DETROIT – A self-driving car company created by Google is pulling the human backup driver from behind the steering wheel and will test vehicles on public roads with only an employee in the back seat. The move by Waymo, which started Oct. 19 with an automated Chrysler Pacifica minivan in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Arizona, is a major step toward vehicles driving themselves without human backups on public roads. Waymo, which is owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, is in a race with other companies such as Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Uber, Apple and Lyft to bring autonomous vehicles to the public. The companies say the robot cars are safer than human drivers because they don't get drowsy, distracted or drunk. Google has long stated its intent to skip driver-assist systems and go directly to fully autonomous driving.
Waymo, the self-driving car company created by Google, is pulling the human backup driver from behind the steering wheel and will test vehicles on public roads with only an employee in the back seat. The company's move -- which started Oct. 19 with an automated Chrysler Pacifica minivan in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, Ariz. Waymo -- owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc. -- is in a race with other companies such as Delphi, General Motors, Intel, Uber, Apple and Lyft to bring autonomous vehicles to the public. The companies say the robot cars are safer than human drivers because they don't get drowsy, distracted or drunk. Waymo has long stated its intent to skip driver-assist systems and go directly to fully autonomous driving.
See how self-driving cars prepare for the real world inside a private testing facility owned by Google's autonomous car company, Waymo. A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Google is partnering with AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership chain, in its push to build a self-driving car. AutoNation said Thursday, Nov. 2, that its dealerships will provide maintenance and repairs for Waymo's self-driving fleet of Chrysler Pacifica vehicles. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Google is partnering with AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership chain, in its push to produce self-driving cars for wide use.
When Elon Musk talks about the future of factory automation at Tesla, he envisions new breeds of robots and smart machines compressed in dense factories with little room for human operators, guided by self-learning software. "At the point at which the factory looks like an "alien dreadnought" -- a nod to a video game spaceship -- "you know you've won," Musk has told investors. But so far, the manufacturing of Tesla's new all-electric compact sedan, the Model 3, at its Fremont, Calif., factory is moving at a more earthbound pace. When Musk launched the car at an elaborate stage show in July, Tesla was anticipating a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of December. Over three months through September, though, Tesla had produced only 260 Model 3s -- about three cars a day.
Cruise Automation wants to make self-driving cars in New York City a reality as soon as 2018. The self-driving car wing of General Motors has announced plans to test Chevy Bolts in an area of Manhattan spanning five square miles, beginning as early as next year. Previously, the company has evaluated how its vehicles perform in an urban setting by testing them out on the streets of San Francisco. In May 2017, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo detailed a one-year pilot program that would give automakers the opportunity to apply for permission to test self-driving cars in New York starting in 2018. Cruise Automation has submitted a request, which is expected to be granted, according to a report from CNN. Pedestrians will likely pose the greatest challenge for the Bolts let loose on the streets of Manhattan.
It looks like New York City will be hosting its first test of fully autonomous vehicles very soon and surprisingly, they're not from Waymo or Uber. Instead, General Motors and Cruise Automation have submitted the first application for sustained testing and are aiming to do so in Manhattan. New York state only recently opened its roads up to self-driving vehicles, joining California, Arizona and Pennsylvania in allowing tests of the technology. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in May that the DMV had begun taking applications for said tests on New York's roads and GM is the first in line. In order to be approved, companies like GM will have to cover each vehicle with a $5 million insurance policy, reimburse state police for any costs that come with overseeing the tests and keep a person in the driver's seat at all times.
General Motors Co plans to test vehicles in fully autonomous mode in New York state in early 2018, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The self-driving cars will first take to the streets in Manhattan, with hopes the exposure to a densely populated environment will help accelerate improvements. The planned testing by GM and its self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, will be the first by a Level 4 autonomous vehicle in the state, Cuomo said in a statement. General Motors Co plans to test vehicles in fully autonomous mode in New York state in early 2018, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. One of the firm's Bolt EV self-driving test vehicles is pictured above A level 3 car still needs a steering wheel and a driver who can take over if the car encounters a problem, while level 4 promises driverless features in dedicated lanes.
After announcing plans this month to supply self-driving vehicles for Lyft's ride-hailing network, the autonomous tech developer has scored financial backing from Southeast Asian rideshare powerhouse Grab and plans to expand into Singapore. Singapore office will study that market as a potential place to deploy vehicles equipped with its software and self-driving hardware kits in government and business fleets, Tandon said. Amid the rush by auto and tech firms to perfect robotic vehicles, Tandon and his co-founders, who were all researchers from Stanford University's Artificial Intelligence Lab, founded Drive.ai to specialize in deep learning-based driving software for business, government and shared vehicle fleets. Small relative to well-funded programs at Waymo, General Motors' Cruise, Uber's Advanced Technology Vehicle Group and Ford's Argo AI, Mountain View, California-based Drive.ai has made quick progress.
This week we saw a bunch of schemes to get self-driving cars on the road. The state of California released the latest draft of its regulations to make it easier for driverless cars to be on public roads by 2018. Those are vehicles with no one at the controls--not even a "safety human." The University of Michigan is building a semiautonomous delivery vehicle for the US Postal Service.
General Motors just took another step to prepare itself for the future of driving, acquiring a startup that makes what could prove a key technology to unlock self-driving cars for use in fleets. Cruise, GM's self-driving car startup, will now source its lidar laser sensors from Strobe, a Pasadena-based startup that the Detroit automaker just acquired. GM did not disclose the terms of the deal, which it announced Monday morning, but it's a potentially crucial move in its plan to deploy large fleets of robocars, given the importance of the sensor, and the difficulty of making it not just robust and reliable, but cost effective. Other notable lidar startups include Luminar, whose 22-year-old founder just signed a deal to put his sensors on Toyota's self-driving cars, and Innoviz, an Israeli company working on what's called solid-state lidar.