Fed up of driving yourself. Don’t mind it’s all gonna change soon

By 2025, Self-Driving Trucks Will Be Cruising Down Our Highways

The truck drivers of the future may not drive much at all. A new self-driving truck from Daimler takes care of pretty much everything on the highway, so after pulling onto the road and pushing a button, a driver can swivel away from the steering wheel, turn on a tablet, and work on something else.

Not only is the system less stressful and more interesting for the driver–who otherwise might spend 10 or 11 hours on a monotonous journey that demands constant attention–it virtually eliminates the possibility of accidents.

“In the future, accidents caused by human error will therefore be substantially a thing of the past,” Daimler writes in a statement. “Machines make fewer mistakes than people, their attention never lapses, and they do not react emotionally or depending on mood and fitness level.”

A network of cameras and sensors around the truck identify lane markings, recognize pedestrians and other vehicles, and can even read traffic signs. As other self-driving cars and trucks join the road, they’ll be able to communicate automatically back and forth, so traffic flows at the optimum speed–helping ease traffic jams and save a substantial amount of fuel.

In Germany, where Daimler is based, the number of trucks on the road has grown by 80% over the last two decades, and in the EU overall, truck transport may double again by 2050. The new trucks are designed to help ease the pain of that traffic, and possibly attract more drivers to a job that isn’t currently seen as prestigious.

“Drivers will no longer be ‘truckers,’ but rather ‘transport managers’ in an attractive mobile workplace offering scope for new professional skills,” Daimler writes.

The new truck, called Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, was recently tested on a stretch of the Autobahn, disguised in a black-and-white foil wrapper that hid its shape from others on the road. There are legal and political issues to sort out before it can be in use; if people are afraid of self-driving cars, it’s likely they might be even more resistant to the idea of 80,000 pound trucks barreling down the road with no one at the wheel.

Still, Daimler expects it will be in use in a decade, and on the technical side, it could be ready to go in as little as five years. “This short time period means this: Truck drivers currently aged around 50 will become familiar with autonomous driving during their professional lives,” Daimler writes. “For all younger drivers it will one day become a day-to-day part of professional life.”

Self driven trucks. I don’t know if I should be spellbound for it or debate against it. I don’t know if I should appreciate technology or go crying about the laziness which is coming near to take over mankind. A boon or a curse, it’s yet to be decided. A progress to glory or a step ahead to reach the verge of automation?

Ritualistic meals with your family.

“Having dinner isn’t just about eating food, or even about nutrition,” Aikawa says. “It reveals so many aspects of our lives, much more than lunch or even breakfast would. And because dinnertime is usually private, it uniquely reveals a part of a person’s lifestyle.”

In Aikawa’s photos, dinner is the hinge around which the demands of socialization, nutrition, and work are evoked.

  • In one photo, a musician in Brooklyn eats noodles with chopsticks at 1:20 a.m., while browsing the Internet on his MacBook. 
  • In Jackson Heights, New York, Aikawa photographs a Myanmar monk as he enjoys a 12-course meal at 11 a.m., one hour before he must (per his religion) avoid eating for the rest of the day. 
  • A Shibuya hairdresser shares dinner with an employee from a bento box brought to him by his wife. 
  • And on New York’s Upper West Side, a mother feeds her nine-month-old daughter as they share a meal with the baby’s grandparents–in Boston–over Skype. 

To Aikawa, all of these photos, though inherently private, tell a “precious story.” 


  “People tend to get so bored with their daily lives, but I believe that we are just overlooking the many fun, exciting, surprising, and treasured things that happen in our private moments,” she says. “My photos are voyeuristic, but my attempt is to capture and convey the subtle and important moments that so often pass us by, in our daily lives.”

Although she photographs dinners in two of the world’s major metropolises, Aikawa says there are more differences than similarities in the way that people from New York and Tokyo take their meals. For one, New York has more racial diversity, which results in a far richer palette of different cuisines, rituals, and experiences than in Tokyo. In addition, Aikawa says she finds that Japanese people tend to be more shy about being in front of the camera than New Yorkers are. But the bigger theme, which Aikawa’s photography brings home, is that the ritual of dinner itself is far more important than the food.

“Well Amazingly said from her heart, Aikawa is more than true in saying that the ritual of dinner is far more important than the food. Meal time brings a break in the fast moving tired lives of people. They can relax and have something for themselves instead of just buzzing around here and there. Well whatever it maybe Aikawa has brought out an amazing truth in front of us and I heartedly accept that. ” says me.

Feel unsafe while crossing roads. Well not for long guys.

A Future Smartphone System Could Warn Oblivious Pedestrians Of Oncoming Traffic

Researchers at the University of Missouri, Kansas City are designing a system to alert pedestrians and drivers of potential crashes before they happen.

Wi-Fi Honk, an Android system recently presented at a conference on mobile systems, harnesses the bits of information your phone constantly sends out while searching for available wireless networks to connect to. The app picks up data on speed, location, and direction from nearby devices, which is then fed into an algorithm that predicts whether the user needs to be warned about an oncoming car or pedestrian.

Even if you can’t hear the traffic coming–whether because you’re hard of hearing or because you’re really wrapped up in your favorite podcast–it’ll ping you with vibrations and on-screen alerts as well as sound. It can also warn a driver that a pedestrian (or even a cyclist) is about to move into the car’s path, allowing the driver to brake.

It’s hard to say whether this (or similar cell-phone-enabled safety systems) could work before it is really put into widespread practice. A lot of phones would need to be equipped with Wi-Fi Honk to make it truly effective, since the app relies on the data beacons sent out by other Wi-Fi-Honk-enabled phones. But it does purport to solve what is becoming a significant safety issue: The more invested we get in fiddling with our phones as we walk, the less we pay attention to the world around us.

Several studies indicate that talking on a cell phone inhibits our ability to cross streets safely. And that’s just talking–not being immersed in Candy Crush or listening to music through noise-canceling headphones. Walking across an intersection can be deadly dangerouseven for those crossing legally, with the light. Sure, what we really need is slower cars and better intersections, but in the meantime, we could also use a little heads up.

The Science Of Cool

Take a look at the two water bottles below. The one on the left is pretty much your standard water bottle design: tall, clear, probably crinkly. The one on the right feels a bit less conventional, with its sleek aluminum shell shaped like an Erlenmeyer flask. In a survey of which is cooler, the bottle on the right would win right away, though both bottles serve the very same function.

So what is it, exactly, that makes one design cooler than another? The difference is surprisingly tough to articulate. You might say it’s because the bottle on the right is unconventional. But a water bottle shaped like a kangaroo would be unconventional, too, and you wouldn’t necessarily consider it cool. There’s more to it than just being different.


A lot more, actually. Behavioral scientists have spilled quite a bit of empirical ink on what makes something cool. They’ve basically whittled the phenomenon down to four main traits.

First, cool is a social perception, not an inherent quality. So, Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) has always been PBR, but it wasn’t cool until Portland hipsters embraced it. Second, coolness is relative. One shirt from Walmart might seem cool compared with another shirt from Walmart, but neither will be as cool as a shirt from H&M (which itself might seem less cool than another H&M shirt). Third, coolness is almost universally positive. And fourth, something that’s cool tends to diverge from the norm.

It’s this fourth trait–the unconventionality of cool–that seems to be the key. But in the past that trait been poorly defined. As shown by our example of the kangaroo water bottle, or even areal life product like a Segway, being unconventional alone is not enough to be cool. And, in fact, designs or brands that diverge from the norm too much run the risk of being not just uncool but strongly disliked.


Recently, marketing scholars Caleb Warren and Margaret C. Campbell tried to understand the connection between conventionality and coolness with a bit more precision. They did so through a series of sixexperiments comparing consumer products (like the bottles above), coolness ratings (the bottle on the right does rate higher), and participant reactions. In the end, Warren and Campbell concluded that cool designs tend to be “appropriately” unconventional–that is, they challenge unnecessary norms, and aren’t too extreme themselves.

“Being cool requires a very delicate balance of doing something that shows that you go your own way and do your own thing, but you do it in a way that is socially desirable or at least acceptable,” Warren tells Co.Design.

In their most telling experiment, the researchers introduced test participants to four fictional fashion brands. Each brand was paired with a description that aligned it with a low, moderate, high, or extreme level of unconventionality. A “low” level of unconventionality was essentially the norm–something that followed the market. A “moderate” brand often conformed to convention, while a “high” brand often defied convention. Extreme brands were controversial.

Warren and Campbell found the highest coolness ratings among the brands in the middle: not too conventional, not too risky. A moderately unconventional brand was cooler than a typical brand; a highly unconventional brand was cooler than an extreme and controversial brand. This pattern mostly held true whether the raters (i.e., test participants) had countercultural personalities or not. In other words, even people who challenge convention as a lifestyle don’t always think extreme unconventionality is cool.

The researchers use the term “autonomy” instead of “unconventional.”Journal of Consumer Research

The lesson for designers is they need to know two things about an audience to make a product cool. First, what does that audience consider normal? (The design can fit slightly outside that mold.) Second, what does that audience consider the limits of abnormality. (The design should not cross it.) In the context of our water bottle designs, then, “Erlenmeyer flask-ish” rests beyond “clear and crinkly” but still within “kangaroo-shaped.” (The unconventional water bottle is actually a Heineken design.)


“Product designers, the good ones, know a lot of this implicitly,” Warren says. “I think most of them are trying to be different or create things that are different in a way that’s still accessible, or that people can latch onto.”

The perpetual concern for consumer designers, in particular, is that too much coolness can be a bad thing in the long run. A design that starts off as cool shifts the lines of conventionality, and then gets imitated so much that it becomes conventional, at which point it can’t be cool by definition. It’s the sort of classic mainstream backlash that keeps one-time consumer iconoclasts, such as Apple or Google, searching for ways to remain outliers.

“If you’re really doing something right, the chances are the coolness isn’t going to last,” Warren says. “Because you’re going to shift what is the norm.”

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