Robots


Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot is like Waze on steroids

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The first time the Tesla Model 3 changed lanes by itself to pass a slower vehicle, I was overcome with an ice-cold "this is the future" feeling. Stuck behind a slow-moving garbage truck on New Jersey's Highway 17, the Model 3 suggested a passing maneuver, I agreed, and lo and behold, automatic lane change. But by the fourth time the car changed lanes, I was left wondering why Tesla's Autopilot wasn't smart enough to merge back into the original lane of traffic. Because what is the future if not endlessly nit-picking every technological achievement until we forget why we were amazed in the first place? Tesla has a lot staked on Autopilot.


Autonomous cars: Uber reveals 'valuable lessons' in safety report Internet of Business

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Uber Advanced Technologies Group has released a report that outlines the company's commitment to it's self-driving vehicle strategy and what it's doing to insure the safe development of autonomous cars. Titled'A Principled Approach To Safety', the voluntary safety self-assessment was developed in line with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's guidance. The 70-page document is intended to speak to multiple audiences, including the public, fellow road-users and potential users of self-driving technology, policymakers (including legislators), regulators, local officials and other self-driving vehicle developers. Uber believes that competitive pressures have made sharing information on progress in development challenging. Yet transparency into developments and progress are important to earn and increase public confidence in this technology and, in turn, its ability to deliver on the potential benefits.


Uber says it's ready to start testing self-driving cars again

Mashable

Seven months after a fatal crash involving a self-driving car in Arizona, Uber says it's ready to get its self-driving cars up and running again. The company released a new safety report as it asked the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for permission to start testing its self-driving vehicles on public roads in Pennsylvania. SEE ALSO: Are you obligated to talk in the UberPOOL? In the report, Uber detailed a series of safety changes made following the fatal crash in March. The company says it will now place two human operators in each self-driving vehicle, one to sit behind the wheel, and another to monitor the system from the passenger seat.


Uber wants to resume self-driving car tests on public...

Daily Mail

Nearly eight months after one of its autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian, Uber wants to resume testing on public roads. The company has filed an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test in Pittsburgh, and it has issued a lengthy safety report pledging to put two human backup drivers in each vehicle and take a raft of other precautions to make the vehicles safe. Company officials acknowledge they have a long way to go to regain public trust after the March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona, that killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. Nearly eight months after one of its autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian, Uber wants to resume testing on public roads. Police said Uber's backup driver in the autonomous Volvo SUV was streaming the television show'The Voice' on her phone and looking downward before crash.


Robotaxis Are Coming. So Why Are We Still So Unprepared?

WIRED

In a few weeks, Waymo will launch America's first commercial robotaxi service. GM and Ford are both developing competing fleets. Fewer road fatalities, less congestion, and cleaner air, as human drivers cede control of their cars to automation. Vehicle ownership--pricey and inefficient--will ultimately drop, and Americans will opt instead for cheaper, autonomous taxis. A more productive continent will rise, the thinking goes, one where citizens are freed from the burdens of driving and can engage in other, more rewarding pursuits.


Getting Ready for Robotics in Property Development and Building

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The already rapid growth of the global robotics market is accelerating. It more than doubled from 2005 to 2015 and is projected to more than triple from 2015 to 2025. This growth is broad-based, touching almost the entire economy, and two simple truths are behind it: robots are becoming cheaper (the cost of industrial robot systems dropped by nearly 30% in the decade leading up to 2015), while their applications and capabilities are widening and improving. In construction, the big leap is that robots are getting better at operating in uncontrolled environments. Previously, they could work only in highly structured environments such as automobile production lines, doing repetitive, relatively simple tasks.


Waymo gets the OK to test fully driverless cars in California

Mashable

California has handed Waymo the first permit to test fully driverless cars in the state. While Waymo, part of Google's parent company Alphabet, has been allowed to test autonomous vehicles with a driver since 2014, the new permit allows the company to test cars without drivers. SEE ALSO: Volkswagen and Intel team up for Israel's first self-driving car service Waymo will be allowed to test its three dozen driverless cars on public roads, including freeways, highways and streets. Testing will take place near Waymo headquarters, with permission to drive in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Sunnyvale, in Santa Clara County. The blue spot is where Waymo is permitted to test driverless cars.


Waymo Can Finally Bring Truly Driverless Cars to California

WIRED

Waymo just became the first company allowed to test fully self-driving cars--the kind with no carbon-based beings behind the wheel--in the state of California. The outfit that started life as Google's self-driving car project has been running driver-free cars in Arizona for almost a year, where the state testing rules are far more lax than in California, and where it plans to launch a commercial robo-taxi service by the end of the year. But securing the right to do the same in its home state is still a milestone, and evidence it can win over even comparatively wary regulators to the way of the robot. To begin, the truly driverless cars will test only at up to 65 mph in the southern Bay Area, in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Palo Alto. The company said it will inform local governments before expanding its tests any further.


Self-driving cars expected to shake up insurance industry

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In a future of autonomous vehicles, the industry expects ride-hailing services could eliminate the need for many to carry insurance at all. Ann Arbor -- Insurers are bracing for change as they plan for a future with self-driving cars. Although the hope is that autonomous vehicles will decrease traffic incidents and improve road safety, it could take years before the benefits of expensive-to-repair, technology-packed vehicles reduce insurance premiums. Meanwhile, autonomous vehicles promise to shift liability for accidents from drivers to the car itself, threatening insurers' traditional business model. "There's angst, anxiety, worry (because) ... we're heavily in the auto business," Neil Alldredge, senior vice president of corporate affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, told auto insurers earlier this month at an Ann Arbor conference on the topic.


We've Been Talking About Self-Driving Car Safety All Wrong

WIRED

Until a self-driving Uber killed 49-year-old pedestrian Elaine Herzberg in March, autonomous vehicle tech felt like a pure success story. A hot, new space where engineers could shake the world with software, saving lives and banking piles of cash. But after the deadly crash, nagging doubts became questions asked out loud. How exactly do these self-driving things work? And who's to guarantee that companies building them are being truthful?