Friday, January 29, 2016

This is how Google drones will deliver your packages, and keep your pets safe

Drones could be a threat to pets and powerlines, so Google has come up with a new robot to help.

                                               A UAV from Google's own drone effort, Project Wing. Image: Google

A patent granted to Google sheds some light on how drones will deliver packages to homes and businesses.

Project Wing is Google's initiative aimed at making deliveries via autonomous vehicles. Previously it has said it aims to be making commercial deliveries by 2017. And while a number of companies are already working on drone deliveries, the patent, 'Automatic package delivery to a delivery receptacle', granted yesterday, notes that an autonomous aerial vehicle may not, on its own, be enough to make such a system work.

"Unmanned, aerial delivery devices may be problematic for delivery to users" it said, noting: "For example, an aerial delivery device that is powered by a rotor or an impeller may be dangerous to pets, overhead powerlines, ceiling fans or other features."

A drone may also find it hard to spot a safe place to leave a package or to understand detailed delivery instructions, the patent said, while "conventional aerial delivery device methods do not allow for safe, secure delivery of packages to delivery locations".

Instead, the patent outlines a system where the delivery drone is also in contact with a 'delivery device': the patent shows a box on wheels with infrared emitters.

The idea is that the delivery device is told to expect a package and will drive to the agreed pickup location - perhaps the street outside a home, to wait for the drone to arrive. When the drone is due to arrive the delivery device switches on its IR beacons, which the drone detects and uses to find its way to the delivery device, where it drops off its package.

The 'delivery device' then transports the package to a secure location like a garage, and tells the owner that the package has arrived.

There are plenty of potential savings to be made by retailers and distributors if they can get autonomous deliveries right: the patent notes that the two largest commercial delivery services operate 100,000 vehicles between them for "last mile" delivery to homes and business "each of which requires a human operator" while the growth of online shopping will increase the demand for deliveries, "hence the need for capacity and efficiency in the last mile."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fotonovela de la Comisión Federal de Comercio

Comisión Federal de Comercio: protegiendo a los consumidores

La Comisión Federal de Comercio ofrece Manuel esquiva un lío al comprar un carro, su más reciente fotonovela en español, que les dice a los lectores cómo evitar un problema con la compra de un carro.

La fotonovela cuenta la historia de una familia que compra una minivan con financiación del concesionario y luego se entera que no le aprobaron la financiación. El concesionario les dice que tienen que aceptar un nuevo acuerdo de financiación, que es más costoso, o que perderán la minivan.  

Manuel esquiva un lío al comprar un carro es parte de una iniciativa de la Comisión Federal de Comercio para elevar el nivel de concientización sobre las estafas dirigidas contra la comunidad latina. Los consumidores pueden solicitar copias gratuitas de la fotonovela en español en Una versión de la fotonovela en ingles también está disponible en Los consumidores pueden consultar más consejos sobre comprar y mantener un carro en

La FTC trabaja en favor del consumidor para la prevención de prácticas comerciales fraudulentas, engañosas y desleales y para proveer información para ayudar a los consumidores a identificar, detener y evitar dichas prácticas. Para presentar una queja en internet use el Asistente de Quejas de la FTC o llame al 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). La FTC ingresa las quejas presentadas por los consumidores a una base de datos segura llamada Red Centinela del Consumidor (Consumer Sentinel) que es utilizada por más de 2,000 agencias de cumplimiento de las leyes civiles y penales en los Estados Unidos y del extranjero. El sitio web de la FTC provee información gratis sobre una variedad de temas del consumidor. Haga clic en la opción “me gusta” la FTC en Facebook (link is external), “síganos” en Twitter (link is external), y subscríbase a los comunicados de prensa para acceder a las noticias y recursos más recientes de la FTC.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Uber is going to use Airbus helicopters for its on-demand sky-taxi service

uber travis KALANICK

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Uber is planning to fly people around a festival in Airbus helicopters, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders told the newspaper that Uber is going to trial the European aerospace giant's choppers at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA, this week.

"Its a pilot project, we’ll see where it goes — but it’s pretty exciting," said Enders in an interview with the Journal at the Digital Life Design conference in Munich.

Uber confirmed to Business Insider that it is working with Airbus, adding that it wants to make it easier for people to get around Sundance.

An Airbus spokesperson said that Uber is using the Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters for the Sundance project, adding that Uber has partnered with Air Resources, a Utah-based operator of H125 helicopters, in order to deliver the service.

Airbus helicopter H130
The Airbus H125 Private & Business.
Airbus H130 helicopter
The Airbus H130 Stylence.

Uber's helicopter customers will be picked up in a car first and driven to their take off point, according to the Journal.

Uber started life as a taxi-hailing app in San Francisco but it has expanded its services to rickshaws in India and boats in Turkey, amongst other services. In 2013, Uber first tested its "UberChopper" service in New York between Manhattan and the Hamptons. It has also offered helicopter flights at Cannes Film Festival in France and Bonnaroo Arts Festival in Nashville, USA, where it teamed up with local helicopter company Helistar Aviation.

Prices for the UberChopper service have previously ranged from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.

The financial details of the agreement between Uber and Airbus have not been disclosed.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Medical Tourism Town Hall Meeting (January 28, 2016 @ 9 am)

Register to Attend Medical Tourism Town Hall Meeting and Discuss
Opportunities for Growth in Miami Region

Please join local and regional leaders in health care, tourism and related industries at the January 28 Medical Tourism Town Hall Meeting to discuss the opportunities for expanding the medical tourism industry in the Miami region.

These meetings will highlight a new Florida Chamber Foundation report, A Strategic Look at Florida’s Medical Tourism Opportunities, and include discussions with local leaders on your region’s medical tourism initiatives and opportunities for growth.  
Register today! 

Florida Chamber Foundation's Miami Medical Tourism Town Hall Meeting
January 28 | 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Turnberry Isle Miami
19999 West Country Club Drive
Aventura, Florida 33180

 The Medical Tourism Town Hall Meeting will include conversations around several questions:
  • What assets exist in your region that promote medical tourism and attract a wider audience?
  • How do you capitalize on existing medical tourism-related assets?
  • Where are the opportunities for growth?
  • How do you ensure your community is reaching a global audience?
 For more information on medical tourism or to review the Discover Florida Health Feasibility Study, visit