If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will likely change the way we get around forever, but the AI that controls them might not be able to tell other cars on the road when they're driving like assholes. Case in point: The City of Las Vegas and AAA's self-driving shuttle, one of the most advanced public autonomous trials in the U.S., was hit by a semi-truck within hours of its maiden trip last month. The Navya Arma bus was stuck between a car behind it and the slowly advancing truck, which backed its way into the the shuttle. The shuttle behaved exactly as it was designed to in the situation, according to a AAA rep -- but it didn't move or, more importantly for the truck driver who might not have seen the vehicle behind it, honk a horn to make its presence known. One of the most essential tools for interpersonal communication between drivers wasn't even in the AI's protocol, which made us wonder: Can self-driving cars even beep?
The event, in which no one was injured and no property was seriously damaged, attracted media and public attention in part because one of the vehicles was driving itself – and because that shuttle had been operating for only less than an hour before the crash. It's not the first collision involving a self-driving vehicle. Other crashes have involved Ubers in Arizona, a Tesla in "autopilot" mode in Florida and several others in California. But in nearly every case, it was human error, not the self-driving car, that caused the problem. In Las Vegas, the self-driving shuttle noticed a truck up ahead was backing up, and stopped and waited for it to get out of the shuttle's way.
The company says they're deploying cars without backup drivers. The company says they're deploying cars without backup drivers. A new study is bolstering the case for putting more autonomous vehicles on the road sooner rather than later -- at the same time that self-driving cars are hitting a milestone in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area. A research report released this week argues that deploying driverless cars commercially as soon as they become at least a little safer than human drivers, could end up saving hundreds of thousands of lives -- as compared to waiting for the technology to be close to perfect. Meanwhile, on the roads in Arizona, the first public tests of self-driving cars without backup drivers have begun.
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.
Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving unit is launching a ride-hailing service for the general public with no human driver behind the steering wheel. And, the firm has been testing such fully self-driving cars on public roads in Arizona, Chief Executive John Krafcik said on Tuesday. The announcement by Krafcik at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon is a major advance in the roll-out of fully autonomous vehicles. The firm recently unveiled a self-driving minivan that it hopes could revolutionize the way we travel. It showed off the technology at the closely-guarded'fake town' dubbed The Castle, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco While self-driving car companies test their vehicles in public, they routinely have a human in the driver's seat ready to take over if the technology fails.
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.
Waymo plans to test its self-driving car technology on the cold, icy roads of the greater Detroit region this winter, the company said Thursday. "For human drivers, the mix of winter conditions can affect how well you can see, and the way your vehicle handles the road. The same is true for self-driving cars," CEO John Krafcik wrote in a blog post. The Alphabet-owned company has been conducting cold weather testing since 2012. To achieve Level 5 automation -- fully atuonomous driving -- vehicles need to be able to handle all environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.
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.
California's existing regulations, which require a human driver behind the wheel even when completely driverless cars are being tested, have been criticized by industry leaders and some politicians as too strict. DMV officials said Wednesday that the federal government will continue to set safety standards for automobiles, while the state's role is to make sure vehicles traveling on state highways conform to federal standards. The new regulations would require that manufacturers testing driverless cars on California roads certify that they're meeting federal standards and that any public paperwork shared with federal regulators on driverless testing is also passed to the DMV. The new regulations would trim back existing rules that require municipalities to approve vehicle testing.
Local news publication ARLnow caught the ghostly vehicle on camera and speculated that it was part of Virginia Tech's autonomous driving research. The "seat suit" stunt was the brainchild of Ford and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research exploring how self-driving vehicles can communicate their intent to pedestrians, human drivers and cyclists. Ford and Virginia Tech wanted to test how people would react to light signals replacing some of this communication. "We needed to try out this new lighting to communicate the intent of the vehicle, but if you've got a driver behind the seat you still have natural communication between humans like eye-to-eye contact," said Andy Shaudt, who headed the research at Virginia Tech.