Autonomous Vehicles


Ford's Argo AI will release its HD maps for free to autonomy researchers

#artificialintelligence

It's not like academic researchers have the time or money to command a fleet of self-driving mapping vehicles, which is why Argoverse is so important to that community. A self-driving car is only as good as its maps. Automakers around the world have made efforts to create high-definition maps of as many roads as possible as they ramp up AV development, so that their cars can have the best idea possible of the surrounding world. But while most groups don't seem too keen on the idea of giving those maps away, Ford's Argo AI is taking a different approach. Argo AI announced on Wednesday that it has created a public repository for its self-driving-car development data, including high-definition maps.


A new set of images that fool AI could help make it more hacker-proof

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence is great at identifying objects in images, but it's still pretty easy to mess it up. Add a few choice strokes or layer in some static noise invisible to the human eye, and you can throw off an image recognition system, sometimes to deadly effect. Adding stickers to a stop sign can make a self-driving car believe the sign is posting a 45-mile-per-hour speed limit, for example, while adding them to a road can make a Tesla swerve into the oncoming traffic lane. You win some, you lose some.)


Elon Musk tweets he will ramp up production of SpaceX Raptor Engine to 'one every 12 hours'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced that one of the company's most powerful engines will be produced at a rate of about one per every 12 hours by the end of the year in his quest to get a person on Mars. The massive production ramp-up was foreshadowed by a series of tweets posted early Monday morning, which began with a bold photo: an orange-tinted orb, with bold font reading, 'OCCUPY MARS.' But that orb was in fact a picture of an orange-tinted'blood-moon', not of Mars. As Twitter followers rushed to point out the blunder, Musk eventually segued into more substantive - if speculative - news, shedding light on a huge leap in the company's production output. In a recent tweet, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made bold predictions about the production of the company's Raptor engines which could one day take the first human to the moon.


Mike Pompeo in Mideast seeks to build coalition against Iran but faces hard sell

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks Monday with the Saudi king and crown prince about countering the military threat from Iran by building a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries. Pompeo is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that President Donald Trump repudiated last year. With tensions running high in the region after Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone on June 20 and Trump said he aborted a retaliatory strike, Iran's naval commander warned that his forces won't hesitate to down more U.S. drones that violate its airspace. The U.S. has been building up its military presence in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. announced additional sanctions Monday on Iran aimed at pressuring the Iranian leadership into talks.


Airports begin to fight back against rogue drones with anti-incursion systems

FOX News

An estimated 7 million drones will be flying in the skies by 2020; Claudia Cowan reports on the new technology being developed to keep airports safe. But some people either don't care or use drones to intentionally disrupt airport operations. Last December, drone sightings at London's Gatwick Airport forced a three-day shutdown, and canceled flights left thousands of stranded passengers scrambling. No one has been arrested in the case, and this past April, investigators said it could have been an inside job. In recent months, suspected or confirmed drone activity has grounded flights in Dubai, New Zealand, Israel, and at Newark Airport in New Jersey.


Self-Driving Trucks Will Carry Mail in U.S. for the First Time

#artificialintelligence

The United States Postal Service is going to put mail on self-driving trucks. Starting this week, letters and packages moving between Phoenix and Dallas will travel on customized Peterbilt trucks run by TuSimple, an autonomous startup based in San Diego. There will be five round trips between the two cites, with the first haul leaving from Phoenix this morning. It's the first time that the Postal Service has contracted with an autonomous provider for long-haul service. "This pilot is just one of many ways the Postal Service is innovating and investing in its future," the USPS said in a press release that cited the possibility of using "a future class of vehicles" to improve service, reduce emissions and save money.


Japan to start testing unmanned vehicles on public roads

The Japan Times

The economy ministry plans to start testing unmanned ground vehicles on public roads by the end of March next year through cooperation with private-sector companies, hoping to put them into practical use soon. The ministry agreed Monday to establish a public-private council on UGVs. Members include e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc., Yamato Transport Co., Japan Post Co. and transport company Seino Holdings Co., as well as the National Police Agency, the transport ministry and local governments. The council is to identify challenges, including ways to secure the safety of UGVs on public roads and who would bear responsibility for accidents, officials said. The ministry is considering possible revisions to the road traffic law in fiscal 2020, which starts in April next year.


Volvo & NVIDIA to develop AI platform for autonomous trucks

#artificialintelligence

The Volvo Group has signed an agreement with NVIDIA to jointly develop the decision making system of autonomous commercial vehicles and machines. Utilising NVIDIA's end-to-end artificial intelligence platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways. The solution will be built on NVIDIA's full software stack for sensor processing, perception, map localisation and path planning, enabling a wide range of possible autonomous driving applications, such as freight transport, refuse and recycling collection, public transport, construction, mining, forestry and more. "Automation creates real-life benefits for both our customers and the society in terms of safety, energy efficiency and as a consequence productivity. We continue to gradually introduce automated applications in the entire spectrum of automation, from driver support systems to fully autonomous vehicles and machines. This partnership with NVIDIA is an important next step on that journey," says Martin Lundstedt, President and CEO of the Volvo Group.


Iran says 'spy drone' violated its airspace in May amid U.S. escalation

The Japan Times

TEHRAN - Iran said on Sunday a "spy drone" had encroached its airspace in May, about a month before it downed an American drone as part of a series of escalatory incidents between Tehran and Washington. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a map saying the U.S.-made MQ9 Reaper drone -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had entered his country's airspace on May 26. Iran shot down a U.S. Global Hawk drone Thursday, saying it had violated its airspace near the strategic Strait of Hormuz -- a claim the United States denies. U.S. President Donald Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response would not have been "proportionate," with Tehran warning any attack would see Washington's interests across the Middle East go up in flames. On Sunday U.S. national security adviser John Bolton cautioned Iran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation.


Yemen's Houthi rebels strike Saudi airport ahead of Mike Pompeo visit

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on an airport in the kingdom Sunday evening as U.S. Secretary of State was on his way to the country for talks on Iran, Saudi Arabia said. Regional tensions have flared in recent days, The U.S. abruptly called off military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone. The Trump administration has vowed to combine a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region, following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. A new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran are expected to be announced Monday. The Sunday attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha.