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Waymo provides glimpse of its fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans

Just days after Google’s autonomous vehicle project became an autonomous tech company dubbed as Waymo Inc., the company now unveiled its first fully self-driving vehicles in the guise of 100 driverless Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

Back in May 2016, Waymo – then known as the Google Self-Driving Project – and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles entered into a partnership in which the carmaker would provide a number of vehicles to the project. The partners saw it fitting to choose Chrysler’s new 2017 Pacifica Hybrid minivans – 100 of them -- for the self-driving vehicle project. The Pacifica Hybrid minivans were specifically built by Chrysler to be fitted with the latest of Google’s hardware and software.

While these Chrysler Pacifica units are based on the 2017 production model available to the market, the carmaker modified them – including their chassis, powertrain, structural and electrical systems – so that Waymo could properly install its own technology into these new minivans.

Read the entire article Waymo provides glimpse of its fully autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans

Google Self-Driving Project now a separate company as Waymo under Alphabet umbrella

Google’s autonomous vehicle project has become an autonomous tech company. Here comes Waymo, a company with utmost focus on self-driving technology. Starting off as a project inside the tech company eight years, Waymo has now become a standalone business under Alphabet Inc. – the corporate parent of Google -- with an aim to commercialize its self-driving technology and build related products with it.

However, it seems that Google’s strategy for its self-driving unit actually involves a slim-down of its operations – similar to what Apple has done to its own autonomous car project. Apple has said that it was refocusing its energy from building self-driving cars to just creating self-driving technology. It was really a goodbye for Apple’s Project Titan, although the tech giant has not explicitly admitted that it was seeking to build a self-driving.

As for the formerly Google Self-Driving Project, now Waymo – which stands for a new Way forward in Mobility – the path it is treading seems similar to Apple’s. A report by The Information says that Waymo would not build its own self-driving vehicle, even though it – when it was still a project -- already unveiled its and the world’s first fully self-driven car in October 2015.

Read the entire article Google Self-Driving Project now a separate company as Waymo under Alphabet umbrella

Google taps Roush Industries to build self-driving car prototype

Roush Industries Inc., an engineering and specialty manufacturing company, has been tapped to assemble a fleet of 100 prototypes of Google Inc.’s two-seater self-driving electric cars. Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving cars program, remarked at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit that the tech giant did not contract with a carmaker for the project, although the production version of the self-driving car would involve an automaker.

Roush, known for its custom Ford Mustang models, has leased additional space at 28220 Plymouth Road in Livonia and refurbished it for the project, Maureen Crowley, director of corporate communications, told Crain’s Detroit Business.

According to Crowley, Roush has hired more people in supply chain support and assembly. In July 2013, the Michigan Strategic Fund awarded Roush a $1 million performance-based grant to expand space at a number of sites in suburban Detroit.

Read the entire article Google taps Roush Industries to build self-driving car prototype

Google unveils its autonomous vehicle prototype [w/video]

As you may know already, Google is working on its self-driving car project since 2009 and it appears that a new phase started today as the company unveiled its own autonomous vehicle prototypes. The new vehicles are not fitted with a steering wheel or a gas/brake pedals and are powered by an electric motor that offers a top speed limited at 25 mph or 40 km/h.

Google will build around 100 test vehicles and will begin testing them this summer. Still, early versions will be fitted with manual vehicle controls and according to the official press release the models will be tested by company’s safety drivers.

Since 2009, Google says that its test fleet of autonomous managed to cover 700,000 miles. The new vehicles are about the same size of a Smart ForTwo and feature two seats and two doors.

Read the entire article Google unveils its autonomous vehicle prototype [w/video]

Volvo Car Group and Google Inc. have commenced testing self-driving cars on city streets – considered as crucial stage en route to the autonomous driving technology a standard in vehicles. Volvo said in a statement that it has commenced testing 100 cars on the streets near its Gothenburg base in Sweden under a project dubbed "Drive Me."

Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo, said in the statement that the test cars can now handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic -- all by themselves, He remarked the tests represent an important step onto developing ‘Drive Me’ that could drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode.

The technology – to be dubbed as Autopilot – allows the driver to let the vehicle do all the driving. Google said in a post on its official blog that in the past it has shifted its focus to city-street driving.

Read the entire article Volvo and Google start testing self-driving cars on city roads

Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles has finished examining Google's self-driven cars and has given its approval to these cars. In a statement, the Nevada DMV said that the decision was made after officers were driving along highways, in Carson City neighborhoods and along the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Last year, the Nevada Legislature authorized self-driven cars for the roads in the state. This is actually the first law of its kind in the U.S. This law took effect on March 1, 2012. Google’s self-driven car had relied on video cameras, radar sensors, lasers, and a database of information gathered from manually driven cars to help navigate.

The company said that Google's self-driving cars have made it past the Golden Gate Bridge and through the Pacific Coast Highway. In the statement, Nevada DMV director Bruce Breslow said that autonomous vehicles are the "car of the future." The DMV said that the state is planning to later license autonomous vehicles owned by those in the public. There are legislative moves being made in other states, such as California, to regulate autonomous cars.

Read the entire article Google’s self-driving cars receive special license plates

A patent for a method to control an autonomous vehicle was granted to Google this week. This patent covers the ways that a vehicle can transition to the autonomous mode from being driven by humans. For instance, a car may be driven to a particular location. It would then transition to become autonomous from the presence of a visual indicator on a "landing strip" like a bar code or radio tag.

It’s possible too that a car may be brought to a driveway that was built to accommodate autonomous vehicles. This area would then be where the transition happens. Google revealed in a corporate blog post in 2010 that it has hired several of the best autonomous-vehicle engineers to improve the state of driverless cars. It doesn’t say how business is improved with this innovation.

Software engineer Sebastian Thrun said that Google wanted to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time, and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use." The Toyota Priuses were fitted with sensors and communications that send big amounts of data to Google's data centers to study and make driving decisions.

Read the entire article Google fills patent for method to control an autonomous vehicle

Driver-less vehicles from Google will soon be seen in Nevada after state legislators passed a bill that requires the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to draw up rules for this type of vehicles. Assembly Bill No 511 clears up the way for the legal operation of Google's automated Toyota Priuses and Audi TT in the Silver State.

To get from one point to the other, the hybrid vehicles make use of detailed maps and laser range finders and video cameras to become aware of traffic. The car owner merely has to set the destination and the car finds the route and drives there.

The first amendment, which got the approval last week, is related to an electric-vehicle bill that covers the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles. The second amendment has yet to be passed.

Read the entire article Google’s driverless cars approved in Nevada

Google is seeking the approval of the state of Nevada for it to test its driverless vehicles in its roads. The search-engine giant has been quietly testing these cars for years. However, it has to persuade the legislature in Nevada to allow it to test the vehicles in the state.

David Goldwater, lobbyist for Google, informed the state assembly last April that "autonomous" vehicles are more fuel-efficient and safer than those driven by a human being. The lawmakers are to vote on the issue before the session ends in June. According to the proponents, the robot drivers will never get intoxicated, distracted or sleepy.

Moreover, these vehicles react faster than human drivers as they have sensors and do not have blind spots. The driverless vehicle has a rotating roof-mounted laser range-finder that scans at least 200 feet in every direction to generate a 3-D map. The six driverless Toyota Priuses and an Audi TT in Google’s fleet have video cameras and radar that watch for stop lights and obstacles as well as locate the vehicle’s position on the map.

Read the entire article Google seeking Nevada’s approval to test driverless vehicles on its roads

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

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

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

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.

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