Hyperloop Projects Bring New Travel Tech Closer to Reality

Hyperloop technology — which relies on magnetic levitation, steel tubs and vacuum pumps — is one way that hopeful technologists promise to improve the travel experience. Most recently, a Missouri congressman proposed a hyperloop between Kansas City, Missouri and St. Louis, which would take 30 minutes to travel 250 miles. In Las Vegas, Nevada, Elon Musk’s The Boring Company (TBC) landed its first commercial contract, for $48.7 million, to build a “people mover” that would shuttle people around the city’s Convention Center, expected to be ready for CES 2021. Continue reading Hyperloop Projects Bring New Travel Tech Closer to Reality

FAA: Number of Commercial Drones Will Quadruple by 2022

In positive news for the drone industry, recently updated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) numbers project significant growth in commercial drone use by 2022, at which point the current numbers are expected to quadruple. By that year, 450,000 unmanned drones will operate within domestic airspace. Today, there are roughly 110,000 in use. These increases are projected even if federal restrictions are loosened more slowly than expected or desired by advocates and others.

Continue reading FAA: Number of Commercial Drones Will Quadruple by 2022

Sinclair Broadcast Group to Acquire Tribune Media Company

Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it will acquire the Tribune Media Company, which owns 42 television stations across 33 markets. Chicago-based Tribune also owns cable network WGN America, digital multicast network Antenna TV, and holds minority stakes in Food Network and CareerBuilder. Sinclair has agreed to pay $3.9 billion for Tribune ($43.50 per share), plus the assumption of $2.7 billion in debt. According to the Chicago Tribune, “The combined company will become a TV broadcasting behemoth, owning and operating 233 television stations in 108 markets, pending any required divestitures by the FCC.” Continue reading Sinclair Broadcast Group to Acquire Tribune Media Company

Facebook Data Policy Update Will Curb Surveillance of Users

Under pressure from the ACLU and other advocacy groups, Facebook announced it would not allow law enforcement and third party vendors to use its data for surveillance purposes. Facebook did not define surveillance in the update to its data policy, but police have reportedly been using the social network to track protesters and activists. In October, the ACLU published documents from startup Geofeedia that detailed how the location-based, social media analytics platform tracked protestors in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri. Continue reading Facebook Data Policy Update Will Curb Surveillance of Users

Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Paramount Studios is using two October releases to test a shorter window than the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home video. “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” which opens on October 23, and “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse,” which opens a week later, will go to home video about two weeks after their screen count falls below 300 locations. Paramount offered participating theater chains a percentage of digital revenue; AMC Entertainment and Canada’s Cineplex have signed on. Continue reading Paramount to Test Shorter Release Window for Home Video

Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

E-commerce giant Amazon launched a new delivery system this week called Amazon Flex. The Uber-like model offers individuals with their own vehicles and an Android smartphone the opportunity to deliver packages for $18-25 per hour. Drivers have the option of two-, four- or eight-hour shifts. In addition to a car and an Android phone for managing deliveries with the Flex app, drivers must be over 21 and pass a background check. The new system, initially rumored back in June, works with Amazon’s Prime Now service, which offers members one- and two-hour delivery on items. Continue reading Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

Findaway Launches Tablet Specifically Designed for Libraries

Findaway launched its Playaway audio player in 2006, a device that came pre-loaded with one audiobook. Despite distribution deals with Borders and Barnes & Noble, the product failed to gain traction, likely due to the lack of customization options. However, since libraries are in the business of passing one item from person to person, the device had some appeal. Now the company is introducing its Playaway Launchpad, designed specifically for the children’s sections of libraries. The device comes pre-loaded with educational apps developed by app maker Fingerprint. Continue reading Findaway Launches Tablet Specifically Designed for Libraries

Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

In shipping news, retailers and tech companies continue to compete for consumers’ attention by offering fast and affordable delivery options. While Amazon, Google and others continue their plans for drone delivery — and companies continue to experiment with one- and two-hour delivery in major cities — recent news has surfaced that Apple is teaming with Postmates to offer same-day delivery of Apple Store items, Walmart is developing a new three-day shipping service, and Amazon is introducing free shipping on thousands of smaller goods. Continue reading Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Amazon’s request to test drones outdoors. The FAA is stipulating that the tests be conducted only during the day and no higher than 400 feet off the ground. Amazon is hoping that unmanned aerial vehicles may be used for a future 30-minute package delivery service, and the open-space testing would help in its development efforts. During testing, Amazon will report to the FAA regarding the number of flights, any software issues and related data. Continue reading Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami

Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service, which launched last year in Manhattan as a benefit to Prime members and recently expanded to more New York neighborhoods, is now available in select areas of Baltimore and Miami. From 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, seven days a week, the service offers free two-hour delivery, and one-hour delivery in select zip codes for a $7.99 charge. Prime members interested in the ultrafast delivery service can download the Prime Now app, available for iOS and Android. Continue reading Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami