Tag Archives: autonomous

Autonomous car perception, G550 4×4 Squared, 2018 Chevy Bolt EV: What’s New @ The Car Connection

Waymo self-driving prototypeReport: People think carmakers trail tech companies in self-driving technology If, as the old saying goes, perception is reality, then the companies that built virtually every mass-produced vehicle for the last century or so are lagging behind several notable tech companies when it comes to developing self-driving car technologies. Car ownership…
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Operating in Autonomous Mode, Uber Self-Driving Vehicle Involved in Crash

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A tumultuous time for Uber continues.

One of the company’s autonomous vehicles was involved in a collision Friday in Tempe, Arizona. The incident has prompted company executives to ground their fleet of self-driving Volvo XC90s in Arizona while an investigation takes place.

An Uber spokesperson said the vehicle’s autonomous mode was engaged at the time of the crash. Tempe police said the Uber vehicle was not to blame for the three-car crash.

No serious injuries were reported. The crash occurred as the Uber vehicle drove southbound on McClintock Drive, a major arterial road in the city. A northbound vehicle failed to yield to the Uber SUV while making a left turn onto Don Carlos Drive, according to a police spokesperson. Photos taken at the scene show the XC90 on its right side with its lights on.

“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle,” an Uber spokesperson said Saturday. There was no immediate time frame given for conducting the investigation and potentially getting the vehicles back on the road.

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The car was part of a pilot project operating in Tempe that allows users of the company’s regular ride-hailing service to summon autonomous vehicles. Uber started the project in Pittsburgh last September and added the Tempe-area vehicles earlier this month. Human safety engineers remain behind the wheel of the vehicles.

This is the first known crash involving Uber’s self-driving vehicles, and it comes on the heels of multiple reports that detailed the company’s troubles in fine-tuning its self-driving technology.

Last week, internal documents revealed the disengagement rate of the company’s autonomous vehicles—the rate at which human drivers needed to intervene—was slightly less than once per mile. During the week ending March 8, the company’s 43 active cars on the road drove an average of 0.8 mile before requiring driver intervention, according to the website Recode.net. That’s down slightly from a one-disengagement-per-mile rate achieved in February and a 0.9-per-mile average in January, the news outlet reported.

“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle.”
-– Uber statement on Arizona crash

Last week, Uber president Jeff Jones announced his resignation after only six months with the company, citing personal beliefs that are “inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber.” His comments come following high-profile accusations of sexual discrimination that allegedly runs rampant through the company.

Separately, one of Uber’s top competitors, Waymo, the independent company formerly known as Google’s self-driving-car project, filed a lawsuit last month against Uber, alleging its top automated-driving executive absconded with more than 14,000 documents related to intellectual property and trade secrets obtained during his tenure at Google that he used in pursuing self-driving technology at Uber.

  • Uber’s Secret “Greyball” Program Allegedly Targets Law Enforcement
  • Waymo Sues Uber, Alleging Top Exec Stole Self-Driving Secrets
  • Whoa, Pittsburgh Mayor Is Really Ticked Off at Uber

That’s the latest in a laundry list of problems for Uber’s self-driving division. In December, the California DMV revoked the registrations of the company’s vehicles after Uber began testing in the state without a permit. Separately, the California DMV is reviewing the legality of the company’s self-driving-truck testing in the state.

Given the spate of problems, initial reports that Friday’s crash is the fault of another driver might be the best news Uber has received in a long time.


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Soon You Won’t Be Driving Your Car, It’ll Be Driving You

At this year’s CES we saw a veritable bevy of new, incredible technologies from a wide range of manufacturers. At this year’s Las Vegas tech fest, cars were not so much cars anymore, but rather high-performance smartphones on wheels.

Here are some of the highlights from the event.

The Year Of The Drag Racer

Websites like Custom-Transmissions.com  have been specializing in drag racing for many years. But this year two companies: Tesla and Faraday Future been battling to be the king of the drag race. Faraday futures new car, the FF 91, is incredible. At the show, they demoed the car which they claim has more than 1000 brake horsepower, distributed to all four wheels through two big electric motors. This gives the car the ability to do 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.4 seconds, faster than a Bugatti Veyron.

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Just last year, Tesla announced that the top of the range Model S could do 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. It is clear that the upstart electric car maker, Faraday Future, wanted to steal some of Tesla’s thunder at the Consumer Electronics show this month. But not to be outdone, Tesla has since increased the performance of its car over 0 to 60 miles per hour, claiming that the new software update for the Tesla P100D allows the car to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.39 seconds.

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Wikimedia Commons

Hyundai Went Fully Autonomous On Us

The Hyundai Ioniq is the first family of cars from Hyundai to feature hybrid varieties, plug-in hybrid varieties, and electric only. However, at this year’s CES the Ioniq line was further enhanced by Hyundai showing off their new autonomous system for the range. The autonomous system comes with all of the usual features we have seen from the likes of Ford and Tesla, which Hyundai expects will allow the car to drive around California by itself in the next couple of years or so. At the show, guests were treated to the Ioniq driving around Las Vegas without a human pilot.

Renault Made Its Twizy Open Source

The Renault Twizy is a single-seater electric car designed for people who live in very busy urban centers, like Paris. It is also a very simple car which makes it perfect as a platform for open source software and hardware. Together with a company called iOSvehicle, Renault showcased one of its Twizy models which it claims is fully accessible and configurable by any company. They hope that the combination of advanced cockpit technology, autonomy, and the ability to connect to the Internet of things will make the Renault Twizy a platform for the future.

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Auto Renault Renault Twizy Small Twizy Mini

Free great picture

In addition to the Twizy, Renault also introduced delegates at CES to the charging cable it has been developing with pilots, according to http://www.evo.co.uk/. The cable itself is electroluminescent, enabling it to flash and pulse when it is charging. Flashing is fastest when charging is in full swing and starts to slow down as the battery gets full.

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Wikimedia Commons