Audi is getting on board a flying car being developed by Airbus by bringing its autonomous driving technology to the table. First Porsche expressed interest in a flying taxi, and now Audi has partnered with Airbus and Italdesign to bring a self-driving car with flying drone capabilities to life. Together, the companies presented the Pop.Up Next concept at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show this week, an evolution of the Pop.Up concept unveiled by Airbus and Italdesign one year ago. The electric vehicle has an airborne range of 81 miles. The latest version of the concept adds self-driving capability on the ground using technology Audi is developing for its own self-driving cars of the future.
Driverless cars will be tested in California for the first time without a person behind a steering wheel under new rules that state regulators approved Monday for the fast-developing technology. The regulations are a major step toward getting autonomous vehicles to dealerships and onto the streets of California, where companies such as Tesla and Waymo are leading the way on the technology. Until now, driverless cars could only be tested on public roads in the state if a person could take the wheel in an emergency. "I think this is a move that had to happen for California to stay competitive in this field," said Nidhi Kalra, a Rand Corp. senior scientist who has been studying the issue for a decade. Although the technology is being developed in California, companies such as Waymo have already been testing in other states such as neighboring Arizona because requiring a human driver limits the kind of car that can be tested, she said.
Driving in winter conditions can be slow and hazardous, even for skilled drivers. The self-driving cars in development today are generally designed and tested on city streets, with curbs and lane markings and GPS maps to rely on. But what happens when you live in a country like Finland, where roads covered with several inches of snow are a fact of life every year?
Space luminaries such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have talked about building bases on the Moon to let humans live, work and play on the lunar surface. A new discovery, however, may bring that dream to reality sooner than realized. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has discovered an enormous cave under the lunar surface, something it calls a "very significant" discovery, due to its value for both science and human expansion into space. The discovery was made by Japan's Selenological and Engineering Explorer (Selene) probe and shows a 50 kilometer (31 miles) "lava tube" underground, alongside a lava flow river "rille" on the Marius Hills of the Moon. JAXA used radio waves to confirm the existence of the cave after examining the hole.
Car giant General Motors has slammed tech start-up Tesla for planning to release autonomous vehicle technology before it's ready. Tesla's entrepreneurial boss Elon Musk claims his cars "already have the hardware needed for a full self-driving capability", known in the industry as a "Level Five" engineering standard. However in a briefing about autonomous cars to Australian media in Detroit overnight, Scott Miller, General Motors' director of autonomous vehicle integration said "I think he's full of crap", when asked what he thought about Musk's claim. "If you think you can see everything you need for a Level Five autonomous (car) with cameras and radar, I don't know how you do that," said Mr Miller. "To be what an SAE Level Five full autonomous system is, I don't think he (Elon Musk) has the content to do that."
General Motors-owned Cruise Automation has revealed what it claims is the first mass-producible car capable of driving itself. In a blog post, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said the Chevrolet Bolt-based vehicle is equipped with all of the sensors and redundant equipment to safely put it on the road without a driver when the software to operate it is fully-developed. As it stands, the car will be integrated into the Cruise Anywhere ride-hailing pilot program in San Francisco with a backup driver behind the wheel. The service is already in operation using earlier, less capable versions of the car. Vogt said the new, third-generation vehicle has been engineered to be built on the same assembly line as the standard Bolt without needing to be customized after it leaves the factory.