Posts Tagged ‘infrared’

Tough Times for Pribot: Google Employee’s Robotic Toyota Prius Hybrid Gets in Fender Bender, Gets Ticketed

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Remember happier times back in aught-eight, when “Pribot,” the famous autonomous Prius, was roving the Streets of San Francisco with a huge SFPD escort and teams of camerapeople in tow?

Well, those halcyon days are over, so now Pribot has been relegated to getting ticketed by DPT, just like regular nonrobotic cars.

See?

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You can’t see the the damage from when Pribot scraped its left side exiting the Bay Bridge, but these days there’s evidence he/she/it has had more driving trouble.

See?

Did Pribot crash into something? Or maybe a careless San Francisco driver backed up too far? Or maybe a human master made a mistake?

(Of course, when you’re making an omelet, as Google is doing in full force in 2011, you’re going to break a few eggs. Anyway…)

Poor Pribot!

All I could do was put a spare Kraftwerk mixtape under one of its windshield wiper arms and then turn to walk away.

Pribot, you were the first, you are the ur-robotic Prius, you are the Jetfire of the autonomous car universe.

Bon courage, Pribot!

“Avoid the 8″ DUI Checkpoint at Pine and Montgomery a Huge Success

Monday, December 21st, 2009

This was the scene over the weekend in the Financh where eight (or four, whatever) local police agencies teamed up for a DUI checkpoint on southbound Montgomery at Pine Street. Never seen one of these before – let’s take a look.

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Not all the traffic coming down from North Beach to SoMA last Friday night had to stop – lots of cars were directed straight on through. But those that weren’t had to pull over to the right for a brief convo with a peace officer of some stripe.

Like the driver of this Mercedes E350, for example. Don’t think she was a drunkie, but she had some sort of registration hassle it appeared (and that’s not all that uncommon in this age of shut-down, furloughed DMVs.) Stop sign holder graciously provided by PG&E:

Oh well. But let’s say you fail your field sobriety test on Montgomery Street.  This is what’s in store for you – a trip into the huge mobile command post  parked on the same block. No waiting:

Meet your breathalyzer, the Intoxilyzer 5000 infrared spectrometry breath alcohol measurement tool. (This is important, cause if your shyster is going to get you off, well, however that ends up being, it will most likely have something to do with attacking the procedures used to record the .15 BAC score you blew. Again.) Speaking of mouthpieces, you’ll get your own 28-cent plastic disposable mouthpiece to blow on. (Always wondered how that worked.)

Most people didn’t seem to mind, and the way that Montgomery is set up with three-way lights (to let the throngs of imagined evening-hour financial district peds scramble across Montgomery any which way they want) being picked to be a part of the checkpoint might not actually have slowed the journeys to the nearest freeway onramp:

Check out Friday’s tally of arrests and tows from CBS5. And here’s the scorecard from a another recent checkpoint at Geary and Steiner, and here’s another from Monterey near San Jose.

So, hurray. There’s not a lot to object to here, unless you’re a mouthpiece for the American Beverage Institute that is.

Look for more checkpoints in the coming weeks…

San Francisco’s Old-School Victorian Houses Go Solar Photovoltaic

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Now back in the day, rooftop solar meant routing black water pipes up there, so you could heat your water for free. High tech photovoltaic panels, where sunlight converts directly to electricity, were reserved for astronauts ‘n stuff.

But these days, you can fork over $27,000 for a 3 KW system and you’ll end up making your own electricity with something like this on your pointy, pointy roof.

As seen on Ashbury Street near Haight in sometimes sunny San Francisco:

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