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Driverless vehicles put through road tests in Okinawa

The Japan Times

The tests overseen by METI saw two four-seater electric carts navigate roads fitted with the required routing technology near hotels and tourist facilities in Chatan on the west coast of Okinawa Island. Further trials will involve driverless microbuses traveling short distances in other regions, according to the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, which conducted Monday's tests with other firms. Self-driving vehicles "can be utilized in less-populated areas and tourist sites. We are using these experiments to assess their safety," said Shin Kato, an official from the institute. In a joint effort with such firms as Yamaha Motor Co. and Hitachi Ltd., the institute will conduct more tests to evaluate safety issues while investigating ways to reduce waiting times for people using such services, the institute said.


Commentary: 2 Things That Need to Happen for Driverless Cars to Go Mainstream

#artificialintelligence

A whopping 73% of Americans don't trust autonomous cars, up from 63% in late 2017, according to a AAA survey released in May 2018. While competition is heating up--with players like Toyota, General Motors, Alphabet, and Tesla setting ambitious goals and making big bets--the question remains: Are Americans ready for driverless cars? As I've studied complex organizational transformations over the past decade, I've come to recognize what must happen to create the behavioral change that makes adoption of new technologies successful. A societal shift toward self-driving vehicles will require such massive behavioral change, especially as trust continues to plummet. But just because we wouldn't get behind that self-turning wheel today, doesn't mean we wouldn't take that chance tomorrow.


BMW plans self-driving car launch by 2021

ZDNet

BMW wants to have its first fully driverless vehicle on the roads within five years, the German auto manufacturer's CEO Harald Krueger has revealed. Krueger voiced his ambition for BMW to launch its first autonomous vehicle at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Munich. BMW is currently focusing very much on its'i' electric car range and the Krueger sees the move into fully autonomous vehicles as a natural extension of this strategy. "In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i Next, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road," he told shareholders.


Will Pedestrians Be Able to Tell What a Driverless Car Is About to Do?

The Atlantic - Technology

A fully autonomous self-driving car doesn't really need a steering wheel, or a rearview mirror, or even windows to get where it's going. But the first models are still likely to have them. In the coming years and decades, as the public decides how to feel about autonomous cars, the way that self-driving vehicles appear will be arguably as important as how they function. And people, Americans in particular, have clearly defined expectations about what cars ought to look like. "When we're looking at new devices, you could make them anything, right?


Self-driving bus crashes two hours after launch in Las Vegas

ZDNet

A driverless shuttle bus crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The city's officials had been hosting an unveiling ceremony for the bus, described as the US' first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared towards the public, before it crashed with a semi-truck. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there were no injuries, and the incident caused minor damage. The oval-shaped shuttle -- sponsored by AAA, the Review-Journal added -- can transport up to 12 passengers at a time. It has an attendant and a computer monitor, and uses GPS and electric curb sensors instead of brakes or a steering wheel.