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Self-driving Uber cars to debut in Pittsburgh

A handful of self-driving Uber cars will ferry passengers around Pittsburgh starting this month. 

The semi-autonomous cars will pick up customers and -- since the technology is still in testing -- those who try it will get the ride for free. 

The fleet consists of a modified version of a Volvo XC90. A driver will be in the front seat with their hands on the wheel so they can take over if anything goes wrong, and an engineer will be in the passenger seat to take notes on the drive. 

Testing the technology with real customers is a big step toward Uber's aim of a completely driverless service. 

CEO Travis Kalanick said cutting the driver out of the equation could potentially make the service much cheaper for riders -- possibly even cheaper than a private car. 

Right now, however, self-driving cars are still under intense scrutiny. As of yet, there aren't any fully autonomous vehicles on the road. 

Tesla has started to roll out limited autopilot features, but a deadly crash involving its autopilot mode has regulators investigating its safety

Google's autonomous car has also had a few accidents, but none of them were serious -- likely because the car is capped at 25 miles per hour. 

Uber and Volvo just announced a partnership to develop a completely autonomous car by 2021, but it's not clear when they plan to roll out a driverless ride-hailing service.

Popular traffic app adds feature to remind parents kids are in car

A new feature in the popular Waze traffic app could prevent future tragedies like one that occurred in Georgia last week.

Twins Ariel Roxanne North and Alaynah Maryanne North, 15 months old, were found dead after being left in a hot car Thursday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Their father, Asa North, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.

>> Read more trending stories  

Waze has announced a new feature on its app called Child Reminder, where users can opt-in to receive an alert at the end of each trip that says, "Check your car before you leave."

The reminder, although designed for children, also can be used for pets, Waze said in a blog post.

To turn on the alert, download the Waze app for an Android or iPhone, then open the app and go to Menu, then Settings, then General and select Child Reminder. Finally, turn on Allow Reminders.

The alerts can be customized within the app to include children's or pets' names.

"We hope this feature serves as a reminder to be present and remember any little ones who cannot speak up when it's time to get out of the car," Waze said in the blog post.

Delta cancels 530 flights Tuesday as delays continue

Delta Air Lines passengers can expect more delays and cancellations Tuesday.

The Atlanta-based airline ended up canceling about 1,000 flights Monday after a loss of power led to a computer outage that affected its flights worldwide.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Delta cancellations, delays extend into Tuesday following outage

Delta said on Tuesday that it was canceling about 530 more flights as it works to reset the operation and get crews, aircraft and other operational elements in place to take care of customers. 

"We were able to bring our systems back on line and resume flights within a few hours (Monday), but we are still operating in recovery mode,” said Dave Holtz, senior vice president of operations. “We are sorry for what many of our customers have experienced over the past 24 hours, including those who remain at airports and continue waiting for their flights. We are doing everything we can to return our operation to normal reliability, but we do expect additional delays and cancellations.”

Travelers are advised to check their flight status on Delta’s website or its app, and can rebook via the website, the airline said. Delta is waiving certain change fees for customers who were scheduled to travel Monday or Tuesday and want to change their travel plans to later in the week.

Delta is also giving $200 in travel vouchers to those whose flights are canceled or whose flights are delayed more than three hours.

Georgia Power confirmed that Monday's outage was caused by a "switch-gear" problem.

>> Read more trending stories

"Switch-gear" manages multiple electric sources to keep equipment safe from power surges.

“Delta probably had some kind of catastrophic failure that took everything, even their backup systems offline, which left them dead,” WSB-TV senior engineer Gary Pearcey said.

– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Patent to Help Identify and Warn of Human Drivers

Image From ..flckr user Travis Wise Whether you like it or not, technology has evolved to the point where self-driving vehicles will become more and more prevalent on everyday road and highways. The advances of smart car technology and GPS tracking has allowed for features once thought to be only found in science fiction movies. Google, a company that has heavily championed the autonomous car, has reached the headlines a few times with incidences that have occurred from testing the new technology on public roads. From getting pulled over, to hiccups in driving ability due to rain, to even minor accidents, it’s been the expected growing pains Google has endured in trying to bring this technology for a widespread audience. But even with the adoption of any new technology, there’s going to be a transition period for sure. The self-driving car is no exception. As the percentage of humans driving cars decreases and computers driving cars increases, it will be more difficult to sort out who is driving the vehicles surrounding you: human or machine?...

GasBuddy Reveals Top Money-Wasting Habits When Buying Gas

ive things consumers are regularly doing that are costing them extra at the pump.

GasBuddy today announced the findings of its survey on American motorists’ fuel-purchasing habits, revealing we are prone to overpaying at the pump due to several key factors: procrastination, craving convenience and being creatures of habit.


Keep your tires cooler... especially when the road sizzles

Image From . / State FarmHave you checked your tires lately?  If not, don't procrastinate any longer.  Highways in summer can sizzle and you  may have already seen your local news reporter try to fry an egg on the sidewalk... That means there's more tire blowouts and you don't want to be next. 

You need to know that on a 90-degree day the surface temperature of some roads and highways can exceed 150 degrees.  If your tires are not properly inflated they're getting even hotter, unnecessarily.  

Proper tire pressure extends the life of every tire.  An under-inflated tire generates more heat due to excessive sidewall flexing, adversely effecting handling and your car's fuel efficiency. And that makes your tires wear out faster too...  


Gas Prices Keep Truckin' Lower

With windows down on Route 66, a radio blasts "Free Fallin'", the hit from Tom Petty, which would also accurately describe the direction of gas prices much of this summer. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has fallen to $2.13 a gallon, a 3-cent decline from last week, according to price-tracker is up as yet another "W" for motorists in 46 states who saw their average prices declining an average 3 cents, with just Indiana, Ohio, Utah and Missouri seeing gas prices higher than a week ago. California took the title of biggest loser, with its average gas price falling over 7-cent per gallon, a rare feat for the nation's most populous state. In a dramatic and ultra rare turnaround, California's major fuel markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco still boast the cheapest wholesale price of gasoline.The fall in fuel and oil prices come as the multi-year long glut of crude oil has led to a glut in gasoline inventories, which are up nearly 12% versus just a year ago even as millions of Americans traverse the nation's highways at record levels....

Fort McMurray fires cost Canada dearly

FormulanoneFaded from news headlines which caught world attention at the end of May, the Fort McMurray wildfires which shuttered over 1 million barrels of oil production a day for over a month.Though many suggested the effect of the fire would have an impact on North American crude supply, few it would seem could grasp the enormity of its effects on the Canadian economy...

Resistance to tax hike brings NJ highway projects to a halt

Image From . / Nicholas A. TonelliAccording to the American Society of Civil Engineers, there are clear winners and losers when it comes to expediting infrastructure repairs... ASCE says Georgia and Louisiana, for instance, are moving ahead with transportation projects due to intentionally raised state funds and contribution from the FASTLANE grants which are part of the federal FAST Act. 

But, New Jersey has been less fortunate.  Remember that proposed increase to the state's gasoline tax?  An increase to a fuel tax that has not changed in 23 years?  

As popular as it might have been to kick the can down the road, that decision has real consequences...


DOT: $55 Million to 'Clean' Bus Grants

Image From ..Flckr user Shou-Hul Wang The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced selections for an expanded Low or No-Emission (Low-No) Bus Competitive Grant Program that reflects growing interest in new technology buses. Twenty transit providers in 13 states will receive a share of $55 million for transit buses and related technology that replaces aging diesel fuel buses with battery-electric or fuel cell-powered vehicles and incorporates other innovations....

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