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DT Daily: Facebook speech-to-text, self-driving car timeline, new high-tech stadium

Today on DT Daily: Facebook puts a new spin on text messaging, a timeline for self-driving cars and Atlanta’s new stadium lets the sun shine in.

You’re probably familiar with Facebook’s Messenger app, which lets you send either text messages or small audio clips to your friends, or their friends, and so on. But now, Facebook is going to try something a little bit different.

Along with sending those text and voice bits, Facebook is beginning what they call a “small scale” test of turning audio messages into text. That would be handy if your friends sent you a voice message, but you’re not in a place that would allow you to listen to it. Instead, you could just read it. The tech isn’t groundbreaking – sending a text that’s derived from spoken words has been around for a while – but converting the message on the other end of the chain is new.

Facebook hasn’t said who exactly is going to be able to test out the new feature, but if it’s deemed successful, expect it to appear in your Messenger app in the near future.

Most major carmakers seem to be on board with developing self-driving vehicles, but truth be told, it’s going to be a while before we can just stumble into our cars and take a nap during the drive home. But how long exactly?     

Well, how about 10 years? That’s when German car parts and tech systems maker Bosch thinks that systems, at least in some places, will allow fully autonomous driving. Bosch says they are working on developing systems that include highway driving assistance, automated lane changing technology, smart roadways and more. Once the systems all mature and begin working together, they say self-driving cars should be a reality.

Bosch sees tech easing into the driving seat over the next decade, with drivers staying at the wheel to monitor the car until, finally, cars are reliable enough to get around on their own while you dink away on your cell phone or get in a quick nap.

When it comes to sports venues, perhaps none are as high-tech as the new AT&T Stadium in Texas. But that’s about to change.

Take a look at the new stadium currently under construction in Atlanta. Set for completion in 2017, the as-yet unnamed venue will feature a retractable roof that opens like a flower… or, the iris of a camera. Fans can watch replays on a gigantic round jumbotron. Seating patterns can be adjusted to accommodate events like the Super Bowl – or a more intimate concert setting. The plan also calls for solar panels for power and a top LEED environmental certification.

Developers say the facility should cost about $1.2 billion to complete, but that’s actually less than some other new stadiums. But can the Falcons win enough games to fill all those seats? We’ll check back in two years.

Your host today is Holly Resnick. Miss a day? Watch all the episodes of DT Daily right here. And be sure to catch our latest podcast.