Items tagged with self-driving cars

Google has made some giant strides in its autonomous vehicle initiative logging more than 1.5 million miles testing self-driving cars to date, mostly without incident, but shocking footage of a prototype vehicle running amok in Los Santos will surely have regulators scrambling to drum up new rules. Yes, we're talking about the fictional city in Grand Theft Auto V. YouTuber 'pizzaforbreakfast' created a faux news report purporting to give a first look inside Google's bubbly self-driving car as it whizzes through the streets and sidewalks of Los Santos with reckless abandon. Carnage and hilarity ensue, as is the staple of the GTA series. "Feel free to text and drive, or take a nap for that matter.... Read more...
Google’s self-driving car fleet has been decidedly Toyota-heavy since the project's inception, with the vast majority of the fleet consisting of Toyota Prius and Lexus RX 450h hybrids. If a new report is to be believed, it looks as though Google may be throwing Fiat Chrysler a bone (and a vote of confidence) by adding several dozen of the company’s newly launched Pacifica minivans to its self-driving vehicle fleet. Citing sources that “asked not to be identified,” Bloomberg says that Google and Chrysler have nearly finalized the partnership and an announcement could be made a soon as today. Naturally, representatives for both companies have declined to comment on the report. Google’s self-driving... Read more...
Imagine trying to drive at night in a secluded area with the headlights turned off. It's not something anyone should be attempting, though that's the condition Ford tested its self-driving Fusion Hybrid, and it did surprisingly well. With the headlights disabled, the Fusion Hybrid successfully navigated desert roads, highlighting the effectiveness of Ford's LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. Don't worry, Ford isn't out in the wild testing its fleet of cars in dangerous conditions where you might run into one. This latest test took place at Ford's Arizona Proving Ground, a non-public area consisting of nearly 1,500 acres. Using LiDAR, the Fusion Hybrid was able to map out the terrain... Read more...
Score a victory for Google and all the work it's put into its self-driving vehicle initiative. Why? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informed Google that the artificial intelligence (AI) system controlling its fleet of autonomous vehicles qualifies as a "driver" under federal law, which is no small thing. To understand the significance of this, we have to go back to December of last year when California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) drafted a set of rules and restrictions for self-driving cars. Among the restrictions was that a licensed driver would have to be behind the wheel at all times. Google said it was "gravely disappointed" with California's proposed mandates,... Read more...
Building a self-driving vehicle that can cruise city roadways on sunny days is one thing, but an autonomous vehicle that can handle slippery conditions like snow and ice laden streets? That would be quite the technical feat, though not fiction -- Ford is currently conducting its first autonomous vehicle tests in snow. There's arguably no better place to do that than Mcity, a 32-acre, full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan. Mcity provides a realistic driving environment that's isolated from the population at large, including police officers. It's a place that allows for all kinds of real-world driving scenarios, like running red lights or going too fast... Read more...
   It may have sounded outlandish when Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the bold visionary claim that some day "human drivers could be outawed," but the latest study out of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute doesn't exactly paint a rosy picture for us modern homo sapiens. Alphabet's Google business unit commissioned a study from the research group and the results show perhaps exactly the trend Musk was referring to. The report focused on minor collisions that Google's 50 vehicle strong self-driving car fleet had logged over the last 6 years. Google's robot AI powered cars racked up just 17 crashes in that time frame, although the company claims "none were the fault of the car," because... Read more...
As it stands, there are multiple entities working on autonomous vehicle technologies, though none of them have released anything commercially. That's really the end goal, or at least one of them, and it may come sooner than you think. Working towards that goal. Google and Ford are set to form a partnership that work towards creating an autonomous ride sharing business.Nothing is yet official -- all the information that exists on the joint venture is coming from "three sources familiar with the plans" who spoke with Yahoo Autos. According to those sources, the two industry titans will announce the partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month.If Google and Ford do... Read more...
When the topic of self-driving cars comes up, Google typically comes to mind (sometimes in humorous fashion). So does Tesla, and to an extent, Apple is a name that's thrown around. You can go ahead add Ford to the list, as the major automaker is stepping up its autonomous vehicle initiative by becoming the first to test self-driving cars at Mcity, a full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan. Mcity is a 32-acre facility that's part of the university's Mobility Transformation Center. It has street lights, crosswalks, lane delineators, curb cuts, bike lanes, trees, hydrants, sidewalks, signs, traffic control devices, and even construction barriers. It's about... Read more...
Critics of autonomous vehicles fear that handing over control of a car to a series of senors and algorithms is a recipe for danger, though testing to this point has proven the fears to be unfounded. That doesn't mean self-driving cars never catch the attention of law enforcement. In fact, one of Google's cute little prototypes was recently pulled over by a police officer for driving too slow. According to a blog post by the Mountain View Police Department, the self-driving car was traveling 24 MPH in a 35 MPH zone on El Camino Real, near Rengstorff Avenue. The slow speed caught the attention of the officer, who "stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car... Read more...
Toyota today announced that it will establish a new company that will serve as an research and development enterprise with an initial focus on artificial intelligence and robotics. Called Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), the newly formed operation will be headquartered in Silicon Valley near Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. There will also be a second facility near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Between the two, Toyota has committed to an initial investment of $1 billion over the next five years, which will go towards creating the new facilities, staffing them, and conducting operations. Another $50 million will come from MIT and... Read more...
One thing we can all agree on is that children are unpredictable. We're not just talking about those random pokes to the eye and blurted out phrases that will have you wondering, "Where the flip did they hear that?," but also in their sporadic movements. It's for that reason Google is taking extra measures to ensure its self-driving cars accommodate for the little ones. According to Google, it's engineers have been teaching the company's autonomous vehicles to "drive more cautiously around children." It's an ongoing process, and to help improve how its self-driving cars react to the unpredictable nature of children's movements, Google invited trick-or-treaters and their families to hang around... Read more...
We already know that Google is invested in autonomous vehicles, but what about Apple? It was reported this past summer that Apple's Special Project group met with officials at GoMentum Station, a 2,100 acre former navel base in San Francisco thought to now be a secure testing ground for new vehicles. Now word is spreading that Apple executives recently shared plans for a self-driving car with officials from California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).Both reports originate from The Guardian with this latest one based on documents obtained by one of its staffers. According to said documents, one of Apple's senior legal counsels met with several key individuals working at the DMV, two of which... Read more...
Google took another step in its autonomous vehicle research this week, bringing its prototype self-driving car to Austin, Texas. The tiny vehicle joins the autonomous Lexus RX 450h SUV that began cruising Northeast Austin streets in July. Both the iconic little white car, which Google often refers to as the “prototype vehicle,” and the Lexus SUV made an appearance this weekend at a children’s museum in Austin, TX. The city’s mayor, Steve Adler, announced this weekend that the prototype vehicles will be joining the SUV as Google expands its test in Austin. Google says that the autonomous prototype will be traveling in the same area as the SUV. And like the SUV, the prototype will have a human... Read more...
Google this week confirmed plans to take its autonomous car project into new territory to see how its self-driving cars handle and react to different challenges than the ones they've already been exposed to. The new location is Austin, Texas, an area that's been friendly to Google's projects, such as its fiber Internet and TV service. Testing has already begun in Austin with a single white Lexus RX 450h SUV. Unlike California and other states that have laws on the books for self-driving vehicles, Austin and Texas as a whole have no such regulations regarding autonomous vehicles, meaning Google didn't have to get permission to begin tests. Even so, Google gave a heads up to Governor Greg Abbot,... Read more...
It was reported yesterday that there was a "close call" between two prototype self-driving cars from separate companies (Google and Delphi). The so-called "incident" involved an Audi Q5 crossover vehicle from Delphi that was planning to change lanes. Before it could, a self-driving Lexus RX400h crossover from Google entered the lane first, causing the Audi Q5 to stay put. While Google has declined comment, Delphi is taking exception to Reuters calling what happened a close call rather than just a routine driving scenario. The folks at ArsTechnica spoke with John Absmeir, director of Delphi's Silicon Valley lab who was also the passenger in the Audi Q5 that temporarily aborted a lane change. According... Read more...
There was a slight stir caused back in early May when it was revealed that self-driving cars had been involved in four accidents on public roads during an eight-month. However, both Delphi and Google — the two companies who the four accidents were attributed to — denied that their vehicles were at fault in any of the accidents. Google later provided further clarification, indicating that its self-driving vehicles had been involved in 11 fender benders over the course of 1.7 million miles of testing. And in each one of those 11 accidents, the self-driving vehicles were cleared of any fault. “We’ve been hit from behind seven times, mainly at traffic lights but also on the freeway,” said Chris Urmson,... Read more...
If you're old enough to remember The Jetsons, a cartoon series that ran from 1962 to 1988, you probably thought we'd all be taking to the skies in flying cars by now. We're not there yet, but in place of flying cars, automakers and wealthy tech companies are testing out autonomous vehicles. Several prototypes already exist, including Audi's revised R8 E-Tron that broke cover at CES Asia.The self-driving R8 E-Tron is also an electric vehicle, resulting in a marriage of two cutting edge technologies. Equipped with a T-shaped battery with a 92 kWh capacity and two electric motors, the R8 E-Tron delivers 456 horsepower and 679 pound-feet of torque. On the track, it can go from 0-62 miles per... Read more...
The automobile industry is changing right before our very eyes. We have companies like Chevrolet building insanely powerful modern-day muscle cars; Ford and others getting fancy with newfangled technology integrations; Tesla pushing new and used sales of electric vehicles; and of course companies like Google ready to hit the road with self-driving cars. Take your pick on which is the most interesting, but if you ask Nissan, the company might tell you that autonomous technology is where it's at.More than just a passing interest from the sidelines, Nissan's Chief Executive Office Carlo Ghosn indicated today that his company will have autonomous cars ready for the road by 2020, according to the... Read more...
Google and others are investing in a future where automobiles are fully automated, getting us from point A to point B on their own. We're at a very early stage in what could be a revolution in the auto industry, though it doesn't bode well that around 8 percent of the self-driving cars motoring around California have been involved in accidents in the past six months.There are nearly 50 self-driving vehicles deployed in California. The state issued permits for companies to test them on public roads back in September, and of those vehicles being evaluated, four of them have been in accidents. Two of those occurred when the cars when in control, while the other two happened when a person was driving... Read more...
If you grew up watching The Jetsons like I did, you might have thought we'd all be commuting in flying cars by now. We're still a long ways from that kind of technology, though in its place are self-driving cars like the ones Google has been experimenting with. According to a new study, it won't be all that long before autonomous vehicles become a part of everyday life. Not only that, but we'll have lots of reasons to kick back and sing "Everything is Awesome" as our self-driving cars whiz through traffic and deliver us all to our destinations safely and more efficiently than we're currently able to do in our manually driving vehicles. The study, which was released today by McKinsey & Company,... Read more...
California is making it legal for self-driving vehicles to hit the road. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has started issuing permits allowing these self-driving cars to be tested on the state’s public roads so long as certain requirements are met and fees are paid. A $150 application fee is required that will provide permits for 10 vehicles and 20 drivers. An additional $50 will add another 10 drivers. But that is not all. Back in May, new rules were outlined stipulating that a test driver is “either in immediate physical control of the vehicle or is actively monitoring the vehicle’s operations and capable of taking over immediate physical control.” The new... Read more...
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