Waymo is teaming up with Jaguar Land Rover on autonomous vehicles, its second major automaker partnership and a big boost for the nascent technology that has come under scrutiny recently. Under the accord, Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo will integrate its self-driving system into Jaguar's I-Pace electric SUVs, the first all-electric offering from the luxury unit of Tata Motors Ltd. Waymo said it plans to place 20,000 autonomous I-Pace vehicles on the road for tests in 2018. By 2020, the vehicles will become part of Waymo's ride-hailing taxi service, set to begin this year. "It ended up being a really terrific next vehicle for us and fit one of the key aspects of our business plan," John Krafcik, Waymo's chief executive officer, said in an interview. "We can get closer to getting just the right car for just the ride that person has requested."
The death of an Arizona woman who was struck by one of Uber's self-driving cars appears to be the first ever pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. An Uber spokesperson confirmed to TIME that the incident occurred Sunday night in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe and that no passengers were in the backseat. Uber said there was one vehicle operator in the front seat at the time of the collision. The company says it's suspending its self-driving operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as a result. In a statement, the Tempe Police Department confirmed the vehicle involved was one of Uber's driverless cars and that it was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident.
For years, major automotive players like Ford, Honda, and Toyota have flaunted their latest advancements in smart car technology at CES. But what may be one of the most ambitious concepts at this year's conference is coming from a little-known startup called Byton, which is showcasing a concept vehicle that will be launching in China next year before moving to the U.S. and Europe in 2020. Pricing will start at $45,000.
It started like any other Lyft pickup: After entering my destination in the app, a car appeared at my location several minutes later. But as I stepped inside the vehicle and shut the door, I was required to confirm my trip details on a tablet mounted near the center console facing the backseat. A driver sat in the front seat, but he took his hands off the wheel just a few moments into our drive. Suddenly, a disembodied voice announced that the car would be entering autonomous driving mode.
Automated cars–once a far-off dream–have in recent years left the realm of science fiction and leapt closer to the American garage. Leading U.S. automakers say that bona fide self-driving cars are coming within two decades and they're fighting to stay competitive, from Ford's $1 billion investment in an artificial-intelligence company earlier this year to Uber's 2016 purchase of self-driving truck company Otto.
Austin Russell hops in a motorized cart and goes whizzing through a cavernous building on the edge of San Francisco Bay that is normally used to disembark cruise-ship passengers. As the lanky 22-year-old CEO tools around, he passes a mannequin, a tire and a co-worker on a bicycle--all elements of a demonstration to show how well his company's sensor can monitor the environment. All of it is the result of laser beams shooting out of a black box and bouncing off more than a million points around the room every second. "It's easy to make an autonomous vehicle that works 99% of the time," Russell says later. "But the challenge is in that last 1% of all the different edge cases that can be presented to a driver."
Apple CEO Tim Cook has for the first time confirmed that the company is working on autonomous driving technology, Bloomberg reports. When asked about the tech giant's intentions in the automotive field during a recent Bloomberg Television interview, Cook said that the company is "focusing on autonomous systems." Cook hinted that there are applications for Apple's technology besides powering self-driving cars: "Clearly one purpose of autonomous systems is self-driving cars," he said. The revelation comes after rumors have circulated for years about Apple's plans to expand more deeply into the car market. The initiative, said to be called Project Titan, was reportedly launched in 2014.