Uber’s Flying Taxis Could Hit the Skies as Soon as 2020

Uber
Uber

In October 2016, Uber released an outline of the company's plan to have flying taxis ferrying passengers through the skies within a decade. Six months later, at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas, Texas held in last month, chief product officer Jeff Holden revealed that the project could be taking off even sooner than that. As Reuters reports, the ride-hailing service hopes to have its vehicles in the air over Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth area by 2020.

The vertical takeoff and landing aircrafts (VTOLs) will be able to discreetly travel between rooftop landing pads around the cities. They’ll run on electricity, making them clean, quiet, and cheap. Uber expects fares to start at $1.32 per passenger mile, which falls between the prices for an Uber X ($0.85 per mile) and an Uber XL ($1.35 per mile) in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The company's plan is to eventually make using the service less expensive than owning a car. It also promises to be convenient: According to Uber’s estimates, a two-hour car trip from San Francisco’s Marina to downtown San Jose would take 15 minutes by VTOL. The taxis will be flown by certified human pilots at first, but Uber hopes to eventually replace those pilots with autonomous flying technology.

Construction on the VTOL landing hubs will begin in Dallas in 2018. The company is also working with Dubai to get the craft airborne in time for the city’s World Expo in 2020. If everything goes according to plan, the taxis should be giving commercial rides by 2023.

[h/t Reuters]

The Pigzbe Wallet Teaches Kids How to Budget and Save Money

Pigzbe
Pigzbe

Fiscal responsibility isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, especially when you’re in elementary school. But, as Fast Company reports, Primo Toys is hoping to make the concept more child-friendly. The company’s new Pigzbe wallet works like a digital piggy bank to teach kids age 6 and older how to earn, budget, and save money by managing the cryptocurrency they receive from their parents.

Pigzbe connects to a smartphone app, which parents can use to set chores and tasks for their kids to complete, such as making their bed or washing the dishes. They can set a schedule for these chores (every Tuesday, for example) as well as monetary rewards in the form of Wollo, a “family-friendly” cryptocurrency developed by Primo Toys.

Tasks will be sent directly to the Pigzbe device, and once they have been completed, kids will receive their hard-earned Wollo tokens. The Pigzbe app helps kids visualize their earnings and how much they’ll need to save to get the items they want. "It’s a design that feels childlike, sure, but in a fun, self-aware way, almost like a Tamagotchi," Fast Company notes.

Although Wollo isn’t technically “real money,” the tokens can be used to purchase toys and other items from Pigzbe’s app. Parents can also order a specialized Visa card that will let them buy items using Wollo. Other family members can also send gifts and allowances to any Pigzbe user, no matter their geographic location.

The goal is to teach kids about financial responsibility at an early age, when they’re just beginning to form habits that will stick with them well into adulthood. “We believe that financially curious children become financially literate adults, and we designed Pigzbe to achieve just that,” Primo Toys, the maker of the Pigzbe wallet, writes in its Kickstarter campaign. The product has already exceeded its $50,000 fundraising goal, with more than 550 backers on board.

Backers who pledge $79 or more before the campaign ends on January 25, 2019 will receive the Pigzbe wallet at a 40 percent discount.

[h/t Fast Company]

Aquarium Points Out Anatomical Error in Apple's Squid Emoji

iStock.com
iStock.com

When an inaccurate image makes it into Apple's emoji keyboard, the backlash is usually swift. But the squid emoji had been around for more than two years before the Monterey Bay Aquarium pointed out a major anatomical error on Twitter. As The Verge reports, the emoji depicts a squid with a siphon on its face—not on the back of its head, where it should be.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium dragged Apple for the misstep on Wednesday, December 5. "Not even squidding the siphon should be behind the head," the aquarium tweeted, "rn it just looks like a weirdo nose."

A squid's siphon serves some vital purposes. It pumps water over the gills, allowing it to breathe, and it blasts water away when the squid needs to propel through the sea. It's also the orifice out of which waste is expelled, making its placement right between the eyes in the emoji version especially unfortunate.

Emojis have incited outrage from marine biology experts in the past. When the Unicode Consortium released an early design of its lobster emoji earlier this year, people were quick to point out that it was missing a set of legs. Luckily the situation was rectified in time for the emoji's official release.

Apple has been known to revise designs to appease the public, but getting the squid's siphon moved to the other side of its head may be a long shot: Until the most recent backlash, the emoji had existed controversy-free since 2016.

[h/t The Verge]

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