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Just last year, Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors, and today, it is the self-driving startup that is gobbling up companies on its own. General Motors is stepping their game up once more. To make things easier for them when it comes to the development of autonomous cars, they decided to acquire California-based Strobe, Inc. Not a lot of you may have heard of this company, but Strobe specializes in LiDAR technology, and that is a huge step forward for companies who are into autonomous systems for automobiles. After the acquisition, Strobe engineers will become part of the automaker’s Cruise Automation team.
Julie Schoenfeld, Founder and CEO of Strobe, Inc., said in a statement that the successful deployment of self-driving vehicles will have to depend on the availability of LiDAR sensors. Furthermore, GM and Cruise will benefit from Strobe’s deep engineering talent and technology backed by a number of patents. And hopefully, the automaker brings these autonomous vehicles sooner than we would think.
LiDAR is different from radar systems because the former uses laser pulses to “see” an area, whereas the latter relies on radar systems to do the same thing. And the LiDAR, as we know, is much more detailed as it creates a better picture of its surroundings, which translates to a more accurate processing of information. In other words, the LiDAR system can see a more realistic picture of what’s around it - from cars, pedestrians, and the road. Therefore, the LiDAR systems will play a pivotal role in the current and future development of autonomous cars. However, radars and LiDARs can complement each other to create a more robust and fault-tolerant sensing suite, operating in a wide range of environmental and lighting conditions.Read the entire article GM gets closer to producing fully autonomous vehicles with acquisition of Strobe Inc.
The ride-sharing fleet of sharing Lyft Inc. will soon include thousands of specially fitted self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles, courtesy of General Motors. If plans push through, Lyft’s clients would be riding in autonomous EVs as early as start of 2018, according to a report by Reuters, citing sources privy to GM’s plans.
This brings the partnership between GM and Lyft to a new level – a technologically advanced collaboration that involves not just innovative electric vehicles, but also ground-breaking autonomous ones. Deploying thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV to Lyft would allow the United States-based carmaker to accelerate tests of its autonomous technology on its zero-emission cars. One of Reuters’ sources divulged that Lyft is planning to deploy these autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs for testing in a number of states across the US.
GM’s plans are in line with pronouncements of its executives and with its investor presentations in 2016 that it intends to build a high volume of self-driving vehicles and then deploy them in ride sharing services like Lyft. Despite these pronouncements ad presentations, details are still vague as to how many autonomous vehicles will be built or when the US carmaker is specifically planning to deploy them. In fact, GM has only said in recent statement that its autonomous vehicle technology will be featured in an on-demand ride sharing network application sooner than people have expected. It should be noted that the GM acquired a minority stake in Lyft in 2016 for around $500 million.Read the entire article GM to deploy thousands of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs to Lyft’s ride-sharing service
General Motors and Lyft Inc. have entered into a long-term strategic alliance to establish an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the United States. As part of the agreement, GM will make a $500-million investment in Lyft and will hold a seat on the ridesharing service company’s board of directors.
The alliance between GM and Lyft has four key elements: Autonomous On-Demand Network; Rental Hub; Connectivity; and Joint Mobility Offerings. Under the agreement, GM and Lyft will jointly develop a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles.
This project will leverage the carmaker's already deep knowledge of autonomous technology and Lyft’s capabilities in providing ride-sharing services. Likewise, with immediate effectivity, the carmaker will become a preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers through a number of rental hubs spread across various cities in the US.Read the entire article GM and Lyft ink long-term cooperation deal to build US autonomous vehicle network
It’s not a secret anymore that vehicles that drive themselves will replace the conventional cars seen on the streets today, but it appears that normal people like us are not the only ones thinking of them. That’s right folks! Car manufacturers are also thinking and the last person to confirm these type of cars is GM’s Vice President of Global Research and Development Alan Taub, who said that vehicles that partially drive themselves will be available by the middle of the decade while the self-driving systems will come by the end of the decade.
Taub talked about these cars at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Orlando on Sunday. Apparently, the self-driving cars will use today’s technologies, such as sensors, radars, portable communication devices, GPS and cameras, Combined with digital maps, these technologies will be able to drive the vehicle while the drive will do something else… reading a newspaper for example!
“The technologies we’re developing will provide an added convenience by partially or even completely taking over the driving duties,” Taub said. “The primary goal, though, is safety. Future generation safety systems will eliminate the crash altogether by interceding on behalf of drivers before they’re even aware of a hazardous situation.”Read the entire article Self-driving cars will become a reality by 2020, says GM’s Alan Taub
Volvo Cars is presenting a new concept car that provides a glimpse of what the company envisions for the future of mobility. With this new concept car called 360c, Volvo Cars is essentially proposing that a fully autonomous land travel could replace air travel over long distances.
A fully autonomous concept is nothing new. Quite a number of concepts like this have been presented through the past years. But while other concepts offer a living space inside a fully autonomous, Volvo’s study -- the new Volvo 360c autonomous concept – allows its passengers to sleep like a log inside while being transported to their destinations.
The new Volvo 360c isn't just a fully autonomous car, is it also connected and electric. It is in this future that Volvo sees a holistic approach in terms of travel. As a fully autonomous, fully electric car, the 360c doesn’t have steering wheel and an internal combustion engine. Because of the absence of these components, passengers could be positioned in rows of two or three.Read the entire article Volvo Cars says 360c concept is an alternative to short-haul air travel
Every June or July of every year, motor racing vehicles – especially historic ones -- flock at West Sussex, England to challenge the hillclimb event of the highly prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed. For the first time in the festival’s history, a vehicle will brave the hillclimb without a driver behind its wheels.
So far, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has been graced by conventionally powered and electrified vehicles. However, all of these vehicles completed the 1.86-km (1.16 miles) hillclimb with a driver piloting the steering wheel. This is due to change this July 12, 2018 when an autonomous vehicle created by the collaboration between Siemens and Cranfield University tries to run the course.
People who might want to witness the first autonomous hillclimb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, however, should not expect an all-new self-driving car climbing its way up to the Goodwood House. Instead, they should look out for 1965 Ford Mustang with a distinctive silver wrap. The sides of this 1965 Mustang feature the number “25”, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Goodwood. This autonomous Mustang also features the blue “Siemens” logo and a stripe running on the lower flank with the same color as the logo. Stripes of the same color are also found on the hood and roof of the autonomous Mustang.Read the entire article Self-driving 1965 Ford Mustang to attempt first-ever Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb
Several years ago, on April 15, 2013, Ford and General Motors signed an agreement to jointly use automatic transmissions that both automakers had developed. This was developed mainly for models like the F-150 and the Mustang. For the former, their part of the deal was to share its own 10 speed gearbox to rear wheel drive cars with GM, and in return, they will be able to use the 9 speed gearbox which they can use in front wheel drive crossovers, for a smoother and more efficient drive.
The gearbox seen in this photo, the Hydra-Matic 9T50, which was originally introduced in Chevy models with the 2017 Malibu, 2017 Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Equinox will not find its way inside a Ford model. Rather, the automaker opted to use an eight speed box for models like the Edge and the MKX that replaces the Lincoln Nautilus.
So what made them change their mind? Well, Ford believes that GM’s transmission is not good enough to handle the extra weight that comes from the new gear. That is not all, because it also argues that it does not justify the increased cost required for it to adapt to the Ford models. AutoPacific Inc. analyst, Dave Sullivan, even joked that if he was offered a transmission that did not require much work, outside of tuning it for a specific vehicle, he would take it and run.Read the entire article Ford won’t use GM’s 9 speed automatic transmission due to cost, efficiency snags
Earlier this week, on exactly Monday morning, was a devastating incident that involved Uber, an autonomous vehicle, and a pedestrian. Long story short, there was a pedestrian that was hit by an autonomous Uber vehicle, and was left dead in Arizona.
The vehicle was an autonomous Volvo XC90, and the victim was a female pedestrian who had just crossed in front of the vehicle outside of a crosswalk. The woman did not pass away on the spot, and was even brought to the hospital. However, she later died due to the injuries she had on her body.
It was in Tempe, near Mill Avenue and Curry Road, where the incident occurred, said the local police. This, in fact, is the very first incident that involved a self driving vehicle. According to reports by The New York Times, the vehicle was in autonomous mode, with a safety driver behind the wheel when the incident occurred outside of a crosswalk.Read the entire article Autonomous Uber vehicle kills pedestrian in Arizona
General Motors has long faced issues in the European market. After years of experiencing losses, as well as weakening sales, the brand earlier this year sold off not only its Vauxhall brand but even the Opel brand. Opel is the main brand name that GM uses in Europe with the exception of the U.K. In the United Kingdom, Vauxhall, a British subsidiary of Opel, uses its very own brand name.
GM had disclosed that its European operations experienced a $257 million loss, the 16th year it had done so. GM would then sell the Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in a deal valued at $2.3 billion.
For those familiar with the matter, the European operations of Chevrolet, known way back as Daewoo, was also halted in 2013. This was after the Chevrolet brand experienced losses amounting to $18 billion over several years. The phaseout was completed by the later part of 2015. Saab, which is another GM brand, was initially sold in 2010 before succumbing to bankruptcy by 2012.Read the entire article GM hints at possible full-scale comeback to Europe
Autonomous cars are now becoming more of a reality as carmakers and their partners continue the development of self-driving technologies. Connected vehicles now actually exist but auto companies see that more things can still be done. As cars become more connected and head onto full autonomy, there is also a growing need to secure them. As to how, BlackBerry has recommended a seven-point framework.
According to BlackBerry, cars might become more of a membership perk than ownership objects as autonomous driving technologies improve. This is because connected and self-driving vehicles become more prone to cyber attacks and failures. The company is seeing four trends in the auto industry that are causing such vulnerabilities: vehicles access, software control, autonomous driving as well as the changing state of software. Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions, said in a statement that protecting a vehicle from cybersecurity threats requires a holistic approach.
To address such cyber risks, carmakers could adopt seven security measures, as outlined by Blackberry in its white paper.Read the entire article BlackBerry outlines seven frameworks to secure connected and autonomous cars from cyber threats
For those of you who have been to China, you have probably noticed that their highways are very different from those in the United States and Europe. For example, each lane in China has a different speed limit. But there are many other challenges and as a result, even visitors will have to obtain local driving licenses in order to drive there.
Now, with its variations and unfamiliar rules, you would probably wonder how autonomous or driverless cars would work, right? It’s even more complicated for cars that were developed and tested in Europe and the United States. So what exactly will happen if a car made from the west was brought to the east? Well, Mercedes-Benz tried it out and has found out. Two months ago, the German automaker started its Intelligent World Drive campaign during the Frankfurt Motor Show, and they boasted that one of its features is that the autonomous driving function adapts to other countries’ ways of driving.
It was the self-driving S-Class that Mercedes-Benz brought to Shanghai, and it was tested on the streets to gather an insight of the real-life traffic and driving situations of China. This information is tasked to help develop the technology.Read the entire article Mercedes’ self-driving S-Class sedan is being tested through China’s tricky highways
As I write this, there leaves no doubt in my mind that the new Audi A8 (D5) is going to be one of the hottest stars at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. The full size luxury sedan comes with a number of autonomous driving system meeting level 3 requirements. Already, the A8 sounds quite awesome, but it will be joined by two other concept that are even more high tech - one with level 4 capabilities and another one with a level 5 status, sans the steering wheel and pedals.
The first concept, with level 4 capabilities, will have a coupe-SUV shape based on the E-Tron Sportback concept that we first witnessed at this year’s Auto Shanghai. It will still come with the same dimensions of 4.9 feet in length (16.1 feet), that carries three electric motors delivering a combined output of 496 horsepower (370 kilowatts). This concept enables the car to drive at speeds of 81 miles per hour (130 kph) on the highway, and it can even change lanes automatically without the help of a human being.
The even more advanced concept, on the other hand, will have the shape of a large car (D segment) with at least four electric motors. Naturally, we would expect a lot of power from this, and the automakers say that these will have a battery pack with enough power for 435 to 497 miles (700 to 800 kilometers) and Audi. They also said that the model will feature a “spectacular and groundbreaking” design both on the exterior and the interior.Read the entire article Audi Aicon and Elaine concepts will join the A8 at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show
From 2020 onwards, Jaguar and Land Rover will offer an electrified version of each of the models in their range. So far, they have released two new concepts to kick off the switch they will be making in the future. Not only do the examples look fashionable, but they are also electrified. During the JLR Tech Festival, Jaguar came out with an all-electric E-Type together with an autonomous EV concept that informs us how the future will look by the year 2040.
It was JLR’s CEO Dr Ralf Speth who first announced their electrification plans, one of which is to introduce a portfolio of electrified products that include fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. The first electrified model that they will release will be the fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace, which should head to dealerships by next year. They are one of the newest companies to commit to a future of electric drive, after Volvo’s announcement earlier this summer.
One of the two models they introduced is the E-Type Zero Concept. According to the automaker, this model could make classic models future-proof by making them produce zero emissions. This allows classic car fans to still drive old models despite the environmental issues and legislation.Read the entire article Jaguar gives 2040 preview with E-Type and Future-Type concepts seen at Tech Fest
Would you like to have your pizza delivered by a self-driving car? This might seem too futuristic, but realistically, it won’t be long before customers ordering from Domino’s Pizza would get their ordered pizza from a self-driving vehicle by Ford Motor Co.
This comes as Domino's Pizza and Ford have entered into a collaboration in which they would assess and understand the role that self-driving vehicles could play in pizza delivery. According to the companies, randomly-selected Domino’s customers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will soon receive their pizza delivery from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle.
Set to be implemented over the next several weeks, this collaboration project will have the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle driven manually by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Participating customers could track the delivery vehicle -- through GPS – via an upgraded version of Domino’s Tracker. As the self-driving vehicle nears its destination, the participating customers would receive instructions – through text messages – on how to receive their orders. Participating customers would have to unlock and open Domino’s Heatwave Compartment inside the Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle by inputting a unique code.Read the entire article Domino’s Pizza will soon begin testing Ford’s self-driving vehicles in deliveries
In the next decade or so, taxis are likely to be replaced by autonomous cars like the new Continental Cube. In fact, companies like Google and Uber are already working on technology that will lead to this scenario.
Continental is known best for their tires, but they are also a major supplier of automotive electrics and systems. Now, they have built the Cube to demonstrate driverless mobility, and to test autonomous systems and technology.
The Cube prototype actually stands for “Continental Urban moBility Experience”. And it is based on the company’s own sensors and control units.Read the entire article Continental Cube Concept will soon be tested as an autonomous taxi
Tesla has been rolling out significant improvements to its 2nd generation Autopilot system since January. In connection to this, the EV company last week performed another major update in hopes to achieve fully autonomous driving by the end of the year.
Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot 2.0 now consists of AutoSteer and Auto Lane Change, Forward + Side Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Summon, Parallel + Perpendicular Autopark and Traffic Aware Cruise Control.
Knowing that fully autonomous driving is right around the corner, All Model S and Model X produced since October 2016 have been equipped with all the necessary hardware to self- drive completely. This includes 8 cameras with 360-degree visibility with 820 feet (250 meters) range as well as 1 radar sensor with enhanced processing feature to help see through dust, fog or heavy rain.Read the entire article Tesla expands its Autopilot feature following recent software update
Apple Inc. is certainly entering the automotive market by working on autonomous technologies for vehicles, the tech giant’s chief executive confirmed to Bloomberg Television.
During an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Television's Emily Chang, Apple CEO Tim Cook has divulged several details about the tech giant’s plans in the automotive market. This marks the first time that Cook divulged more elaborate information about its automotive ambitions, after the company ended a not-so-secret car project.
Apple has been testing the grounds of the automotive industry through its so-called Project Titan, which is essentially a supposedly secret electric car scheme. This car project had Apple poaching employees from Tesla – including former Tesla senior engineer Jamie Carlson – and a number of experts from other carmakers and tech giants. Tesla had responded by also poaching employees from Apple.Read the entire article Apple CEO confirms company is developing autonomous technologies for vehicles
General Motors is inching closer to its goal of building vehicles that aren’t just friendly with the environment, but are also fully autonomous. This comes as GM’s Chevrolet division recently completed the assembly of around 130 units of Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle employing mass-production techniques.
These 130 Chevy Bolt EVs – which are still test units -- are equipped with the carmaker’s next generation of self-driving technology, as developed by Cruise Automation, a GM subsidiary. The first of these 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EV test vehicles rolled off the production at GM’s Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan, in January 2017. At that moment, GM achieved a new milestone by becoming the first carmaker to assemble self-driving test vehicles in a mass-production facility using mass production methods.
These 130 units of next-generation self-driving Chevy Bolt EVs are set to join over 50 units of current-generation autonomous Bolt EVs that are now deployed in testing fleets in several locations like in San Francisco, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; and metro Detroit in Michigan. Engineers from both GM Cruise Automation engineers have been testing self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale since June 2016. These engineers have also been testing these Bolt EVs on public roads in Warren, Michigan, since January 2017.Read the entire article GM completes mass production of 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt test vehicles
Audi of America disclosed that New York has approved its application, making it the first automaker to conduct autonomous vehicle testing in this same state. The brand added that both the demonstration and the testing will be done with Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) Level 3 automation. In addition, Audi also said that the first demonstration will be done in Albany by mid-June.
To be considered as SAE Level 3, the vehicle should be able to perform automated driving at given highway speeds especially when certain conditions are attained. For the New York demonstration, there will be two trained engineers inside the vehicle, with one sitting in the front seat and the other positioned in the back. According to Audi, the demonstration model itself has managed to safely record around thousands of miles running on limited access highways across the country.
It was in early May of this year when none other than Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that New York was already accepting applications from different companies who wanted to demonstrate the test autonomous cars on public roads.Read the entire article New York okays Audi’s autonomous car testing license
BMW Group has released further details of plans to release its first fully automated series vehicle by 2021, the new and futuristic BMW iNext.
Earlier this year, the BMW Group announced that it – along with partners Intel and Mobileye -- is planning to introduce a series of new highly automated and fully automated prototype vehicles. Derived from the BMW 7 Series, these prototypes will serve as the progenitor of the new BMW iNext, the BMW Group’s first highly automated series vehicle with Level 3 of autonomous driving capabilities. The BMW Group intends to release the BMW iNext fully autonomous vehicle as early as 2021.
According to BMW, the new iNext will also have Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving capabilities, when viewed from a technical perspective. The company remarked that whether the new iNext would be able to achieve such levels (4 and 5) of autonomous driving would depend on several external factors.Read the entire article BMW releases more details about iNext, its first fully autonomous vehicle
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