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Submission + - Playing Follow the Leader from Italy to China (

apoc.famine writes: "Driverless technology from the University of Parma's VisLab was deployed in a real-world test on Tuesday. Two driverless chase vehicles will attempt to follow two lead vehicles across multiple continents, over the course of several months. The journey will cover over 8,000 miles, (~13,000 km) as the chase vehicles use lasers and cameras to attempt to navigate hazards along the way. The team expects to collect about 100 TB of data, which, as you can imagine, requires a pretty hefty electronics and battery load. The scale is such that the cars can only run for about three hours before needing 8 hours to recharge the batteries.

This is being billed as just a test, and far from a real world application. The vehicles don't go more than about 35mph, and need a person behind the wheel to take over at a moment's notice. "What we are trying to do is stress our systems and see if they can work in a real environment, with real weather, real traffic and crazy people who cross the road in front of you and a vehicle that cuts you off," said project leader Alberto Broggi.

The goal is not to produce just road vehicles, but to improve the technology so it can be used in military and agricultural roles as well. The team hopes to have helped mature the technology within the next 10-20 years to the point that it can be used on the road. At the moment, it looks like it has a long way to go."

Data Storage

Submission + - SSDs clash with hard drives in value comparison (

EconolineCrush writes: SSDs hardly offer compelling value on the cost-per-gigabyte scale. But what if one considers performance per dollar? This article takes a closer look at the value proposition offered by today's most common SSDs, mixing raw performance data with each drive's cost, both per gigabyte and as a component of a complete system. An even dozen SSD configurations are compared, and results from a collection of mechanical hard drives provides additional context. The data are laid out in detailed scatter plots that clearly illustrate the most favorable intersections of price and performance, and you might be surprised to see just how well the SSDs fare versus traditional hard drives. A few of the SSDs offer much better value than their solid-state competition, too.
Open Source

Submission + - The unusual, obscure and useful Linux distros (

angry tapir writes: "Most people will be familiar with some of the big names when it comes to Linux — distributions like Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Debian and Mandriva. Most of the well-known Linux distros are designed to be used as general purpose desktop operating systems or installed on servers. But beyond these distros are hundreds of others either designed to appeal to very specific audiences or to fulfil the somewhat niche needs of some users. We rounded up some of the most interesting Linux distributions out there that you might not have heard of."

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