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NHTSA seeks ways to clear the road for self-driving cars

ZDNet

The NHTSA has asked for feedback on the state of autonomous vehicles and how current US regulations can be refined to promote research and deployment. The US National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on potential rule changes on Friday, which states the agency is looking for comments "to identify any unnecessary regulatory barriers" to the deployment of autonomous vehicles on US roads. NHTSA said that input relating to regulatory barriers is key, as well as any thoughts relating to hurdles companies face when attempting to test their self-driving vehicles. Compliance problems are a serious problem for vendors researching and developing self-driving car technologies. In particular, the agency recognizes that vehicle designs "that are not equipped with controls for a human driver" are a stumbling block, such as a lack of a steering wheel, brakes, or accelerator pedals.


Otto's self-driving truck delivered Budweiser

ZDNet

The world's first shipment by a self-driving truck included 51,744 cans of Budweiser beer. A tractor-trailer outfitted with Otto's self-driving kit hauled the beer 120 miles along Colorado's Interstate 25 on Oct. 20. Self-driving cars have received plenty of attention this year, but self-driving trucks are quietly beating them to the punch. Professional truck drivers travel hundreds of billions of miles each year, and much of that is driven on highways. While city streets are filled with variables -- frequent stops, unpredictable pedestrians, emergency vehicles, and more -- highways are relatively straightforward.


Waymo self-driving vehicle involved in Arizona crash

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Google's Waymo shows off their self-driving car technology in an advertisement. A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2017. PHOENIX -- A self-driving vehicle operated by Waymo was involved in a crash Saturday night in Mesa, Arizona, officials said. The five-car collision happened about 10 p.m. Saturday. The self-driving van was not in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, said a spokesperson for the Mesa Fire and Medical Department.


Are Americans ready for self-driving cars?

ZDNet

Volvo is set to test self-driving cars on the streets of London. Self-driving vehicles may be ready to hit the road in a matter of years, but U.S. drivers aren't yet comfortable with the idea, a new survey shows. Nearly 46 percent of U.S. drivers surveyed in April said their preferred level of automoation is "no self-driving," according to a survey from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Another 38.7 percent said they prefer "some" self-driving, while 15.5 percent said the are ready for "completely" self-driving vehicles. The poll, which surveyed 618 licensed drivers in the U.S., also found that 94.5 percent of respondents said they'd prefer it if self-driving cars have a steering wheel, as well as gas and break pedals.


Drive.AI gears up for self-driving car pilots

#artificialintelligence

Silicon Valley-based Drive.ai announced Tuesday that Andrew Ng has joined its board of directors. Ng was the chief scientist at Chinese tech giant Baidu until March, and previously founded and led the Google Brain project, an artificial intelligence effort. Drive.ai also revealed plans to launch a pilot test later this year so customers can ride in its self-driving vehicles. To fund this, it raised $50 million from venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. "This is one horse worth betting on," Ng told CNN Tech.