There are so many companies working on different pieces of the self-driving puzzle, it's hard to keep track of all the partnerships and small developments that are pushing us ever closer to kicking back in a fully autonomous vehicle. Naturally then, given its industry experience, Bosch is working on self-driving technologies of its own, recently heading to London's Somerset House to show off some of the things it's doing right now, as well as what it might do in the future. The showcase in London featured a few more tangible developments. The most visually striking exhibit at the event was Bosch's concept car, which featured an almost entirely screen-covered dashboard.
Dubai was serious when it said it wants to be first in the world to offer a flying taxi service. That's why on Monday, it staged a maiden test flight for one of its potential taxis: a two-seater, 18-rotor unmanned flying vehicle made by German firm Volocopter, which is backed by fellow German company Daimler. They envision a future wherein you'll be able to hail a flying taxi like an Uber -- simply book one through an app and wait for it at a nearby "voloport." If everything goes well, you could catch a Volocopter ride in Dubai within the next five years.
Most of the self-driving truck attention has revolved around Tesla's much-teased reveal of its EV big rig next month and all the auto companies rushing to introduce their own electric models. Daimler will start with a test linking two of its larger Freightliner New Cascadia trucks that are'paired' to move in sequence, tech that the company first publicly experimented with in a 2016 Europe-spanning challenge. In short, the autonomous trucks will'talk' to each other and coordinate their driving to maximize efficiency, including keeping the trailing vehicle behind the front one to minimize drag, similar to how trains of cyclists'draft' behind the leading one. Back in January, Toyota and Volkswagen started a three-year truck convoy test.
The group, called Alliance 2022, will partner up on 12 electric cars and 40 vehicles with autonomous driving tech by, you guessed it, 2022. However, it did specify that it will launch four shared platforms with the aim of producing over 9 million vehicles on them. However, the group didn't unveil many details on those plans, either, merely saying that it would launch 40 self-driving vehicles with different levels of autonomy. In the last month, however, both companies have unveiled ambitious EV plans, Honda with the EV Clarity and Toyota via a Mazda alliance.
Samsung is planning to get ahead in the connected car market with a new $300 million fund focused entirely on auto-related startups and technologies. The Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund has been earmarked for smart sensors, machine vision, artificial intelligence, safety solutions and more, and will help even the playing field between the company and its biggest rivals. The Harman SBU will work closely with the Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center Smart Machines team to pull together consumer electronics and autotechnology, and to develop key technologies for safer, smarter, connected vehicles. But as Dinesh Paliwal, President and CEO of Harman, says: "There is already a high demand for ADAS [advanced driver assistance systems] solutions, and that demand is rapidly growing with the advancements in connected cars and autonomous driving."
Odds are that we'll see autonomous cars on the road sooner rather than later, thanks to this bill and new voluntary guidance The US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The governmental agencies released new guidelines on Tuesday that provide federal guidance for automated driving systems to both individual states and businesses. "The safe deployment of automated vehicle technologies means we can look forward to a future with fewer traffic fatalities and increased mobility for all Americans." Called "A Vision for Safety 2.0," the voluntary guidelines build on the previous policy by focusing on the next three levels of automated driving systems (ADSs): conditional assistance, high assistance, and fully automated systems.
While a large number of companies are working on self-driving cars, including Google/Waymo, Uber, Audi and Tesla, it might be General Motors that beats them all. In a blog post, GM's CEO of Cruise Automation, Kyle Vogt, says that his team has created the "world's first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver." They also meet the safety requirements the company believes are necessary to work without a driver and will be part of the San Francisco fleet in the next few weeks. GM's Cruise team wants to see a fully autonomous car that won't require a "safety driver" like current autonomous cars do.
In the near future, your pizza, Big Mac, and groceries could all be delivered autonomously. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control recently declared that weed deliveries cannot be made by autonomous vehicles -- that includes UAVs and unmanned self-driving cars. "Transportation may not be done by aircraft, watercraft, rail, drones, human-powered vehicles, or unmanned vehicles," according to the bureau's business licensing regulations. As Ars Technica points out, the likes of MDelivers, Eaze, Trees Delivery have all promised to autonomously deliver your pot.
The simulation is a virtual home away from home (the real world) for Waymo's self-driving vehicles. Now, it knows "to inch forward at the flashing yellow signal, and slot in after oncoming traffic." Everything from the speed of oncoming cars and the timing of traffic lights can be manipulated to prepare its vehicles for real-world conditions. Waymo writes: "One of the key advantages of simulation is that you can focus on the most interesting interactions -- flashing yellow signals, wrong-way drivers, or nimble pedestrians and cyclists -- rather than monotonous highway miles."
It was a trend-setting car for its time and while driving it was complicated (two brake pedals and a brake lever to bring it to a stop, plus you have to double clutch it to switch gears) it was hard not to think about how the world of the Simplex parallels the next big change in transportation: The switch to electric and autonomy. For over 114 years cars have been powered by the internal combustion engine (ICE). Like the first combustion engine automobiles, technology is ready to offer a new way to get around and it's finally a viable alternative to ICE vehicles. The company's goal of selling high-end, fast cars to the well off with a goal to sell an affordable EV to the masses not only put that automaker on the map, it helped jump start an entire revolution.