iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tesla's autopilot mode is undergoing a preliminary investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker said today, following a recent crash that killed a driver who was using the semi-autonomous feature.
The Tesla driver was on a divided highway using autopilot when a tractor-trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S, according to a statement released today by the company.
"The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S."
Tesla's autopilot radar tunes out things such as overhead road signs in order to avoid "false braking events," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter. Neither the Tesla driver nor the autopilot system noticed the white side of the high ride tractor-trailer in the bright sky, the company said.
The automaker said it informed federal authorities as part of its standard procedure following the crash and noted the preliminary investigation is to determine "whether the system worked according to expectations."
When the Tesla autopilot is activated, it reminds drivers to "always keep your hands on the wheel. Be prepared to take over at any time."
"Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert," the company's statement said. "Nonetheless, when used in conjunction with driver oversight, the data is unequivocal that Autopilot reduces driver workload and results in a statistically significant improvement in safety when compared to purely manual driving."
The identity of the victim was not immediately known. However, Tesla's statement said the man "was a friend to Tesla and the broader [electric vehicle] community, a person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends."
This is the first known fatality in more than 130 million miles driven with autopilot activated, according to Tesla.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google announced Thursday its next generation Android operating system will be known as Android Nougat, keeping with the tradition of moving through the alphabet with its updates and naming them after a dessert.
Nougat is in good company, joining a virtual Candy Land of predecessors including KitKat, Lollipop and Marshmallow.
Android N is currently in the hands of developers and will be rolled out to a wider audience in the fall.
Among the new features are split-screen multi-tasking, faster switching between apps and grouped notifications from a single app.
A power-saving mode called Doze was launched with Android Marshmallow, allowing users to keep their system in a sleep-like state in order to conserve battery life. With Android Nougat, Doze can also save battery life when a phone screen is turned off.
Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to hacking, some of Silicon Valley's biggest names aren't having the best month.
The latest victim appeared to be Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, whose Twitter account posted a bizarre series of tweets Wednesday night, including one naming a new CEO. Iribe's biography was also changed to read: "hey its @Lid... im not testing ya security im just havin a laugh."
An account for @Lid has since been suspended and the offending tweets have been deleted from Iribe's account.
OurMine, a group that has claimed responsibility for a number of recent account hijackings, including Google CEO Sundar Pichai's Quora and Twitter accounts and Mark Zuckerberg's Twitter, appears to have pulled off the prank.
"We are just testing your security," the hackers wrote from Pichai's account. They directed readers to learn more about OurMine's cyber-security services for hire, which range in price from $100 for a social media scan to $5,000 at the corporate level.
A spokesperson for the group told tech site The Next Web: "We are just testing people security [sic], we never change their passwords, we did it because there is other hackers can hack them and change everything."
Oculus did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Facebook has won the latest round in a battle with a Belgian privacy watchdog group about how the social network tracks non-users who visit publicly available Facebook pages.
At issue is Facebook's "datr" cookie -- a piece of code that is downloaded onto your computer when you visit certain sites. The social network said the cookies helped keep Facebook secure and that any data was discarded after 10 days, while the Belgian Privacy Commission, which initially won the case last November, said the practice was a violation of Belgian Internet users' privacy.
The ruling carried a 250,000 euro per day fine if Facebook did not comply, prompting the social network to block non-members in Belgium from seeing public Facebook pages.
The court overturned the case on Wednesday after siding with Facebook's argument that this case should be out of Belgium's jurisdiction since Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland.
"Today's decision means simply that the Belgian citizen cannot obtain privacy protection when it concerns foreign players. The citizen is thus exposed to massive violations of privacy," Willem Debeuckelaere, president of the Belgium privacy commission said in a statement, according to the BBC.
The group said it plans to explore a final appeal with the Court of Cassation, which has the power to nullify previous judgments but can't hand down new ones.
Facebook did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the case.
Google(NEW YORK) -- An undersea cable backed by Google and five other companies is going online Thursday for the first time, marking the beginning of faster Internet speeds for users in Asia.
The $300 million project began in 2014, connecting Oregon and Japan with an undersea cable that would handle an initial capacity targeted at 60 terabits per second, allowing users in Asia to enjoy speedier connections.
"Internet users and our customers in Japan today should notice things seem to be moving a bit... FASTER," Urs Holzle, Google's senior vice president of technical infrastructure said in a Google post. "FASTER is one of just a few hundred submarine cables connecting various parts of the world, which collectively form an important backbone that helps run the Internet."
It's not the first time Google has gone underwater to improve Internet speed. In 2008, the company invested in cable that connected Southeast Asia and Japan.
The company also backed UNITY, another trans-Pacific cable system between the United States and Japan that debuted in 2010. The cable has a capacity of 7.68 terabits per second, according to Submarine Cable Networks, meaning that the newest cable blows it out of the water when it comes to capacity.
Facebook and Microsoft announced in May they'll team up to lay an undersea cable system across the Atlantic Ocean that will deliver faster connections to online and cloud services from both companies.
Construction of that cable, called MAREA, will begin in August, according to a statement from both companies, and is expected to be completed in October 2017. MAREA, which is the Spanish word for "tide," will span 4,100 miles from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Bilbao on the northern coast of Spain.
iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- After much admiration and anticipation, the world’s largest uncut diamond failed to sell at a public auction Wednesday night.
The 1,109 carat white diamond did not meet the minimum reserve price, which was not specified by Sotheby’s auction house in London. The rough stone was expected to fetch at least $70 million, but the bidding stopped at $61 million, Sotheby’s said.
The rock was discovered in November by the Lucara Diamond Corp. in the company's Karowe mine in north-central Botswana. It’s the largest diamond to be recovered in the southern African nation and the biggest find ever in over 100 years. The tennis ball-sized stone, named the Lesedi la Rona, or “Our Light” in Setswana, is thought to be 3 billion years old.
“Every aspect of tonight’s auction was unprecedented,” Sotheby’s said in a statement Wednesday evening after bidding ended. “No one alive today has ever seen a gem-quality rough diamond of this incredible scale; no rough diamond of importance has ever before been offered before at public auction; and no diamond -- polished or rough -- has ever been estimated at this price level.”
Lucara CEO William Lamb said in a statement that his company will retain the Lesedi la Rona. Just hours before the historic auction, a nervous and excited Lamb told ABC News the “best case scenario” would be for the diamond to sell to someone who will showcase it at a museum rather than a private collection.
Hoping to share the colossal rough with the widest audience possible, the Canadian mining company broke with tradition by selling it at a public auction instead of inviting sealed bids from some wealthy dealers in the diamond industry. The Lesedi la Rona is second only to the huge 3,016.75-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was mined in South Africa in 1905 and produced nine major diamonds that are part of the historic Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, according to Sotheby's.
Two independent reports commissioned by Sotheby’s found that the Lesedi la Rona may have the potential to yield one of the largest top-quality diamonds that has ever been cut and polished. The Gemological Institute of America also stated the rarity and characteristics of the stone in a letter to Sotheby’s, which was published by the auction house.
“The 1,109 ct rough’s top color and transparency exemplify the ‘limpid’ appearance commonly associated with type IIa diamonds,” the California-based nonprofit gem research institute wrote, referring to a rare subgroup that comprises less than 2 percent of all gem diamonds. “Once polished or examined in more detail a final answer will become clear.”
Henri Barguirdjian, president and chief executive of Graff Diamonds, told The New York Times that each carat of the 1,109 carat gem was worth about $62,000.
For the week ending June 25, the number of people filing for benefits climbed from an revised level of 258,000 the previous week to 268,000, marking the 69th consecutive week initial jobless claims came in below 300,000. It’s the longest streak since 1973, the Labor Department says.
The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.
The four-week moving average was unchanged from the previous week’s revised average of 266,750.
Kosrae Nautilus Resort(NEW YORK) -- Twenty-four years ago, Doug and Sally Beitz opened a luxury resort in Micronesia. They raised four sons in paradise.
And now, that island can be yours.
The Beitzes are headed home to their native Australia to be with their grandchildren full-time. And on July 26, they will hand over Kosrae Nautilus Resort in Micronesia to one lucky person.
It's a one in 50,000 (at least) chance. But for $49, there's not much to lose.
The idea to hold the raffle instead of a traditional sale stemmed from the Beitzes desire to hand over their lives’ work to someone who has dreamed of island life just like they once did and will continue to respect the island's precious ecosystem -- and not simply the person with the deepest pockets.
“We wanted to make our resort affordable for everyone,” Doug Beitz explained. “While we are sad to part with it, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to make someone’s dreams come true.”
Anyone anywhere in the world over the age of 21 is eligible to win. But if fewer than 50,000 tickets are sold, the raffle winner will instead win a cash prize in the amount of 50 percent of the total ticket sales instead of the resort.
But Adam Beitz, one of the couple's sons, told ABC News that's an unlikely scenario.
"We’ve had to upgrade servers twice due to the volume of traffic has caused our site to crash. We’re well on track to hit the 50,000. Splitting the winnings isn’t an option now, someone will definitely win the hotel and have their life forever changed," he said.
He added that the majority of tickets have been sold in the U.S., with Australia in close second.
The owners claim the resort is debt-free and profitable. It has 16 long-term employees. The resort has 55 percent minimum occupancy guaranteed through August 2017. It has a 4.5 of 5 rating on TripAdvisor.
David Ramos/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mark Zuckerberg’s construction of a six-foot wall around his oceanfront property in Hawaii has reportedly made him a lightning rod in the local community.
The wall around the 32-year-old Facebook billionaire’s 700-plus-acre Kilauea property is reportedly being built to block noise from nearby roads.
Local residents are complaining, however, that the wall will block their own views and the ocean breeze.
“The feeling of it is really oppressive. It’s immense,” Kilauea resident Gy Hall told The Garden Island newspaper. “It’s really sad that somebody would come in, and buy a huge piece of land and the first thing they do is cut off this view that’s been available and appreciative by the community here for years.”
Other neighbors described the wall to the newspaper as a “monstrosity” and described it as not feeling “neighborly.”
“I’m super unhappy about that. I know that land belongs to Zuckerberg. Money is no option for him. I’m 5’8” and when I’m walking, I see nothing but wall,” Kilauea resident Donna Mcmillen told The Garden Island. “It just doesn’t fit in with the natural beauty that we have here. There are people on the island who money can pay for anything. These kind of things that they do take away what Kauai is all about.”
According to Forbes, Zuckerberg spent upwards of $100 million in 2014 to acquire the property on Kauai’s North Shore. The Facebook CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have an infant daughter.
Neighbors told The Garden Island they have tried to reach out to Zuckerberg, whose primary residence is in California, through letters and even signs on the wall.
“Somebody has been putting up signs, appealing to Zuckerberg’s generosity and humanity -- polite signs on the wall -- but those signs just get ripped off as soon as they appear,” Hall said. “There’s a total disconnect from what the community is concerned about and what he wants.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Zuckerberg’s Kauai operation told ABC News the wall is compliant with the area's rules and regulations.
“Rock walls like this one being built along the roadway are routinely used as sound barriers to reduce highway and road noise, and that is its primary purpose," the statement read. "The sound barrier follows all regulated rules and regulations by the county and our entire team remains committed to ensuring that any development respects the local landscape and environment and is considerate of neighbors.”
At least one resident also told ABC News the wall is traditional lava rock, which is consistent with the local environment.
Other observers are also questioning if Zuckerberg is building the wall as a privacy measure. All beaches in Hawaii are open to the public, meaning anyone could approach Zuckerberg's property by water.
Zuckerberg's potential privacy concerns made headlines earlier after he appeared to cover the camera and microphone jack of his laptop with tape.
The privacy measure was spotted by Twitter user Chris Olson after Zuckerberg posted a photo on Facebook celebrating the growth of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, with his laptop in the background.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pundits and auto analysts once pointed their fingers at millennials for the impending death of the automobile.
Young adults, according to several studies, were choosing urban life over suburbia and shunning cars for mass transit, bikes and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. They even had little interest in getting a driver’s license.
Now, some of these same millennials, ages 19 to 34, are not only embracing driving but choosing premium cars and sport utility vehicles as their ride of choice.
Luxury British automaker Bentley first noticed the shift a few years ago. Millennials started leasing and financing vehicles, such as the Continental GT, in 2013 and they now make up 8 percent of all Bentley sales, the company said.
The Continental GT is among the most popular cars in the high-end market for the 18 to 34 age range, according to Bentley. Its top competitors include Maserati, Rolls-Royce, McLaren and Aston Martin, none of which responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
A new Continental GT V8 coupe starts at $198,500. The average age of a Bentley owner in the United States is 53.
“Millennials represent an increasingly important customer base,” James Pillar, Bentley’s head of marketing, said. “They are the largest potential consumer group today, and their influence is greater than simply the money that they have to spend. We believe that this generation's approach to life and social issues will have more impact than merely their money.”
Danielle Weinstein said she has seen an uptick in millennial Bentley drivers over the past year as a salesperson with Manhattan Motorcars in New York City. A millennial herself, she said her peers are attracted to Bentleys because of their status.
“Millennials are looking to set themselves apart,” Weinstein, 32, told ABC News. “They want to be catered to [and] they want a unique experience. They want to make a statement.”
Manhattan Motorcars has sold 33 new Bentleys this year alone, eight of which were sold to millennials, the dealership says.
Weinstein’s observation appears to be on target. Autotrader.com conducted a study of millennial car buyers and shoppers in 2013 and found that 32 percent of millennials “like to impress people with their lifestyle” and 40 percent “like to show off their taste.”
In addition, millennials said owning the “best brand” is important to them, according to Autotrader.com.
Weinstein posts Bentley videos on a YouTube channel she set up to connect with millennials who have the cash to splurge on a luxury car, with the average lease for a Continental at about $2,400 per month. Social media has helped drum up interest in the nearly century-old brand, she said.
“Millennials are drawn to social media advertising,” Weinstein said. “They come [into the dealership] to network. I know social media attracts millennials.”
It’s not just Bentleys that millennials want to drive. German carmaker Audi said it has been experiencing a similar level of interest in its cars.
“We’ve seen a 23 percent increase in millennials coming to the brand in the past two years,” Audi USA director of marketing Loren Angelo said.
Even though the average age of an Audi driver is 50, Angelo said, the company has been aggressively marketing to millennials. For instance, Audi has made it a priority to hire younger employees, focus its attention on social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitch, and strategically place its products where millennials will see them: in hit movies like Iron Man and TV shows such as Pretty Little Liars.
Audi also established a partnership with Major League Soccer to grow its customer base.
Angelo said millennials are leasing the Q3, Audi's entry-level SUV with a base price of $33,700, and the brand’s luxury crossover Q5, which starts at $40,900.
The millennial-luxury trend extends to Jaguar Land Rover as well.
Kim McCullough, the company’s vice president of marketing, told ABC News in a statement that “Land Rover buyers are the youngest buyers of luxury SUVs, with half being between the ages of 20 and 48. With the recent addition of the Jaguar F-PACE and XE, pre-orders for those models reflect a younger buyer.”
For example, half of the pre-orders for the Jaguar F-PACE were for buyers under the age of 50, McCullough said.
Acura is the No. 1 luxury brand with millennials in America as a percentage of overall brand sales, according to research firm IHS Automotive. Acura’s RDX and MDX SUVs are ranked in the top three of all luxury crossovers-SUVs sold to 35-year-olds and younger.
Millennials bought four million cars and trucks in the U.S. last year, according to J.D. Power, second only to baby boomers. Millennials accounted for 28 percent of the new car market in 2015.
Karl Brauer, a senior director at Kelley Blue Book, said he’s not surprised that millennials are purchasing high-end automobiles because millennials at all income levels have returned to driving.
“There was a delay in millennial automotive purchases but it was just that -- a delay,” he said. “The entire spectrum of millennials are buying cars. Every brand is seeing more millennial buyers.”
Millennials also have something else in common with their parents: They’re choosing to lease rather than finance. Leasing has hit record levels, with nearly 29 percent of all new vehicles sold in the fourth quarter of 2015 leased, versus 25.11 percent in the same year-ago period, according to Experian Automotive.
About 53 percent of luxury cars were leased in just the first two months of this year. Leasing made up just 20 percent of the market five years ago.
“Millennials are not interested in the pure buying model … and a lot of them don’t want to buy a car for the long term,” Brauer said. “Leasing also makes owning a car more affordable.”
He traced the reversal to the fact that millennials are growing up and having families.
“They have to buy cars now. They’ve reached that life stage,” he noted. “They’ve got a wife and kids.”
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google might know you better than some of your closest friends.
The astounding amount of information Google knows about users can now be accessed in a refreshed "My Activity" page.
Keep in mind, this walk down memory lane is more than just Google searches. For many people, this trove of information includes everything from their Chrome browsing history, searches and videos watched on YouTube to various Android activity.
Google wants users to take control of the data and decide what they want associated with their account.
Much of this information is useful to Google, because it allows the search giant to tailor a "faster, smarter and more useful" experience, a message on the new portal explained. However, the page allows users to search by keyword, date and product to find specific searches or entire topics they wish to delete from their accounts.
After manicuring your digital history to your liking, step over to Activity Controls to fine-tune the settings you want moving forward.
While much of this information has been accessible before, the new page makes it easier to browse your history in one place. The personal Google retrospective comes as the company rolls out new personalized ad settings across apps and websites that partner with Google.
Instead of automatically opting all users into the new feature, Google is instead asking users to agree or choose to opt out via the "my Activity" page.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Mega Millions jackpot swelled again overnight, surpassing $400 million, after there were no winners in Tuesday’s drawing.
The top prize now stands at a jaw-dropping $415 million, or $286 million in cash, making it the third largest jackpot in the game’s history, according to lottery officials.
The numbers drawn on Tuesday for a $390 million jackpot, the game's sixth-largest jackpot to date, were 55, 17, 15, 20, 35, and the Mega Ball was 7.
One second-prize ticket for $1 million was purchased in New Jersey, matching all five of Tuesday’s winning numbers but not the Mega Ball. No one has chosen all of the winning numbers plus the Mega Ball in the past 32 drawings.
The next drawing will be on Friday at 11 p.m. EST. Visit the Mega Millions website check your numbers.