Before autonomous trucks and taxis hit the road, manufacturers will need to solve problems far more complex than collision avoidance and navigation (see "10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Self-Driving Trucks"). These vehicles will have to anticipate and defend against a full spectrum of malicious attackers wielding both traditional cyberattacks and a new generation of attacks based on so-called adversarial machine learning (see "AI Fight Club Could Help Save Us from a Future of Super-Smart Cyberattacks"). As consensus grows that autonomous vehicles are just a few years away from being deployed in cities as robotic taxis, and on highways to ease the mind-numbing boredom of long-haul trucking, this risk of attack has been largely missing from the breathless coverage. It reminds me of numerous articles promoting e-mail in the early 1990s, before the newfound world of electronic communications was awash in unwanted spam. Back then, the promise of machine learning was seen as a solution to the world's spam problems.
Autonomous driving systems are changing the way we think about the future of personal transportation. How soon will we have access to vehicles that don't require human control? Are driverless cars just around the corner? What will our travel be like if we're spending a lot less time behind the wheel? What technology actually makes autonomous driving possible?
Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York declared last month that New York City will join 13 other states in testing self-driving cars: "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology." For General Motors, this represents a major milestone in the development of its Cruise software, since the the knowledge gained on Manhattan's busy streets will be invaluable in accelerating its deep learning technology. In the spirit of one-upmanship, Waymo went one step further by declaring this week that it will be the first car company in the world to ferry passengers completely autonomously (without human engineers safeguarding the wheel). As unmanned systems are speeding ahead toward consumer adoption, one challenge that Cruise, Waymo and others may counter within the busy canyons of urban centers is the loss of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data. Robots require a complex suite of coordinating data systems that bounce between orbiting satellites to provide positioning and communication links to accurately navigate our world.
A driverless shuttle bus crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The city's officials had been hosting an unveiling ceremony for the bus, described as the US' first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared towards the public, before it crashed with a semi-truck. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the human driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there were no injuries, and the incident caused minor damage. The oval-shaped shuttle -- sponsored by AAA, the Review-Journal added -- can transport up to 12 passengers at a time. It has an attendant and a computer monitor, and uses GPS and electric curb sensors instead of brakes or a steering wheel.
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.
More than eight years after it began, Waymo, the company spun out of Google X's self-driving car project, believes its technology is ready to take to public roads as a fully self-driving car -- without anyone in the driver's seat. Waymo's fleet of autonomous vehicles is now prepared to drive on public roads without a safety operator, according to CEO John Krafcik, who announced the development onstage at the Web Summit in Lisbon. The company also shared some details about the expansion of its pilot program in a blog post. Neither Krafcik nor the company's reps shared exactly what has given the company the confidence to declare their vehicles "fully" self-driving, but it appears that Waymo has achieved Level 4 autonomy, which means the car can handle every aspect of the driving experience on its own without need for human intervention. Most other companies currently conducting self-driving tests are only at Level 3, a level that still requires a human operator for some (if not most) situations.
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.
Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas announced Tuesday that Toyota has selected two of its chips to power the autonomous features in the self-driving cars it plans to commercially launch in 2020. The combination of chips will provide Toyota's "Highway Teammate" feature with capabilities like peripheral recognition, driving judgments, and body control, Renesas said. Specifically, Renesas will provide Toyota with its R-Car system-on-chip (SoC), which serves as an "electronic brain" for both advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and in-vehicle infotainment. The R-Car SoC will be a part of an engine control unit from Denso, a Toyota components supplier. Additionally, Toyota will use Renesas' RH850 microcontroller (MCU) for automotive control capabilities -- like driving, steering and braking functions -- based on the judgments made by the R-Car SoC.
The advent of autonomous vehicles may not be all doom and gloom for the automotive industry as some have predicted, senior enterprise architect at Toyota Australia's Information Systems Division David Johnston-Bell has said. Speaking at Informatica's Data Disruption Summit on Wednesday, Johnston-Bell said there are reports suggesting that autonomous vehicles could significantly reduce personal car ownership -- possibly by 80 to 90 percent. Even Jacinta Hargan, director of the Future Transport Program at Transport for NSW, said the state government's future transport technology roadmap is based on four potential "futures", one of which centres on the idea that people will share ownership of connected and autonomous vehicles, and another where vehicle ownership is no longer important. While projections are "useful for scenario planning", they can be quite premature, Johnston-Bell told ZDNet. "I think it's great that we can say, 'what can happen in the world if 90 percent of the cars disappear?'
The Pegasus line will be available by the middle of 2018 for automakers to begin developing vehicles and testing software algorithms needed to control future driverless cars, NVIDIA executives told a developers' conference in Munich on Tuesday. The deal between Deutsche Post, ZF and NVIDIA will include future Deutsche Post StreetScooter delivery trucks. In Munich, the three partners are showcasing a prototype StreetScooter running NVIDIA Drive PX chips used to control sensors including six cameras, one radar and one lidar, or 3D laser camera. De Ambroggi said NVIDIA's Pegasus automotive platform was the first with the processing power for automakers to begin developing truly autonomous vehicles, which could be upgraded with software improvements ahead of actual roadway deployments.