A new report from Navigant Research includes the chart shown below, ranking various teams on the race to robocar deployment. It’s causing lots of press headlines about how Ford is the top company and companies like Google and Uber are far behind. I elected not to buy the $3,800 report, but based on the summary I believe their conclusions are ill founded to say the least.
Robocars are broadly going to be a huge boon for many people with disabilities, especially disabilities that make it difficult to drive or those that make it hard to get in and out of vehicles. Existing disability regulations and policies were written without robocars in mind, and there are probably some improvements that need to be made.
Oxbotica, a UK technology company with a focus on mobile robotics and driverless vehicles, has created Selenium, an autonomous software system acting similar to a ‘brain’ for a vehicle. Selenium can work in pedestrianised environments as well as roads and motorways, and is not reliant on GPS to operate – meaning it can transition between indoor and outdoor settings, overground or underground. The system has been developed to be “vehicle agnostic” and can be applied to cars, self-driving pods (e.g. for campuses and airports), and warehouse truck fleets.
Today, I want to look at some implications of Tesla’s Master Plan, Part Deux which caused some buzz this week. The one part of the plan that I have trouble with is the idea of combining solar generation with battery storage.
A reddit user posted a short video of a lucky driver in Japan who was able to turn his car around just in time to escape the torrent of the tsunami. The question was asked: how would a robocar deal with this?
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.
I’m in the Detroit area for the annual TRB/AUVSI Automated Vehicle Symposium. Those in Ann Arbor attended the opening of the new test track at the University of Michigan, but I was at a small event with a lot of good folks in downtown Detroit, sponsored by SAFE, which is looking to wean the USA off oil. Much was discussed, but a particularly interesting idea was just how close we are getting to something I had put further in the future: robocars that are cheaper than ordinary cars.
There is great buzz about some sensor-laden vehicles being driven around the USA, which have been discovered to be owned by Apple. The vehicles have cameras, LIDARs, and GPS antennas, and many are wondering is this an Apple Self-Driving Car?