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) …
Plenty of Tesla owners (and people who hope to own Teslas one day) love their electric cars. But do they love them enough to pay for the car twice? CNBC points out a trend where multiple recent buyers who paid for their cars with direct debit payments say their bank accounts were charged twice. That's annoying when it happens with a movie ticket or a pair of shoes, but can be backbreaking if it's a $53,000 SUV. To make matters worse, while Tesla's zero-contact deliveries and remote service stations can make it convenient to get a car, it's apparently not so easy to contact someone who can work out a way to reverse the charges.
Volkswagen is lifting the lid, ever so slightly, of its future electric car plans. Project Trinity is VW's next-generation of electric car technology, similar to the MEB platform that currently underpins the all-electric ID.3 and ID.4, but cheaper to build, able to support a greater range of vehicles, and crucially - from VW's point of view - able to undertake more of the driving for you. Project Trinity is distantly related to Audi's Project Artemis, in that both are focused as much on the software that controls the car, and that communicates with you the driver (or is owner, even user, now a better word?) and other road users. "Trinity is going to be a time machine," said VW brand boss Dr Ralf Brandstatter. "Trinity gives people time, and takes away the stress. So, after a long motorway drive for example, they are relaxed when they arrive at their destination. "You switch on the system when you enter the motorway, and then the system will take over, and let you know when you need to leave the motorway.
Tesla is giving customers looking for self-driving abilities some options. Pay $10,000 in full for your car to drive itself down the street and onto the highway (with you still paying attention at the wheel) -- or pay in installments for a monthly subscription to the same hands-free, automated driving features. Tesla CEO Elon Musk first assured Tesla drivers late last year about a forthcoming option to subscribe to the Autopilot advanced driving feature, Full Self-Driving mode (known as FSD). An FSD subscription on the EVs will open up access to drivers who haven't paid a steep $10,000 one-time fee. While the subscription offer is taking longer than Musk originally anticipated (typical for Tesla), he tweeted on Monday that it's supposed be available to Tesla owners in the next few months.
The long-awaited revival of the Volkwagen microbus will finally happen in 2022, and it'll apparently include some form of autonomous driving capability. VW confirmed Monday that it plans to debut its new electric van next year, which would be half a decade after a concept version made a splash at the 2017 Detroit auto show. The German automaker announced it will integrate autonomous driving technology into the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, making it a 21st Century callback to an era filled with nostalgia. While the production version of the van is set to be revealed in 2022, VW U.S. CEO Scott Keogh recently told Automotive News that the ID.
Volkswagen at one time said its electric ID.Buzz van would reach dealerships by 2022 (that announcement has been removed but you can view it in the Internet Archive), but news from its commercial division confirms that at least an unveiling is still on deck for next year. Beyond that, VW autonomous driving exec Christian Senger said "This year, for the first time, we are conducting field trials in Germany, in which the self-driving system by Argo AI will be used in a version of the future ID. Argo AI is the autonomous driving technology that Ford and VW have partnered to invest in and develop. The commercial vehicles team is developing vans to use the self-driving tech in that are based on the ID.Buzz to power a ride-hailing and pooling concept with autonomous vans that can operate in urban areas. With the announcement VW also released this concept sketch (above) of the self-driving test vehicle that Germans may see on roads any moment now.
Autonomous driving startup Aurora announced on Tuesday that it has scored a partnership with Toyota to build self-driving taxis based on the Toyota Sienna minivan. Aurora says it's aiming to have a fleet of Sienna prototypes ready for testing on public roads by the end of the year. Denso, a major Japanese auto parts manufacturer, will also contribute to the project. This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.
The car, however, didn't work as advertised. It could drive, turn corners and stop on a dime. But the fancy technology features VW had promised were either absent or broken. The company's programmers hadn't yet figured out how to update the car's software remotely. Its futuristic head-up display that was supposed to flash speed, directions and other data onto the windshield didn't function.
In the future, Volkswagen may have a pretty affordable electric vehicle offering in its lineup. According to Reuters, the automaker is working on a pure electric car around the size of a Polo under a project that the company calls "Small BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)." The publication says Volkswagen is developing the vehicle for the mass market "in anticipation of tougher climate regulations" and that the car will cost anywhere between 20,000 and 25,000 Euros (US$24,000 to $30,000). That price point would make it more affordable than the ID.3 and the upcoming ID.4 and would make it a direct competitor to one of Tesla's upcoming models. During its "Battery Day" event in September, Tesla said it's making changes that would halve the costs of building battery cells for its vehicles.
Autonomous truck company Ike recently received an order of 1000 trucks from DHL, Ryder and NFI. Logistics companies hope that the automation software and sensors that Ike has developed will save lives, improve operating margins and keep drivers close to home, said Ike. eDelivery reported that this solution is designed for long-haul highway driving, and will rely on human drivers to navigate the more complex routes. The Hyunday and Aptiv venture Motional released a dataset expansion of over 1.4 Billion annotated lidar points, reported VentureBeat. The dataset called NuScenes now includes NuImages, an aggregation of 100 000 2D images that represent challenging driving conditions designed to boost safety for AVs in complex situations. Instead of building fully autonomous planes from the ground-up, Californian startup Xwing has started to unveil its Autoflight System targeting an aircraft agnostic approach.
The world of artificial intelligence is expanding at a rapid rate, and its massive potential is perhaps most clear in the automotive industry. When we think of AI's use in transportation, we often cast our minds to self-driving cars and getting shuttled around in autonomous Ubers from location to location. But the possible applications of AI in vehicles extends way beyond simply becoming a backseat driver. According to the United Nations' Office at Geneva, AI is expanding in the transportation sector at a rapid rate. In fact, in terms of patent filings, artificial intelligence within transportation is growing at over four times the rate of that in life and medical sciences.