On Wednesday afternoon, police in Tempe, Arizona, released footage from the crash on Sunday in which a self-driving Uber hit and killed a woman crossing a street in the dark. The victim, Elaine Herzberg, is the first pedestrian to be killed by an autonomous vehicle. The video comes from two cameras. One shows the roadway in front of the car, which is followed by footage showing the supervising driver. The video ends just before the collision, but some viewers may find it disturbing.
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Or at least you could be, with a new artificial intelligence system that tracks drivers' emotions, energy, and distraction levels. On Wednesdasy, Affectiva, a MIT Media Lab emotional recognition software startup, launched its emotional AI software -- which means that car manufacturers can include its facial- and voice-tracking tech in future cars. The company says the system could help prevent drowsy and distracted driving accidents, but it's also just next-level creepy. Your car, loaded with the software and cameras, can detect if you're super out of it, falling asleep at the wheel, or too upset or angry to focus on driving. This tech could eventually work with semi-autonomous cars that are triggered into action if you're boiling over with road rage.
People look back at an autonomous self-driving vehicle, as it is tested in a pedestrian zone in Milton Keynes, north of London, on October 11, 2016. Suburbs have largely been dismissed by environmentalists and urban planners as bad for the planet, a form that needed to be eliminated to make way for a bright urban future. Yet, after a few years of demographic stultification amid the Great Recession, Americans are again heading to the suburbs in large numbers, particularly millennials. So rather than fight the tide and treat suburbanization as an evil to be squeezed out, perhaps a better approach would be to modify the suburban form in ways that address its most glaring environmental weakness: dependence on gas-powered automobiles. The rise of ride-sharing, electric cars and ultimately the self-driving automobile seem likely to alter this paradigm.
The potential hit to their bottom lines has property-casualty insurers in an arms race to figure out how they can design policies and price the risk of the vehicles that technology firms, such as Uber and Alphabet Inc., GOOGL -0.16% are seeking to deploy in huge numbers, according to industry brokers, executives and trade groups. It isn't clear that the death this week in Arizona would be an example of how liability would shake out for the industry. A person familiar with Uber said the firm's test vehicles are insured through a commercial-insurance policy for a maximum of $5 million per accident. The insurer or insurers couldn't immediately be learned. The Uber accident highlights a likely broader trend to come in driverless cars.
It's already got driverless trains that take passengers from one terminal to another, now Gatwick is planning to introduce driverless buses that take them to their planes. The airport is trialling'electric-powered autonomous vehicles' for workers and says that if it's successful it could lead to driverless baggage trucks and transport buses for passengers and an'Uber-style' robot-car service for staff. The trial is thought to be the first of its kind for any airport in the world. Gatwick is trialling'electric-powered autonomous vehicles', pictured, for workers and says that if it's successful it could lead to driverless baggage trucks and transport buses for passengers and an'Uber-style' robot-car service for staff The airport says that its 300 airside vehicles are stationary 90 per cent of the time – as staff attend to aircraft and passengers - but that a trial of driverless cars will see workers shuttled between popular locations on the airfield when it starts later this summer. It said in a statement: 'The trial is thought to be the first of its kind for any airport in the world and - if successful and scaled up – could lead to airfield transport needs being met from a much smaller pool of autonomous vehicles, reducing the need for such large vehicle fleets, reducing emissions and saving on costs.
Efforts to develop self-driving vehicles have largely focused on tracking what's going on outside the cars--think laser-based sensors to track other vehicles and digital mapping technologies to help navigate. Now, the industry is turning some of its attention to technologies that sense what's going on inside the vehicle. An initial goal is to better monitor driver alertness to help reduce the number of car accidents. But if fully autonomous vehicles one day become the norm, having technology that can understand the mood and preferences of passengers might enable the vehicle to automatically make adjustments that improve the riding experience. The jury is still out on whether vehicle occupants will prefer that to controlling changes themselves, but companies are trying to develop the technological capabilities anyway.