Last week, Waymo announced a partnership to build autonomous Jaguar vehicles for its upcoming self-driving taxi service, which will augment its existing fleet of Chryslers. But today Bloomberg reported that the Alphabet company is nearing a deal with… Engadget RSS Feed
Uber has been suspended from testing autonomous vehicles in the state of Arizona following last week’s fatal crash in the city of Tempe, according to the Associated Press. The accident, which occurred at night and coincided with autonomous test driver Rafaela Vasquez looking down right before the moment of impact, left pedestrian 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg dead.
It is likely the first death caused by a self-driving vehicle, and the aftermath of the event has been severe for Uber, with the company immediately suspending self-driving operations in the state amid a US National Transportation Safety Board investigation. The Tempe Police Department is also conducting an investigation, which will eventually be turned over to the Maricopa…
An autonomous test vehicle being tested by Uber struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona early Monday, marking what appears to be the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle, reports The New York Times.
The Uber vehicle in question was in an autonomous driving mode with a human safety driver at the wheel, and the woman who was struck was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, according to local police. No other details on the accident are available at this time.
One of Apple’s autonomous test vehicles
Uber is cooperating with Tempe police and has suspended all of its self-driving vehicle tests in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Toronto at the current time. Uber’s autonomous vehicles have previously been involved in collisions, as have vehicles from other companies like Tesla, but this is the first pedestrian-related accident that has resulted in a fatality.
This incident will likely have wide-ranging implications for all companies who are testing autonomous vehicles, including Apple, and it could potentially result in more oversight and regulation.
To date, most autonomous vehicles in California and Arizona have been using safety drivers behind the wheel who are meant to take over in the event of an emergency, but California in February lifted that rule.
Starting on April 2, companies in California that are testing self-driving vehicles will be able to deploy cars that do not have a driver behind the wheel. Arizona also allows driverless cars to be tested in the state, and Waymo has been testing autonomous driverless minivans in Arizona since November.
The race for traditional automakers to enter the electric vehicle game has been narrowing with each debut, but Volvo’s first entry has raised the expectation bar to a whole new level. The Polestar 1G, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show this week, is the first model of what Volvo hopes will be a line of several all-electric luxury cars and SUVs to be rolled out over the next decade.
The Polestar’s two electric motors give it 218 horsepower combined with a 2-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine that gives it 600 horsepower overall — with 737 pound-feet of torque. Its 34-kWh battery gives it a 90-mile range on a single charge (give a take a few miles). The Polestar will also include a tech-savvy feature that gives drivers the option to unlock the car with a phone app instead of a key, according to The Verge. While the tendency would be to compare it to the reigning EV champ, Tesla, the Polestar has actually been designed to be in contrast to the prevailing aesthetic on the market.
Shiny chrome, cool leather, and windows that don’t have frames give it a modern, sleek look. These features are also part of what makes it clear — before you even get behind the wheel — that the Polestar is first and foremost a luxury car.
According to Wired, starting next week, Volvo will begin taking $ 3,000 deposits for the slick ride. But it’ll be a while yet before they’ll be road-ready: the models on display in Geneva are just for show. Production is slated to begin next year, and at first Volvo’s goal will be small: producing about 500 cars a year by 2019 at a newly-designed factory in Chengdu, China.
US telco Verizon has launched its own connected vehicle and mobile resource management firm in a bid to tap into a growing, billion-dollar market.
The tech giant has rolled three of its acquisitions, European automotive tech firms Telogis, Fleetmatic, and Movildata, into a single brand called Verizon Connect.
Over the next few years, Verizon Connect aims to develop vehicle software that increases driver performance, productivity, and efficiency. The solutions will be aimed at “customers of all sizes, from large enterprises and SMEs through to individual consumers”, said the company in a written statement.
Verizon Connect said that it is also working on technologies that tap into areas such as mobile workforce management, efficiency, compliance, and productivity. Other solutions will include embedded OEM hardware, and a connected vehicle device that improves driver safety.
The new firm is supported by 3,500 professionals across telematics, mobile technology, and fleet management, said the announcement.
Verizon Connect will work with “unmatched network quality, reliability, and scale to develop solutions for the connected car market”, it added, explaining that the launch is the “culmination of more than $ 5 billion of investment in the technologies helping to enable vehicles’ connected future”.
Andrés Irlando, CEO of Verizon Connect, said his company is looking to transform the driving experience for businesses and consumers around the world. “One of the things we’re most proud of at Verizon Connect is the potential our current and future technologies have for massive societal impact,” he explained.
Irlando added that the firm will be “rerouting customers’ vehicles more efficiently to reduce emissions, monitoring vehicle diagnostics to improve fuel efficiency, and providing a gamification app that helps customers recognise and reward their safest drivers.
Internet of Business says
So far, 2018 has seen an unusual number of connected car IoT partnerships announced, along with a series of new applications aimed at resource management and helping drivers with a range of new services, especially for electric vehicles.
These innovative programmes don’t just help consumers, but also professional drivers across diverse fields, such as transport, logistics, the supply chain, and fleet management.
This, then, is the new normal: cars are getting smarter – as is transport generally. Smart, connected services, and the data that results from them, will be one of the major battlegrounds over the next few years, both among car makers and their technology partners.
Cars are massive data points, in terms of how they’re performing, how they’re being used, and how they relate to the organisations that manage them, and the world around them.
Looking to add a connected dashboard camera to your car? What if that device could also provide a glimpse inside your car on demand from your smartphone? And if that’s not enough, how about the addition of vehicle security, GPS and dashboard telemetry? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, Raven might be right up your alley.
Raven combines a security camera with an diagnostics and vehicle information in a single device the size of an Xbox Kinect. I’ve been using one with beta software in my 2017 Chevrolet Volt for testing. The cost is $ 299, although you can save $ 30 if you pre-order before shipments begin in May. There are also three levels of required service plans to cover the integrated LTE service, ranging from $ 8 to $ 32 a month.
I mounted Raven on the windshield of my Volt, but you can also mount it right on your dashboard. The device is powered through your vehicle’s OBD-II port, which also provides it real time information such as your current speed and fuel level. The folks at Raven say that your car must be a 2008 model year or newer because even though older vehicles may have an OBD port, they use an older protocol that doesn’t support all of Raven’s features. Once plugged in and mounted, you use the Raven app to connect the device to your phone.
Setup was super simple although the first live image from the rear-facing camera was upside down. I didn’t troubleshoot it and it never happened again with any future image captures. I suspect the Raven was still in its setup mode and the integrated accelerometer wasn’t quite up to speed at the time.
So how well did Raven work during my drive tests? Pretty good, at least for the features that are currently supported.
Since the device doesn’t ship until May, some of the functionality is still in the works. Specifically, I couldn’t test one of the features I was really looking forward to: Notification alerts while the car is parked. These security-focused events trigger if there is are loud sounds, smashed glass, if the car is bumped or moved, or if a door is opened. This vehicle security aspect can really help Raven stand out from a standard dash cam, so I can’t wait to see the alerts added in a future software release.
I was able to see real time vehicle telemetry such as current speed, direction, and engine RPM (although I don’t use the engine much on the Volt). All of these data points (including turn-by-turn navigation directions, again coming in a future release) can be shown on the Raven’s screen, which is handy at eye-level. You can choose which two data points to see on the easy-to-read display.
The Raven app also creates a calendar-driven history for all trips, complete with downloadable clips so you can review or even share your driving experience or in-car shenanigans. I could see the latter being fun with the family on a long trip as we do our poor imitation of “Carpool Karaoke”, for example.
One little gotcha in my testing: Although Raven has LTE built in, I had to connect my phone directly to the device via Wi-Fi to get my stored videos. I felt like I wasted a bit of time just sitting in my parked car to get those but I can see that being addressed in the future.
After I did get those videos downloaded to my iPhone X, they looked fantastic. Here’s one of a 26 mile round trip I did for lunch. (Yes, I drive 13 miles for a good bowl of soup in the cold, northeastern US winter weather).
I like the trip history Raven creates: It lets you choose from the full timelapse to short clips during parts of the trip. The shorter videos include audio, which I found to be less than stellar. However, the Raven folks know this is an issue and they’re working on it.
While viewing trips from the front-facing camera is fun, seeing inside the vehicle is an important standout feature. Maybe more so once the parked alerts are enabled: I can imagine someone bumping the car and having Raven notify me so I can quickly do a live look around. I do wonder how effective this will be though: You’re looking through the cabin of the car which may not be ideal for seeing exactly who or what bumped your bumper.
Note that the main difference in the pricing plans has to do with how many live, 720p remote check ins you plan each month. You get 60 for $ 8, 120 for $ 16 and 240 for $ 32 a month. For all plans, you’ll also get the GPS location of your car, gas level, driving history, vehicle diagnostic reports and trip sharing with others. The latter two features are also in the “coming soon” category, so I couldn’t test them.
Overall, I like the Raven, but I don’t know that I’d buy one, even after its full feature set is present. The main reason is that my relatively new car already has most of the same features. I can use GM’s app, for example, to get vehicle diagnostics or the car’s location and I can remotely check or lock the doors. And many newer vehicles are including an LTE radio for optional Wi-Fi hotspot features. However, I can’t see inside my car on demand, nor do I get alerts if something happens to it.
So the appeal here is for older, less connected cars and for people that want the security features and alerts that a dual-facing dash cam can provide. If you’re one of those people, Raven may be worth the price as it fleshes out its feature set over time.
Designing a self-driving car that can travel short distances is already an achievement in itself, but a new initiative aims to really put self-driving technology to the test in a long distance journey in the United Kingdom (UK). The HumanDrive Initiative, as it’s somewhat ironically called, plans to deploy an autonomous vehicle next year for a self-driven test drive of 320 kilometers (200 miles).
This initiative is a collaborative effort between Transport System Catapult, Groupe Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, Cranfield University, Highways England, and several other universities and companies.
Transport Systems Catapult, which oversaw one of the first driverless car tests in the UK in 2016, explains that the ultimate goal of the 30-month long project is to deploy a car capable of handling various driving scenarios that are largely unique to the UK, including country roads, high speed roundabouts, and A-Roads. Ideally, it will also do well in live traffic and in different weather conditions, all while mimicking a “natural human driving style” that allows passengers to have a pleasant experience.
Before the HumanDrive project begins its self-driven test drive in December 2019, however, BBC News reports that its AI system needs to be developed and thoroughly tested. Testing will be conducted in simulated environments, private test tracks, and small sections of public roads.
“Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and they are going to drive forward a global revolution in mobility,” said Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in a press release. “Trailblazing projects like the HumanDrive project will play a vital role helping us deliver on that ambition.”
Road traffic authorities in Australia have received the regulations they must comply with to roll out intelligent transport systems (ITS)
ITS support driverless vehicles by enabling vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person, and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. Today’s regulations mark a key milestone towards mass rollout of driverless vehicles in Australia.
"ITS are expected to make roads smarter, safer, and cleaner through the use of communications technologies," says ACMA acting chair James Cameron. "The new Class Licence will facilitate the rollout of the latest transportation communications technology, putting Australia on par with other nations adopting ITS."
The 5.9GHz band has been made available for ITS usage in Australia as part of the Radiocommunications (Intelligent Transport Systems) Class Licence 2017 regulations.
An ITS station can be operated by a party with a Class License on the condition that it’s operated on a frequency, or within a range of frequencies, greater than 5855 MHz and not greater than 5925 MHz.
The power output must not exceed a maximum EIRP of 23 dBm/MHz and it cannot be operated within 70kms of the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory. The station must also comply with ETSI Standard EN 302 571.
A key goal of the new regulations is to bring Australia in line with other major vehicle markets such as the United States and European Union. This regulatory alignment will aid with research and development, and the eventual rollout of driverless vehicles.
"Harmonising Australia's ITS arrangements with wider global developments means Australian motorists are more likely to enjoy the benefits of connected vehicles as they become available," ACMA said in a statement.
What are your thoughts on Australia’s new driverless vehicle regulations? Let us know in the comments.