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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicle’

Waymo Set to Challenge Michigan Winter

Operating on snowy, icy roads the big challenge for autonomous tech.

by on Oct.26, 2017

Winter weather creates challenges for humans, and it can overwhelm autonomous vehicles.

There are already hundreds of autonomous prototypes cruising the nation’s roadways, and that number could soon climb into the thousands, thanks to a bill rapidly moving through Congress. But, for now, the vast majority of those vehicles are operating in warm weather climes like Phoenix and Silicon Valley.

The real challenge will be finding ways to make autonomous and fully driverless cars and trucks function in cold weather environments, experts stress, where things like lane markers may be obscured by road and ice.

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Tech News!

So, Waymo, the Google spinoff generally considered one of the leaders in self-driving technology, says it will begin testing in Michigan over the winter using some of its newest models, specially modified versions of the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid.

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U.S. House to Vote on Broad Autonomous Vehicle Bill

Measure would make it easier for industry to test self-driving vehicles on public roads – but critics want more oversight.

by on Aug.31, 2017

Waymo recently launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

Federal lawmakers could take a big step closer to enabling widespread testing of autonomous and even fully driverless vehicles when the U.S. House of Representatives votes next week on a bill that would greatly expand the auto industry’s ability to test such vehicles on public roads.

The measure, which was approved unanimously by a House panel in July would essential usurp the patchwork of state regulations that has slowly begun falling into place, and it would allow prototype vehicles to sidestep some of the current federal safety regulations that apply to conventional cars, trucks and crossovers.

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Breaking News!

“Self-driving vehicles stand to make our transportation system safer and more efficient,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said in a statement. “Advancing this technology to road-ready requires government policy that encourages continued testing and development.”

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Ford Patent Shows How Autonomous Car’s Steering Wheel, Pedals Could Fold Away

Design would allow manual driving or completely driverless operation.

by on Aug.18, 2017

A patent application illustration shows how Ford would hide the controls in driverless mode.

Autonomous vehicles, we’re regularly told, are just around the corner, and fully driverless vehicles will soon follow. Ford, for one, has said it hopes to remove the driver from the picture entirely by 2021.

Now, a patent granted Ford this month reveals that the self-driving cars Ford is working on could give an owner the option to choose which mode it will operate in. Push a button and the steering wheel and pedals fold up and out of sight. Push again and they reappear, allowing manual driving.

Stay in the Loop!

That option may be essential, at least initially, as autonomous vehicle experts warn that coming up with a vehicle that can operate without a driver on all roads and under all conditions, may take years to develop, despite the optimistic prognostications of automakers like Ford, Daimler, Nissan and tech companies such as Google spin-off Waymo.

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First Look: (Almost) Autonomous 2018 Audi A8

Lots of tech -- lots of money.

by on Jul.11, 2017

The new Audi A8 is wider, longer and has a more well-planted appearance.

Not enough sleep last night? You might be tempted to close your eyes and let the new Audi A8 take over driving duties.

After a much-ballyhooed, but ultimately limited, preview in the latest Spider-Man reboot, Audi has finally pulled the costume, er, covers off its 2018 remake of the flagship sedan. And while the styling gets a relatively evolutionary makeover, the new Audi A8 attempts to leapfrog the competition when it comes to cutting edge technology.

Product News!

The new sedan features an array of lasers, a roadway scanner, more than 40 different driver assistance functions – including the ability to operate completely hands-free in traffic, at speeds up to 37 mph – and 400 different functions built into its MMI, or multimedia interface. Oh, and let’s not forget the backseat foot massager.

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Waymo Teams Up With Avis, Apple With Hertz in Autonomous Vehicle Push

Volvo expands its autonomous alliance with Autoliv with addition of graphics tech firm Nvidia.

by on Jun.27, 2017

Avis will handle the basic storage and maintenance for Waymo's Phoenix ride-sharing program.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off from Google, has signed a deal with Avis to have the daily rental giant manage some of the self-driving vehicles it is operating in the Phoenix area as part of a ride-share test program.

Apple, meanwhile, is reportedly teaming up with Avis rival Hertz program, in this case to lease a handful of Lexus SUVs that it will modify as part of its own autonomous vehicle project – something that Apple CEO Tim Cook recently described as “the mother of all AI projects.”

Come Along for the Ride!

In the race to get autonomous, along with more advanced driverless, vehicles on the road within the next decade, established automakers and tech firms alike are lining up to find partners that can help accelerate their development programs.

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Uber Fires Autonomous Vehicle Chief Levandowski

Latest twist in ongoing battle with Waymo.

by on May.31, 2017

Anthony Levandowski is seen here discussing autonomous vehicles while still with Google in 2011. Photo courtesy Shinygogo.

The ongoing battle between Uber and Waymo over allegedly stolen autonomous vehicle trade secrets took a new turn as the car-sharing giant fired the one-time head of its self-driving vehicle operations, Anthony Levandowski.

The 37-year-old engineer rose to prominence as head of autonomous operations at Waymo’s parent Google. He then went off to form his own company which, in turn, was purchased by Uber. Levandowski was subsequently accused of taking thousands of proprietary documents with him, material he has refused to turn over to the California court hearing the lawsuit filed by Waymo.

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Levandowski was sidetracked by Uber as a result of the ongoing lawsuit. The ride-sharing service told the court on Tuesday it has now fired the executive because he refused to comply with orders to turn over the documents. Levandowski’s attorney previously told the court he was refusing the order for fear it could lead to him facing criminal prosecution.

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Waymo Invites Public to Join Autonomous Test Program

First public test for Google’s self-driving vehicle spin-off is good news for FCA, as well.

by on Apr.25, 2017

One of the first Phoenix families to join the Waymo pilot climbs into an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica.

After eight years of testing Waymo is ready to go public, Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off offering families in the Phoenix area the chance to try out its self-driving cars as part of a new pilot ride-sharing program.

The move brings the technology a step closer to becoming a day-to-day reality and coincides with efforts by other entrants into the fast-emerging field who are rapidly expanding the number of autonomous vehicles now on public roads. The pilot program could cement Waymo’s position as a leader in the technology while also giving a big boost to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the automaker that will now provide another 500 Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans for use in the Arizona project.

We'll Do the Driving!

Waymo quietly began offering rides to a “handful of Phoenix, AZ residents…over the last month,” the Alphabet subsidiary’s CEO John Krafcik revealed in a statement issued overnight. “Now residents in the Phoenix area can apply” to join the trial, Waymo planning on “accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars.”

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Caddy Going Hands-Free in 2018 Launch of Super Cruise

Set to rival Tesla Autopilot, system on CT6 sedan will cost $2,500.

by on Apr.11, 2017

A motorist lets the Cadillac CT6 do the driving in a prototype equipped with Super Cruise.

Come the 2018 model-year, Cadillac CT6 buyers will be able to press a button on their steering wheel and then slip back and relax.

The automaker has finally set a date to launch its long-awaited Super Cruise system, a significant step along the path towards autonomous driving. Somewhat similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, the Caddy technology takes existing technologies like active cruise control and automatic braking a step further, allowing the vehicle to steer itself when operated on well-marked roads.

The Future is Now!

But buyers be advised: you won’t be able to switch on Super Cruise during your morning commute and then stretch out for a quick catnap on the way to work. The system monitors driver behavior to ensure that a human can quickly regain control in the event of a problem. If need be, the system will come to a complete stop and call for help.

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Daimler, Bosch Team Up to Launch Robo-Cabs by 2021

Level 5 system will target ride-sharing services.

by on Apr.04, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept is one example of what a luxury robo-cab might look like.

Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, says it is teaming up with mega-supplier Bosch to develop a driverless car the partners plan to put on the road by 2021.

The announcement follow new that Daimler had struck a deal with Uber, the ride-sharing giant that hopes to significantly lower its operating costs by fielding fleets of driverless vehicles. It also comes a day after a new study was released by Navigant Research naming Daimler one of the leaders in the fast-emerging field of autonomous driving.

The Future is Now!

“The prime objective of the project is to achieve the production-ready development of a driving system which will allow cars to drive fully autonomously in the city,” said a statement announcing the new Daimler-Bosch partnership. “The idea behind it is that the vehicle will come to the driver, not the other way around.”

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Uber Exec Could Face Injunction – or Possible Criminal Charges in Waymo Lawsuit

Lawsuit could shut down Uber’s autonomous vehicle program.

by on Mar.31, 2017

An Uber autonomous prototype rolled on its side following a crash in Tempe, Arizona.

A lawsuit filed by Waymo is taking a potentially nasty turn for Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee who founded one of Uber’s self-driving vehicle units.

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google, has gone to court claiming Uber stole some of its intellectual property, and the spotlight has fallen on Levandowski. He was a senior employee at Waymo before leaving to start his own self-driving enterprise, Otto, which focuses on autonomous trucking.

The Last Word!

Called to testify, Levandowski invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify, one of his attorneys saying that move was made because of “the potential for criminal action.” That appears to mean the potential Levandowski could be charged with stealing intellectual property.

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