An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that "operational limitations" of Tesla's Autopilot system played a "major role" in a fatal crash last May, but that the driver was also at fault for not paying adequate attention to the road. At the time, Autopilot was capable of steering the car within its lane and autonomously braking for vehicles in the road ahead. His last action was setting the cruise control at 74 mph on the 65 mph road, two minutes before the collision. The NTSB report was issued on the same day that U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao revealed the federal government's latest voluntary guidelines for autonomous technology, which includes a section on driver monitoring and the transfer of control from vehicle to operator when a system determines that human interaction is required.
General Motors-owned Cruise Automation has revealed what it claims is the first mass-producible car capable of driving itself. In a blog post, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the Chevrolet Bolt-based vehicle is equipped with all of the sensors and redundant equipment to safely put it on the road without a driver when the software to operate it is fully-developed. No timeline for final validation of the software was revealed, and public sales are not yet planned. Tesla also claims its new Model 3 is equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability, but has not said when its software will be ready to activate the function.
Electronic blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping systems do help to prevent crashes, according to new studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A second institute study of blind-spot detection systems -- usually warning lights in side mirrors -- found the systems lower the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of such crashes with injuries by 23 percent. A separate study by the insurance industry-funded institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AgeLab found that drivers using automated systems that scan for parking spots and then park the car spend a lot more time looking at dashboard displays than at the parking spot, the road in front or the road behind. Automakers, taking note of the problem, appear to be switching to systems that vibrate the steering wheel or driver's seat, Cicchino said.
"War for the Planet of the Apes" took down "Spider-Man: Homecoming" at the North American box office, opening with an estimated $56.5 million in ticket sales. But director Matt Reeves' "War for the Planet of the Apes" pulled away thanks to strong reviews for the third installment of the rebooted "Apes" franchise. Five of the top six at the box office ("Apes," ''Homecoming," ''Baby Driver," ''The Big Sick" and "Wonder Woman") boast Rotten Tomatoes rankings of 92 or better, and the sixth ("Despicable Me 3") was largely received as a solid enough family release. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from the ride-sharing service he co-founded, another twist in a rough year for the company. There's also a court battle stemming from allegations that Uber stole trade secrets from Waymo, Alphabet's (GOOGL) self-driving car development company. Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski - a former top manager for Google's self-driving car project - stole pivotal technology from Google before leaving to run Uber's self-driving car division. Uber's board releases Holder's recommendations, which include removing some of Kalanick's responsibilities and replacing Uber's chairman and founder, Garrett Camp, with an independent chairman.
Cyber criminals would target software defects in radios, ECUs and on-board WiFi to immobilise cars and hold motorists to ransom at the roadside. The advent of driverless cars, vehicles connected to city infrastructure and cloud-based infotainment systems all offer criminals more ways than ever to take over motors. The car industry is taking a proactive approach to hacking threats with security experts Thatcham Research working with Government and other specialists to draw up a basic framework and safety standard for manufacturers to adhere to. "This will give drivers assurance that connected autonomous vehicles have been designed and tested to meet exacting cyber security standards."
In Southwestern Pennsylvania, courteous drivers practice the "Pittsburgh Left," where it's customary to let one oncoming car turn left in front of them when a traffic light turns green. Then there is the problem of aggressive humans who make dangerous moves such as cutting cars off on freeways or turning left in front of oncoming traffic. Cars with sensors for driver-assist systems already are gathering data about road signs, lane lines and human driver behavior. Artificial intelligence developed by Intel and other companies eventually could access the data and make quick decisions similar to humans, Winter says.
Tesla Motors said in a statement on Thursday it's unlikely that its semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged when a Model S crashed in Indianapolis, killing the driver and a passenger. Autopilot limits the vehicle's speed to less than 35 miles per hour on the street. Witness statements and the damage to the car suggest the car was going faster than that, Tesla said. Witnesses reported that the vehicle was driving at a high speed when it hit a tree, crashed and caught fire, killing 27-year-old driver Casey Speckman and 44-year-old passenger Kevin McCarthy.
The German government is warning the nation's Tesla owners about the dangers of putting too much trust in their cars' Autopilot system. Reuters reports that the German Transport Ministry has taken the step of sending a letter to all of them as a reminder that they are ultimately responsible for the operation of their vehicles, and that Autopilot is merely an assist system. The feature, which can autonomously maintain the car's speed, brake for obstacles, steer within a lane and even change lanes on command, became a point of controversy after a driver in Florida suffered a fatal crash while using it. An internal report from the German Transport Ministry called it a "considerable traffic hazard," according to Der Spiegel.