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Crossing the Atlantic

180 years ago the first steamship crossed the Atlantic, halving travel time and beginning a trend that has cut transit time by 98 percent

3 min read
Photo-illustration by Stuart Bradford
Photo-illustration: Stuart Bradford

Photo-illustration: Stuart BradfordPhoto-illustration: Stuart Bradford

Commercial sailing ships had long taken three, sometimes four weeks to make the eastbound crossing of the Atlantic; the westbound route, against the wind, usually took six weeks. The first steamship made the eastward crossing only in 1833, when the Quebec-built SS Royal William went to England, after stopping to take on coal in Nova Scotia. It was only in April 1838—180 years ago this month—that steamships pioneered the westward route. It happened in an unexpectedly dramatic way.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy
Purple

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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