Driverless cars to be allowed on Swansea roads from next year

DRIVERLESS cars are to be allowed on public roads including in Swansea and south west Wales from next year.

Companies like Google have already made such technology famous by using such vehicles.

But the UK Government wants Britain to be at the forefront of the technology.

Measures to boost research will be announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable later.

Tests with driverless cars have so far been restricted to private roads.

MIRA, the automotive engineering firm, has tested its vehicles at an 850-acre site in the Midlands.

But the Government hopes to catch up with places like the US States of California, Nevada and Florida which have all paved the way for the vehicles to use public highways.

Google’s driverless car has done more than 300,000 miles on the open road in California.

Japan and Sweden have also made moves in this area, with 1,000 autonomous Volvos to be allowed on the roads by 2017.

Google plans to manufacture 100 self-driving vehicles. One prototype has just a stop/go button, with no steering wheel or pedals.

Toyota, Audi and Lexus have used Google’s technology, while manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and General Motors, are developing their own vehicles.

Some vehicles, such as certain models of Mercedes, already have some autonomous controls for parallel parking.

But the FBI has warned that driverless cars could be used as lethal weapons.

Limo CEO, aides to plead guilty in Las Vegas racketeering conspiracy

Limousine company operator Charles Horky and two top aides have agreed to plead guilty in a multimillion-dollar racketeering conspiracy involving prostitution, drug trafficking and fraud.

“Mr. Horky has accepted responsibility for actions involving some financial activity at the company and is ready assume the consequences,” his defense attorney David Chesnoff said Wednesday. “He apologizes to those he disappointed, and we’re hopeful that the court accepts the negotiations.”

Horky, 53, the CEO of CLS Nevada, a limousine company that operated on the Strip for two decades, and eight others were charged in a federal racketeering indictment unsealed in December 2012. Additional defendants, including some of Horky’s limousine drivers, were charged with trafficking in cocaine, methamphetamine and Ecstasy in four separate indictments.

The four-year criminal conspiracy was uncovered by the FBI with the help of months of court-approved wiretaps that, among other things, provided an explicit look inside a prostitution ring authorities said Horky ran.

Horky is to plead guilty in Las Vegas before U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones on Sept. 25, according to the electronic court docket.

Kimberly Flores, 43, the manager of CLS, and Archie Granata, 70, a financial adviser for the company, are to enter guilty pleas before Jones on July 7, the court record shows.

Details of the deals the three defendants have struck with federal prosecutors have not been publicly released. The plea agreements will be filed after Jones accepts their guilty pleas in court.

Other defendants also are working on plea deals.

Those indicted with Horky in the racketeering case included limousine drivers James Reda, 39, Clarence Adams, 39, Mikhail Maleev, 49, and Dawit Moszagi, 48. Two company associates accused of being drug suppliers, Solomon Zemedhun, 40, and Olive Toli, 49, also were charged.

One key target of the investigation, drug dealer Hani Dadis, killed himself weeks before the federal indictments were returned.

Dadis, 51, of Las Vegas, was accused in FBI affidavits of being the main supplier of the club drug Ecstasy, or MDMA, to limousine drivers and their high-rolling clients.

On Sept. 12, 2012, as pressure from FBI agents in the investigation mounted, Dadis put a gun to his head and shot himself to death in a hotel room at the South Point resort on the south Strip, according to court documents.

His death, ruled a suicide by Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy, came a week after agents raided an apartment Dadis had rented to stash the Ecstasy he was accused of distributing.

Horky’s company listed itself as a 24-hour chauffeur-driven service that had contracts with a dozen Strip resorts.

At the time of the indictment in 2012, a top local FBI agent said the lucrative scheme “negatively impacted the citizens, safety, and image of Las Vegas.”

The indictment charged the nine defendants with conspiring to participate in an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activities, including wire fraud, access device fraud, bank fraud and distribution of controlled substances. It also charged them with using interstate commerce to promote, facilitate, and distribute the proceeds of prostitution.

The broad range of criminal activities was alleged to have taken place from September 2008 through November 2012.

Drivers sold cocaine and methamphetamine and promoted prostitution from their limousines, the indictment alleged.

Horky was accused of directing the criminal activities and requiring drivers to pay him a cut of the illicit money they were receiving.

Among the unlawful activities carried out was a scheme to defraud American Express and American Express card holders of more than $2.8 million through unauthorized charges, according to the indictment.

Horky led a $2.4 million check-kiting scheme that involved drawing checks on the company’s payroll account knowing that the account did not contain sufficient funds, the indictment alleged.

Since his indictment, Horky has been running the limousine service under the watchful eye of a court-appointed monitor, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Trustee Tim Cory.

On Wednesday, Cory said a scaled-back version of the company is still operating.

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