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Uber Test Vehicles Involved In 37 Crashes Before Fatal Self-Driving Incident

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Uber’s autonomous test vehicles were involved in 37 crashes in the 18 months before a fatal March 2018 self-driving car accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Tuesday. Reuters reports: The board said between September 2016 and March 2018, there were 37 crashes of Uber vehicles in autonomous mode at the time, including 33 that involved another vehicle striking test vehicles. In one incident, the test vehicle struck a bent bicycle lane bollard that partially occupied the test vehicle’s lane of travel. In another incident, the operator took control to avoid a rapidly approaching oncoming vehicle that entered its lane of travel. The vehicle operator steered away and struck a parked car. The NTSB will hold a probable cause hearing on the crash Nov. 19. A spokeswoman for Uber’s self-driving car division said the company has “adopted critical program improvements to further prioritize safety. We deeply value the thoroughness of the NTSB’s investigation into the crash and look forward to reviewing their recommendations.”

Bloomberg is also reporting that Uber’s self-driving test car wasn’t programmed to recognize and react to jawalkers. The report said “the system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians.” [Elaine Herzberg, the 49-year-old pedestrian that was struck by one of Uber’s self-driving cars] was crossing the road outside of a crosswalk.

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Africa: Greener, Longer Life – More Trees Reduce Premature Deaths in Cities

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Tbilisi — City dwellers tend to live longer if they are in leafy neighbourhoods, according to a study that links green areas to lower rates of premature death

City dwellers tend to live longer if they are in leafy neighbourhoods, according to a study published on Wednesday that linked green areas to lower rates of premature death.

Trees in cities are already credited with cooling and cleaning the air and absorbing planet-warming gases, now researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health have found they also keep death at bay.

“More green space is better for health,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of the institute’s urban planning, environment and health initiative. “People actually live longer if there is more green space around.”

The research, which pulled data from nine other studies involving more than eight million people in seven countries from China to Canada, was the largest ever conducted on the subject, the authors said.

Researchers used satellite images to quantify how much vegetation, including trees, grass and shrubs, was within 500 meters (550 yards) of people’s homes.

Levels of vegetation were ranked on a scale under a system known as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI).

Those involved in the study were followed for several years. Any premature deaths caused by health conditions such as heart or respiratory diseases were factored in.

The study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, found that in cities from Barcelona to Perth, a 10% increase in greenery led to an average 4% reduction in premature mortality.