Items tagged with self-driving cars

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...
All drivers have been there before where someone whips in front of you from a merge lane into a gap barely large enough for their car, and you want to scream. Intel and its subsidiary Mobileye think that one way to solve some of the problems that self-driving cars have today is by making them much more aggressive and essentially turning them into a-holes that will shoot into that a small gap in traffic, with a level of precision. One of the challenges for autonomous cars right now is that the AI inside makes them act like your (stereotypical) Grandmother. Intel wants to cure that nervous behavior using something it calls the Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) program. RSS is meant to help... 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...
It looks as though Apple's autonomous vehicle efforts still have a ways to go before they can compare with the best in the industry. The numbers are in, and Apple reported more self-driving vehicle disengagements than any other company. Apple’s 62 vehicles experienced a grand total of 69,510 disengagements. A “disengagement” is when an autonomous vehicle either gives control back to the driver or when a driver interferes. Ideally, the self-driving car should remain “engaged” during the entirety of the drive unless there is an unusual and unavoidable emergency. Apple reported 871.65 disengagements per 1000 miles or a disengagement occurrence every 1.1 miles. Google’s... Read more...
After over 10 million miles of miles of testing with its ever-growing fleet of self-driving vehicles, Google's Waymo is now ready for a commercial launch of its ride-hailing service. The paid service is called Waymo One, is available 24-7, and is accessible with an app (just like Uber and Lyft). Right now, the service is only available in the Metro Phoenix area, serving the cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe. The self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans can accommodate up to three adults and one child per trip, and at first will be limited to what Waymo describes as "early riders". Early riders -- which numbers in the hundreds -- were previously part of Waymo's... Read more...
We haven't heard much about Apple's self-driving auto endeavor in recent months, but the company has been working hard behind the scenes. Last December, Apple was in the news when its autonomous vehicle navigation system turned up in a patent filing. That same month, it also showed off its latest self-driving car tech. Apple is big into the autonomous auto game and reports indicate that it now has the second largest autonomous fleet in California. Apple currently has 55 vehicles cruising the roads (along with 83 trained drivers), GM Cruise has the largest fleet at 104 vehicles and the third largest fleet is Waymo with 51 vehicles. Only a few months back in March, Apple held 45 vehicle... Read more...
Something went terribly wrong on a Tempe, Arizona road last week, when a pedestrian crossing the street was struck and killed by an autonomous Uber Volvo XC90. The vehicle's sensors didn't detect the pedestrian, meaning that the brakes weren't automatically applied to prevent the crash (or at least lessen its severity). Perhaps more tragically, the human "babysitter" behind the wheel wasn't even paying attention at the time of the crash -- she was looking elsewhere in the cabin instead of keeping an eye on the road ahead. Now, a new report from Reuters suggests that Uber's decision to skimp on the number of safety sensors that continuously scan ahead, to the side, and rear of the vehicle to gauge... Read more...
Uber and the autonomous driving sector at large are under close scrutiny after one of the ride sharing service's self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian on Sunday. However, the police chief of Tempe, Arizona, the place where the fatal accident occurred, says a preliminary investigation into the matter reveals that Uber is "likely" not at fault for what happened, and that it would have been difficult to avoid the outcome whether a human driver was in charge or a series of sensors and cameras. To be clear, there was a human driver behind the wheel, though the self-driving Volvo SUV was in full autonomous mode when the accident happened. The vehicle was traveling 38 miles per hour in a... 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's director of AI, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, was on hand at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference, a large AI-focused academic event held recently in California. During the chat, Salakhutdinov talked about Apple's AI projects and several of them were related to autonomous driving pursuits. One of the projects that was talked about had to do with a system trained to recognize pedestrians and other vehicles from 3D-point cloud information. This project had been disclosed by Apple previously, however, a couple of the projects that Salakhutdinov covered were not previously revealed. One of those projects uses cameras placed on top of the vehicle as a way to classify different objects... Read more...
Volvo and Uber have announced a deal that will see Volvo providing 24,000 SUVs over the coming years for Uber's autonomous driving push. Volvo will provide Uber with top of the line XC90 SUVs along with some XC60 mid-size SUVs. Volvo doesn't make self-driving cars at this time and notes that Uber will be adding its own sensors and self-driving hardware to the vehicles. The partnership between the two firms is non-exclusive, meaning that Uber could add additional vehicles from other manufacturers if wanted. Uber already has a deal in place to get some vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. The XC90 is an expensive SUV with an MSRP starting at around $46,000. "The automotive industry is being disrupted by... Read more...
Things have not gone well for the first autonomous shuttle bus in Las Vegas. The vehicle was reportedly involved in an accident during its first hour of operation. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson, D'oh. The accident was minor and all the passengers on the free shuttle bus operated by AAA and Keolis were unharmed during the fender bender. While the accident wasn't caused by the autonomous bus, this handily highlights the potential downside of an autonomous vehicle. A semi-truck backed into the autonomous shuttle reportedly grazing the fender. The issue here is that while the Navya shuttle bus was able to come to a complete stop using its autonomous tech, it was unable to simply back up... Read more...
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