Toyota Invests $68.8 Billion in Tokyo Taxi-Hailing Company
Feb26

Toyota Invests $68.8 Billion in Tokyo Taxi-Hailing Company

Toyota has announced that it will be investing $68.8 billion in a Tokyo taxi-hailing app. The automaker will be investing in shares in JapanTaxi through a private placement this month. The two companies will collaborate in areas such as data collection and analysis. By utilizing artificial intelligence, the new dispatch support system will analyze data to find peak-demand times and locations. This, in turn, will make the ride-hailing company more efficient. JapanTaxi is part of the Nihon Kotsu group, which is one of the largest taxi companies in the country. The ride-hailing service intends to make its nationwide platform easier to use for customers. The company also plans to expand its network of about 60,000 cars. Even though Japan produces about 7.83 million passenger vehicle every year, the area is seeing a large shift away from vehicle ownership. Because of this, Toyota has decided to partner with Uber and Singapore’s Grab in search of alternative transportation services. Unfortunately, Japanese taxi companies have had a negative response to the automaker’s partnership with Uber. But Toyota has pressed on and has tried to strengthen ties with the industry. The funding Toyota is putting into these ride-hailing services is said to go towards furthering the development of the services. According to Toyota, it plans “cooperation and business collaboration in such areas as connected terminals for taxis, the joint development of vehicle-dispatch support systems, and big-data collection.” While Uber does not provide business information for its business in Japan or other Asian markets, it is said to account for under 1% of Tokyo’s taxi market. On the other hand, JapanTaxi claims four million downloads of their app and about one-quarter of all taxi drivers in Japan. Japan bans peer-to-peer rides, which makes ride-hailing services so popular. Messaging app Line is another taxi services competitor in the area. Line’s hailing service can be conveniently utilized within its app, which is Japan’s most popular app for messaging. However, it is unclear how well the company is doing in today’s market. Many taxi companies are competing for the top spot in Japan’s ride-hailing market. With Japan’s taxi industry being one of the largest, at $15 billion each year, it’s no surprise so many companies are competing for the top...

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President Trump Suggests Gas Tax Increase to Fix Infrastructure

A bipartisan meeting was recently held at the White House where President Donald Trump suggested a $0.25 increase in gas would help cover a new infrastructure plan. According to Drive Mag, the new infrastructure plan would have an ultimate goal of raising $1.5 trillion to help fix America’s infrastructure. Although, about $200 billion of that cost would be used for federal spending. Private investment and tax dollars would fund the rest. President Trump spoke upon the new infrastructure at the meeting. “For too long, lawmakers have invested in infrastructure inefficiently, ignored critical needs, and allowed it to deteriorate. As a result, the United States has fallen further and further behind other countries,” Trump said. “It is time to give Americans the working, modern infrastructure they deserve.” This infrastructure plan would fix things such as poor road quality. At this time in the United States, it is estimated that over one-third of the major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. In order for cars to stay in good shape, these roads must be fixed. However, is a $0.25 increase in federal gas tax a good idea? Unfortunately, according to MarketWatch, the government is no longer able to cover all of their roads spending with the use of the standard gas taxes. Gas taxes only cover less than half of state and local road spending. This is a major reason as to why a majority of the states across the country have had to raise their gas taxes over the past few years. The suggestion of the price increase via Trump did not go over well with many people. In fact, a majority of those voting upon the increase did not seem to like it at all. Some Republicans, however, did choose to support the move. Even though many people were not receptive to the increase, everyone knows that things need to change. In the past, Congress funded studies that would help find alternatives 2 increasing the gas tax. Since they don’t like the idea of making such a big change, they’re curious to see what other options are out there. As for now, the $0.25 increase proposition remains at a standstill it will not be passed until all parties can agree on the same...

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The USA Gymnastic Team Is Not Alone In Dealing With Sexual Abuse Scandals
Feb22

The USA Gymnastic Team Is Not Alone In Dealing With Sexual Abuse Scandals

Swimming is the fourth most popular activity or sport across the United States, and that would explain why there is an Olympic team dedicated to it. Sadly, some of those women who have joined the USA Swimming team may have regretted it since. Just as the USA Gymnastics team members have suffered, it is coming forth that the women on USA Swimming are also suffering. Recent reports reveal that hundreds of underage sexual abuse cases are surfacing after being covered up by officials across the board. The Orange County Register newspaper released the report from many of the victims coming forward. The report is filled with details from many cases, making them undeniably bone-chilling. Since Check Wielgus took over as the executive director of USA Swimming 20 years ago, according to Dead Spin, “at least 252 swim coaches and officials have been arrested, charged by prosecutors, or disciplined by USAS for sexual abuse or misconduct against individuals under 18.” Wielgus died in 2017, and all of the blame is not being placed on him. Since 2010, there have been at least 30 coaches and officials who have been “flagged” for arrest or accused of sex crimes, from rape to child pornography. That isn’t all. Over the years, USA Swimming has been spending a lot of money to keep these abuse cases under the radar. According to the Huffington Post, $7,450,000 was spent on legal fees between 2006 and 2016 to cover up the tracks. So many women kept quiet for a very long time, thinking only of “survival,” says Ariana Kukors. Kukors was one of the many women to come forward, stating that the abuse started when she was just 13 years old. She realized that she was not the only one with a story like that, so she decided to share her tale with the world, hoping to make a difference. The Trump Administration is not ignoring this problem. President Trump signed a bill into law just last week that aims to protect young athletes from sexual abuse by regulating the governing bodies of those young athletes. This means that the officials in charge of these athletes will be kept an eye on much more closely, hopefully preventing this in the...

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Can This Wearable Technology and App Prevent Seniors From Falling?
Feb21

Can This Wearable Technology and App Prevent Seniors From Falling?

Wearable technology is generally thought to be used by millennials, teens, and early adopters, but a new fall detection waistband developed at the Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain could help prevent fall injuries in older individuals. FallSkip is an Android device with an accompanying app that can be used to assess the likelihood of a fall for the person wearing it. Today, about 50% of Americans use their smartphone as their primary internet source, and the app’s developers hope the user-friendly interface will encourage seniors to adopt the technology. While patients are wearing this innovative app-based waistband, doctors will input their patient’s vitals. They will then walk around. Using the internal accelerometer and gyroscope, doctors will be able to assess “balance and gait patterns, coordination, reaction time, and muscle strength,” according to Digital Trends. “One out of three older adults falls at least once a year, which is one of the major geriatric syndromes and the second [biggest] cause of accidental or unintentional death,” FallSkip innovation manager Xavi Andrade Celdrán told Digital Trends. The risk of elderly individuals falling cannot be understated. In fact, an older adult visits the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds in America alone. This is no small issue then, and any technology that can predict or prevent falls would help countless seniors. Though insurance for individuals over 65 is much better today — with 98% of seniors insured, compared to just 50% in 1962 — falls still happen at an alarming rate. So far, most technology aimed at addressing falls is designed to help seniors after a fall has already occurred. With a rapidly aging world population, researchers are looking for more proactive solutions. That’s the goal of FallSkip, at least, and it certainly shows promise to be used diagnostically. Their research could also help build on existing knowledge about hip fractures and their causes. A study lead by a mechanical engineer at the University of Utah suggests analyzing the human skeleton from a mechanical point of view, as reported by Science Daily. “It really starts with a small microcrack that grows over time under repeated loading,” says study leader Claire Acevedo, discussing the proximate cause of hip fractures in the elderly. The study posits an alternative theory to conventional wisdom that fractures are caused by the force of the fall itself, but rather by an existing small fracture from years of stress. The fall is the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Perhaps collaborative efforts will be made in the future to help determine both the risks of falls and what the true cause of fall related injuries might...

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Researchers From Johns Hopkins Studying Cockroach Movements For New Robots
Feb20

Researchers From Johns Hopkins Studying Cockroach Movements For New Robots

Cockroaches are fascinating. They originated 280 million years ago, they can survive being submerged underwater for 30 minutes, and they can even live for seven days without their head. But thanks to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, cockroaches are going to help… robots? According to ZME Science, researchers are using cockroaches to inspire the future of robotics through movement. The research team, led by Sean Gart, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins, have begun filming cockroaches maneuvering through obstacle courses with high-speed cameras. One the footage was captured, it was then analyzed and adapted for a cockroach-like robot to imitate the recorded movement. These robots can potentially be used during search and rescue missions following natural disasters. “Where they live, you have all sorts of stuff around you, like dense vegetation or fallen leaves or branches or roots,” said Chen Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and senior author of the paper published in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. “Wherever they go, they run into these obstacles. We’re trying to understand the principles of how they go through such a complex terrain, and we hope to then transfer those principles to advanced robots.” Since cockroaches use their heads like a bumper, they often ram head-first into small structures or walls and, depending on the severity of the impact, can change their direction by using the momentum of the collision. They can even make a full flip in under 75 microseconds. The palm-sized six-legged robots could also be used to explore uncharted territories. “We are just beginning to understand how these critters move through a cluttered 3-D terrain where you have obstacles that are larger than or comparable to the animal or robot’s size,” Li...

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