Coast Autonomous’ self-driving shuttles are boring, and that’s by design

Between 47th and 48th street in the heart of Times Square, Coast Autonomous, a startup based in Pasadena, California, today showed off the fruit of its six-year research project: a slow-moving, self-driving shuttle designed to ferry folks from destination to destination at speeds of around 25 miles per hour.

I stopped by and hitched a ride down the block.

It wasn’t the most exciting demo — concrete planters separated the featureless P-1 shuttle, which looks sort of like a miniature bus, from Manhattan’s rush hour traffic and curious onlookers — and the shuttle moved only up and down 47th street. But that was sort of the point.

“Self-driving cars should be boring,” chief technology officer Pierre Lefèvre told me in an interview. “Nobody really wants the alternative.”

Just because it’s boring doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable. The air-conditioned P-1 trades wheel axels for hubs with electric motors, and lacks a steering wheel, pedals, and dashboard, allowing it to accommodate a wider-than-average cabin. It also boasts a reconfigurable, nontraditional seating arrangement that has passengers sitting abreast from each other in a semicircle, opposite the shuttle’s doorway.

Coast Autonomous claims it can fit a maximum of 14 seated passengers and six standing, but it felt a bit cosy with five (four journalists and Pierre).

For the purposes of the demo, Pierre started and stopped the P-1 with an Xbox controller paired wirelessly to a console embedded in the ceiling. (In the future, the console’s screen will display route information.) He didn’t drive it, though — lidar sensors, wireless transceivers, GPS, cameras, and an AI software platform developed in-house helped the shuttle traverse the geofenced area, recognizing road signs and traffic lights and communicating with v2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) sensors as it went.

Still, Coast Autonomous isn’t taking any chances. Before it deploys a shuttle in a city, it uses a car-mounted sensor array to map its route, constructing a 3D model of the surroundings. Shuttles come to an immediate stop when they encounter pedestrians or objects in their way, and as they drive, remote operators monitors their progress, ready step in and take control in the event of an emergency.

The end goal is to minimize the impact on car and pedestrian traffic around campuses, airports, business parks, campuses, theme parks, resorts, and city centers, Pierre said. To that end, the P-1 lasts up to five hours on a charge with air conditioning (and ten hours without) — it’s stored and containers and charged wirelessly when not in use — and programmed to run on a fixed loop during peak hours and on-demand as streets become less congested. When they’re deployed commercially, passengers will be able to use Coast Autonomous’ mobile app to specify pickup locations and destinations.

 Coast Autonomous’ self driving shuttles are boring, and that’s by design

The Times Square demo wasn’t Coast Autonomous’ first rodeo. It’s run over 60 self-driving demonstrations in seven countries, moving over 120,000 passengers.

The numbers are impressive, but it’s a cutthroat industry. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler recently announced that it’ll deploy self-driving shuttles in San Francisco by 2019. Another competitor, French driverless shuttle maker Navya, is already testing vehicles in Las Vegas, Anne Arbor, Austin, and elsewhere.

And that’s just the autonomous shuttle sector. Google subsidiary Waymo’s more than 600 Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans have driven more than seven million road miles; General Motors plans to launch an autonomous car ridesharing service next year; and self-driving startup raised $ 102 million last week to test self-driving cars in Beijing.

But despite the momentum, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the autonomous car industry. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put a temporary halt to demonstrations last year, while they investigated an accident involving one of Navya’s Las Vegas shuttles. And in March, an Uber-developed driverless car collided with a pedestrian, killing her.

Still, Coast Autonomous is confident that its technology is ready for public roads. The P-1 uses off-the-shelf parts, which makes it less expensive to produce and maintain than similar solutions on the market. And because it travels at low speeds and drives in a comparatively controlled environment, Pierre claims that it’s inherently safer than the competition.

“We are convinced that the deployment of driverless vehicles in low-speed environments, like our P-1 Shuttle and autonomous golf cart, are much closer to commercialization than self-driving vehicles designed to travel at highway speeds,” Adrian Sussmann, managing director at Coast Autonomous, said in a statement. “This is mainly because operating at low speeds is much safer, requires less sensors, and is therefore much more cost effective. We are already seeing significant interest and expect to deploy our first fleets in 2019.”

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Cumulative Update #10 for SQL Server 2016 SP1

The 10th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2016 SP1 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. Please note that registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.
To learn more about the release or servicing model, please visit:

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Looking to the next Prime Day and return on attention

vintage garage sale Looking to the next Prime Day and return on attention

Amazon Prime Day 2018

Video: Amazon’s Prime Day puts voice everywhere

Since we’re in the midst of Prime Day 2018, I’m in standby mode waiting to see the numbers. So, I guess I’m forced to think ahead to next year, because things move pretty fast with these guys.

Must read: Amazon Prime Day deals: Smart office devices and business tools

It easy to forget Amazon Prime Day started as a way to mark the company’s 20th birthday. Many thought the deals offered that first year were the equivalent to a digital garage sale… and not even a good one, as many people called most of the stuff on sale “leftovers” and “junk.” I don’t remember a lot of commercials running either, as maybe a handful of media/industry outlets paid serious attention to it. Their big rivals in e-commerce and retail for the most part played the day off as marketing gimmick. But after the sales numbers came in for the day, that all changed.

Now, Prime Day is way more than a bad digital garage sale. Amazon retail competitors are having to react in all sorts of ways to what is now one of the most high-profile online shopping days on the calendar. So high-profile that now most of the biggest online news/technology sites have dedicated tons of coverage to it. I mean even when I was channel flipping on Friday not only was I met with a bunch of Prime Day commercials, but Good Morning America did an entire segment about it.

Because of the impact Prime Day now has on our collective attention (and dollars), it’s hard to believe it started just three years ago… just like it’s hard to believe Alexa has only been around for a little over three years. Amazon has used Prime and Alexa as a way to create a return on attention (ROA) — the likes we’ve seldom seen before. And Prime Day is the showcase for the Attention “Echosystem” (yes, pun intended) from a variety of perspectives. So, since we’re in the midst of the Prime Day frenzy and waiting for the results press release to come later this week, I’m already starting to think about the ways Amazon could fine tune its AE machine to increase the ROA in the near future.

Improving Return on Attention with Amazon Live TV?

According to Amazon, the company is guided by four principles: Customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.

Read also: When is Amazon Prime Day 2018? (CNET)

Looking at that first one, if there’s anything that customers are obsessed with today, it’s content, which is why I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Amazon Live TV sooner rather than later. Because a live TV service — like what Google, Hulu, DirecTV Now, and others offer — would be a great complement to Prime Video. Prime and Primetime could add membership and more attention and provide more attention-to-transaction opportunities in the long run. I’d go for it, because, as a current DirecTV Now customer, I’d love a live TV option that has a better integration with Alexa. And Amazon can bundle it with Prime and offer it at a discount, just like AT&T offers DTV Now for $ 10 a month for unlimited wireless customers.

Converting Subscriptions to Attention

Speaking of bundling services, some of the best deals currently going are on Amazon’s other content services, like Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Amazon Music. Once again, these deals are designed to attract new Prime members, and gain more of the consumer’s attention in order to convert that into more subscription revenues.

Read also: How to make the most of Amazon Prime Day (TechRepublic)

According to research from NPR, Echo owners are listening to more audio, including podcasts. This fits right into the Attention Echosystem and ROA strategy that seems to be in play here. Come to think of it, you could see a Prime-flavored subscription for PillPack coming, too, with Alexa reminding you to take your pills. Dare I bring this up, but there is even speculation around Amazon getting into the cannabis business. Just think about the ramifications of that as a new Prime offering.

As of July 1, the State of Georgia implemented a new “hands free” law that makes it illegal to hold your phone while driving. As you can imagine, dashboard phone mounts were flying off the shelves — digitally and otherwise. OK, I bought one, too, but I went even further: I bought a Roav Viva, which is an Alexa-enabled, two-port USB car charger that allows you to stay hands-free while asking Alexa to make calls, stream music, and ask for directions. I’m guessing as important as getting and keeping attention is in the home, it’s just as important in another place folks spend their time — the car. And I can definitely see a big move (via acquisition or homegrown invention) to get Alexa into Prime members cars in a big way in the not-too-distant future.

Reviews and Recommendations

OK, maybe some of the stuff above is a bit out there. But you can’t overestimate the importance of customer ratings, reviews, and recommendations on what people decide to buy. And it’s that importance which is driving all kinds of shenanigans trying to get five-star ratings and reviews.

Read also: What is Amazon Prime? (CNET)

To get an in-depth look at just how far sellers are willing to go to get customer reviews (or what appear to be reviews from customers), you might want to check out this episode from the Reply All podcast. It is a real eye-opener. And there’s a real threat to the integrity of reviews going on that Amazon has to deal with to prevent more stories like people getting deliveries to their houses that they didn’t order.

There’s a lot at stake as people ask Alexa more and more about what to buy, and how much transparency they will have regarding why the response they received was made. Because if they can’t trust that Alexa will provide the best recommendations possible based on valid reviews and other available data, lost trust will lead to lost attention and lost transactions. And it’s better to address this now while it’s still early days.

Anyways, I can’t wait for Prime Day to wrap up so we can get into the real fun of the holiday — analyzing the numbers. But, in the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for that Amazon Live TV package, and asking Alexa to order some more pills… or something else.


ZDNet has round-ups of amazing early deals you can get now and even anti-Prime Day deals. Check out our top Prime Day deal guides for more information:


CNET, our sister site, has also covered all the best Prime Day tech deals, by category:

  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smartphones and mobile – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Storage, SSD and flash drives – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Headphones and audio – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: TVs and home video – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smart home – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Kitchen and appliances – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Laptops, PCs, chromebooks and tablets – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Video games and gaming – CNET
  • Best Prime Day 2018 deals: Smartwatches and fitness trackers – CNET
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    How Data Fuels The Intelligent Enterprise

    The tech industry thrives on metaphor. Take, for example, the office metaphor for personal computers, where we clear our desktops, file away documents, look at our mail, and enter meeting rooms.

    We also have metaphors for data. One that gets quite a bit of traction these days is “data is the new oil.” In tech industry terms, this metaphor is hardly new. In fact, it is said to have been coined way back in 2006 by Clive Humby, a UK mathematician. At the time, Humby was working on maximizing the value of loyalty cards for customers. To succeed, he implied, smart use of customer data was critical.

    Running on data

    This metaphor looks at the fact that data – like oil in the 20th-century economy – is the core commodity of today’s digital economy. Looking backward 10 or 15 years, companies controlling oil enjoyed the largest market capitalization. Today, these companies have been replaced by the likes of Google, Apple, and Amazon. Whereas the 20th-century economy ran on oil, the digital economy runs on data.

    Commodity control is one thing; value is another. This was as true back then as it is now. In an oil economy, nobody put crude oil in their cars unless they were looking for trouble. No, this crude oil first needed to be refined before end consumers could get the value.

    Similarly, raw data is of little use on its own; it needs to be refined to be useful, which is Humby’s ultimate point. The value of raw data, in other words, is only potential value – all depending on what you do with it.

    The foundation of the intelligent enterprise

    Doing the right thing with the data is what the intelligent enterprise is all about. Take a look at the graphic below. This represents SAP’s technology landscape model for the intelligent enterprise – the kind of company that uses data to thrive in the digital economy.

    Notice that data management is foundational. It’s a core part of your digital platform, undergirding everything else you do.

    Let’s say you’re an HVAC manufacturer and you’re under competitive pressure to Internet-enable the machines you install. Your goal, in the end, is to move to an entirely new business model. You want to move from making, selling, and servicing machines to delivering temperature-controlled air on demand.

    Under this model, your customers don’t buy your machines – rather, you install, monitor, and service the machines as a part of a contract where the customer pays per usage. Usage is monitored by sensors built into the machines and transmitted back to you.

    This is where the middle section of the graphic – intelligent technologies – comes into play. Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning are effective only with the right data going in: “Garbage in, garbage out,” to use another old but relevant metaphor. A data platform that can effectively leverage the overwhelming volume of data that is accessible today and then process it for truly meaningful insights: That’s a data platform worthy of the intelligent enterprise.

    Moving upward in the graphic, you’ll notice the “intelligent suite.” This is your set of integrated business software – highly extensible and flexible, available in the cloud or on-premise. The applications in this suite are fueled by the data fed from the data platform. Managing the supply chain, engaging customers, or billing based on a pay-per-usage business model – whatever you’re doing, the right data (refined to your needs) is critical for success.

    Data McGovern July 17 copy How Data Fuels The Intelligent Enterprise

    Technology landscape of the intelligent enterprise

    What’s needed

    But what exactly should you expect from your data platform? At SAP, we think there are three vital components for the data management layer. These include:

    • Trust: Your platform must deliver data that you can trust to make business decisions. This means tools to help you automate data governance and ensure the level of accuracy you require.
    • Visibility and connectedness: Your data platform must deliver a single unified view of data and enable you to connect this data to applications for business purposes.
    • Cloud and architecture flexibility: Your platform must also have the ability to work in the hybrid world of cloud and on-premise solutions found in most landscapes. This means freedom from specific data systems, applications, and development constraints.

    In the digital economy, this is the kind of data platform that can turn oil into gold. To learn more about how to get where you need to be with your data, listen to this webcast. Good luck building your intelligent enterprise.

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    CareDash detects fraudulent reviews with the help of AI

    Tens of millions of users evaluate their doctor’s visits with star ratings and written reviews on WebMD, Healthgrades, RateMDs, and other platforms. In theory, health provider scores aren’t a bad idea — as many as 80 percent of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, studies show — but fraudulent submissions from bots, trolls, and other bad actors threaten to compromise their integrity.

    It’s a problem CareDash takes seriously. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based health care review site employs a team of data scientists that spend most of their days battling would-be ratings manipulators, leveraging artificial intelligence to guarantee the authenticity of reviews.

    “Reviews aren’t the end-all and be-all, but a good review written with some thought and nuance is like a referral from a trusted neighbor you’ve never met,” Chan told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

    It’s a lot of data to keep track of. To date, CareDash’s users have contributed around 100,000 reviews across the profile pages of 3 million doctors and health care providers. But processes like statistical distribution modeling and risk modeling help find needles in the proverbial haystack.

    “As we started to build this business, we ran into issues with folks trying to game the system,” Chan said. “We have to be the gatekeepers and make sure reviews are coming from real people. We reject thousands of fake reviews from bots.”

    Reviews on CareDash aren’t published immediately, and they have to be approved. The company settled on an automated review approval process early on, although a human team still manually evaluates some reviews. The system was initially a tad aggressive — Chan said it only let through 20 percent of reviews — but over time, as engineers reviewed its mistakes and retrained its algorithms, it became better at distinguishing fake reviews from real ones.

     CareDash detects fraudulent reviews with the help of AI

    Above: A screenshot of CareDash’s homepage.

    Image Credit: CareDash

    When it comes to fake reviews, some reviewers are themselves automated, typically under the direction of a botnet. Others are unscrupulous reputation managers and agencies, the nepotistic staff of a health system or private practice, or overzealous spammers.

    “The traffic [of pages] is driven by how many reviews they show [search engines like] Google they have,” Chan said. “People take those ratings to be really important.”

    There’s a good reason for that. A whopping 77 percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, a study conducted by Software Advice found, and as many as 47 percent say they would go out of network for a doctor who has more favorable reviews.

    No matter the source of the reviews, CareDash’s system treats all of them with the same level of scrutiny, employing language processing to detect patterns in writing style and formatting. Reviews are rated using an internal scoring system, and suspicious similarities are immediately flagged for the team to peruse.

    “There’s different levels of sophistication. The algorithms need a certain amount of training and data before they start to learn,” Chan said.

    CareDash’s data science team recently expanded its purview beyond reviews to include physician payments from pharmaceutical and device companies. In the U.S., since the passage of the Payments Sunshine Act in 2010, health care providers and hospitals are required to disclose gifts, including food, beverage, travel, speaking fees, and more.

    A study of public records from 2016 found that companies logged more than 11 million gifts and payments, spending $ 8 billion on roughly 630,000 health care providers around the country. It also found that physicians who received at least one payment from a pharmaceutical company for any specific brand-name drug were 5 times more likely to prescribe it over alternatives, including generic options, and that physicians who accepted payments related to a specific opioid drug were 14.5 times more likely to prescribe it.

    CareDash makes the most recent payment data available on each health care provider profile.

    The company’s principal sources of revenue are advertising, co-registration, and portfolio-sharing with sister sites Well Within You and Unsugarize. It has raised $ 2.5 million to date from an impressive list of investors that includes Jeff Parker, former chairm and CEO of Thomson Financial; Food Network founder Joe Langhan; and former chair of McGraw-Hill Publishing Ron Schlosser.

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    Webinar 7/17/2018 July 2018 Update for Power BI Embedded with Ted Pattison

    Join Charles Sterling and Ted Pattison as they walk through what is new and coming for Power BI Embedding in July 2018. 

    If you are not fmiliar with with Power BI Embedded for application developers you can embed visual analytics in your products, so your users and customers can gain valuable insights, and you can get to market fast. To embed Power BI in your application or portal, you'll need at least one Power BI Pro account, which will serve as a master account for your application. This master account will allow you to generate embed tokens to enable your application to access Power BI. 


    When: 7/17/2018

    pattisoncriticalpath Webinar 7/17/2018 July 2018 Update for Power BI Embedded with Ted Pattison

    Ted Pattison is an author, instructor and owner of Critical Path Training (, a company dedicated to education on Microsoft technologies including Power BI, SharePoint and Office 365. Ted has been speaking at conferences for over 20 years and is a regular speaker at users groups including the Power BI User Group which started in April of 2016. Ted also maintains several open source projects in GitHub including the SharePoint 2016 VM Setup Guide, The Online Virtual Classroom setup Guide and the Power BI Party Pack with sample data and code for demonstrations.

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    Chip off the old block

     Chip off the old block

    Via fb


    About Krisgo

    I’m a mom, that has worn many different hats in this life; from scout leader, camp craft teacher, parents group president, colorguard coach, member of the community band, stay-at-home-mom to full time worker, I’ve done it all– almost! I still love learning new things, especially creating and cooking. Most of all I love to laugh! Thanks for visiting – come back soon icon smile Chip off the old block

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    Deep Fried Bits

    Row-Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    row level security 300x225 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    Power BI offers a suite of security features to help restrict data. One way to do this is with Row-level security. Row-level security (RLS) with the Power BI Desktop can be used to restrict data access for specific users, filtering data at the row level, and defining filters within roles.

    In today’s blog, we’ll go over how to set-up this feature in Power BI and an example of how you can use it in Dynamics 365.

    What you will need:

    • Power BI Desktop
    • Dynamics 365 Organization linked with Power BI Service

    In this example, we’re going to be using an Excel file composed of 10,000 fictional Orders, across multiple companies, located on the West and East Coasts. Our goal is to have a single Dashboard viewable within Dynamics 365 that displays the records appropriate per role.

    Our starting point will be the image below, all orders put into a simple Orders Dashboard.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec1 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    Defining Roles within Power BI Desktop

    1. Select the Modeling tab.

    2. Select Manage Roles.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec2 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    3. Select Create.

    4. Provide a name for the role.

    5. Select the table to apply a DAX expression.

    6. Enter the DAX expressions. This expression should return a true or false.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec3 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    7. Select Save.

    Viewing a Role within Power BI Desktop

    Once your role has been created, you can view the results of the role by executing the following steps:

    1. From the Modeling tab, select View as Roles.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec4 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    2. The View as Roles dialog allows you to change the view of what you are seeing for that specific user or role.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec5 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    3. Select the role you created and then select OK to apply that role to what you are viewing. The reports will only render the data relevant for that role.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec6 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    Compared to the image we saw earlier; the difference is clear:

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec7 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    We are now ready to assign the role to a new user.

    Assigning Roles in Power BI

    1. Navigate to the Power BI service.

    2. Go to DATASETS and click on the ellipses to the right of the name.

    3. Click on SECURITY.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec8 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    4. Enter the name of the user or group you want to apply Row-level security to.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec9 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    5. Click Add.

    6. Click Save.

    Now that we have a working Power BI Dashboard with Row-level Security applied, let’s look at how it renders in Dynamics 365.

    1. From the Dashboard, add a new Power BI Dashboard and select the Dashboard you published to the Power BI service.

    Note: if you are not presented with the option to create a new Power BI dashboard within Dynamics, you may need to enable Power BI on the Reporting tab in System Settings.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec10 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    2. Share the Dashboard with any user or team who will need access.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec11 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    That’s it! Maximizing the report in CRM as Power BI and CRM administrators, you’ll be able to view the Dashboard with the entire data set.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec12 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    If you sign in as a Standard User and view the same Dashboard, we get different results from Row-level security in Power BI. From this screen, we can also leverage Power BI to dig into the data appropriate to their role.

    071618 1449 RowLevelSec13 Row Level Security in Power BI with Dynamics 365

    Row-level security in Power BI gives you the ability to restrict data at the row level based on true or false statements for users or groups. Leveraging the compatibility of Dynamics 365 with Power BI, we can use Row-level security to show users within CRM only the rows appropriate to their role.

    You can achieve the same results by putting your data into CRM and using CRM Security Roles, however, here are a few reasons you might want to use this method instead:

    • Not wanting to store data in Dynamics 365 due to storage space or business decisions.
    • Needing to manage one Dashboard instead of multiple ones per user/ team within Power BI.
    • Business doesn’t want to run an integration between the data warehouse and Dynamics 365.
    • Not wanting to modify existing security roles or business unit security in Dynamics 365.

    In the situations above, Row-level security with Power BI offers us an option to present the clearest information with reduced administrative overhead to Dynamics 365 Administrators. To learn more about Power BI, check out our Power BI Showcase.

    Happy D365’ing!

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    Digital Transformation

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    The TIBCO Blog