Apple has arguably changed our lives more than any other company in the world during the past two decades or so. But aside from its digital devices such as iPhones, laptops, watches and operating systems, is there another direction it could go? The somewhat tentative answer to that has been transport, in the form of electric self-driving vehicles. Is Apple gearing up to challenge electric vehicle market leader Tesla, and what progress has been made so far? An Apple-branded car has been mooted for some years now, with sporadic reports of progress being made.
One of the victims killed in last week's Tesla car crash in Texas, which police suspect to have involved the vehicle's autopilot mode, was William Varner, a 58-year-old anaesthesiologist, his employer said. In the incident on Saturday, two men were killed after their 2019 Tesla Model S, travelling at a high speed, failed to negotiate a curve and crashed into a tree, catching fire, police reports noted. According to the police, one of the victims was found in the passenger seat and the other in the back seat, while nobody was at the driving seat at the time of impact, raising doubts on the involvement of the car's autopilot mode. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday saying that data logs retrieved from the crashed car by the company ruled out the use of the autopilot system. "Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled ... Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have," he tweeted.
BERKELEY, California – The fatal crash of a Tesla with no one apparently behind the wheel has cast a new light on the safety of semiautonomous vehicles and the nebulous U.S. regulatory terrain they navigate. Police in Harris County, Texas, said a Tesla Model S smashed into a tree on Saturday at high speed after failing to negotiate a bend and burst into flames, killing one occupant found in the front passenger seat and the owner in the back seat. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that preliminary data downloaded by Tesla indicate the vehicle was not operating on Autopilot, and was not part of the automaker's "Full Self-Driving" (FSD) system. Tesla's Autopilot and FSD, as well as the growing number of similar semi-autonomous driving functions in cars made by other automakers, present a challenge to officials responsible for motor vehicle and highway safety. U.S. federal road safety authority, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has yet to issue specific regulations or performance standards for semi-autonomous systems such as Autopilot, or fully autonomous vehicles (AVs).
Federal safety regulators have sent a team to investigate the fatal crash of a Tesla electric car in a Houston suburb in which no one was behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday it had sent a special crash investigation team to Spring, Texas. Investigators are "100% sure" no one was driving the 2019 Tesla Model S on Saturday night when it ran off a road, hit a tree and burst into flames, killing two men inside, Constable Mark Herman of Harris county precinct four said. One man was found in the front passenger seat and the other was in the back seat. KHOU-TV reported that the car was a 2019 Tesla Model S, and the men were aged 59 and 69.
Walmart and Nuro announced a collaboration today in which the two companies will pilot autonomous grocery delivery in Houston, TX via Nuro's self-driving pod-like vehicles. In the coming months, the autonomous delivery service will be available to Houston customers who have opted into the program. The service will use R2, Nuro's custom-built delivery vehicle that carries only products with no onboard driver or passengers, and autonomous Toyota Priuses, all powered by Nuro's proprietary self-driving software and hardware. Nuro's R2 pods are low-speed vehicles roughly half the size of regular cars. There are two compartments for cargo, and literally no room for a driver.