Transportation


Ford will roll out a new self-driving car design and strategy next year

Mashable

Ford is changing the focus its self-driving car platform as early as next year. The company says it now plans to focus on features beyond just enabling a computer system to drive from point A to B. SEE ALSO: Lyft's self-driving cars are now on the road in Boston The company's president of global markets Jim Farley wrote about the new developments in a Medium post, in which he emphasized Ford's devotion to the customer as the main concern for its autonomous plans. More specifically, Farley wrote that Ford is dedicated to establishing systems that will prioritize the movement of people and goods, hinting at plans for commercial fleets and ride-hailing services that align with the company's existing deals and partnerships. The automaker's plans include a brand new self-driving vehicle design that eschews the hockey puck-sized LiDAR units mounted near the side-view mirrors seen last December for a less obtrusive roof-mounted sensor unit. Ford will test the new design in an undisclosed city starting next year, according to a report from Reuters.


Lyft offers self-driving car rides in Boston

Daily Mail

The ride-hailing company Lyft is now sending self-driving cars to pick up passengers in a Boston neighborhood. The cars will have backup human drivers at the wheel and will be limited to short routes within the city's Seaport District, a burgeoning tech startup hub. Lyft and its Boston-based partner nuTonomy, which builds self-driving software, announced Wednesday that the pilot project has begun. The Renault Zoe EVs will be limited to short routes within the city's Seaport District The cars will initially be a small number of Renault Zoe EVs, which Nutonomy began road-testing in Boston starting last November. Nutonomy engineers are already working on integrating Lyft software into'a couple of' vehicles, to be deployed sometime'in the coming months,' for actual customer pickups, though no more specific timeline was given.


Do Self-Driving Cars Dream Of Safe Streets?

#artificialintelligence

Earlier this year at the SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, Bill Ford said out loud what a lot of people in the auto industry were thinking–or, more precisely, worrying about more than they care to admit. The Ford CEO was talking about the advent of driverless vehicles, a topic that's getting a lot of ink these days as every automaker and some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley pour billions of dollars into the development of "naked" robotic cars (so-called Tier 5 autonomous vehicles, or AVs, without steering wheels or pedals). Engineering the autos will be the easy part, Ford said, because the technology is ramping up quickly. More daunting, though, will be deciding how to program autonomous cars to make life-and-death decisions. "If a vehicle has to choose who does it hit (if it is about to be in an accident), does it save the occupant or 10 pedestrians?


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 now has permission to test self-driving cars on California's roads

Mashable

Lyft just took a small but essential step forward in the development of its own self-driving car project. The California DMV granted the rapidly growing ride-hailing company permission to test autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads. The registration, which the DMV gives after the submission of an application and an annual $150 fee, has become a rite of passage of sorts for the various AV projects from automakers, tech companies, and startups that are currently racing to develop their own platforms. Registering with the state means that Lyft will now have to submit certain information to the DMV about its operations, most significantly an annual disengagement report detailing the number of times human operators had to take control of test vehicles. Lyft joins the likes of massive companies like Volkswagen, Waymo, Apple, and Ford with the registration, rounding out the full list of testers to 45.


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.


Volvo looks to supply Uber with up to 24,000 self-driving cars

The Japan Times

STOCKHOLM/SAN, FRANCISCO – Uber plans to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo, marking the transition of the U.S. firm from an app used to summon a taxi to the owner and operator of a fleet of cars. The nonbinding framework deal could offer San Francisco-based Uber a way to overcome setbacks at its autonomous driving division in Silicon Valley's race to perfect self-driving systems. Combining Volvo's cars with Uber's self-driving system builds on their nearly three-year relationship and comes as Uber's autonomous driving unit has been hit by a lawsuit over trade secrets and the departure of top talent. Automakers, ride-hailing firms and tech start-ups have been forging loose alliances in an effort to advance self-driving technology and claim a piece of what is expected to be a multi-billion-dollar business. Geely-owned Volvo said in a statement on Monday it would provide Uber with its flagship XC90 SUVs equipped with autonomous technology as part of a nonexclusive deal from 2019 to 2021.


Uber orders up to 24,000 Volvo SUVs for its self-driving fleet

Engadget

Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider. It announced that it will buy up to 24,000 Volvo XC90s, marking the first major vehicle fleet purchase by a ride-hailing service. Uber will take delivery of the SUVs between 2019 and 2021, then equip them with its own sensors and tech, allowing it to do fully autonomous, driver-free passenger rides. "This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale," Uber's Jeff Miller told Bloomberg. The XC90 starts at $47,000, so this could be a pretty substantial purchase -- over $1 billion worth of cars, to be exact.


Jaguar Land Rover tests first driverless vehicle on public roads

Daily Mail

The race to conquer the driverless car market has stepped up a gear, with the first ever tests of an autonomous vehicle built in Britain on the country's public roads. Jaguar Land Rover is leading the pack with its'major landmark' trial, which aims to help vehicles react in a similar way to people. The pilot project is part of a government-backed bid to encourage more widespread use of automated cars by 2020. The race to conquer the driverless car market has stepped up a gear, with the first ever tests of an autonomous vehicle built in Britain on the country's public roads. The UK Autodrive project is the UK's largest trial of connected and autonomous vehicle technology.


Qualcomm, with AT&T, Ford and Nokia, to test connected car tech in San Diego

ZDNet

Qualcomm on Tuesday announced that it's partnering with AT&T, Ford and Nokia to test its new Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology on the roads of San Diego later this year. Back in September, Qualcomm unveiled its 9150 C-V2X chipset and reference design. The tests are the first announced V2X trials in the US, Qualcomm says. C-V2X technology encompasses two transmission modes -- direct communications and network-based communications -- to enable a vehicle to communicate with other cars and infrastructure around it. It's key for both vehicle safety features and for implementing autonomous driving capabilities Qualcomm is headquartered in San Diego, and the San Diego region is one of 10 places that the US Department of Transportation has authorized as an automated vehicle proving ground.