drive the long stretches of open road that crisscross Nevada.

An autonomous 18-wheeler has been given a license to drive the long stretches of open road that crisscross Nevada. And while Google's high-profile personal vehicles have been much in the news, automated commercial driving could transform the economy in a more fundamental way by changing how goods are transported across the globe.


At a ceremony last week at the Hoover Dam, automotive manufacturer Daimler premiered the Inspiration Truck, a semi-autonomous transporter of goods designed to travel alongside passenger vehicles on America's municipal roadways. Industry analysts are already expecting makers of other large vehicles such as garbage trucks and city busses to express interest in adapting the technology.

The Inspiration Truck knows how to stay in a lane, change speeds depending on location and traffic patterns, and to avoid collisions by using a camera that scans 100 meters in front of the truck for obstacles and tricky road conditions. A radar attached to the truck also monitors a full 250 meters ahead checking for similar conditions.

In addition to fulfilling safety requirements, the trucks may prove economically beneficial, and not because it would eliminate human drivers (it won't, at least for now):

"For one, they could help cut fuel use, as they accelerate and decelerate more gently than a human driver might. Programming multiple trucks to travel in convoys would be beneficial, too: one truck could draft behind another, reducing air resistance and so using less fuel."

With its new Nevada license, Daimler is free to collect real-world data on the truck, such as how it handles along commercial roadways. Until there is another leap in technology, however, a human driver will remain behind the wheel in case the truck needs to change lanes or deal with circumstances unforeseen by the truck's computers.

In his Big Think interview, Peter Diamandis discusses what innovations are coming to personal vehicles. As he explains, humans are generally not the best control system to operate heavy machinery when there is a suitable electronic alternative.

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Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

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Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

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Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
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Future of Learning

The key to better quality education? Make students feel valued.

Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.

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