December 2, 2020

Step

There will most definitely be regulations for self-driving cars in the future.


Waymo

We are long, long time away from widespread use of self-driving cars, though governments around the world are trying to get ahead of the game with regulations. In the US, any steps have been minimal at best, but now, it looks like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to take a real step forward.

On Thursday, the agency announced it’s now seeking public comment on “the potential development of a framework of principles to govern the safe behavior of automated driving systems.” To be clear, whatever the NHTSA has come up with so far is nowhere near final, but it wants the public to have its say on possible proposals to create future regulations. 

These early proposals seek to “define, assess and manage the safety of ADS performance while ensuring the needed flexibility to enable further innovation.” Today, companies and automakers working on self-driving cars largely play by patchwork regulations across state lines. One cohesive blanket of regulations will definitely be important in the future.

The agency underscored that self-driving systems will be unlike any automotive system in use today, so it wants to ensure the public has its chance to speak on the challenges surrounding the technology. Concerns on security, safety and even privacy are all fair game.

Once the period for public comment closes, NHTSA said the feedback could help shape future policies, but any major decision is still likely years away.


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Sometimes, life during the Covid-19 pandemic can feel like a fever dream, a strange nightmare in which time fails to abide by the normal rules. Luckily, a new exhibition in Spain is here to offer art lovers a brief respite from reality, inviting them into a surreal realm of experience replete with gigantic matchsticks and horse-shaped lamps.

Now on view at the CaixaForum Madrid, “Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924-2020” examines the Surrealist movement’s legacy in broader popular culture. As Sam Jones reports for the Guardian, the show—the product of a collaboration with the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, which hosted its own version of the exhibition earlier this year—features 279 works from the past hundred years, uniting fantastical creations by such artists as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Lee Miller, Le Corbusier, Meret Oppenheim and Ray Eames.

Curator Mateo Kries, co-director of the Vitra, tells the Guardian that the exhibition’s goal is to immerse visitors in “one of the most influential dialogues between the world of art and design in the 20th century.”

Speaking with Time Out in June, Kries explained, “We wanted to approach a new perspective of Surrealism, an idea that was present in the movement such as that of merging life and art, as Duchamp did with the ‘readymade.’”

According to the Guardian, “Objects of Desire” is split into thematic sections exploring Surrealism’s “subversion of reality, its relationship with eroticism (a red lit room), and … its fascination with the wild and the irrational.”

Many of the works included invite viewers to question how art interacts with life. Dan Tobin Smith’s A Matter of Perspective, for instance, juxtaposes disparate objects like a gigantic black foot and a petite lamp, creating a bizarre, dreamlike environment. The interior space more closely resembles the set of a “Twin Peaks” episode than a standard museum gallery with whitewashed walls.

Other pieces, like a wall plate from Piero Fornasetti’s Tema e Variazioni series, present disconcerting images of the body. In the porcelain rendering, a woman’s eye is replaced by shutters that open to reveal a smaller version of her face.

Surrealism, a visual art and literature movement that emerged in the wake of World War I, was a movement driven by the subconscious. Founded by French poet, essayist and critic André Breton, Surrealism rejected the premise that culture and politics should be guided by rational principles, instead elevating dreams, automatism and psychoanalysis.

A successor to the irreverent Dada movement, Surrealism “drew upon the private world of the mind, traditionally restricted by reason and societal limitations, to produce surprising, unexpected imagery,” wrote curator James Voorhies in a 2004 essay for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Surrealism’s influence is apparent in featured designers’ subversion of the “functionalist dogma” of form follows function, the CaixaForum notes on its website. Freed from such quotidian concerns, creatives designed whimsical objects including a table mounted on bicycle wheels, a bar cart fashioned after a pipe and a Dalí couch

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