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Posts Tagged ‘driverless vehicle’

Rinspeed Snap Offers Lego-Like Flexibility to Driverless Vehicles

Concept pairs autonomous EV platform with mix-and-match pods.

by on Dec.06, 2017

This rendering show the Rinspeed Snap's platform and passenger pod before docking.

Think of it as a sort of motorized Legomobile. Swiss think tank Rinspeed is known for coming up with creative – and sometimes wacky – concept vehicles and the one it plans to bring to the Consumer Electronics Show next month would allow a user to plug different bodies onto a flat, skateboard-like electric vehicle platform.

Rinspeed is by no means the first to adopt an essentially self-contained platform that could be used with a variety of different bodies. General Motors first revealed that concept more than a decade ago in the form of its hydrogen-powered Hy-Wire. And most modern electric vehicles now mount their batteries and other key components in or below the load floor.

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But the appropriately named Rinspeed Snap would allow the passenger compartment to separate from its electrified, autonomous platform and be used for other purposes. “(The) pod can even be useful when stationary,” says a release. “it can be anything from a variable shopping pod or a spacious camping pod to a cozy cuddling pod and even provide a breathtaking, fully connected user experience for the occupants of the passenger cabin. The sky is here the limit for the possible applications.”

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Automakers Want Free Hand to Test Autonomous Vehicles – But GOP Might Cut Out Federal, State Safety Regulators

Industry insists a freer hand will bring self-driving technology to market more quickly.

by on Jun.16, 2017

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

As they move closer to bringing autonomous and fully driverless vehicles to market, automakers and tech firms such as General Motors, Ford, Waymo and Tesla are pressing the federal government to loosen up regulations limiting the way they can test their prototypes on public roads.

Even before the Obama Administration concluded its second term, the feds were working up new autonomous guidelines. But now, under the Trump Administration, it appears Congress could give the auto industry even more freedom to move forward while limiting the power of both individual states and even federal safety regulators.

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Congress wants to “continue working with all parties in a bipartisan manner as we refine language and move forward towards a consensus package,” said U.S. Representative Bob Latta, chairman of a panel that oversees automotive regulations.

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Ford Investing $1b for Self-Driving Company Argo AI

Start-up aims to ensure Ford’s driverless vehicles reach market by 2021.

by on Feb.10, 2017

Ford CEO Mark Fields showing off a LIDAR sensor like the ones on its autonomous prototypes.

Ford Motor Co. will invest $1 billion over the next five years to take a controlling stake in an artificial intelligence start-up in its bid to bring driverless vehicles to market by 2021.

Pittsburgh-based Argo AI was launched only last November by two autonomous vehicle veterans from Google and Uber. Argo will now take over the software side of Ford’s driverless vehicle research program, though the automaker will continue to control the hardware side of that project.

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“As Ford expands to be an auto and a mobility company, we believe that investing in Argo AI will create significant value for our shareholders by strengthening Ford’s leadership in bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near term and by creating technology that could be licensed to others in the future,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields during a conference call with analysts and reporters.

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Las Vegas, Paris Launch Driverless Shuttles

Similar tests launch in Las Vegas, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore.

by on Jan.24, 2017

The Navya Arma, a driverless, 12-person shuttle has begun operating in Las Vegas.

Passengers looking to connect between two of the main train stations in Paris might be in for a surprise when hey board one of the new shuttles covering the 400-foot route.

They’re all but certain to note that there is no one behind the wheel. Instead, the two electric minibuses running between the Gare de Lyon and Austerlitz stations are operating driverlessly. But they’re not unique. This week, a new driverless shuttle also went into operation in Las Vegas, running passengers up and down the casino capital’s busy downtown district along Fremont Street.

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“Las Vegas has always been on the cutting edge of technology,” Jorge Cervantes, Sin City’s executive director of community development, told the Las Vegas Sun. “We have 40 million visitors a year here and traffic on the Strip and downtown gets very congested. The ability to move people more efficiently is something we’ve been looking at for a while.”

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Uber’s Autonomous Cars Running into Trouble in San Francisco

Ride-sharing service acknowledges running lights, failing to yield to pedestrians.

by on Dec.20, 2016

The San Francisco test uses modified Volvo XC90s - one shown here on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Uber’s experiment with autonomous cars appears to be off to a star-crossed start in San Francisco, the ride-sharing service acknowledging the modified Volvo CX90s have been experiencing a “problem” or two.

That includes everything from running stop lights, failing to yield to pedestrians and crossing heavily used bike lanes. That’s on top of the legal challenge Uber is facing from the Department of Motor Vehicles for failing to acquire the permit required by California law.

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A spokesman for Uber told Britain’s “The Guardian” that the company is racing to resolve an issue that put the city’s bicyclists and pedestrians at risk – no small issue considering there are 200 miles of bike lanes used for 82,000 daily trips in the City by the Bay.

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Tesla Updates Software After Chinese Hackers Take Control of Model S

Researchers take complete control of vehicle from up to 12 miles away.

by on Sep.21, 2016

Chinese researchers take control of a Model S, even remotely popping open its rear hatch.

Tesla has issued an urgent update to the software controlling virtually aspect of its high-tech battery-electric vehicles, a move triggered by reports that a Chinese security team had managed to hack into the Model S sedan’s control system.

Researchers from Keen Security Lab were able to take remote control of the vehicle from distances of up to 12 miles. They were able to take control of functions such as the vehicle’s brakes and windshield wipers.

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The news only adds to growing concerns about automotive cybersecurity at a time when the industry is in the midst of what some are calling a “transportation revolution.” Just this week, federal regulators issued the first national guidelines for the development of autonomous and even more advanced driverless vehicles. Some observers fear hackers could make such vehicles a target for criminal efforts and even for terrorist activities.

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With Autonomous Guidelines, Feds Take Crucial Step Towards “Third Transportation Revolution”

by on Sep.20, 2016

U.S. Transportation Anthony Foxx wants to see regulations keep up with technological change.

Government regulators are often accused of holding up progress. But with the release of the first-ever federal guidelines for autonomous and self-driving vehicles, they could help spur what is being described as a transportation revolution.

At the federal level, the new rules will cover the development, testing and eventual sales of self-driving vehicles, while also providing guidelines for state regulators. The first semi-autonomous vehicles are already on the road and models capable of driving entirely hands-free are expected in showrooms by the beginning of the next decade. Several automakers even hope to have fully driverless cars in production within five years.

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“This is just the first step,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who said the initial model “will be updated annually to ensure it remains relevant and timely.”

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Lyft Also Aiming to Go Driverless

Ride-sharing CEO forecasts the “Third Transportation Revolution.”

by on Sep.19, 2016

John Zimmer (r), with Lyft co-founder Logan Green (l) and GM CEO Dan Ammann, who recently took a seat on the service's board.

There’s a revolution coming, and it’s likely to bring major changes to the world of transportation over the next decade, says John Zimmer, president and co-founder of the country’s second-largest ride-sharing service, Lyft.

Like its bigger rival, Uber, San Francisco-based Lyft hopes to move the driver out of the front seat within the next five years, driving down costs and making it cheaper and easier for people to use a ride-sharing service than owning their own car.

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“The good news is we don’t have to keep building our country around car ownership,” Zimmer wrote in a blog post over the weekend. Much the way you can stream music and videos, “you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits,” suggested the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “Eventually we’ll look at owning a car in much the same way.”

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Apple May Back Away from Auto Manufacturing

Tech firm reportedly shifts focus to driverless tech systems it could license to auto industry.

by on Sep.12, 2016

“We've always viewed that people love surprises," Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Washington Post.

It has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Silicon Valley – but while Apple has been widely reported to be working on a high-tech automobile program, dubbed Project Titan, new indications are that the iPhone-maker may be backing off from that effort.

The new reports suggest that Apple has fired “dozen of employees” involved in the automotive project, a sharp reversal from the aggressive hiring program that had been in places for the past year. Apple had hired a number of industry veterans from conventional automakers, as well as high-tech auto firm Tesla Motors.

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But rather than abandon Project Titan entirely, reports in The New York Times and other media sources indicate Apple is now looking to provide high-tech, autonomous – or even driverless – technology to existing automakers, rather than trying to build cars on its own. Such an effort could put it directly in competition with another tech giant, Google.

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Bigger Isn’t Better When it Comes to Uber Profits

Report estimates leading ride-share service lost $1.3 billion.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A subscriber orders a car through the Uber app.

It may be the nation’s leading ride-sharing service, but that hasn’t helped Uber deliver a profit.

The Silicon Valley start-up lost a hefty $1.3 billion during the first half of the year, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service which cited sources with access to a conference call the company had with its investors.

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According to the report, Uber finance chief revealed that the ride-sharing service went $520 million into the red during the first quarter of the year, with another $750 million loss racked up during the April-June quarter.

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