One of the biggest potential pitfalls for developers of autonomous vehicles is psychological: Will most people trust the cars enough to ride in them? It might not be easy to win people over, but it's possible--if a Boston startup's recent tests are any indication. On Tuesday, NuTonomy co-founder and president Karl Iagnemma shared early reactions from people who have ridden in cars controlled by his company's software. "The feedback has been really interesting, and I would say overwhelmingly positive," Iagnemma said at a press briefing, during which NuTonomy and its parent company, Aptiv (NYSE: APTV), announced plans for a new Boston office focused on autonomous vehicles and other mobility technologies. "We've found," Iagnemma continued, "that once people get into one of these cars, typically there's a little bit of maybe nervousness or apprehension because it is a little surprising to see that wheel turn by itself for the first time.
Ford is changing the focus its self-driving car platform as early as next year. The company says it now plans to focus on features beyond just enabling a computer system to drive from point A to B. SEE ALSO: Lyft's self-driving cars are now on the road in Boston The company's president of global markets Jim Farley wrote about the new developments in a Medium post, in which he emphasized Ford's devotion to the customer as the main concern for its autonomous plans. More specifically, Farley wrote that Ford is dedicated to establishing systems that will prioritize the movement of people and goods, hinting at plans for commercial fleets and ride-hailing services that align with the company's existing deals and partnerships. The automaker's plans include a brand new self-driving vehicle design that eschews the hockey puck-sized LiDAR units mounted near the side-view mirrors seen last December for a less obtrusive roof-mounted sensor unit. Ford will test the new design in an undisclosed city starting next year, according to a report from Reuters.
The ride-hailing company Lyft is now sending self-driving cars to pick up passengers in a Boston neighborhood. The cars will have backup human drivers at the wheel and will be limited to short routes within the city's Seaport District, a burgeoning tech startup hub. Lyft and its Boston-based partner nuTonomy, which builds self-driving software, announced Wednesday that the pilot project has begun. The Renault Zoe EVs will be limited to short routes within the city's Seaport District The cars will initially be a small number of Renault Zoe EVs, which Nutonomy began road-testing in Boston starting last November. Nutonomy engineers are already working on integrating Lyft software into'a couple of' vehicles, to be deployed sometime'in the coming months,' for actual customer pickups, though no more specific timeline was given.
Volkswagen has unveiled the electric van that's a key part of its MOIA autonomous vehicle ride-sharing service. Shown yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt, it'll carry up to six passengers with niceties like roomy individual seats, ambient LED lighting, WiFi and device power ports. The van-pooling MOIA service will launch in Hamburg in 2018 with 200 vans, letting passengers enter a departure point and destination in an app. "We've set ourselves the goal of taking more than a million cars off the roads in Europe and the USA by 2025," said MOIA CEO Ole Harms. MOIA's aim is to eventually put autonomous, purpose-built vehicles on the road without drivers.
Uber rival Lyft is raising an additional $500 million in funding ion its ongoinjg battle with Uber, according to a U.S. share authorization document filed in Delaware. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of the $1 billion round announced in October. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of a $1 billion round announced in October, and raises the firm's valuation to $11.5 billion Axios was first to report the news. In October Lyft had said that the previous round of funding boosted its valuation to $11 billion from $7.5 billion. The fresh funding would raise its valuation to $11.5 billion.
Lyft just took a small but essential step forward in the development of its own self-driving car project. The California DMV granted the rapidly growing ride-hailing company permission to test autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads. The registration, which the DMV gives after the submission of an application and an annual $150 fee, has become a rite of passage of sorts for the various AV projects from automakers, tech companies, and startups that are currently racing to develop their own platforms. Registering with the state means that Lyft will now have to submit certain information to the DMV about its operations, most significantly an annual disengagement report detailing the number of times human operators had to take control of test vehicles. Lyft joins the likes of massive companies like Volkswagen, Waymo, Apple, and Ford with the registration, rounding out the full list of testers to 45.
U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, taking it one step further in the race with several other companies to bring self-driving cars to the masses. Lyft's permit, reflected on the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website, comes two months after it announced plans to offer a self-driving car as a ride option in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lyft already has partnerships in place with autonomous car companies to advance its self-driving strategy. Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc said on Monday it would launch its service in Toronto, marking the first international expansion for the U.S.-based rival of Uber Technologies Inc. Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft's network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, according to Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification.
Volvo has signed a deal with Uber to supply the ride-hailing company with tens of thousands of "autonomous driving compatible" vehicles between 2019 and 2021, the 90-year-old car company announced Monday. The financial terms of the non-exclusive agreement were not disclosed. However, the massive deal, reportedly worth more than $1 billion for 24,000 vehicles, keeps Uber up to speed in the crowded race to bring self-driving vehicles to consumers. "The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption," Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement. "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally.
Volvo said Monday it will sell tens of thousands of vehicles to Uber Technologies Inc. starting as early as 2019 that will serve as the ride-hailing company's self-driving taxi fleet. The so-called base vehicles will be developed off of car architecture currently used on Volvo's 90 series cars and the XC60 midsize SUV. Volvo said in a statement that its engineers have worked closely with Uber to develop the technology on another SUV currently on the market. It's unclear when the vehicles would be put on the road. Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at San Francisco-based Uber, said in a statement that the agreement puts the company on a "path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale."
Driven to distraction: Why IBM's Watson is getting onboard with self-driving vehicles and impatient passengers IBM has teamed up with Local Motors for a new autonomous vehicle. Here's how it will handle difficult passengers - and why you won't be able to buy one. I am, as a product of Generation X, perhaps one of the final generations to be obsessed with the notion of car ownership. I love the different body designs. I love how each one drives differently.