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Flying taxis coming to Nairobi, but you’ll pay Sh800 per minute

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Nairobi has been identified as one of the launch cities for an ambitious flying cars plan. The McFly.aero blockchain project is starting the set up of infrastructure for air taxis service in 23 cities in 13 countries, including Nairobi.

It is a two-part business incubator, the first spanning a technological consortium of 12 companies that is developing the elements of the city air taxis, across the flying cars with Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOLs), energy and traffic management infrastructure.

The second part involves building local communities called McFly Chapters, aiming at community engagement that gets people to share information on the project, getting industry experts to share research and entrepreneurs to establish local connections with manufacturers, with real estate partners for landing pads, and even with government bodies for registration.

It is expected the project will open new business for entrepreneurs, engineering and drone experts, and manufacturers of hardware and software for the blockchain-powered IOT for the urban air taxi infrastructure.

“The VTOL autonomy will be implemented over time as users and regulators become more comfortable with the technology and see statistical proof that autonomy provides greater levels of safety than human pilots,” he said.

The idea is that passengers will be picked up at the nearest helipad or heliport to their pick-up point and dropped at the nearest pad to their destination, and will take a 5-10-minute walk at either end.

Unlike helicopters, the cars will be efficient in fuel use, noise and safety, said Bezhko.

He said the initial production cost will be $120,000 (Sh12m) per vehicle, but will come down to $30,000 (Sh3m) to $40,000 (Sh4m) once they go into mass production.

As far as fares go, the rides have an indicative price of $8 (Sh800) per minute, but pricing will be based on the grid’s load, and transactions will be made in McFly tokens on the blockchain.

The use of blockchain comes as the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has set up an 11-member taskforce headed by former Information principal secretary Bitange Ndemo to explore the use of distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence for development in Kenya.

Other countries that have been targeted for the McFly launches are the US (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh), France (Paris), Ukraine (Kiev, Dnepr, Znamenovka), Belarus (Minsk, Vitebsk), Russia (Moscow, Tarusa), India (Srikakulam, Surat), Australia, Japan, Nigeria, Panama, Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, and Nepal.

For traffic control, one of the consortium members is working on a traffic management system that will use city airspaces for up to 1,000 metres above ground, which is the maximum flying height for the VTOLs.

Before any VTOL operates, they will need to meet all the registration requirements for the relevant authorities in each city of operation.

Two- of four-seaters, the vehicles will either be on autopilot or have the passenger pointing directions, Bezhko said, adding, so far, there are two designs: Bartini, flying at 300km/h and Hepard, which flies at 150 km/h. Both designs have a flight time of 30 minutes, he said.

The market for air taxi services is projected to reach $1.2 trillion per annum in the next few years, with more than 20 companies, including Daimler Ventures, Boeing, Geely/Volvo, Tencent and Atomico Ventures, now working on VTOLs.

They will be electric or hydrogen powered and manufacturers will have the first test flights between March and May 2018.

– African Laughter

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Africa

VIDEO: US Senator angers Kenyans for saying Facebook user-agreement is written in Swahili

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Louisiana Senator, John Kennedy, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee has pricked the ego of many Kenyans – and indeed that of other Swahili speakers – and left them very disappointed over his utterances.

This after he spoke in derogatory terms while answering a question during an interview with Kennedy  on popular Talk Show “Face the Nation” on CBS.

He was speaking about Facebook and its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg who appeared before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees on Tuesday before heading to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.

An apparently angry Sen. Kennedy took issue with the tech giant’s end user agreement which he said was written in a language nobody understands.

“The service agreement with Facebook….It is written in Swahili. Nobody understands it,” said the lawmaker.

Below is the verbatim part of the transcript:

KENNEDY: “It may be the case. I would rather do it with Facebook and the other social media platforms. Look, we’ve got to talk about the initial bargain. Is it, is it fair for me to give up all of my personal data to Facebook and apparently everybody else in the Western Hemisphere in exchange for me being able to see what some of my high school buddies had for dinner Saturday night? Who, who owns my data? Do I own it or does Facebook own it? The service agreement with Facebook. It’s written in Swahili. Nobody understands it. Should I have the right to to opt in as opposed to opt out — put the burden on Facebook? Should I have the right to erase my data? Should I have the right to demand that Facebook get my permission before it sells the data? We all know that poison is being spread on social media, not just Facebook. How are we going to stop it? And by the way while we’re talking about that — what’s poison? First Amendment concerns.”

Reaction on social media was swift, most of it on Facebook.

Kinyuajk wrote: Haya ni madharau ya aina gani sasa?

KanyuaRose wrote: “Mr Senator, I do understand Swahili and I am not a nobody. Shape up.

JoeOketch: Kumbe lose mouth pia ziko Marekani. Did he really have to say that?

Maulidi Juma wrote the following on Instagram: Is he serious that nobody understands Swahili. How derogatory?

Wakesho wroite: Of all the languages amechagua Kiswahili kutuchafulia jina not long after Trump reportedly called us sh**holes? Ngoja tu ataonana na Wakenya.

Watch the video below courtesy of CBS:

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Pomp, colour and fireworks as President Kenyatta’s son weds at State House

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With all the pomp and lavishness befitting a man from the first family, president Uhuru Kenyatta’s first son, Jomo Kenyatta, married his long-time sweetheart Fiona Achola Ngobi in an elegant all-white ceremony held at State House on Sunday evening.

The invite-only wedding was kept out of media and public attention and guests are reported to have been barred from accessing the venue with any recording cameras or phones. Probably explains why nothing from the event is yet to leak on social media.

Achola is niece to Defence CS Raychelle Omamo and granddaughter to the late William Odongo Omamo; former minister for Agriculture, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources and a former Member of Parliament for the Bondo Constituency and Muhoroni Constituency.

Achola and Kenyatta welcomed their first child, baby Wanjiru, in November 2017.

The wedding attracted top personalities within Kenya’s political and social scene, and was complete with fireworks at night.

The two held their traditional dowry and wedding ceremony in 2016 in Ichaweri, Gatundu. The baby was named Wanjiru after Kenyatta’s mother, First Lady Margaret.

 

We wish the couple all the best in their marriage.

-Citizen

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Diaspora

Kenyan teens in Atlanta arrested in connection with murder of father of 3

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Police in Acworth, Georgia, say they have arrested three people in connection with the March shooting death of a 25-year-old father of three.

Daniel Perez was shot March 23 as he sat in the passenger side of a pickup truck in a shopping center along Blue Springs Road, not far from North Cobb High School, police said. He was removed from life support last week and succumbed to his injuries.

On Monday, Acworth investigators with the assistance of Cobb County Police searched a home along Memorial Parkway in Kennesaw.

 Police say they have arrested 20-year-old Kennesaw resident Devin Thomas and 18-year-old Maria Mungai, of Acworth, on murder charges. A 15-year-old juvenile from Kennesaw has also been arrested in connection with Perez’ death, but police have not released the name of this third suspect.

Devin Thomas.

Acworth police on Tuesday declined to divulge any additional information, citing their ongoing murder investigation.

“Detectives are finalizing a motive and actively working leads in this case, including forensic evidence recovered from the scene,” Cpl. Youlanda Leverette said previously.

Maria Mungai

Thomas and Mungai are being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center, jail records show.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the department’s Criminal Investigation Division at 770-974-1232.

-Marietta Journal

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