autonomous cars

Tech

Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica begins testing in San Francisco

 Waymo is bringing its self-driving cars back to San Francisco streets for testing. TechCrunch has obtained pictures of the Waymo Chrysler Pacifica autonomous test vehicle on SF city roads, and Waymo confirmed that it is indeed bringing test vehicles back to one of the first spots where it ever tested AVs in the first place.
A Waymo spokesperson provided the following statement about its… Read More

Food

CTRL+T podcast: As long as it tastes like chicken, folds my clothes for cheap and doesn’t run me over

 Wait, what? Yeah, this week a company called SuperMeat announced that it raised $3 million to create chicken in a lab. It requires real chicken cells, Petrie dishes probably and some patience. The benefits for fake (fake real?) chicken are numerous, not the least of which it’s better for the environment. But we wonder how it will taste. Like chicken? Like fake chicken? In the lead-up to… Read More

Tech

Waymo to start testing its self-driving cars in Michigan

 Waymo’s next stop for its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica test vehicles is Michigan. The company that sprung from Google’s self-driving car project will be deploying its autonomous cars just in time for Michigan’s winter, too, which will mean that they should encounter a range of major challenges, including snow, sleet and frozen roads. This isn’t the first time Waymo… Read More

Business

False alarm: Tesla isn’t closing all its stores

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Calm down, everyone. Tesla is not closing all of its stores. 

The Teslaverse was twisted into knots on Friday when a rumor hit Reddit suggesting that things were not looking bright for the approximately 115 Tesla stores scattered across the United States. Specifically, a thread titled “Effective immediately many Tesla stores will be permanently closed” spurred worry that the company had decided to do away with its beloved physical locations in favor of online sales. 

What gave this claim extra punch is that the poster, ElonsVelvetJacket, is a “known leaker” and thus likely to have an inside scoop.  Read more…

More about Tesla, Elon Musk, Autonomous Cars, Model 3, and Tech

Business

Lyft teams with Google’s Waymo for self-driving cars

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The ride-hailing app wars just took another dramatic turn with the announcement that Google’s Waymo self-driving car team will be teaming up with Lyft, Uber’s chief rival. 

This could change everything. 

In a deal that was confirmed by both Waymo and Lyft in a report from The New York Times, the two companies will work together on autonomous vehicle “pilot projects and product development efforts.”

“Waymo holds today’s best self-driving technology, and collaborating with them will accelerate our shared vision of improving lives with the world’s best transportation,” a Lyft spokeswoman told the Times in a statement on Sunday.   Read more…

More about Google, Uber, Autonomous Cars, Lyft, and Autonomous Vehicles

Business

WTF is Apple doing with a secret, car-focused office in Berlin?

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Hey Apple: WTF is going on in Germany?

The Cupertino company might be up to something on the down low in Deutschland, according to Business Insider‘s Sam Shead. The reporter investigated rumors of a secret Apple office focused on automotive development in Berlin, following an initial leak last year that Apple was snatching up German engineering talent in the wake of Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia.  

It took almost half a year, but Shead’s tenacity appears to have paid off. He claims to have found the office smack dab in the middle of Berlin, in a nondescript building overlooking the city’s famous Gendarmenmarkt square area. Read more…

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Business

The Detroit automaker who killed Tesla in new self-driving car rankings

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Who’s winning the race to bring self-driving cars to the masses? 

Sorry Elon, a new report doesn’t even have Tesla in its top 10 — instead, auto industry stalwart Ford finished first. 

Navigant Research ranked 18 players in the self-driving game, ranked on a set of 10 criteria determined by the firm. It’s an inexact science, especially with intangible concepts like “vision” and “staying power” included for consideration.

Ford came away with the top spot because of its superior ability to execute on a “fully realized strategy,” i.e., controlling the means to actually manufacture cars, according to a blog post that followed the report. That reasoning extended to the other companies leading the ranking, as traditional automakers GM, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Daimler, and Volkswagen Group rounded out the top five spots.  Read more…

More about Rankings, Study, Gm, Waymo, and Autonomous Cars

Design

Nvidia just boosted its self-driving car tech in a major way

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Nvidia wants to drive your car.

The company, known for its mobile chips and graphics tech, announced partnerships with Bosch, the largest automotive supplier in the world, and PACCAR, a major truck manufacturer, to develop self-driving vehicle systems.

Nvidia already has deals in place with automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi — but these new partnerships will give the chipmaker even more clout in the self-driving arena, which includes Google, Uber and others. 

At #BCW17 we announced our partnership with @BoschGlobal on #AI self-driving computer based on our #DRIVEPX: https://t.co/rcO38HBO6U pic.twitter.com/5Ckqol0aEE

— NVIDIA (@nvidia) March 16, 2017 Read more…

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Business

Video of Tesla crash shows exactly why Autopilot isn’t true self-driving tech

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Listen up, Tesla fans. 

Your favorite carmaker’s Autopilot is a super-smart marriage of high tech hardware and software that provides one of the best semi-autonomous driving experiences currently on the road. 

That said: It is not a fully self-driving system and shouldn’t be used as such.

A video posted to the Tesla Motors subreddit and spotted by Electrek shows exactly what can happen when a Tesla Model S driver puts too much trust in his car’s Autopilot. It’s a reminder that a human driver is always needed in a Tesla, even when the Autopilot system is engaged.  

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Business

The first ever self-driving car race ended in a crash

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For the first time ever, self-driving race cars zoomed through a course in public, with impressive (well, for one of them, anyway) results. 

Roborace, the self-driving racing series Formula E announced in 2015, made history with its first public trial race at the Buenos Aires ePrix last weekend. 

The two competitors: Devbots 1 and 2, which raced each other in a sprint around the Puerto Madero street circuit. 

Roborace says the winning Devbot 1 hit a top speed of 186 kph (115 mph) during the contest. Formula E’s normal manned cars can reach about 225 kph (140 mph), not waaay faster than the self-driving car. That said, it was only driving with one other car on the course — adding more competitors to the field could slow it down a bit.    Read more…

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Tech

Consider ethics when designing new technologies

Trinity was the code name of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon, conducted by the United States Army as part of the Manhattan Project. 16th July 1945. Device type: Plutonium implosion fission. Yield: 20 kilotons of TNT. The White Sands Proving Ground, where the test was conducted, was in the Jornada del Muerto desert about 35 miles (56 km) southeast of Socorro, New Mexico, on the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range. New Mexico, USA. (PHoto by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images) In the weeks since the U.S. presidential election, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been firefighting. Not literally, but figuratively. Widespread accusations assert that his social media company contributed to the election’s unexpected outcome by propagating fake news and “filter bubbles.” The case poses a thorny question: How do we ensure that technology works for society? Read More