Some of the car sensors that will contribute data to the new services. Mapping company Here wants to combine the data from sensors in Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars to generate real-time information on road conditions and accidents. The company intends to use the data generated by the on-board sensors in connected vehicles to create a live view of road conditions, which can then be used by other drivers to find out about traffic and potential hazards (including accidents and extreme weather events), or to help them find a parking space. Here said the services will be available to customers in and outside the automotive industry from the first half of 2017. Traffic information services available to drivers largely rely on GPS probe data -- regular location information reported from a connected device.
Elon Musk has hired a new director of AI research at Tesla, and it may signal a plan to rethink the way its automated driving works. This week, Musk poached Andrej Karpathy, an expert on vision, deep learning, and reinforcement learning, from OpenAI, a nonprofit that Musk and others are funding that's dedicated to "discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence." After Stanford, Karpathy interned with DeepMind, where reinforcement learning is a major focus. Appointing Karpathy a Tesla's director of AI research indicates something else about the challenge of autonomous driving: there's some distance left to go before it's solved (see "What to Know Before You Get in a Self-Driving Car").
While companies such as Google chase the fully autonomous car, Toyota is taking a more measured approach toward a "guardian angel" car that would seize control only when an accident is imminent. But as starkly different as those approaches are, they both will require a wide range of data-intensive technologies, according to Gill Pratt (pictured), chief executive officer of the Toyota Research Institute, a research center focused on AI and robotics. He spoke at the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose today. Toyota has made a huge bet–a billion dollars over five years, in fact–not only on semiautonomous cars but robots that could help older people with indoor mobility. The Toyota Research Institute, which will have facilities near Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is intended to focus both on what Toyota calls outdoor mobility (cars) as well as indoor mobility (robots).
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will begin to reward hackers who expose deficiencies in its car's software, the company announced Wednesday. Using Bugcrowd, a platform that connects researchers to firms looking to eliminate technical defects, FCA will award hackers up to 1,500 for reporting vulnerabilities in its so-called "bug bounty" program. "This is really the next level of automotive cyber safety," Bugcrowd chief executive Casey Ellis said in an interview, when he also called the move "historic" because of Chrysler's worldwide scale. The move comes almost a year after security researchers Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller remotely hacked into a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle made by Fiat Chrysler, from their keyboards while the vehicle was being driven 70 mph on the highway. Their hack turned the steering wheel, briefly disabled the brakes and shut down the engine.
Car companies and internet giants are all betting big that self-driving cars will be the wave of the future -- and they're racing to own as big a share of that future as possible. The relative success of self-driving cars, and the degree to which the motoring public embraces them, will be an interesting case to see how willing people are to trust algorithms. Of all the companies trying to get in on this modern-day gold rush, each is reliant on machine learning algorithms. Google claims to have unleashed its cars for more than 1.5 million miles of driving. The point of all those miles is to refine the machine learning algorithms that underlie the decisions the cars make.