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Get a ride from Google and there's no driver

USATODAY

See how self-driving cars prepare for the real world inside a private testing facility owned by Google's autonomous car company, Waymo. A Waymo self driving minivan stops for a cyclist at the company's private test facility in central California. SAN FRANCISCO -- Ask people what they think about being chauffeured by a driverless car, and you're likely to get a wake-me-when-it's-here yawn. Waymo, Google's year-old company dedicated to commercializing autonomous vehicles, will soon be offering Phoenix-area residents rides in self-driving Chrysler Pacificas that feature no one in the driver's seat. "What you're seeing now marks the start of a new phase for Waymo and the history of this technology," Waymo CEO John Krafcik told an audience at Web Summit in Lisbon Tuesday, according to a draft of remarks provided to USA TODAY.


Google and AutoNation partner on self-driving car program

USATODAY

See how self-driving cars prepare for the real world inside a private testing facility owned by Google's autonomous car company, Waymo. A Chrysler Pacifica hybrid outfitted with Waymo's suite of sensors and radar is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Google is partnering with AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership chain, in its push to build a self-driving car. AutoNation said Thursday, Nov. 2, that its dealerships will provide maintenance and repairs for Waymo's self-driving fleet of Chrysler Pacifica vehicles. FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Google is partnering with AutoNation, the country's largest auto dealership chain, in its push to produce self-driving cars for wide use.


Toyota's AI could soon check your face to see you're sleepy or stressed

USATODAY

Toyota and Mazda will build a $1.6 billion U.S. assembly plant, adding up to 4,000 new jobs. Toyota will be highlighting an array of experimental technologies aimed at improving safety and anticipating drivers' desires at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. Toyota Motor Corp. manager Makoto Okabe told reporters Monday that the use of artificial intelligence means cars may get to know drivers as human beings by analyzing their facial expressions, driving habits and social media use. Such a vehicle might adjust drivers' seats to calm them when they're feeling anxious or jiggle them to make them more alert when they seem sleepy. It might also suggest a stop at a noodle joint along the way.


NTSB: Tesla Autopilot 'limitations played a major role' in deadly crash

USATODAY

The National Transportation Safety Board says the car company is not at fault. National Transportation Safety Board chair Robert Sumwalt said the Tesla vehicle's "operational limitations played a major role in this collision." His statement came at the beginning of a hearing where the NTSB is expected to rule on whether the Autopilot system on Ohio resident Joshua Brown's Tesla Model S should be blamed for the Florida crash that killed him. Joshua Brown didn't keep his hands on the wheel, despite repeated vehicle warnings, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.


Exclusive: Goodyear debuts 'Fitbit' for tires

USATODAY

Goodyear is teaming up with car service Tesloop to test a new breed of sensors that monitor a tire's condition. While many vehicles today are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems that tell you how low on air your tire might be, this system represents a step toward a more sophisticated approach that will be critical once fleets of self-driving cars hit the roads. Goodyear is testing a new tire condition sensor with Tesloop, a car service that offers rides in Tesla Model S cars. Initially, he adds, Goodyear smart tires are likely to roll out as part of a new car from a major automaker.


Fiat Chrysler joins BMW, Intel self-driving car alliance

USATODAY

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is joining a partnership that includes German automaker BMW and U.S. tech giant Intel to develop self-driving car technology. "In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers," Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. BMW, Intel and self-driving car tech firm Mobileye formed the partnership in 2016, saying they'd welcome others to join to help accelerate and spread the technology. In April, Fiat Chrysler announced that Waymo had ordered an additional 500 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids that it will modify for its self-driving fleet.


Reports: Tesla to test self-driving semi-truck in California, Nevada

USATODAY

Officials at Tesla, the California DMV and Nevada DMV were not immediately available to comment Thursday morning. Auto industry experts have long expected that autonomous vehicle technology will roll out widely in trucks before other vehicles. The document obtained by Reuters indicated that Tesla is planning to test trucks without anyone in the cab, which would require special government permission. The company also reportedly plans to test the trucks in a platooning manner, which refers to a strategy of ensuring the trucks travel closely together.


No that wasn't a driverless car driving around Washington

USATODAY

Are Detroit and the Silicon Valley the hotbeds for driverless car development? But the seemingly driverless vehicle actually had a disguised driver behind the wheel and was part of an experiment into how people will react to self-driving cars. After a Ford Transit van with no apparent driver was spotted whisking around the urban streets of Arlington, Va., in recent days, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute disclosed that the project was part of a study on how people will react to the technology. Driverless car story that really had a driver dressed as a car seat coming up on @nbcwashington in minutes pic.twitter.com/l8xhHamv2k As it turns out, the researchers had a person behind the wheel disguised as part of the car seat.


Lyft ups ante on Uber, starts self-driving car division

USATODAY

"This is too strategic an area for us not to be a player," said Luc Vincent, the Google Street View creator who now serves as Lyft's vice president of autonomony. Former Google Street View expert Luc Vincent will guide Lyft's new autonomous car team. Anthony Levandowski, a former Google car engineer who departed to start self-driving truck company Otto, became Uber's head of autonomous programs when Uber bought Otto last year. Kapoor and his colleagues were vague when asked what specific hardware, including LiDAR, Lyft's new team planned to develop.


Regulators scramble to stay ahead of self-driving cars

USATODAY

"If you had 50 different requirements for 50 different states, each state (might do it) different," said Chan Lieu, an adviser to the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, whose members include former Google driverless car project Waymo, automakers Ford and Volvo and ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft. "That has been our challenge since Day One," said Jessica Gonzalez, spokesperson for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which recently proposed revised rules in a state home to several tech giants that are developing self-driving car technology, such as Google, Apple, Uber and Tesla. So we see all the advantages to it, but at the same time we're tasked with making sure this technology is safe," In March, California regulators introduced a pathway to obtain permits for driverless car testing after initially signaling last year that it would require a steering wheel and brake pedals in all test vehicles. "The U.S. still runs the risk of slowing down the development and introduction of autonomous driving technologies by making it difficult for carmakers to test, develop, certify and sell" self-driving cars, said Anders Karrberg, Volvo's vice president of government affairs.