Sidewalk Labs unveils heated sidewalks and building raincoats that will let patio

Canadian Press/Tijana Martin TORONTO — Sidewalk Labs offered a glimpse at a handful of high-tech prototypes it hopes to launch in a waterfront smart city it has proposed for Toronto on Friday.The Alphabet Inc.-backed entity showed off technologies it previously teased, including hexagonal sidewalks that light up to indicate a change in a street’s usage and heat up to reduce ice and snow, and “building raincoats” that can adjust to provide cover from cold weather or rain but open up in warm temperatures.Sidewalk Labs has long touted the innovations as a way it believes it can transform communities — including the swath of prime land known as Quayside that it hopes to develop with Waterfront Toronto. Opinion: It’s not too late: Canada, not Sidewalk Labs, should be driving urban innovation Sidewalk Labs and the question of tax increment financing: Here’s how the proposal would work Sidewalk Toronto faces growing opposition, calls to cancel project “It is totally different to see it in its real world context and understand its real impact,” said Jesse Shapins, the director of public realm at Sidewalk Labs, who said nailing down exactly what building either the raincoats or streets would cost is tough, but he believes they will be “comparatively less” than a glass “arcade” walkway.“Starting to do something like this helps us learn about some of the cost elements, but we imagine doing them on a larger scale and more of them, the costs go down.”Canadians won’t have to wait until the start of summer for farmers’ markets and patio dining with “Building raincoats.” The unveilings come as Sidewalk Labs is facing criticism over hopes to lay claim to a cut of the city’s developer fees and property taxes in exchange for funding a light rail transit line and underground infrastructure in and around the Quayside neighbourhood.In previous months Sidewalk Labs was dealing with concerns around Quayside’s potential data, privacy and intellectual property policies.While Sidewalk Labs has often been accused of being secretive, the company has tried to foster a sense of transparency with Quayside meetings to collect feedback and open houses at a waterfront office it opened to construct prototypes.The company will host a Saturday open house for the public to see the innovations it has been working on, which Shapins hoped would generate feedback.Shapins said those who attend will see the high-tech sidewalk — a series of concrete pavers that can be made porous to make a street more resilient when faced with water. He said the pavers can be removed individually when damaged, so extensive road closures and crews are not needed.Lighting, he said, could be incorporated into the pavers to “reprogram” streets for high traffic, construction, bikes and special events, proving much more efficient than paint.Shapins was also excited to show off the “building raincoats,” which are built with a plastic-like film and can be used to transition a space from indoors to outdoors depending on the weather.“The raincoat provides an additional way to expand so a farmers market can happen inside but also outside as well,” he said.“There’s even the opportunity to use them as expanded patio spaces so the patio season doesn’t have to start at the beginning of summer. It could start earlier when you have something like this.”Shapins said he expects the raincoats will come in handy in Quayside, where it can get cold and windy quickly and where research he’s seen has estimated that weather is only “comfortable” 30 per cent of the year.Sidewalk Labs, he revealed, will next look at testing the technology behind the tall timber buildings and the “stoa” — a term Sidewalk is using to mean flexible, ground floor spaces — proposed for Quayside. read more

Georgia judge cuts damages in Jeep fire death from 150M to 40M

FILE – This March 6, 2012 file photo provided by the law offices of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer, LLP shows the burnt out Jeep Grand Cherokee that 4-year-old Remington Walden was riding in when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck and burst into flames, killing the boy, in Bainbridge, Ga. Georgia Superior Court Judge J. Kevin Chason has cut the damages that Fiat Chrysler must pay Walden’s family from $150 million to $40 million, according to a ruling made public Tuesday, July 28, 2015. (Courtesy of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer, LLP via AP, File) Georgia judge cuts damages in Jeep fire death from $150M to $40M, rejects plea for new trial by Tom Krisher, The Associated Press Posted Jul 28, 2015 3:28 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email DETROIT – A Georgia judge has cut the damages that Fiat Chrysler must pay the family of a child who died in a Jeep SUV fire from $150 million to $40 million.Decatur County Superior Court Judge J. Kevin Chason also denied Fiat Chrysler’s motion for a new trial, dismissing arguments that jurors acted irrationally in the case.In a ruling issued Friday and made public Tuesday, Chason decided that the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden should get $30 million for his death and $10 million for pain and suffering. The ruling was accepted by the family’s attorneys and opens a path for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to appeal.The company said in a statement that the ruling doesn’t cure errors that tainted the verdict and denied it a fair trial, and that it is considering legal options.Walden died after the Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his aunt in Bainbridge, Ga., was hit from behind in March 2012 and exploded into flames. The Jeep’s gas tank was mounted behind the rear axle, leaving it vulnerable in a rear crash.A 12-person jury found Fiat Chrysler negligent and asked for $120 million for wrongful death and $30 million in pain and suffering following a seven-day trial in the rural southwestern Georgia community in early spring.Earlier this month, FCA attorneys sought during a hearing to cut the judgment to $5 million to bring it in line with court-approved judgments in other Georgia cases. The attorneys contended that jurors acted with passion and prejudice against the Italian-American automaker, and they were irrational.Chason, however, rejected those arguments, writing in his ruling that the evidence against FCA was overwhelming. “The court saw nothing to indicate, nor has it been presented with persuasive evidence or argument to suggest that the jurors were inflamed or irrational,” Chason wrote.Jim Butler Jr., the attorney for the parents of the victim, Remington Walden, told Chason during the hearing that $40 million for the wrongful death and $10 million for pain and suffering seemed fair.At least 75 people have died in post-crash fires involving several Jeep models with the rear-mounted gas tanks. The problem has led to the recall of 1.56 million Grand Cherokees and Libertys to install trailer hitches to protect the tanks in low-speed crashes. Fiat Chrysler says the Jeeps are as safe as comparable SUVs from the same era.Earlier this week, Fiat Chrysler agreed in a deal with government safety regulators to offer $100 gift cards to entice owners of recalled Jeeps into taking their SUVs to dealers to get hitches installed. The company also agreed to offer $1,000 above market value trade-in prices on a new vehicle to those who own 1993 to 1998 Grand Cherokees.The Waldens’ Jeep and other newer Grand Cherokees with rear-mounted tanks were not included in the recall. read more