New York Times: Apple Is Said to Be Rethinking Strategy on Self-Driving Cars

Apple is rethinking what it plans to do about self-driving cars, just as other big tech companies appear ready to plow ahead with competing efforts.

In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly.

The job cuts are the latest sign of trouble with Apple’s car initiative. The company has added resources to the project -- code-named Titan -- over the last two years, but it has struggled to make progress. And in July, the company brought in Bob Mansfield, a highly regarded Apple veteran, to take over the effort.

MIT Technology ReviewSelf-Driving Cars Can Learn a Lot by Playing Grand Theft Auto

Spending thousands of hours playing Grand Theft Auto might have questionable benefits for humans, but it could help make computers significantly more intelligent.

Several research groups are now using the hugely popular game, which features fast cars and various nefarious activities, to train algorithms that might enable a self-driving car to navigate a real road.

There’s little chance of a computer learning bad behavior by playing violent computer games. But the stunningly realistic scenery found in Grand Theft Auto and other virtual worlds could help a machine perceive elements of the real world correctly.

The Globe and Mail: Vancouver Company Unveils Three-Wheeled Electric Car

A three-wheeled electric vehicle could be on the road later this year in Canada and the U.S.

Electra Meccanica Vehicles Corp. of Vancouver officially unveiled the one-seat Solo on Friday. The Solo could go on sale as early as November pending approval by U.S. and Canadian regulators. It costs around $15,500.

Two hundred people have already put down a refundable deposit of 250 Canadian dollars ($193) to get the Solo, Electra Meccanica spokesperson Jeff Holland said. Those who put down deposits now can expect delivery after the first quarter of 2017. The company eventually hopes to sell the Solo globally.

Guardian: How an Abandoned Gold Mine Will Be Converted Into a World First

Gold was discovered on the Copperfield river in northwestern Queensland in 1907. As men flocked to find their fortune, a small township was established and named for the state’s then premier, William Kidston. For close to 100 years, Kidston was a mining town.

But, in 2001, the largest operation -- a Canadian-owned goldmine -- shut down. The site became another of the roughly 50,000 “orphaned” mines littered across Australia.

Today, the site is coincidentally in the custody of the great-great-grandson of the former Queensland premier. Simon Kidston is the executive director of Genex, an ASX-listed company with plans to reuse the massive craters on site for a world-first pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES) system, combined with an integrated solar farm.