Items tagged with self-driving car

The release of Tesla’s Autopilot Hardware 3.0 is just around the corner and the automotive firm has made a number of significant changes with this upgrade. A series of recent patents have confirmed that Tesla will utilize a new artificial intelligence chip, or “neural net accelerator”. This will replace the NVIDIA hardware that is currently used in the Autopilot 2.0 platform and should enable full self-driving capabilities in the future.  Why is Tesla working on a new AI chip? According to the patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, “Processing for machine learning and artificial intelligence typically requires performing mathematical operations... Read more...
We're now getting some official details on a fatal crash that occurred back in March between an Uber self-driving Volvo XC90 and a woman walking a bicycle across the street. Preliminary findings that were leaked earlier this month claimed that the Volvo did see Elaine Herzberg as she was crossing the street at night. The report did not, however, explain why the vehicle still proceeded along its intended path, crashing into Herzberg. The official National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) preliminary report is shedding additional light on the situation, and confirms that the Volvo did indeed see the pedestrian. According to the report, the vehicle operator left the... Read more...
It looks as though we're now receiving some preliminary findings on what went terribly wrong when a self-driving Uber Volvo XC90 failed to identify a pedestrian walking across a road at night, striking her at full speed. The impact killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. The Information is reporting that the vehicle's onboard sensors likely did "see" Herzberg, but instead of correctly determining that she was an object that clearly needed to be avoided (either by applying the brakes or steering around the obstacle) it determined her to be a "false positive". As a result, the sensor suite acting as if she wasn't there and continued on its intended path (which tragically lead to the impact).... Read more...
  When it comes to flagship luxury sedans, vehicles that often come to mind include the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. Today, it is Audi’s time to shine, as the German automaker just pulled the wraps off its all-new A8. Audi bills the new A8 as the most advanced luxury sedan on the planet, and we have no reason to doubt those claims. Right off the bat, every single A8 will be a mild hybrid, which means each includes a 48-volt electric system enabling stop/start operation of the gasoline (or diesel) engine when stopped and turning off the engine when the vehicle is coasting (and then back on again when the accelerator pedal is pushed). However, the feature that... Read more...
Google's been lucky in that it's avoided any major collisions involving its fleet of self-driving cars up to this point, though that changed heading into the weekend when an autonomous Lexus RX sustained significant damage from a commercial delivery van plowing into the passenger side of the vehicle. Initial reports suggest Google's self-driving technology was not at fault. The accident occurred in Mountain View as the Lexus RX was traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. While going through an intersection, a commercial van traveling westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and smashed into the autonomous vehicle. Cell phone footage taken from the passenger of the Lexus RX shows the car hoisted... Read more...
When it comes to fully autonomous vehicles, no other company comes close to Google’s prowess or its commendable safety record (after millions of miles of driving, only one accident has been proven to be the fault of a Google car, and even that was a relatively minor incident). Unfortunately for Google, it has lost a person that has been instrumental in the ongoing success and spectacular achievements of the company’s AI-driven autonomous car initiative. That person is Chris Urmson, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher that decided to jump aboard the fast-moving Google train back in 2009. “My own journey with self-driving cars had begun a few years earlier with the DARPA grand challenges,... Read more...
While Tesla Motors has been in the news recently for self-driving Autopilot hijinks for all the wrong reasons, Google is chalking up another positive aspect of its fully autonomous driving fleet. Google’s self-driving vehicles have racked up over 1.7 million miles in fully autonomous mode (mostly in California) and in the process have learned a lot about the drivers that they come in contact with on a daily basis. But what about cyclists? Google announced via its monthly self-driving car report [PDF] that its fleet has been upgraded to pay particularly close attention to cyclists, and even recognize their hand signals (if they bother to throw up any) to give them save passage through... Read more...
We talk about self-driving cars and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) on an regular basis here at HotHardware. At this stage in the game, self-driving cars are in fact a reality and currently roaming streets in and around Silicon Valley. These are, of course, prototype vehicles that still have a human driver behind the wheel just in case an unforeseen hazard presents itself that would otherwise stymie the AI that normally drives the vehicle. While the AI present in today’s experimental self-driving cars can navigate city streets, change lanes, avoid accidents and are for the most part fairly competent “drivers”, what happens when it comes to an “us versus them” scenario? What if a self-driving... Read more...
Google’s self-driving cars have largely been a west coast affair (save for a pilot program in Austin, Texas), but those on the east coast looking to catch a glimpse at a computer-driven vehicle on public roads will soon have their chance. Local Motors, which has already garnered plenty of attention as being the first company in the world to 3D print a car, has teamed up with IBM to rollout the Olli self-driving bus. Olli uses a tweaked version of IBM Watson IoT, which is geared towards automotive applications.  Olli has room for up to 12 passengers and has over 30 sensors spread throughout the vehicle. By taking advantage of four Watson APIs — which include Speech to Text, Natural Language... Read more...
Google's taken contingencies for the inevitable day when a self-driving car mows down a pedestrian. To keep injuries to a minimum, Google filed for and was granted a patent for a sort of sticky hood that would grip people who've been hit by an autonomous vehicle. The concept behind it is to prevent people from bouncing off the front of the vehicle and sustaining more damage, whether it's by bouncing off a tree or simply being flung to the concrete. The patent describes an adhesive layer that's applied to the front end of a vehicle. A special coating is then put on top to prevent the hood from being sticky at all times. Upon initial impact, the coating would break down instantaneously exposing... Read more...
Google’s Self-Driving Car Project appears to be picking up steam. The company has put more cars on the streets in recent months and has been finding ways to introduce its autonomous cars to the public. In another signal that the self-driving car is moving from pet project to serious venture, Google hired auto industry veteran John Krafcik to head up the department.  Krafcik comes to Google by way of TrueCar, a service that helps car buyers avoid overpaying by showing them what other shoppers paid for similar vehicles to the one they’re considering. Prior to his role in TrueCar, Krafcik worked at Ford and later was CEO of Hyundai America. He’s known for his engineering experience... Read more...
There was a lot of buzz in the media yesterday when it was revealed that four of the 50 self-driving cars deployed in California had been involved in accidents since hitting the streets last September. Three of those automobiles were using sensors provided by Google, though only two of the four accidents occurred when the self-driving cars were in control. None of the accidents were the fault of the self-driving cars or their drivers, though the lack of details made available to the public didn't sit well with those keeping a close eye on the program. To set the record straight, Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car program, posted an informative article about what Google's learned... Read more...
Perhaps some day in the far off future, we'll all own self-driving cars that get us from Point A to Point B with no fuss. We're nowhere near that point yet, but we are at the beginning stages. Google is especially pushing the concept and more recently began exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like by building some prototypes. What they've come up with is a small, half bubble-shaped car with no steering wheel, no accelerator pedal, and no brake pedal. Why would Google leave such essentials out of the equation? Simply put, "they don't need them," Google explains. "Our software and sensors do all the work. The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt... Read more...