We’ve all felt the need to catch 40 winks at inconvenient times, but one Candian man took his need for shut-eye to a whole new level.
Alberta police have formally charged a 20-year-old man who was caught asleep behind the wheel of his Tesla while the electric vehicle was speeding on autopilot. Authorities were alerted to the scene on the afternoon of July 9th by a caller who noted that both of the front seats were fully reclined with no visible operator. Sgt. Darrin Turnbull told CBC News on Thursday that the car was traveling 87mph in a zone with a speed limit of 68mph. Both the driver and the passenger appeared to be fully asleep, according to police.
“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” Turnbull told CBC. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before, but of course, the technology wasn’t there.”
The car appeared to be driving on autopilot at more than 140 km/h, RCMP say. https://t.co/vU7dAGfwMC
— CBC News (@CBCNews) September 18, 2020
The model in question was a 2019 Tesla Model S, which has an array of autopilot features from auto-steer to “traffic-aware” cruise control, both of which were engaged when the car was stopped. But despite its name, the autopilot function still requires an active driver to monitor the road, making a lack of one remarkably dangerous all on its own. It turned out to be even more detrimental than the concerned police originally thought because once the officers activated their car’s emergency lights, the Tesla began accelerating and eventually reached a speed of 93mph, which was confirmed by a radar scan.
Officers eventually caught up with the vehicle and issued the sleeping driver a 24-hour license suspension for fatigue before an investigation resulted in a charge of dangerous driving. The driver received a court summons scheduled for this December. Fortunately, no one was injured as the incident ensued, but it acts as a serious cautionary tale as Tesla’s autopilot functions have come under sharp scrutiny for their potential links to more than one crash and related death.
Local resident disgruntled about WestJet's response time, six months after pandemic started – West Kelowna News – Castanet.net
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no secret that cancellations of flights have become far more regular than in pre-pandemic times.
Peachland resident John Wardley is just one of many who have experienced it, after his WestJet flight from Kelowna to Mexico via Calgary booked just a few weeks ago for Nov. 28 was cancelled last week.
However, Wardley says it’s not the cancellation that bothered him the most – it was the inability to talk with someone on the other end of the phone.
“I went to the website [on Monday], the flights were cancelled and there was a phone number. When you call that number, the answering machine says that there is a six to eight hour wait, and if you leave your number, you can call back. Which I did, I called back and that was 36 hours ago, I haven’t had a call back.”
He called WestJet another 6 or 7 times later that evening, and listened to a different answering machine telling him they were accepting call backs for Sunday – six days later.
“I realize everybody has to change their business models, but you’ve got to make sure that the people who are supporting you, your paying customers, treat them right. Tell them why this is happening, this is what we’re going to do, not you can book a phone call in a week’s time, which I still couldn’t do.
“You’re allowed six different attempts, you pick six times, and I picked six different times, and then the recording says you’ve extinguished all your attempts – goodbye.”
Eventually resolving his case by posting a critical review on WestJet’s Facebook page, Wardley hopes the company will make changes to ensure others will not find themselves in the same position he did.
However, booking onto another WestJet flight scheduled for Dec. 5 hasn’t been without further costs on his part.
Wardley rented out his home for the five months he planned to be in Mexico, and has now been forced to make other arrangements due to the schedule change.
“As of Dec. 1, I’m homeless. I’ve rented my house out for five months and my flight date was Nov. 28, so as of Dec. 1 I have nowhere to live … I took the Dec. 5 flight, but the problem with that is I’m now going to have five days of hotel bills and food bills.”
Although Wardley understands airlines are doing it tough during the COVID-19 pandemic, he says customer service should still be top priority.
“I don’t know why they can’t just have the staff. They know this is going to happen. WestJet is not a small organization. They’re one of only two main carriers in this country and they’ve got a lot of support from people over the years … all we want, especially people my age, we just want somebody to talk to.”
WestJet has laid off more than half of its 14,000-strong workforce since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.
Public relations advisor Morgan Bell told Castanet they are “fully staffed,” and working hard to take care of guests as quickly as possible.
“We continue to experience very high volumes for our phone, email and social media support channels and apologize for any delays our guests are facing while trying to reach out.
“The COVID-19 crisis has hit WestJet and the global aviation industry with devastating force and we continue to monitor frequently-evolving advisories, travel restrictions and guidance carefully to ensure we are managing our airline responsibly. We are adjusting our schedule more frequently than normal to meet the needs of our guests, our employees, as well as our airline and unfortunately changes can significantly impact our contact centre wait times.
“We appreciate and thank our guests for their patience and understanding during this time.”
For more information on WestJet’s travel policies, visit the website.
Short-video app Quibi shutting down just months after launch – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Tali Arbel, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020 8:43PM EDT
Short-video app Quibi said it is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers.
The company said Wednesday that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets. “Quibi is not succeeding,” its top executives bluntly declared in a letter posted online.
The video platform – designed for people who were out and about to watch on their phones – was one of a slew of new streaming services started to challenge Netflix over the past few years, most of which were part of much bigger tech and entertainment companies, like Apple and Disney.
Quibi, short for “quick bites,” raised $1.75 billion from investors including Hollywood players Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom and its leadership were big names: entertainment industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman.
But the service struggled to reach viewers, despite a 90-day free trial, as short videos abound on the internet and the coronavirus pandemic kept many people at home. Part of the appeal of the service, which started at $5 a month, was supposed to be that you could watch short videos while out, without access to a TV. Being stuck at home made TV more desirable than watching on a phone, and Quibi only later and slowly rolled out TV options. Katzenberg blamed the pandemic for Quibi’s woes.
Katzenberg’s connections helped line up stars to make and star in its videos, including Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lopez. There was a short version of “60 Minutes” and reality shows. The shows never achieved big name recognition, although the platform scored some Emmys earlier this year.
Why did it fail? “Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing,” Katzenberg and Whitman wrote. “Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two.”
Quibi doesn’t release subscriber figures. Mobile research firm Sensor Tower estimates 9.6 million installations of Quibi’s mobile app since its launch; that doesn’t mean those are actually users. Other streaming services have benefited from having customers stuck at home during the pandemic. One of the most successful new services, Disney Plus, has more than 60 million subscribers. Netflix has had a blockbuster year.
“While we have enough capital to continue operating for a significant period of time, we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace,” Whitman, the CEO, said in a statement.
The company said that money from the sale of its assets will go toward paying off liabilities and whatever remains will be returned to investors.
Quibi app to shut down – Entertainment News – Castanet.net
Photo: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN
Movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service, Quibi, is shutting down, six months after it launched with original series and films featuring Anna Kendrick and Sophie Turner.
Katzenberg and his partner Meg Whitman are expected to confirm their decision to wind down the short-form video service this week after speaking with investors, according to Deadline.
The service launched in April just after COVID-19 shut down Hollywood.
Initial pay-to-view items on the service included projects directed by heavyweights Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Antoine Fuqua, while Kendrick’s series Dummy and Kiefer Sutherland’s remake of The Fugitive became quick hits. The service also produced the Emmy-winning series #FreeRayshawn.
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