Ford tests autonomic cars in the snow

Ford is one of several automotive concerns that work on autonomous vehicle technology. However, before these vehicles hit the showrooms, they must do the same in all driving conditions. So the American company started testing its snow-covered prototype based on the Fusion model.

Autonomous vehicles are likely to be the future of motoring, but before they start caring for us, it will take a few years of research and technological development to address the safety of passengers. Computer control systems for the operation of these vehicles have to deal with all road conditions. Meanwhile, companies working on self-driving cars, including Google, have not yet been tested to test them in winter when roads are covered with thick snow.

The first step in this direction was made by Ford, who has just started testing his own prototype in the snow. Jim McBride, the company’s chief technology officer, told the media that about 70% of US residents live in areas where winter roads are covered with snow. The tests will show how autonomous vehicles can cope in such unusual conditions.

Driving in snow is much more difficult as vehicles are not able to track horizontal lines, and traffic signs are often obscured by white fluff. The test model, therefore, uses LiDAR and accurate three-dimensional maps created in collaboration with Michigan University engineers to keep the computer geared to the ground and remain on the road even when it is overwhelmed. LiDAR is basically the only system on which the car is subject to such conditions, since the suitability of other systems, ie sensors and cameras, is severely limited by falling snow.

Google will pay 3 billion euros fine?

The end of the European Commission investigation into antitrust violations initiated by Google has been launched a few years ago. The leaks show that the decision on this issue will be announced before the holiday, and the US giant will have to pay about 3 billion euros of fines.

Google has for years been accused of abusing its market position in the online industry and breaking antitrust laws. The company was accused of manipulating search results in its search engine and favoring its products at the expense of competition and many other activities that did not comply with current regulations.

A few years ago the European Commission took up the matter. As a result of the leaks, the committee’s decision, which will be announced before the summer holidays, will impose a € 3 billion fine on the company. This is a much higher amount than imposed on Intel for some time, which had to pay 1.1 billion euros for antitrust infringement. It is, however, significantly lower than the maximum legal fine of € 6.6 billion, or 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

However, this may not stop. Margarethe Vestager, Competition contends that the list of charges against Google may be extended to mapping services and information search for travel agencies, as allegedly also in those areas the company was to commit fraudulent practices.

The commission’s decision will be announced early next month.

NSA employee responsible for leaking hacking tools

US authorities are still investigating the leak of NSA hacking tools. They hit the hands of a hacker group called Shadow Brokers, which then placed them on the network. It is unofficially mentioned that one of the agency’s employees may be responsible for the leak.

A few years ago, Edward Snowden unveiled all the secrets of the NSA, also describing hacking tools that allow agency employees to break into computers to retrieve data. One of these tools leaked to the network after it had hit Shadow Brokers.

Government authorities investigating leakage have now focused on the theory that one of NSA employees is responsible for it. Three years ago, the agent used them on a remote computer and probably caused them to fall into the hands of Russian hackers.

These tools allow the user to exploit vulnerabilities in the system software to access the computer.They can be used to attack multiple devices, including routers and Cisco routers, putting customers at risk of losing data.

Reuters revealed that after the NSA discovered theft of the tools, she checked only whether they were using Russia or China. When no suspicious activity was detected, the matter was swept under the carpet. The agency did not even bother to tell companies that hackers could exploit vulnerabilities in their systems.

Apple sued by a patent troll

Patents, which were originally intended to protect the economic rights of the inventor, have increasingly become a way of earning a living. It is enough to purchase several patented technology patents and claim compensation from the companies that use them.

This is how the so-called. Patent trolls, and one of them is the Texas company Corydoras Technologies, LLC, which has just launched the Apple process. The company accuses the US giant of illegally using its technology, which concerns iPhone and iPad. There are solutions for making phone calls and video calls, doing selfie, and blocking incoming calls.

The list of devices using Corydoras Technologies patents includes models available since 2010, all smartphones starting with iPhone 4, and all tablets from iPad 2 including iPad Pro.

The Texas lawsuit claims six charges against key technology for the functioning of each smartphone and is standard equipment for each model. They also include front camera, geographic display of data based on GPS, as well as sending and receiving emails.

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