GM to run robot cars in San Francisco without human backups

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General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit says it will pull the human backup drivers from its vehicles in San Francisco by the end of the year.

 Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said in a statement that the company got a permit Thursday from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to let the cars travel on their own.

The move follows last week’s announcement from Waymo that it would open its autonomous ride-hailing service to the public in the Phoenix area in vehicles without human drivers.

Waymo, a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., is hoping to eventually expand the service into California, where it already has a permit to run without human backups.

Cruise has reached the point where it’s confident that it can safely operate without humans in the cars, spokesman Ray Wert said. There’s no date for starting a ride service, which would require further government permission, he said.

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City planners eye self-driving vehicles to correct mistakes of the 20th-century auto

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Autonomous cars could cut traffic and pollution — or make them worse, planners say

 The Los Angeles City Council last year approved a $4.9-billion contract to design, build and operate an automated people mover at Los Angeles International Airport. The elevated system will have driverless electric trains that carry passengers between terminals, a transportation center and the Metro light-rail system. It is expected to be operational in 2023. (Los Angeles World Airports/AP)

As self-driving vehicles begin to transform the way people get around, urban planners around the country are beginning to think about how they will remake cities and change the way we live.

Not since the Model T replaced the horse and buggy have transportation and cities faced such an extensive transformation. Many planners say they see an opportunity to prevent — and correct — the 20th-century mistakes of the auto’s reign: congestion, pollution, sprawl and roads designed to move vehicles rather than people.

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San Francisco bans city use of facial recognition technology tools

E594A3F2-1B2A-451F-A296-DBA2DBA6C032San Francisco bans city use of facial recognition technology tools

Pedestrians walk along Post Street in San Francisco. The city became the first in the United States to ban facial recognition technology by police and city agencies. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Concerned that some new surveillance technologies may be too intrusive, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition tools by its police and other municipal departments.

The Board of Supervisors approved the Stop Secret Surveillance ordinance Tuesday, culminating a reexamination of city policy that began with the false arrest of Denise Green in 2014. Green’s Lexus was misidentified as a stolen vehicle by an automated license-plate reader. She was pulled over by police, forced out of the car and onto her knees at gunpoint by six officers. The city spent $500,000 to settle lawsuits linked to her detention.

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The next industry to be disrupted by technology: real estate

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Eric Wu, founder and chief executive of Opendoor, a startup company that flips homes, at its San Francisco headquarters.

Many venture capitalists have homed in on real estate as a big opportunity for tech startups because parts of the industry — like pricing, mortgages and building management — have been slow to adopt software that could make business more efficient.

SAN FRANCISCO — Opendoor, a startup that flips homes, attracted attention in June when it announced it had raised $325 million from a long list of venture capitalists. The financing valued the 4-year-old company at more than $2 billion.

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One-third of San Francisco’s registered cab drivers ditch taxis for Uber, Lyft, or Sidecar

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Lyft drivers sport “carstaches” on their vehicles while on duty.

San Francisco is where Uber and Lyft got their starts and resistance to these services seems futile. One third of taxi cab drivers in San Francisco have ditched their registered cabs and are now working for Uber, Lyft, or Sidecar, according to Fortune.

 

 

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New tech boom in San Francisco brings jobs but also worries

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Twitter and other tech start-ups are gravitating toward San Francisco.

Twitter will be moving into its new headquarters in downtown San Francisco this month.  It will occupy three floors of an 11-story 1937 Art Deco building that has sat shuttered for five years. Outside, its blue bird logo will replace the former main tenant’s sign, whose analog clocks remain frozen at 9:18, 4:33 and other times past.

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San Francisco passes law requiring radiation warnings for cell phones

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Will radiation warnings curb cell phone use?

“Cell phones cause cancer.” “No they don’t!” “Yes they do.” “No they don’t!“

Back and forth it goes, like the world’s slowest game of tennis. One study spends 6 months proving that cell phones turn you into a giant walking tumor, and another pops up showing that cell phones cause nothing but an increased need to tell people what you’re doing…

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San Francisco Could Become 1st U.S. City to Ban Unsolicited Phone Books

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Yellow Pages distributors will be required to ask businesses and residents if they would like a copy.

San Francisco could become the first city in the country to require distributors of the Yellow Pages to ask businesses and residents if they would like a copy of the hefty tome before leaving it on the doorstep, under new legislation introduced today.

 

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Yahoo Installs Multiplayer Gaming at San Francisco Bus Stops

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Riders waiting for Muni buses at select stops in downtown will be passing the time playing video games, as well as the opportunity to win a concert by OK Go.

Yahoo recently installed huge poster-size touchscreens at 20 San Francisco bus stops, allowing commuters to play online games against people at other bus stops. Nothing brings out my allegiance to my neighborhood like some crazyass futuristic sports trivia.

 

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First Cell Phone Radiation Law Passed in San Francisco

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Retailers must post how much radiation is emitted by the cell phones they sell.

We know what happens when a radioactive spider bites you. You become spiderman. But what happens when you get too much cell phone radiation? Nothing good, that’s for sure. And so the people of San Francisco will soon have a new cellphone radiation law to help.

 

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The Toothpick Model of San Francisco That Took 34 Years to Make

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Picks of destiny?

More than three decades ago, Scott Weaver began building a model of San Francisco out of 100,000 toothpicks. He began the fragile project at the age of fifteen, which has survived four homes, an earthquake, and a destructive dog. In The San Francisco Gate, Janny Hu writes:

“Rolling Through the Bay” is 9 feet tall, 7 feet wide and 2 feet deep. It sports four pingpong ball tracks with more than a dozen entry points…. (Pics)

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