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THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby ennui2 » Sat 01 Oct 2016, 18:55:38

This thread is in good hands thanks to vox. Thumbs up.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sun 02 Oct 2016, 13:39:00

Tanada wrote:I would like to know how these self driving cars will handle the zillions of pot holes in the road that are created every year. We can't seem to find funds to maintain the roads we have now, yet self driving car lane markers and such will be appearing any day now, as if by magic.


Jaguar Land Rover uses technology to tackle potholes

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Video - Range Rover "Pothole Alert" Car2Car Communication Range Rover Self Driving Car 2015

Developed by Jaguar Land Rover's Advanced Research Centre, Pothole Alert is based on a connected car technology that monitors the road in real time, identities potholes, and adjusts the suspension in a matter of milliseconds. It does this by way of the MagneRide high-performance, semi-active suspension control system, which uses magnetic particles suspended in a damping fluid that changes viscosity in the presence of a magnetic field.

"Our MagneRide equipped Range Rover Evoque and Discovery Sport vehicles feature sophisticated sensors that allow the vehicle to profile the road surface under the wheels and identify potholes, raised manholes and broken drain covers," says Mike Bell, Global Connected Car Director, Jaguar Land Rover. "By monitoring the motion of the vehicle and changes in the height of the suspension, the car is able to continuously adjust the vehicle's suspension characteristics, giving passengers a more comfortable ride over uneven and damaged road surfaces."

Jaguar Land Rover is currently working on extending the technology, such as sharing data in the cloud to warn other vehicles of approaching hazards, so drivers can slow down and avoid damage, or the car can adjust its suspension automatically.

Pothole Alert will be fitted into the Range Rover Evoque research vehicle, which will include an advanced forward-facing stereo digital camera. The latter will scan the road ahead for potholes and predict their severity even before the car reaches them. Fraunhofer is developing a similar pothole detection system, but it relies on LIDAR and is aimed at road maintenance authorities.

"Ultimately, sensing the road ahead and assessing hazards is a key building block on our journey to the autonomous car," says Bell. "In the future, we are looking to develop systems that could automatically guide a car around potholes without the car leaving its lane and causing a danger to other drivers. If the pothole hazard was significant enough, safety systems could slow or even stop the car to minimize the impact. This could all help make future autonomous driving a safe and enjoyable reality."


Land Rover develops autonomous off-road function

The new technology is made up of a combination of cameras, ultrasonic sensors, radar and laser scanning to give the car a 360 degree view of the world around it.

The technology works together to predict the 3D path the car will drive through. The sensors can detect surface characteristics, even in rain and snow.

It uses its ultrasonic sensors to reveal surface conditions up to five metres ahead of the vehicle, which allows the car to adjust for gravel, sand, grass and snow.

The sensors can also be used to adjust the vehicle's speed to the upcoming conditions such as bumpy surfaces, standing water and potholes.


The Clever Way Ford’s Self-Driving Cars Navigate in Snow

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The age of self-driving cars is on its way, but there are a few tricky problems to solve before we can all let go of the wheel. One of those is getting the robots to handle bad weather.

Like other players in this space, Ford is creating high-fidelity, 3D maps of the roads its autonomous cars will travel. Those maps include details like the exact position of the curbs and lane lines, trees and signs, along with local speed limits and other relevant rules. The more a car knows about an area, the more it can focus its sensors and computing power on detecting temporary obstacles—like people and other vehicles—in real time.

Those maps have another advantage: The car can use them to figure out, within a centimeter, where it is at any given moment. Say the car can’t see the lane lines, but it can see a nearby stop sign, which is on the map. Its LIDAR scanner tells it exactly how far it is from the sign. Then, it’s a quick jump to knowing how far it is from the lane lines. (basic trigonometry)

“We’re able to drive perfectly well in snow,” says Jim McBride, Ford’s head of autonomous research. “We see everything above the ground plane, which we match to our map, and our map contains the information about where all the lanes are and all the rules of the road.” Problem solved.

Ford says it tested this ability in real snow last month at Mcity, the fake town built for self-driving vehicles.

This doesn’t mean all the problems with autonomous driving in bad weather are solved. Falling rain and snow can interfere with LIDAR and cameras (but not radar, and sonar), and safely driving requires more than knowing where you are on a map—you also need to be able to see those temporary obstacles (with radar and sonar).


Nvidia taught a self-driving car to drive like a human without telling it how

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Nvidia released a video Sept. 28 showing a person riding in the front seat of a car, hands stuck out the window, as the car drives itself around traffic cones and other obstacles with ease. But in a blog post earlier this year, the company explained that it didn’t program the car to be able to interpret lane markings, road signs, or specific obstacles. Instead, the company trained a neural network (running on Nvidia hardware, of course) to drive, using video footage recorded from a camera strapped to a car driven by regular humans around New Jersey (which, in itself is no easy feat).

The computer was then dropped into a Lincoln sedan strapped with laser sensors. The self-driving Lincoln was able to navigate around real California streets, extrapolating from the knowledge it had gained from the sample videos. The car was also able to drive in the rain and the dark with apparent facility. Video

Our engineering team never explicitly trained the CNN [the neural network] to detect road outlines.” Nvidia’s blog post said. “Instead, using the human steering wheel angles versus the road as a guide, it began to understand the rules of engagement between vehicle and road.”

According to Nvidia’s video, it only took about about 20 example trips at different times of the day for the system to be able to drive in all sorts of conditions. Given that the system was trained in NJ and can navigate CA streets, it seems that, theoretically, the system could drive anywhere in a country once it understands the basic rules of the road there. (That assumes, however, the test data it learned from—the human driver footage—doesn’t include the human doing anything they shouldn’t be doing, like rolling through stop signs or not stopping at red lights.)

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Nvidia has created a reference platform called the "Nvidia Drivenet" and it is already testing its own self-driving cars. It has nine inception layers so that it can train itself to "perceive things out in the world." Huang says that it took just a few months for the network to recognize objects in real time. It's not new, but Nvidia says that it's made huge strides in recent months. In one impressive demo, Nvidia showed how it was able to detect cars even in very snowy conditions.

Nvidia is also working with Audi to test its systems, to the point where its system was able to read German road signs "better than a human can." Daimler, BMW, and Ford are using the system to develop their self-driving cars, as well.


People need timely warning to avert accidents in self-driving cars

People operating self-driving cars need at least six seconds and some cues from the vehicle to “get back in the loop” and take control in time to avoid an accident, researchers say.

... The researchers concluded that the car’s most important task was to direct the driver’s attention to the hazard as quickly as possible, so there would be less time wasted scanning the scene in a dangerous way.

Louw said that drivers who located the danger more quickly had more time to assess how to take back control and respond safely.
Last edited by vox_mundi on Sun 02 Oct 2016, 13:57:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby ennui2 » Sun 02 Oct 2016, 13:50:10

Great post. It's so predictable the level of FUD being slung at this topic, as if other technologies didn't have to overcome a series of hurdles before they were perfected. It's not like these issues aren't being worked on. If everyone always had this much of a defeatist attitude we'd still be stuck with stones and bear-skins. The FUD is simply a doomer luddite attitude.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Fri 07 Oct 2016, 12:04:33

Volvo's vehicle-to-vehicle communications could be a precursor to a self-driving car

Volvo will be debuting a vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology for its vehicles, according to Automotive News.

The automaker teamed up with Ericsson to develop the new technology for its European 90 series vehicles — including the S90, V90, and XC90 SUV — which are expected to ship by the end of 2016. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said that the communications are routed through a cloud platform.

The technology will send and receive data on road conditions, traffic, and other environmental conditions between compatible vehicles, creating a platform for vehicles to communicate with each other. For example, if one vehicle notices a hazard, the sensors will automatically alert the platform, which, in theory, will cause nearby vehicles connected to the platform to turn on their hazard lights.

Volvo could eventually leverage the technology to deploy self-driving cars, which it is well positioned to do. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications can be used to alert vehicles within a fleet when objects and roadblocks arise but can't be detected by radar or LiDAR technologies. Tesla is already planning to use data-sharing to help vehicles avoid undetected obstacles such as these. With Volvo already well on the way to bringing self-driving cars to market, the company could easily equip an improved version of this system in an autonomous vehicle.

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(in thousands)


Deep Learning Makes Driverless Cars Better at Spotting Pedestrians

Today’s car crash-avoidance systems and experimental driverless cars rely on radar and other sensors to detect pedestrians on the road. The next improvement may come from engineers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), who have developed a pedestrian detection system that can perform in close to real-time based on visual cues alone. This video-only detection could make systems for spotting pedestrians both cheaper and more effective.

Such a vision-based safety system has remained elusive in cars because computers typically face a tradeoff between analyzing video images quickly and drawing the right conclusions. On the one hand, a simple “cascade detection” computer vision algorithm can quickly detect many pedestrians in certain images, but lacks the sophistication to distinguish between pedestrians and similar-looking objects in the toughest cases. On the other hand, machine learning algorithms called deep neural networks can handle such complex pattern recognition, but work too slowly for real-time pedestrian detection.

Vasconcelos and his colleagues developed their algorithm to the point where it can analyze 2 to 4 image frames per second. That’s not quick enough to keep up with the pace of real-time video, but it’s getting close. Video

Google’s experimental self-driving cars currently rely on a wide array of radar, lidar, and other sensors to detect pedestrians and other objects on the road. Getting rid of some of that equipment could make the cars cheaper and easier to design. But it’s not just driverless cars that would benefit; modern crash-avoidance systems found in existing cars could also potentially make use of such an algorithm.

In 2015, its system was capable of accurately identifying pedestrians within 0.25 seconds, Anelia Angelova, a research scientist at Google working on computer vision and machine learning, told IEEE Spectrum at the time. She and her team hoped to eventually reach the 0.07-second identification benchmark needed for such a system to work in real-time.

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Your next car may be the most powerful computer you own

... Whether an augmented car only uses cameras, or fuses their output with other sensors, a tremendous amount of data is collected, that needs to be analyzed and acted on in real time. In addition, vehicle telematics, GPS, and map data all need to be integrated for any truly autonomous car. All that data requires quite a bit of horsepower to process. While the main training of the AI systems used for self-driving can be done in the cloud on massive computing clusters, the car itself needs to both run the resulting neural network (or other resulting algorithm) in real time, and also adapt to changing conditions, possibly incorporating new training data that is cloud-sourced from other drivers. Almost every autonomous vehicle project now includes some type of support for learning from all of its vehicles as they drive and gather performance and map data — like the one Nvidia and TomTom just announced.

When most of us think of computing in our car, we think about the infotainment system — which in itself has become quite a technology hotbed. But increasingly, the real computer power in your car will be used for the AI-assisted, vision and spatial sensing systems that help you to drive, or help the car to drive you. Just like the once-far-fetched idea of using your car battery to power your house has become a possibility with Tesla’s battery systems, it may be that at some point you’ll be running your high-end games on your car’s GPU while it sits in the garage, and streaming them to your TV.

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These 14 giant corporations dominate the global auto industry

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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sun 09 Oct 2016, 13:08:00

Self-Driving Cars Are Going to Beat Up on Trains, Too

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... Much of the speculation has revolved around how autonomous vehicles (or AVs) will disrupt the car industry, and the world that industry created—that is, the auto-centric neighborhoods, shopping districts, and business centers of the U.S. But a new report released Monday from the Boston Consulting Group concentrates on the potential impact AVs will have on an older, globally popular form of transportation: passenger rail. “Will Autonomous Vehicles Derail Trains?” the report asks. Short answer: Oh yes.

For Americans, this might seem like a curious question, since we’re under the impression that passenger rail got its lunch money stolen when the Interstates came along nearly 60 years ago. Which is true, even though Amtrak makes a little over 30 million passenger-trips a year, and commuter rail lines contribute perhaps 500 million more. But the E.U., India, Russia, China, and Japan all have enormous rail riderships, and when you start to count all the sundry subways, streetcars, light-rail lines, and other things that roll on tracks, you’re looking at a formidable heap of passenger rail infrastructure worldwide. What becomes of all this steel and rolling stock when the robots come?

Well, let’s say it’s not looking like a good time to be investing in this particular industry. “We expect AVs to constitute a tangible threat to passenger rail within the next one or two decades,” the report authors write.
Trains will remain the least expensive mode of transportation during peak times in urban areas. But during off-peak hours and in rural environments, they will lose riders to AVs. Rail companies may even end up in a downward spiral: with reduced overall ridership, rail companies’ overall unit costs for all remaining passengers will escalate because of the inherently high proportion of fixed costs in operating a train network. This could trigger price increases or reduced schedules, which would result in a further reduction in ridership. The off-peak impacts of declining demand in rural areas could reverberate throughout the entire rail network, since it’s difficult to operate fewer off-peak trains without affecting the costs of peak trains.

It’s not going to happen all at once, but once the death spiral begins, it ain’t stopping, because the fixed costs of running a railroad are so enormous: “Even relatively modest reductions in passenger volume could turn respectable profits into massive losses; for example, a 20 percent reduction in passenger volume could turn a 5 perfect margin into a –10 percent margin.

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A Mechanic Faces the Age of the Self-Driving Car

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... I don't know if there's an industry that changes as rapidly as the automotive industry. Here we are, with the autonomous car; we’ve got cars that are out on the roads driving themselves with cameras in the back of the vehicles to make sure that we don't hit something backing up. We've got cars that are applying the brakes, because the human brain's not functioning quite fast enough. We have to adapt and change, and we've got to be educated. I spend thousands and thousands of dollars a year on training, because it changes so much.

There are also cars nowadays that are full electric, so we're having to offer training on a vehicle that doesn't run off gasoline anymore. The industry is something that we need to get more young men and women involved in, because it's not the same occupation that I grew up in, where you were known as a mechanic or a grease monkey. Now, you're just sitting in a car's seat with a laptop figuring out what's wrong with these cars. ...

We are trying to tell the teachers at the junior-high levels that this industry has changed. When I grew up, they took all the people that didn't want to go to college, and they said, "Hey, this is a good industry. You're good with your hands. You might not be college material," and they pushed them into this industry. Now, it's changing because we're using laptops and high-tech, expensive equipment. There's going to be a day where we're going to have to have a computer programmer work for us. Even nowadays, you can sit here and not get your hands very dirty in this occupation.


Tesla Wants To Double Size Of Fremont Factory

Tesla has filed an application with the city of Fremont that would allow the company to add 4.6 million square feet of new buildings around the factory where it builds its cars. That would more than double the size of the factory where it builds it Model S and Model X electric cars as it gets ready to begin production of its less expensive Model 3 beginning late next year.

The new buildings will not be used for production. Instead they are primarily intended for warehousing parts and materials. The company will need the extra space to increase the number of cars Tesla manufactures from about 90,000 this year to over 500,000 two years from now. As part of that increase, Tesla plans to add 3,000 more employees, bringing its workforce at the factory up to more than 9,300 from the 6,200 who work at there now.

Tesla is being super aggressive with its plans to disrupt the auto industry, the battery industry, the fossil fuel industry, the utility industry, and the solar panel industry, all while creating colonies on Mars, inventing space travel as a leisure time activity, promoting the HyperLoop, and managing the development of artificial intelligence.


How Europe Is Trying to Get Everything in Place for Self-Driving Cars

It’s a politically-led alliance. Europe’s automotive and telecoms industries have formed an alliance to promote automated driving and connected cars.

Regional carmakers such as Renault , BMW , and Daimler are all involved in the European Automotive-Telecom Alliance, as are the local branches of foreign manufacturers such as Ford and Hyundai .

Major telcos in the group include Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica , and Vodafone along with equipment suppliers Ericsson and Nokia also on board.

The first goal of this alliance is to test new technologies for increasing traffic efficiency in smart cities, getting automated cars to operate in lockstep with one another (a technique known as “platooning”) and wrangling sensor data for new logistics services.

The companies, along with various trade associations, want to figure out what kinds of business models lie down the road, as well as what sort of infrastructural investments they will need. They will also set up a task force to ensure they get enough funding and cooperation from public authorities for all this.

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German lawmakers vote to ban all new gas-powered cars after 2030

Lawmakers in the Bundesrat, the upper house of Germany's parliament, agreed to a resolution that would ban production of all new internal combustion engines — which means all new gas- and diesel-powered cars — beginning in 2030, Der Spiegel reported Saturday. Instead, "only zero-emission passenger vehicles will be approved," the ban says.

Supporters of the engine ban say it is necessary to slow the effects of climate change. "If the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions is to be taken seriously, no new combustion engine cars should be allowed on roads after 2030," said Oliver Krischer, a German Greens party lawmaker, referencing the recently ratified Paris climate agreement, which is concerned with greenhouse gas emissions like those produced by gas-powered cars.


Australia's first self-driving car ready for the road this week

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The first self-driving car developed in Australia was unveiled in Victoria on Wednesday.

German multinational Bosch developed the vehicle at its Australian plant in a joint venture with the Victorian Government, which has invested $1.2 million in the project. Using the shell of a Tesla with Bosch components, the manufacturers say the car is 10 years ahead of other self-driving vehicles on the market.

It is designed to navigate roads with or without driver input. Mr Smith said cars with the Bosch technology were likely to be on the market after 2025 and they'd be marginally more expensive than regular cars.

The Bosch prototype is a level four self-driving car, which means it still has a steering wheel and the car can prompt a human to take over in some conditions. A level five car has no steering wheel. The dashboard includes a camera that watches the driver at all times and pulls over if the driver is asleep.

"The function within incorporates 60 additional components, six radars, six LIDARs, high resolution GPS, and a stereo video camera.

"It has an additional two kilometres of copper wire running through the vehicle. It has more than 13 networks.

"The computer power would probably put a spaceship on the moon."


Autonomous Vehicles Need In-Cabin Cameras to Monitor Drivers
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 15 Oct 2016, 12:47:01

Will Uber Own the Self-Driving Taxis of Tomorrow, or Will Ford?

Uber—usually powered by living, breathing human drivers—put its first self-driving taxis on Pittsburgh's public streets earlier this month. It's a first big step in the ride-hailing service's master plan to move from drivers to driverless cars. Shortly thereafter, Uber's rival Lyft declared that within five years the company's autonomous cars would rule the road, and that private car ownership in cities would all but disappear within a decade.

These kinds of ambitious proclamations have put traditional car companies on high alert. If Uber and Lyft have their way, the companies that were once kings of the road could become low-margin manufacturers of hardware for ride-hailing apps, a demotion that car makers like Ford, GM, and BMW are trying to avoid.

Some experts think companies like Ford and GM are actually better suited to be major ride-sharing players than their Silicon Valley competition. After all, they've already got the experience and infrastructure for building and servicing cars.

In August, Ford stated that by 2021 it will manufacture a high-volume fully autonomous car—without a steering wheel or foot pedals—specifically designed for a ride-hailing service. The 115-year old company responsible for the Model T may be turning the tables on Silicon Valley.

Mark Fields, chief executive of Ford Motor Co., suggested that Ford could operate a ride-hailing service powered by its own vehicles. "We have always said that we will do some things on our own," Fields said. As evidence of this idea, earlier this month Ford acquired Chariot, a dynamic shuttling service could be the technological underpinnings of a ride-hailing service.

The fight over the transportation's future is not necessarily a complete war of attrition between Silicon Valley and the Motor City. The two may need each other more than they realize.

"I'm increasingly of the opinion that ride-hailing companies will no longer be standalone businesses in 10 years," said Abuelsamid. "They will be integrated with the manufacturers so that automakers will provide top-to-bottom solutions from the design, development, and production of the vehicles...as well as the full consumer-facing ride-hailing business."


Don't try talking to the driver: In Nokia city Espoo, robot buses now cruise the streets

After a pilot scheme in Finnish capital Helsinki in August, electric driverless buses are now plying a new test route in Nokia's Espoo heartland.

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Driverless cars hit British streets in landmark trial

Donfeng Renault Testing Self-Driving Zoe Soon in China

Self-driving cars won’t just log miles and road markers; they’ll be logging you

A Silicon Valley company called Nauto announced a partnership with Toyota’s Research Institute, BMWi Ventures (a venture capital company founded by BMW), and insurance company Allianz Ventures to bring driver analysis to autonomous vehicles.

Nauto currently produces a $400 aftermarket camera- and sensor-equipped device that attaches to a car’s windshield to analyze driver behavior. According to Reuters, the device is part-dash cam—snapping footage and tagging “events” like accidents—and part-driver monitor—detecting possible driver distraction in the car like drinking or texting. Nauto then collects and anonymizes this information to draw conclusions about driver habits, intersections, and congestion in certain areas.

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Why Mercedes plans to let its self-driving cars kill pedestrians in dicey situations

A child suddenly chases a ball into the middle of road, and your only choices are to run the child over or to swerve into a tree, which could kill you and your passenger. What do you do?

In an interview published last week with Car and Driver, the manager of driver-assistance systems at Mercedes-Benz, Christoph von Hugo, revealed that the company's future autonomous vehicles would always put the driver first. In other words, in the above dilemma, they will be programmed to run over the child every time.


Bringing petrol to the (wealthy) people

Bentley Motors has commenced trials of a smartphone-powered fuel-delivery service that promises to ease the burden for those too posh to pump.

There are millions of people who have considered purchasing a Bentley. The vast majority of them have decided against it after discovering that the vehicles require regular injections of a noxious and combustible substance known as “petrol” (street names: gasolina, hi-test, Slurpee). Worse, this petrol must be procured from specialised dispensing stations, most of which lurk beneath freeway flyovers and in rough parts of town.

But Continental considerers may reach once again for their chequebooks, thanks to this week’s announcement of an on-demand fuel-delivery service. Rather than sully their tyres on the macadam of a BP drive-through, Bentley owners may now use a smartphone app to notify “Filld for Bentley” that their automobile requires a bit of that nasty stuff and have it delivered to the bemarbled cul-de-sacs of their vast estates. A truck of petrol will arrive at the appointed time, zeroing in on the car’s location and unlocking its fuel cap, and then dispense only the highest quality petrochemicals (garnished with an artisan Bourbon-cardamom cherry*) into the awaiting tank. The service will roll out first in California, because where else would an on-demand fuel-delivery startup start up?

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Rinspeed's Oasis car spins on the spot and has a garden on the dashboard

The cars of the future won't just drive themselves, they will rotate on the spot and be perfect for delivering food.

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Police jobs under threat from self-driving cars

Police highway patrols could soon become obsolete in Australia, according to a new report from the National Transport Commission (NTC).

As part of a series of research papers released by the NTC, titled Land Transport Regulation 2040, several future scenarios were predicted by the government-funded body, including the proliferation of autonomous cars on Australian roads in 25 years’ time.

As data collection intensifies and automated vehicles become the norm, “there may become an emerging need for increased back-office focus on system integrity audits and data management system licensing, rather than on-road enforcement,” reads the research paper.

The transport network forecast, which took the 40-strong NTC team 12-months to compile, predicts big changes to the way road laws are enforced.

Indeed, with automated vehicles on our roads that are each equipped with a full array of sensors and detectors, there may be little need for on-road enforcement at all,” the paper continues.

Each and every automated vehicle could stream footage and other data of illegal or unsafe behaviour direct to enforcement personnel.”

If this research holds water, it would mean that highway patrol police would no longer be necessary. It even hypothesises that liability for any road law infringements would be “partially or fully held by the service provider (rather than the driver)”.

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This robot will rake your leaves and shovel snow

A New York startup unveiled Kobi on Thursday, a robot it says can autonomously shovel snow, collect leaves and cut grass.

"We're on a mission to help people not spend time on yard work," said Steven Waelbers, cofounder of The Kobi Company. "We want people to enjoy their free time with their family."

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Knock yourself out ...

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“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Mon 17 Oct 2016, 11:39:08

Aggressive drivers are going to bully self-driving cars

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One of the great advantages of self-driving cars is how scrupulously they follow the rules of the road.

But because of the nefarious behaviour of some human drivers, it may also prove a major disadvantage.

A new study into drivers' attitudes towards self-driving cars has found that some drivers intend to "bully" autonomous vehicles when they hit the road — driving aggressively around them in the assumption that they will have to stop and let the bully through.

It makes sense: Imagine there are two cars waiting at a junction, one self-driving, and one human-driven. The self-driving car has right-of-way — but the human goes anyway. The self-driving car, programmed to protect its passengers and avoid harming other drivers, will stop itself — letting the aggressive human driver go.

Of course, this kind of behaviour is illegal. But that doesn't stop some drivers from defying the rules of the road today. Faced with a predictable autonomous vehicle with lightning-fast reflexes, it will likely encourage this behaviour even more.

... People who are more "combative" and aggressive on the road are less concerned about autonomous vehicles — suggesting that they believe they will be able to take advantage of them. "The people more open to AVs are those who have a more 'combative' view of the road and are more technologically optimistic on average, who perhaps see AVs as easier agents to deal with on the road than other humans," the study said.

One UK-based participant told the researchers: "[The autonomous vehicles are] going to stop. So you’re going to mug them right off. They’re going to stop and you’re just going to nip round."

Another reiterated the expectation that self-driving cars will be totally law-abiding: "We'll be overwhelmed by niceness. They're never going to do anything horrible to us. They're nice cars. They're not going to cut us up or get up our backsides and all the other things."


There will never be an Apple Car

After about two years of steady speculation, it now looks as if the mysterious Apple Car will never actually make it to the road.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, Apple "has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project."

Citing unnamed sources, Gurman and Webb also report that the "Project Titan" team is being dismantled and reorganized, with hundreds of departures and layoffs happening.

They add that Project Titan has been "re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future" and that "executives have given the car team a deadline of late next year to prove the feasibility of the self-driving system and decide on a final direction."


Barack Obama Talks AI, Robo Cars, and the Future of the World
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby evilgenius » Tue 18 Oct 2016, 10:56:53

The question I have is, what impact will the advent of self-driving cars really have upon ownership? Most people are speculating that people won't own cars if self-driving cars become a reality. There are several reasons why people own cars other than the actual pleasure or control they get from driving them. They differentiate us, showing us off to each other. They cocoon us when we are going places. Many people use their car to hold a lot of junk. Smokers can smoke in their own car as much as they like.

Recently, there was a story in the local paper in my town about how new buildings are being developed where the parking spaces can be easily converted to some other use. The developers figure that soon there won't be so much demand for spots by the building's residents. The person interviewed thought that old buildings, with ramp parking, were doomed. I don't know. You see, the thing is, will it actually be cheaper for a company like Uber to own all of its own cars, or to employ them along the independent contractor model and avoid the depreciation they will incur for having driven so many miles? Wouldn't it be more profitable if they could shuffle off those costs to people who own cars, or groups of cars, who need the central organizing that a company like Uber provides in order to make extra money with them? Wouldn't that mean that there would also be room for smaller, more boutique, ride app businesses that are all about local? And it is the cost of putting so many miles on any vehicle, self-driving or not, that will become important. People won't want to put actual miles on a car that is beginning to age simply because the nearest parking is always that far away from where they live, or work. At that point it won't matter that the car can drive itself to the parking spot. Whether they make enough money at what they do for a living in order to get a new car will make more of a difference.

These economics are about to transpire, what we will figure out about them, as the mechanical nature of cars changes as well. Cars are not only going to become harder, by far, for your average car owner to work on, like they haven't already gotten harder, but they will also become harder for experienced mechanics to work on, at least during the transition. Either they will have to become capable of going three hundred thousand miles with very few problems, or fixing them will become very expensive. I'm betting that, should this work, they will become more durable, but probably not right away. There's a good chance that the economics that people think will happen won't. It may even look like things are headed that way, to begin with, but unless this new thing can answer some other questions about how it will interface with human nature, I don't know that it will come off entirely as dreamed.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Tue 18 Oct 2016, 15:24:50

vox_mundi wrote:Aggressive drivers are going to bully self-driving cars

One of the great advantages of self-driving cars is how scrupulously they follow the rules of the road.

But because of the nefarious behaviour of some human drivers, it may also prove a major disadvantage.

I used to love to play a video game called "SpyHunter". You drove a car, and fended off the bad guys with various weapons.

My favorite was always the oil slick. Just drop one and watch the following bad guy do multiple donuts and crash loudly.

...

Of course, it's too dangerous and too much karma to hope for that the autonomous cars could ever legally do this to major a**hole drivers.

However, with the robot revolution, who knows? If it's low speed stuff, I like the idea of the self driving car being able to deploy blockers of some kind, which hold the jerk in place while the offending driver's car has boot(s) affixed. Or maybe those police metal tire puncture strip things would work. And then the robots pick them up so the rest of the normal traffic can proceed.

With all the cameras these cars would have, it's not like there shouldn't be plenty of objective data for court when the "bully" turns into a whiner, and appeals to the authorities.

...

Another (simpler, more practical) solution might be to finally get serious and have really big fines and tickets for such behavior. If some clown engaging in this for sport had to risk losing their license in one go -- or having a $1000 fine or up if caught -- the number of clowns playing this game should be small. All it takes is enough fed up automated car owners to get together and demand it.

Surely if society can come up with the technology and the social changes needed to make automated cars a widespread reality, any "bully" problem should be easily manageable, with a little thought and effort.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby kublikhan » Tue 18 Oct 2016, 17:09:47

People operating self-driving cars need at least six seconds and some cues from the vehicle to “get back in the loop” and take control in time to avoid an accident,
Often it takes a split second decision to avoid an accident. If the self driving car gets into a situation where an accident is imminent and requires driver input to avoid it but the driver needs 6+ seconds to "wake up" then it seems unlikely that the driver would be able to take control in time to avoid the accident.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Tue 18 Oct 2016, 18:03:20

Just finished reading this thread, all the way through. Never looked at it before because it sounded kind of boring from the title.
Anyway, thanks to all - I learned a bunch about the recent tech in the works, and that which is required for autonomous vehicles.
It sounds to me that the tech will work, or will shortly, so I only have comments about the social side. I have worked with industrial safety systems, and their associated sensors and control systems for most of my life, so I have seen the direction that things are going. Our world is definitely going towards greater automation, in all things.
I think that resistance to widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles will be stronger than many believe. I remember the resistance to automatic transmissions when they first came out. It took the gradual dieoff of many oldtimers to make it happen.
I've had a drivers license for 55 years, and one of my favorite things has always been to hit the road with no particular destination. I've also never had a wreck in a car, if that says anything, but driving has always been a stress reliever for me and millions of others. I don't think it would be the same to be "driven" on a meaningless ride-along.
Yes, I believe it will still happen (somewhat slower than many believe), but in my view, every time we make changes to give us a safer and more controlled world, we also lose something. Too much safety, too much observation, and much less control over our lives, and we tend to lose the enjoyment in life.
I guess that is also part of the reason I have ridden a motorcycle for over 60 years.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 19 Oct 2016, 11:52:03

These AI Traffic Lights Could Shorten Your Commute

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Over the past couple years, a startup named Surtrac has been mentally upgrading traffic lights in Pittsburgh with artificial intelligence. These lights collect data on the amount of traffic from cameras and radar signals, and the network of lights coordinates to ensure that all the traffic passes through intersections as fast as possible.

The AI system began with nine intersections in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood in 2012 and has quietly expanded to 50 intersections. The startup plans to implement their network across the whole city. Then, it is expected to take this technology to other cities around the country.

The technology involves a series of lights that use artificial intelligence to get as many cars through each intersection as possible. The system is decentralized, which means each light is only responsible for one intersection. The lights coordinate by sending information on incoming cars to nearby lights. This technique reduces the load on the network and makes it easier to scale up.

The next step is to have traffic signals talk to cars. The Smith’s group has already installed short-range radios at 24 intersections. Such systems are expected to begin being built into some cars in 2017, he said. Traffic signals could then let drivers know of upcoming traffic conditions or let them know lights are about to change, increasing safety and relieving congestion.

A vehicle-to-infrastructure communication system could also prioritize certain vehicles. The CMU team is working with the Pittsburgh Port Authority to develop a system that prioritizes public transport buses.

Pittsburgh is the test-bed for Uber’s self-driving cars, and Smith’s work on AI-enhanced traffic signals that talk with self-driving cars is paving the way for the ultimately fluid and efficient autonomous intersections.

This AI network has so far reduced travel time for drivers by 25 percent, and time spent idling in traffic by 40 percent. It is also estimated to reduce emissions by 21 percent, based on Surtrac's own numbers.


Audi has come up with a smart dashboard that 'talks' to traffic lights to take this dilemma out of driving

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The 'Traffic Light Assist' technology, which will be launched by Audi in the autumn, aims to tell driver exactly how long they have before traffic lights change colour.

It will communicate with new smart traffic lights already installed select cities and metropolitan areas across the US.

Audi says it will also be used in UK cars in the future, but is waiting for the infrastructure to be rolled out first.

The cars will receive real-time signal information from the advanced traffic management system that monitors traffic lights.

While waiting at a connected traffic light, the driver's information system will indicate the time remaining until the signal changes to green.

The system works using an on board LTE data connection, a kind of high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals, which talks to Audi's servers. The firm is linking these to smart city servers.

'This feature represents Audi's first step in vehicle-to-infrastructure integration,' said Pom Malhotra, general manager at Connected Vehicles.

'In the future we could envision this technology integrated into vehicle navigation, start / stop functionality and can even be used to help improve traffic flow in municipalities.


19 companies racing to put self-driving cars on the road by 2021



We rounded up 19 companies aiming to have driverless car technology ready by 2021, with some even declaring their fully autonomous car will be hitting the roads at that time. Here's who is in the race to make driverless cars a reality just four years from now. ...
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sat 22 Oct 2016, 11:04:31

All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware

As of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver. Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.

This in-vehicle supercomputer is powered by the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 is an end-to-end AI computing system that uses groundbreaking approaches in deep learning to perceive and understand the car’s surroundings.

... Musk said it made sense to build in the self-driving tech now - even if it cannot be used for some time - because trying to retrofit the hardware at a later stage would cost consumers more than buying a new vehicle.

For now, the hardware will run in "shadow mode", gathering information on when the technology may have caused or avoided accidents had it been in command of the vehicle.

Mr Musk said he hoped that Tesla could one day show regulators significant data which demonstrated the self-driving technology was safer than having humans behind the wheel.


Tesla claims it can control how customers use its self-driving car

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Tesla recently announced all new vehicles coming off the line would fully support its self-driving technology, at least eventually. The company also included some details on how customers who purchase self-driving vehicles are allowed to use their cars. The company’s claims will almost certainly be tested in court, given how Tesla is attempting to execute a fairly massive power grab.

Tesla’s design page for the Model S contains the following whopper:

Image

Whether this is legal is an interesting question. As Slate notes, it’s the latest salvo fired in a decades-long trend to dilute the very concept of ownership and transform physical products into “licensed” versions that are treated more like software.

So how can Tesla know what you’re doing with your vehicle? That’s easy — it tracks the car extensively, both to provide software updates and monitor driver behavior. Last year, Tesla raised eyebrows by sending waves of emails asking certain customers not to spend so much time recharging at Superchargers. In a well-discussed spat with the New York Times, Musk revealed Tesla had exact records of where the tested vehicle had stopped, started, and how much it had been driven (and at what speeds and operating temperatures).

If issues related to software ownership and licensing aren’t resolved, the future looks downright draconian. The implicit argument being made here is that the use of algorithms magically transforms products from “owned” to “licensed.” So long as such products were a distinct minority of the things people used on a daily basis, this wasn’t a huge concern. Given that the stated goal of IoT evangelists is to put sensors and software in basically everything, it’s going to be a real problem going forward.
Car manufacturers are already deploying technology that allows them to turn a vehicle off remotely if someone misses a payment.

How long until we see even tighter restrictions imposed on people who the manufacturer thinks have breached its Terms of Service? Forcing an end user to only drive for a specific network should be as illegal as forcing employees to buy their goods through a company store.

Image
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Singapore to test self-driving buses

The buses to be used for the trial will be electric-hybrid vehicles, which have batteries that will be charged when the opportunity arises, for instance whenever the buses stop at a depot.

The self-driving vehicles are expected to ferry commuters between the NTU compound and the nearby Pioneer MRT station.

Earlier this week, Singapore said it would also seek information from industry and research institutes on the potential use of self-driving vehicles for street cleaning and refuse collection.


Behind Tesla's Headlines, The Military Drives Autonomous Vehicles

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Seven unmanned military trucks photographed during a test of the Army’s autonomous mobility system. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

The U.S. Army and other world militaries are moving to fully autonomous vehicles “not for a return on investment, but for force protection,” said Karlyn Stanley, co-author of a new RAND report on autonomous vehicle technology, “protecting the soldiers who are in the convoys transferring fuel and water and other important supplies.”

The military has a compelling case for moving convoys of vehicles through dangerous areas without putting soldiers at risk, motivating the military to perfect the same technologies that will eventually move passenger vehicles down dangerous highways at greatly reduced risk to passengers.

“The army is very interested in using automated and autonomous vehicles to assist with that challenge,” said Stanley, an innovation-policy expert, at the Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago. “And if we have the military moving into this area, I think that will speed up deployment elsewhere.”

As the photo above testifies, the U.S. Army has already achieved this form of platooning, and that’s just the beginning of its plans.

“My vision is for Army vehicles to have scalable autonomous capabilities,” said Matt Donohue, a ground maneuver technology portfolio director for U.S. Army, speaking to Army Technology Magazine. “For Army tactical vehicles, this means scalable autonomy from leader-follower to fully autonomous capable, including the ability to be loaded and unloaded by autonomous material handling equipment.”

Mining and farming companies likewise have compelling economic reasons to switch to driverless vehicles, and will benefit from development of vehicles and equipment that perform parallel tasks for the military, Stanley said.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sun 23 Oct 2016, 14:15:35

Image

evilgenius wrote:The question I have is, what impact will the advent of self-driving cars really have upon ownership? Most people are speculating that people won't own cars if self-driving cars become a reality. There are several reasons why people own cars other than the actual pleasure or control they get from driving them. They differentiate us, showing us off to each other. They cocoon us when we are going places. Many people use their car to hold a lot of junk. Smokers can smoke in their own car as much as they like.

Your questions got me thinking about the General Motors, Standard Oil, and Firestone transportation conspiracy (The Great Transportation Conspiracy, Taken for a Ride)

Like scrapping the all electric Trolleys for ICE buses, the self-driving vehicle bubble is being driven from the top - down. It's not being driven by huge current demand from the public.

Also, almost all the effort in self-driving cars is in fleet vehicles (Uber, Lyft, etc.) and 'transportation as a service'. The end game appears to be not only the removal of the middle class from the driver seat but also from the ownership category.

So, Why is this?

Drivers that don't drive are going to be out of a job. People who are out of a job can't afford cars.

What effect would occur if you reduced the number of vehicles on the road by 75% and used them more efficiently? Is this the solution to Peak Oil thought up in some smoke-filled room in Davos? Who knows?

evilgenius wrote:... will it actually be cheaper for a company like Uber to own all of its own cars, or to employ them along the independent contractor model and avoid the depreciation they will incur for having driven so many miles? Wouldn't it be more profitable if they could shuffle off those costs to people who own cars, or groups of cars, who need the central organizing that a company like Uber provides in order to make extra money with them? ...


First off; for a number of reasons they will probably lease vehicles rather than own them.

Removing the human from the drivers seat will also reduce their operating cost by 50-70%

A self driving electric car might cost $45,000 amortized over 3 years ($15,000/yr). If there was a human in the drivers seat, you would need to add another $135,000 ($45,000/yr) to the cost of operations. This is why they want to '... keep the brain, dump the body'

Image

Second; depreciation is exactly what they want right now.

Accelerated depreciation allows companies to write off their assets faster in earlier years than the straight-line depreciation method and to write off a smaller amount in the later years. The major benefit of using this method is the tax shield it provides.

Accelerated depreciation can reduce costs during a company's startup years. By increasing the deductions taken during the first few years of business, you will reduce your company's overall tax debt and have more money to channel toward marketing, company development and additional equipment purchases. More money available for marketing and expansion during a company's early years can increase its chances of succeeding in its market.

The overall cost of expensive equipment can be significantly reduced with accelerated depreciation. When equipment is leased or purchased with loans, the tax savings created by accelerated depreciation can be used to make additional payments toward loan principals or outstanding lease amounts. These additional payments will also reduce the overall interest paid by reducing the outstanding balance owed each year.

The increased deductions created by accelerated depreciation allow businesses to defer a portion of their tax debt. Since the deductions will be reduced once the accelerated depreciation period has ended, an increase in taxes due will occur at that time. For companies that are trying to reduce the taxes that they currently owe, deferring tax debt using accelerated depreciation can grant them additional time before they must pay the full amount of their taxes.


evilgenius wrote:...Cars are not only going to become harder, by far, for your average car owner to work on, like they haven't already gotten harder, but they will also become harder for experienced mechanics to work on, at least during the transition. ...

Actually, I think they will be easier to work on.

An Electric Vehicle has a computer, batteries, inverter and motors in the wheelhubs. That's it!

The motors work like brakes during regenerative braking and the motors don't require a transmission. The system will handle self-diagnostics. Software will get updated periodically, but that doesn't require a mechanic. It simplifies maintenance considerably.

Image
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby vox_mundi » Sun 23 Oct 2016, 14:28:50

Tesla Self-Driving Car Will Go From Los Angeles To NYC In 2017

By 2017, Tesla cars could be driving all the way across the country without any hands on the wheel, according to CEO Elon Musk and his vision for driverless technology. The enigmatic entrepreneur also had a few choice words for the media during the surprise announcement Wednesday, accusing journalists of "killing people" by over-reporting Tesla Autopilot crashes, which he described as "basically almost none."

Having teased a big announcement via Twitter for the past week, what Musk finally revealed late Wednesday was an enhanced version of the electric vehicle's autopilot software. By the end of next year, said Musk, Tesla would demonstrate a fully autonomous drive from, say, "a home in L.A., to Times Square ... without the need for a single touch, including the charging."

Effective immediately, Tesla will equip all models with a network of cameras and other sensors capable of watching everything happening around the vehicle and making instant decisions on how to respond to potential problems. The new technology is a significant step up from the semi-autonomous Autopilot system now used on Tesla's Model S sedan and Model X battery-SUV.


Actually, the Tesla Model S has already made it from LA to NYC on Autopilot at Level 2, next year it will be at Level 5.

Alex Roy Shatters Electric and Autonomous Cannonball Run Records in a Tesla

... The trio also set a new Autonomous Driving (AD) Cannonball record, using Tesla’s semi-AD Autopilot 7 97.7% of the journey from coast to coast, bettering the prior record of 96.1%.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby GHung » Tue 25 Oct 2016, 17:36:39

A self-driving truck just hauled 51,744 cans of Budweiser on a Colorado highway
http://money.cnn.com/2016/10/25/technol ... -stack-dom

In the wee hours of Thursday morning, 51,744 cans of Budweiser received an escort worthy of a president.

Otto, a startup Uber bought this summer, used one of its autonomous trucks to complete a 120-mile trek in Colorado, which the companies are calling the first commercial delivery using a self-driving truck.

The truck cruised down Interstate 25 with an empty driver's seat. The human who piloted the truck from Anheuser-Busch to the highway shifted to the back of the cab until the truck exited the highway. ....

...... "This is a big deal. Transportation is being transformed by technology," Bhatt told CNNMoney. "For me, it comes back to this: Technology can help us save lives."

The test was months in the making. This spring, Anheuser-Busch (AHBIF), which makes Budweiser, reached out to Otto, then a highly regarded self-driving truck startup. The brewer was interested in how self-driving trucks could help its operation. Each year, its beer travels 450 million miles on U.S. roads.

"We're eager to begin to scale this," said James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch. "I see a future where this technology becomes ubiquitous, it becomes similar to automatic transmission or cruise control." ........
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby Newfie » Wed 26 Oct 2016, 07:02:13

What meaningful work do we have set aside for all the newly displaced workers?
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby Subjectivist » Wed 26 Oct 2016, 10:37:30

Newfie wrote:What meaningful work do we have set aside for all the newly displaced workers?


Nancy Pelosi says we will become Artists and Preformers.
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby GHung » Wed 26 Oct 2016, 10:46:56

Subjectivist wrote:
Newfie wrote:What meaningful work do we have set aside for all the newly displaced workers?


Nancy Pelosi says we will become Artists and Preformers.


Do you have a source for that quote? And what is a "Preformer"?
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Re: THE Self-Driving Car / Ridesharing Thread

Unread postby Hawkcreek » Wed 26 Oct 2016, 12:16:06

GHung wrote:
Subjectivist wrote:
Newfie wrote:What meaningful work do we have set aside for all the newly displaced workers?


Nancy Pelosi says we will become Artists and Preformers.


Do you have a source for that quote? And what is a "Preformer"?

Someone who gets stuff ready prior to the actual forming.
Come On, Ghung, everybody knows that.
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