Opening The Self-Driving Vehicle Autobahn Test Stretch Will Be Easy

Designing the self-driving German vehicles to operate on them will be a completely different matter, however.

Autobahn

Just think of the programming issues involved:

1) They must all be programmed to travel at a safe speed (no less than 250 kph).

2) Each vehicle must always hog the left lane, continually flash its headlights and always have the right of way.

3) Programming the three-inches-away-from-the-bumper tailgaiting function for one vehicle will be a piece of cake but how are you going to get all the other self-driving vehicles out there to do this simultaneously?

4) Giving each other the finger (the German bird) will also be a real challenge as no one will be in the damned car.

5) And what about when these vehicles reach their final destination? How can you possibly program each one to insist on taking the same parking space?

The stretch on the A9 autobahn — which links Munich and Berlin — is supposed to give the industry the opportunity to “test and optimize new innovations in an adapted infrastructure that offers data connections and measuring tools,” a ministry spokesman said. No official launch date has been announced.

Now I Know Why We Can Never Find German Soldiers When We Need Them

They’re hiding.

Sniper

The sniper is straight up from the big boulder in the lower left corner, where the color of the stones changes from light to dark.

“The key question for me and my work at the moment is, how images are used to influence people and their decisions,” Menner wrote. “At the core, hiding snipers and ads for Apple have something in common, since both try to infect us with ideas about things we are not able to see. But I think that this is easier to detect while ‘looking’ at hidden snipers than by looking at Apple ads.”

Tanks For Nothing, Vlad

The end of the Cold War didn’t necessarily mean the end of war between big countries, and Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine undermines the notion that a quiet Europe is forever free from war. And modern warfare means tanks. Germany recently bolstered their current arsenal of tanks by buying and upgrading 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks acquired from the Netherlands, though originally from Canada.

Tanks

Upgrading old tanks is fairly routine and accounts for the dangers of the present. Developing a new advanced tank, instead, is a bet on the future. In August, German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), makers of the current versions of the Leopard tank, merged with French defense company Nexter. Speaking to the merger, KMW CEO mentioned the idea of a Leopard 3 tank, noting that France has a strategic perspective that stretches decades into the future. In October, when the budget committee of Germany’s parliament put together their draft of a 2015 spending bill, the proposal to develop a new tank was quietly noted, and then debated in an independent German armed forces journal.

Smart Guns Too Smart?

Mr. Mauch and his team developed a weapon that works using radio-frequency identification – the same technology employed in anti-theft tags on clothes in department stores. To fire its gun, you use an accompanying watch. When that watch is activated with a code and sitting on your wrist – or anywhere less than 25 centimetres away from the gun – the gun will fire. Otherwise, it’s a “just a piece of composite,” says Mr. Mauch, and useless as a weapon…

Smart Guns

A former long-time colleague of Mr. Mauch’s in the United States, who asked not to be named, called him a “first-rate” weapons designer but said he didn’t appreciate the American context. “The thing that worries me and millions like me is that the anti-gunners in our [government] … ONLY want this technology so they can restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” the colleague wrote in an e-mail. “Would you want to bet your life on your smart phone or laptop? Me neither.”

The Bigger They Are…

Airbus Group NV (AIR) raised the prospect of discontinuing its A380 superjumbo as soon as 2018, the first admission that it may have misjudged the market for the double-decker after failing to find a single airline buyer this year.

A380

Bis heute hat Airbus Bestellungen für 318 Exemplare der A380 erhalten. Das ist nur gut ein Viertel des Bedarfs, den Airbus einst vorausgesagt hatte.

Look Mom No Cables

Many of us who have ridden inside an elevator since its invention 160 years ago are accustomed to hearing its ominous hums and creaks, as well as stories of malfunctioning elevators that cause people to be stuck inside for hours. So, the idea of hopping into a cable-free elevator in a mid to high-rise building can sound both thrilling and nerve-wracking. That idea is soon to become a reality for global transportation manufacturer ThyssenKrupp, who is set out to test the first units of their cable-free MULTI elevator system once the testing tower in Rottweil, Germany is complete by the end of 2016.

Operating on a circular system, the elevators will be able to move vertically and horizontally in a loop at a speed of 5 m/s, powered by new linear motor technology similar to that of the Transrapid magnetic-levitation train. Passengers would have access to an elevator cabin every 15-30 seconds with a transfer stop every 50 meters.

Anybody Can Land On A Comet

10 years and 6.5 billion kilometers later (give or take a few inches)…

The spaceship Rosetta’s landing probe Philae will be landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Tomorrow. We hope.

The comet is currently hurtling through space at 24,600 miles per hour and its nucleus is only 2.5 miles wide. Scientists compare the task to a fly trying to land on a speeding bullet.

PS: Why couldn’t they have scheduled this thing to land on 11.11 at 11 o’clock 11 in the morning?

German Balloonists Forced To Land In A Place Called Nebraska

They rose to 13,000 feet as they crossed into Kansas…

Balloonists

Ah, Nebraska weather — known killer of Sunday golf rounds, lazy days at Branched Oak Lake and a German couple’s hopes of winning an international ballooning competition.

Strangely, when asked about their ordeal later, the Germans said it was “nice.”

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

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