Airport planned for ‘Jetsons’-like flying cars

The nation’s first regional hub for “flying cars” is being built in central Florida and once completed in five years, the vehicles will be able to take passengers from Orlando to Tampa in a half hour, officials said Wednesday.

The Tavistock Development Corp. said it was constructing a Jetsons-like aviation facility in Orlando’s Lake Nona area, the mixed-use planned community it built. Lake Nona already is home to several medical and research facilities.

The aircraft will be supplied by Lilium, a Germany-based aviation company that manufacturers the industry’s only five-passenger “electric vertical takeoff and landing” aircraft. At the moment, the Lilium Jets can travel up to 185 miles (298 kilometers) on a one-hour charge.

Passengers wanting a ride on the aircraft will be able to book reservations via their phones in a way similar to ride-share companies Uber and Lyft, officials said.

The vehicles flying and landing out of the … Read the rest

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When Apple’s Big Sur software update will arrive

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Apple plans to release Big Sur, its new operating system for laptops and desktops, on Nov. 12, the company said during a virtual product event on Tuesday.

The new MacOS software represents a big shift for Apple. The version, 11, is the first whole number software upgrade since Cheetah, version 10, debuted in 2001; it replaces last year’s Catalina, or version 10.15.

Big Sur takes design cues from Apple’s iPhone software, the latest version of which is iOS 14. Application icons, formerly circular, display as rounded squares. The software features free-floating notifications widgets and a “command center” that provides quick access to settings, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, volume, display brightness, and “do not disturb” toggles.

The similarities with iOS are intentional; Apple is more tightly integrating the hardware … Read the rest

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Biden unveils COVID-19 task force that is 38% female and 69% underrepresented minority

The worsening COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately harmed Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. Now the next U.S. President is putting together a coronavirus task force whose members primarily come from those communities.

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday named 13 doctors and health experts to his transition’s COVID-19 advisory board. Five of those 13 task force members, or 38%, are female. Nine members, or 69%, are Black, Latinx, Asian, or other underrepresented minorities.

The task force will be cochaired by David Kessler, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Vivek H. Murthy, a former Surgeon General under President Barack Obama; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, the associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine and a doctor who has spent her career addressing structural inequities in health and health care.

Biden’s announcement Monday acknowledged these “ongoing racial and … Read the rest

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What’s in a name? For Tesla’s Full Self Driving, it may be danger

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Federal regulators perked up when Tesla last month started letting some customers test new autonomous driving software that it had added to their cars. The regulators said they would “monitor the new technology closely” and “take action to protect the public against unreasonable risks to safety.”

One of those safety risks may be the name of Tesla’s software: “Full Self Driving.” In its current form, the software can take over from drivers to park, stay in a lane, cruise on highways and stop at red lights, but it does not make vehicles “self-driving.”

By industry standards, Tesla’s system is considered an advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS, and not autonomous driving technology. There is hope that ADAS systems will increase road safety overall. But there is … Read the rest

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China’s markets welcome homegrown tech—but Ant’s suspended IPO is a reminder of the risks

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Chinese fintech giant Ant Group was expected to make its trading debut in Hong Kong and Shanghai on Thursday at a valuation of roughly $310 billion in the world’s largest-ever IPO. The debut would have made the company more valuable than each of China’s four major state-owned banks, according to Fortune’s 2020 Global 500 ranking.

On Tuesday, just two days before the planned listing, regulators in Shanghai pulled the plug, at least temporarily.

The Shanghai exchange told Ant in a notice that changes in financial technology regulatory requirements and other “major issues” meant the company didn’t meet the requirements needed to list on its exchange.

The news sent shockwaves through the financial world, and came as a surprise to Ant. Just hours before the suspension, the … Read the rest

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