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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous cars’

Component Costs Deter Implementation of Driverless Technology

Sensor prices too high for automakers to use on massive scale.

by on Sep.10, 2014

Sensor prices for autonomous driving are too high for widespread use. This lidar sensor, which fits in the palm of your hand, starts at $8,000.

Cars loaded with the technology that allows them to drive themselves have been cruising the streets of downtown Detroit this week, but unless the costs of a critical component come down dramatically, don’t expect them to be in showrooms any time soon.

Self-driving or autonomous cars currently rely on several sensors to help perform the functions of driving. However, the sensors are expensive and are not developed specifically for cars and trucks, but adapted and modified from other areas.

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“The cost of sensing and processing is going to have to move down a lot if we’re going to make a manageable and a large-scale deployment of autonomous automated vehicle technology over the next few years,” said John Lauckner, General Motors’ chief technology officer, during a recent forum at the ITS World Congress in Detroit. (more…)

Continental Ups the Autonomous Car Ante

Supplier hires Google exec for smart car company.

by on Aug.18, 2014

Continental hired former Google exec, Seval Oz, to oversee its new intelligent transportation systems company in Silicon Valley.

The race is on to be first to market with a fully autonomous vehicle. Right now, automakers like Nissan, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz are being challenged by high-tech upstart Google, which plans to launch a fleet of autonomous prototypes later this year.

One of the key figures in Google’s self driving program has been poached by German auto supplier, which itself hopes to become a leader in autonomous technology. German auto supplier Continental is going all in on intelligent driving systems by forming a new company, Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems LLC, located in Silicon Valley.

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Continental, which supplies driver assistance technology, such as blind-spot detection, hired Seval Oz to be CEO of the new company. Oz previously served as Senior Business Development manager at Google, where she was integral in the development of the self-driving car. (more…)

Autonomous Vehicles Could Account for a Third of US Auto Sales by 2035

It’s a question of “not if but when,” says new study.

by on Jan.03, 2014

A recent study expects 11.8 million self-driving cars will be on the roads by 2030.

They’ve long been the stuff of science fiction, but a new study predicts that once they come to market in the near future, autonomous vehicles will rapidly become a very popular reality.

The study, titled “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars — Not If, But When,” predicts that by 2035, self-driving cars, or SDCs, will account for half the vehicles sold in North America. Worldwide sales will reach about 11.8 million, according to IHS Automotive, which prepared the report. By 2050, the consulting firm predicts, almost all vehicles will offer an autonomous mode.

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Officials at Nissan recently promised to put their first autonomous vehicles into production by 2020, and a number of other makers have since made similar announcements. The IHS report notes that the first generation of these vehicles will actually require a human co-pilot to sit at the ready in case the technology develops a problem – much like an aircraft autopilot. But it anticipates truly independent, self-driving vehicles requiring no human involvement will begin to be offered by 2030. (more…)

Michigan Approves Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Governor wants state to be the leader in new technology.

by on Dec.27, 2013

Ford expects to have its autonomous vehicles on the road by 2025.

The move toward autonomous vehicles becoming a reality took another step forward when Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation today allowing the vehicles to be tested on the state’s roadways.

Michigan joins Nevada, California and Florida as the only states allowing on-road testing.

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Snyder’s blessing wasn’t a surprise given the number of automakers and suppliers based in Michigan involved in these projects as well as the fact that he’s been an advocate of this type of work for some time. (more…)

Feds Push Makers to Speed New Safety Tech into Cars

An era of "zero-collisions."

by on Nov.18, 2013

A prototype Nissan Leaf autonomous vehicle negotiates a simulated urban intersection, complete with cross traffic.

After a brief surge last year, federal data show that highway deaths are again on a sharp decline, falling an estimated 4.2% during the first half of this year. And while an ongoing crackdown on drunk driving is one factor for the 40% decline in fatalities over the last four decades, improved vehicle design and advanced safety hardware also are getting much of the credit.

That’s led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to encourage the industry to fast-track new technical advances that many experts now believe could eventually lead to an era of zero fatalities.


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“Safety is our top priority and we can achieve remarkable progress in reducing injuries and fatalities in this era of innovation and technology,” proclaimed Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who is asking for “real solutions that can significantly address safety issues that have plagued this nation for decades,” as part of NHTSA’s new “Significant and Seamless” initiative.


New Toyota, Ford Systems Can Steer Clear of Pedestrians

Automakers turn to high-tech solutions to reduce pedestrian injuries.

by on Oct.11, 2013

Toyota and Ford are among the many makers working on systems designed to prevent pedeestrian collisions.

With pedestrian fatalities taking an unexpected rise in recent years, automakers are looking for ways to not only reduce the death toll but quite literally steer clear of pedestrians in the first place.

Both Toyota and Ford this week unveiled new high-tech systems designed to detect when someone might walk in front of a vehicle and take steps to prevent a collision, or at least mitigate the impact.

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The new Toyota Pre-collision System, or PCS, uses onboard sensors to scan the road ahead of the vehicle, issuing an alert if there’s a risk of a collision.  But, the maker says, “If the likelihood of a collision increases, the system issues an audio and visual alarm to encourage the driver to take evasive action, and the increased pre-collision braking force and automatic braking functions are activated.”

Ultimately, if the driver does not react in time, the vehicle will automatically attempt to steer away from the pedestrian.


First Driverless Cars Could Be on the Road by 2020

But will legal system stall autonomous technology?

by on Apr.17, 2013

Google's autonomous car cruises the Las Vegas strip.

The first driverless cars could begin to roll into showrooms by 2025 – if not sooner — a panel of experts agreed during the annual convention of automotive engineers in Detroit.

And many of the technologies that will permit autonomous driving will become commonplace even sooner.  Indeed, most major carmakers already offer automated parking systems and radar-guided cruise control technology that allows a vehicle to hold with the flow of traffic, even if it comes to a complete stop.

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But one of the big questions is whether the litigious U.S. legal system will prevent the widespread use of autonomous vehicles even though the nation’s top auto safety official has suggested self-driving cars could reduce by “thousands” the annual American highway death toll.

“Connected and autonomous vehicles will be the car of the future — cars that don’t crash for drivers who live in a sea of distraction,” proclaimed Peter Sweatman, director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.


Nissan sets up Silicon Valley R&D Center

Autonomous driving a key goal of new research facility.

by on Feb.19, 2013

Nissan becomes the latest automaker to set up a Silicon Valley R&D center.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is expanding its presence in Silicon Valley with the opening of a new advanced research center initially focusing on the development of autonomous driving and connected cars.

The Nissan Research Center Silicon Valley will enhance Nissan’s global research capability through collaborative partnerships with companies and research institutions based in what is generally considered one of the most advanced research centers in the world, Nissan officials said.

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Nissan joins a growing list of makers who have established a presence in the digital capital, including Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.


Autonomous Cars, In-Vehicle Infotainment Steer New Direction at CES

Automakers hope to turn the car into a digital showpiece.

by on Jan.08, 2013

Ford Chief Technology Officer Paul Masarenas at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

Want your friends to get a Glympse of what you’re up to? That’s easy if you’re using the Glympse smartphone app and driving a Ford product equipped with the maker’s latest-generation Sync infotainment system.  With the touch of a button and a simple voice command, the technology will allow a driver to send out a bulletin alerting friends where you are – and where you’re heading.

“We’re providing drivers with a rich, real-time and hands-free way to share where they are,” explains Brian Bryan Trussel, the CEO of Glympse, which is showing off its new software – and its partnership with Ford at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

CES is the largest trade show in the country and this year organizers are reporting record turnout at an even featuring 3,250 exhibitors spread out across 1.9 million square feet of exhibition space at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And that doesn’t include spin-off gatherings scattered all across Sin City.


Traditionally, the show has focused on televisions, audio systems, computers and smartphones, but in recent years automotive technology has come to play a more important role. More than a dozen different automakers have staked out a presence at the 2013 CES, along with scores of hardware suppliers, app makers and other vendors looking to make inroads into the transportation industry.


Continental Sees Autonomous Vehicles “Ready for Production” by 2020

Mega-supplier receives testing license from Nevada.

by on Dec.20, 2012

Continental offers an image of what tomorrow's autonomous vehicle might look like.

Continental, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers, has become the first company to win approval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s wide open highway.

With extensive stretches of good roads with little traffic, Nevada has become a popular state for testing out new autonomous vehicle technologies – which led the state to enact new rules creating a special class of license for self-driven automobiles. The first official license plate, which features an infinity symbol, was granted to Google, the tech firm taking a lead in the field. Continental is the first automotive supplier to seek and receive the special license.

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“As a company, Continental’s strategy is clearly focused on making this type of future technology a reality. It’s clear to us that automated driving will be a key element in the mobility of the future,” said Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the executive board of Continental. “As a system supplier, we are perfectly positioned to develop and launch series production of solutions for partially automated systems for our customers by 2016.”

But the goal, he said, is to take the technology even further, “ultimately (with) fully automated driving, even at higher speeds and in more complex driving situations, ready for production by 2020 or 2025.”