Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. Drones are flown at a training class in Las Vegas in anticipation of new regulations allowing their commercial use. We are in "one of the most dramatic periods of change in the history of transportation," says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He was talking about all of it: the self-driving cars, the smart-city movement, the maritime innovations. The Federal Aviation Administration expects some 600,000 drones to be used commercially within a year.
It's not exactly autonomous, but it works. Nissan believes the fastest way to get driverless cars on the road is to give them remote human support – and it's using NASA technology to do it. Nissan demonstrated its Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM) platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, which incorporates a degree of teleoperation into the autonomous car system. Although vehicles will be able to drive themselves most of the time, human "mobility managers" can remotely take control in unexpected situations. "Autonomy systems are not simple, it is a very hard problem," says Maarten Sierhuis, director of Nissan's Research Center in Sunnyvale, California.
The White House has issued principles for regulating the use of artificial intelligence that call for as little government interference as possible and offer only broad guidance to federal agencies. In fact, the principles might deter regulation of AI at a time when many think it is increasingly needed. Michael Kratsios, chief technology officer of the United States, is set to announce the principles on Wednesday at CES in Las Vegas. They arrive at a critical moment for the development of AI and for America's position as the global standard bearer. The guidelines have the potential to shape the development of a broad swath of valuable and critical technologies, from autonomous vehicles to new medical imaging tools.
The whole "fear of SkyNet" trope is a bit moot at this point, seeing as how robots have already infiltrated our roads, skies and cafeteria-style eateries. You can already see it happening with Lyft adding 30 self-driving vehicles to its Las Vegas fleet, Sphero debuting yet another domestic robopanion, and gangs leveraging drone swarms to blindside the FBI. Numbers, because how else are we going to learn to speak the binary language of our future overlords? Turns out, they worked so well that the company is expanding the pilot program to more than two dozen autonomous vehicles. The opt-in program still only delivers passengers between high-demand locations but at least you won't have to worry about making small talk with the driver.
Autonomous-driving company Torc Robotics may not be as well known as, say, Waymo, but that may change soon as Torc looks to expand. The company is looking to nearly double its number of employees in order to continue developing tech for self-driving cars. Torc unveiled its Asimov (named after science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov) autonomous-driving system last year, and gave public demonstrations at CES 2018. The company is headquartered in Blacksburg, Virginia, and continues to test self-driving cars there and in Las Vegas. Last year, it sent one of its modified Lexus RX SUVs on a cross-country trip.