Stop me if you've heard this one before. On June 11, a self-driving Cruise Chevrolet Bolt had just made a left onto San Francisco's Bryant Street, right near the General Motors-owned company's garage. Then, whoops: Another self-driving Cruise, this one being driven by a Cruise human employee, thumped into its rear bumper. According to a Department of Motor Vehicles report, the kind any autonomous vehicle tester must submit to the state of California after any incident, both vehicles escaped with only scuffs. "There were no injuries and the police were not called," Cruise reported.
Kroger's efforts to play catch-up with Amazon in grocery delivery have taken it to the fringes of the "last mile" and a new partnership with an autonomous-driving startup that was hatched by guys who were involved in getting Google's driverless-car operation off the ground. It's the latest indication that the commercial logistics business is likely to have much more to do with shaping the early days of self-driven automotive transportation than the consumer side is. The Cincinnati-based supermarket chain, largest in the United States, said that it will begin piloting an "on-road, fully autonomous delivery experience" with Nuro, maker of the world's first unmanned road vehicle, in a city that the retailer hasn't yet announced, beginning this fall. The partnership will allow customers to place same-day delivery orders through Kroger's ClickList digital ordering system and Nuro's app. During the test, orders will be delivered by Nuro's fleet of autonomous vehicles, with human safety drivers to start out.
Between Silicon Valley's disruption-happy tech giants and Detroit's suddenly totally on board automakers, it's easy to think of America as the center of the self-driving universe. And so it seems a bit backwards that Audi has decided to release the world's most capable semiautonomous driving feature in … Europe. When the 2019 A8 sedan hits dealer lots later this year, Europeans will have access to Traffic Jam Pilot, which will take control of the car on the highway at speeds below 37 mph; no need for the constant human supervision required by current systems like Tesla's Autopilot. On this side of das pond, however, as CNET reports, too many questions remain about laws that change from one state to the next, insurance requirements, and things like lane lines and road signs that look different in different regions. When the A8 goes on sale here, it won't come with Traffic Jam Pilot.
Ride-hailing service Uber announced plans for a flying taxi on Wednesday that could provide relief from road congestion for the commuters of the future. This is a rendering of UberÕs VTOL concept., flying car, an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber executives continue to grapple with a host of challenges to their ride-hailing business, from taxi industry pushback in cities such as London to political fallout due to a self-driving car death in Arizona. But none of that has put the brakes on the company's futuristic -- and somewhat outlandish -- plans to develop a network of flying taxis, a project that gained a bit more altitude at Tuesday's kickoff of the two-day Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles. Uber announced new partnerships with government officials and aircraft manufacturers aimed at further developing eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft, which use wing-mounted propellers to provide lift, as with a helicopter, and a tail-mounted propeller to generate forward thrust, as with a plane.
An Uber self-driving test car which killed a woman crossing the street detected her but decided not to react immediately, a report has said. The car was travelling at 40mph (64km/h) in self-driving mode when it collided with 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg at about 10pm on 18 March. Herzberg was pushing a bicycle across the road outside of a crossing. She later died from her injuries. Although the car's sensors detected Herzberg, its software which decides how it should react was tuned too far in favour of ignoring objects in its path which might be "false positives" (such as plastic bags), according to a report from the Information.
Engineers love the complex challenge they present. But right now, what are they for, really? In the weeks after a self-driving Uber hit and killed an Arizona woman, it's hard to remember. Our own Jack Stewart has something close to a solution: Autonomous developers need to figure out how to explain the point of these vehicles, in the near term, and it's not saving the world. Aim smaller, maybe, breaking the complex task of building a vehicle that can go anywhere into steps.
More than a month after a self-driving Uber struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the street in Arizona, it's still not clear what sort of failure might explain the crash--or how to prevent it happening again. While the National Transportation Safety Board investigates, Uber's engineers are sitting on their hands, their cars are parked. The crash and its inconclusive aftermath reflect poorly on a newborn industry predicated on the idea that letting computers take the wheel can save lives, ease congestion, and make travel more pleasant. An industry dashing toward adulthood--Google sister company Waymo plans to launch a robo-taxi service this year, General Motors is aiming for 2019--and now, suddenly, on the verge of being rejected by a public that hasn't even experienced it yet. In other words, AV makers are clearing the technological hurdles and tripping over the psychological ones.
USA Today's Nathan Bomey takes Cadillac's Super Cruise for a test drive. In this Friday March 23, 2018 photo provided by KTVU, emergency personnel work a the scene where a Tesla electric SUV crashed into a barrier on U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif. The National Transportation Safety Board has sent two investigators to look into a fatal crash and fire Friday in California that involved a Tesla electric SUV. The agency says on Twitter that it's not clear whether the Tesla Model X was operating on its semi-autonomous control system called Autopilot at the time. Investigators will study the fire that broke out after the crash.
Driverless vehicles are being tested on public roads in a number of countries.Credit: Prostock/Getty Last month, for the first time, a pedestrian was killed in an accident involving a self-driving car. A sports-utility vehicle controlled by an autonomous algorithm hit a woman who was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. The safety driver inside the vehicle was unable to prevent the crash. Although such accidents are rare, their incidence could rise as more vehicles that are capable of driving without human intervention are tested on public roads. In the past year, several countries have passed laws to pave the way for such trials.