Reykjavik Becomes First City to Launch Commercial Delivery By Drone


Drone delivery may be the future, but in most places, that future is currently mired in a whole lot of red tape. Amazon, for instance, has had some major headaches dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while trying to get its Prime Air service in the air. In Iceland, though, that’s no longer a problem. Reykjavik will be the first city to allow commercial drone delivery, New Atlas reports.

The flights will be handled by the drone company Flytrex, which is partnering with the Icelandic shopping site AHA, an all-purpose online retailer that delivers restaurant food, groceries, appliances, books, and more.

Right now, AHA delivers over land, but Iceland’s geography makes that a time-consuming process. Reykjavik’s waterways and inlets create plenty of obstacles for drivers. According to Flytrex, their mule drones can carry up to 6.5 pounds over six miles. It can’t exactly crisscross the city (Reykjavik covers 106 square miles), but the drones will supplement AHA’s other delivery methods by flying between the parts of the city separated by water. The company estimates that the drones can cut a 25-minute drive down to just four minutes, reducing delivery costs by 60 percent. Plus, the drones are electric, cutting down on gas use.

While the company claims this will be the first urban drone delivery, The Washington Post notes that other companies have performed beta tests elsewhere. Amazon has beta-tested deliveries in the UK. And in 2016, Domino’s tested pizza delivery by drone outside of Auckland, New Zealand. Chipotle has tested out burrito delivery in Virginia. But this seems to be one of the first services to go beyond beta testing and actually launch a delivery service by drone, with the full regulatory go-ahead.

Those Reykjavik take-out orders just got a whole lot more speedy. Sushi that flies through the air to arrive on your doorstep? Yes, please.

[h/t New Atlas]

Google Translate Now Lets Your Smartphone's Camera Read 13 More Languages in Real Time

Your days of lugging around foreign-language dictionaries while traveling are behind you. As VentureBeat reports, Google Translate's in-app camera now recognizes 13 new languages, including Arabic, Hindi, and Vietnamese.

In 2015, the Google Translate app launched a feature that allows users to translate written text in real time. All you need to do to use it is to tap the app's camera icon and point your phone at the words you wish to decode, whether they're on a menu, billboard, or road sign. Almost immediately, the app replaces the text displayed on your camera with the translation in your preferred language.

The tool initially worked with 27 languages and Google has introduced more over the past few years. With the latest additions, Google Translate now recognizes about 50 languages.

Many of the new languages now compatible with Google Translate—including Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Thai—are widely spoken in South Asia. Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, and Punjabi are four of the 10 most common languages on Earth.

Google Translate users can download the new update now for iOS and Android phones.

[h/t VentureBeat]

Mountable Laserlight Projector Creates a Personal Bike Lane for Cyclists

Beryl, Kickstarter
Beryl, Kickstarter

All the blinking lights and reflectors in the world aren't enough to prevent your bike from disappearing into a truck's blind spot. But what if you could extend the length of your bike by an 20 extra feet with the click of a button? That's the concept behind the Laserlight Core, a product currently raising funds on Kickstarter, Fast Company reports.

Laserlight resembles a small flashlight, and it attaches easily to the front of your handlebars. When biking, you can switch it on to project a laser image of a green bike symbol onto the street several yards in front of you. If the driver of a van, truck, or bus can't see your actual bike in their mirror, the idea is that the light will make them aware of your presence. The projection is about the width of a bike lane, so it may also encourage drivers to give cyclists more road space than they would have otherwise. According to an independent study on the light from Transport for London, bikers with Laserlight are about 97 percent visible at night to drivers in vans (compared to 65 visibility with a standard LED light).

Emily Brooke came up up with the concept seven years ago as a design student at England's University of Brighton. After a frighteningly close encounter with a van while biking, she wondered if she could invent a way to get the attention of drivers even when she was stuck squarely in their blind spots.

Her product, originally dubbed Blaze, launched on Kickstarter in 2012. The campaign was a success, and now she's returning to the crowdfunding platform with a new-and-improved version of the item. Laserlight Core is easier to mount than its predecessor and it also projects a clearer image. You can reserve yours with a pledge of $75 or more with shipping estimated for December of this year. (It makes a great gift for the dedicated cyclist in your life, too.)

[h/t Fast Company]