FBI & ICE Grab Driver License Photos for Facial Recognition; Apple Tests Biometric iCloud Sign-Ins With FaceID and TouchID; Pixel 4 May have 16MP Telephoto; Toyota-Solar Cell e-Car Tests; Plane Lands Autonomously For First Time; Russia Plans Bomb Carrying Drones for Soldiers

The FBI and ICE have been snagging pictures from state DMV records to use for facial recognition…without the knowledge or permission of drivers. Georgetown Law researchers, teaming with the Washington Post, have obtained facial recognition requests, documents, and email which have revealed the process of getting then using the photos for facial recognition. ZDnet.com says neither Congress nor any state legislature has authorized such use! Apparently, the FBI conducts 4,000 such searches a month. At least 21 states permit the FBI to scan license photos. Washington state is the toughest…they at least require a court order first.

Apple is testing out biometric sign into iCloud on iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and MacOS Catalina. The system would use Face ID or Touch ID on later model iPhones and iPads, as well as Macs. The system will show you a pop up box asking if you’d like to sign-in using your Apple ID with biometrics. It’s possible Apple may be doing this in conjunction with the rollout of Sign in with Apple. The biometrics are not only fast and easier, but are more secure than manually entering your info.

Geeks digging into the code for Google Camera’s Super Res Zoom have spotted code that indicates the Pixel 4 may have a 16MP telephoto lens! According to 9to5google.com, this may not be set in stone…the code is in the Android Q beta, and lots of times features are still being tested in a beta that don’t make it to the final product. The Pixel 4 should drop in October, so we will know for sure then.

Toyota is now testing new, high-efficiency solar cells on electric cars that may be able to extend range by 35 miles or so. Electrek.co says the original Prius had an optional solar cell pack, but it was a 50 watt panel that helped run the AC and other accessories. These new cells can convey power at a 34% rate, which is quite good. They say if the hood, roof, and deck lid are covered, it should actually generate about 860 watts.This may or may not make it into production…in hail country, solar cells all over the top of the car would make for expensive repairs in a storm with golf ball or larger hail!

Researchers at the Technical University in Munich have successfully landed a plane autonomously. Engadget.com says it uses a combination of GPS and computer vision powered by both visible light and infrared cameras. This would enable it to get a sense of both the plane’s position and the runway, even in fog or rain. Most lager airports have glidescope indicators that allow airliners to essentially land automatically with the help of a radio signal (ILS), but most smaller airports don’t have those systems. Besides landings at smaller airports, this tech could pave the way for pilotless aircraft or air taxis in the future.

It sounds like something out of a bad sci-fi movie, but the Russians are working on drones with small bombs that soldiers can carry and launch. Engadget.com reports that the idea is iffy…drones are quick, but only can stay up about 15 minutes…and haven’t fared well so far against shooters or counter-drone tech. Also, if the soldier gets hit by a round or shrapnel, it might blow up right on him! Let’s hope this plan doesn’t get traction.



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