Daimler and Bosch to Test Self-Driving Taxis Next Year

IEEE Spectrum

Daimler and Bosch say they'll test a self-driving car in a ride-hailing service in California in 2019. The two German companies didn't say which model Mercedes car or SUV they'll use, only that the first self-driving taxis will put safety drivers behind the wheel, just in case, and will incorporate Pegasus, Nvidia's self-driving hardware and software package. According to Automotive News, later iterations of the car will use a Bosch system based on Nvidia hardware. There's a lot the companies didn't say. For one, they haven't selected the city in California where the program is to roll out.

Delivery drones can learn to see and dodge obstacles in-flight

New Scientist

Drones have a habit of crashing. If they are ever to be relied on for delivering packages in complex environments like cities, they're going to have to get smarter. A team of researchers from the University of Zurich and Intel has come up with a way for drones to do this – learn to dodge obstacles as they fly. Elia Kaufmann and colleagues wanted to develop drones that could autonomously pilot themselves through hoops or gates used in drone racing.

A Cruise-on-Cruise Crash Reveals the Hardest Thing About Self-Driving Tech


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 Becomes Latest Commercial Player in Autonomous Driving, With Nuro Partnership

Forbes Technology

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.

Driver was streaming The Voice when Uber self-driving car crashed, say police

The Guardian

The "safety" driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber that hit and killed a pedestrian was streaming the television show The Voice on her phone at the time of the crash, police have said. The collision that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, who was crossing the road at night in Tempe, Arizona, was "entirely avoidable", a police report said, if Rafaela Vasquez had been paying attention. Instead she repeatedly looked down at her phone, glancing up just a half second before the car hit Herzberg. Police said she could faces charges of vehicle manslaughter, but it would be for prosecutors to decide. The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but Uber, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver in the car to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.

Byton's K-Byte Electric Concept Makes Self-Driving Look Good


While Tesla has spent the past six months struggling to ramp up production of the Model 3 and fielding criticism over its Autopilot tech and safety protocols, one of its most intriguing wannabe rivals, Byton, has spent the first half of 2018 positioning itself to swipe Elon Musk's electric innovation crown. The coup d'EV started in January at CES, with the reveal of a screen-stuffed concept SUV. In February, Byton announced a partnership with star-studded Aurora to bring self-driving smarts to its vehicles. And today, at CES Asia in Shanghai, it unveiled a second concept car, a small sedan that can't help but make you think of a certain car rolling off the assembly line in Silicon Valley. Byton's new ride is the K-Byte, a three-box sedan with the front wheels pushed as far forward as possible.

As Elon Musk promises "full self-driving," experts worry Tesla is "using consumers as guinea pigs"

Washington Post

Tesla's cars will in August suddenly activate "full self-driving features," the company's chief executive Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday, three days after federal investigators said a Tesla SUV driving semi-autonomously had accelerated over 70 mph and smashed into a highway barrier. Musk's promotion to his millions of followers -- that the fantastic future of self-driving cars might only be a few months away -- appeared to give the company a leg-up in the auto industry's most competitive technological race. Tesla's stock price jumped Monday by more than 4.5 percent. A Tesla spokesperson on Monday said the cars would only start offering a limited number of as-yet-undisclosed features, not full autonomy itself. But safety experts worried the grand promises of full self-driving capabilities could lull drivers into a false sense of security for technologies that are still largely unproven on the road.

Toyota's V-2-V Technology Would Allow Cars To Talk To Each Other On The Highway


As much as fully autonomous vehicles are in the news, none of us will be commuting to work in a self-driving car for at least two decades. Meanwhile, Toyota says it will use technology, called V-2-V, in all its cars within a few years with claims it will save thousands of lives each year -- as cars talk to each other on the highway.

Uber Self-Driving Car Crash: What Really Happened

Forbes Technology

Back in March, an Uber self-driving car killed 49-year-old Elain Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, after failing to do an emergency stop. After a US federal investigation, it is thought that the car did not stop because the system put in place to carry out emergency stops in dangerous situations was disabled . National Transportation Safety Board officials inspecting the car that killed Mrs Herzberg. So, how do self-driving cars actually work? Most self-driving cars have a GPS unit, a range of sensors such as radar, video and laser rangefinders as well as a navigation system.

Americans Can't Have Audi's Super Capable Self-Driving System


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.