Seen & Heard: Autonomous vehicles and Apple AirTags

January 26, 2023  - By

“Seen & Heard” is a monthly feature of GPS World magazine, traveling the world to capture interesting and unusual news stories involving the GNSS/PNT industry.

Image: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Image: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

San Francisco Not Keen on Avs

San Francisco officials aren’t happy with autonomous vehicles (AV) on their streets. They say the AVs are at fault for traffic violations and congestion, delays in emergency response and public transport — even trips onto public sidewalks. California officials granted the first AV deployment permits this year, allowing companies to release self-driving cars onto city streets and to provide passenger service as robotaxis. State governments have the legal power to grant permits to AV companies to conduct testing and ride-hail services, leaving city officials powerless to control self-driving car incidents that affect public safety.

(Image: Apple)

Image: Apple

AirTag under Fire 

Two women have filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, claiming its AirTag trackers are being used for malicious and criminal purposes. Both women say they were tracked by ex-partners using Apple AirTags hidden in their belongings. They are seeking damages for negligence and privacy violations, and are hoping to prevent Apple from continuing to manufacture the product with “design flaws.”

(Image: TU Delft/Frank Auperlé)

Image: TU Delft/Frank Auperlé

Navigating Urban Canyons with SuperGPS 

Researchers at Delft University of Technology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and VSL have developed an alternative positioning system that is more robust and accurate than GPS, especially in urban settings. The aim of the project — SuperGPS — was to develop an alternative positioning system that makes use of mobile telecommunications networks instead of satellites and that has better accuracy than GPS. A prototype of the infrastructure achieved an accuracy of 10 centimeters. The new technology is important for the implementation of a range of location-based applications, including automated vehicles, quantum communication and next-generation mobile communication systems.

(Image: Allison Usavage/Cornell University)

Image: Allison Usavage/Cornell University

Robots Head to Vineyards

Cornell researchers have designed PhytoPatholoBots (PPB) that will be deployed in vineyards across the country next spring in the first of a four-year project at Cornell, which is led by the University of Minnesota. The autonomous robots will collect data on the health of each grapevine, helping growers to evaluate their vineyards. The robots are part of the Specialty Crops Research Initiative, bringing innovation to the wine and grape industries.

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.