The former head of Google's self-driving car project has secretly been working on his own startup





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Self-driving car project is Google’s ambitious project. When Chris Urmson, the head of self-driving car project, left Google last August, it was a major loss for Google.  Chris Urmson had been working on Google since seven years.

When Tesla lawsuit was filed this Thursday, it showed the true intention of Urmson and what he was doing after he left the Google’s project. Urmson had teamed up with the former director of Tesla Autopilot, Sterling Anderson, and founded Aurora Innovation, a private company that will be producing self-driving cars.

According to the lawsuit filed in California state court by Tesla, Anderson stole "hundreds of gigabytes of data." The lawsuit alleges that Anderson was using stolen data for his and Urmson’s company Aurora Innovation.

In the lawsuit, Urmson has been identified as Anderson's business partner for Aurora Innovation. The lawsuit states that Anderson and Urmson used a laptop that was originally issued by Tesla and worked on their “private project” in Tesla premises.

Interestingly, Aurora Innovation reveals a different case.  The statement sent to Business Insider by Aurora Innovation states that “Tesla is showing unhealthy fear for competition and a startling paranoia. This is an abuse of the justice system. It is an attempt to damage personal reputations and throttle a competitor. Aurora Innovation will prove these untrue accusations wrong in court.”
According to a source of Business Insider, Waymo, Google's self-driving company, is discussion about the possible actions in this matter. When Business Insider contacted Chris Urmson, he did not respond.

In August 2016, there was a series of executives’ departures from Google and Urmson was one of them. Anthony Levandowski was also one of the Google’s executives who left the company. After abandoning Google, Levandowski founded a self-driving truck company called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber. Levandowski also happens to be a co-founder of Google's car project. Jiajun Zhu is another co-founder of self-driving car, who left Google in August last year.  After leaving Google’s self-driving car project, Zhu joined an artificial intelligence startup called Nuro.

It is reported that last August, there were signs internal struggles inside Google. When Uber launched public trials for self-driving car, Google was worried about the competition. According to Bloomberg reporting in September, Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet was vouching for full autonomy for the project, whereas some employees, in order to launch the products fast in the market, were vouching for partial autonomy.

Urmson declined to explain his departure from Google, but said that he wasn't frustrated about the progress of the project.
After the departures of executives, Google has made a strategy to launch self-driving cars soon. In December, Google formed Waymo, an independent company under Alphabet for the purpose of launching the products. Waymo is working on innovative ideas such as developing cars with not steering wheels.

Before he left Google, Urmson had advocated on fully fledged self-driving cars. He even lobbied on the Senate for regulations to allow fully self-driving cars. He vouched, for the benefits of Google, for cars with no steering wheels or pedals to be driven on the roads.

It is speculated that Urmson left Google because the company left its original idea about producing steering-wheel-less pod cars. However, whether this is true or false will be known only when Urmson’s new company Aurora Innovation releases its new product in the market.
When asked for comment, Google declined to say anything about why Urmson left the position of CTO at Google.

"There will be 1.8 million miles of auto driving in the future, thus, I have decided to resign and discover my new ideas," said Urmson while leaving the job in August. "I will be twice lucky in case I am able to find another idea that turns in obsession and more than that."

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2017 LICENSING AND REGISTRATION EXERCISE FOR PROPERTY AGENCIES AND AGENTS


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According to the record, there were close to 1,286 registered property agencies and 28,397 authorized licensed property agents.  A total of 95 credible property license agencies and about 3,200 property agents license that expired last December 31, 2016. The Council for Estate Agencies or CEA is eager to announce for the 40 newly release licenses for property agency and 1,189 newly registered property agents for the whole year of 2016.

The comparison over the last three years on the number of  legal property agencies  and number license property agents :


                             1 Jan 2015  1 Jan 2016      1 Jan 2017
Number of
property agents     30,830         29,262             28,397

Number of
property agencies  1,369          1,369                1,286


Mr. Heng Whoo Kiat, the Director, Policy and Licensing of  CEA, explained, the decreased of registered license agents was due to the merging of industry in relation to the present property market convictions. The Landscape occuring in the real estate agency industry caught the attention of the CEA, like using the state-of- the-art facilities, the buyers taste, lifestyle and choices  in dealing  transactions of property that are altering which opted  buyers to call for a genuine services from real estate agencies. 



The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) is a legal board founded in 2010 vested by the power of the Estate Agents Act to control and support the development of professional and dependable agency for real estate industry. The major role of CEA are to official list the agents, authenticate and release license of real estate agents, educate buyers and public with the significant knowledge especially in terms of property transactions legalities and decisions. 

Travel checklist: 8 things you must do before leaving for vacation

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Chinese New Year is already here. In order to welcome the Chinese Year, you can travel to the places you have never been or places you like to visit again and again. There are hundreds of things you should do before you lock your house and go for traveling.  However, writing down “100 things to do” in one article will be long and boring, therefore, I am focusing on only 8 things to do before you begin your travel. Here is 8-point travel checklist that you need to follow so that you will be able to protect your property and other valuable items in your house when you are traveling.

1.       Valuable items in your house should be less than $5,000
Do you know $5,000 is a magic number? In most cases this is the maximum sum that will be covered by insurance. Even though you might have read “we provide 100 million worth coverage” on any insurance company brochure, the truth is the maximum coverage from insurance is not more than $5000. This implies, if your house is looted and your 1 million worth jewelry taken, you will get just about $5000 in compensation. If there is a fire and your $15000 rolex watch is lost, you will get only $5000, sometimes even less. When you lose cash, you will only get around $250 as compensation and most of the time you will get nothing.

Therefore, when you are insuring, read the insurance company’s policy carefully. You should always have the valuable that is actually covered by the insurance policy. You must keep jewelry, cash and other valuables in the bank locker.

2.      Turn off electrical appliances, including air conditioner  
If the remote control of the electrical appliances such as air conditioner is on standby mode, it is not off. You should always completely turn off your electrical and electronic devices whenever you are leaving your house. In Singapore, air conditioners are said to be the main cause of electrical fires in houses.

There is also another benefit of turning off electrical appliances such as air conditioner. You will also save a lot of money in your electricity bill.

3.      Have a bucket or rags under the pipes
You should also take precaution for water leakage in your bathroom or kitchen. Place a bucket or rags under the taps or faucets. This will save your house from becoming a pool when you are away in the event there there’s a leakage. When there is a leakage in bathroom or kitchen, water may flood into your drawing or bedroom and damage your valuable carpet. If you have wooden flooring, water may damage your floor.

4.      Inform your neighbours
When you are away, you should always have someone to watch your house in case there are unwanted activities in your house. Asking your neighbors to watch your house when you are away is better than having CCTV.

CCTV will only record what’s happening, it cannot help to stop unwanted activities. On the other hand, if something happens, for instance thieves break inot your house, your house catches fire, your neighbors can call police or fireman. Neighbors might even help when there is gas leakage in your house.

5.      Empty the fridge when you are away
How long will you be traveling? A week, a month? Why should you let the fridge run when you are away? When you are making plans for traveling, you should also start emptying your fridge. This has many benefits, you will save electricity bills as well as stop maggots from breeding in case fridge breaks. You will also save yourself from the bad smell due to fridge break up. 

6.      Turn off all the power sockets
Remember, if your electrical appliances are connected with the wall sockets, your devices are using electricity even if they might be turned off. Therefore, when you are away, unplug all your devices from the power sockets. When the devices are always connected to the power, you are not only paying more electricity bill, but also increasing the chances of accidents due to short circuit.

7.      Do you have the spare key
You are traveling and you take your keys with you. What if your keys are lost in the strange places? When keys are lost, you will have to incur financial obligations to break the locks in your house and buy the new ones. Therefore, when you are traveling, it is a good idea to give the spare keys to someone you can trust, for instance, your parents, siblings, even neighbors. Giving spare keys to someone who lives nearby also has an advantage. In the events such as gas leak, fire or burglary, the person who has the key can attend your house and sort out the problems.

8.     Do you have home content insurance?
In case you don’t have home content insurance, you should consider buying it immediately when you are going for a vacation. You don’t have t walk miles to get insurance for your home content. Technology has made our life easy, within minutes you can find a policy that suits you, and get it approved just in few days. If you have home content insurance and something unwanted happens, you will have a coverage. Imagine, your bed is stolen. If you have home content insurance, you will be compensated for your loss and you will have money to buy a new bed. Home content insurance will also pay you for temporary accommodation, if necessary. You will be covered for renovation as well as goods storage. In case you go through accidents when you are traveling, insurance can come handy.    


Career in Real Estate

Choosing real estate as your career can either be a piece of cake or a tough thing to do. You may have an annual potential income of more than a hundred thousand dollars a year but like any other success story there will always be rooms for inconveniences. A few points are stated below to help you think if a career in real estate is right for you.

You Are Your Own Boss As a Real Estate Agent

As an independent contractor, you are in charge of your own time zone and your list of business. You have unlimited opportunities for the expansion of your real estate business considering you have a solid work ethic and the right attitude. But as an independent contractor also, it is necessary to build your leads, maintain your client’s needs and networking relationships and marketing your business to a point where you may fail to  perceive how much work it takes to be a successful real estate agent.

Starting Up is Quick and Painful in a Real Estate Career

In only a matter of time, you can complete the required training to become a licensed agent depending on state regulations. However, passing the licensing exam and achieving a varied skill set is quite difficult and you may have to spend more time, effort and money for you to complete the training.

Real Estate Agents Work Flexible Hours

Real estate agents work without a specific time frame. They can work whenever they want to and most of their time is on socializing, building relationships and meeting people. However, when a client were to engage you, you may have to drop everything and head over to meet them often within an hour.

Good Income Awaits a Real Estate Agent

There is huge growth and income potential for real estate agents who are willing to invest enough time in their career. It may be not be as rewarding as in the beginning but in the long run you will surely get what you deserve. It can be a treat or drought situation, depending on the market you cover and existing relationships you can develop.

Real Estate Agents Help People With Their Largest Transactions

A real estate agent career can be very rewarding and exciting when clients are satisfied by the help you extend for them to find the perfect home or sell their property at a great price and render other excellent client services. Unfortunately, ff a client is unsatisfied, whether it was due to your efforts or not, rumor spreads quickly and can affect your referral network and, ultimately, your credibility.


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