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‘Personal flying machine’ maker plans deliveries this year

Agency Press France

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WASHINGTON — A Silicon Valley “flying car” startup, Kitty Hawk, reportedly backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, released a video on Monday of its airborne prototype and announced plans for deliveries of a “personal flying machine” this year.

“Our mission is to make the dream of personal flight a reality. We believe when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them,” said a statement on the website of the Kitty Hawk company, based in Google’s home town of Mountain View, California.

“Today we’re announcing our first prototype of The Flyer, a personal flying machine that will become available for sale by the end of 2017.” The craft, propelled by eight rotors, takes off and lands vertically, like a helicopter.

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It is said to weigh about 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and fly at speeds up to 25 miles per hour (40 kph) and can hover at 15 feet (4.5 meters) high.

The company describes the Flyer as “a new, all-electric aircraft,” which is “safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested areas” under US federal regulations for ultralight aircraft. No pilot’s license is required, and two hours’ training is said to be all that is needed.

The website offered few details about the company, but several reports in recent months have said Page has poured millions of dollars into Kitty Hawk and another electric car startup.

Kitty Hawk president Sebastian Thrun, a Stanford University computer science professor who has been called the father of Google’s self-driving car, tweeted: “Changing the future of personal transportation. Join us @kittyhawkcorp to get information about #theFlyer prototype.”

The company announced it was offering three-year “memberships” for $100 to be placed on a waiting list and to get a discount on the price of the new transporter. The price is to be announced later this year.
The startup offered only limited details about the company.

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An email response to an AFP query said the lead engineers were Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, who created a startup called Aerovelo which aims to produce the fastest human-powered vehicle.

Kitty Hawk said the flyer going on sale later this year will have a different design than the prototype.
A blog post by writer Cimeron Morrissey, who took the flyer for a test run, offered some clues on how it feels.

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Entertainment

Google changes YouTube revenue rule

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Google is making the biggest changes ever to the advertising rules on the most popular video platform, YouTube, since the video site’s inception, an attempt to clean up its content and answer persistent complaints from advertisers.

The world’s largest video platform will kick thousands of people out of its ad revenue-sharing program, and will make it much harder for new ones to get into the program. The change is among one of YouTube’s responses to a year of criticism it has generated for a series of scandals involving questionable and offensive content that has appeared on the site.

YouTube will now impose stricter rule for video types that can earn money on the site and will introduce a new vetting process for the top-shelf videos it offers advertisers, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

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YouTube’s new rules require anyone who wants to generate revenue on the platform to first generate 4,000 hours of ‘watchtime’ over a 12-month period, and to attract at least 1,000 subscribers.

That replaces a lower hurdle of 10,000 lifetime views, which the site instituted last spring, after a first wave of negative stories about rogue content.

YouTube, in a blog post, says the new rules will affect ‘a significant’ number of its user-created channels, but won’t provide an official tally.

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