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Motorola patents an autonomous car that can arrest you

Staff Contributor



We bring you a peculiar case. Of those that make you wonder why someone would be interested in inventing this kind of thing. It is an autonomous car patented by Motorola, which would be able to arrest its passengers.

The description might sound absurd. But, according to public patent records, discovered by JWZ colleagues; we find ourselves with an autonomous patrol vehicle for the police. Which can analyze the detainees in it.

It is well thought of and strange. But technically the autonomous car would work like this:

The suspect is arrested and put into the police car.
There the intelligent equipment of the vehicle is used.
A quick breathalyzer test is applied to the devices themselves.
A screen reads your rights to the detainee.
A smart assistant allows you to contact your lawyer.
You can even link a video conference with your defender
You can make online payment of fines and penalties to release the detainee.
And as appropriate, the autonomous car can only drive itself. To take the prisoner to jail, his house, the police station; or where appropriate.
In effect, this smart patrol does practically all the work of a policeman. And that may sound very attractive to the authorities.

However, it remains a mere patent. And it may be years before we see this toy in

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Hey Walmart, are you listening?

Staff Contributor



Walmart just won a patent for audio surveillance technology that measures workers’ performance, and could even listen to their conversations with customers at checkout.

A patent obtained by Walmart would allow to make use of sound sensors in its stores. The situation has aroused worldwide concern about an eventual breach of privacy.

A CNET report explained how the company has just obtained a license to capture a variety of sounds in stores “to determine the performance and effectiveness of employees at the time of payment.”

The system could be used to capture the beeps produced by a scanner and even the sound of the bags when paying. With all this information, they could find out the number of items in a transaction or even the number of bags used.

Obviously, these sensors would not only capture the ambient sound, but also conversations. The patent cited by the same means, mentions that the system could be used to listen to practically everything:

The sound sensors can capture the audio of the conversations between the guests and an employee (attending in the box or terminal). The system can process the audio of the conversation to determine if the employee at the terminal is greeting the guests.

Walmart said that the system is not yet being implemented in its stores and that there is no clarity whether or not it will be occupied:

This patent is a concept that would help us collect metrics and improve the payment process by listening to the sounds produced by bags, cars and cash registers and not intended for any other use (…) We present patents frequently, but that does not mean that the patents will actually be implemented.

A while ago it was also known that the firm wanted to use facial recognition technology to know if its clients “were sad”.


Patent 1 

Patent 2

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Rauner launches autonomous vehicle testing in Illinois



Rex | Flickr via Creative Commons

Gov. Bruce Rauner opened Illinois for autonomous vehicle testing, which could get underway this winter.

Rauner signed an executive order Thursday ushering in Autonomous Illinois, a multi-agency public-private partnership to allow for local testing of autonomous vehicles.

“This technology is here and Illinois is ready to embrace it,” Rauner said in a statement. “Working with our public and private partners, we can make our roads safer, save lives, attract investment and create new high-tech jobs throughout the state.”

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn Thursday said the executive order will make the state a leader in helping develop future technologies.

“We are the transportation hub of North America, the freight capital of the country and home to millions of commuters in urban, suburban and rural environments,” Blankenhorn said. “We experience all four seasons, providing challenges for all modes of transportation.”

Blankenhorn said autonomous vehicles can help reduce the number of fatal crashes. He said 94 percent of fatal crashed are caused by human error. There have been more than 1,000 deaths in Illinois over the past two years, he said.

Some of the guidelines laid out in the executive order includes IDOT creating a registration system for entities wishing to test autonomous vehicles. Such registrants would be required to have a licensed driver in the driver’s seat able to take control of the vehicle during tests.

The Autonomous Illinois effort will connect communities interested in automated vehicle testing with industry, universities, research institutions and other technology partners.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis said his city will be one of the first areas that will begin testing.

“These are the kind of jobs, these are the kind of high paying [research and development] jobs that this state needs and we’re excited to see that happening,” Ardis said.

Blankenhorn said Chicago officials have also shown interest, as have some southern Illinois communities hoping to do closed-track testing for freight vehicles like semi trucks. Blankenhorn said testing could begin as early as this winter.

State Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, has been working on legislation to allow autonomous vehicle testing on Illinois roadways. He said he’s still reviewing Rauner’s order, but said it was exciting. Zalewski said lawmakers will still need to craft legislation to address issues related to autonomous vehicles.

“We’re going to have to reconcile the additional levels of autonomy in future permutations of these vehicles,” Zalewski said.

Zalewski also said the question of liability in collisions must still be addressed by lawmakers. The executive order says each vehicle should be covered by motor vehicle insurance or other types of financial responsibility as required by law, but Zalewski has previously said that doesn’t spell out if the person behind the wheel of a driverless car, or the driverless car’s software developer is liable.

Josh Witkowski, the state legislative coordinator with motorcycle lobby ABATE of Illinois, said he has concerns about the executive order. He said it opens Illinois motorcyclists to the “wild, wild west” of autonomous vehicle testing.

“There should be a true collaborative effort to come up with a set of defined rules for the testing program before launching the testing program and that doesn’t appear to be happening here,” Witkowski said.

He said his group, which endorsed Rauner for another term, is disappointed.

The executive order requires Autonomous Illinois to work with advocacy groups and other stakeholders to identify areas of interest.

Information about Autonomous Illinois is available online at

Article by Greg Bishop with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit

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Illinois Attorney General wants answers about robocalls



Robocalls could soon make up nearly half of all calls to cell phones next year and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants let phone carriers get more involved in curbing the practice.

Madigan is joining attorneys general from 33 other states to push the Federal Communications Commission to allow mobile phone providers to better go after automated calls on their networks.

“I urge the FCC to act quickly and encourage providers to develop and implement new detection and blocking technology as soon as possible,” Madigan said.

Jonathan Sasse, marketing executive with FirstOrion, a company that provides blocking services, said nearly 30 percent of phone calls made to a cell phone this year were from scammers. He expects the problem to get much worse.

“Looking at existing trends, we predict that nearly half of all calls to our mobile phones by next year will be scammers,” Sasse said.

Automated calling technology has become so inexpensive. Some services advertise online that they can make “millions of calls” for less than a penny a minute.

According to a release from Madigan’s office, the Federal Trade Commission received 4.5 million complaints regarding illegal robocalls in 2017, two and a half times more than it received in 2014. Illinois consumers filed nearly 300,000 complaints about robocalls last year.

A Harris poll found that Americans have been swindled out of $9.5 billion annually by robocall scammers.

The federal Do-Not-Call list doesn’t stop operations based outside of the United States.

“The Do-Not-Call List doesn’t work,” Sasse said. “Especially when you’re dealing with criminals.”

Sasse said the best way to fight them yourself is to look into your mobile carrier’s existing blocking services.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit

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