Shared autonomous vehicles, self-driving buses, driverless shuttles -- whatever you call them, these vehicles are beating autonomous cars to the road. While companies like Waymo, GM's Cruise, Lyft, Uber, Baidu, Tesla, and others continue testing personal vehicles that can drive themselves, others are focusing efforts away from personal transit options and seeing how autonomous tech can move crowds at school campuses, residential communities, office parks, business districts, and event spaces. Just this week the New York Times uncovered that Apple's self-driving car program is refocusing on an employee shuttle with Volkswagen vans. That's why these shared vehicles are more appealing within the industry -- in more controlled, predictable, contained environments computer-controlled vehicles have more of a chance of staying on course and getting to the destination without any issues. That college campus in Florida only has so many busy intersections and complicated turns for a vehicle to track and navigate.
TomTom is selling its telematics business to tyre company Bridgestone for €910m ($1.03bn). TomTom said the deal would allow it to focus on its core location business, including mapping, navigation software, and real-time traffic information and services as the industry moves towards autonomous driving. Bridgestone said the deal would give it better insight into vehicle operating conditions via millions of data points a day. "After a thorough review of strategic options, we have determined that the sale of Telematics to Bridgestone is in the best interest of both Telematics and our core location technology business," said TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn. TomTom is facing increasing competition in the mapping space both from existing rivals like HERE Technologies but also increasingly from Google.
Melbourne's La Trobe University has detailed findings of what it called successful on-campus trials of Navya's driverless "Autonobus" shuttle, which uses 360-degree cameras and sensor systems to detect objects and runs a set route based on map coordinates. A report on the trial by La Trobe and its project partners includes a number of recommendations, including further trials of the technology; considering autonomous vehicles in future infrastructure planning and investment decisions; and education and engagement of communities on autonomous vehicles. The Autonobus -- which drove students around La Trobe's Bundoora campus as part of a trial until July -- passed every test it went through, including safety, technical, operational, and passenger testing on a pre-programmed route, and interacting with pedestrians, cars, buses, and cyclists, according to Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of project partner HMI Technologies. "No other trial in Australia has tested an autonomous vehicle of this type in such a dense urban location," Zabrieszach said. "We have demonstrated that it can be done safely, without incident, and in compliance with road safety laws."
Ruter, the mass-transit company for the Oslo metropolitan area, is about to start testing autonomous buses in the Norwegian capital. Its recently signed agreement with Danish company Autonomous Mobility involves several pilot schemes and, in the longer run, tests of a fleet of up to 50 vehicles. The partners aim to introduce autonomous vehicles gradually and in the process learn about customer needs. At the same time, they want to develop demand for new mobility services in the city. In the bigger picture, this initiative will also contribute to Oslo's ambitions for greener transport and fewer traffic accidents.
Your wedding venue search is over. Who needs a wedding chapel when there's a perfectly functional driverless shuttle bus roaming the streets of Las Vegas? That's the venue the American Automobile Association is offering a lucky couple looking to get hitched in Las Vegas. The regional office is holding an essay contest to find the perfect twosome to take part in the first wedding aboard a AAA autonomous vehicle. AAA has a self-driving shuttle pilot program that launched in Las Vegas at the end of last year.