safety


Uber warned of self-driving safety risks before autonomous car killed pedestrian, report claims

Daily Mail

A fatal accident involving a pedestrian and one of Uber's self-driving vehicles could have been prevented, a new report claims. An employee warned the ride-sharing giant that there were issues with Uber's autonomous-driving technology just days before Elaine Herzberg, a 49-year-old Arizona woman, was struck and killed. The email, which was sent to several high-level executives at Uber, warned that the self-driving cars had been involved in several accidents, likely due to'poor behavior of the operator of the AV technology,' according to the Information. A fatal accident involving a pedestrian and one of Uber's self-driving vehicles could have been prevented, as a new report claims the firm was warned of safety issues ahead of the crash Robbie Miller, a manager in the testing-operations group, sent the email on March 13th. The crash, which involved Herzberg being hit by a manned autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, occurred just five days later on March 18th.


The Revolution Will Be Driverless: Autonomous Cars Usher In Big Changes

NPR

The future of the driverless car is going to affect the future of how we travel and what we do in cars. But driverless cars are also likely to transform roads, cities, suburbs, jobs, the economy and daily life. My guest Samuel Schwartz expects it to be a very disruptive technology. Schwartz is the author of the new book "No One At The Wheel: Driverless Cars And The Road Of The Future," which he says is about the good, the bad and the ugly of how driverless cars will change our world. He knows a lot about transportation systems. He served as the traffic commissioner of New York City and chief engineer of the city's Department of Transportation. He now has his own consulting firm and has worked with cities around the world on transportation-related issues. Later in our conversation, after we talk about the future, we're going to talk about traffic problems that plague us today. We're going to use the words driverless car interchangeably with the words autonomous vehicle, or AV. In your book, you write that AVs, autonomous vehicles, will be the most disruptive technology to hit society worldwide since the advent of the motorcar. Give us a couple of examples of industries or jobs or roadways that we might not realize will be profoundly affected by AVs once they start to really dominate. SAMUEL SCHWARTZ: I think everybody is expecting fewer drivers, and, you know, that's no surprise. But it also means that there're probably going to be fewer repair shops because AVs lend themselves to fleet operations, especially if they're going to be offering rides, as opposed to selling maximum vehicles. So car dealerships may disappear. So this is going to have wide impacts. Truckers, of course, are going to be impacted - how we move about in so many different ways.


SK Telecom, Hyundai, and Trimble to use 5G in construction

ZDNet

SK Telecom, Hyundai Construction Equipment, and Trimble will collaborate to use 5G for managing construction equipment, the companies announced. The three will develop solutions for remote construction equipment monitoring, real-time safety management, and AI-based construction operations, they said. The hope is to create construction equipment that will operate longer and also reduce overall construction time in order to increase efficiency and save costs. Hyundai Construction Equipment makes excavators and forklifts while US-based Trimble provides navigation and modeling services for construction firms. In the short-term, the three will make intelligent construction equipment and use various sensors for safety.


Amazon robot sets off bear repellant, putting 24 workers in hospital

The Guardian

Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to hospital after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellant. The 255g can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf, according to local media. The incident happened on Wednesday at a warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on the outskirts of Trenton. Amazon said: "All of the impacted employees have been or are expected to be released from hospital within the next 24 hours. The safety of our employees is always our top priority and a full investigation is already under way."


Robot Punctures Can Of Bear Repellent At Amazon Warehouse, Sickening Workers

NPR

Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., were sickened on Wednesday after an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellent. The warehouse is seen here in June. Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., were sickened on Wednesday after an automated machine punctured a can of bear repellent. The warehouse is seen here in June. Twenty-four workers at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to area hospitals after being exposed to bear repellent on Wednesday morning, when a robot punctured a can of the aerosol spray.


Self-flying DRONES could be used to save people from high-rise blazes

Daily Mail

Self-flying drones could be used to rescue people from fires in tower blocks by unfolding into safety nets mid-air. Net Guard drones would use GPS to pinpoint the location of the fire once a distress signal has been received then head to the necessary building, avoiding traffic below. Once close enough to the building, the drone would then unfold into four propeller-powered parts, a safety net pulled tight in the centre. This net would be made from a quadruple layer of polyurethane, the designers said, and would be strong enough to then carry the weight of a regular adult. The drone would also keep track of the evacuee using sensors, allowing it to be positioned correctly were person in need of jumping.


Uber hires an NHTSA veteran to bolster its self-driving car plans

Engadget

Uber has hired a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) official to join its autonomous vehicle team, Reuters reports. Nat Beuse will be joining the company after serving as the NHTSA's associate administrator of vehicle safety research, and he's doing so at a critical time when Uber is working to mend its safety image following a fatal crash involving one of its self-driving cars. "Uber's approach to self-driving vehicles is an opportunity to make a difference in the safe commercialization of this revolutionary technology, which I've spent a considerable amount of time working with in recent years," Beuse said in a statement. "It's clear to me that the team here is dedicated to prioritizing safety." In March, an autonomous Uber SUV, with a safety driver behind the wheel, struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, causing Uber to suspend all of its self-driving tests across the country.


Hyundai partners with AI start-up to make HD maps for autonomous cars

ZDNet

Hyundai Mnsoft will collaborate with AI startup Netradyne for the development of high definition maps for next-generation vehicles, the companies announced. Hyundai Mnsoft, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group focused on navigation solutions, will leverage Netradyne's crowd-sourced deep vision technologies for the development of HD maps. Netradyne, founded in 2015, specialises in using AI for driver and fleet safety. The startup recently won a proof of concept trial against rivals for the partnership with Hyundai. Netradyne said its crowdsourced deep vision analytics for HD map generation was more affordable compared to the light detection and ranging (LIDAR)-based mapping of other companies.


Jeep Unveils the Gladiator Pickup and More This Week in Cars

WIRED

This truck and SUV thing won't let up, will it? This week General Motors announced it would lay off about 14,000 employees, a mix of white collar and factory workers, and it seems the strategy has a lot to do with the automaker's plans to get out of cars. Instead, it will pour money into electric and autonomous vehicle development. And while it waits for those technologies to become really real: more trucks and SUVs! They were all over this weeks LA Auto Show, too, in the form of Jeep's new pickup, Land Rover's new Evoque, and Rivian Automotive's all-electric truck.


North Sea Deployment Shows How Quadruped Robots Can Be Commercially Useful

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

As much as we like writing about quadrupedal robots, it's always been a little bit tricky to see how they might be commercially useful in the near term outside of specialized circumstances like disaster response. We've seen some hints of what might be possible from Boston Dynamics, which has demonstrated construction inspection with SpotMini, but that's not necessarily a situation where a robot is significantly better than a human. In September, ANYbotics brought one of their industrial quadrupeds, ANYmal, to an offshore power distribution platform in the North Sea. It's very remote, and nothing much happens there, but it still requires a human or two to wander around checking up on stuff, a job that nobody wants. A crucial task for energy providers is the reliable and safe operation of their plants, especially when producing energy offshore.