A college degree has long been touted as society’s great leveler, essential for entry into the middle class. Nearly 20 million students enrolled in an undergraduate program in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Movies and television tend to portray an idealized college experience, featuring 18- to 21-year-olds who attend four-year institutions and live on campus. But in reality the college experience is far more varied. Only 15 percent of the undergraduate population fit the traditional profile in 2015, compared with 35 percent in 1986. A college student today is more likely to be female, to attend a four-year public college full time, to live off campus and to graduate with student loan debt. About 43 percent of full-time undergraduate students also work at least part time.To try to capture a more representative snapshot of what college looks like today, we dispatched two reporters to shadow two undergrads — Sheila Suarez, 23, a commuter at the … [Read more...] about One day, two students: What college looks like from opposite ends of the income gap
Student car insurance
Success, failure, and change in the insurance business have always been largely data-determined. But today is different. The proliferation of big data and the advent of advanced analytics and machine learning are changing the game entirely. The winners are those that can access the most relevant data, analyze it in new and unique ways, and apply it at the right time and place, all at extraordinary speed.These new technologies are not only improving company performance, they are also helping insurance carriers identify new areas of risk and opportunities for growth.The evolution of auto policy rating is a ready example of how more and better data, used well, leads to improved risk analysis and pricing. Historically, age, marital status, and driving history were used to price a policy. Over time, other data such as credit scores and good student discounts were included. Carriers now have the opportunity to include driver behavior data, captured directly from vehicles through … [Read more...] about Big Data, Analytics, and Machine Learning: Changing Insurance
If you’re yearning to work in the self-driving car industry, Udacity‘s new coursework could help you do just that. Starting Tuesday, Udacity is offering a self-driving car nanodegree program, according to VentureBeat.Udacity, a massive open online course (MOOC) company, has enrolled more than four million students in its free courses and more than 11,000 participants in nanodegree programs. A nanodegree is an online certification program where people enroll for credit. Though it is one of many such companies around the world, Udacity is unique because of its founder.Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder and CEO, previously ran Google X, the company’s moonshot program. In addition to kicking off Google Glass and artificial intelligence programs, Google X was also the origin of Google’s self-driving car project under Thrun.The program runs for nine months, with three 12-week terms. Each term costs $800, so the whole course … [Read more...] about Udacity, Mercedes-Benz, others launch self-driving car nanodegree program
I attended last week's opening of Intel's big new Autonomous Driving Lab in Silicon Valley, and it is an impressive effort. One of the most interesting parts is that the garage in the lab was built for a past CEO of the firm Intel acquired in order to challenge for technology leadership in this space. The chief clearly didn't want his four-wheeled baby left out it the sun.However, car residual prices are collapsing, based on an alert that crossed my desk last week, and it struck me that we haven't considered much the secondary impacts of having self-driving cars, and the changes that will result from turning automobiles into four-wheeled elevators.I'll address that this week and close with my product of the week: an amazingly fun Windows 10 math teaching application that I wish I'd had when I was a kid. Many industry players are treating self-driving cars much like you would a feature such as cruise control: a nice-to-have option that will make driving much easier and safer.There are … [Read more...] about OPINION The Massive Unintended Consequences of Self-Driving Cars
June 28 was National Insurance Day, something you may not have been aware of. You may also not think that your choice of web browser affects your car insurance rate, but online insurance agency CoverHound begs to differ.CoverHound deals with several insurance companies to offer side-by-side rate comparisons, but it decided to flip the script and compare something almost as exciting as insurance: it’s users’ choice of web browser.It found that, on average, Firefox users pay $608 for six months of car insurance, Chrome users pay $731, and Internet Explorer and Safari users pay the same: $750.CoverHound attributes the difference to demographics, saying that Firefox users tend to be in their mid-30s, better educated, and more likely to be married and to own their own homes. All of these factors apparently make Firefox users more appreciative of a good deal.The average age of Firefox users surveyed was 35, putting them in between Internet Explorer (38), and the dueling Google … [Read more...] about Study: Firefox users pay less for car insurance than users of other browsers
Are Millennials growing up in American Graffiti, or The Matrix? The car has been a symbol of youthful freedom for generations, but some believe tech has taken over that role, and that this generation prefers to socialize in the digital world instead of the real world.Young people definitely are driving less. In 2010, buyers aged 21 to 34 purchased 27 percent of new vehicles, down from 38 percent in 1985, according to the Atlantic. A 2011 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study showed that the percentage of 16-year-olds with driver’s licenses had dropped from 46 percent in 1978 to 31 percent in 2008.Of course, since 1985, smartphones have been invented and car sharing and public transportation have become viable alternatives to car ownership. Does this mean GM should put all of its development money into Buick? Not necessarily.The price of freedomIt’s important to remember that cars are expensive. And not just expensive to buy, but expensive to operate … [Read more...] about Cars or smartphones: Which will win Millennials’ hearts – and wallets?
Why aren’t young people driving or getting their driver’s licenses, and by extension, buying cars? Teens and young adults started holding out on getting their golden ticket to motorized freedom in about 1984, according to an article in The Atlantic, and there are several reasons why that trend started and is increasing today.When my niece turned 16 in 2008, family members braced for the inevitable: successful completion of her driver’s test and her first solo forays out onto the open road, where teens hook up, make out and to the greater worry and sleep deprivation of their parents, get hurt or killed.But 16 went by with no license, then 17, and then 18. Was she ill? Scared? Confused about life’s priorities? No, it turns out she was perfectly normal and part of the growing trend among young adults who have decided for a variety of reasons that driving a car, buying a car, or even getting a license, is not a high priority.While a teen in 1984 could sling … [Read more...] about 5 reasons young people are not buying cars or getting their drivers license
The automotive industry is going through some very public growing pains. People are choosing to share cars, carpool, invest in repairs versus buying new vehicles or just do without a car altogether. And the consumers who are hoofing it most often are college students.While there are benefits (your health, the savings, and the environment being the obvious few), there always comes a time when you find yourself wishing you had a car—even for just a moment. These moments include but are not limited to when you’re out of bus fare, when your heel breaks, when it’s pouring rain… or maybe when you just get an urge to drive.Car rentals are an impossibility for most students due to age requirements, plus campus parking is a pain that no one wants to permanently deal with. To address this problem, the car-sharing market has exploded within the past few years. Users are able to swap company owned cars and turn them in once they’re done, a concept that has thrived in … [Read more...] about Wheelz wants to bring car-sharing to your college
In what can surely be filed under the “what in the world were they thinking” category. Three Japanese tourists decided to forgo all logic by following the directions of their rental car’s navigation system and drive directly into the ocean while vacationing in Australia.Reported in the Redland Times , the plucky trio was apparently trying to get to North Stradbroke Island, an island only accessible by ferry, but instead got stuck in the bay after the tide swept in. Under the direction of their Hyundai Getz’s navigation system, the Japanese tourists were lured out into low tide, only to realize later (far too later) that they had been lead astray.“It told us we could drive down there” explained Yuza Noda, who was captaining the ship, err, car at the time. “It kept saying it would navigate us to a road. We got stuck…there’s lots of mud.”After hours of being stuck in mud and water the group decided to abandon the vehicle as the … [Read more...] about Rental car’s navigation system guides Japanese students straight into the ocean
With gas prices in most parts of the United States well past $4.00 a gallon, and edging ever upward, interest in finding an alternative fuel source has never been higher. Ethanol, bio-diesel and gasoline-electric hybrids have all already shown up on the market in one form or another, but the auto industry’s darling, hydrogen fuel cells, have for the most part been confined to magazine covers and car expos.That may change with Honda’s 2008 FCX Clarity, one of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to reach the hands of consumer in the U.S. Beginning in July, the Clarity will move hydrogen technology out of car company labs and onto the streets, when customers begin leasing some of the first publicly available models.Like all hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the Clarity generates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, the byproduct of which is pure, drinkable water that dribbles out of a tailpipe. Electricity from the fuel cell powers an electric motor, which drives the car … [Read more...] about Honda FCX Clarity Hydrogen Car – the future, or a technology cul-de-sac?