Business Stories of the Week: Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

by February 23, 2018

Are taxi drones coming soon? Airbus has made a big step forward in developing flying cars. (Photo via Pixabay.com

 

Amazon to expand cashierless stores

Business Insider reported Thursday that Amazon Go, the chain of retail stores without cashiers, will be expanding by at least six stores this year. To enter the store, customers register and receive a code sent to their phone, which they scan at an entry turnstile. The stores use sensor technology and cameras to send customers an itemized bill for their purchases as they leave the store. Products stocked at the stores include Amazon-branded meal kits, as well as Whole Foods 365-brand food.

McDonald’s brings back Szechuan Sauce

After a failed cross promotion with the Adult Swim show Rick and Morty last fall, McDonald’s is bringing back its Szechuan sauce – a dipping sauce it first released in 1998 to promote the movie Mulan. When McDonald’s promoted the sauce for one day last October, it ran out almost immediately, causing riots amongst the show’s dedicated fans. One fan even traded his car for a packet of the sauce. This time, the company says it will release 20 million packages nationwide.

Citi to issue refunds

Citigroup is preparing $330 million in refunds after the bank found it had overcharged credit card accounts on their annual interest rates, The New York Times reports. It caught the error during a routine internal review mandated under federal law. Nearly two million accounts had been overcharged due to the error and the average refund will be $190. Citigroup said it has already notified regulators about the error.

Airbus one step closer to flying taxis

Although it looks like nothing more than a big drone, Airbus’ Vahana electronic vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft represents a big step forward for flying cars, according to tech magazine The Verge. Airbus’ goal is a fleet of electric eVTOL taxis that “can fly from rooftop to rooftop in dense cities where traffic is often at a standstill.” However, current battery technology would need to advance by “years or decades” according to many experts if urban air taxis were to be feasible.

Bezos building 10-millennium clock

Buried deep within a Texas mountain, Jeff Bezos’ 500-foot mechanical clock is expected to last for 10,000 years, according to CNBC. The clock will only tick once a year. Every century, a “century hand” will move. And every millennium, the clock’s “cuckoo” will pop out. The clock is powered by Earth’s thermal cycles. Bezos says the clock has been in the works since 1989, and is meant to showcase innovation and “be a symbol…for long-term thinking.”