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Ford and Toyota top self-driving technology league table


Leading carmakers such as Ford Motor and Toyota Motor are catching up with tech giants in the global race to develop self-driving technology as indicated by new patent data. The two companies claimed the top two positions on a list of most competitive firms in terms of patents related to autonomous driving technology. The list was compiled by Nikkei and based on a survey of patents registered in the U.S. by the end of January conducted by Patent Result Co., a Tokyo-based company that analyzes such licenses. Ford and Toyota have overtaken Waymo, the autonomous car company owned by Google's parent company Alphabet, which topped the previous list made in July 2018. As self-driving technology edges closer to practical use, automakers are now threatening to one-up IT powerhouses that once led the pack, given their expertise in conventional car manufacturing.

The Moral Dilemma of Apple Car


Three decades ago, the internet was just beginning to revolutionize human communications. Little did the world know how much power would fall into the hands of a few technocratic elites as a result. Autonomous vehicles likewise will transform human transportation in the same way; the skill of helming the wheel will no longer be necessary in about a decade or two, just as the art of writing on paper has all but ceased to exist. Recent news of a so-called Apple Car project has done little to bring positive attention to the possibilities of a self-driving revolution. In poll-after-poll, nearly half of Americans say they would not use an autonomous taxi or ride-sharing service.

Connected cars: How 5G and IoT will affect the auto industry


This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, examines how 5G connectivity will underpin the next generation of IoT devices. Autonomous cars (and other vehicles, such as trucks) may still be years away from widespread deployment, but connected cars are very much with us. The modern automobile is fast becoming a sensor-laden mobile Internet of Things device, with considerable on-board computing power and communication systems devoted to three broad areas: vehicle location, driver behaviour, engine diagnostics and vehicle activity (telematics); the surrounding environment (vehicle-to-everything or V2X communication); and the vehicle's occupants (infotainment). All of these systems use cellular -- and increasingly 5G -- technology, among others. Although 5G networks are still a work in progress for mobile operators, the pace of deployment and launches is picking up.

Apple car rumours addressed by Tim Cook: 'we'll see'

The Independent - Tech

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has addressed rumours that his company is building a car in a new interview. While he declined to confirm any real details of what Apple is planning to release – if anything – he did give an indication of what the company might look to do if it does release a car, as rumoured. He noted that "an autonomous car is a robot" and that Apple looks to integrate hardware and software in all of its products. But the company "investigate so many things internally", many of which never actually "see the light of day", he told Kara Swisher in an interview for her New York Times podcast, Sway. In the same intervew, Mr Cook also discussed his commitment to free speech, his hope that controversial social media app Parler could return to the App Store, and Apple's ongoing fight with competitors including Facebook.

Explanations in Autonomous Driving: A Survey Artificial Intelligence

The automotive industry is seen to have witnessed an increasing level of development in the past decades; from manufacturing manually operated vehicles to manufacturing vehicles with high level of automation. With the recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), automotive companies now employ high performance AI models to enable vehicles to perceive their environment and make driving decisions with little or no influence from a human. With the hope to deploy autonomous vehicles (AV) on a commercial scale, the acceptance of AV by society becomes paramount and may largely depend on their degree of transparency, trustworthiness, and compliance to regulations. The assessment of these acceptance requirements can be facilitated through the provision of explanations for AVs' behaviour. Explainability is therefore seen as an important requirement for AVs. AVs should be able to explain what they have 'seen', done and might do in environments where they operate. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey of the existing work in explainable autonomous driving. First, we open by providing a motivation for explanations and examining existing standards related to AVs. Second, we identify and categorise the different stakeholders involved in the development, use, and regulation of AVs and show their perceived need for explanation. Third, we provide a taxonomy of explanations and reviewed previous work on explanation in the different AV operations. Finally, we draw a close by pointing out pertinent challenges and future research directions. This survey serves to provide fundamental knowledge required of researchers who are interested in explanation in autonomous driving.

Toyota is developing autonomous taxis with help from Aurora


A mere two months after acquiring Uber's self-driving car unit (and a $400 million investment from the company), autonomous vehicle startup Aurora is partnering with the world's largest automaker. On Tuesday, the company announced a partnership with Toyota and Japanese auto parts supplier Denso (via The Verge) that will see the three firms work together to develop and test vehicles with Aurora's Driver technology. They'll first integrate the hardware and software into a fleet of Toyota Sienna minivans before deploying it within a full-scale robotaxai service. "By the end of 2021, we expect to have designed, built and begun testing an initial fleet of these Siennas near our areas of development," the company said. "It brings our companies together to lay the groundwork for the mass-production, launch and support of these vehicles with Toyota on ride-hailing networks, including Uber's, over the next few years."

Hyundai has bought robot maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank in a $1.1 billion deal


Hyundai has agreed to buy an 80% stake in robot maker Boston Dynamics from SoftBank, the South Korean automaker said Friday. The deal values the robot firm at $1.1 billion, Hyundai said, suggesting it offered $880 million for the 80% stake. Boston Dynamics is best known for its robot dog, Spot, which went viral. Hyundai can leverage robot technology to expand automation at its unionized car factories, as well as design autonomous vehicles like self-driving cars, drones, and delivery robots, analysts said. Read more: The next big thing in classrooms: 'Zoom on wheels' robots are seeing a surge in demand The new stake comes after the newly promoted Hyundai Motor Group chairman, Euisun Chung, pledged to reduce reliance on traditional car manufacturing, saying car-making would only make up half of the company's future business.

Peugeot, Altran team for driverless car testing


Altran's parent, Capgemini, is combining the engineering skills of Altran with its data infrastructure and has launched a service for end to end support for validation and verification of driverless car systems. Altran also includes Cambridge Consultants in the UK which has been developing AI and sensor technologies for autonomous systems. The validation technology is being used by the maker of Citroen, Peugeot and Opel-Vauxhall cars to manage thousands of petabytes of data from testing the next generation of driverless cars. "We wanted to work with Capgemini and Altran because of their strong skills in data oriented and cloud- based projects. Participating in a European innovation project for the automotive industry in the field of the connected and autonomous car is very challenging. This collaboration enables us to complete our data collection and processing on schedule, and helps us to deploy innovative solutions for data analysis methods on a hybrid-cloud based solution," said Jean-Louis Sauvaget, Research & Development Division, Expert car data acquisition and post processing for customer usage in Groupe PSA.

Daimler, Waymo, and GM Make Big Gains in Level 4 Self-Driving


The Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE) has identified five levels of self-driving which describe how much a particular vehicle is able to handle its own driving tasks. Level 1 means that the vehicle handles either the speed or the steering, but not both, and it requires supervision. While ordinary cruise control technically falls into this level, most people associate cruise control with adaptive cruise control, which slows down or speeds up with traffic. A Level 2 car can control the speed and the steering but the driver must still maintain full vigilance. At Level 3, the driver need not maintain total vigilance but must still be able to take control upon request.

Self-Driving Vehicle Technology

Communications of the ACM

Automakers have already spent at least $16 billion developing self-driving technology, with the promise of someday creating fully autonomous vehicles.2 What has been the result? Although it seems that we have more promises than actual progress, some encouraging experiments are now under way, and there have been intermediate benefits in the form of driver-assist safety features. Engineers started on this quest to automate driving several decades ago, when passenger vehicles first began deploying cameras, radar, and limited software controls. In the 1990s, automakers introduced radar-based adaptive cruise control and dynamic traction control for braking.