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Nuro gets green light to become first autonomous-vehicle delivery service in California

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A driverless-vehicle startup has become the first company approved to make deliveries in in California using an autonomous vehicle. Mountain View, California-based Nuro says it plans to begin commercial service as early as next year. Nuro started testing its fleet on California roads in 2017 and, during the pandemic, has shuttled medical goods to a Sacramento field hospital. The permit, however, will allow the company to charge for its service. Founded by two former Google engineers, Nuro will first launch a fleet of autonomous Toyota Priuses, then introduce its own low-speed R2 vehicle.

Zoox unveils a self-driving car that could become Amazon's first robotaxi


Zoox, a self-driving car company that Amazon bought in June, has finally revealed its robotaxi after six years of gnarly prototypes and secrecy. And while it broadly resembles other first-generation autonomous vehicles from automakers and Silicon Valley startups, Zoox's robotaxi has a few standout features, as well as an overall polish to it that makes obvious why Amazon thinks it might be the cornerstone of a fledgling autonomous ride-hailing service. The autonomous "carriage-style" vehicle is an all-electric four-wheeler that seats up to four people, and is similar in appearance to fully self-driving vehicles created by other companies in the space. At just 3.63 meters long, it falls somewhere in between the big, boxy Origin robotaxi from Cruise (which is owned by General Motors) and the delivery-focused robot made by Nuro. To further differentiate, Zoox has spent the last few years working on outfitting its autonomous vehicle with the ability to drive both forward and backward, and side to side, or "bi-directionally." Combined with four-wheel steering functionality, Zoox says its vehicle will be able to handle precise maneuvers like "tight curbside pickups" and "tricky U-turns."

Amazon's self-driving car company reveals its autonomous 'carriage-style' robotaxi

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Amazon's autonomous vehicle company, Zoox, unveiled its self-driving car that brings it one step closer to unleashing a fleet of robotaxis. The electric, fully driverless vehicle is designed as a'carriage-style car that sits four passengers facing each other and is the first in the industry that is capable of operating up to 75 miles per hour. It is equipped with two battery packs that provide the vehicle with up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge. Zoox plans to soon launch an app for its future ride-hailing service in major cities across the US including San Francisco and Las Vegas. Amazon's autonomous vehicle company, Zoox, unveiled its self-driving car that brings it one step closer to unleashing a fleet of robotaxis Aicha Evans, Zoox Chief Executive Office, said: 'Revealing our functioning and driving vehicle is an exciting milestone in our company's history and marks an important step on our journey towards deploying an autonomous ride-hailing service.' 'We are transforming the rider experience to provide superior mobility-as-a-service for cities.' 'And as we see the alarming statistics around carbon emissions and traffic accidents, it's more important than ever that we build a sustainable, safe solution that allows riders to get from point A to point B.' The four-wheeled vehicle is just 11 feet long, features four seats inside the carriage-style design and has one of the smallest footprints in the industry, claims Zoox.

Global Big Data Conference


Continental AG is taking a minority stake in AEye Inc., a Dublin, California-based developer of LiDAR technology, in order to bring its autonomous vehicle technology to commercial vehicles sooner. Specifically, AEye, founded in 2013, has developed a long-range LiDAR system that can detect vehicles at a distance of more than 300 meters and pedestrians at more than 200 meters. Continental hopes the investment will enhance its current short-range LiDAR technology that is slated to go into production by the end of 2020. Then the AEye system would be deployed in a automotive passenger or commercial vehicle later this decade. "We now have optimum short-range and long-range LiDAR technologies with their complimentary sets of benefits under one roof," said Frank Petznick, head of Continental's advanced driver assistance systems, in a statement.

How to hack a self-driving car – Physics World


Cars that drive themselves may one day improve road safety by reducing human error – and hopefully deaths by accidents too. One morning in March 2019, a brand new, cherry-red Tesla Model 3 sat in front of a Sheraton hotel in Vancouver, Canada. Once they were inside the car, Amat Cama and Richard Zhu, both tall and lean twentysomethings, needed only a few minutes. They exploited a weakness in the browser of the "infotainment" system to get inside one of the car's computers. Then they used the system to run a few lines of their own code, and soon their commands were appearing on the screen. Cama and Zhu got the car, but they weren't thieves.

Michigan developing driverless car corridor

The Japan Times

San Francisco – Michigan announced an initiative to explore the development of a more than 40-mile (64-kilometer) stretch of road dedicated to connected and autonomous vehicles between the cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit. The project will be led by Cavnue, a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, and will be supported by an advisory committee that includes General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., as well as autonomous driving startups Argo AI and Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo. "We are taking the initial steps to build the infrastructure to help us test and deploy the cars of the future," Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. Michigan said the dedicated autonomous vehicle (AV) corridor is the first of its kind and eventually will improve safety and transit access for communities along the road. The first two years of the project will focus on testing technology and exploring the viability of a highway dedicated to vehicles that drive themselves.

Driverless cars show the limits of today's AI


IN MARCH Starsky Robotics, a self-driving lorry firm based in San Francisco, closed down. Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, its founder, gave several reasons for its failure. Investors' interest was already cooling, owing to a run of poorly performing tech-sector IPOs and a recession in the trucking business. His firm's focus on safety, he wrote, did not go down well with impatient funders, who preferred to see a steady stream of whizzy new features. But the biggest problem was that the technology was simply not up to the job.

Softbank closes $500 million funding round for Didi's autonomous driving unit


China's Didi Chuxing has banked $500 million in investment dollars for its autonomous driving subsidiary following the closure of its first funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. The investment is expected to help the Chinese ride-hailing service develop and eventually deploy its first fleet of autonomous vehicles in specific areas in China and abroad. "Didi aims to launch autonomous fleet operations in select locations as China seeks to build a comprehensive digital infrastructure network based on 5G, AI, and IoT technologies," the company said. "Didi also plans to further deepen cooperation with global upstream and downstream auto industry partners towards mass production of autonomous driving vehicles, with the aim of advancing the transformation of the global automotive and transportation industries." The company has been working on developing and testing autonomous vehicle technology since 2016, and in August last year spun out its autonomous driving unit into an independent company. Didi has also been operating automated test vehicles in Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou in China, as well as the state of California in the US.

The Technology 202: A ride in a self-driving car shows the U.S. is far from ready to give robocars free rein

Washington Post - Technology News

To me, the San Francisco streets seemed deserted. To my self-driving car, they were full of hazards. In mid-March, just as the coronavirus outbreak started to change the world as we knew it, I took a ride in an autonomous vehicle through the narrow and winding, topsy-turvy streets of downtown San Francisco -- from the hairpin turns of Lombard Street to the steep hills surrounding Coit Tower and the famed Embarcadero waterfront. Even with tens of thousands of workers staying put as the first work-from-home orders hit, in the back of a Toyota Highlander piloted by autonomous vehicle start-up Zoox, I started to become hyper-aware of the circus of hazards robocars encounter on a daily basis. There was a cyclist or skateboarder in the blind spot.

Will the Age of Robots (Finally) be Arriving?


Recently, I was walking in a little park in downtown Mountain View, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, when I saw something unexpected. They were little robots, well little "automated carts", really, with a flag on top and there were a few of them lined up near the library. Every now and then, one of them would leave the line and navigate the sidewalks and crosswalks of downtown. Being in what is essentially ground zero of Silicon Valley, I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised. When I moved to Mountain View in 2007, I remember being surprised at seeing Google's fleet of autonomous cars driving around (now called Waymo). This was a precursor to the boom in self-driving car companies that happened over the past decade, and which has yet not quite borne fruit.