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    Volvo’s finally and officially unveiled the 2015 XC90, the latest iteration of its flagship SUV...this is the car with which Volvo redoubles its focus on safety, and makes clear it is serious about eliminating crash-related deaths in its cars by 2020. In doing so, it has revealed an unspoken truth about the future of the automobile: If we want safer cars—cars in which driver distraction is never an issue, where risks are analyzed minimized instantaneously—the smart move is giving up the wheel.

    Wired
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    Google X, the tech giant’s “moonshot” lab, has spent the last two years building an aerial drone that can deliver goods across the country. The company calls the effort Project Wing...“Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving things around—including options that are faster, cheaper, less wasteful, and more environmentally sensitive than the way we do things today,” a Google spokesperson said in an email to WIRED.

    Wired
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    Recycled tires could see new life in lithium-ion batteries that provide power to plug-in electric vehicles and store energy produced by wind and solar, say researchers. By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, a team is developing a better anode for lithium-ion batteries.

    Science Daily
  • Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) predicted this week that lawmakers will find a new way to pay for U.S. transportation projects beyond the gas tax, according to the Fort Smith, Ark., Southwest Times Record...“Coming up between now and May, you’ll see a new funding mechanism that is going to change how we are funding our roads and highways,” Inhofe said, according to the report. 

    The Hill
  • The cost of repairs and unfinished work on the $6.4 billion Bay Bridge eastern span is likely to exhaust what is left in the project's contingency fund for overruns, a Caltrans official warned Thursday. "We're trending in the wrong direction," Rich Foley, risk manager for the Caltrans toll bridge program, told the three-person committee that oversees the bridge project. "We are moving toward a cost overrun."

    SF Chronicle
  • BART this morning is launching a new app available for Apple and Google Android devices that will enable riders to more easily report crimes and suspicious activities to transit police. BART Watch is free to download from the agency's website www.bart.gov, as well as the Apple App Store and Google Play.

    SF Examiner
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    It's become a given that ride services like Uber et al are disrupting city mobility, but for all the digital ink spilled over that trend, we don't have much data on what exactly the disruption looks like. (That is, other than the occasionally questionable data the services supply themselves.) So it's important for outside observers to pull the veil back a bit, and a research team at UC-Berkeley led by Lisa Rayle has done just that with a new working paper on "ridesourcing" services, as they're calling Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and friends.

    CityLab
  • Michael Cassidy, a professor at UC Berkeley's Civil and Environmental Engineering department, has studied the phenomenon on Bay Area highways by carefully measuring freeway traffic with sensors and cameras..."Of all the maneuvers, it's probably the most disruptive to traffic," he said of the shenanigan. "If the police were to say, 'We're going to crack down on one type of maneuver,' that would be the one. It would likely have the most significant effect on traffic."

    SF Chronicle
  • Lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown and ride-sharing companies have reached a deal on California legislation upping insurance requirements for the emerging companies such as Lyft and Uber...Both Uber and Lyft reversed course to support the bill, Lyft heralding a deal struck under the auspices of Brown and Senate leaders.

    Sacramento Bee
  • This week's big battle in the state Legislature was over AB2293, a bill that will require drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft to carry expanded insurance policies. The bill expands regulations that theCalifornia Public Utilities Commission has already begun: requiring drivers for these companies to carry commercial insurance coverage as soon as they log on to the phone applications that indicate they are available for driver services.

    SF Chronicle