Archive for Grace Kay

Elon Musk unveils ‘Tesla bot,’ a humanoid robot that would be made from Tesla’s self-driving AI

Tesla AI day
  • Elon Musk said Tesla plans to build a humanoid robot during the company's AI Day.
  • The CEO said the company hopes to develop a prototype for the robot by sometime next year.
  • The "Tesla Bot" will use the same AI systems that help power the company's Full Self-Driving system.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the carmaker would be branching out into humanoid robots during the company's AI event on Thursday.

Musk unveiled the "Tesla Bot," a 5 ft. 8 in., 125-pound robot, at the event. He said the bot would have a screen where its face should be that will present information. According to the CEO, the humanoid robot will also be capable of dead-lifting 150 pounds and carrying about 45 pounds. Though, the bot will only travel about 5 miles per hour.

"We're setting it such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, that you can run away from it and most likely overpower it," Musk quipped.

The bot will use Tesla's Autopilot software, according to Musk. It will be equipped with eight cameras to feed into the neural network that Tesla has developed for its FSD software.

The neural network emulates the functions of the human brain inasmuch as it allows the vehicle to analyze its surroundings via cameras and determine what it needs to do when it encounters obstacles by identifying and labeling different routes and images.

Tesla ai day
Behold, Elon Musk's Tesla Bot prototype.

"Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels," Musk said. "It kind of makes sense to put that [the software] on to a human-like [form] as well."

Musk said businesses would ideally use the bot to perform repetitive and dangerous tasks. He added the real test would be how the robot can navigate through the world without being explicitly told what to do.

"There will be profound applications for the economy. In the future, physical work will be a choice," Musk said.

The CEO offered a visual representation of what he wants the robot to look like, but Tesla has yet to build a functioning bot. He said the company plans to have a prototype developed by sometime next year.

Musk said the robot fits seamlessly into Tesla's mission and will be built with many of the same materials the company uses for its cars.

"We're making the pieces that would be useful for [building] a humanoid robot, so we should probably make it. If we don't, someone else will - and we want to make sure it's safe," Musk said.

While the Tesla founder did not give a specific deadline for the prototype's release, Musk is known for making big promises about future builds. At Tesla's last "Autonomous Day" Musk said Tesla would have "one million robotaxis on the road" by the end of 2020. However, the company has yet to release a fully autonomous car, as its current FSD software still requires a licensed operator to monitor the vehicle.

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OnlyFans says it’s getting out of the hardcore-porn game

OnlyFans screengrab
OnlyFans was launched in London in 2016
  • OnlyFans says it plans to block some sexually explicit content later this year.
  • The decision represents a major change for the startup that gained success in NSFW content.
  • The company said some nude photos and videos would still be allowed on the site.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

OnlyFans said it plans to block its users from posting sexually explicit content on its site.

The company said on Thursday that it would implement the new policy in October, Bloomberg first reported. The company told Insider it will share more on the policy in the coming days.

"In order to ensure the long-term sustainability of our platform, and to continue to host an inclusive community of creators and fans, we must evolve our content guidelines," the company said in a statement. "These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers."

OnlyFans will still allow users to post nude photos and videos, so long as they do not violate OnlyFans' acceptable use policy, which bars users from posting illegal content, including footage of minors or content that is not their own.

The decision to ban sexually explicit content reflects a major branding change for the site that has gained much of its success from pornographic content. To date, the site hosts over 130 million users and has paid creators over $5 billion since it was created in 2016.

The decision could affect over 2 million creators who use the site, the company's numbers indicated. It's unknown exactly what share of creators make money solely from explicit content. The site has long been known as a source of income for sex workers, especially during the pandemic when many had to pivot from in-person roles.

In recent months, OnlyFans has faced difficulty drumming up investor interest, a report from Axios said. The decision to eliminate sexually explicit content could help the platform lure in investors who may be wary of the site's NSFW brand.

It's not the first time the platform has attempted to shift its image away from pornographic content to cater to more mainstream celebrities and creators as opposed to sex workers. On Tuesday, OnlyFans launched a free streaming service called OFTV, an on-demand site that focuses on topics such as fitness and cooking instead of sexually explicit content.

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Elon Musk’s girlfriend Grimes shared a TikTok video of their son X AE A-Xii and the family’s vacation in Italy

Elon Musk Grimes
  • Grimes shared a glimpse of her son X AE A-Xii in a TikTok on Tuesday.
  • The video shows a montage of the singer's trip to Italy with her boyfriend Elon Musk.
  • Last week, the family was photographed in Florence with the mayor of the city.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Grimes shared some rare footage of her son X AE A-Xii in a TikTok video on Tuesday.

The video provided an inside look at the singer's trip to Italy with her boyfriend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and their 1-year-old son. The TikTok shows a glimpse of her son, as well as several clips from Grimes' trips to museums and other scenic locations during her trip to Italy.

The video also showcases Grimes' new song "Shinigami Eyes" as background music to the montage.

@grimes

SHINIGAMI eyes is finally done and you all get the first listen !!!! Show me your content (might still b sum changes but video is almost done) #italy

♬ Shinigami Eyes - Grimes

Grimes and Musk have primarily kept their son out of the spotlight since his birth. Though Musk posted a picture of himself with his baby earlier this year and the family was seen at SpaceX's launch site, Starbase, Texas.

The family was photographed on their vacation in Italy last week. The mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, took Musk and Grimes, as well as some of Musk's teenage sons from his ex-wife Justine Wilson on a tour of the Uffizi Gallery.

Nardella posted a clip from the tour on Twitter. In the video, Musk is seen saying "Visit Florence" in Italian.

Following the post, there was a lot of speculation on social media as to why Musk had chosen to visit Italy. Several users noted that the gallery is just 30 minutes from the Leonardo Group's headquarters - a company that produces technology for some of foremost space programs in the world, including the International Space Station and Roscosmos, a Russian Space Agency.

The Tesla CEO was in Berlin later in the week, where he attended meetings with German state group Brandenburg, according to a post from Germany's economy minister Joerg Steinbach on Twitter.

The visit is part of Musk's efforts to open a $6.9 billion Tesla factory near Berlin. On the same day he met with the German leaders, Musk said Tesla's new factory in Germany will be open for a tour in October and will kick off production the same month, Reuters reported.

Though, Tesla is still waiting for a green light from Brandenburg's environmental authorities to open the site. The Gigafactory was supposed to open on July 1 but environmental activists, permit delays, and lizards on the site put its opening date behind schedule.

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A 29-year-old YouTube millionaire is leading in a poll to replace Gavin Newsom as the next governor of California

Kevin Paffrath
  • Kevin Paffrath is a leading candidate in a poll on the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.
  • Paffrath is one of 46 candidates and only 9 Democrats that could replace Newsom.
  • The vote will take place on September 14. In July, 51% of voters surveyed were against the recall.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

YouTube influencer Kevin Paffrath could become California's youngest governor to date.

Paffrath, a 29-year-old who has made millions of dollars on his "Meet Kevin" YouTube channel, is leading in a recent poll from SurveyUSA among respondents planning to vote in next month's recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The survey shows Paffrath leading 46 candidates, including conservative talk show host Larry Elder and former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner, with 27% of the vote.

Paffrath's share in the poll was followed by six Republican candidates, including Elder, who came in second at 24%. The 29-year-old is one of nine Democrats working to unseat Newsom.

In the tally, 51% of 613 likely voters surveyed from August 2-4 said they would vote in favor of ousting Newsom. The Democratic Party is urging voters to vote against a recall, as well as skip the second question on the ballot, which asks voters to select a replacement if a recall occurs. But if more than half of California voters support the ballot recall on September 14, the next governor will be one of the 46 candidates with the most votes.

An earlier poll by the University of California, Berkeley, and the Los Angeles Times in July had only 36% in favor of a recall with 51% of registered voters against it.

"We think in the last two weeks of this campaign if the recall looks more and more likely, the Democratic party will be forced to pick a Hail Mary back-up candidate," Paffrath said at a Newsom press event in San Francisco. "Given that we're No. 1 in the polls, we hope that's us."

The YouTuber is a real estate investor out of Ventura, California. His channel has nearly 1.7 million followers and focuses on daily commentary on stocks, housing, and stimulus. The channel has turned Paffrath into a multi-millionaire. In the past year alone, he has earned nearly $10 million on YouTube.

Paffrath says he voted for Joe Biden in the presidential elections and identifies as a centrist. He has been following Newsom on his "Vote No" campaign trail which started in San Francisco last week.

The recall effort has been several years in the making, but has picked up steam during COVID-19 due to concerns over state shutdowns and the gradual reopening of the state. Several major public figures have joined in on the call to get Newsom out of office over the course of the year, including billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, who pointed to the flight of major companies like Tesla and Oracle from the state.

Paffrath says he plans to address concerns over high taxes, as well as solve issues with elevated levels of homelessness in cities like San Francisco. The 29-year-old's tax plan would have people avoid income tax on their first $250,000. He also plans to make COVID-19 safety measures optional and says he will clear the homeless population from the streets within his first 60 days in office.

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Here’s why government officials rejected Jeff Bezos’ claims of ‘unfair’ treatment and awarded a NASA contract to SpaceX over Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk space
  • The GAO released a takedown of Jeff Bezos' complaints against NASA's selection of SpaceX.
  • Blue Origin accused NASA of favoritism toward Elon Musk's company.
  • The GAO report found that SpaceX's design beat out Blue Origin's proposal at every level.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

SpaceX was selected over Blue Origin for a NASA contract to take humans back to the moon, and a new report from government officials highlights exactly why.

Last month, Jeff Bezos filed a complaint against NASA, calling its decision to select SpaceX for its Human Landing System Program "unfair." Bezos even offered to cover up to $2 billion in costs for the mission to help Blue Origin compete with SpaceX's $2.9 billion offer, but it was not enough to sway NASA.

When SpaceX was chosen in April it came as a surprise, as NASA had originally selected three companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics) to create proposals for a lunar landing system that could bring astronauts back to the moon by 2024. When the competition was announced, NASA had indicated that it would choose two proposals but ended up leaving Blue Origin and Dynetics in a lurch.

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed Bezos' complaint, which was filed alongside Dynetics and rejected the protest. In a public report, the GAO laid out why Elon Musk's company was chosen over Blue Origin.

Here are a few key responses from the GAO takedown of Bezos' complaints against NASA:

Blue Origin hinged its complaint around the fact that NASA had promised to select two companies

Bezos said in a letter following the complaint that NASA risked compromising the mission by eliminating the element of "competition."

In response, the GAO pointed to NASA's limited funds for the mission. The group even took a stab at Blue Origin, saying NASA was not "required" to choose an applicant whose proposal NASA did not find attractive. In other words, NASA was not forced to take on two companies if it only found one company up to par.

The GAO then broke down how SpaceX's proposal compared to Blue Origin based on NASA's analysis. Each proposal was graded on technology, management, and price. The technical aspects were found to be most important in NASA's analysis, followed by price, and management.

NASA graded each company's proposal based on whether its strengths outweighed its weaknesses, grading each level of weakness or strength based on a scale of how much it would impact the overall mission. For example, both SpaceX and Blue Origin's communication systems were graded as weak, but Blue Origin's received a "significant weakness" for having less systems that were effective.

"Even assuming a comparative analysis was required, SpaceX's proposal appeared to be the highest-rated under each of the three enumerated evaluation criteria as well as the lowest priced," the GAO said.

Despite Bezos' offer to lower Blue Origin's $5.9 billion contract and take on $2 billion out-of-pocket, the GAO said NASA had found it "implausible" that the company could reduce its price without significantly changing its design.

Blue Origin complained the decision showed favoritism to SpaceX

Bezos said NASA had unfairly evaluated Blue Origin. For example, the company argued that it was not specified that the vehicle should be able to land in the dark. The GAO contended that NASA was not required to lay out all minute details, and Blue Origin should take into account the conditions on the moon or space itself - which is dark.

Blue Origin also raised issue with the fact that SpaceX received extra points for developing a system that focused on the health and safety of the crew - an objective that NASA had not made a requirement. The GAO said NASA had the freedom to choose which design function to prioritize.

Here's how the two companies' proposals stacked up, according to NASA

SpaceX

  1. Technical: 3 significant strengths; 10 strengths; 6 weaknesses; and 1 significant weakness
  2. Price: $2.9 billion
  3. Management: 2 significant strengths; 3 strengths; and 2 weaknesses

Blue Origin

  1. Technical: 13 strengths; 14 weaknesses; and 2 significant weaknesses
  2. Price: $5.9 billion
  3. Management: 1 significant strength; 2 strengths; and 6 weaknesses
Read the original article on Business Insider

​​Take a look at the 6-mile lines going into Canada, where drivers are waiting up to 7 hours to enter after the US travel ban lifted

Canadian border
  • US travelers drove to the Canadian border after it reopened to non-essential travelers on Monday.
  • The boom in travel, as well as a union strike earlier in the week, caused wait times up to seven hours.
  • Pictures from the scene show the traffic jams that spanned over 6 miles.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

US travelers are waiting as long as 7 hours to enter Canada, after border restrictions were lifted on Monday.

Drivers began to line up outside the border to Canada after midnight last night when the country was opened to vaccinated US travelers, following a 16-month ban. The new policy spurred a rush of tourists.

Canadian border traffic jam
Canadian border traffic jam at the Thousand Islands Bridge during the wee hours of August 9.

Canadian government data show a seven-hour wait time for border crossings between Fort Frances, Ontario, and International Falls, Minnesota - an area that the site said "rarely experiences delays."

Numerous other locations also had wait times between two to three hours, including the border between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and Calais Maine, as well as Lansdown, Ontario, and Alexandria Bay, New York.

Canadian border

At the onset of the pandemic, Canada banned all leisure travel from the US. In July, the country announced that the border would reopen on August 9 to fully-vaccinated non-essential travelers.

Several days ahead of the reopening, Canadian customs officers launched a work-to-rule strike - a protest where about 9,000 employees would only work following the exact requirements of their contract.

The two striking unions, Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), warned earlier in August that the protest could lead to delays.

"There will be no picket lines, everybody will be in the workplace, what that means is we'll be doing our job to the letter of the law," said Rick Savage, 1st National Vice President of the CIU, said in a statement. "We, as border officers, administer over 97 different laws and acts of Canada. We routinely, maybe not ignore, but we push aside certain things that may not have the importance, you know, at the time to uh, to allow for the borders to function smoothly. So, if we work to rule, it's going to result in significant delays to both the traveling public as well as to the commercial stream."

Canadian border

Discussions between the two unions and Canadian officials reached a stalemate last December, as the unions demanded higher pay and the ability to carry their guns in certain areas, including airports. The union members had not had a contract in three years.

The union struck a deal with the Canada Border Services Agency after 36 hours of negotiations late Friday night, ending the strike which had begun earlier that day. Despite the deal, the protest spurred a series of delays for commercial drivers at multiple checkpoints going into Canada from the US over the weekend.

canada border crossing
Closed border crossing counters are seen in Surrey, Canada, March 20, 2020.

On Friday, commercial vehicles were at a stand still in a line that extended over 6 miles past the entry point from Port Huron, Michigan into Canada. At the time, the Michigan Department of Transportation said the backup was causing delays along I-75 all the way into Detroit.

One TikTokker captured the 6.2-mile-long traffic jam on video.

@discgolfpaul.mi

The employees of the Canadian Border Services Agency go on strike.  #TeamofTomorrow #traffic #bluewaterbridge #porthuron #michigan

♬ original sound - Discgolfpaul.mi

The work slowdown on Friday impacted all Canadian airports, border crossings, commercial shipping ports, and postal facilities. While wait times have dwindled since the deal was struck on Friday, delays still remain.

A picture from News 4 in Buffalo, New York, highlighted the dramatic difference between traffic going into Canada versus the US on Monday morning.

Canada relies heavily on US vacationers and border traffic. Tourism generates over $83 billion per year and employs about 10% of Canadian workers, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

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A new USPS plan could add two days to delivery times for some Americans. Here are the states that could be hit hardest by mail delays.

USPS
  • The Postal Service's 10-year plan could slow mail delivery times by as much as two extra days.
  • The new policies would heavily impact delivery times along the West Coast, as well as parts of Florida and Texas.
  • The service cuts could make it even harder for USPS to compete with delivery services like Amazon Prime.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A new US Postal Service plan could tack on as much as two extra days to mail delivery times for some Americans, according to a recent analysis from The Washington Post.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the 10-year plan- which includes longer first-class delivery timelines, reduced post office hours, and higher prices - in March. The proposal still needs approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission, but would cut the amount of mail that is delivered by plane in half. It would also reduce the distance a piece of mail can travel within a day.

The new policies would heavily impact western states, as well as parts of Texas and Florida, according to The Post's analysis which found the plan would slow mail delivery in 27 states.

Major cities like Seattle, Portland, and Las Vegas could expect to tack on an extra day to delivery times due to the new proposal, the publication found. It also said the plan would disproportionately affect rural communities that rely more heavily on mail.

Here are the 27 states that would be at least partially impacted: Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota, Florida, New York, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Vermount, New Hampshire, Maryland.

A USPS spokesperson said the majority of mail will not be impacted and the changes will only add 1-2 days to about 30% of deliveries.

"Regardless of whether a letter or package travels 300 miles or 3,000 miles, our current standards require 3-day delivery for any destination within the contiguous United States if the drive is greater than 6 hours," the USPS spokesperson told Insider. "That is simply unattainable and forces us to overly rely on air transportation, yielding unreliable service and higher costs."

Read more: Louis DeJoy looks to be safe as head of the USPS. Experts say his plan to save the post office may pummel small sellers struggling to compete against Amazon.

Currently, the standard delivery time for USPS packages is about 2-3 days, but the publication reported the new plan would create average delivery times between 2-5 days. Current USPS standards maintain the 2-3 day delivery margin for mail regardless of its destination, but the new policies would mean mail that travels long distances across the US would have standard delivery times between 4-5 days.

The new policies could create more stability, according to DeJoy, who said the agency has not been able to maintain its delivery standards (2-3 day delivery windows at a success rate of 96%) for nearly 10 years. During the beginning of the pandemic, the Postal Service struggled to hit delivery timelines. This time last year, about 31% of mail was delivered outside of the 2-3 day delivery window.

DeJoy said the plan will lower operating costs and help the group avoid $160 billion in projected losses - more than double its annual revenue in 2020.

Experts told The Washington Post the new delivery standards would represent the most significant delay of US mail in "more than a generation." 21 attorneys general issued a statement opposing the changes earlier this week.

The attorneys general said that the new plan reflects a "flawed philosophy" prioritizing services such as package delivery "over those that it alone provides and on which countless Americans depend."

When the plan was released, industry officials warned that the service cuts could make it even more difficult for the Postal Service to compete with delivery services like Amazon Primes, FedEx, and the United Parcel Service.

Read The Washington Posts full report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The FAA wants the airline industry to fight decades of sexism on airplanes by removing words like ‘Cockpit,’ ‘Airman,’ and ‘Unmanned’

Pilots in cockpit
Airline pilots in an Airbus cockpit.
  • An FAA committee released a report recommending airlines shift to gender neutral language.
  • The group recommended airlines replace words like "Airman" with "Aviator" to promote inclusivity.
  • Women have little representation in the industry. 94% of pilots and flight engineers are white men.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The airline industry may soon move toward promoting more inclusive language in an effort to increase diversity.

On Wednesday, a Federal Aviation Administration advisory committee released a report recommending that airlines shift toward more gender neutral language by removing words like "Airman" and "Cockpit" from their lexicon.

The FAA group recommended airlines replace "airman" with "aviator" and "cockpit" with "flight deck." It also said "unmanned aerial system" should become "unscrewed aerial system" or "drone system," to name a few recommendations.

"Research shows that the utilization of general-neutral language can lead to a more inclusive environment that draws more people to the industry and helps keep them there," the committee said in its report.

The move would mirror changes that other organizations have made to be more inclusive toward women. In 2006, NASA decided that all terminology used in the space program would be gender neutral.

The recommendation from the FAA's drone advisory committee comes as a result of a push from the Biden administration for more equity in aviation - an industry that has been primarily dominated by white men. While many women serve as flight attendants, there are very few female or minority pilots and flight engineers. To date, about 94% of airline pilots and flight engineers are white men, according to data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By bringing more female representation into the industry, airlines could help combat a shortage of pilots that threatens to halt a post pandemic boom in travel. Though, gender neutral terminology will not target the lack of minority representation in the industry.

The new terminology is one step toward addressing decades of sexism in the aviation industry

In the past, the industry has benefited from the sexualization of women. In the 1950s through 1960s, flight attendants - called stewardesses at the time - were hired based on looks and were required to be unmarried, Axios reports. Most flight attendants at the time were forced to retire by the age of 35, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Some airlines became known for their stewardesses and even used them to advertise in the 60s. Braniff International Airways' slogan was "Does your wife know you're flying with us?" While Pan Am asked: "How do you like your stewardesses?"

Pan Am
A Pan American (Pan Am) airhostess serving champagne in the first class cabin of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
By the 70s, many airlines had flight attendants donning hot pants and go-go boots. National Airlines spent $9.5 million on a 1971 campaign that read "I'm Cheryl. Fly Me." The company later expanded the ads to include "I'm going to fly you as you've never been flown before" and claimed it saw a 23% jump in bookings.

In the 80s, the industry began to gradually shift away from stringent physical requirements for flight attendants, as well as the sexual advertising schemes. Though, the Association of Flight Attendants notes women in the industry have continued to struggle with representation, as well as pay - the median annual wage for pilots is nearly double a flight attendant's salary, according to federal data.

In the past year, flight attendants have been forced to grapple with another set of issues. In May, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant allegedly lost two teeth after a passenger assaulted her.

That month, the FAA said it was seeing a spike of unruly and aggressive behavior on airlines, citing moments when passengers hit, yelled, and shoved flight attendants. Last week, several flight attendants told Insider's Allana Akhtar that they have faced "unprecedented" instances of violence and aggression in-air.

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Videos show a herd of cows stampeding through Los Angeles as people try to lasso them after they broke free from a nearby slaughterhouse

A cow resting on hay. Cattle embryos have been found to be securities in the past.
Even cattle embryos have been found to be securities.
  • 40 cows raced through Pico Rivera streets after they escaped from a nearby slaughterhouse.
  • One cow was shot, while another trampled a Los Angeles resident.
  • Several residents captured the scene on video as police attempted to wrangle the wily cows.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

40 cows raced through a Los Angeles neighborhood on Tuesday night.

One cow trampled a Pico Rivera resident, sending him to the hospital, NBC News reported. Another cow was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) deputy after it charged a family of four, including a baby, according to KABC.

Many residents attempted to capture the stray cows on foot, video footage shows, but LASD officers quickly took over, bringing in lassos and barricading the cows into a cul-de-sac.

A crowd developed and captured the scene as it unfolded on video. One clip shows a cow bucking as a man tries to lasso it. The videos show the cows running through the neighborhood, feeding on nearby gardens and busting down mailboxes and fences.

The cows had escaped from a nearby slaughterhouse after a gate was left unlocked, NBC Los Angeles reported. The herd appeared on Beverly Road and Durfee Avenue in Pico Rivera around 8:30 pm. At the time the LASD warned residents to stay away from the scene.

It took several hours for the LASD to wrangle the herd of cows into a trailer. 38 cows were recaptured within two hours, while one cow evaded police until after 11 pm, ABC News reported.

It's not the first time a herd of cows has caused a stir. Earlier this year, over 65 cows escaped from a farm in Indiana and stopped highway traffic as they barreled down the roads. This time last year, about 200 goats raced through San Jose, California.

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Amazon is reportedly buying 1,000 autonomous truck-driving systems, which could pave the way for one day ditching drivers

A truck using PlusDrive
  • Amazon reportedly ordered 1,000 autonomous truck-driving systems from a startup called Plus.
  • The retail giant also has the option to buy shares of the AI startup, according to a recent filing.
  • The technology falls in line with Amazon's focus on AI-related technology.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Amazon has agreed to buy 1,000 autonomous truck-driving systems from a self-driving trucking startup, Bloomberg first reported.

The self-driving trucking startup, Plus, makes AI-based software for trucks, and has also reached an agreement with Amazon to offer the ecommerce giant the opportunity to purchase shares, according to a Monday filing.

As part of the agreement, Amazon has the option to purchase up to 420,702,410 preferred shares of Plus at about $0.47 each, which would represent a 20% stake in the company. If Amazon were to purchase the maximum available shares offered, it would represent an investment of nearly $200 million.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment on Bloomberg's report beyond pointing Insider to the financial filing. A Plus spokesperson also declined to comment.

Plus, based in California, is one of many companies that is working to create driverless systems. The Amazon partnership could eventually help Amazon remove the need for human drivers. This is just the latest example of the retail giant exploring what a future that does not rely on human delivery drivers could look like. This time last year, Amazon agreed to buy Zoox, self-driving taxi for over $1 billion. Amazon's autonomous robotaxi was unveiled later that year.

By using Plus' technology, Amazon could also eventually help overcome a national labor shortage that has heavily impacted the trucking industry, forcing delivery delays and rising transportation costs. For now, the system - PlusDrive - still requires a licensed driver.

But that could change in coming years. PlusDrive is Plus' first product and it operates similarly to Tesla's "full self-driving" software, which requires a licensed driver to keep their eyes on the road in case the system malfunctions or needs intervention. Plus CEO David Liu told Insider's Mark Matousek the company hopes to sell a product that does not require a driver by the end of 2024.

Read more: This $3 billion autonomous-trucking startup is riding the SPAC boom by taking a page from Tesla's playbook

Plus started delivering automated-driving systems for semi-trucks earlier this year to companies in US and China. The company has provided Chinese delivery company SF Holding with its system which allows semi-trucks to drive over 900 miles per day.

Plus was founded in 2016 and announced plans to go public via a $3.3 billion SPAC deal in May.

It will not be Amazon's first foray into automated technology. Amazon has long used AI-related technology to monitor employees and maximize productivity. The company has used AI as anything from a tool to hire talent to a system that tracks delivery drivers' movements and can even sense when a driver yawns.

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