While the EV revolution is in full swing, the shift to highly automated driving is still at least a few years away. That self-driving future got a tiny bit closer this week after a modified all-electric Nissan Leaf completed a difficult 230-mile journey autonomously in the UK.
The journey began at the Nissan’s European technical center in Cranfield in southern England and ended at its Sunderland factory in the northeast.
Anthony Levandowski has had quite the run recently. The autonomous driving prodigy worked at Google for almost a decade and was an integral part of its autonomous driving efforts that spun from Google (X) into Waymo. In 2016, he exited from Google’s Waymo to found a startup called Otto which was snapped up by Uber that is partially owned by Google Ventures. Unfortunately for all involved, Levandowski left the GooglePlex with more than just his belongings and ended up the main defendant in a rare Waymo vs. Uber civil case which was settled where Google got an even bigger chunk of Uber and a promise from Uber not to use its tech.
Now he’s back with an interesting startup called Pronto.ai that promises to change autonomous driving with a new product and what appears to be a new world record for autonomous driving… expand full story
Uber is reportedly planning to bring to San Francisco an autonomous ride-sharing program similar to its pilot program launched in Pittsburgh earlier this year where customers using Uber’s app can be picked up by an “autonomous vehicle” with a company engineer behind the wheel. The company wrote in a press release:
Starting today, riders who request an uberX in San Francisco will be matched with a Self-Driving Uber if one is available. Expanding our self-driving pilot allows us to continue to improve our technology through real-world operations. With its challenging roads and often varied weather, Pittsburgh provided a wide array of experiences. San Francisco comes with its own nuances including more bikes on the road, high traffic density and narrow lanes.
The problem is that Uber doesn’t have a permit to operate autonomous vehicles in California and it justifies its right to operate anyway through some sketchy semantics. expand full story
Just a few weeks after we mentioned that Mobileye and Tesla were parting ways, yesterday during a press conference, we learned that Mobileye and Delphi Automotive (formerly part of General Motors) are going to partner up to create their own self-driving solution which they aim to have completed and available in 2019.
In the above image in 1900, we see that there is a single car out of many horse drawn carriages in New York City. Within thirteen years it transformed into one of many cars and one horse. Technology disruptions made this happen – and the evidence from the past several decades seems to show that battery pricing, electric car design, autonomous technologies and solar power are all about to hit their thirteen year strides.
While Google has expanded its US-based autonomous vehicle trials to include both Texas and Kirkland, WA since its launch in Mountain View, it seems the company is being courted by another city across the pond. London transport officials are said to be in “active discussions” with Google to convince the tech giant to test its driverless cars in England’s capital…
As Electrek covers, the automobile landscape is clearly changing with electric vehicles replacing gas-powered cars, autonomous features potentially replacing drivers, and iPhone-maker Apple developing an EV of its own. But Porsche wants no part in that future says CEO Oliver Blume. Reuters reports that Blume told German media this week essentially that a Porsche is meant to be driven, and an iPhone is meant for your pocket, not the road:
“One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,” Blume said in an interview with regional newspaper Westfalen-Blatt published on Monday.
“An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road,” Blume added, saying that Porsche did not need to team up with any big technology companies.
While Blume was using the iPhone line largely to explain away the need for computerized vehicles and embrace the nature of high-performance cars like Porsches, it’s a curious one as the new 911 features Apple’s CarPlay …