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Uber suspends its self-driving cars from Roads after crash in US

Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city

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Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA

Washington, March 26, 2017: US ride-hailing company Uber has suspended its self-driving cars from the roads after one such vehicle crashed in Arizona, the media reported on Sunday.

Pictures posted online showed the car on its right side on a street, next to another badly damaged vehicle, the BBC reported.

US-based Fresco News posted the images and video on Facebook on Saturday and wrote: “No injuries yet reported in an accident involving a self-driving Uber.”

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A police official said the accident occurred when the other vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber car at a left turn.

“There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision,” the official said.

The company pulled its self-driving vehicles off the road in Arizona at first, followed by test sites in Pennsylvania and California — all three states where it operated the vehicles.

Uber began testing its self-driving cars in Arizona in February after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registrations of the company’s fleet operating in San Francisco.

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Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city.

Already mired in several controversies, this crash is the latest in a string of highly public incidents involving the ride-sharing company.

The company lost several big executives since February.

Last week, Uber President Jeff Jones said he was quitting after six months on the job. The company confirmed Jones’ departure.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” the company said in a statement.

Uber’s head of growth and product, Ed Baker, resigned from the company early in March. Also, an India-born Uber executive quit over an old harassment claim.

Amit Singhal, who was born in Uttar Pradesh, left his job for not disclosing an allegation of sexual harassment by his former employer Google.

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Uber is also fighting a legal battle after Google’s self-driving car company Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets and technology from it.

The lawsuit, filed on March 9 against Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit Otto that it bought last year for $680 million, argued that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski took information when he left the company and later co-founded Otto in January 2016.

The company said it found that six weeks before his resignation, Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s custom-built “Light Detection and Ranging” (LiDAR) and circuit board.

Levandowski copied the data to an external drive. He later wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints. (IANS)

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AI Couldn’t Catch NZ Attack Video Streaming: Facebook

Facebook said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facing flak for failure to block the live broadcast of the New Zealand terrorist attack last week, Facebook on Thursday said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools were not “perfect” to detect the horrific video.

Vowing to improve its technology, the social networking giant, however, ruled out adding a time delay to Facebook Live, similar to the broadcast delay sometimes used by TV stations.

“There are millions of Live broadcasts daily, which means a delay would not help address the problem due to the sheer number of videos,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said in a statement.

“More importantly, given the importance of user reports, adding a delay would only further slow down videos getting reported, reviewed and first responders being alerted to provide help on the ground,” Rosen added.

Strapped with a GoPro camera to his head, the gunman broadcast graphic footage of the New Zealand shooting via Facebook Live for 17 minutes, which was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

Fifty people were killed and dozens injured in the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid in Christchurch on March 15 after 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened indiscriminate firings.

Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The circulation of the video on social media platforms attracted widespread criticism from different quarters.

In a letter to CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the technology companies to brief the US Congress on March 27 regarding their response to dissemination of the video on their platforms.

Thompson also warned the technology companies that unless they do better in removing violent content, the Congress could consider policies to bar such content on social media.

Also Read- Finland Probing Nokia Phones Sending Data to China

Facebook on Thursday said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video.

“AI has made massive progress over the years and in many areas, which has enabled us to proactively detect the vast majority of the content we remove. But it’s not perfect.

“However, this particular video did not trigger our automatic detection systems,” Rosen said, referring to the New Zealand attack video. (IANS)