Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving

October 20, 2016 by  
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Today, Tesla finally unveiled the second half its big Model 3 reveal . Shortly after 5 p.m., the company revealed that all new Tesla vehicles will include the hardware needed for full self-driving capacity, effective immediately. While this includes the Model 3, older vehicles like the Model S and Model X will also include the new hardware — in fact, the vehicles are already in production and available for purchase. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbPqIHwSHos In a blog post today, Tesla said: “We are excited to announce that, 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.” The company has received criticism in the past for its Autpilot. Tesla says that they are being cautious to make sure the program is safe. “Before activating the features enabled by the new hardware, we will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.” All updates to the system will be delivered wirelessly through the company’s over-the-air software updates. The announcement, which launched promptly at what Tesla fans are now calling “Elon o’clock,”  followed days of mystery. With the announcement, we finally know what CEO Elon Musk mysteriously teased about in a tweet just 10 days ago. Originally scheduled for October 17 and then bumped to October 19, the announcement didn’t come with the usual set of hints and clues that Tesla is known for letting out into the wild. The secrecy surrounding this unveiling drove the rumor mill for days, with speculations ranging from the launch of Autopilot 2.0 to “Tesla Glass.” Turns out Tesla fans are pretty smart, since the Model 3 reveal centered around their new Autopilot, which will come with every new Tesla. Related: Tesla slates mysterious product unveiling for October 17 The new vehicles will include eight surround cameras, which provide 360-degree visibility around the car for a range of up to 250 meters. For even greater safety, all cars will include 12 updated ultrasonic sensors, which can detect both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of Tesla’s previous system. Rounding out the hardware is a forward-facing radar with enhanced processing which can see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and even the car ahead on the road. This cutting-edge tech goes far beyond the ordinary senses of a human driver, which the company argues will make the car’s autonomous capabilities far safer than traditional vehicles. The shift appears to be part of a larger strategy to provide on-demand mobility services to those who are unable to drive or simply can’t afford to purchase a personal vehicle. The weeks leading up to this announcement were a little unusual, even for an outlandish entrepreneur like Musk. One day before the original announcement date, the CEO tweeted an update , pushing the Tesla news to October 19. It “needs a few more days of refinement,” he said, without specifying whether he was referring to the unveiling or the product itself. In the absence of any hints from the company about the “unexpected” new product, Electrek conducted a poll of its readers last week and the majority guessed the announcement has something to do with Autopilot 2.0 or some sort of integrated augmented reality technology. In other Tesla news, the company quietly updated the marketing webpage for the upcoming Model 3, the $35,000 all-electric sports car. Musk originally promised that deliveries on preorders would begin in late 2017, but the website has now been updated to reflect that “production begins” late 2017 and “Delivery estimate for new reservations is 2018 or later.” While it seems that this represents a delay in Musk’s original timeline, the company has insisted that it doesn’t, telling The Verge that customers who have already reserved a Model 3 will still receive delivery in 2017, but all future reservations will be fulfilled in 2018 or later. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwD1hjlbhwU + Tesla Images via Tesla Cat DiStasio contributed to this report.

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Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

September 15, 2016 by  
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Pittsburgh Uber riders now have a chance of being greeted by a self-driving car . Uber just rolled out a fleet of autonomous cars to test the technology in the real world. They’ll also watch how passengers and other drivers respond to the autonomous vehicles . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmofgf-Y3Mc Uber’s self-driving cars are outfitted with a Lidar unit, which is provides a 360 degree view, and cameras so the cars can respond to the unexpected along the road. While the technology is advanced enough for fully autonomous driving, for now a human driver will ride along, poised to take the wheel if necessary. Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car Testing how the self-driving cars respond to obstacles and how humans respond to the cars are both important aspects of Uber’s real-world research. Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Aaron Steinfeld told TechCrunch, “Autonomy – typically people are a little bit nervous about it. But once they experience it they tend to build up familiarity and become accepting of it.” What about all the drivers who could lose their jobs? While Uber says technology can be ” disrupting ,” they also said self-driving cars could open up new employment opportunities. Self-driving Uber cars ultimately could cruise around cities 24 hours each day, and thus would require more maintenance than the average car which may only be driven for a few hours daily. According to a statement from the company, “Of course, we can’t predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society: reducing the number of traffic accidents, which today kill 1.3 million people a year; freeing up the 20 percent of space in cities currently used to park the world’s billion plus cars ; and cutting congestion, which wastes trillions of hours every year.” + Uber Via TechCrunch Images via Uber

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Local Motors unveils plans for self-driving 3D-printed car with drone tech

September 9, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjhl3UgbWxI The contest was based on the Strati , a 3D-printed car produced by Local Motors that vaguely resembles a dune buggy. The competition challenged engineers to create new electronics features that would be suitable for a self-driving version of the 3D-printed vehicle. (In the video above, you can watch Imahara ride shotgun with Local Motors General Manager David Woessner in the Swim, another 3D-printed vehicle and the first model the car company aims to put through highway certification.) Related: Local Motors unveils world’s first 3D-printed car for mass production The winning design, FLY-MODE, has an appeal that is easy to understand. One of the most exciting aspects of a self-driving car is the possibility for activities that people can engage in while they’re being transported from Point A to Point B, since staring at the road will no longer be necessary. The FLY-MODE has a video screen, internet connectivity, and the ability to connect with an actual flying drone and view live drone footage during the ride, giving you the feeling they are flying instead of riding in a car. The contest winner scored a trip to the Local Motors microfactory in Phoenix, Arizona and will be invited to participate in the final build process and production video with Local Motors and Imahara. We can’t wait to see that! So, let’s run that back a bit: my favorite Mythbuster (sorry, Adam and Jamie), self-driving cars, 3D printing, crowdsourced engineering, and drone technology. Yep, sounds like a good time to me. + Mouser Electronics + Local Motors Images via Local Motors

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Uber launching self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month

August 18, 2016 by  
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Uber has been quietly working on research and development for its own self-driving cars, and the first units in its autonomous fleet will tool around the streets of Pittsburgh before the end of this month, according to a new report. Bloomberg broke the exciting news today, backed up by an interview with John Bares, who heads Uber’s autonomous car project at the company’s Advanced Technologies Center. The company aims to eventually replace its human drivers with a self-driving fleet that passengers can summon on demand through the smartphone app, just like always, but different. Last spring, residents of Pittsburgh first spotted Uber’s research car , and the rideshare company finally  confirmed its self-driving car project a few months ago. Later this month, Uber’s self-driving test fleet will hit the road with humans in the driver seat (both for safety and legality) and passengers will be able to use their smartphones to summon a ride like usual, without knowing whether they will be picked up in one of the new cars. Although Google, Tesla, Ford, and other companies have all been testing self-driving cars on the road, this may be the first time any company has invited the public to participate in the testing process. Related: Uber’s self-driving test car spotted on the streets of Pittsburgh Right now, the self-driving cars are factory Volvo XC90 models that have been retrofitted with sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers to control the vehicle’s driving mechanisms. Bloomberg reports that Volvo has delivered just a few of these modified SUVs so far, but will reach 100 by the end of the year. Volvo and Uber have apparently agreed to invest $300 million in developing a fully autonomous car by 2021. Uber may source self-driving cars from other manufacturers, but little is known about whether the company has any deals in the works. For now, we’ll wait and see how the ridesharing company’s new self-driving prototypes perform in downtown Pittsburgh, and wonder which company will be next in line to put members of the public in the backseats of their own autonomous vehicles. Via Bloomberg Images via Uber

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Uber launching self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month

Volvo announces plans for ‘deathproof’ cars by the year 2020

January 26, 2016 by  
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For decades Volvo has used the safety story to win over customers. Now Volvo’s CEO has announced plans for completely “deathproof” cars by the year 2020. “If you meet Swedish engineers, they’re pretty genuine,” stated Lex Kerssemakers, CEO of Volvo Cars North America. “They don’t say things when they don’t believe in it.” How will Volvo achieve such a feat? Volvo plans to use the latest autonomous technologies, like adaptive cruise control, auto lane keeping assistance and pedestrian avoidance systems to help drivers avoid a crash. Read the rest of Volvo announces plans for ‘deathproof’ cars by the year 2020

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Google’s self-driving car could rival Uber and Lyft

December 23, 2015 by  
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Google is reportedly working on a plan to expand its self-driving car fleet, which will involve turning its self-driving car division into a dedicated company. The standalone company would commercialize the project and give Google a driverless rival to ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft. Read the rest of Google’s self-driving car could rival Uber and Lyft

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Google and Ford will join forces to make self-driving cars, report says

December 22, 2015 by  
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It’s not news that a number of different companies have been working to develop self-driving cars . Tesla and Google are clear front runners in the race, but some big car makers are looking to get in on the action as well. Nissan, Toyota, and Ford have all dipped their toes into the autonomous vehicle technology pool. With so many companies chasing their own dreams of cars that need no driver, one wonders how anyone will be able to translate technological advances into an actual product that people can buy and drive, err, ride in. Reportedly, Google and Ford are teaming up to do just that, pooling their knowledge and resources to create a new company specifically focused on self-driving cars. Read the rest of Google and Ford will join forces to make self-driving cars, report says

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Ford’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid to hit the streets of California next year

December 16, 2015 by  
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Last week Ford announced plans to pour billions of dollars into electric vehicles by the year 2020, and yesterday the automaker revealed its vision for driverless cars . During a press event at Ford’s Silicon Valley Research & Innovation Center , CEO Mark Fields pinned a California license plate on the company’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid and announced that trials for the vehicle will begin next year. Read the rest of Ford’s self-driving Fusion Hybrid to hit the streets of California next year

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Tesla to design fully driverless cars

December 2, 2015 by  
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After Tesla rolled out Autopilot features to its Model S cars in October, drivers immediately started exploiting the newfound capabilities and using them in ways the electric car company’s CEO warned against. Still, that hasn’t scared Tesla away from the quest for a fully autonomous car. The big boss man Elon Musk took to Twitter recently and put out a call for software pros who might like to join the Tesla Autopilot team. Read the rest of Tesla to design fully driverless cars

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Toyota, Stanford, and MIT launch $50 million Artificial Intelligence initiative to develop cars that think and learn

September 4, 2015 by  
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At a press conference today in Silicon Valley Toyota announced plans to invest $50 million over five years to set up joint artificial intelligence research centers at Stanford and MIT . The centers will focus on developing autonomous technology and next-gen systems that will make driving safer, easier, and more efficient. The initiative will take a human-focused approach to develop vehicles that think and learn from drivers – and systems that know when to step in to prevent accidents and save lives. Over 1 million people die every year in car accidents, and Toyota’s goal is to go beyond protecting people in a crash to preventing crashes entirely. Read the rest of Toyota, Stanford, and MIT launch $50 million Artificial Intelligence initiative to develop cars that think and learn

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