self-driving car Stories July 13

Chinese automotive design and manufacturing company SAIC Motor says it will launch 40 to 60 Robotaxis capable of Level 4 self-driving throughout Shanghai and Suzhou before the end of 2021. The bold statement was made by Zu Sijie, vice president and chief engineer of the company, during this year’s World Artificial Intelligence Conference.

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self-driving car Stories October 17, 2017

There are so many companies investing in self-driving technology that it’s hard to keep track of them all. The Brookings institute tried anyway with their latest report on the industry.

After tracking deals and investments, they estimate that ~$80 billion has been invested in the race to bring the technology to market. Yet, there’s still no clear leader in that race. expand full story

self-driving car Stories February 1, 2017

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles published its Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports for 2016 today, which include statistics on disengagements for all of the companies currently testing self-driving cars in the Golden State. Importantly, Alphabet’s Waymo reported far fewer safety-related disengages and far more miles driven in 2016 compared to 2015, signaling that the company’s system is — as it should — continually getting safer…

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self-driving car Stories December 13, 2016

An electric self-driving Chrysler Pacifica is Google's first confirmed partnership

Google has long said that it has no plans to manufacture self-driving cars itself, instead partnering with automakers, but it had been thought that it might press ahead with cars without steering wheels or pedals. However, a new report from The Information suggests that parent company Alphabet has now ‘backed off’ these plans in favor of something more conventional.

The report also echoes a much earlier one on the company’s intentions for the self-driving car project …

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self-driving car Stories September 23, 2016

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We have been reporting quite often on accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot program so it’s just fair that we also let you know about accidents involving other autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle programs.

We learned that one of Google’s self-driving prototype was involved in a serious crash with a commercial van in Mountain View today. expand full story

self-driving car Stories September 20, 2016

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After several delays, it’s finally here. The US government released today its plan to accelerate the implementation of self-driving cars with guidelines for automakers and tech companies developing the technology.

The 116-page document (embedded below) offers a framework for the so-far confusedly regulated industry. expand full story

self-driving car Stories August 25, 2016

nutonomy

It’s an exciting time in the autonomous driving space. While companies are making announcements about upcoming systems available in 2019, like Mobileye and Delphi, and in 2021, like Ford, some are already having trial projects with customers in public streets, like Uber in Pittsburgh.

Today, nuTonomy announced the start of its own public self-driving car trial in the streets of Singapore, and EV enthusiasts will be happy to know that they are using all-electric vehicles. expand full story

self-driving car Stories August 18, 2016

uber self-driving volvo

Only 3 months after its test fleet started hitting the streets of Pittsburgh, Uber announced today that it is rolling out a fleet of human-supervised self-driving cars available to customers by the end of the month. The company unveiled its modified Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with cameras, lidar, radar and GPS (pictured above).

A few will be in operation by the end of the month and a fleet of 100 by the end of the year. expand full story

self-driving car Stories August 3, 2016

A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

During a conference call today, Elon Musk talked about Tesla’s progress in level 4 fully autonomous driving and while he didn’t want to make an announcement on the call, he said that it is coming sooner than people think:

“What we’ve got will blow people’s minds, it blows my mind …it’ll come sooner than people think.”

Musk’s most recent prediction placed the technology being ready in Q4 2017, around the time Model 3 will enter production. expand full story

self-driving car Stories June 27, 2016

Report: Google’s self-driving car partnership with Fiat is inconsequential

According to a report today out of The Information, Google’s recently-formed partnership with Fiat Crysler to make 100 self-driving minivans is nothing more than the automobile company getting “a seat at the table” with Google. This comes as the Mountain View company struggles to find a path to actually market its self-driving technology, juggling a variety of not-so-great options that include licensing the tech to struggling automakers and entering the ridesharing business…

self-driving car Stories June 22, 2016

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confirmed that Faraday Future submitted an application to start testing self-driving cars in the state and that the application has been approved for public roads on June 17. The news comes just weeks after we learned that the electric vehicle startup applied for 3 licenses to test self-driving cars in Michiganexpand full story

self-driving car Stories June 6, 2016

FF potential production car

Earlier this year, we revealed that electric car startup Faraday Future (FF) hired Bosch engineering director and leading automated driving expert, Jan Becker, to lead its own self-driving effort. The company has been building an impressive team of automated driving experts under Becker, including experts from Ford and more recently, the startup hired computer vision expert, Sangmin Oh, from Nvidia.

Now we learn that just months after starting the project, Faraday Future is about to start testing self-driving car prototypes in Michigan. expand full story

self-driving car Stories June 2, 2016

May’s self-driving car report details how Google teaches its cars to honk

Every month, Google puts out a report for its self-driving car project. There’s not that much new this month besides the usual updated running totals (miles driven, number of vehicles on the road, etc.), but the Mountain View company did take some time to detail something that many may not have thought about yet: how it’s teaching the cars to honk…

self-driving car Stories May 31, 2016

tesla UI

Tesla’s user interface is quite unique in the auto industry. Most of the controls are activated through the 17-in touchscreen, which as often been compared to an iPad, so it wasn’t too surprising when Tesla hired a senior designer from Apple to lead its user interface design.

Brennan Boblett was working on the design team of the iTunes Store when he joined Tesla back in 2010 to “create the most visually stunning and exciting large screen interface the automotive world has ever seen”, as he described at the time.

He worked under Tesla’s Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, but as the company grew, he was quickly promoted and ended up managing both the UI and UX teams in 2012. Boblett stayed with Tesla for over 5 years and led the user experience development of the Model S, Model X and even the early work of the Model 3. expand full story

self-driving car Stories May 24, 2016

Tesla Autopilot miles driven 1

Today the company released new data related to its Autopilot program and is now reporting “~100 million miles” driven with Autopilot active. The figure includes Autosteer and/or Traffic -Aware Cruise Control – the Autopilot’s main convenience features. expand full story

self-driving car Stories April 28, 2016

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A report from AutoExtremist (later corroborated by The Wall Street Journal) says today that Alphabet/Google is in the late stages of discussing an “advanced technical partnership” with London-based Fiat Chrysler, citing sources with direct knowledge of the discussions…

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self-driving car Stories April 22, 2016

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The California legislature is worried that the CA DMV is running off potential business from the state with its draft rules on self-driving cars.  A bill was proposed to force the CA DMV to allow driverless operations and testing of cars like the ones Google has created with no steering wheel or pedals. The bill recently was approved in the transportation committee 14-0 to move to the appropriations committee. Now, assembly member Mike Gatto of Los Angeles — sponsor of the legislation — has provided comments on the legislation:

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BaiDu_

Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, like its US-based counterpart Google, is heavily investing in autonomous driving technologies and today it officially announced the launch of a self-driving car R&D center in Silicon Valley, right in Google’s backyard.

The company expects its team will grow to over 100 researchers and engineers by the end of the year. The company already moved several of its staff from its newly-created Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU) to Sunnyvale and recently hired a Tesla Autopilot software engineer. expand full story

self-driving car Stories April 13, 2016

Proposed CA bill hopes to put Google’s driverless prototype cars in the regulatory clear

Truly autonomous vehicles are poised to be an exciting technology, but as with any other technology, there are always regulatory hurdles to be cleared. As first spotted by public records sleuth Mark Harris, a bill working its way through the California legislature would require the state’s DMV to effectively legalize Google’s ambitions of having a driverless fleet of self-driving Koala cars…

self-driving car Stories April 7, 2016

Google’s self-driving cars headed to Phoenix to see how they handle ‘extreme temperatures and dust’

‘Extreme temperatures and dust’ may not be the most flattering description of Phoenix, Arizona, but it’s the reason Google cites for naming the city as its fourth testing ground for its fleet of self-driving cars.

Reuters reports that Google is currently using four Lexus RX450h SUVs to create the detailed map of “streets, lane markers, traffic signals and curb heights” needed to allow the self-driving cars to operate.

‘The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air,’ said the project’s head of business operations Jennifer Haroon.

There is, though, a second – and more flattering – reason for the choice …

self-driving car Stories April 4, 2016

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Google/Alphabet published its self-driving car report for March over the weekend, and besides of course the latest numbers (including the number of cars in each city, the total number of autonomous and manual driven miles, etc.), there are also some new details on the system the company uses to map the cars’ surroundings, and mention of a mundane accident that happened in Austin, Texas involving one of the company’s Lexus vehicles…

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self-driving car Stories February 29, 2016

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Update: Video of the damage has surfaced on YouTube, see below.

In what is likely to become its first accident to be officially documented as at the fault of Google, one of the Mountain View company’s self-driving cars struck a public transit bus earlier this month while trying to get around a sandbag in the road. According to the accident report filed with the California DMV, the car was “traveling at less than 2 mph”  and struck the bus as it passed on its left side…

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self-driving car Stories February 15, 2016

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According to a report over the weekend from Crain’s Detroit Business, Google/Alphabet is seeking an R&D site for its self-driving cars near Ann Arbor, Michigan. This report comes as FCC documents last month revealed that the Mountain View company was planning to bring the cars to four new cities. Kirkland, Washington officially became one of those locations two weeks ago, and as we noted, a location near Ann Arbor makes perfect sense to be one of the next bunch… expand full story

self-driving car Stories February 12, 2016

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The Guardian spotted a slew of new job listings for Google’s self-driving car project, ranging from a marketing manager to manufacturing process engineers. In all, the company has advertised 36 jobs in the autonomous car division – though none of them are for (non-) drivers

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self-driving car Stories February 9, 2016

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A new patent that surfaced on Tuesday (via Qz) suggests that Google/Alphabet could have plans to use its self-driving car technologies for a truck-based delivery service. The patent describes an “autonomous delivery platform” for an autonomous truck with lockers (not unlike an Amazon locker), driving to a customer’s location to deliver a package… expand full story

self-driving car Stories February 5, 2016

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According to some FCC documents recently unearthed, Alphabet’s X division (formerly Google[x]) has its sights set on disconnecting the cute fully-electric self-driving car prototypes from their wall chargers. Yes, we’re talking wireless charging, the kind that could beam up energy through the bottom of the car using a technology called resonant magnetic induction…

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self-driving car Stories February 3, 2016

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Last week we told you that four more mysterious cities are set to get Alphabet’s self-driving cars in the relatively near future, and now the California company has said (via Reuters) that the next city on the list—following Mountain View, CA and Austin, TX— is Kirkland, Washington…

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self-driving car Stories January 28, 2016

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Google’s self-driving car project first came to Austin, Texas in July of last year, marking its first expansion outside of Google’s hometown of Mountain View, California. It was a logical next step, considering Austin’s forward-thinking political culture and unique environmental challenges (“pedicabs, pickup trucks, and everything in between,” Google said). Now, it appears—thanks to some recently-published FCC documents (via Mark Harris)—that Google has plans to bring the self-driving car program to four more mysterious cities…

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self-driving car Stories January 15, 2016

law

When Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted that he expected to the company’s cars to be able to drive themselves across the U.S. from coast to coast within two years, my response was that I might believe the tech could hit that deadline, but not the law. It seems I may be wrong.

The WSJ reports that the Obama administration wants to invest $3.9B in crafting rules and policies to facilitate the rapid rollout of self-driving cars. This would take place at the federal level, ensuring consistent national laws rather than a patchwork of state-by-state regulations …

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self-driving car Stories January 14, 2016

Big Red Button

Medium’s tech hub editor-in-chief Steven Levy provides an interesting behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a test-(non)driver of one of Google’s self-driving cars. Among the more surprising facts is that there’s a four-week full-time course to qualify to sit behind the wheel of one of the company’s testbed Lexus cars – with additional training needed for the cute prototype cars with only emergency controls.

There’s an abbreviated version for those who will only be sitting in the cars on the company’s private test facility. If you fancy the job, the most reliable way to apply, says Levy, is to be friends with an existing driver. If you can’t swing that, there’s always the option of applying to be a professional pedestrian …

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self-driving car Stories January 12, 2016

Google-driverless-cars

In his very first public comments, John Krafcik, chief executive of Google’s self-driving car division (which is still within Google[X] at the time of this writing), reiterated Google’s focus on achieving full autonomy in contrast to the incremental approach being taken by just about every other company pursuing the technology…

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self-driving car Stories January 8, 2016

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Google has been releasing monthly reports about its self-driving car program for quite some time now, and now December’s report has hit the interwebs. This report was delayed due to the holidays (they usually hit around the 1st of the month), and it also just so happens to be one of the most bare-bones we’ve seen so far. The company does note what they’re doing to combat the rain in California (say what?), though…

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self-driving car Stories January 4, 2016

General Motors President Dan Ammann (center) with Lyft Inc. co-f

GM announced a $500 million investment in car-sharing company Lyft to create an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. expand full story

self-driving car Stories December 1, 2015

Google’s self-driving car November report reveals 1 very minor accident, not much else

Google publishes a report for its self-driving car project once a month, and today — appropriately — the company published the report for November. Today’s report is notably unexciting, but it does mean the end of a two-month streak of the cars being accident-free. That said, the accident that Google details in this report is barely an accident…

Once again, Google wasn’t at fault in yet another fender-bender:

A vehicle approaching from behind came to a stop and then rolled forward and collided with the rear bumper of the Google AV. The approximate speed of the other vehicle at the time of impact was 4 MPH. The speed of the Google AV at the time of impact was below 1 MPH.

Other than this minor accident, which bumps the total number of accidents the cars have been involved in to 17, there’s not much new here. The cars have now driven a total of 1,320,755 autonomous miles, and 955,771 manual miles. The total number of Lexus cars on the road is the same, but there are now 30 prototypes out and about.

You can read the full report for yourself at Google’s website.

self-driving car Stories November 30, 2015

*[0 (1).pdf (page 9 of 22) 2015-11-30 18-23-32] (imported)-7.0 (RGB color, 2 layers) 1450x869 – GIMP 2015-11-30 18-27-08

Some parts of Google’s self-driving car are still mysterious, but slowly more pieces of that mystery are being uncovered. One mystery, in particular, has been the inside of the car. While Google has allowed dozens of journalists, random lucky souls, and Google employees (of course) to ride in the car, only on very few occasions have we been able to see the inside. The company specifically told journalists not to take pictures of the inside at an event earlier this year, and we barely got a glimpse into a very early prototype in Google’s “A First Drive” video last summer. Now, with a couple of patents Google has received, we’re getting a more detailed look inside for the first time… expand full story

self-driving car Stories November 4, 2015

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Up to June of this year, Google’s self-driving cars had yet to be at fault in any accidents, and it seems that record has held true over the last few months. Of the dozen or so accidents up to that point, the majority had happened when the self-driving car wasn’t even moving, and the rest occurred when Google’s safety drivers were in control of the vehicles.

Unfortunately, in the months after Google released the first report, Google’s cars continued to see a couple of accidents per month. But that trend has come to an interesting halt recently. As we’ve learned thanks to Google’s recently-published October report, the self-driving cars have now gone more than two months without a single accident… expand full story

self-driving car Stories November 2, 2015

Google’s self-driving car report for October reveals fewer cars on the road in Austin

Google releases a report about its self-driving car project every month, and now the company has released October’s numbers. There’s not much new information this time around, but numbers like miles driven in both autonomous and manual modes have obviously increased. Interestingly, while the number of self-driving cars on the road has stayed the same, the number of cars on the road in Austin, TX has decreased…

self-driving car Stories October 16, 2015

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a press conference a couple of days ago to explain the Autopilot features included in the company’s 7.0 software update, but LIDAR, one of the remote sensing technologies that Google uses in its self-driving car, also came up briefly. Elon Musk had some bold comments about to use of LIDAR in autonomous vehicles, in response to one inquiry from a WSJ reporter, which questioned whether the Model S would need more sensors for greater levels autonomy… expand full story

self-driving car Stories October 15, 2015

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Starting on January 1st, Ontario will become the first province in Canada to open its roads to testing of automated vehicles, according to a recent report (via CBC). The province will allow testing of self-driving cars (Google has been a pioneer in the space with both its Lexus models and its smaller, prototype EVs), as well as “related technologies,” starting on January 1st 2016… expand full story

self-driving car Stories September 12, 2015

When Google originally showcased the newer low-speed “cute-mobile” self-driving car, it mentioned a goal of having about 100 of them on the road for testing within a couple years. Now, as the company is bringing its low-speed electric prototypes to Austin a year later, Sarah Hunter, head of policy for Google [X], has revealed that the company is expanding production of the cars (via The Guardian). Hunter says that Google is now producing at least a “few hundred” and hints at a potential future of mass-production… expand full story

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