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In Portland, Scooter Start-Ups Played Nice. Regulators Took Note.

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“A lot of these companies roll into town, flout local regulations, see what they can get away with and how far they can push cities to accommodate them,” said Chloe Eudaly, a Portland city commissioner. “I feel like there is somewhat of a reversal of that trend among these companies and they are learning that’s not necessarily the best way to do business.”

Other cities are establishing permit programs to limit the impact of unexpected scooter invasions. Washington, for example, said in November that companies could deploy no more than 600 scooters each, which Bird argued would make it “impossible” to provide full service.

Bird, Lime and Skip received permits to operate in Portland. They handed over a wealth of data about scooter rides, giving city regulators access to information about where each trip started, the route it followed, where it ended and what time of day it occurred. Personal information on riders, such as payment data, was not shared.

Portland capped the number of scooters at about 2,000, roughly divided among the three companies. Mr. Scheer, from Lime, said the cap system made it difficult to determine how many scooters a city actually needed.

But he added that the limits forced scooter companies to hone their operations, offer scooters with smoother rides and ensure they were deployed in neighborhoods where they could draw the most riders. And the caps forced the start-ups to compete on how well they could comply with the city’s mandates rather than playing a numbers game.

“We don’t think this is a land-grab type of business. This is one where you have to solve problems in a sustainable way,” said Sanjay Dastoor, the chief executive of Skip. “Having more vehicles on the road isn’t going to help if there aren’t places where people can ride them and feel safe.”

The data that Portland collected allowed the city to assess whether e-scooters live up to their promises of reducing pollution and congestion. According to a citywide survey, 34 percent of residents who used the scooters and took a survey said they had used e-scooters to replace driving their own car or taking an Uber.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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