If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Detroit – Ford Motor Co. posted results Thursday that were not as grim as expected for its second quarter, during which its U.S. factories were shuttered for half the period to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus and car buyers sheltering in place. Ford reported a $1.12 billion (¥117.1 billion) second-quarter net profit, pushed into the black by a $3.5 billion gain on the value of its stake in the Argo AI autonomous vehicle operation. Without the one-time gain, the company lost $1.9 billion, or 35 cents per share. But that was far better than the $1.17 a share loss Wall Street had expected, according to FactSet. A year ago, Ford posted a $148 million net profit.
The self-driving car race seems like it's been going on forever, but also at times seems like it has no ending -- since it's so hard to get truly self-driving cars (from point to point) on the market. A lot of hope is being put on Tesla because it is collecting enormous amount of data (oodles more than anyone else) and feeding it into neural nets managed by potentially the best autonomous driving professionals on the planet. But there is no guarantee they are going along the best route, and there are many other players in the field. Perhaps the two most notable players in this field other than Tesla, from my perspective, are Zoox (because it was just bought by Amazon, which has potential to develop its tech at an enormous scale) and Argo.AI (company site here). It mostly (but not entirely) comes down to its potential to quickly collect data at a massive scale.
Argo AI is expanding its presence in the Strip District. The self-driving car startup is taking more space in the Riverfront West building in the 3 Crossings development in the Strip. Argo moved its headquarters to the five-story building in 2018. It currently occupies floors four and five, as well as part of the first floor. The additional space will be on the third floor, which it will be sharing with Oxford Development Co., the developer behind 3 Crossings.
Virginia Alvino Young School of Computer Science It's important that self-driving cars quickly detect other cars or pedestrians sharing the road. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have shown that they can significantly improve detection accuracy by helping the vehicle also recognize what it doesn't see. The very fact that objects in your sight may obscure your view of things that lie further ahead is blindingly obvious to people. But Peiyun Hu, a Ph.D. student in CMU's Robotics Institute, said that's not how self-driving cars typically reason about objects around them. Rather, they use 3D data from lidar to represent objects as a point cloud and then try to match those point clouds to a library of 3D representations of objects.
The very fact that objects in your sight may obscure your view of things that lie further ahead is blindingly obvious to people. But Peiyun Hu, a Ph.D. student in CMU's Robotics Institute, said that's not how self-driving cars typically reason about objects around them. Rather, they use 3D data from lidar to represent objects as a point cloud and then try to match those point clouds to a library of 3D representations of objects. The problem, Hu said, is that the 3D data from the vehicle's lidar isn't really 3D -- the sensor can't see the occluded parts of an object, and current algorithms don't reason about such occlusions. "Perception systems need to know their unknowns," Hu observed.
Argo.ai has closed a $2.6 billion investment from Volkswagen to strengthen the self-driving startup's presence across Europe. Commentary: Please join our sister sites in fundraising to help address racism. Pittsburgh-based Argo.ai said in a blog post on Tuesday that the funding, initially invested in July 2019, will be used to bolster its position in Europe with the addition of VW Group's Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) team. AID is working on the development of intelligent self-driving car technology for use in urban areas and potential applications such as robotic taxis and autonomous shuttles. Now due to be rebranded as Argo Munich, the team's base will also become Argo.ai's
More funding for Argo AI, shared costs between Ford and VW. Ford, Volkswagen and Argo AI made it official on Tuesday. VW has made an investment in the self-driving technology company, which charts a course for shared development costs for any autonomous vehicle technologies to come. It's unclear how deep VW reached into its wallet, but a previous report pegged a coming investment at $1.7 billion. At the time, Argo AI was reportedly valued at $4 billion, which would put VW's investment at nearly 50% of its value.
Sophisticated innovations in artificial intelligence, computer vision, tactile sensing and more are the driving forces behind smart and autonomous vehicles. Progress on these fronts will be crucial to making smart cars even more intelligent and bringing self-driving cars to fruition, but industry stakeholders are also concentrating on another key to automotive innovation: open-source data, which can provide more shared tools to propel innovative developments. In one of the most prominent illustrations of this trend, Waymo, the AV subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet, made the Waymo Open Dataset public in 2019. Collected by sensors in Waymo's self-driving cars, the dataset features high-resolution multimodal sensor data that covers a variety of environments, from dense urban centers to suburban landscapes, offering insights into a wide range of driving conditions. Its release came on the heels of Lyft and Argo AI's rollouts of their own open-source datasets, and has since then been followed by the release of the Ford Autonomous Vehicle Dataset and Google's open-sourced Android Automotive OS, among others.
Like the residents of many cities that boomed before the advent of cars--and before the arrival of the coronavirus--the people of Pittsburgh get around using a jumbled network of too-narrow two-way streets laid out across a hill-studded landscape. It's the kind of mess that would put Baron Haussmann in a mood for demolition, but the driver of the white Pontiac sedan coming toward the car I'm riding in reacts with generosity, slowing down and flashing his lights. His offer--ceding his right of way to let my car turn left ahead of him--is a kind one that is entirely incomprehensible to my driver. I'm in a white Ford Fusion, the sort with the rooftop ziggurat of lidar laser scanners and cameras that identifies it as a self-driving car. And while those sensors could detect the Pontiac's lights just fine, the software that turns their field reports into battle plans isn't designed to consider this oh-so-human communication.
Ford said Tuesday it will delay until 2022 plans to launch an autonomous vehicle service, as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the company to rethink its go-to-market strategy. The news was shared as part of Ford's quarterly earnings, which was released after the market closed Tuesday. Ford reported a $2 billion loss in the first quarter compared to a profit of $1.1 billion in the same period last year. The company warned that losses during the second quarter will widen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt its business. Ford is a bit different from other companies that have launched autonomous vehicle pilots in the United States.