AUSTIN, Texas – Truly driverless cars – this time with no human drivers ready to take over in case of emergency – are now cruising around Austin. Pittsburgh-based technology company Argo AI says it has begun operating its autonomous test vehicles without human safety drivers in Austin. The company is also testing the driverless vehicles in Miami.
Self-driving cars are one of the most hotly debated topics when it comes to vehicle safety. Plenty of companies are using autonomous vehicles for various purposes. However, most Americans don't think they're all that safe. Additionally, with videos showing the faults of some of these systems, it's easy to see the hesitation. So, it will undoubtedly get better over time.
A giant 18-wheel transport truck is barreling down a multi-lane Texas highway, and there is no one behind the wheel. The futuristic idea may seem surreal, but it is being tested in this vast southern US state, which has become the epicenter of a rapidly developing self-driving vehicle industry. Before driverless trucks are allowed onto roads and highways, however, multiple tests must still be conducted to ensure they are safe. Self-driving lorries are operated using radars, laser scanners, cameras and GPS antennas that communicate with piloting software. "Each time we drive a mile or a kilometer in real life, we re-simulate a thousand more times on the computer by changing hundreds of parameters," explains Pierre-François Le Faou, trucking partner development manager at Waymo, the self-driving unit at Google's parent company Alphabet.
In 2017, Kyle Vogt, the founder of GM-backed autonomous car company Cruise, promised that the startup would begin testing driverless vehicles in New York City by 2019. That didn't come to pass -- Cruise put the brakes on the pilot in August 2018 -- but driverless cars have scaled significantly in the years since Vogt's pronouncement. Last month, Ford and Argo AI announced they would work together to launch self-driving cars on Lyft's ride-hailing network in Miami and Austin, Texas. Motional, a joint venture of Aptiv and Hyundai, plans to start testing autonomous vehicles in Los Angeles following a deployment in Downtown Las Vegas. And Intel's Mobileye recently became among the first to pilot self-driving cars in New York City, beating rival Cruise to the punch.
Eighteen months ago, Uber's self-driving car unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group, was valued at $7.25 billion following a $1 billion investment from Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank's Vision Fund. Now, it's up for sale and a competing autonomous vehicle technology startup is in talks with Uber to buy it, according to three sources familiar with the deal. Aurora Innovation, the startup founded by three veterans of the autonomous vehicle industry who led programs at Google, Tesla and Uber, is in negotiations to buy Uber ATG. Terms of the deal are still unknown, but sources say the two companies have been in talks since October and it is far along in the process. An Uber spokesperson declined to comment, citing that the company's general policy is not to comment on these sorts of inquiries.
Arlington has always been innovative. With our world-class venues and investment in our downtown and Entertainment District, greater Arlington has gained national attention and tourism. Now, Arlington is a leader again by finding a creative way to meet our community's transportation needs. Downtown is currently being mapped for Arlington's future autonomous vehicle public transportation pilot program. The one-year public transportation pilot program, called Arlington RAPID (Rideshare, Automation, and Payment Integration Demonstration), will integrate fully autonomous electric shuttles into the city's existing Via on-demand Rideshare service.
Waymo launched testing of autonomous trucks in Texas and announced plans to make Dallas the center of its heavy-duty vehicle technology efforts. Alphabet Inc.'s autonomous vehicle unit said in an Aug. 26 news release that it has begun testing Peterbilt trucks equipped with self-driving technology along Interstate 10, I-20 and I-45 in Texas. The company already has a passenger vehicle operations center in Phoenix that will be linked into its commercial vehicle testing network. It is focusing on trucking lanes that include Phoenix to Dallas, Dallas to Houston and Dallas to El Paso, Waymo told Transport Topics in a statement. Our #WaymoVia Class 8 trucks are arriving in Dallas this week. More than 1.2 billion tons of freight are moved on Texas highways, so we're excited to bring the #WaymoDriver there to continue our testing efforts across the Lone Star State.
The capability and spread of such systems have reached the point where they are beginning to touch much of everyday life. However, regulators grapple with how to deal with autonomous systems, for example how could we certify an Unmanned Aerial System for autonomous use in civilian airspace? We here analyse what is needed in order to provide verified reliable behaviour of an autonomous system, analyse what can be done as the state-of-the-art in automated verification, and propose a roadmap towards developing regulatory guidelines, including articulating challenges to researchers, to engineers, and to regulators. Case studies in seven distinct domains illustrate the article. Keywords: autonomous systems; certification; verification; Artificial Intelligence 1 Introduction Since the dawn of human history, humans have designed, implemented and adopted tools to make it easier to perform tasks, often improving efficiency, safety, or security.
For humans, bugs are a pesky distraction, but for self-driving cars they can be a matter of life or death. Ford, whose self-driving cars were just deployed in Austin, Texas, has come up with a novel set of tools to keep stray insects from interfering with the crucial sensors in its self-driving cars. Developed in partnership with Argo AI, Ford's vehicles use a complex laser technology called Lidar to generate spatial information for the car's navigation system. Similar to a radar system, lidar sends out a laser light and measures small differences in the speed and angle of the light that's reflected back from the environment, as reported by VentureBeat Those measurements are then used to generate information about surrounding vehicles and objects. Predictably, the biggest challenge for the sensors aren't parked cars or irresponsible drivers but insects, which can end up smashed against the lidar sensors and throw off their readings.
A year after coming out of stealth mode with $40 million, self-driving truck startup Kodiak Robotics will begin making its first commercial deliveries in Texas. Kodiak will open a new facility in North Texas to support its freight operations along with increased testing in the state. There are some caveats to the milestone. Kodiak's self-driving trucks will have a human safety driver behind the wheel. And it's unclear how significant this initial launch is; the company didn't provide details on who its customers are or what it will be hauling.