Month: January 2017

Uber’s Policy with Self-Driving Cars

Uber launched its self-driving vehicles in San Francisco recently, California, but it wasn’t without issues and concerns. The vehicles launched in California about two weeks ago. When they first came onto the scene, the first one ran a red light. Considering these cars are supposed to be safer, it was a bit of an issue, to say the least. Related auto industry experts chiming in on this post.

Issues in California

They faced many issues in California and were facing legal action The cars were originally given registrations, but they didn’t want to fork over the $150 permits because Uber stated that their cars aren’t that sophisticated yet that they need to be considered fully autonomous. Well, that landed them in the fire pit, and California revoked the registrations for all 16 of their vehicles, which means if they were on the road, police could pull them over and tow them away. Yes, a human driver needs to be in the car at all times but still, they are testing them to be fully autonomous with no one at the wheel, and that was the issue. They could have just satisfied their requirements and gone along with the governing bodies in California, but they decided not to do that. California is their hometown, where Uber first started, but their decision to not seek and follow through with government regulations this time (like they have done in the past) is costing them big time.

Other Issues

Some also say that the red light is not the only issue They also apparently have issues with bike lanes and turning ahead of people in those lanes, which as a human driver we know to look out for. But there are other things that the self-driving cars have issues with other than bike lanes. That could be the inclement weather because then the car cannot detect the lines on the ground for lane markings. They have issues with bridges because there aren’t enough environmental cues around them to determine where it is, and when things change with regards to landmarks (which includes leaves having and not having leaves), the car gets confused as to where it is. These are just a few of the issues that a self-driving car has to endure. The more obvious issue is the repair service for these cars. If they break on the road, there won’t be a shop that you can just tow them to, leaving the passengers stranded.

Other Places Where They Operate

While California is proving to be an issue for them due to their regulations, they have already been operating in other states. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was the first place to have them, and they have been there for several months at this point.  Their cars are in PA for research, to help the cars learn how to drive on the roads, how to react to passengers, and how other cars on the roads are moving. That is probably the most important step to an autonomous vehicle, to be able to anticipate what is going on around them. They started in PA for a reason, for the talent at Carnegie Mellon, and hopefully this will lead them to a profitable future. Once their ability to drive in CA was taken away from them, they went to Arizona, where they were apparently welcomed very acceptant. They were welcome via a tweet, which is appropriate considering they are based on a mobile app as well.

The Future

The cars themselves still need to be occupied by a human driver and engineer to help it learn what it is supposed to do as well as see the downfalls and drawbacks that might be encountered. Every car company is trying to get in on the autonomous car idea, and that’s awesome, but technology is limited at this point. However, once the times and minds behind these cars are improved, I see a future of self-driving cars on the roads. Maybe that will lead to fewer accidents when all of them are the same way because a robot can anticipate and read another robot. But what about those of us who like to drive, how will it affect us?  Will you ever truly want to give up control on the road for something else to drive for you?

Mortgage rates are at the highest in the USA since 2014

During the last week of the December 2016, the long-term mortgage rates have scaled to a new record height since 2014.

The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation or Freddie Mac is in charge of reporting the rates of mortgage in the territory of the United States. They reported on Thursday the 22nd of December that the loans for a 30-year fixed rate loan scaled from 4.16 per cent to an impressive value of 4.30, which is the highest value since April 2014. For a 15-year loan, the news is also grim: from an average value of 3.37, the rate suffered a high inflation and was reported to be 3.52 percent, which is also a record value that was only reported before in January 2014. This report is brought to you by the Toronto company

What is the possible reason to this increment?

The politic in the United States has been through quite a special year after the presidential election. Which confronted the candidate Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party and Donald Trump as the elected candidate to represent the Republican party, giving the victory to the Republican candidate against all the odds. It is putting an end of 8 years in a row of reign for the Democratic party with Barack Obama in the White House.

During his campaign, Donald Trump’s slogan was “Make America Great Again,” which in the eyes of several economic experts could mean a tax cut and an increment in the budget for infrastructure. It is still not completely clear if this is going to be his primary plan of action. The investors believe that, whatever his plan will be, it will lead to economic growth but also to a higher inflation rate, which is the reason why the mortgage rates are being adjusted to anticipate this economic movement. It will affect all other housing-related industries such as home improvements, home building, contractors alike etc…

Although this report of the increment on the mortgage came out in December, the results of the election, published on November the 8th, the 30-year mortgage rates had already experienced an increase of over three-quarter points.

What are the possible consequences to this readjustment of rates?

Increasing the rates of the fixed-rates loan are always bad news for people in the housing market that got their place to live with this financing strategy. Borrow money with a 30-year mortgage is the most common and widely used method for house acquiring in the United States of America, which means that a significant amount of people is going to struggle more from now on to cover their debt.

On the week before the report was released, a consequence of the increment was already visible: the Federal Reserve also increased the interest rates in the United States for short-term loans. Although this is the second time in a decade that this increment happens, it is one of the impacts that the variation of the long-term rates is having in the general economy. The Federal Reserve said that this adjustment was made due to economic growth in the last years. According to Sean Beckett, chief economist of Freddie Mac, the mortgage industry took the report from Freddie Mac and “digested it,” the result that was shown after the increment of the short-term rates that occurred that week.

Just to show a numerical example: for a person that has a loan of US$400.000, before the increment that took place after the election, the monthly payment was US$1.804. Now, after all, the increases generated by the victory of Donald Trump and the speculation created by the main investors in the country, the monthly payment of the same amount of US$400.000 has now scaled to US$1.980. Which means that after two years, a person with this loan experienced an increase of US$176 between the end of the election. The report made by Freddie Mac.

What is going to happen in the future?

Until Donald Trump does not reveal any other information that could lead to a new change in the mortgage rates for both short-term and long-term loans, it has been forecasted that the rates will keep a sudden increase during the whole period of 2017. The housing affordability is now starting to enter a dangerous territory that could lead people to desperation because of the inability of paying their debt to the banks.

Even if Donald Trump does want to spend big on infrastructure such as roads, airports, bridges. Among other crucial needs that the United States does need, the people is the one who is going to see how are they going to deal with the new economic measures that the new elected President of the United States is going to implement during his 4-year period in the oval office.

An increment in the mortgage rates is perhaps not the only problem that the citizens of the United States will have to face in the coming years: a possible increment in the inflation and demand from the investors to pay lower prices for bond could have an adverse impact on the economy itself.

The low rates that were present before the election was putting the housing market in a race to sell the most amount of houses, basically a bonanza of houses was flourishing during those times. Now, with the increment in the mortgage rates, a reduction in the demand due to increased house prices is expected to happen.