An Uber driver sits in his car near San Francisco International Airport on July 15, 2015. Uber and Volvo will invest a combined 300 million into a joint project to develop self-driving vehicles, the companies announced Thursday. In a statement, the companies said they will equip base vehicles with autonomous driving technology, ultimately moving toward manufacturing self-driving vehicles. Volvo will make the vehicles, while Uber purchases those vehicles and implement its own self-driving tech. "Over one million people die in car accidents every year," said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a statement.
The first guidelines on public road tests of self-driving vehicles, released Thursday by the National Police Agency, exclude fully automated cars without a steering wheel or driver. The NPA's recommendations say tests should be conducted with cars that have a driver behind the wheel to ensure safety and compliance with the road traffic law. The government sees promoting the technology used in self-driving cars as a key to economic growth. The police agency's guidelines call for using "black boxes" on test cars to record all data and, in case of an accident, ascertaining the cause and taking corrective measures before test drives are resumed. The NPA is expected to set up a panel of experts this summer to examine issues surrounding possible legislative reforms for this new technology, such as who would be legally responsible in case of an accident, the need to adapt the driver's license system for self-driving cars and how to take measures against hacking cars.
DETROIT -- Automakers have been rushing to develop self-driving technologies, but some consumers might be ready to tap the brakes. The J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study shows an increased wariness of fully self-driving technology since last year even as consumers continue to want technology that assists drivers. The study highlights a risk automakers are concerned about -- the negative impression that high-profile but isolated accidents can have on the perceived safety of driverless cars. And yet, both J.D. Power researchers and industry experts say consumers will eventually come around. "The engineering will get there.
John Zimmer, one of the cofounders of Lyft, is bullish about autonomous cars. In a lengthy article posted on Medium, he outlined how he thinks transportation and urban environments will be transformed by vehicle automation and changing patterns of car ownership. Among other things, Zimmer predicts that within just five years most of the cars in Lyft's fleet will drive themselves. Many carmakers, tech companies, and Lyft's arch-rival, Uber, have all jumped on board with automation lately. Reading Zimmer's post, it sounds like the self-driving revolution is already underway.
Automation can go far beyond cars. Self-driving company capabilities are closer than we realize. Every day we hear more about how self-driving vehicles will change our lives. Automotive innovators such as Tesla and Waymo have been working to advance this capability for years while legacy companies, including GM and Ford, have more recently joined the chase. Self-driving cars are now shuttling around riders -- although still with human overseers -- in Las Vegas, Boston, and Detroit, among other cities.