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California Law Allows for Self-Driving Cars

Google co-founder hopes autonomous cars will be a reality within five years.

by on Sep.26, 2012

Google has been testing a fleet of self-driving cars, mostly Toyota Priuses. A new California law sets up regulations that allow them on public roads.

Coming to a street near you – the car that drives itself while its human “driver” reads the newspaper.

California Gov. Jerry Brown visited Google headquarters in Mountain View where he signed a law Tuesday to establish safety standards and regulations for autonomous vehicles.

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Does this mean Californians will start seeing driverless cars plying the 405 within the next few weeks? Not quite. Implementation of the new vehicles is still a few years off.


USDOT to Host Driver Clinics for Connected Vehicles

Experts say Intellidrive could save lives, fuel.

by on May.18, 2011

The next big safety breakthrough could come from having vehicles talk to each other - a concept called IntelliDrive.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will host six clinics across the country to introduce drivers to vehicle-to-vehicle communications aimed at reducing traffic accidents and saving lives.

The first clinic will be at Michigan International Speedway in August. MIS has been the site of testing by companies that are developing the technology.

The remaining clinics will be held in Minneapolis, Orlando, FL, Blacksburg, VA, Dallas and San Francisco.

Researchers are developing systems that would allow cars to connect with other vehicles as well as infrastructure to reduce accidents as well as improve efficiency. In fact, some experts say that accident-free roads are possible.

Click here to read a story about the debate over connected vehicles.


Experts Debate How Cars Will Talk to Each Other

Vehicles that interact with each other could save lives and fuel.

by on Aug.04, 2010

Talk to me. The next big safety breakthrough could come from having vehicles talk to each other - a concept called IntelliDrive.

It seems like such a simple concept: get cars to talk to one another and they should be able to not just save fuel, but also save lives.  Yet as a group of sometimes disagreeable panelists proved at an industry confab, this week, simply getting people to talk about how to interconnect tomorrows cars is a difficult challenge.

Then again, designing the technology could be the easy part.

Most experts actually seem to agree that technology allowing cars to communicate with each other — and the infrastructure – could make our highways safer and more efficient.  But they disagree about who should have access to vehicles’ computer systems – and at what level.  Right now, automakers rigidly control access to the automotive operating system in a way that even Apple Computer might find constricting.

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Frank Weith, technology strategy manager in the Electronics Research Lab at Volkswagen of America, said the automakers are reluctant to give access to the vehicle’s systems.  But what became increasingly clear during a session at this year’s Management Briefing Seminars, in Traverse City, Michigan, is that they may need to.

“The firewalls have to shift,” said John Waraniak, vice president of advanced vehicle technology strategy for the Specialty Equipment Market Association. “Open frameworks are the way forward.”