It’s 2017 and we are still under constant threat from viruses, even biological ones. In fact, malware has taken on an even darker tone, including strains that have no purpose but to destroy your files, whether you pay a handsome ransom or not. And yet the anti-virus industry isn’t on the rise despite the rise in threats. Sensing a disturbance in the force, Kaspersky, one of the more popular names in the AV market, has finally released a free version of its eponymous software. While free is good, it’s timing is also too good to be true. First things first. Here’s what you get with the free version of Kaspersky: basic file, email, web, and instant messaging protection, automatic updates, and quarantine. What you don’t get are things like parental controls, online payment protection, VPN, and more, all of which are hidden behind a $50 or so fee. It’s rolling out the free version globally but in waves, starting in the US, which makes the launch all the amusing.It’s not that hard to see why Kaspersky is finally launching a free version of its software, after decades of staying steadfast to a paid business model. It isn’t because it felt threatened by free competitors like AVG and Avira. But when Microsoft jumped on the scene with Defender, Kaspersky and other AV makers started scrambling.Defender came pre-installed on Windows 10, was completely free, and, defying all reason, was actually effective. This spelled trouble for Kaspersky and others like it who only provided paid products. Of course, Kaspersky continues to belittle Windows Defender’s abilities, but its antitrust complaint against Microsoft paints a different picture.But Kaspersky isn’t feeling the heat from Microsoft alone. Its launch of a globally available free antivirus software comes at a time when the company is accused being complacent in the Russian government’s spying and hacking activities in the US. That it launches first in the US, where it is already being banned from government use, is almost ironic. The US, however, remains one of the company’s largest markets.While Kaspersky won’t be making a profit from this free versions, it already hinted at what it will be gaining from it: market share and data. It claims that its market share rocketed from zero to millions, and that was just from a pilot test in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus regions. Kaspersky does defend this market share focus by saying how it will actually improve its antivirus service for everyone, free or paying users alike. Having more users all around the world means having more data, data that can be used to improve its machine learning system, but data that can, perhaps, also be used in less benign ways.SOURCE: Kaspersky
In recent months, Verizon chopped its unlimited data plan into two tiers, one that costs $75/month and one that costs $85/month. The $75/month plan limits smartphone users to only 480p resolution when streaming videos over their mobile data connection. The restriction jumps to 720p if the streaming takes place with a tablet.Compared to that, the $85/month plan bumps smartphone users up to 720p resolution when streaming a video over mobile data and gives tablet users 1080p resolution. That’s still not good enough for customers who are packing a top-tier device with a 4K display, and so Verizon has added a new option that will sort-of satisfy those users.Start on November 3, existing $85/month unlimited plan subscribers will have the option of streaming full-resolution videos over their mobile data connection for an extra $10 per month, bringing the plan’s overall rate up to $95/month. This is a per-line rate hike, meaning if you’re on a family plan, you’ll need to pay it for each line if everyone wants the restriction removed.This makes Verizon’s unlimited plan the priciest among all of the big carriers, assuming someone takes on the extra charge, but does offer a way for customers to stream 1440p or 4K videos over mobile data if 720p simply won’t do. SOURCE: The Verge Verizon previously eliminated full-resolution video streaming from its unlimited plan, a move that upset many subscribers for obvious reasons. The carrier is reversing that decision for these customers, but only with a big catch: they’ll have to pay more every month to get access to that full-resolution streaming. This move follows Verizon’s recent fracturing of its unlimited plan.
Story TimelineHTC Vive Focus standalone VR headset eliminates wiresHTC Vive standalone Daydream headset for the US canceledHTC Vive X invests in 26 more startups, opens shop Tel AvivHTC VIVE Tracker Review with Gun, Straps, and PaddlesFacebook Spaces HTC VIVE launch embraces the enemy HTC Vive ProThis device has 2x OLED displays that, combined, create a single 2880 x 1600 panel. For those already using a standard HTC Vive, that’s a 78% increase in resolution over the same panel space. This device. For the moment that seems to be the extent of the improvements visually.The headphones that for the HTC Vive were a separate purchase are now included as a standard with HTC Vive Pro. This new headphone experience isn’t exactly like the enhanced audio add-on of the past, instead taking everything up a notch with “enhanced ergonomics and comfort.” With this new set of headphones, the whole headset is able to be more balanced than the original. This afternoon HTC revealed the HTC Vive Pro, a next-level experience for virtual reality gamers. This device takes what the HTC Vive is and ramps every aspect up another notch. This includes audio, display, and hardware design. This device is the premium experience missing from the VR market today – up to the next level in every way. This pair of headphones has a built-in amplifier and an “overall richer sound” than before. The backside sizing dial – as was included with the previous enhanced audio package – makes the whole headset a lot easier to handle putting on and taking off. AdChoices广告This new HTC Vive Pro has dual microphones built-in, as well as a new pair of cameras. Where before there was one, now there are two front-facing cameras. We’ll see soon how this makes the experience all the more enhanced. HTC Vive Wireless AdapterHTC also announced a wireless component to this equation for both the HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro. The Vive Wireless Adaptor will allow both the HTC Vive and the HTC Vive Pro to go wireless. Where before a cord (cord bundle) of significant size needed to run from the headset, over the head, and down the back of the user, now noone will need any of that business going on.The Vive Wireless Adaptor will feature Intel’s WiGig technology to make wireless VR a reality. This piece of equipment will operat in the interference-free 60Ghz band, says HTC, and will be up to “the most discerning quality bar for home users and business VR customers,” so says Frank Soqui, General Manager Virtual Reality Group at Intel Corporation.OF NOTE: The Vive Wireless Adaptor will be sold separate from either HTC Vive device. The Wireless Adapter will be made available in Q3 of 2018. As for the Pro headset: release information and pricing information wasn’t made available just yet. Stick close to SlashGear for more data on this front!
Viacom and CBS talked about potential plans to merge back in 2016, but those plans were ultimately scrapped. That reportedly changed in recent days when the CEOs from both companies resumed talks on the matter, according to sources. Should the two companies actually proceed with a merger, the combined resulting entity would be worth more than $37 billion. The talks are happening between CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves and Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, according to sources speaking with Reuters. These are described as “exploratory discussions” at this time, and as in 2016, they may not go anywhere. However, the sources say both companies’ boards are scheduled to hold regular meetings over the upcoming weeks.The sources go on to claim that the duo first talked about the potential deal earlier this month; nothing has been decided at this point and likely wouldn’t be for many weeks or months. As mentioned, the pair have previously talked about a merger, but it was CBS that hesitated at the idea back in 2016.Issues of who would control the resulting entity, as well as the financial reality for CBS shareholders, ultimately resulted in the merger idea being scrapped. However, assuming talks have resumed, it appears CBS higher ups may have had a changed of heart. However, neither Viacom nor CBS have commented on the report.Sources claim that Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets partly contribute to CBS’s renewed attention to the matter; Netflix’s growing dominance may also be a factor. The idea seems to be that the powerhouse resulting from a Viacom and CBS merger would be better positioned in negotiations due to the vast businesses it would hold, including popular networks like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, plus CBS TV Network and Studios, among others.SOURCE: Reuters
According to Reuters, Microsoft is preparing to offer a local version of Azure cloud services to governments. This new service will combine Azure Stack and Azure Government into one product, and though regular consumers would likely never need such a service, it’s one that some government agencies could definitely benefit from. Speaking to Reuters, Azure’s head of global infrastructure Tom Keane brings up examples such as overseas embassies or military operations that would need access to this kind of local cloud computing.“Quite literally we’ve designed Azure Stack with the scenario of a submarine in mind,” Keane said. Microsoft plans to have this new version of Azure Stack ready to go by the middle of the 2018, so it’s looking to hit the ground running with this new service.Such a quick roll out might be necessary if Microsoft wants to win over the public sector. Though Microsoft has been aggressive in building out Azure, Amazon managed to get an early start with AWS. If Microsoft can give government entities the benefits of cloud computing while also allowing them to keep data locally, it’ll be giving them the best of both worlds, and that could be enough to tempt these agencies away from AWS.Time will ultimately tell who wins the war of the cloud computing platforms, but Microsoft has been making some pretty exciting strides with Azure lately. On the other hand, this may prompt Amazon to further bolster AWS, so we’ll see where things go from here. These days, the cloud computing market is one that’s fiercely competitive. Amazon and Microsoft are two companies you hear mentioned frequently when talking about cloud services, and today, Microsoft has announced new services that could give it an edge in the ever-so-important public sector. Perhaps more important for Microsoft is that this move could wipe away an early advantage Amazon has built for itself. Story TimelineToyota Connected promises smarter cars with Azure cloudMicrosoft unveils Azure-based cloud platform for connected vehiclesMicrosoft’s self-driving play sees Azure underpin Baidu’s Apollo
However, early leaks well in advance of any official reveal have already divided would-be Pixel 3 buyers. A significant number of Pixel 3 XL handsets made their way into the wild, reportedly after a batch of phones was acquired by Russian dealers and sold. The early coverage that resulted from that premature publicity hasn’t gone down entirely well. It’s the notched display on the Pixel 3 XL which has caused most consternation. Some Android fans have long been skeptical about the design approach, which some handset-makers have adopted in order to satisfy both a consumer desire for minimal screen bezels but also the reality of front-facing cameras, sensors, and other components. In 2017, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were notch hold-outs. For 2018, though, the Pixel 3 XL is expected to go notched, alongside native code for handling UIs on screens with cut-outs in Android 9 Pie, the latest iteration of the platform. What’s really prompting ire, though, is the sheer size of the notch itself. AdChoices广告If the leaked handsets are to be believed, it’s turned out to be one of the largest of the current trend. As many iPhone X owners, initially skeptical of Apple’s notch, discovered, after time you typically stop noticing the cut-out. All the same, the Pixel 3 XL’s display interruption looks to be deeper than that of the iPhone. Now, we think we know for sure when we’ll see the new devices. According to Bloomberg‘s sources, Google will hold an event on October 9 in New York City, where it will officially launch the new phones. The search giant declined to comment, but that timescale would fit with previous events.In doing so, it’ll see Google round-out the main smartphones of the year. Apple will have revealed its 2018 iPhone range – every model of which expected to have a display notch, incidentally – the month before, and Samsung made its flagship play earlier this month, in the shape of the pen-enabled Galaxy Note 9. What’s unclear at this stage is whether the new Pixel 3 range will be accompanied by other hardware. Google is also believed to be working on a new set of Pixel Buds earphones, after the underwhelming reception its first-generation smart earbuds received last year. Meanwhile, a new Pixelbook Chromebook is also said to be in the pipeline, though it’s not certain whether it will share the limelight with the updated Pixel phones. Google will reportedly hold its Pixel 3 event on October 9, according to a new leak, making official what has already become some of the most controversial smartphones of 2018. The latest in Google’s self-developed Android handset range, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are expected to lay out a roadmap of sorts for how the company hopes other manufacturers will pick up and run with the OS over the coming year. Story TimelinePixel 3 XL leaks completely: Camera samples, specs, wireless chargingHere’s that Pixel 3 shipment for sale on the black marketPixel 3 XL unboxing video is just the latest gift from Russia
The new Vans “Space Voyager” Collection offers designs based on NASA space suits, according to the company, including a total of eight shoe models with sizes ranging from toddler to adult. Vans used its Sk8-Hi MTE, Old Skool, and Classic Slip-On models for the new designs.The Sk8-Hi offerings sport the NASA Meatball Insignia, whereas the Old Skool variant has an industrial orange color with the black NASA worm logo. Kids have different design options, including a slip-on model with a galaxy design and glitter gum outsole.The Sk8-Hi MTE includes the maker’s MTE 360 tech for improving heat retention while improving moisture management. Shoes aside, the new collection also has three jackets with Apollo II graphics, a men’s Space Pullover hoodie, Vans Space Man long-sleeved t-shirt, and three t-shirts in youth sizes.Finally, Vans is also now offering an orange Grind Skate Duffel bag with a prominent NASA logo, black straps, and a large size. There’s also the Snap Plus Backpack, a white bag with red trim, black segments, and a prominent NASA logo. The backpack is currently sold out.The entire Vans “Space Voyager” collection can be found here.SOURCE: Vans Vans has teamed with NASA to launch its new “Space Voyager” collection. The new line commemorates the space agency with new clothing and shoes featuring iconic imagery inspired by 60 years of space exploration, according to the company. The collection is available to purchase from Vans starting today.
Google Allo, the smart messaging app Google launched in 2016, is officially dead. A leak claiming as much surfaced earlier today, and now Google has confirmed the news, this following its “pause” on investment revealed earlier this year. According to Google, rather than resuming work on Allo, it will shutter the project and focus its efforts on Messages. Google is working to bring a “great default messaging experience” to Android, the company says — one that can suitably be called an Apple iMessage equivalent. Google paused work on Allo earlier this year to focus on Messages, and soon after it brought many of Allo’s features to Messages.Some of those features include GIFs, Smart Reply, and support on desktops. Google describes Messages’ development as having “continued momentum,” the reason for its decision to end Allo altogether. That doesn’t mean the service itself is immediately going away. Google says it will continue to leave Allo running through March 2019.That’s only a few months away, however, leaving users precious little time to retrieve their data and find a proper alternative. Users have the ability to export all of their Allo conversation history by entering the app’s menu, then tapping Settings. Within Settings, users need to tap Chat > Export messages from chats and Export stored media from chats. Users will download both their messages and media in a CSV file and a ZIP archive. After March 2019 passes, all Allo conversations will be deleted, Google says. Users can find media from the app they already downloaded in the Google Allo folder within the Google Photos app. Google provides more information and instructions here. Story TimelineGoogle’s virtual museum offers all Vermeer paintings in an AR galleryNew Google Sounds app makes Android ringtones, alarms easyGoogle Allo may not be around much longer
If you don’t want Android Auto and only want Apple CarPlay, the XAV-AX1000 with a 6.2-inch screen is available with the same features minus Android Auto. The AX3005DB will launch in September for €450 in Europe with the AX1000 launching the same month for €300.SOURCE: Sony Sony has unveiled a new in-car AV receiver that has a gigantic touchscreen called the XAV-AX3005DB. That screen is 6.95-inches and the receiver supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on compatible devices. That means you can shoot the output from compatible apps out to the larger screen on the receiver for use when driving. The receiver has a DAB/DAB+ tuner built in and promises high-quality sound. Power output for the receiver is 4x55W and it has Sony Extra Bass technology integrated. That tech overcomes engine noise and produces clear bass at any volume level.Sound optimization tech is integrated with Sony DSO or Dynamic Stage Organizer to create vivid sound as if there were speakers in front of the user. FLAC audio files are compatible via the USB port to play compressed audio without loss in quality.Sony integrates three pre-outs for connectivity allowing users to expand the audio system with amps and subwoofers. The rear chassis for that massive display has a single-DIN configuration. Quick wake up tech is designed into the system to it starts fast when the car is turned on. Sony also says that the receiver can be paired with a rear-view camera.AdChoices广告
As of 2021, those vehicles will begin to have dashboards powered by Google’s Android operating system. Part of the so-called Alliance 2022 mid-term plan, it’s picks up the reins of the automaker’s pledge to make more of cloud-based services and outfit more cars with live connectivity. For that, both Android and Google’s cloud services will be called upon. The new version of the infotainment system will use Google Maps for turn-by-turn navigation, along with the Google Assistant for voice recognition and speech commands. Calls and texts, multimedia playback, and finding information will all be supported. Meanwhile, access to the Google Play Store will allow the system to be upgraded with third-party apps. Importantly, this won’t just be an Android head-unit grafted into cars. Instead Android will be tightly integrated with the car’s own systems, so that drivers will be able to control the vehicle’s functions through the Assistant. The underlying OS may be the same, but the way it’s presented to drivers will vary. The Alliance says that each automaker brand will be able to customize the interface to suit each vehicle, including adding specific features depending on the car. It’ll also be “compatible with devices running other operating systems, such as Apple iOS,” the automakers say, though it’s unclear at this stage whether that includes Apple CarPlay support. More practically, the connected cars will allow for new management of the vehicles, as well as easier upgrades. There’ll be support for over-the-air updates and remote diagnostics, with the Alliance Intelligent Cloud supporting data management and more. By the end of 2022, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi aim to have twelve new zero-emission electric vehicles on the road.While it may be Android’s biggest win in the dashboard, it’s not Google’s first. The company announced a deal with Volvo back in May 2017, and said this year that the same Google Maps, Assistant, and Play Store functionality would be coming to the automaker “in a couple of years“. Google’s Android will power the new infotainment systems of Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi cars, with the huge automaker alliance announcing the huge deal today. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is the world’s largest automotive group, collectively responsible for 10.6 million vehicle sales last year.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. First Edition: September 19, 2012 Today’s headlines include a series of reports detailing who makes up Romney’s so-called “47 percent” who get tax breaks and what federal assistance they receive — whether it is Medicare, Medicaid or another entitlement program. Kaiser Health News: Medicare Battle Heats Up California House RaceKaiser Health News staff writer Sarah Varney, working in collaboration with Politico, reports: “When Republican Rep. Dan Lungren faced a crowd of tea party supporters and Democratic detractors at a recent town hall meeting here, the arguments showed how explosive the Medicare debate can get in the hottest races in the country” (Varney, 9/18). Read the story and watch a related video about a Pennsylvania House race.Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Joint Commission Praises 620 Hospitals For Quality; Family Physicians Reject Suggestions To Have Nurses Lead Practices; Unchecked Rise In Obesity Will Be Costly To States, Report SaysNow on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jordan Rau reports on a list released by the Joint Commission: “The Joint Commission, the nation’s major hospital accreditation board, is releasing its annual list of hospitals that have excelled at adhering to basic procedures for treating common illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes” (Rau, 9/19).Also on Capsules, Ankita Rao reports on a report released Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians: “With a shortage of primary care providers looming, the idea of using nurses and physician assistants to fill the gap often appears to be gaining traction. But according to a report released Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians, having more nurse practitioner-led medical practices is not a viable solution” (Rao, 9/18).In addition, Rao reports on a new analysis of obesity trends: “A new report analyzing obesity trends warns that health care costs will increase alongside U.S. waistlines if current rates are left unchecked. It calls for mobilizing public health efforts and expanding funding to help adults and children become leaner” (Rao, 9/18). Check out what else is on the blog.The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: Romney Describes Government’s Role As Dramatically More Limited Than Obama’s ViewRepublican Mitt Romney, in describing nearly half of Americans as being docile dependents of the state, and saying it’s a “foreign concept” for government to redistribute income, is outlining a philosophy that’s not only sharply at odds with President Barack Obama’s views. It’s also difficult to square with the facts of how Social Security, Medicare, the tax code and scores of other institutions work. Romney’s claim that 47 percent of Americans won’t take “personal responsibility” … instantly crystallized his philosophical differences with Obama when the remarks came to light Monday (9/18).The New York Times: Romney Says Remarks On Voters Help Clarify PositionMr. Romney, who on Monday called the remarks inelegant, suggested on Tuesday that it was time for a full debate about dependency, entitlements and what his campaign characterized as a long history of Mr. Obama’s support for “redistributionist” policies. But despite the effort by Mr. Romney to take the offensive, his campaign spent the day working to keep the episode from becoming a turning point in a campaign that until now has remained neck and neck, and trying to minimize the damage from the disclosure of another set of remarks from the fund-raiser, in which he suggested that a two-state solution for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians — longstanding United States policy — was not feasible (Rutenberg and Parker, 9/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney’s 47 Percent: His Math Is Correct, But Much Federal Aid Goes To The Middle Class, TooWhile it’s true most of those nonpayers are poor, the numbers include many others who got tax breaks because they are old, have children in college or didn’t owe taxes on interest from state and local bonds. And of those who didn’t write checks to the IRS, 6 in 10 still paid Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and more than that paid federal excise taxes on items such as gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, said Roberton Williams, who analyzes taxes at the center (9/18).The Wall Street Journal: Raw Data Support – And Undercut – Romney Take On Who Gets BenefitsFederal benefits include those going to low-income Americans, such as food stamps and Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. Other benefits from programs such as Medicare and Social Security flow to older Americans who, in most cases, paid taxes for decades before they qualified (Paletta and McKinnon, 9/18).The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Limits Cloud Democrats’ Push For Hispanic VoteThe Department of Health and Human Services issued rules last month that said the young people wouldn’t be allowed to shop for insurance policies through newly established health exchanges or receive federal subsidies toward the cost of premiums starting in 2014. They are also not eligible to enroll in the federal-state Medicaid program for low-income Americans, the department has said. The rules were first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday (Radnofsky, 9/18).The New York Times: Wisconsin Offers Window Into Challenges Confronting RomneyRob Jankowski, an independent voter who supported Mr. Obama four years ago but has been disappointed by his economic leadership and disapproves of his health care plan, is among the 3 percent of voters in the survey who say they are still undecided. He said he did not feel loyalty to Mr. Obama simply because he supported him last time, but he said Mr. Romney had not made his case. … The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states (Zeleny and Connelly, 9/19).The Washington Post: Obama Up 8 Points Over Romney In VirginiaWith just seven weeks of campaigning left before the November election, President Obama holds a clear lead over Mitt Romney in Virginia, buoyed by growing optimism about the state of the country and fueled by a big gender gap working in his favor, according to a new Washington Post poll (Vozzella, Balz and Cohen, 9/18).The New York Times: Christie’s Budget Faulted As Fiscal Outlook Is Called WeakThe ratings agency said it lowered its outlook because it believed the governor’s revenue projections for the current fiscal year were overly optimistic, warning that the budget was structurally unsound. In particular, the agency took note of the administration’s reliance on one-time transfers of money to fill gaps in the state’s $32 billion budget. At the same time, it noted that the state will have to spend more in the coming years to meet pension and Medicaid obligations (Zernike, 9/18).Los Angeles Times: Brown Signs Bill Revamping Workers’ Compensation InsuranceApproved by the Legislature on the last night of the legislative session, the package would boost payments to permanently disabled victims of on-the-job accidents by about $740 million a year and hand employers a major break on workers’ compensation insurance premiums (Castellanos, 9/19).Politico: Study: Obesity Rate To Jump By 50% By 2030The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health released a new report Tuesday projecting America’s obesity rates through 2030. If current obesity rates continue, every state could have an obesity rate above 44 percent by 2030, and most states could have rates higher than 50 percent, the report found (Smith, 9/19).Los Angeles Times: More Than 45% Of Californians May Be Obese By 2030, Report SaysIf you think America is fat now, just wait 20 years. So says a state-by-state projection of the nation’s future obesity rates that has arrived at some terrifying results: By 2030, every state in the nation may well have obesity rates above 44%, with most having rates above 50% (Bardin, 9/18).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Wisconsin Attorney General Appeals Union Law Ruling, Asks Judge For StayWisconsin’s attorney general on Tuesday appealed a court ruling repealing major parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s law effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers. … The law as passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 applied to all public employees except police, firefighters, local transit workers and emergency medical service employees. It limits collective bargaining on wage increases to the rate of inflation. Other issues, such as workplace safety, vacation and health benefits, were excluded from collective bargaining (9/18).Check out all of Kaiser Health News’ e-mail options including First Edition and Breaking News alerts on our Subscriptions page.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Officials Acknowledge New Capacity Problems With Healthcare.gov New Healthcare.gov capacity problems are emerging — this time as people trying to sign up for coverage get further along in the process, officials said in a conference call Thursday.The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog: Uh-Oh: Techies Are Finding New Problems With Healthcare.govEvery day, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hosts a phone call with reporters. This is the “Operational Update on the Health Insurance Marketplace” and usually happens around 1:30 or 2 p.m. Today’s “Operational Update on the Health Insurance Marketplace” was not especially good news: As capacity problems at the start of HealthCare.gov get fixed, tech workers are finding new capacity problems later in the application process — ones that, up until now, they didn’t know about (Kliff, 11/7).The Hill: More O-Care Site Problems ‘Downstream’The agency tasked with implementing the president’s health care law said Thursday it had uncovered “new stresses further downstream in the system” that revealed the need for a fresh look at the back-end capacity needs of the online healthcare portal. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokeswoman Julie Bataille opened a conference call with reporters by acknowledging for the second consecutive day that while the system was stable, it remains slow for many users (Easley, 11/7).One investment industry leader weighs in on the problems -The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal: Goldman Tech Leader Says Lack Of Accountability Hamstrung HealthCare.govHealthCare.gov, the government’s beleaguered health insurance website, was hurt by a lack of coordination between policy makers and IT leaders managing its development, according to Don Duet, co-head of the technology division of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. This lack of coordination also led to a lack of accountability, he said (Hickins, 11/7).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Research Roundup: Patient Safety Measure Results ‘Disappointing’ Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.The New England Journal of Medicine: National Trends In Patient Safety For Four Common Conditions, 2005–2011 Patient safety poses serious challenges to the health care system in the United States. Since 2001, nationwide efforts have focused on reducing in-hospital adverse events … We used the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS), a large database of information abstracted from medical records of a random sample of hospitalized patients … from 2005 to 2011, rates of in-hospital adverse events declined significantly among patients with acute myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure but not among patients with pneumonia or conditions requiring surgery. Although this suggests that national efforts focused on patient safety have made some inroads, the lack of reductions across the board is disappointing (Wang et al., 1/22). Employee Benefits Research Institute: The Cost Of Spousal Health Coverage In 2011, policyholders spent an average of $5,430 on health care services, compared with $6,609 for spouses. … this analysis concludes that the cost of spousal health care coverage is higher than that for policyholders, and non-working spouses cost more than working spouses. … While “first-mover” firms may save money in the short run by eliminating working spouses from their plan, they may in time gain the responsibility for covering employees who were previously covered as a spouse under another plan, now left without that coverage by other employers implementing the same strategy. … employers with net reductions in covered spouses may experience a worsening in average risk, resulting in higher spending than expected (Fronstin and Roebuck, 1/23).Annals of Internal Medicine: Insurance Status and the Transfer of Hospitalized Patients: An Observational StudyThere is little objective evidence to support concerns that patients are transferred between hospitals based on insurance status. … Design: Data analyzed from the 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. … All patients aged 18 to 64 years discharged alive from U.S. acute care hospitals with 1 of 5 common diagnoses … In adjusted analyses, uninsured patients were significantly less likely to be transferred than privately insured patients for 4 diagnoses: biliary tract disease, chest pain, septicemia, and skin infections. Women were significantly less likely to be transferred than men for all diagnoses (Hanmer et al., 1/20).Annals of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology: Depressive Symptoms And The Incidence of Adult-Onset Asthma in African American WomenOf 31,848 participants [in the Black Women’s Health Study] followed from 1999 to 2011, 771 reported incident asthma. Depressive symptoms were ascertained on 1999 and 2005 follow-up questionnaires with the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D). … A positive association was observed between CES-D score and the incidence of adult-onset asthma. If the hypothesis is confirmed, depression could contribute substantially to the burden of asthma in adults (Coogan et al., 1/21). JAMA Surgery: Positive And Negative Volume-Outcome Relationships In The Geriatric Trauma PopulationIn trauma populations, improvements in outcome are documented in institutions with higher case volumes. However, it is not known whether improved outcomes are attributable to the case volume within specific higher-risk groups, such as the elderly … This retrospective cohort study using a statewide trauma registry was set in state-designated levels 1 and 2 trauma centers in Pennsylvania. It included 39,431 eligible geriatric trauma patients (aged >65 years). … Higher rates of in-hospital mortality, major complications, and failure to rescue were associated with lower volumes of geriatric trauma care and paradoxically with higher volumes of trauma care for younger patients (Matsushima et al., 1/22).The Kaiser Family Foundation: Explaining Health Care Reform: Risk Adjustment, Reinsurance, and Risk Corridors The Affordable Care Act’s risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors programs are designed to work together to mitigate the potential effects of adverse selection and risk selection. … Specifically, risk adjustment is designed to mitigate any incentives for plans to attract healthier individuals and compensate those that enroll a disproportionately sick population. Reinsurance compensates plans for their high-cost enrollees, and by the nature of its financing provides a subsidy for individual market premiums generally over a three-year period. And, risk corridors reduce the general uncertainty insurers face in the early years of implementation when the market is opened up to people with pre-existing conditions who were previously excluded (1/22). The Kaiser Family Foundation: Coverage For Abortion Services And The ACAThe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes significant changes to health coverage for women by expanding access to coverage and broadening the health benefits that many will receive. … This brief summarizes the major coverage provisions of the ACA that are relevant for women of reproductive age, reviews current federal and state policies on Medicaid and insurance coverage of abortion services, and presents national and state estimates on the availability of abortion coverage for women who are newly eligible for Medicaid or private coverage as a result of the ACA (Salganicoff, Beamesderfer and Kurani, 1/21).Brookings Institution: Can Canadian-Style Healthcare Work In America? Vermont Thinks So. In general, single payer health care means that all medical bills are paid out of a single government-run pool of money. Under this system, all providers are paid at the same rate, and citizens receive the same health benefits, regardless of their ability to pay. There are a number of proposed benefits to a single payer system. Currently, providers must follow different procedures with each of many insurance companies to get paid, creating an enormous amount of administrative work. … Additionally, a single payer system provides universal access to health insurance, which eliminates the problem of the uninsured. However, Vermont’s innovative proposal still leaves room for further improvement. Specifically, a single payer system alone does not address “fee-for-service” reimbursement for providers, which may encourage overuse and does not recognize quality and value (Sanghavi and Bleiberg, 1/22). Here is a selection of news coverage of other recent research:NBC News: Doctors’ Dress Code Aims To Halt Nasty GermsShort sleeves, bare hands and forearms and white coats that are laundered at least once a week — if not more often — are the keys to keeping nasty bugs such as Staphylococcus aureus from hitching a ride on a doctor’s wrist. Neckties are questionable. Watches and rings have to go. It’s not clear what to do about name tags, lanyards, necklaces and cell phones, but when in doubt, it’s best to clean the offending items — or get rid of them. That’s according to new guidance on hospital attire released Monday by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, or SHEA (Aleccia, 1/20).Reuters: Many Hospitalized Older People Need Decision HelpWhen the time comes for making critical medical decisions while in the hospital, a new study says older people often rely on family members or other surrogates to make those calls. Researchers found that about half of the older patients they tracked needed help making decisions within two days of being admitted to the hospital (Seaman, 1/21).CNBC: Employers Face Tax Hit In States With No Medicaid Expansion The decision by 25 states not to expand Medicaid coverage under Obamacare could cost some employers more than $1.5 billion in new taxes starting next year, a new analysis reveals. That tax hit might come as a shock to many of those businesses unaware of their exposure to the penalty—which will kick in if their employer-offered health plan is deemed too expensive and workers then buy private, subsidized Obamacare insurance (Mangen, 1/21). MedPage Today: Few Docs Ready For Stage 2 ‘Meaningful Use’ Roughly one physician in eight has an electronic health record (EHR) system capable of supporting most requirements for Stage 2 of the “meaningful use” program, a government survey found. Only 13% of office-based physicians reported an intention to participate in the EHR incentive program and had a system meeting 14 of the 17 Stage 2 core objectives, according to a report released this week from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) (Pittman, 1/17). MedPage Today: Medical News: Evidence Not A Factor Three doctors now in training at Harvard and the NIH — Senthil Selvaraj, MD, Durga S. Borkar, MD, and Vinay Prasad, MD — looked at what clinical studies the top five U.S. newspapers by circulation covered. They then mapped those against trials that appeared in the top five clinical journals, ranked by impact factor. Their findings? “Newspapers were more likely to cover observational studies and less likely to cover [randomized control trials] than high impact journals. Additionally, when the media does cover observational studies, they select articles of inferior quality. Newspapers preferentially cover medical research with weaker methodology” (Oransky, 1/21).
Stat: Genentech Hits A Sour Note With Gwen Stefani Concert For Reps hen President Trump criticized the Food and Drug Administration drug approval process as “slow and burdensome” on Tuesday, you may have heard a mysterious noise. And that noise may have been the sound of thousands of agency staffers banging their heads against the wall. FDA officials have long bristled at the notion that they move too slowly to approve new drugs. Part of their job, after all, is to ensure that any drugs they approve are both safe and effective — and that, they point out, can take time. The standard review process now takes a median of 10 months, down from nearly 13 months in 2005, according to the FDA. Companies can shrink that process to eight months if they get a priority review. (Kaplan, 3/1) As President Trump tweets yet another promise to lower drug prices, a new analysis offers an example of what can happen when the federal government negotiates with manufacturers. During a 12-month period ended November 2015, the Veterans Choice Program, which was created by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, paid a median price of $12,500 for a month’s supply of Harvoni, a hepatitis C drug sold by Gilead Sciences. Since most patients typically are treated for two to three months, the cost was closer to $25,000 to $37,500 per person, according to the analysis in Medical Care. (Silverman, 3/7) In the past three years, 33 U.S. states have passed laws aimed at helping dying people get easier access to experimental treatments. Supporters say these patients are just looking for the “right to try” these treatments. Such laws may sound compassionate, but medical ethicists warn they pose worrisome risks to the health and finances of vulnerable patients. (Feibel, 3/6) Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) will meet President Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss lowering prescription drug prices, an issue the top House Oversight Committee Democrat has long advocated for. The White House gathering comes shortly after Trump claimed that Cummings canceled a meeting last month because of partisan politics. (Marcos, 3/7) Gilead Sciences Inc.’s hepatitis C cure set off a firestorm of criticism over high drug prices in 2014 that hasn’t let up since. Now an executive says the company can’t cut the product’s price because middlemen who manage drug benefits would refuse to cover it. … Pharmacy benefit managers such as Express Scripts Holding Co. and CVS Health Corp. negotiate drug reimbursement, often in secrecy, for employers and health plans. While PBMs say they deliver lower prices for customers and patients, drugmakers have begun aggressively implicating the middlemen in high medication costs that have become a frequent target of Washington lawmakers and President Donald Trump. (Chen and Langreth, 3/3) A lot goes into getting a drug into a patient’s hands, but the complexity of the distribution channel is only one reason why drug prices are high. As drugs get increasingly intricate, they’re becoming more costly to develop, and that has an impact on prices, too. How can you determine if a drug price is fair? (Campbell and Harjes, 3/5) For months, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong would continue to reap praise for his generosity in publicity put out by the university. Not mentioned in any of the tributes: $10 million of his donation would be sent right back to one of his companies. And the contract for his gift was worded in a way that left the University of Utah with no other choice. The university health system did get free and valuable information for genetics research through the deal. But a STAT investigation has found that Soon-Shiong benefited even more from his charitable donation. He got reams of patient data to help him build a new commercial product meant to assess patients’ risk of rare and inherited diseases. He got a stream of cash for one of his struggling companies. (Robbins, 3/6) The Motley Fool: How Are Drug Prices Determined? Stat: More States Weigh Making It Easier To Sell EpiPen Alternatives Stat: The VA Got A Good Price For A Hep C Drug. Why Not Medicare? The Hill: Top Oversight Dem To Meet With Trump About Prescription Drug Prices Building on weeks of mounting pressure to address high prescription drug prices, three influential U.S. senators have asked the government’s accountability arm to investigate potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act. In a March 3 letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) raised the possibility that regulatory or legislative changes might be needed “to preserve the intent of this vital law” that gives drugmakers lucrative incentives to develop drugs for rare diseases. (Tribble and Lupkin, 3/7) Kaiser Health News: ‘Right-To-Try’ Laws Expose Dying Patients To Exploitation, Ethicists Warn President Donald Trump used his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night to renew his call to contain soaring prescription drug prices. His demand comes as the pharmaceutical industry launches a public relations campaign aimed at reducing public anger and the threat of increased regulation. Trump, who once complained that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder” by overcharging consumers and government agencies, said that his administration and Congress must “work to bring down the artificially high price of drugs and bring them down immediately.” (Pianin, 3/1) When Genentech sales reps gathered in late January in Las Vegas for their national sales meeting, they were rewarded with a treat — Gwen Stefani, the popular singer, performed for the crowd, according to photos posted online. It remains unclear what she was paid for her show at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. A Genentech spokeswoman declined to comment, as did Stefani’s booking agent. However, Stefani has commanded upwards of $350,000 to perform at private events, according to data from Celebrity Talent International that was cited in a Business Insider story in 2014. (Silverman, 3/7) Bloomberg: Marathon’s $89,000 Drug May Exploit Patients, Senators Say The Fiscal Times: How Drug Companies Are Scrambling To Respond To Pressure Over Soaring Prices Stat: How A Biotech Billionaire Used A Donation To Boost His Business Negotiating Drug Prices Works For The VA — But That May Be Because Of Its Defined Population News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical drug pricing. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In the wake of the controversy over EpiPen pricing, lawmakers in several states are introducing bills that would allow pharmacists to substitute alternatives for the pricey allergic-reaction device without requiring a new prescription from a physician. The latest example was introduced last week in Ohio, where pharmacists are currently prohibited from making any substitutions for the device. Similar legislation was introduced in recent weeks in New York and Vermont, and last fall in New Jersey. A somewhat comparable was also introduced in Hawaii. (Silverman, 3/6) Stat: Who You Calling ‘Slow’? FDA May Bristle At Trump’s Latest Dig Marathon Pharmaceuticals LLC is facing more criticism over the $89,000 price tag on its drug for a rare muscle disorder as a group of eight U.S. lawmakers said they’re concerned that it “exploits” patients. In a March 3 letter to Marathon Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Aronin, seven Democratic U.S. senators and one independent demanded information on the closely held drugmaker’s pricing practices and product development costs for Emflaza, used to treat lethal Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (Greifeld, 3/6) Kaiser Health News: Three Key Senators Ask GAO To Investigate Possible Abuses Of The Orphan Drug Act Bloomberg: Gilead Executive Says Pharmacy Benefit Managers Keep Prices High
More DETROIT — Burger King is needling President Donald Trump for his tweet about ordering more than 1,000 “hamberders” for the Clemson University Tigers’ visit to the White House after winning the college football championship.The man said “hamberders.” pic.twitter.com/WopVMRo3p6— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) January 15, 2019The spelling error was quickly corrected. But Burger King jumped in with a tweet of its own: “Due to a large order placed yesterday, we’re all out of hamberders. Just serving hamburgers today.”due to a large order placed yesterday, we’re all out of hamberders. just serving hamburgers today.— Burger King (@BurgerKing) January 15, 2019Burger King said its tweet was all in good fun, but some marketing experts think the move was unwise.Laura Ries, an Atlanta-based marketing consultant, said she understands companies wanting to be part of the social media conversation. But they should keep the message positive, not mocking.“It’s totally the wrong tone. It’s not funny. It’s mean,” she said. “No matter what you think of the president, it’s still the president.”Burger King responded that it “has a pulse on pop culture,” and wants to be part of trending topics. It also said it was proud that its burgers were served to the football team.“We like to playfully joke around with what the internet and news outlets are saying, but never to be mean spirited,” the company said in a statement.Burger King isn’t the only company to troll Trump on Twitter. Last week, Columbia Sportswear Co. tweeted a message from its CEO: “Make America’s parks open again.” And in 2017, Smirnoff vodka had billboards that read: “Made in America. But we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath.”Companies that veer into politics take a risk of alienating customers or even Trump himself. Burger King might not be served at the next White House feast, Ries said.Some Twitter followers criticized Burger King. But others liked the tweet so much they celebrated with lunch at Burger King on Tuesday.Robert Passikoff, a marketing consultant and founder of Brand Keys Inc., suspects the tweet will have no lasting impact. Sometimes, he said, it’s critical for a brand to use Twitter to engage with customers and change attitudes, like when it’s trying to recover from a food poisoning scare. Burger King’s tweet doesn’t have that kind of weight, he said. Share this storyBurger King trolls Trump over Twitter typo — did it go too far? Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Reddit Facebook Comment The Associated Press Recommended For YouBoeing 1Q results in line with estimates but company pulls 2019 guidance over 737 Max uncertainty, suspends buybacksOccidental offers $76 per share in cash and stock for Anadarko, says offer is 20% premium to $33B deal with ChevronThe storm is coming and investors need a financial ark to see them throughTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know it A tray of Burger King Whoppers offered by U.S President Donald Trump to the Clemson Tigers football team to celebrate their Championship at the White House. Trump’s ‘Hamberders’ tweet raised a reaction on Twitter.hris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images Email Dee-Ann Durbin Burger King trolls Trump over Twitter typo — did it go too far? The fast-food chain is not the only company to take on Trump on social media January 15, 20194:23 PM ESTLast UpdatedJanuary 17, 20192:21 PM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing Twitter 6 Comments Join the conversation →
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 30, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News The eCOPO Chevy Camaro concept will be on view at the SEMA Show in Las VegasIn celebration of 50 years of the original COPO Chevrolet Camaro production race car, the carmaker has announced an electric concept version of the car with over 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.More Chevy EV Sports Cars The Detroit automaker, best known around the EV community for the Chevy Volt and Bolt EV, is dipping their toes (at least as a concept) into the electric sports car with the eCOPO announcement. The car is expected to have a 9 second quarter-mile time although testing is still in process.If this is achieved it would blow away the quarter mile time of the Tesla P100D.We have seen plenty of conversions of Chevrolet sports cars and even more modern Chevy’s such as the pricey but powerful Genovation GXE. Now that we have seen an electric Camaro concept from Chevy itself, we hope this is a future peak at the automakers future product portfolio.We have seen many electric concepts come and go over the years that never make it to market. However we did see a decidedly Camaro shaped vehicle when GM announced 20 production EVs around this time last year. Perhaps there is hope that this one enters production.The full press release is below:eCOPO Camaro Race Car Concept Electrifies Drag RacingLAS VEGAS — Fifty years after the original COPO Camaro special-order performance models were introduced, Chevrolet’s eCOPO Camaro Concept demonstrates an electrified vision for drag racing.Developed by General Motors and built in partnership with the pioneering electric drag racing team Hancock and Lane Racing, the concept race car — based on the 2019 COPO Camaro — is entirely electric-powered, driven by an electric motor providing the equivalent of more than 700 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque.Chevrolet estimates quarter-mile times in the 9-second range. Testing is ongoing.“The eCOPO Concept is all about where we go in the future with electrification in the high-performance space,” said Russ O’Blenes, director, performance variants, parts and motorsports at General Motors. “The original COPO Camaro program was all about pushing the envelope and this concept is an exploration with the very same spirit.”Chevrolet partnered with Hancock and Lane Racing not only for the team’s success in NHRA drag racing, but its involvement with Patrick McCue, the driving force behind the record-holding “Shock and Awe” electric drag racing car, and his Seattle-area Bothell High School automotive technology program. More than a dozen students participated in the development and assembly of the electrified drag car, with the racing team’s assistance.“This project exemplifies Chevrolet and General Motors’ commitment to engaging young minds in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education,” said O’Blenes. “It also represents our goal of a world with zero emissions, with the next-generation of engineers and scientists who will help us get there.”800 voltsJust as the original 1969 COPO Camaro models relied on creative engineering to make them successful in Stock Eliminator drag racing, the eCOPO breaks new ground with its unique motor and GM’s first 800-volt battery back.The electric motor is based on a pair of BorgWarner HVH 250-150 motor assemblies, each generating 300 lb.-ft. of torque, and replaces the gas engine. It is connected to a conventional, racing-prepared “Turbo 400” automatic transmission, which channels the motor’s torque to the same solid rear axle used in the production COPO Camaro race cars.The all-new 800-volt battery pack enables a more efficient power transfer to the electric motor, while also supporting faster recharging, which is important for the limited time between elimination rounds in drag racing.“Eight-hundred volts is more than twice the voltage of the battery packs in the production Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, so the eCOPO pushes into new technological territory,” says O’Blenes. “As GM advances its electrification leadership, a big step might just come from the drag strip.”The battery pack is composed of four 200-volt modules, each weighing approximately 175 pounds, mounted strategically in the car for optimal weight distribution. Two are located in the rear seat area and the other two are in the trunk: one in the spare tire well and the other in the area over the rear axle.A full Battery Management System monitors all critical voltages and temperatures within the pack. It ties into a comprehensive safety system that continuously evaluates all vehicle electrical components for proper function and safe operation. The batteries in the rear compartment are sealed off from the interior and an integrated driveshaft tunnel has been added between the modules for increased protection. Additionally, the roll cage in the trunk area has been expanded to provide additional protection for the rear-mounted modules.With the modules’ strategic positions, the eCOPO Camaro has greater than a 56-percent rear-weight bias, which helps launch the car more efficiently.Electric crate motorsThe eCOPO Camaro Concept expands Chevrolet and General Motors’ electrification development and supports future product development. It also suggests a potential new avenue for Chevrolet’s crate engine and performance parts portfolio.The eCOPO Camaro’s electric motor has the same bell house mounting pattern and crankshaft flange as the popular LS-family engines in Chevrolet’s crate engine portfolio. That allows it to bolt up to just about any General Motors transmission. In fact, the transmission, driveshaft and other drivetrain components remain in the same locations as in a gasoline-powered COPO Camaro race car, meaning the electric motor simply bolts into the engine compartment, in place of the gas engine.“The possibilities are intriguing and suggest a whole new world for racers,” said O’Blenes. “Chevrolet pioneered the concept of the high-performance crate engine right around the time the original COPO Camaro models were created, and the eCOPO project points to a future that could include electric crate motors for racing, or even your street rod. We’re not there yet, but it’s something we’re exploring.”In the meantime, Chevrolet and Hancock and Lane Racing will continue to develop the eCOPO Camaro and test it on the drag strip, seeking quicker elapsed times with all-new technology.The eCOPO Concept, shown in Electric Blue, joins the 50th anniversary 2019 COPO Camaro production race car and approximately two dozen additional Chevrolet concepts and show vehicles at the SEMA Show, in Las Vegas, through Nov. 2. CNN Loves The Manual Transmission Electric Corvette: Genovation GXE This Plug-In Hybrid Chevy Camaro Goes 40 Miles On Battery, Sips E85 Chevy Camaro Performance Electric CUV Comes To Life Source: Electric Vehicle News
Hamburg gets electric buses and parcel deliveriesDPD announced that by the summer of 2019 it will switch to electric vehicles (vans, trucks, bikes and scooters) for its operation in Hamburg, Germany.Two types of EVs were already revealed – the Volkswagen e-Crafter electric vans and TRIPL electric vehicles. In the case of trucks, it’s expected that DPD will use FUSO eCanter, which was introduced in the UK where the company uses also 10 Nissan e-NV200.One of the examples of progressing electrification is the first all-electric DPD depot in Westminster in London – seven additional will be electrified soon.TRIPL in DPD fleetSource: postalandparceltechnologyinternational.com, DPD Source: Electric Vehicle News Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on November 24, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
The planned trials on fixed routes and scheduled services should enable testing of the technology and will bring autonomous buses closer to the market. More Xcelsior CHARGE Electric Transit Buses Coming To Toronto NTU Singapore and Volvo unveil world’s first full size, autonomous electric bus First of two Volvo Electric buses will soon begin trials at the NTU Smart Campus before being extended to public roads.Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Volvo Buses have launched the world’s first full size, autonomous electric bus today. The single-deck Volvo Electric bus is 12 metres long and has a full capacity close to 80 passengers.This is a key milestone in NTU and Volvo’s development programme under the university’s partnership with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to develop and conduct autonomous vehicle bus trials for fixed route and scheduled services, which was announced in October 2016.The Volvo 7900 Electric bus is equipped with numerous sensors and navigation controls managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) system.Ensuring maximum safety and reliability, the AI system is also protected with industry-leading cybersecurity measures to prevent unwanted cyber intrusions.The Volvo bus is the first of two that has undergone preliminary rounds of rigorous testing at the Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous vehicles at NTU (CETRAN).Plans are in place to test the bus at NTU and to subsequently extend the route beyond the NTU campus.NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, said, “This fully autonomous electric bus will play a role in shaping the future of public transportation that is safe, efficient, reliable and comfortable for all commuters. It will soon be tested on the NTU Smart Campus, which has been home to a number of innovations as a living testbed for technologies that impact the human condition and the quality of life.“This research project not only involves cutting-edge science, technology and AI, but is also an excellent example of close partnership among academia, industry and government agencies in translating basic research into products and services for the benefit of Singapore and beyond. And we have a top team of local and international partners in this multi-disciplinary collaboration.”The electric bus has 36 seats and provides a quiet operation with zero emissions. It also requires 80 per cent less energy than an equivalent sized diesel bus.This is Volvo’s first fully autonomous and electric bus in public transportation anywhere in the world. For this trial of a full size single deck bus, Volvo has chosen NTU Singapore as its global partner.Håkan Agnevall, President Volvo Buses, said, “We are very proud to be showcasing our electric bus featuring autonomous driving technology. It represents a key milestone for the industry and is an important step towards our vision for a cleaner, safer and smarter city. The journey towards full autonomy is undoubtedly a complex one, and our valued partnership with the NTU and LTA is critical in realizing this vision, as is our commitment to applying a safety-first approach.”The NTU and Volvo partnership is part of the collaboration between the University and LTA under NTU’s living lab platform. The platform assesses technology maturity and road-worthiness, including the certification of technologies for deployment on public roads.Lam Wee Shann, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Land Transport Authority, said, “The launch of the autonomous bus for on-road trials marks an important milestone in the joint project between LTA and NTU Singapore to develop autonomous buses for fixed routes and scheduled services. It is in line with Singapore’s vision of deploying autonomous vehicles to improve accessibility and connectivity for commuters. We will continue to work closely with NTU to facilitate the safe and robust testing of the autonomous vehicles.”The bus is undergoing rigorous tests at CETRAN. Jointly set up by NTU, LTA and JTC, CETRAN is a centre dedicated to research and testing of autonomous vehicles. It replicates various elements of Singapore’s urban road condition, such as traffic signals, multiple bus stops and pedestrian crossings, and tropical conditions such as driving through heavy rain and partially flooded roads. Operated by NTU scientists, CETRAN is located on the NTU Smart Campus in the Jurong Innovation District.Advanced sensors and AI technology protected with cybersecurity measuresThe bus comes with a Volvo Autonomous Research Platform software that is connected to key controls such as its navigation system, as well as multiple sensors.This includes light detection and ranging sensors (LIDARS), stereo-vision cameras that capture images in 3D, and an advanced global navigation satellite system that uses real-time kinematics. This is like any global positioning system (GPS), but uses multiple data sources to give pin-point location accuracy of up to one centimetre.The system is also hooked up to an “inertial management unit”, which acts like a two-in-one gyroscope and accelerometer, measuring the lateral and angular rate of the bus. This will improve its navigation when going over uneven terrain and around sharp bends, ensuring a smoother ride.These sensors and GPS platforms will be managed by a comprehensive AI system that was developed by NTU researchers. It not only operates the various sensors and GPS systems on the bus, but also enables it to navigate autonomously through dense traffic and tropical weather conditions.The AI system is protected with industry-leading cybersecurity and firewall measures to prevent unwanted intrusions for maximum safety and reliability.Multi-industry collaboration with partnersAs part of the public trials, Singapore’s public transport operator SMRT will play a key role in determining the roadworthiness of autonomous vehicles on public roads.While plans are in place to test the first bus on the NTU campus, a second autonomous 12-metre Volvo 7900 Electric bus will undergo tests at a bus depot managed by SMRT.It will provide a real-world environment to assess the vehicle’s ability to autonomously navigate into vehicle washing bays and park safely at charging areas.Mr. Tan Kian Heong, Managing Director, Buses & Roads Services and Senior Vice President, Human Resources, said, “SMRT is pleased to support the research and development of these eco-friendly autonomous electric buses. As part of the Autonomous Electric Bus trial, we will leverage on our expertise in operations and maintenance of buses, and work closely with our partners to test the command and control system required to operate a fleet of autonomous vehicles. This will help us to stay future-ready with the latest urban mobility solutions to enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport network.”Another partner, ABB, a pioneering technology leader in digital industries and world leader in fast-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, will develop a smart fast-charging solution. Based on the OppCharge concept, ABB’s HVC 300P fast charge system is ideally suited for autonomous charging in bus depots as well as in running traffic.Offering a charge power of 300kW via a pantograph mounted on the infrastructure, the fast chargers will recharge a battery in just three to six minutes. This will enable charging during the layover times at the end of the bus route, without impacting normal operations.Tarak Mehta, President of Electrification Products division, said: “ABB is committed to pioneering technological innovations for a sustainable future. We are extremely excited to collaborate on such a landmark project which marks a positive step toward the electrification of public transport across the region and beyond.” More about the project: Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 6, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Florida State University Transitions To 100% Electric Bus Fleet The future of buses is not only electric but also autonomous.Volvo Buses presents the first full-size, autonomous electric bus, jointly developed with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore). The 12-meter Volvo 7900 Electric can take up to 80 passengers and fast charge at 300 kW ABB fast charger with a pantograph, also operated automatically.There will be two such buses in Singapore – first on the NTU campus and the second one at a bus depot managed by Singapore’s public transport operator SMRT.EV bus news Ireland Will Get Its First Electric Bus: A Volvo 7900e Source: Electric Vehicle News 5 photos
Source: Charge Forward Ever since it was announced, Kia’s Niro EV has been an interesting proposition. Fred did a fantastic one day first look at the Niro earlier this year, but I wanted to spend some more quality time with it and throw in my family for extreme testing.Our Tesla Model X lease is ending soon and my wife is looking for a replacement that rides high, has good range, and is all-electric. Obviously the Model Y makes a lot of sense for us, but it won’t be ready until late next year and figuring “Elon Time”, ramp up, and first dibs to Californians, it will probably be well into 2021 before these are rolling out en masse.A recent trip to the Bay Area to visit relatives provided a good week-plus opportunity to test the Kia Niro EV with the whole family and without a 240V home charger… more…Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09bIEmS_KdYThe post The Electrek Review: Kia Niro EV – The new normal…electric family car appeared first on Electrek.