Items tagged with autonomous vehicles

It may not happen in my lifetime, but it sure seems like we trending towards a world where the majority of automobiles on the market will be capable of driving themselves. In preparation for that day, Amazon on Friday confirmed it is acquiring Zoox, a California-based startup that has been designing an autonomous vehicle from the ground up. "Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. "Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we're excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead." Terms of the deal have not... Read more...
Imagine for a moment that you bought a used car from a dealership, and after doing so, the original manufacturer of the automobile came to your house and began stripping away features that do not come standard with the base model of whichever car you bought. Maybe you call the cops, or perhaps you take matters into your own hands (we don't condone the latter). Either way, it would be an unfathomable situation. Nevertheless, Tesla is under fire for allegedly doing something similar, only instead of physically removing a customer's radio or anything like that, it disabled features on a used car by way of an over-the-air (OTA) software update. These are not minor features, either—Tesla is... Read more...
Take a look at your smartphone. Is it an Android device? If so, there is a very good chance it is rocking a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor inside, as many Android handsets do. Smartphones are not the final frontier for Qualcomm, though, which also has big aspirations of making tomorrow's autonomous vehicles much safer than they are today. The way there, according to Qualcomm, is through its Snapdragon Ride platform. Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today, Snapdragon Ride is a robust set of hardware and software tools for automakers to design self-driving cars around. It consists of a family of scalable, open autonomous driving solutions, including Snapdragon Ride Safety... Read more...
These are some wild and wonderful times we live in, folks. When I was a kid, shows like The Jetsons made me think there would be flying cars in the future. Perhaps there still will be. In the here and now, however, autonomous vehicles have emerged and are gaining traction. Where that leads us remains to be seen, but a new demonstration by Stanford's Dynamic Design Lab has me wondering if one day in the not-too-distant futures there will be races and driving competitions strictly for self-driving vehicles. Perhaps one day self-driving cars will go up against human opponents. Machine versus human is not a new concept, after all. IBM's smarty pants Watson dominated the flesh and blood competition... Read more...
NVIDIA is making a Herculean effort to bolster self-driving cars with vastly upgraded chip technology, Specifically, NVIDIA this week unveiled its DRIVE AGX Orin platform designed to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks that run simultaneously in autonomous vehicles and robotics, with safety checks in play as well. The heart of the new platform is Orin, a system-on-chip (SoC) packing 17 billion transistors. It is the culmination of four years of research and development. It integrates NVIDIA's next-generation GPU architecture and ARM's Hercules CPU cores, along with deep learning and computer vision accelerators. All combined, NVIDIA says the chip is capable of delivering... Read more...
Perhaps someday in the future autonomous vehicles will be the norm, not the exception. There are plenty of hurdles standing in way of that ultimate goal, with safety being the obvious main concern. Doing its part, Waymo has decided to share its rich collection of self-driving car data with researchers at no cost. If you ask Waymo, the company will tell you it is one of the largest and most diverse self-driving datasets every released for research. It contains data from 1,000 driving segments, with each segment capturing 20 seconds of continuous driving corresponding to 200,000 frames at 10Hz per sensor. This type of continuous footage can be a potential goldmine for researchers attempting to... Read more...
Following an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model 3 and a semi-truck, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the autopilot feature in the Model 3 was in fact engaged at the time of the accident. Interestingly, the Model 3 was traveling 68 miles per hour in a 55 MPH zone on US 441 in Delray Beach, Florida. The southbound highway where the accident happened consists of two lanes, with two more lanes going northbound, separated by a grass median. There is also a turn lane that heads into a private driveway where the accident occurred. "As the Tesla approached the private driveway, the combination vehicle pulled from the driveway and traveled east... Read more...
When I was younger—a lot younger—it seemed we were headed towards a future where flying cars would be the norm, a thought no doubt influenced by television (The Jetsons comes immediately to mind). That probably won't come to pass in my lifetime, though the widespread use of autonomous vehicles might. Several companies are invested in self-driving cars, including Apple, which not surprisingly is hoping to build the necessary technology in-house if a supplier doesn't step to the plate with an attractive offer. We've seen this play out with Apple in the mobile phone space, with the company designing its own custom Bionic processors for its iPhone family. Granted, those chips are based... Read more...
We have some sad news to report in the world of autonomous vehicles. It was reported that earlier this morning, an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. Tempe is one of several cities where Uber's autonomous vehicle trials are taking place, with the others being Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. While there was a human driver behind the vehicle when 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg was struck, the vehicle was operating in fully autonomous mode at the time. This is the first accident [that we know of] involving an autonomous vehicle that has resulted in the death of a pedestrian. Self-driving vehicles have been sharing the roadways with everyday drivers (and... Read more...
To the uninitiated, riding shotgun in a self-driving car might seem like a scary proposition. Part of the reason is because we are simply not used to seeing a vehicle navigate itself without a human driver behind the wheel, so the image of a potentially deadly hunk of metal motoring down a busy street is inherently concerning. Waymo seems to recognize this, so it has gone and launched a 360-degree virtual reality experience that puts users in the rear seat of a self-driving car. Much of the 3-minute video is spent explaining how Waymo's various sensors survey the landscape to identify all the moving parts, be they other cars, guys and gals on bicycles, or pedestrians hanging out in a parking... Read more...
Just two months ago, Waymo announced plans to test a self-driving car service in Phoenix, Arizona, in which commuters could summon a free ride from one of around 600 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. Now the company is putting the pedal to the metal with "thousands more" of the same hybrid vehicle, each one motoring around without a flesh and blood (read: human) driver behind the wheel. Fiat Chrysler in Canada is producing the self-driving vehicles for Waymo, which is planning to deploy the hybrids in cities where it is currently testing autonomous driving technology. When asked by Wired exactly how many thousands it is talking about, the company would not say, leaving it up to everyone's imaginations.... Read more...
Apple has filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that provides some insight into how the company plans to tackle navigation. The patent explains how Apple intends to make autonomous driving more efficient by reducing the need to constantly remake detailed maps. It also serves of further confirmation of Apple's plan to compete in the autonomous vehicle category—this is Apple's first patent in the self-driving car field. In the patent, Apple explains that today's autonomous vehicles use a combination of static information, such as detail maps of various routes, and real-time data captured by sensors as a self-driving car proceeds on a route.... Read more...
When it comes to business, playing it safe is not always the way to go. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich knows this as well as anyone, so in a memo sent to to employees, he said the "new normal for Intel" as the company approaches its 50th anniversary will be to "take more risks" as it continues to expand into new growth markets, ones in which the Santa Clara chipmaker is "definitely an underdog." "We're just inches away from being a 50/50 company, meaning that half our revenue comes from the PC and half from new growth markets. In many of these new markets we are definitely the underdog. That's an exciting challenge—it requires that we develop and use new, different muscles," Krzanich said. Image... Read more...
Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, continues to accelerate its self-driving car efforts by racking up millions of miles on public roads. The official tally now stands at 4 million miles, of which 1 million of those were accumulated in the past six months alone. In the early going, it took a full 18 months for Waymo to log its first million miles. All of this experience adds up and is crucial to making autonomous vehicles safe for everyday use. Image Source: Waymo "With these 4 million miles of experience, we’ve been able to focus on varied and complex driving scenarios. For every situation we encounter on the road, we’re able to amplify and multiply the experience... Read more...
Tesla founder Elon Musk has been hyping up self-driving capabilities of his company's upcoming Model 3 automobile, but if you ask General Motors, the automaker will tell you he is "full of crap." Yes, those were the words GM's director of autonomous vehicle integration Scott Miller threw at Australian journalists in Detroit, which leaves little doubt to how and (and presumably his employer) really feels about Tesla."I think he is full of crap," Miller said. "To think you can see everything you need for a level five autonomous car with cameras and radar, I don't know how you do that."Image Source: TeslaMiller is referring to the rating system introduced by the US Department of Transportation's... Read more...
It is a tossup whether Samsung is best known for its smartphones, televisions, or semiconductor business, at least for now anyway. Give it some time and Samsung might end up being associated with self-driving cars. The South Korean electronics maker certainly has an interest in autonomous vehicles—what tech company doesn't these days?—which was reinforced by receiving permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test cars that drive themselves on state roads. Samsung joins a growing list of companies that have obtained permits from the DMV to test autonomous vehicles. Some of the other notable names include automakers GM, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Tesla, to name a view,... Read more...
Despite cautionary push back from regulators and lawmakers, it is becoming increasingly clear that self-driving cars are the future. Development in the area has been proceeding at a breakneck pace. Even so, one has to wonder when exactly autonomous vehicles will become a reality, versus just a prototype. It could be sooner than you think thanks to a new partnership between Volvo, Autoliv, and NVIDIA. The two automakers have teamed up with NVIDIA to accelerate the advancement of self-driving car technology. As part of that alliance, they have set an ambitious goal of having production vehicles built on NVIDIA's Drive PX car computing platform on roadways by 2021. That gives them just four years... Read more...
Up until now, one of the worst kept secrets in the tech industry was Apple's involvement in an autonomous vehicle program. Job listings and occasional leaks made it unofficially clear that Apple was cooking something up in the self-driving car space, and now Apple boss Tim Cook has come out and confirmed what we knew all along—Apple is invested in self-driving technology"We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook told Bloomberg in an interview earlier this month. "It's a core technology that we view as important. Cook added that autonomous vehicle technology is "sort of the mother of all AI projects" and "probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."That is true from a... Read more...
The lead lawyer for Uber has threatened to fire Anthony Levandowski, one of the company's top self-driving car engineers, if he refuses to cooperate with an ongoing investigation into accusations that he stole trade secrets from Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Google's parent company Alphabet. Levandowski previously worked for Waymo before joining Uber. His path to Uber came by way of an acquisition. After departing Waymo, Levandowski co-founded Otto in January 2016. Just seven months later, his company was acquired by Uber for around $680 million. Since then, Alphabet has filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging the theft of nearly around 14,000 files amounting to nearly 10 gigabytes... Read more...
Toyota is tapping NVIDIA to deliver the necessary artificial intelligence hardware that will power the automaker's autonomous driving systems. In doing so, Toyota joins a growing and impressive list of automotive partners that have teamed up with NVIDIA to push the autonomous vehicle category forward, a category that Toyota has spent more than two decades researching and developing. The Japanese automaker will use NVIDIA's Drive PX computer platform to power advanced autonomous driving systems that will be introduced in future vehicles. It is a joint collaboration in which engineering teams from both companies have already started developing software on NVIDIA's AI platform. "Toyota has worked... Read more...
The world is changing, folks. That has always been the case, of course, but every so often comes along a game changing technology that underscores the changing landscape. Around 20 years ago it was the Internet, which had begun going mainstream. And today? Self-driving cars point to a different future than the one we live in today. Google is one of the driving forces, and through its Waymo program, it is offering up free rides in its autonomous vans in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix residents are some of the first to participate in Waymo's early rider program. It is a trial of Waymo's self-driving vehicles and as an early rider, Phoenix residents can hitch rides in autonomous vans to go to work, to... Read more...
Warfare is evolving at a pace faster than most people could have predicted even just a decade ago. Advances in technology have led to some incredibly high-tech gear on the battlefield and in the skies. In regards to the latter, the United States Air Force has developed an F-16 drone that can not only fly autonomously, it can also engage in battle with intelligent strategies that it conceives on its own. The Air Force had already been using F-16 drones as practice targets for the F-35 to destroy in training. Now the Air Force has announced fully autonomous air-to-air and ground strike capabilities that it developed in conjunction with Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks. Talk about a 'holy hell' moment.... Read more...
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