Alphabet's self-driving subsidiary Waymo is for the first time expanding its testing range beyond the boundaries of the Phoenix, Arizona area and heading to the City by the Bay, the company announced on Wednesday. The company's fleet of autonomous Chrysler Pacificas and Jaguar I-Pace electric SUVs have reportedly traversed 20 billion simulated street miles and some 20 million actual street miles in 25 cities since the program began. According to its most recent disengagement report from 2020, which is filed annually with the CA DMV, Waymo's vehicles reported just 21 disengagements -- wherein the human safety driver must intervene the vehicle's operation -- over the course of 629,000 miles of autonomous driving here in the state. To further improve that figure, Waymo set about last year on improving its Waymo Driver AI system and added dedicated cameras to better spot, identify and avoid jaywalkers (in an obvious and righteous dig at Uber). "We're beginning with a limited number of cars and riders and will scale over time. These rides are being offered with a single-vehicle operator," a Waymo spokesperson told VentureBeat.
A behemoth of a worker, recently recognized by a national publication, that can meticulously and precisely remove weeds growing between sprouting crops is being employed on farms in California and Arizona. Time magazine recently placed the FarmWise Titan FT-35 on its list of Best Inventions of 2020. It is an automated mechanical weeder that can help substitute the pass of a hand-weeding crew, which usually has 10 to 15 people. FarmWise has its operations headquarters, or home base for its team and machines, in Salinas and an office in San Francisco that houses most of its engineers. The company works with farming operations in the Salinas Valley such as Dole and Braga Fresh, plus dozens of other customers.
Waymo has long kept details about its industry-leading self-driving technology under wraps. The company has done millions of miles of testing in Arizona and California--including thousands of miles with no one behind the wheel. But until last month, almost everyone who experienced those driverless rides was bound by a strict nondisclosure agreement. This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.
Editor's Note: Robotics Business Review's coverage emphasizes innovation, including start-up companies (or'young' companies). RBR "Start-Up Profiles" highlight individual start-up companies using a consistent, templated format that makes for quick, yet informed reading, that also simplifies comparative analysis. Funding Status – $20.2 million raised so far (Series A) FarmWise builds innovative systems and processes to streamline farm operations and increase food production efficiency. Technology / Product / Service(s) – For vegetable growers who face increased growing costs and new regulatory pressures, FarmWise builds innovative systems and processes to streamline farm operations and increase food production efficiency. FarmWise's first product, an automated mechanical weeder powered by AI and robotics has captured more than 100 million crop images. Today, it is offered as a service to vegetable growers in California and Arizona.
San Diego-based TuSimple, which operates a separate unit in China, has 40 18-wheelers operating out of its depot in Tucson, Arizona, and is "essentially running 24/7" carrying loads between Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, chief product officer Chuck Price tells Forbes. It's a tiny freight operation compared to the massive fleets of national haulers like J.B. Hunt, Swift, Werner and Amazon AMZN, each with thousands of trucks and drivers, but no company has more self-driving semis than TuSimple, based on U.S. Transportation Department registry data.
Those were some of the questions posed by John Zimmer, president and co-founder of U.S. rideshare firm Lyft, at the recent Rakuten Optimism 2019 conference in Yokohama, Japan. Lyft became the first ridesharing company to go public earlier this year when it completed an IPO with a valuation of $24 billion. It has also been pursuing autonomous driving technology: in partnership with Aptiv, Lyft recently notched 50,000 rides in Las Vegas in just a year, and has recently launched Waymo autonomous vehicles on the Lyft platform in Phoenix, Arizona. Against that background, Zimmer spoke about the future of transport with Mickey Mikitani, CEO of early Lyft investor, Rakuten. "We have to think about what is the right infrastructure to support (the future of transport)," Zimmer said during his second appearance at Optimism since speaking at the inaugural conference last year in San Francisco.
Self-driving trucks may have once seemed like a futuristic vision. But in recent years, they've begun taking to the road -- and their implications for the labor market, and long-haul truck drivers in particular, could be enormous. In the above excerpt from the new FRONTLINE documentary "In the Age of AI," meet the 24-year-old CEO of a self-driving truck company whose vehicles are already delivering freight from California to Arizona; an independent trucker and his wife whose livelihood could be threatened by the new tech; and a sociologist and author who's been studying the forces reshaping the trucking industry. Find us on the PBS Video App, where there are more than 250 FRONTLINE documentaries available for you to watch any time: https://to.pbs.org/FLVideoApp Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Self-driving trucks may have once seemed like a futuristic vision. But in recent years, they've begun taking to the road -- and their implications for the labor market, and long-haul truck drivers in particular, could be enormous. In the above excerpt from the new FRONTLINE documentary In the Age of AI, meet the young CEO of a self-driving truck company whose vehicles are already delivering freight from California to Arizona; an independent trucker and his wife whose livelihood could be threatened by the new tech; and a sociologist and author who's been studying the forces reshaping the trucking industry. Among them: the rise in automation, some forms of which are powered by AI -- including self-driving trucks. "The trucking industry is $740 billion a year … in many of these operations, labor's a third of that cost," Steve Viscelli, author of The Big Rig, tells FRONTLINE in the above excerpt from the film.
Waymo, the self-driving technology company owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet, released a dataset containing sensor data collected by their autonomous vehicles during more than five hours of driving. The set contains high-resolution data from lidar and camera sensors collected in several urban and suburban environments in a wide variety of driving conditions, and includes labels for vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and signage. The Waymo team announced the release of the Waymo Open Dataset in a blog post, describing it as "one of the largest, richest, and most diverse self-driving datasets ever released for research." The data was collected by Waymo's vehicles operating in the USA in Phoenix, AZ, Kirkland, WA, Mountain View, CA and San Francisco, CA, at various times of day and night, and in good and bad weather. The dataset consists of 1,000 segments of 20 seconds each, collected at 10Hz (i.e., 200,000 frames) which contain: Waymo also released a Google Colab notebook containing tutorials and a GitHub repository containing TensorFlow helper-code for building models.
How will driverless cars, tested on the reliable roads of California and Arizona, cope with the narrow lanes, roundabouts and left-sided driving of Britain? They will certainly have to adapt if they're to become the global phenomenon that companies including Uber have promised is on its way, wrote technology reporter Olivia Rudgard on Wednesday. Take, for example, the many minor UK roads that don't have white lines, which driverless cars rely on to know which lane they should be in and how to position themselves. She offered four other reasons why autonomous vehicles could cause havoc on roads this side of the pond, and asked Telegraph readers for their views on whether this innovation will be...