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Google sibling Waymo launches fully autonomous ride-hailing service

The Guardian

Waymo, formerly known as Google's self-driving car, is launching a fully autonomous Uber-like ride-hailing service with no human driver behind the wheel, after testing the vehicles on public roads in Arizona. Waymo, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, said members of the public will begin riding in its fleet of modified Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans outfitted with self-driving technology in the next few months. Passengers will initially be accompanied in the back seat by a Waymo employee, but will eventually travel alone in the robotic car. The service will first be available to those who are already part of the company's public trial already under way in Phoenix. Rides will be free to start with, but Waymo expects to begin charging for journeys at some point.


NHTSA seeks ways to clear the road for self-driving cars

ZDNet

The NHTSA has asked for feedback on the state of autonomous vehicles and how current US regulations can be refined to promote research and deployment. The US National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on potential rule changes on Friday, which states the agency is looking for comments "to identify any unnecessary regulatory barriers" to the deployment of autonomous vehicles on US roads. NHTSA said that input relating to regulatory barriers is key, as well as any thoughts relating to hurdles companies face when attempting to test their self-driving vehicles. Compliance problems are a serious problem for vendors researching and developing self-driving car technologies. In particular, the agency recognizes that vehicle designs "that are not equipped with controls for a human driver" are a stumbling block, such as a lack of a steering wheel, brakes, or accelerator pedals.


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International Business Times

Elon Musk has taken it upon himself to act as the canary in the coal mine that is the artificial intelligence world for some time now. The SpaceX, Tesla, Boring Company founder and CEO believes that AI is part of the future but also that there needs to be regulation around it, now. More specifically, the AI god that former Uber engineer, Anthony Levandowski is planning to develop. Musk tweeted the article and wrote "On the list of people who should absolutely *not* be allowed to develop digital superintelligence…" He gave no further information about why Levandowski was one of the people who he thought should not be allowed to develop such an AI. But the two have been in conflict before.


Elon Musk: Tesla Cars Will Know Where To Drive You

International Business Times

Tesla is known not only for creating electric vehicles with impressive ranges for one charge, but also for developing self-driving technology. While this technology currently isn't in use by drivers, each vehicle is equipped with the necessary technology, "All Tesla vehicles produced in our factory, including Model 3, have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver," says the company's website. But Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, suggested over the weekend that the cars might be capable of more than that in the future. In a seemingly matter of fact tone he answered questions from his Twitter followers who inquired about the self-driving capabilities of the cars. One Twitter user suggested that it would be ideal if they could just ask their car to take them somewhere.


Transport ministry developing self-driving snowplows to offset driver shortage

The Japan Times

The transport ministry will speed up work to develop snow removal vehicles with self-driving technology so trials can be carried out on expressways starting this winter, officials have said. The ministry plans to test the vehicles on other public roads from fiscal 2018, using data from the Michibiki quasi-zenith satellite network behind Japan's version of the Global Positioning System set to debut in April. The use of snow removal vehicles requires skilled drivers, but most are getting too old, and the shortage is generating concerns. In fiscal 2015, people over 61 accounted for 19 percent of the drivers, up from 3 percent in 1998. Snow removal vehicles with self-driving technology will detect obstacles with sensors and warn drivers when they deviate from lanes or approach guardrails.


GM buys Strobe, a Pasadena startup that makes crucial tech for self-driving cars

Los Angeles Times

Last week, General Motors Co. announced plans to release a fleet of new electric vehicles by 2023, laying the groundwork for an "all-electric future." But the technology's high price, complexity and limited performance has kept self-driving cars from being deployed on a larger scale, according to Kyle Vogt, chief executive of Cruise Automation, a subsidiary developing self-driving technology that GM bought last year. "To solve these problems we've acquired Strobe, a company that has quietly been building the leading next-generation lidar sensors," Vogt wrote in a blog post announcing the purchase of Strobe. In his blog post, Vogt said Strobe's lidar sensors can be coupled with a radar sensor to more accurately read road conditions and avoid wrecks for self-driving cars.


Self-driving Lyft cars will pick up passengers in the Bay Area with new partnership

Mashable

SEE ALSO: Ford and Domino's team up for self-driving pizza deliveries Lyft hopes to collect data to improve the passenger experience in self-driving cars, while Drive.ai The deal is similar to Lyft's partnership with nuTonomy to bring self-driving cabs to Boston, which was announced earlier this year. This will be the first public partnership for Drive.ai, The startup is known for its emphasis on familiarizing the public with self-driving tech, which will continue to be a focus during the Lyft trial, Drive.ai She said the company has been testing its tech on public roads in California since last year, but this will be the first time the public will have a chance to ride in its cars. Notably, Lyft's pilot program with nuTonomy in Boston hasn't launched, even though it was announced back in June. These two programs and the regions in which they'll operate are very different, however, so there might be a chance that the Bay Area's driverless Lyfts could hit the roads before Boston's.


Ford's vision for self-driving cars that pick up passengers and deliver packages

Mashable

"We're developing self-driving technology because the world is changing rapidly," Sherif Marakby, the company's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, wrote in a Medium post Tuesday morning. Marakby further opened about Ford's plans to develop self-driving cars. "We plan to develop and manufacture self-driving vehicles at scale, deployed in cooperation with multiple partners, and with a customer experience based on human-centered design principles," he wrote. "Our team has decades of experience developing and manufacturing vehicles that serve commercial operations such as taxi and delivery businesses.


Tesla is developing an electric self-driving truck

Daily Mail

The first commercial delivery run in the US by a self-driving truck took place place in October last year, when an Uber vehicle transported thousands of cases of Budweiser 120 miles (190 km) from Fort Collins to a depot in Colorado Springs. Musk (pictured) first announced Tesla's intentions to produce a heavy-duty electric truck a year ago Elon Musk has revealed that Tesla is headed for bigger things. Several Silicon Valley companies developing autonomous driving technology are working on long-haul trucks, including Uber Technologies Inc and Alphabet's Waymo. The first commercial delivery run in the US by a self-driving truck took place place in October last year, when an Uber vehicle transported thousands of cases of Budweiser 120 miles (190 km) from Fort Collins to a depot in Colorado Springs.


Study: Majority Of Drivers Say Next Vehicle Will Be Autonomous

International Business Times

While Tesla rolls out its Model 3 with autonomous hardware, a new survey found more than half of Americans say they would buy a self-driving vehicle for their next car purchase. Although the majority of Americans are optimistic about self-driving cars, auto companies will have to work past safety concerns among drivers. The survey found 59 percent of respondents don't think automated public transportation will happen in the future. When it comes to owning a self-driving car or using autonomous public transportation, 65 percent of respondents say they prefer their own car, while 35 percent say they would rather use a self-driving car through a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.