Uber to work with University of Arizona to develop mapping, self-driving cars

Uber to work with University of Arizona to develop mapping, self-driving cars

By Astrid Galvan

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TUCSON, Ariz. — Uber is partnering with the University of Arizona to develop mapping technology as the ride-hailing company expands its research of driverless car technology.

The partnership announced Tuesday between the San Francisco-based company and the university includes a $25,000 grant to UofA’s College of Optical Sciences. Uber will also test its self-driving vehicles on Tucson streets.

“We’ll work with some of the leading experts in lens design here at the university to improve the imagery of what we capture and use to build out mapping and our safety features,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technology for Uber.

McClendon wouldn’t elaborate on how many Uber employees would be working with university researchers but said he considers this a long-term collaboration.

“I think the College of Optical Sciences is one of the leading in the world, and we are looking for improving the technologies that mapping and driverless vehicles are dependent on, and this is a great place to start,” McClendon said.

Gov. Doug Ducey hailed the new partnership during a news conference at the university Tuesday.

“It’s in Arizona’s best interest to embrace new technology,” Ducey said. “This is about economic growth. It means new jobs, new research opportunities here at the UofA.”

Ducey has been a big proponent of Uber since taking office in January. The Republican governor stopped state regulators from enforcing regulations that required Uber drivers to have commercial insurance and licenses, saying the policy wasn’t working and was hampering job creation. Then he backed a bill overhauling rules for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. The new law, which Ducey signed in April, removed regulatory roadblocks to the growing services.

In June, Ducey praised Uber at the formal opening of a new customer service center in Phoenix that is expected to eventually employ several hundred people. Ducey said at the time that Uber creates jobs and helps grow the economy, and the state should be helping it, not hindering it.

Uber has made other efforts to boost its research into driverless cars.

The company partnered with Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh in February on a driverless car research lab. In March, Uber also bought digital mapping specialist deCarta, which provides maps for many consumer products, including General Motors’ OnStar system.

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These Tweaks To Your Morning Routine Will Make Your Entire Day More Productive

By Dr. Travis Bradberry

Whether you naturally wake up feeling alert and productive or wake up with the brainpower of a zombie, these tips will help you transform your morning routine and set a positive tone that lasts the entire day.

Start with exercise. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that people who exercise during the workday have more energy and a more positive outlook, which are both critical to getting things done. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Exercising first thing in the morning ensures that you’ll have the time for it, and it improves your self-control and energy levels all day long.

But drink some lemon water first. Drinking lemon water as soon as you wake up spikes your energy levels physically and mentally. Lemon water gives you steady, natural energy that lasts the length of the day by improving nutrient absorption in your stomach. You need to drink it first thing in the morning (on an empty stomach) to ensure full absorption. You should also wait 15–30 minutes after drinking it before eating (perfect time to squeeze in some exercise). Lemons are packed with nutrients; they’re chock full of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. If you’re under 150 pounds, drink the juice of half a lemon (a full lemon if you’re over 150 pounds). Don’t drink the juice without water because it’s hard on your teeth.

No screen time until breakfast. When you dive straight into e-mails, texts, and Facebook, you lose focus and your morning succumbs to the wants and needs of other people. It’s much healthier to take those precious first moments of the day to do something relaxing that sets a calm, positive tone for your day. Jumping right into electronics has the opposite effect—it’s a frantic way to start your day. Exercising, meditating, or even watching the birds out the window are all great ways to start the day.

Eat a real breakfast. Eating anything at all for breakfast puts you ahead of a lot of people. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be obese, they have more stable blood-sugar levels, and they tend to be less hungry over the course of the day. And these are just the statistics for people who eat any breakfast. When you eat a healthy breakfast, the doors to a productive day swing wide open. A healthy breakfast gives you energy, improves your short-term memory, and helps you to concentrate more intensely and for longer periods.

Set goals for the day. Research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control. Setting goals specific to the day puts everything into motion. Narrow your goals down to a few achievable ones that can easily be broken down into steps. Vague goals such as “I want to finish writing my article” are counter-productive because they fail to include the “how” of things. The same goal re-phrased in a more functional way would read something like this: “I am going to finish my article by writing each of the three sections, spending no more than an hour on each section.” Now, you have more than simply something you want to achieve—you have a way to achieve it.

Getting your morning started off right at home is important, but it’s only half the battle. If you fail to maintain that tone once you set foot in the office, your morning can lose momentum quickly. Here’s how you can maintain a productive tone once you hit the office:

First, clean your workspace. Even though it’s a pain to clean right when you get into work, it makes a big difference to your ability to concentrate. A Princeton University study found that people who worked in a clean workspace out-performed those who worked in a cluttered one because clutter pulls your attention away from your work. In fact, the effects of clutter on concentration are not all that different from the effects of multi-tasking.

No e-mail until you’ve eaten three frogs. “Eating a frog” is the greatest antidote to procrastination, and the most productive people know the importance of biting into this delicacy first thing in the morning. In other words, spend your morning on something that requires a high level of concentration that you don’t want to do, and you’ll get it done in short order. Make a habit of eating three frogs before you check your e-mail because e-mail is a major distraction that enables procrastination and wastes precious mental energy.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

Assign times to your to-do list, and monitor your progress against your goals. There’s no point in setting goals in the morning if you don’t check in on them. Look at what you’ve done so far with a critical eye. If you realize you’re behind schedule or doing a shoddy job, it’s important to adjust your goals or your work ethic so that you can move intentionally through your day.

Keep morning meetings on schedule. Meetings are the biggest time waster there is, and they can ruin an otherwise productive morning. People who use their mornings effectively know that a meeting will drag on forever if they let it, so they inform everyone at the onset that they’ll stick to the intended schedule. This sets a limit that motivates everyone to be more focused and efficient. Keep your morning meetings on time, and your entire day will stay on track.

Don’t multitask. Multi-tasking in the morning—when you have lots to do, tons of energy, and it feels like you can do two or three things at once—is tempting, but it sets your whole day back. Research conducted at Stanford University confirmed that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.

But what if some people have a special gift for multitasking? The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers (those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance) were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time. The frequent multitaskers performed worse because they had more trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information, and they were slower at switching from one task to another. Ouch!

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus adequately on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.

Finally, say no. No is a powerful word that will protect your precious mornings. When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them while your mind is fresh. Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Learn to use no, and it will lift your mood as well as your productivity.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

5 Ways Weekends Can Boost Your Productivity Monday Through Friday

5 Ways Weekends Can Boost Your Productivity Monday Through Friday

BY JACQUELINE WHITMORE | Author, Business Etiquette Expert

Here are five ways to bring your mental and physical batteries back up to full capacity so you can hit the ground running come Monday morning:

1. Get centered.

With the 24-7 mentality of business owners, most entrepreneurs are especially driven by both nature and necessity. During the workweek, you’re probably forced to juggle many responsibilities to keep up and stay ahead.

On the weekend, give yourself the gift of time. Sit in a quiet space and find some inner peace. A few minutes of meditation, journal writing, stretching and other forms of calming contemplation can provide a replenishing respite that brings you back in touch with your true self.

2. Get moving.

When you engage in enjoyable exercise, like morning yoga, tennis, walking or swimming, it reinvigorates your body and mind. If you’ve been straining your eyes and tensing your shoulders by sitting in front of a computer all week, it’s time to move your body and relieve some of the pent-up stress that builds up during a largely-sedentary workweek.

Lose yourself in activities that take your mind away from your day-to-day work. Savor the energy that surges through your muscles as you use them. Reconnect with the natural world through outdoor activities like hiking, biking, surfing or running. Get out of the house and into the fresh air. You will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You’ll most likely sleep better, too.

3. Get nourished.

If you’re used to eating quick meals at your desk or on the fly during your overbooked workweek, take time to enjoy healthy whole foods on the weekend. Eat foods that will boost your immune system and provide long-lasting energy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and rich sources of protein replenish essential vitamins and minerals that may be missing in your everyday diet. If you enjoy cooking, try out some new recipes at home or take a cooking class.

4. Get away from digital devices.

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re probably connected at the hip by a constantly-buzzing smartphone. Most of us spend more time interfacing with computer screens than communicating face-to-face with other human beings. We feel the pressure to be “connected” all the time, but spending too much time online can make you feel sluggish.

The weekend allows time to unplug from the virtual world and do something analog instead. Lose yourself in a good book, go to a concert, or pursue your own creative aspirations. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. Millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life.

5. Get together with friends and family.

If you’re so busy running your business rather than spending time with the people who are most important to you, you’re not alone. Most people are super-busy these days; entrepreneurs especially so. Reconnect with those in your life who are most important. Set aside some time to nurture the strong personal relationships that make life meaningful and keep you going through challenging times. Spend quality time with loved ones on your days off and you will maintain those life-affirming ties that will sustain your energy throughout the workweek.

Make it your personal business to never let anyone outwork you.

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How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done

How Successful People Work Less and Get More Done

By TRAVIS BRADBERRY | Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and President at TalentSmart

As little as 30 minutes of planning can yield significant gains in productivity and reduced stress.

As co-founder of Hotwire.com and CEO of Zillow for the last seven years, 39-year-old Spencer Rascoff fits most people’s definition of success. As a father of three young children, Spencer is a busy guy at home and at work.

What’s the one thing that Spencer refuses to do on the weekend? Work—at least, in the traditional sense. Rascoff says:

“I never go into the office on weekends, but I do check e-mail at night. My weekends are an important time to unplug from the day-to-day and get a chance to think more deeply about my company and my industry. Weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”

new study from Stanford shows that Rascoff is on to something.

The study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours, and productivity drops off so much after 55 hours that there’s no point in working any more. That’s right, people who work as much as 70 hours (or more) per week actually get the same amount done as people who work 55 hours.

Successful people know the importance of shifting gears on the weekend to relaxing and rejuvenating activities. Like Spencer, they use their weekends to create a better week ahead.

This is easier said than done, so here’s some help. The following list contains 10 things that successful people do to find balance on the weekend and to come into work at 110% on Monday morning.

1. They Disconnect

Disconnecting is the most important weekend strategy on this list, because if you can’t find a way to remove yourself electronically from your work Friday evening through Monday morning, then you’ve never really left work.

Making yourself available to your work 24/7 exposes you to a constant barrage of stressors that prevent you from refocusing and recharging. If taking the entire weekend off handling work e-mails and calls isn’t realistic, try designating specific times on Saturday and Sunday for checking e-mails and responding to voicemails. For example, check your messages on Saturday afternoon while your kids are getting a haircut and on Sunday evenings after dinner. Scheduling short blocks of time will alleviate stress without sacrificing availability.

2. They Minimize Chores

Chores have a funny habit of completely taking over your weekends. When this happens, you lose the opportunity to relax and reflect. What’s worse is that a lot of chores feel like work, and if you spend all weekend doing them, you just put in a seven-day workweek. To keep this from happening, you need to schedule your chores like you would anything else during the week, and if you don’t complete them during the allotted time, you move on and finish them the following weekend.

3. They Reflect

Weekly reflection is a powerful tool for improvement. Use the weekend to contemplate the larger forces that are shaping your industry, your organization, and your job. Without the distractions of Monday to Friday busy work, you should be able to see things in a whole new light. Use this insight to alter your approach to the coming week, improving the efficiency and efficacy of your work.

4. They Exercise

No time to exercise during the week? You have 48 hours every weekend to make it happen. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter that reduces stress. Exercise is also a great way to come up with new ideas. Innovators and other successful people know that being outdoors often sparks creativity.

I know that a lot of my best ideas come to me while I’m surfing. While you’re out in the ocean, the combination of invigorating activity and beautiful scenery creates the perfect environment for an influx of creativity. Whether you’re running, cycling, or gardening, exercise leads to endorphin-fueled introspection. The key is to find a physical activity that does this for you and then to make it an important part of your weekend routine.

5. They Pursue a Passion

You might be surprised what happens when you pursue something you’re passionate about on weekends. Indulging your passions is a great way to escape stress and to open your mind to new ways of thinking. Things like playing music, reading, writing, painting, or even playing catch with your kids can help stimulate different modes of thought that can reap huge dividends over the coming week.

6. They Spend Quality Time with Family

Spending quality time with your family on the weekend is essential if you want to recharge and relax. Family time on the weekend is so important to Spencer Rascoff that he flies home for the weekend, no matter how far away he is, even if he has to be in the same city the following week. Weekdays are so hectic that the entire week can fly by with little quality family time. Don’t let this bleed into your weekends. Take your kids to the park, take your spouse to his or her favorite restaurant, and go visit your parents. You’ll be glad you did.

7. They Schedule Micro-Adventures

Buy tickets to a concert or play, or get reservations for that cool new hotel that just opened downtown. Instead of running on a treadmill, plan a hike. Try something you haven’t done before or perhaps something you haven’t done in a long time. Studies show that anticipating something good to come is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable. Knowing that you have something interesting planned for Saturday will not only be fun come Saturday, but it will significantly improve your mood throughout the week.

8. They Wake Up at the Same Time

It’s tempting to sleep in on the weekend to catch up on your sleep. Though it feels good temporarily, having an inconsistent wake-up time disturbs your circadian rhythm. Your body cycles through an elaborate series of sleep phases in order for you to wake up rested and refreshed. One of these phases involves preparing your mind to be awake and alert, which is why people often wake up just before their alarm clock goes off (the brain is trained and ready). When you sleep past your regular wake-up time on the weekend, you end up feeling groggy and tired. This isn’t just disruptive to your day off, it also makes you less productive on Monday because your brain isn’t ready to wake up at your regular time. If you need to catch up on sleep, just go to bed earlier.

9. They Designate Mornings as Me Time

It can be difficult to get time to yourself on the weekends, especially if you have family. Finding a way to engage in an activity you’re passionate about first thing in the morning can pay massive dividends in happiness and cleanliness of mind. It’s also a great way to perfect your circadian rhythm by forcing yourself to wake up at the same time you do on weekdays. Your mind achieves peak performance two-to-four hours after you wake up, so get up early to do something physical, and then sit down and engage in something mental while your mind is at its peak.

10. They Prepare for the Upcoming Week

The weekend is a great time to spend a few moments planning your upcoming week. As little as 30 minutes of planning can yield significant gains in productivity and reduced stress. The week feels a lot more manageable when you go into it with a plan because all you have to focus on is execution.

A version of this article first appeared on TalentSmart.com.

When you hear that word meeting, what pops into your mind?

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