Abundance Insider: March 9, 2018 Edition

In this week's Abundance Insider: Flying cars you can buy next year, Uber Freight trucks hit the road, and Magic Leap raises $461 million.

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Peter, Marissa, Kelley, Greg, Sydney, AJ, Bri, Jarom, Jason and Einstein

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PAL-V’s Flying Car Design Has Been Finalized, Will Arrive in 2019

What it is: PAL-V, a Dutch flying car company, has announced that its four-wheeled Liberty aircraft will be commercially available by 2019. The vehicle was exhibited at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, and can transport two passengers and over 2,000 pounds. The most surprising feature? The Pal-V Liberty operates as both an aircraft and a car.

Why it's important: While you’ll need a pilot’s license and airfield or landing strip access to fully enjoy the Liberty, this design is an exciting preview of how future cars will take flight. What happens when autonomous flight and driving technology remove all technical and practical barriers to adoption?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Marissa Brassfield 

Magic Leap Raises $461 Million in New Funding From Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

What it is: With the addition of $461 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, augmented reality startup Magic Leap has raised over $2.3 billion to date without having shipped a single headset. Skeptics point to this number and laugh, but remember that developing groundbreaking technology can be expensive at first, particularly when creating everything from the ground up. As a reference point, Microsoft spent $13 billion in R&D last year, with a non-trivial amount of that going directly or indirectly to the HoloLens.

Why it's important: Funding is no longer scarce. If you have an idea, you can tap into an exploding number of sources to turn that vision into reality.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Australia Could Become First Country to Eradicate Cervical Cancer

What it is: After the Australian federal government began providing the HPV vaccine for free to girls aged 12-13 years in 2007 and in 2013 extending the program to boys, rates of HPV have dropped from 22.1% to just 1.1% among women aged 18 to 24. With such a sharp decline and with vaccination rates continuing to rise, the International Papillomavirus Society is projecting that Australia could be free of cervical cancer within 40 years.

Why it's important: We’re entering an age where the rates of certain cancers are declining precipitously, saving lives today and encouraging others to consider what is possible in other areas of cancer and disease prevention.  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Uber Self-Driving Trucks Are Now Delivering Freight in Arizona

What it is: A second driver in a conventional truck The Uber Freight self-driving truck fleet is officially in operation in Arizona. Uber is using a transfer hub model: on the highway, trucks self-navigate with a safety driver, and transfer the cargo to an Uber Freight trucker in a conventional truck for the final miles. “We’re not at the point where that system is running 24-7 at all times,” said Alden Woodrow, who heads up this department at Uber. “But that’s the direction we’d like to.”

Why it's important: The Uber Advanced Technology Group says that its self-driving vehicles — cars and trucks — have driven 2 million miles. How will competing automakers contend with this vast data set on real-world autonomous driving?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Eben Pagan / Written by Marissa Brassfield 

UK Researchers First to Produce High Grade Rare Earths From Coal

What it is: Backed by the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers at the University of Kentucky have successfully produced a nearly pure rare earth metal concentrate from Kentucky coal. Rare earth metals are essential to much of the technology that we depend on, including renewable energy sources, but are difficult to extract and separate without significant toxic waste. Here, researchers have not only done it cost effectively, but in an environmentally conscious way.

Why it's important: The world’s biggest problems are massive opportunities. Coal may be dirty to burn and mine, but finding a way to use it and its mining waste could responsibly revitalize economies while fueling technical abundance. Is anything truly scarce?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Paul Heiss / Written by Jason Goodwin 

Robot Solves a Rubik’s Cube in .38 Seconds

What it is: Jared Di Carlo and Ben Katz have created a robot that can solve a Rubik’s cube in just .38 seconds. TechCrunch reports that they built the robot with two PlayStation Eye cameras and six Kollmorgen ServoDisc U9-series motors. Its min2phase algorithm solves the cube in 21 moves, with plenty of room for further optimization.

Why it's important: Robotics is demonetizing and democratizing. Today, DIY innovators can tinker and build robots with superhuman capabilities. How will cheaper materials, smaller electronics, better batteries and neural networks accelerate this trend even further?  Share on Facebook

Spotted by Marissa Brassfield / Written by Marissa Brassfield 

What is Abundance Insider?

This email is a briefing of the week's most compelling, abundance-enabling tech developments, curated by Marissa Brassfield in preparation for Abundance 360. Read more about A360 below.

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