November 27, 2020

selfdriving

There will most definitely be regulations for self-driving cars in the future.


Waymo

We are long, long time away from widespread use of self-driving cars, though governments around the world are trying to get ahead of the game with regulations. In the US, any steps have been minimal at best, but now, it looks like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to take a real step forward.

On Thursday, the agency announced it’s now seeking public comment on “the potential development of a framework of principles to govern the safe behavior of automated driving systems.” To be clear, whatever the NHTSA has come up with so far is nowhere near final, but it wants the public to have its say on possible proposals to create future regulations. 

These early proposals seek to “define, assess and manage the safety of ADS performance while ensuring the needed flexibility to enable further innovation.” Today, companies and automakers working on self-driving cars largely play by patchwork regulations across state lines. One cohesive blanket of regulations will definitely be important in the future.

The agency underscored that self-driving systems will be unlike any automotive system in use today, so it wants to ensure the public has its chance to speak on the challenges surrounding the technology. Concerns on security, safety and even privacy are all fair game.

Once the period for public comment closes, NHTSA said the feedback could help shape future policies, but any major decision is still likely years away.


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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. auto safety regulators said Thursday they are opening a formal regulatory proceeding that could eventually result in the adoption of new safety standards for autonomous vehicles.



a close up of a car: FILE PHOTO: A Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicle is parked and displayed during a demonstration


© Reuters/CAITLIN O’HARA
FILE PHOTO: A Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicle is parked and displayed during a demonstration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to get public input on how to ensure the safety of future self-driving vehicles. Companies like General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Tesla Inc are working on vehicles that can drive themselves.

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“This rulemaking will help address legitimate public concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation in the development of automated driving systems,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in a statement.

NHTSA said the proceeding could result in the agency issuing new guidance documents addressing best industry practices, providing information to consumers or formal regulations including rules requiring reporting and disclosures to new legally binding safety standards on automated driving systems. Any final rules are still likely years away.



The GM logo is pictured at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Ramos Arizpe


© Reuters/DANIEL BECERRIL
The GM logo is pictured at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Ramos Arizpe

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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AUO forges ecosystem partnerships in self-driving cars, IoV, and smart rail transportation

Digital technologies such as 5G, big data, and AIoT have driven the continuous update of displays and smart applications with reach extending to many vertical markets, one of which is the key market of transportation. During “AUO Tech Forum 2020” hosted by AU Optronics Corp, a dedicated subforum was held for “smart transportation.”

Huge potential in rail transportation is a new blue lake for digital commercial displays

Eric Su, Director of the Public Information Display Division at AUO stated that the company has invested heavily in transportation over the years and has gradually identified a “blue lake” in rail transportation. The company will continue to develop business opportunities in relevant infrastructure and focus on working with companies dealing in passenger information systems (PIS) in the future.

Eric Su emphasized that PIS is one of the fields that best exemplifies the commercial value of displays. Using the example of light boxes which were previously dominated by mono color LED, the company is seeing more and more LCD products being implemented. However, traditional LCD products attempting to enter the field of transportation face many challenges such as space restrictions, harsh environments, and high customization requirements.

Despite the many challenges, these hurdles are perfect for showcasing the capabilities of AUO’s display technologies such as maximum support of 2,500 nits, readability under direct sunlight, and compliance with new trends such as wide temperature range and green energy. More importantly, AUO has developed the industry leading and revolutionary technology TARTAN and the ability to offer stretched display panels as well those with special aspect ratios such as square and round shapes that can meet client requirements with diverse customizations.

Dr Andy Cheng, Industrial Technology Research Institute Deputy Director of the Vehicle Information and Control Systems Group, dissected the current status and outlook of self-driving buses. He mentioned while many believe that displays are not necessary in self-driving vehicles, the opposite is true; as self-driving vehicles cannot be entirely driver-less when initially entering roads, accompanying staff require display panels to keep up to date with dynamic vehicle information.

In the field of self-driving vehicles, buses have great potential due to their fixed routes, which can reduce environmental complexity. Therefore, the Industrial Technology Research Institute delved into self-driving buses in specific Level 4 areas and began closed testing in the first half of the year; Soon, they will work with the Hsinchu County Government in Taiwan to launch self-driving shuttle buses from Hsinchu THSR station to Sheraton Hsinchu Hotel and perform the nation’s first self-driving tests on open road environments.

Smart Internet of Vehicles greatly enhances operation efficiency of fleets

ADLINK Director of Internet Communications and Infrastructure Business Dr. Henry Hu gave a talk about “Self-driving Vehicles are Simple.” He mentioned that based on U.S. statistics, traffic consumes the amount of time equal to the lifespans of 162 people making it clear that traffic has a significant impact on a country’s competitiveness and that self-driving

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FILE PHOTO: A Velodyne LiDAR sensor is seen on an autonomous vehicle at the BlackBerry QNX headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

(Reuters) – Velodyne Lidar Inc said on Friday it would introduce a new lidar unit, a key sensor in self-driving cars, with a target price point of less than $500 and no moving parts.

Velodyne became a public company in September and is one of several companies vying to supply automakers with lidar, a sensor that generates a three-dimensional map of the road ahead. Velodyne was an early entrant into the market, and its units have powered research operations for many automakers.

Some of those early research units were bulky, contained many moving parts and cost well above $10,000. For mass production in passenger vehicles, automakers and their major suppliers seek units that are sleek enough to fit into attractive car designs and cost well below $1,000.

The autonomous vehicle technology company said the Velarray H800 will have a target price of less than $500. In an interview with Reuters, Velodyne Chief Executive Anand Gopalan said the company is working with contract manufacturing partner Fabrinet to assemble test devices and that mass production will happen at a Fabrinet factory in Thailand.

Velodyne expects automotive-grade mass manufacturing to be under way by the second half of 2021 and that the devices could show up in vehicles in 2022 or 2023, Gopalan told Reuters.

“We have clear line of sight into being able to hit those costs today,” he said of the sub-$500 price point.

The company said the unit will have no moving parts – known as “solid state” in the industry – and will be small enough to fit behind the windshield of a car. It said the sensor can be used for self-driving vehicles or existing driver-assistance features such as emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

Velodyne is among a trio of lidar technology developers coming to public markets. Silicon Valley firm Aeva Inc aims to go public by merging with blank-check acquisition company InterPrivate Acquisition Corp, and Luminar Technologies Inc is working through a similar transaction with Gores Metropoulos Inc.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Paul Simao

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a car parked on the side of a road: Uber


© Uber
Uber

  • Uber is in talks to sell its self-driving vehicle division, ATG, to autonomous vehicle startup Aurora, TechCrunch reported Friday.
  • ATG has been hobbled by a deadly crash, infighting, and unreliable tech — leading investors to lose patience and sparking rumors the company would try to offload the struggling unit.
  • Despite a previous $7.25 billion valuation, ATG was facing an upcoming investment round that would have valued it at less than that, according to TechCrunch, as Uber has doubled down on its core ride-hailing and food delivery businesses during the pandemic.
  • Aurora, a major player in the AV world, is headed up by former leaders of AV initiatives at Uber, Google, and Tesla.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Uber is looking to get rid of its self-driving vehicle division, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), and AV startup Aurora Innovation is a likely candidate to acquire it, TechCrunch reported Friday.

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Sources told TechCrunch that Uber “has been shopping” ATG to multiple potential buyers including some automakers, but that talks with Aurora, which began in October, are far along.

“We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” an Aurora spokesperson told Business Insider, while Uber did not respond to a request for comment.

Despite ambitious goals, ATG has long struggled to make significant progress toward a fully-autonomous vehicle that can safely and efficiently move passengers and goods, while losing money along the way — leading to speculation in recent months that Uber would look to offload the struggling business unit.

According to TechCrunch, ATG was facing a possible “down round,” where investors were considering dropping the division’s valuation from its previous $7.25 billion valuation.

ATG’s struggles

Uber launched ATG five years ago, and in its short life, the division has been plagued by multiple scandals and setbacks, bleeding money along the way — Uber reported $303 million in net losses for “ATG and other technologies” in its third quarter.

Read more: Uber ATG has been hobbled by a deadly crash, infighting, and balky tech — and investors are losing patience with the self-driving division

Employees told Business Insider’s Julie Bort a deadly 2018 crash in Phoenix — the first AV incident to kill a pedestrian —  exposed flaws in ATG’s technology as well as poor decision-making and infighting. (Uber was found not criminally liable for the incident, while the human back-up driver was charged with negligent homicide).

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The former head of Uber’s self-driving division, Anthony Levandowski, was also at the center of a massive legal fight between Uber and Google’s self-driving group, now called Waymo, over stolen technology. Uber fired Levandowski, who was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison for trade secret theft, in 2017 after he refused to testify in the case.

In September, The Information reported that an

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By Stephen Nellis

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Nov 13 (Reuters) – Velodyne Lidar Inc said on Friday it would introduce a new lidar unit, a key sensor in self-driving cars, with a target price point of less than $500 and no moving parts.

Velodyne became a public company in September and is one of the several companies vying to supply automakers with lidar, a sensor that generates a three-dimensional map of the road ahead. Velodyne was an early entrant into the market and its units have powered research operations for many automakers.

Some of those early research units were bulky, contained many moving parts and cost well above $10,000. For mass production in passenger vehicles, automakers and their major suppliers seek units that are sleek enough to fit into attractive car designs and cost well below $1,000.

An increasing number of devices, such as Apple’s new iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro models, include lidar sensors that help with applications such as augmented reality, in which digital content is overlaid on the real world.

Velodyne on Friday floated the concept of Velarray H800, which could be “available at high-volume production levels with a target price of less than $500”, but did not say when the units would go on sale.

The autonomous vehicle technology company said the unit will have no moving parts – known as “solid state” in the industry – and will be small enough to fit behind the windshield of a car. The company said the sensor can be used for self-driving vehicles or existing driver-assistance features such as emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

Velodyne is among a trio of lidar technology developers coming to public markets. Silicon Valley firm Aeva Inc aims to go public by merging with blank-check acquisition company InterPrivate Acquisition Corp, and Luminar Technologies Inc is working through a similar transaction with Gores Metropoulos Inc. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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Nuro's R2 vehicle.3
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.

Nuro, a self-driving delivery startup, has raised $500 million in its latest funding round.

Nuro’s product fits squarely between the delivery and ecommerce industries that have boomed amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company specializes in developing electric autonomous vehicles that have one purpose: the transportation of products from a storefront to a customer’s homes.

While this isn’t an entirely novel concept, the California-based startup has been able to claim multiple firsts since the company was founded in 2016. Nuro’s second generation vehicle, the R2, is the first autonomous vehicle that’s legally allowed to operate without side mirrors or windshields. The R2 is also the first vehicle to have been autonomously driven in states like California, Texas, and Arizona.

Read more: A cofounder of the Softbank-funded self-driving startup Nuro reveals his plan to make money off delivery robots without charging fees

According to a report by TechCrunch, Nuro now has a $5 billion valuation.
Nuro's R2 vehicle.3
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.

Source: TechCrunch

Its latest $500 million round saw new investors like Baillie Gifford and Fidelity Management and Research, as well as existing investors like Greylock Partners and SoftBank Vision Fund 1.

Nuro driving on public road
Nuro on a public road.

Source: Nuro

The autonomous vehicle can deliver a variety of goods to ease the need for running in-person errands, according to its maker.

Nuro and CVS Pharmacy
Nuro and CVS Pharmacy.



Source: Nuro

This is evident in the array of Nuro’s partnerships, which include grocery delivery with Kroger and Walmart, pizza drop-offs with Domino’s Pizza, and prescription deliveries with CVS.

Nuro and Walmart.
Nuro and Walmart.

The company is now operating in Houston in partnership with Kroger and CVS with the startup’s R2 and first generation vehicle, a self-driving Prius.

Nuro's R2 vehicle.4
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.

Source: Nuro

 

The electric self-driving R2 vehicle is reliant on artificial intelligence and an array of equipment to guide it on the streets.

Nuro's R2 vehicle.4
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.

For example, the R2 is equipped with 12 cameras that provide a 360-degree view of its surroundings.

Nuro driving in traffic
Nuro in traffic.

It also has audio and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors and radars to help the vehicle better orient itself to its surroundings, according to its maker.

Nuro delivers to customers
Nuro dropping off orders to customers.

Source: Nuro

The Nuro vehicles also operate at or under 25 miles-per-hour for safety purposes.

Nuro's R2 vehicle.1
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.



And because there are no passengers or steering equipment, the vehicle is lighter than a typical delivery car.

Nuro departing with an order for delivery
Nuro with a delivery order.

Placing a delivery order with Nuro is similar to ordering food on platforms like DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Nuro's R2 vehicle.2
Nuro’s R2 vehicle.

Customers can make an online or in-app order and select a designated delivery time.

Nuro R1 filled with Dominos Products
Nuro and Domino’s products.

Source: Nuro

The customers can then track the vehicle’s location, and when the order arrives at the destination’s curbside, the user will receive a security code to open the cargo holding compartment.

Nuro and Walmart.gif
Nuro and Walmart.
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Self-Driving Car

We’re Building an Open Source Self-Driving Car

And we want your help!

At Udacity, we believe in democratizing education. How can we provide opportunity to everyone on the planet? We also believe in teaching really amazing and useful subject matter. When we decided to build the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program, to teach the world to build autonomous vehicles, we instantly knew we had to tackle our own self-driving car too.

Together with Google Self-Driving Car founder and Udacity President Sebastian Thrun, we formed our core Self-Driving Car Team. One of the first decisions we made? Open source code, written by hundreds of students from across the globe!

You can read more about our plans for this project.

Contributions

Here’s a list of the projects we’ve open sourced:

How to Contribute

Like any open source project, this code base will require a certain amount of thoughtfulness. However, when you add a 2-ton vehicle into the equation, we also need to make safety our absolute top priority, and pull requests just don’t cut it. To really optimize for safety, we’re breaking down the problem of making the car autonomous into Udacity Challenges.

Challenges

Each challenge will contain awesome prizes (cash and others) for the most effective contributions, but more importantly, the challenge format enables us to benchmark the safety of the code before we ever think of running it in the car. We believe challenges to be the best medium for us to build a Level-4 autonomous vehicle, while at the same time offering our contributors a valuable and exciting learning experience.

You can find a current list of challenges, with lots of information, on the Udacity self-driving car page. This is the primary way to contribute to this open source self-driving car project.

Core Contributors

@ericrgon
@macjshiggins
@olivercameron

Open Source Base Software Support

Autoware
Tier IV

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