Self-driving cars are on the way; by some projections autonomous capability could even be standard by 2030. As drivers, cars will behave differently than humans, and they will almost surely be programmed to avoid hitting people. The idea that roads will become safer, with fewer traffic accidents, is a driving force behind the new technology. But, as pedestrians quickly figure out the cars' behavior, they will certainly adapt theirs as well. The effects could be dramatic: instead of more consistent, traffic flow could become chaotic, according to "Pedestrians, Autonomous Vehicles, and Cities," published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research.
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.
Hoping to get self-driving vehicle companies to share a common platform rather than design from scratch, Baidu said Tuesday it would offer its technology for autonomous driving to other companies, while also partnering in the sourcing of components and hardware. Baidu will offer a vehicle platform, hardware platform, software platform and cloud data services, and will open source code and capabilities in obstacle perception, trajectory planning, vehicle control, vehicle operating systems and other functions, as well as a set of testing tools, it said in a statement. The project called Apollo, after the U.S. moon missions, could help speed up the development of self-driving cars, making the technology available sooner to smaller car makers and users at a more competitive price. Until now car makers and tech companies have been pursuing the development of self-driving cars independently or in close-knit alliances, guarding their inventions protectively as the ongoing lawsuit between Alphabet's Waymo and Uber Technologies indicates. "An open, innovative industry ecosystem initiated by Baidu will accelerate the development of autonomous driving in the U.S. and other developed automotive markets," said Qi Lu, Baidu's group president and chief operating officer in a statement.
Volvo Car Corp. and ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. have signed a 300 million agreement to co-develop autonomous sport-utility vehicles that will either be used as self-driving taxis or sold to consumers. The two companies will announce the joint project Thursday, saying the Swedish auto maker will conduct much of the initial engineering on a platform for an XC90 SUV that is capable of piloting itself. At some point, Uber will take that technology and use it as the foundation to develop its own self-driving vehicle technology. Volvo will do the same. Under the agreement, Uber will buy XC90 SUVs manufactured by Volvo.