The maker of advanced humanoid and 4-legged robots (BigDog and Atlas), Boston Dynamics, is up for sale. According to the Financial Times, “this is one of those discordant moments that makes you question easy assumptions and the current state of Alphabet and of robots.”
Reports released reveal that one of Google’s Gen-2 vehicles (the Lexus) has a fender-bender (with a bus) with some responsibility assigned to the system. This is the first crash of this type — all other impacts have been reported as fairly clearly the fault of the other driver.
At a press conference last week at CES, Toyota, led by Gill Pratt of DARPA fame and now CEO of Toyota Research Institute (TRI), informed the world what Toyota intended to do with it’s billion dollar investment in their new AI research facilities in Silicon Valley and Cambridge.
While many people view technology or regulation as the biggest obstacles to robocar deployment, it could be that the bigger obstacle is that we have yet to determine what our safety goals are for autonomous cars, and also how to test these vehicles so that we can know when these goals have been met.
Almost every newspaper in the world reported the story of how a motorcycle cop pulled over one of Google’s 3rd generation test cars, the 2-seaters, and many incorrectly reported that the car was given a ticket for going too slow.