SAE International has created the now-standard definitions for the six distinct levels of autonomy, from Level 1 representing only minor driver assistance (like today's cruise control) to Level 6 being the utopian dream of full automation: naps and movie-watching permitted. Many of the features of AI-assisted driving center around increased safety, like automatic braking, collision avoidance systems, pedestrian and cyclists alerts, cross-traffic alerts, and intelligent cruise control. A connected vehicle could also share performance data directly with the manufacturer (called "cognitive predictive maintenance"), allowing for diagnosis and even correction of performance issues without a stop at the dealer. Although it may not at first appear directly tied to automotive AI, the health and medical industry stands to experience some significant disruptions as well.
The three technologies driving these changes are vehicle connectivity, artificial intelligence, and autonomous operating systems. The transmission will use that information, combined with data from GPS systems, mapping systems, internal route memorization, lateral controls and other systems, to shift smoothly, optimize fuel economy and keep a driver fully alert at all times. Ten years ago, truck and engine makers were adding a brand-new electronic control module to trucks to help manage exhaust aftertreatment systems required by new federal emissions regulations, says Jason Krajewski, manager of DTNA's connected vehicle insight team. "Since then, sensors and ECMs have been added regularly, with three or four new powerful number crunchers added in the past couple of years to handle data from new mapping systems and capacity for cameras, radar and active vehicle safety systems.
"Driving long-haul trucks all day long, spending days and weeks away from family, is not for all, Rajkumar said. Autonomous trucks differ from autonomous cars in a number of ways, in terms of design. Once a long safety record that exceeds that of human drivers is established, "one can imagine that flammable cargo vehicles can also become fully autonomous," Rajkumar said. "There will come a time a few decades from now that fully autonomous gas trucks are deemed to be safer and more reliable."
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.
Last month, a bizarre video showing a man disguised as a car seat while driving a silver van went viral, before it was revealed that the stunt was part of an autonomous car test. The test was designed to learn how hand waves and other informal language between pedestrians and drivers - and the lack thereof when cars go driverless - affects driving. It's been known the viral video showing a man disguised in a car seat costume controlling a silver van was part of a self-driving car test and not just a spoof, but it's now been revealed Ford was in on it In August, Virginia residents were shocked to see a car with no driver on the streets. Occupying 32 acres at the University's North Campus Research Complex, M City includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights and obstacles Occupying 32 acres at the University's North Campus Research Complex, it includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers'At Ford, we believe developing self-driving vehicles is about more than just the technology itself, so we're working to design, test and advocate for a standard way for autonomous vehicles to easily communicate their intention to people on the streets and roads on which they will operate,' Shutko said.
In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in Washington on Wednesday morning on the potential safety and economic implications of self-driving trucks, Ken Hall, general secretary-treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said trucks come with a different set of considerations than much lighter passenger vehicles. "We don't believe you should just include 80,000-pound trucks without further study," he said. She said it didn't make sense to put regulations for trucks and passenger vehicles on two different timetables. One of those is a concept called platooning, in which a human truck driver would manage and lead a couple of self-driving trucks that would follow behind a control vehicle.
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute took credit--nay, responsibility--for car seat man but wouldn't reveal more. Car seat man was part of a Ford-funded study by researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute into how autonomous vehicles will interact with humans on the road. It's hard to know, because when driverless cars test on public roads today, they're not really driverless. Now Ford and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have 150 hours and 1,800 miles of new data to determine how their autonomous vehicle language works in the real world.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government's vehicle safety watchdog, concluded in January that because Brown was supposed to be monitoring the car's driving, human error--not Tesla tech--caused the crash. Tuesday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent federal body that investigates plane, train, and vehicle crashes, concluded its investigation into the incident. Systems like Tesla's Autopilot, General Motors' Super Cruise, and Audi's Traffic Jam Pilot already make driving safer, according to preliminary research. NHTSA's investigation of the Brown crash found that Tesla cars with self-driving capabilities crashed 40 percent less frequently than those without.
A Ford Fusion development vehicle equipped with autonomous controls, seen at a test facility Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. A Ford Fusion development vehicle equipped with autonomous controls, seen at a test facility Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Department of Transportation released its revised guidelines on automated driving systems Tuesday, outlining its recommended -- but not mandatory -- best practices for companies developing self-driving cars. On the same day the new plan relaxed guidance on Level 2 vehicles, the National Transportation Safety Board faulted a Tesla automated driving system for playing a "major role" in a collision that killed its test driver last year. "Just as the NTSB says the government and industry should be stepping up its efforts to ensure the safety of Level 2 automated vehicles," he added, "the Department of Transportation and Secretary Chao are rolling back their responsibility in that space."
An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that "operational limitations" of Tesla's Autopilot system played a "major role" in a fatal crash last May, but that the driver was also at fault for not paying adequate attention to the road. At the time, Autopilot was capable of steering the car within its lane and autonomously braking for vehicles in the road ahead. His last action was setting the cruise control at 74 mph on the 65 mph road, two minutes before the collision. The NTSB report was issued on the same day that U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao revealed the federal government's latest voluntary guidelines for autonomous technology, which includes a section on driver monitoring and the transfer of control from vehicle to operator when a system determines that human interaction is required.