Nissan wants self-driving cars on the road by 2020

Gigaom

Are you ready to have your very own self-driving car? While the technology has been relegated to a few eye-popping tests from Google (s goog), Nissan is determined to make it a reality. Bloomberg reports that the Japanese automaker will aim to bring driverless cars to the masses by 2020, utilizing its emissions-free Leaf.

Utilizing the Leaf for self-driving capabilities isn’t actually that far-fetched, considering that a team of Oxford researchers created a system that does just that for only $7,000. It also showed off a series of driverless Leaf vehicles on an Irvine race track during its Nissan 360 event, which ferried around people in a simulated urban environment.

While the Nissan has most of the logistics figured out, it will have to spend the next seven years perfecting a system that allows for flawless, accident-free robotic driving. Bloomberg notes that Nissan is developing its system in-house, but…

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Enblink turns Google TV into a home automation hub

Gigaom

Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks: Dutch hardware startup Enblink has built a simple dongle that turns any regular Google TV unit into a home automation and security hub.

The Enblink USB dongle, which will go on sale in September, will make it possible for users to control the lighting, check their security system or access IP cameras straight from their TV. Enblink also comes with mobile apps that make it possible to control the functionality of these devices from anywhere.

The dongle itself sells for $85, and Enblink is also selling starter packs that come with lighting control and security sensors. However, users don’t actually need to buy their sensors and controllers from the company. Enblink uses the Z-Wave networking standard, which means it’s compatible with a couple hundred third-party sensors and controllers.

So why did Enblink choose Google TV, even though other smart TV platforms are…

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Assessing Zuckerberg’s Idea That Facebook Could Help Citizens Re-Make Their Government

TechCrunch

facebook-constitution

Mark Zuckerberg has a grand vision that Facebook will help citizens in developing countries decide their own governments. It’s a lofty and partially attainable goal. While Egypt probably won’t let citizens vote for their next president with a Like, it is theoretically possible to use Facebook to crowdsource expertise. Governments around the world are experimenting with radical online direct democracy, but it doesn’t always work out.

Very briefly, Zuckerberg laid out his broad vision for e-government to Wired’s Steven Levy, while defending Internet.org, a new consortium to bring broadband to the developing world.

“People often talk about how big a change social media had been for our culture here in the U.S. But imagine how much bigger a change it will be when a developing country comes online for the first time ever. We use things like Facebook to share news and keep in touch with our friends, but…

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Forget tablets. Nokia has a bigger connected gadget in mind: the car

Gigaom

Rumors of a Nokia(s nok) tablet has got the tech world buzzing, but Nokia’s plans to expand beyond the handset are much more ambitious than producing a mere slate. Nokia EVP of Location and Commerce Michael Halbherr told GigaOM that the Finnish handset maker is eyeballing the car as the next repository of its technology and applications and has plans to launch some form of connected car platform in the future.

Michael Halbherr NokiaOf course, Nokia is already a significant player in the automotive market. The company supplies maps for navigation systems through its Navteq group, which along with the rest of Nokia’s location services was recently renamed Here, the massive Nokia division Halbherr now heads up.

Nokia plans to use that deep-seeded mapping relationship with automakers as springboard into more sophisticated connected car and infotainment services, Halbherr said.

“Historically we’ve supplied content to the automotive industry – first maps…

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