✔️ The Future of Self-Driving Cars

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18 Aug, 2021
Valet
The Daily Valet.

Wednesday, August 18th Edition

 
 
Cory Ohlendorf, Editor in Chief of Valet.

Who’s up for a Nerf fight?

Cory Ohlendorf, Editor ⋯ @coryohlendorf

 
 
 

Today’s Big Story

 

The Future of Self-Driving Cars

The government is investigating Tesla’s autopilot system

Autonomous Cars
 

It seems like we’ve been on the verge of handing over the keys (and the gas pedal) for a while now. From joy rides and taxis to cargo, AI-led autonomous vehicles are the future. Right?

These driver-assistance systems will—in theory—make the roads a safer place and minimize the potential for driver error to cause harm. In practice, it isn’t that simple. Suddenly, it’s harder to make out the road ahead—pun mildly intended.

Car and Driver recently proved that driver-assist systems can be easily fooled and made it painfully clear that most have a number of limitations. And now, one of the highest-profile driver-assist systems is the subject of a federal investigation.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has initiated an investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot system. The probe follows 11 crashes with parked first responder vehicles since 2018, which resulted in 17 injuries and one death. According to Engadget, they’ll investigate how Tesla’s Autopilot system studies the road and, more importantly, ensures drivers engage with what’s going on.

Distracted driving can be deadly in any car. But safety experts say Autopilot may encourage distraction by lulling people into thinking that their cars are more capable than they are. And the New York Times, reporting on the system, found that it doesn’t include safeguards to make sure drivers are paying attention to the road and can retake control if something goes wrong—unlike the systems used by GM or Ford.

We’ll no doubt get there, but perhaps fully autonomous vehicles are further in the future than we’d originally thought. Waymo—formerly the Google self-driving car project—is 99% of the way there. But, according to Bloomberg, that last 1% has proven to be increasingly difficult and just out of grasp.

 
 

Crypto’s New Home

Ex-denim mills, factories and power plants are coming back to life as crypto mines 

 

Across America, older fossil-fuel power plants are shutting down in favor of renewable energy. But some are getting a new lease on life—to mine bitcoin.

The drive for power has its roots in bitcoin’s intractable mathematics: To operate securely, the cryptocurrency’s network relies on computers solving puzzles; in return the solvers get fresh bitcoin

The Wall Street Journal reports that in upstate New York, an idled coal plant has been restarted, fueled by natural gas, to mine cryptocurrency. A once-struggling Montana coal plant is now scaling up to do the same.

According to Curbed, a crypto mining company called Core Scientific moved into an old Levi’s denim factory that had near-exclusive access to a nearby hydroelectric dam. Some states, like New York, attempted to block new mining operations due to environmental concerns, but others like Texas, Kentucky, and South Dakota are welcoming these companies with open arms.

 

Yik Yak Is Back

The anonymous messaging app has returned from the dead, for better or worse

 
Yik Yak

After a four-year break, the controversial app known as Yik Yak is back and available for download in the iOS App Store (sorry Android users).

If you’ve forgotten all about it or need a refresher on the once-popular app, Yik Yak can best be described as an anonymous, location-based forum or message board (think Twitter, but localized and incognito). Because the app utilizes users’ locations, Yik Yak became immensely popular in high schools and on college campuses for the few years it was around. 

With a reputation for rampant cyber-bullying, hate speech and harassment, moderation woes were central to the app’s failure, reports TechCrunch. According to the new app’s Community Guardrails, Yik Yak seems to be addressing these harassment concerns and will be implementing a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and threats.

But will people want it? The app’s return drew mixed responses on Twitter, with some people worried it would prompt more toxicity in the world and others joking about being able to complain anonymously about college life.

 

Nerf’s New Gun Is Pretty Intense

The ‘Aliens’-inspired Nerf Pulse Blaster is both badass and nostalgic

 
Nerf

James Cameron’s Aliens is full of amazing props. The cargo loader, the alien queen, the dropship, motion detectors, the list goes on and on. But arguably the coolest is the M41A Pulse Rifle. You may have wished for it as a kid—but now, Gizmodo reports that you can own a Nerf replica. Hey, you’re never too old, right?

This isn’t just a prop with a few token foam projectiles inside: it’s a fully-automatic blaster that shoots rapid-fire Nerf Elite-sized darts from a magazine along with “movie-inspired blast sounds.”

And like the weapons in the film, The Verge confirmed that the readout on your blaster will tell you how many darts you have left in the chamber.

It might be good that it’s coming out while we’re adults. Because our parents wouldn’t have dropped $95 on a Nerf gun. But now you’re an adult and no one can tell you how to spend your money! 

 
 
 

A Smarter Storage Solution

It works for both big and small spaces

 
Shelving

You’ve got stuff. We all do, right? And while there’s no need to hang onto unnecessary clutter, what about the stuff we actually want to show off? You don’t have to have a big wall of built-ins, but some well-stocked shelves speaks volumes about a man. 

A few stacks of books and a unique item you’ve brought back from a trip serve as a reminder—both to yourself and anyone who visits—that you’re well-read, worldly and interesting. And when it comes to stylish shelving, wall-mounted is a smart decision.

Why? Well, for starters, it adds a nice shot of architecture to a room. Many come imbued with mid-century vibes that are as versatile as they are stylish. Plus, it frees up floor space, creating the illusion that a room is bigger and ceilings are taller.

As for which set of shelves is best for you, that all depends on where you’re in need of storage. We’ve pulled a few of our favorite options for you to consider.

 
 

Can’t-Be-Beat Basics

 
Abercrombie and Fitch Cotton-Silk Johnny Collar Knit Polo

↑ Our go-to top for casual weddings, dressy dinners and just hanging out, the knit polo is a great alternative for classing it up without having to bust out a suit. Abercrombie has a whole slue of excellent styles on sale—this handsome navy knit ($49/ $32.99) pairs nicely with virtually anything, while adding a bit of johnny-collar-intrigue.

 
 

Today’s Deals

 

50% off site-wide

Expires 8/18

 

Up to 40% off

Ongoing Sale

 

Up to 70% off

Ongoing Sale

 
 
 

Morning Motto

Time is wasted waiting for clouds to pass.

 
Time to move.
 

That’s all for today…

 
 
 

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