Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York declared last month that New York City will join 13 other states in testing self-driving cars: "Autonomous vehicles have the potential to save time and save lives, and we are proud to be working with GM and Cruise on the future of this exciting new technology." For General Motors, this represents a major milestone in the development of its Cruise software, since the the knowledge gained on Manhattan's busy streets will be invaluable in accelerating its deep learning technology. In the spirit of one-upmanship, Waymo went one step further by declaring this week that it will be the first car company in the world to ferry passengers completely autonomously (without human engineers safeguarding the wheel). As unmanned systems are speeding ahead toward consumer adoption, one challenge that Cruise, Waymo and others may counter within the busy canyons of urban centers is the loss of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data. Robots require a complex suite of coordinating data systems that bounce between orbiting satellites to provide positioning and communication links to accurately navigate our world.
Earlier this year, we open-sourced a research project called AirSim, a high-fidelity system for testing the safety of artificial intelligence systems. AirSim provides realistic environments, vehicle dynamics and sensing for research into how autonomous vehicles that use AI that can operate safely in the open world. Today, we are sharing an update to AirSim: We have extended the system to include car simulation, which will help advance the research and development of self-driving vehicles. The latest version is available now on GitHub as an open-source, cross-platform offering. The updated version of AirSim also includes many other features and enhancements, including additional tools for testing airborne vehicles.
Chinese search giant Baidu has a self-driving car project in development that aims to put its autonomous driving platform into vehicles as early as next year. The company's latest attempt at a viral promotion is far from anything you'd expect to see from one of the world's most advanced autonomous projects, however -- or really any major brand in 2017. Baidu's US Twitter account posted a short video today about how self-driving cars will make the world a better place. The skit opens with two women leaving work talking about makeup, and it quickly goes downhill from there. Imagine a future where in-car arguments over'someone's' bad driving are obsolete!
In the meantime, if one of them goes berserk, here's a useful tactic: Shut the door behind you. One after another, robots in a government-sponsored contest were stumped by an unlocked door that blocked their path at an outdoor obstacle course. One bipedal machine managed to wrap a claw around the door handle and open it but was flummoxed by a breeze that kept blowing the door shut before it could pass through. Robots excel at many tasks, as long as they don't involve too much hand-eye coordination or common sense. Like some gifted children, they can perform impressive feats of mental arithmetic but are profoundly klutzy on the playground.
Comedian Lil Duval aka Roland Powell's latest Instagram video immediately became a sensation as it shows him smoking a hollowed out cigar with the autopilot feature of his Tesla vehicle allowing him to take his hands completely off the steering wheel. The stand-up comedian, MTV2 host and music video star is seen blowing out plumes of smoke while the Maze and Frankie Beverly song, "Silky Soul," can be heard playing over the car's speakers. Lil Duval is casually reclined back smoking as the Tesla autopilot, self-driving computer system has taken full control of the vehicle. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested in the past that by 2019 drivers will be able to sleep in their fully autonomous vehicles. "What y'all fake caring about today," the comedian asks on his lilduval Instagram post from Saturday.
Driverless cars face a'real risk' of being hacked en masse when they are introduced to Britain, an expert has warned. The connected nature of these vehicles could make them a'target' for hackers, according to evidence submitted to Parliament. Matthew Channon, an insurance expert on driverless cars from Exeter University, has written to MPs to warn of the danger of road accidents. The connected nature of these vehicles could make them a'target' for hackers, according to evidence submitted to Parliament (stock image) Technology experts agree that'connected and autonomous vehicles' without drivers are at risk, following two high-profile US hacks of cars. There are concerns terrorists could fool the automated cars into detecting obstacles which are not there and remotely slam on their brakes.
Tractica opened eyes with its detailed market forecasts for artificial-intelligence (AI) hardware, software, and services targeting the automotive market during the 2016 through 2025 period. The report defines AI as a technology that uses data and algorithms to mimic an individual's ability to learn and solve problems. Tractica says the automotive industry has seen the promise of such technology, and is among the industries at the forefront of using AI to augment human actions and mimic the actions of humans, while also harnessing the advanced reaction times and pinpoint precision of machine-based systems. Both semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles of the future will rely heavily on AI systems. However, associated AI algorithms can require enormous resources of memory and computer time.
At #WebSummit 2017, I was part of a panel on what the future will bring in 2030 with John Vickers from Blue Abyss, Jacques Van den Broek from Randstad and Stewart Rogers from Venture Beat. John talked about how technology will allow humans to explore amazing new places. Jacques demonstrated how humans were more complex than our most sophisticated AI and thus would be an integral part of any advances. And I focused on how the current technological changes would look amplified over a 10–12 year period. After all, 2030 isn't that far off, so we have already invented all the tech, but it isn't widespread yet and we're only guessing what changes will come about with the network effects.
Las Vegas is the first city in the country to get a driverless shuttle -- and it crashed within its first hour. There were no injuries, and it appears both vehicles received minimal damage. The autonomous vehicle runs a half-mile loop in downtown Las Vegas and began running at 10 a.m. The shuttles are free to passengers and the program is sponsored by AAA. The pilot program is scheduled to run for a year.
Street signage is the iconography of the automobile age. It's like highly functional pop art: silhouettes of schoolchildren, white arrows, rectangular cries of WRONG WAY and, most central of all, the ubiquitous stoplight. The traffic light might be the first part of that iconographic world to be transformed, or vanish altogether, once we are fully in the age of autonomous cars. Robots, after all, won't need signs to optimize the way they move through urban landscapes. Urban-transportation experts have been busily creating computer simulations to show how this might work.