We’re fascinated with mobile technology, especially when it’s new technology. So every month, we take a look back at the announcements, apps and tech stories that we enjoyed. Here’s what caught our eyes in April 2019. To get the latest mobile news straight to your inbox, sign up to the Sonin Newsletter.
Elon Musk Predicts 1 million Tesla Taxis by 2020
At Testla’s Autonomy Investor Day this month, Elon Musk announced a planned fleet of “robo-taxis.” By 2020, the company aims to have one million self-driving taxis on the road. To get there, Musk is aiming for a “feature-complete” self-driving Tesla by 2019. According to Tesla, the developed its own custom computer chip reported to be three years ahead of the competition.
When the scheme is launched, users will be able to summon robo-taxis through the existing Tesla app (similar to how they call for Uber or Lyft today). Musk said that a single robo-taxi could provide $30,000 worth of profits every year. Tesla owners will be able to sign their car up for the fleet and split the autonomous vehicle’s earnings. To fill out the fleet, Tesla will also provide robo-taxis available around-the-clock.
UK Railways to Let Passengers Ditch Paper Tickets
According to the Rail Delivery Group, thousands of UK train passengers will soon be able to get rid of their old paper tickets in favour of smart tickets. Major stations like Waterloo, Brighton, London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Glasgow will receive new readers and software. It’s expected that as many as nine in ten tickets will be available as smart tickets.
Smart tickets aren’t new to the UK. So far this year, over 14 million have been sold which totals paper equivalent to the distance between London and Edinburgh and back again.
Google Wing drones approved for home deliveries
Wing, a drone company owned by Google, has been approved as an airline by the US Federal Aviation Authority this month. To achieve this, it said it had to prove that drones are a lower risk to pedestrians than cars. And although other drone companies have been approved for test flights in the US, Wing is the first to get airline status. This breakthrough is thanks to more than 70,000 test flights from Wing alone.
The biggest drone markets right now are military and hobbyists, but according to Goldman Sachs the fastest growth will be in the commercial sector. Efficiency is a huge issue for transport and logistics companies. And the last mile of deliveries can make up to 27% of the total shipment cost. This opens up a huge opportunity (and a precedent) for similar drone home delivery services.
Potential Game of Thrones Spoilers
Using AI to Predict Game of Throne’s Most Likely to Die
We’ve got a lot of die-hard Game of Thrones fans at Sonin. So sharing this site may not be the best idea… But this month, students at Munich Uni used a machine-learning model to predict who’s most likely to die in the final season.
To do this, they created a dataset from popular fan sites – The Wiki of Ice & Fire and the Game of Thrones Wiki. This let them draw from factors like houses of Westeros (Stark, Lannister,) marriages, titles, genders and the relative importance of the character. The Thrones fans used these factors to build a neural network which predicts each character’s longevity.
On their website ‘A Song of Data and Ice’, you can choose from dozens of characters to see how likely their death is, both in the book and the TV series. For each character, you can see an in-depth breakdown of interesting statistics and how they contribute to the likelihood of death.
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