We've already heard about Google's somewhat controversial autonomous vehicle test program which began two years ago using Toyota Prii and other vehicles. It appears now that yet another hybrid has been added to the driverless vehicle list. Said hybrid is a cousin to the Prius, the Lexus RX450h, and it was reportedly spotted traveling along a Southern California Freeway with the autonomous testing gear mounted atop its roof. The sighting comes just days after the California Senate passed Bill 1298, which enables the California Highway Patrol to set standards and performance requirements relating to autonomous vehicle testing. The picture also indicates the testing apparatus has been somewhat modified since earlier tests.
SAN FRANCISCO – Apple has revealed it is investing heavily in autonomous vehicles in a letter asking the government to make it easier to develop self-driving cars. The company is "excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation," Apple said in a November 22 letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offering Apple's opinion about draft regulations for the sector. "Apple looks forward to collaborating with NHTSA and other stakeholders so that the significant societal benefits of automated vehicles can be realized safely, responsibly, and expeditiously," the company's director of product integrity Steve Kenner wrote. Apple issued the letter because it is "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems," an Apple spokesman said in an email. "There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry."
Rand Corporation reported in 2016 that autonomous cars would need to be tested over 11 billion miles in order to prove that they're better drivers than humans. With a fleet of a hundred cars running 24 hours a day, that would take 500 years, according to the report. That seems both improbable and impractical, so companies like Cognata are filling the autonomous vehicle testing void with virtual miles. The need to establish the reliability of autonomous vehicles in short order has prompted Emerge Innovation Capital, Maniv Mobility, and Airbus Ventures to invest $5 million in funding in Cognata. The company's simulation system uses artificial intelligence, deep learning, and computer vision to create a virtual environment for testing cars without drivers -- no roads required.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology are burgeoning spaces in the tech industry, and a new report from analytics firm IHS indicates AI developers are increasingly focused on the autonomous vehicle space. AI systems, which continuously learn from experience by their ability to discern and recognize their surroundings, have the potential to be highly beneficial when integrated into an autonomous vehicle's software architecture. Autonomous vehicles already rely on sophisticated radar systems and multiple cameras and sensors to analyze and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. AI could help these self-driving vehicles recognize patterns and learn from the behavior of other vehicles on the road, according to IHS. The IHS report estimated unit shipments of AI systems used in infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) systems are expected to rise from just 7 million in 2015 to 122 million by 2025.