Category: Hi-Tech

Robots spotted roaming Modesto streets

Residents have been noticing some strange sights in Modesto over the past few days.

Small robotic machines have been going up and down the streets of a northeast neighborhood. One side of the robot says “Hungry? I can help.”

On Friday, six robots were seen cautiously navigating crosswalks and traffic, getting long glances from drivers.

The robots are from Starship Technologies, a company based out of San Francisco. The company said it is testing its navigational systems and did not release any other details.

https://www-kcra-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.kcra.com/amp/article/robots-spotted-roaming-modesto-streets/34082194

California High-Speed Rail Authority approves alignment for Central Wye Valley section

THE California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has confirmed its choice of alignment for the 80.5km Central Valley Wye section of the Merced – Fresno high-speed line, following the unanimous approval of an environmental impact report for the section by the authority’s board.

California-HS

The section comprises two elements. A west-east alignment follows State Highway 152 from the the terminus of the previous section from San Jose and Gilroy at Carluccio Road to Madera where the high-speed line continues to Fresno. The south-north element runs alongside Road 11 west of Chowchilla to an intersection with the Union Pacific line from where the high-speed line will run north to Merced. This is the final section of the route to be approved after all other sections in May 2012.

The decision commits CHSRA to minimise impact of the project on the communities and local environment, and enables the authority to begin land purchases for the section. The decision was made as part of a three-part process, in which CHSRA certified the environmental analysis under state law, formally confirmed its choice of alignment from a shortlist of four options, and approved the environmental analysis and route under federal law.

The section was subsequently placed under more detailed consideration to address the concerns of local residents about the potential impact of the junction on their communities. The State Highway 152/Road 11 alignment was previously confirmed as the preferred option by CHSRA in January 2017, following preliminary assessments which suggested that the route offered the best balance between achieving the project’s objectives, reducing environmental impact and satisfying the concerns of communities and stakeholders. The alignment was also seen to be the most cost-effective option at $US 3.6bn.

Following this initial assessment, the alignment was submitted for an in-depth environmental analysis. The Merced – Fresno line is part of Phase 1 of California’s high-speed rail project, which will connect San Francisco to Anaheim. Phase 2 will extend the line north to Sacramento and south to San Diego. Around 1287km of line is planned for the project when completed.

Phase 1 is estimated to cost around $US 98.1bn, up from $US 64.2bn in 2016. The phase is currently expected to open for operation in 2029, having been delayed by four years from its previous launch date in 2025. No launch date for Phase 2 has been set. “Today’s approval represents another major milestone for this project as we have now completed the environmental reviews for the entire 275km stretch between Merced and Bakersfield,” says Mr Brian Kelly, CEO of CHSRA.

https://www.railjournal.com/regions/north-america/california-high-speed-rail-authority-approves-alignment-for-central-wye-valley-section/

High-Speed Rail Nears 1,100 Daily Workers at Central Valley Job Sites, California High-Speed Rail Authority Reports

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is now averaging a daily record of nearly 1,100 workers dispatched to construction sites throughout the Central Valley. This milestone comes as the country celebrates Labor Day and the contributions of the American worker.

“The Authority is proud to keep hardworking men and women on the job and in the field during this worldwide pandemic,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “These individuals are more than ‘essential.’ Each day, these skilled workers are out building for California and the nation’s future, and their contribution is invaluable.”
In partnership with local trade unions, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board, the Authority is proud to work alongside such skilled laborers. Electricians, cement masons, steel workers and others are helping bring the nation’s first high-speed rail system to life while contributing to the local economy across five counties.

“The High-Speed Rail Authority continuously lives up to its promise by providing opportunities to disadvantaged communities,” said State Building and Construction Trades Council of California President Robbie Hunter. “As more construction sites open, the opportunities grow for our growing workforce and apprentices eager to make high-speed rail a reality.”

Since the beginning of the high-speed rail project, the Authority has worked to ensure jobs created on the project benefit disadvantaged areas through the execution of a Community Benefits Agreement. The agreement includes a Targeted Worker Program that requires 30 percent of all project work hours be performed by individuals who come from disadvantaged communities where household income ranges from $32,000 to $40,000 annually.

Each of the project’s design-builders is implementing the Targeted Worker Program. Out of the more than 4,300 workers dispatched to the project, 226 reported living in Madera County, 1,791 living in Fresno County, 128 living in Kings County, 406 living in Tulare County, and 580 in Kern County. “It’s neat to be part of one of the biggest projects in California,” said Nicholas Godbey, a laborer working on an overpass at Davis Avenue in Fresno County. “I work with great people every day and I take a lot of pride in being a laborer. There’s not many who can say they are part of building high-speed rail.”

The Authority currently has 119 miles under construction within three construction packages. Design-builder contractors Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons, Dragados-Flatiron/Joint Venture, and California Rail Builders have 32 active construction sites with more expected to open in the coming months. This work totals more than $4.8 billion in construction commitments.

https://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/25191-high-speed-rail-nears-1-100-daily-workers-at-central-valley-job-sites-california-high-speed-rail-authority-reports

California High-Speed Rail Authority releases video promoting project, jobs creation

Work is booming on more than 32 active construction sites across the Central Valley. As we move forward building the nation’s first high-speed rail system, we are proud to announce that more than 4,000 construction jobs have been created, with more than 73% of the workers dispatched to our various construction sites reported living in the Central Valley.

We expect to keep the momentum this summer by completing and opening several overcrossings along Construction Package 1 and 2-3. Watch our latest Construction Update video to see the work in action and to get the latest on construction anytime, visit BuildHSR.com.

http://www.oc-breeze.com/2020/07/15/184751_california-high-speed-rail-authority-releases-video-promoting-project-jobs-creation/

OmniTRAX’s Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad Works with San Joaquin Partnership to Launch Rail-Ready Sites Program

DENVER & STOCKTON, CA – OmniTRAX, one of the fastest growing railroads in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, is bringing its Rail-Ready Sites program to the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad (STE). The program, started last year at the Winchester & Western Railroad (WW) in West Virginia and New Jersey, delivers the benefits of rail to shipping customers through rail-served sites.
OmniTRAX is working closely with the San Joaquin Partnership to promote the best developable, rail-ready property adjacent to the STE. The initial three sites, which total 83 acres and include a 65 acre parcel, are ideal locations for rail-served agriculture, manufacturing, asphalt, cement, chemicals, food processing, lumber, steel and distribution facilities.  “San Joaquin County and the greater Stockton region are going through an industrial and agricultural renaissance that our Rail-Ready Sites program will help to support. Working with the San Joaquin Partnership, OmniTRAX will bring new jobs and economic growth to the area through increased rail-served development,” said Ean Johnson, Vice President, Industrial Development at OmniTRAX. “We are strategically located in the heart of Northern California with the right land, infrastructure and workforce that will maximize success for rail-served sites. We provide a business-friendly climate and local government support that when partnered with the expert experience that OmniTRAX brings to the table, generate a winning formula for our community,” said Bob Gutierrez, Interim President & CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership.
About OmniTRAX, Inc.
As one of North America’s largest and fastest growing private railroad and transportation management companies, OmniTRAX’s core capabilities range from providing transportation and supply chain management services to railroad and port companies, to providing intermodal and industrial switching operations to railroads, ports and a diverse group of industrial companies. Through its affiliation with The Broe Group and its portfolio of managed companies, OmniTRAX also has the unique capability of offering specialized industrial development and real estate solutions, both on and off the rail network managed by OmniTRAX. More information is available at omnitrax.com.
About The Broe Group
Based in Denver, The Broe Group and its affiliates form a privately-owned, multi-billion-dollar real estate, transportation, energy and investment organization with assets owned and managed across North America. Together, Broe managed companies employ more than 1,000 people and support employment of thousands of others through operations such as its Great Western Industrial Park in Northern Colorado. Its transportation affiliate, OmniTRAX, Inc., is one of North America’s largest private railroad and transportation management companies specializing in: management services, railroad and port services, intermodal solutions and industrial switching operations. Its energy affiliates include Great Western Petroleum LLC, the largest private operator in the third most prolific U.S. basin. Broe Real Estate Group acquires, develops and manages office and industrial properties, medical office buildings and multi-family communities across the country, including premier assets in many of the most desirable markets. The Broe Group also has multiple investment affiliates, including Three Leaf Ventures, which is focused on innovative healthcare technology start-ups. For more information, visit broe.com.
About San Joaquin Partnership
The San Joaquin Partnership is a public/private non-profit economic development corporation serving all of San Joaquin County and its seven incorporated cities. For the past 30 years, the Partnership has attracted business and industry to the region with marketing and outreach strategies.  Our team provides custom tailored marketing plans, confidential due diligence, site selection, government affairs and match making with local businesses that will assist your company in establishing a successful future in San Joaquin County.

Aemetis provide updates of RNG, cellulosic ethanol projects

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2020
Aemestis Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 12, reporting increased revenues and progress with the development of its cellulosic ethanol and renewable natural gas (RNG) projects. During an earnings call, Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said the company has signed participation agreements with 17 dairies for its RNG project. The company has also built and tested two dairy lagoon digesters, and has designed and permitted a 4-mile pipeline that is now under construction to connect the dairy digesters to its corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California. The RNG project is currently expected to begin generating revenue for Aemetis during the second quarter of this year. According to McAfee, the company plans to complete construction of the next 15 digesters by the end of 2021.

McAfee also provided an update of the company’s proposed 12 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Riverbank, California, that will employ LanzaTech gas microbe ethanol production technology. Last year, Aemetis signed three significant financings related to the Riverbank project, including a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commision, a $12.5 million tax waiver that offsets equity funding required for the project, and the signing of a $125 million United States Department of Agriculture conditional commitment letter for a 20-year debt financing under the 9003 biorefinery program, according to McAfee. Currently, he said the company is focused on completing engineering of the plant required for the negotiation of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. McAfee said financial closing to being construction of the Riverbank plant is dependent on completing the engineering and procurement work required for the signing of the construction contract. During the call, McAfee also described several upgrades that are being made to the company’s Keyes ethanol plant. One upgrade involves the development of a carbon dioxide liquification plant by Linde Gas adjacent to the Keyes plant. McAfee said construction on the CO2 capture equipment and piping for the Keyes plant was complete in January. Once the project becomes fully operational in the second quarter, the new liquification plant is expected to convert approximately 150,000 tons per year of CO2 produced by the Keyes plant into liquid CO2 for sale to local food processors, beverage producers and other industrial users.

The Keyes plant is also adding a Mitsubishi membrane dehydration system to the Keyes plant. That dehydration unit was delivered to the Keyes plant in late February, McAfee said, and is currently being installed. Aemetis is also working to add a solar microarray, high-efficiency heat exchanger, and mechanical vapor recompression system to the Keyes plant. Aemetis also operates a biodiesel plant in India. The company reported revenues of $52.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up from $38.8 million for the same period of last year. Gross profit was $5.8 million, compared to a gross loss of $1.9 million. Operating profit was $1 million, compared to an operating loss of $6.7 million reported for the same period of 2018. Net loss attributable to Aemetis was $6.7 million, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million for the fourth quarter of the previous year. For the full year, revenues reached $202 million, up from $171.5 million in 2018. Gross profit was $12.7 million, up from $5.4 million. Operating loss for 2019 reached $4.9 million, compared to an operating loss of $10.9 million for 2018.

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/16886/aemetis-provide-updates-of-rng-cellulosic-ethanol-projects

Report: Improving rail service between Central Valley and Bay Area could create thousands of jobs

If a long-discussed plan to improve passenger rail service between the Central Valley and the Bay Area ever gets to the “shovel” stages, tens of thousands of new construction jobs would be created, according to a report made to the Tri-Valley – San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority Board.The so-called “Valley Link” project’s construction phase would create 22,000 jobs with worker income of $1.35 billion, says the analysis prepared by PGH Wong Engineering Inc. using a tool created by the American Public Transportation Association.

The analysis also predicts that:

• The construction phase would also generate $3.5 billion in local business sales;

• When operational, Valley Link would support 400 jobs per year with labor income of over $19 million per year,and,

• Valley Link would also generate $69 million in business sales annually.

Currently, the Central Valley is connected to Silicon Valley by the Altamont Commuter Express rail system between downtown Stockton and downtown San Jose. Although using modern diesel locomotives and passenger cars, the trains creak along over a right of way owned by Union Pacific and ordinally built in the 1800s. The passenger trains also must give way to slow-moving freight trains.“I am very pleased by the results of this analysis of the economic impact of Valley Link. This project will not only get our vital workforce to their jobs once complete but will also add 22,000 jobs to boost the economy during the construction phase,” says Alameda County Supervisor and Regional Rail Authority Chairman Scott Haggerty. Tracy City Council member and Regional Rail Authority vice chairman Veronica Vargas says the improved rail corridor would provide nearly 30,000 rides a day to commuters “eager to have relief from congestion on the I580. And, in a time of economic stress with the COVID-19 pandemic, Valley Link can provide a significant job stimulus in the region.”The first phase of the proposed Valley Link rail service would cover 42 miles connecting the existing Dublin/Pleasanton BART station to the proposed ACE North Lathrop station. A second phase would extend service from the North Lathrop station to the ACE and Amtrak Stockton station. Trains would be scheduled to allow for convenient transfers to BART. The first ValleyLink trains could be placed in service as early as 2027.

https://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/d2a6152c-42c4-4dda-8914-0401770c2048.pdf

BITWISE CEO SEEKS TO HIRE 100-PLUS FOR DATA ENTRY

The CEO of Bitwise is putting out a call to hire more than 100 temporary data entry contractors who will work from home. Irma L. Olguin Jr. said in a Facebook post Friday afternoon that the workers would support efforts of Bitwise Industries, its web development arm Shift3 Technologies and mobile restaurant ordering app Ordrslip in “building things to help feed the elderly, save restaurants from going out of business and to help folks who’ve lost jobs regain employment.” The temporary (“could be days or weeks”) positions would be 40 hours a week and pay $15 per hour. Employment would be on a contract basis. Applicants must have their own computer, reliable Internet access and be able to type at reasonable speed, Olguin said.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/virus-diaries-bitwise-ceo-seeks-to-hire-100-plus-for-data-entry/#:~:text=The%20CEO%20of%20Bitwise%20is,who%20will%20work%20from%20home.&text=Employment%20would%20be%20on%20a%20contract%20basis.

SELF-DRIVING BUS BEING BUILT PARTLY IN PORTERVILLE

Next-generation wireless revolution takes root in Bakersfield

The next revolution in mobile technology has arrived in Bakersfield — but it’s probably not time to celebrate just yet. Earlier this month, AT&T announced its local launch of the highly anticipated wireless coverage known as 5G, joining T-Mobile, which introduced a similar service in early December. (Sprint and Verizon have not yet made the service available in Bakersfield.) The launches mean people with the right kind of cellphone and the right mobile service plan should be able to receive data faster — perhaps 20 percent faster than they did under the previous best technology, known as 4G LTE.