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Lyft raises $500m 'war chest' in battle with Uber

Daily Mail

Uber rival Lyft is raising an additional $500 million in funding ion its ongoinjg battle with Uber, according to a U.S. share authorization document filed in Delaware. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of the $1 billion round announced in October. The additional funding round, led by Alphabet's CapitalG, is an extension of a $1 billion round announced in October, and raises the firm's valuation to $11.5 billion Axios was first to report the news. In October Lyft had said that the previous round of funding boosted its valuation to $11 billion from $7.5 billion. The fresh funding would raise its valuation to $11.5 billion.


Lyft wins permit to test self-driving cars in California

Daily Mail

U.S. ride-hailing firm Lyft has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, taking it one step further in the race with several other companies to bring self-driving cars to the masses. Lyft's permit, reflected on the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website, comes two months after it announced plans to offer a self-driving car as a ride option in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lyft already has partnerships in place with autonomous car companies to advance its self-driving strategy. Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc said on Monday it would launch its service in Toronto, marking the first international expansion for the U.S.-based rival of Uber Technologies Inc. Ford self-driving test vehicles will be connected to Lyft's network, but at first, customers will not be able to use them, according to Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification.


Renault's self-driving car can avoid obstacles like pro drivers

Engadget

The Renault Group announced today that its autonomous vehicle control system can avoid obstacles just as well as professional test drivers. The company said that in designing the system, it was actually inspired by these drivers' abilities and used them as a sort of benchmark as to what level its technology should be performing. "Despite popular belief, the reality is that human beings are pretty amazing drivers, with less than one fatality per 100,000,000 kilometers in most developed countries," Simon Hougard, director of the Renault Open Innovation Lab, wrote in a Medium post. "Reaching and exceeding that benchmark is essential to improve safety and realize our dreams of autonomous cars, providing more productivity during our morning commutes and robo-vehicle services in city centers." The technology is a result of Renault's collaboration with Stanford University Dynamic Design Lab Director Chris Gerdes, who's also a former US Department of Transportation Chief Innovation Officer, and Renault says it will help with its goal to be one of the first companies to bring "mind off" technology to the public.


Video Friday: Aibo Reborn, Robot Plus HoloLens, and NREC's Formula

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. We already posted about the unveiling of Sony's new Aibo, but here's a bit of extra video from the event showing the little robotic dog in live action: In this video we show a compilation of our research for the last 4 years on autonomous navigation of bipedal robots. It is part of the DFG-founded project "Versatile and Robust Walking in Uneven Terrain" (German Research Foundation) and includes development in environment perception and modeling, motion planning and stability control.


AutoNation announces Waymo fleet repair deal, shares jump

Daily Mail

US auto retailer AutoNation Inc announced a multi-year partnership on Thursday to support Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving car unit, including vehicle maintenance and repairs as the company adds new brands into its fleet, sending its shares up 13 percent to a high for the year. That news was accompanied by a better-than expected third-quarter profit as AutoNation performed well despite the impact of hurricanes during the quarter. There is fierce competition between large automakers to bring self-driving cars to market first. Lauderdale, Florida-based AutoNation is the latest in a series of recent partnerships the self-driving unit has formed. Google has revealed the self driving minivans it hopes could revolutionize the way we travel.


Tesla reports biggest-ever quarterly loss, Model 3 delays

Daily Mail

Tesla racked up a $619 million loss in the third quarter, its biggest-ever, driving its shares sharply lower as the electric-car maker spends to speed up production of its more affordable Model 3 sedan. The company, led by Silicon Valley star Elon Musk, also confirmed it had missed its Model 3 production goal for the third quarter, producing only 260 vehicles compared to an earlier estimate of 1,500. Its shares fell 5.4 percent in after hours trading. The company said it had $3.53 billion in cash and cash-equivalents as of Sept. 30, compared to $3.04 billion at the end of the second quarter. Tesla said last month it delivered 26,150 vehicles in the third quarter, a 4.5 percent rise on the same period of 2016, but added that "production bottlenecks" had left the company behind its planned ramp-up for the $35,000 Model 3. On Wednesday it said it now hoped to achieve a production rate of 5,000 per month by the end of the first quarter of next year, pushed back from the end of this year.


Video Friday: Rocket RoboBee, Willow Garage, and Caltech's Cassie

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next two months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. A new RoboBee from Harvard can swim underwater, and then launch itself into the air with a microrocket and fly away. At the millimeter scale, the water's surface might as well be a brick wall.


Tesla's Model 3 'production hell' is testing Elon Musk's fix-as-you-go carmaking model

Los Angeles Times

When Elon Musk talks about the future of factory automation at Tesla, he envisions new breeds of robots and smart machines compressed in dense factories with little room for human operators, guided by self-learning software. "At the point at which the factory looks like an "alien dreadnought" -- a nod to a video game spaceship -- "you know you've won," Musk has told investors. But so far, the manufacturing of Tesla's new all-electric compact sedan, the Model 3, at its Fremont, Calif., factory is moving at a more earthbound pace. When Musk launched the car at an elaborate stage show in July, Tesla was anticipating a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of December. Over three months through September, though, Tesla had produced only 260 Model 3s -- about three cars a day.


If you own a Ford pickup truck, it probably just got recalled

Mashable

Ford has issued a recall of approximately 1.3 million of its vehicles. SEE ALSO: A futurist and innovations expert explains what is and isn't real about AI in movies Ford announced today that the recalled models lack a shield to protect their side doors' latches from water. This is a problem because water can severely damage a door's latch or actuation cable, the cable that facilitates the opening and closing of the door. If a cable or latch is damaged by water or freezes, it can stop the door from being able to open or close. It could also make your car door unable to fully close, putting it at risk of flying open while you're driving.


Robohub Podcast #245: High-Performance Autonomous Vehicles, with Chris Gerdes

Robohub

In this interview, Gerdes discusses developing a model for high-performance control of a vehicle; their autonomous race car, an Audi TTS named'Shelley,' and how its autonomous performance compares to ameteur and professional race car drivers; and an autonomous, drifting Delorean named'MARTY.' Chris Gerdes is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, Director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS) and Director of the Revs Program at Stanford. His laboratory studies how cars move, how humans drive cars and how to design future cars that work cooperatively with the driver or drive themselves. When not teaching on campus, he can often be found at the racetrack with students, instrumenting historic race cars or trying out their latest prototypes for the future.