Boston City Council Considers Plastic Bag Ban

Boston City Council Considers Plastic Bag Ban

Boston CityThe Boston City Council is set to consider a proposal banning single-use plastic bags and instituting a 5-cent fee.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the 13-member body, a vote on the proposal is expected to occur. City Council President Michelle Wu backs the proposal.

The proposed ordinance, which would affect pharmacies, restaurants and convenience stores across the city, aims to reduce street litter and says plastic bags “contribute to a significant burden on the City’s solid waste disposal and single-stream recycling systems.”

What the proposal would do:


  1. The retail store providing the check-out bag can charge 5 cents for the bag, and the store will keep the money it collects.
  2. Any retail establishment providing a check-out bag – a carry-out bag with handles — to customers must ensure the bag is a reusable bag or a compostable plastic bag, or a recyclable paper bag.
  3. A second offense and all subsequent offenses would come with a $100 fine.
  4. Enforcement of the ban falls to the Boston mayor’s office of energy, environment, and open space. The first time of a violation of the ban would draw a warning, and a second violation within one year would lead to a $50 fine.
  5. Retail establishments can ask the office of energy, environment and open space for an “undue hardship” exemption.


The lead sponsor, City Councilor Matt O’Malley, represents West Roxbury and Jamaica Plain, as well as parts of Roslindale and Roxbury.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has said he is open to considering the plastic bag ban.

Cambridge and Somerville are on the list of nearby communities that have restricted the use of plastic bags in recent years.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles are among those US cities that have banned plastic bags.


NuTonomy: Self-Driving Cars Carrying Passengers in Boston?

NuTonomy: Self-Driving Cars Carrying Passengers in Boston?

Boston authorities have approved a plan by self-driving car organization nuTonomy to carry passengers in the Seaport, a service that could start in a matter of weeks.


The proposal comes as nuTonomy reported it has agreed to be obtained by auto part provider Delphi.


Prior this year, nuTonomy and ride-hailing company Lyft said they would partner on a passenger service in Boston. Both companies said yesterday the program would continue despite nuTonomy’s acquisition, but declined to comment on when they would be available.


Like the test autos already driving on city lanes, the passenger cars will have security drivers, prepared to take the wheel if necessary, and will be limited to the Seaport district.


Under the terms of the deal amongst Boston and nuTonomy, the company agreed to an initial beta trial of its passenger service, open to a select group of 40 riders. No less than six of those, according to the agreement, will be passengers who experience difficulty getting around, including seniors and those with mobility or vision impairments.


“NuTonomy wants to understand how the system works for everybody, and the city has a desire to make sure whatever the future of transportation looks like, we are providing it to everybody,” Carter said.


After the pilot, passenger service will be opened to people in general.


Recently, British auto parts provider Delphi said it would buy nuTonomy for as much as $450 million.


NuTonomy will stay in Boston, working as an independent entity.


The company, spun out of MIT, has rebuffed numerous other suitors, according to board member Bob Davis, but decided to sell to Delphi because of the large market opportunity the British outfit has as a provider of parts to auto manufacturers.


NuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma said Delphi’s current associations with automakers give it a strong position in an increasingly competitive industry.


“It’s not at all clear to me an upstart startup or even a tech company will be able to address that market,” Iagnemma said. “They can sell to every (manufacturer) globally if they’ve got the technology and relationships.”


The acquisition of nuTonomy will roughly double Delphi’s autonomous driving team to about 200.


Revolutionizing the Trucking Industry

Revolutionizing the Trucking Industry

Uber is seeking self-driving trucks through Otto, and the project is at the center of accusation filed by Google’s sister company, Waymo for self-driving cars and trucks. The project’s start-up was achieved on August.


Otto has a goal to create trucks that could self-drive 24/7 by that allowing drivers sleep on the road. Lior Ron, Otto co-founder, have said it last July. He also added that in this case, trucks would be more efficient as they would not waste fuel on braking as continuously while driving long hours.


This conception aims to solve more environmentally – compromising problems. However, the accusation filed by Waymo will be seen, whether the concept survives or not.


While Uber and Waymo are having a battle about this concept, the Alphabet – owned company is also seeing a self – driving trucks. It is seeking the self – driving vehicles to decrease the number of deaths caused by truck accidents per year.


Now, Waymo is one of the leaders in the self – driving car manufacturing. It is already picking up passengers in its self – driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans, as a part of a pilot in Phoenix, AZ. The company is now working on the sensors on large trucks. After the work, it will start the road tests in Arizona this year. A Waymo spokesperson told that self – driving cars and trucks can transport passengers more safely and will reduce the thousands of deaths caused by car crashes.


In 2015, the number of deaths caused by crashes, involving large trucks, is 4,067.


Starsky Robotics has already tested a self – driving trucks to transport carriage for 120 miles on highways. Starsky is designing concept that will give more autonomous capabilities. The goal of Starsky is to allow drivers to work near their homes. Unlike Otto, Starsky’s concept foresees the future. The drivers are not going to be sitting behind the wheel, instead, they will have a special remote control to drive the truck from a highway exit.


Another concept, the Peloton, plans to use truck platooning. Peloton, a trucking startup by Volvo and UPS, is creating a driver – assistance technology. The truck will automatically notify the driver about another Peloton truck being around, with which it can platoon. And if both select to platoon by pressing the corresponding button, one of them will start to follow another truck. As a result, if the leading truck brakes, the truck, driving behind it will automatically brake.

Revolutionizing Trucks


Daimler, Mercedes’s parent company, intended to use autonomous trucks to make the driving process stress-free for the drivers. It tests its self – driving truck on a public highway in 2015. The aim is to use Highway Pilot: a regular truck with cameras and sensors, which will be safer while keeping a driver behind the wheel. This concept will hit the market as early as 2020.