Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

August 2, 2017 by  
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Atlanta’s roads are about to enter the future as driverless cars start hitting the streets. Georgia Tech, the City of Atlanta and City Hall joined to launch a test that will help open up the city to autonomous traffic. Self-driving cars will head down a “smart corridor” in Atlanta, guided by a network of Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors and other smart transmitters on September 14. The test run will take place on Atlanta’s North Avenue down a mile-and-a-half stretch of carefully managed roadway. Of course, there will be a human in place to take over in case the technology doesn’t live up to expectations. Atlanta is testing the technology as part of the Safer Roads Challenge , and they are just the third city in the world to do so. Related: Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona The technology isn’t the only obstacle holding back autonomous cars. Questions about who is liable in a crash, what happens if a guidance system is hacked and how to handle the transition period where there are still drivers trying to navigate streets full of autonomous vehicles. Still, it’s exciting to see the technology marching forward . It may be only a matter of time before self-driving cars become the norm rather than the exception. Via Curbed and Atlanta Magazine Images via Unsplash and Google

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Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September

New autopilot software update improves performance and feel of Tesla cars

May 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla may be the most valuable car company in the United States, but they are still raising the bar for autonomous vehicles. The company has been working to improve their software , and their new Autopilot update comes with relaxed speed restrictions that make driving on undivided roads and off highways even better. Tesla recently began pushing a new software update for cars with the second generation Autopilot. The new update allows cars to zoom along up to speeds of 90 miles per hour (mph), but also threw out the old limit of 35 mph for off-highway driving and aligned it with the old speed restrictions on the first generation Autopilot, which is five mph greater than the speed limit detected. If the Model S doesn’t detect a speed limit, the restriction is 45 mph. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? Vice president of Autopilot software Chris Lattner said on Twitter the performance and feel of the car is much improved. It appears Autosteer now is on par with the feature in the first generation Autopilot, according to Electrek – they said Autopilot 2.0 didn’t show signs of progress as Tesla moved away from using Mobileye technology and started using their own computer vision. Elon Musk said his company saw “a bit of a dip” after they unexpectedly transitioned away from Mobileye. But Electrek said it appears they’ve now largely overcome the issue. Musk said in a conference call, “…we had to basically recreate all the Mobileye functionality in about six months – which we did.” Electrek said Tesla has been better utilizing front-facing cameras on their vehicles. Handling around curves and turns looks better with the new update, as does driving on roads that aren’t divided and have little markings. Whether or not the car detects speed limits could be an issue; Electrek suggested that feature could be improved in future updates. YouTube user Tesla Trip took a spin with the new software and posted a 23 minute video showing the excellent handling on roads with few markings; you can check it out here . Via Electrek ( 1 , 2 ) Images via screenshot

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New autopilot software update improves performance and feel of Tesla cars

Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

October 26, 2016 by  
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You can now buy beer shipped by a self-driving truck . Autonomous truck company Otto , which was founded by two former Google employees and has now joined with Uber , just made history with the ” world’s first shipment by a self-driving truck .” They transported 51,744 Budweiser beer cans around 120 miles through Colorado . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0Kzb3haK8 An Otto truck ferried the beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, passing through the Denver downtown area on the way. A professional driver was present in the truck, but monitored the vehicle while in the sleeper berth rather than the driver’s seat. The truck was equipped with lidar sensors, radar, and cameras to navigate the Colorado roads, and steered, braked, and accelerated without any human help the whole trip. According to Otto, the state of Colorado offered full support for the venture. Related: Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles According to an Otto blog post on the momentous drive, “When you’ll see a truck driving down the road with nobody in the front seat, you’ll know that it’s highly unlikely to get into a collision, drive aggressively, or waste a single drop of fuel.” Otto envisions their self-driving trucks could help drivers. In a blog post on joining Uber , they cited an article from The Atlantic that said about a third of 3.5 million U.S. truckers will face a serious accident during their careers. Also, turnover in the trucking industry is rapid; companies lose around 90 percent of drivers yearly as the drivers seek better opportunities. When Otto joined with Uber they hoped to create a freight network that would create such opportunities for drivers. Otto said, “Our self-driving trucks will allow drivers to rest while their truck is moving, and our platform will ensure drivers can easily find loads and are paid fairly…Self-driving trucks together with a marketplace create a virtuous cycle where everyone benefits.” + Otto Images via Otto and Otto Facebook

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Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

August 4, 2016 by  
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Autonomous vehicles have finally come of age and will revolutionize the way people commute by improving traffic flow, easing road travel hassles and improving road safety. But to achieve these goals, the autonomous vehicle industry will have to overcome a host of legal, ethical and engineering challenges. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering degree program. + Ohio University

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INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

Tesla responds to first ever death-by-autopilot crash in Florida

July 1, 2016 by  
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This week Tesla disclosed that the first known death caused by a self-driving car was due to one of its own. Joshua Brown was involved in a fatal accident on May 7, when his Model S sensor system failed to discriminate between a bright white sky and the bright white side of a large 18-wheel truck crossing the highway. A release by Tesla admits that the autopilot system is “not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=5TjbqVartjM Brown was a Navy veteran and avid enthusiast of the electric vehicle company, posting videos of his adventures in his Model S. Tesla acknowledged his commitment to their mission in a statement about the incident, yet also reminded the public that the autopilot system requires constant awareness from the driver and employs a variety of features to encourage drivers to stay attentive. Related: The Tesla Model S can now drive, park and brake without relying on a human driver The accident, which took place in Williston, Florida, is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which reported that Brown died at the scene from the impact of the semi tearing through the top of his car. Tesla’s statement explains that neither the autopilot nor Brown applied the brakes. Tesla has recently hinted that the affordable Model 3 will be equipped with self-driving  capabilities, so the technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, neither are people’s tendencies to push limits or succumb to human error. The benefits of autopilot assistance are abundant, as are the precautions drivers must take to use it safely. You can read Tesla’s full response to the accident here . Via  The Guardian Images via  Flickr

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Tesla responds to first ever death-by-autopilot crash in Florida

Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

July 1, 2016 by  
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A little more than a month from now, Olympic volleyball players will be spiking balls in the sand on the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Preparing the city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is no simple task, but a series of unfortunate and embarrassing events have added to the skepticism about the fate of the massive international event. Yesterday, a beachgoer discovered a dismembered foot as well as another unidentified body part on the shore , washed up with the tide. The police investigation is underway, but this most recent development has critics wondering whether Rio can ever be ready to host the Games. Embed from Getty Images Upon initial investigation, police suggest the body parts may belong to a woman or a young adult, but no identification has been made as of this report. Although the discovery is ominous on its own, it compounds the recent string of ‘bad news’ in Rio de Janeiro , which is now just a few weeks away from the Games’ opening ceremonies. The problems are numerous, and widespread, leading many to wonder whether Brazil’s second largest city was a good choice for the epic sporting event. Related: Soldier kills a jaguar used in Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay Two days prior to the shore discovery, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro warned that the event might be a “big failure” due to the state’s insufficient finances. “I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality,” Francisco Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo . “We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.” Embed from Getty Images The economic situation is so bad that police and firefighters are protesting against the government over unpaid wages, warning visitors that their safety may be in jeopardy. Public demonstrations were held as recently as Monday over unpaid wages, and graffiti has popped up around the city related to the conflict. On an even broader scale, health officials are concerned about the still-present Zika virus and warning pregnant women to avoid the events and the city entirely, due to the high risk of severe birth defects associated with contracting the mosquito-borne disease. Despite these events, there has been little discussion about altering the plan for the Games. Via CNN Lead image via Eric Steffen/Flickr

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Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles

June 22, 2016 by  
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To some, the Trucker is a modern folk hero, an American archetype engaged in cross-country adventure to ensure that consumerism keeps on truckin’ . But if you remove the red, white, and blue colored glasses,  trucking can be seen as dangerous to the driver , those who share the road, and the environment . If the innovators at Otto, a newly founded business dedicated to transforming the commercial trucking industry with self-driving vehicles , have their way, the trucker may undergo a healthful, green makeover for the potential benefit of society at large. Previously under development out of the public eye, Otto was unveiled in a Medium post written by Anthony Levandowski and Lior Ron, two of the ex-Google employees that founded Otto. In the post, the authors detail the costs of the trucking status quo: 28% of road pollution is generated by commercial trucking, despite the sector only accounting for 1% of all road traffic; road fatalities exacerbated by exhausted truck drivers; inefficient use of resources to move goods; and a shortage of workers willing to drive trucks. Otto’s solution? Autonomous trucks. “We intend to enhance the capabilities of the Otto truck, collect safety data to demonstrate its benefits, and bring this technology to every corner of the U.S. highway system,” said Levandowski and Lior. Related: Six semi-autonomous trucks just drove 1,300 miles across Europe Otto’s approach is unique in that it is designing technology to complement truck drivers, not replace them. They intend to install technology on existing trucks to allow truck drivers to, among other things, get enough sleep so that they can safely guide their cargo to its destination. However, one wonders how long this delicate balance between labor and automation can last. As autonomous driving technology continues to improve and costs of labor rise, businesses may make the decision to forgo human drivers altogether. The fate of these truck drivers and the businesses and communities designed around truck routes remains unclear. Technology may reduce the harm of trucking, but better policy will be needed to handle the fallout of disruptive change. Via AutoBlog Images via Otto

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Solar Relief is providing emergency housing and solar power to communities in need

June 22, 2016 by  
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Solar Relief has developed a Portable Power Supply product that can operate a range of electrical appliances using clean energy. Inventor Trent Small lived through Cyclone Yasi and felt the effects of not having access to mains power for a number of days, so he decided to create a system that could provide reliable, clean energy in case of emergency . Solar Relief also provides Safe Houses, powered by the Portable Supply unit, to give people an eco-friendly, safe, strong space that can be deployed anywhere globally. A portable, non reflective, flexible solar panel is sold as an accessory to the housing units and Portable Supply Unit and could be used by campers and people living off the grid, in addition to those needing emergency relief. Solar Relief has recently been to Fiji after Cyclone Winston devastated the country and through the help of organizations such as Rotary and QLD Master Builders Foundation , they have been able to provide PPS units to schools and villages which would not have access to power for in the foreseeable future. https://youtu.be/F0vXD_yYqEs + Solar Relief

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Solar Relief is providing emergency housing and solar power to communities in need

3D-printed self-driving Olli bus to hit the streets in the US

June 17, 2016 by  
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Arizona-based startup Local Motors has created a 3D-printed , self-driving bus that can carry up to twelve people. The bus is named Olli, and it’s designed to serve as an on-demand transportation option. Like human-helmed cars from Uber or Lyft, Olli would arrive to pick up riders after being summoned by a mobile app. Unlike other autonomous vehicle projects from Google and others, which are expected to be available to the public several years in the future, Olli is ready to hit the streets as soon as regulations allow for it. While Olli has no human driver, IBM has volunteered the services of its flagship artificial intelligence system Watson to serve as a friendly interface between riders and the vehicle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymz4SYVr_EE “The technology has been ready—fielding it is what has been hard,” says Local Motors co-founder and chief executive John Rogers. “Local Motors is about selling into the markets that are ready now.” This quick roll-out is facilitated by Olli’s unique assembly through locally based 3D printing shops. “We hope to be able to print this vehicle in about 10 hours and assemble it in another hour,” says Rogers. The company anticipates the eventual establishment of hundreds of micro-factories across the globe, ready to produce Olli buses uniquely suited to local needs. Related: This solar-powered self-driving boat is making a historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean Olli’s driving is guided by a computer system designed by Local Motors and several partners. While IBM is not involved in this process, the tech giant provides the user interface system, powered by Watson. “Watson is bringing an understanding to the vehicle,” says Bret Greenstein of IBM. “A vehicle that understands human language, where you can walk in and say, ‘I’d like to get to work,’ that lets you as a passenger relax and enjoy your journey.” Local Motors and IBM believe that Watson’s “human” touch will allow riders to build a relationship with the artificially intelligent Olli. Local Motors is now in discussions with dozens of cities in at least 50 countries which are interested in bringing Olli to their streets. + Local Motors Via Phys.org Images via Local Motors

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3D-printed self-driving Olli bus to hit the streets in the US

UK Jumps on the Driverless Car Bandwagon with New Legislation

June 10, 2014 by  
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The UK refuses to be left out of the driverless car revolution . Science minister David Willetts is encouraging British companies to develop self-driving cars, and to ease implementation of the vehicles when they come onto the market, ministers in the Department for Transport are writing up new laws to address special needs associated with these vehicles. Read the rest of UK Jumps on the Driverless Car Bandwagon with New Legislation Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: David Willetts driverless cars , department for transport , driverless car laws , driverless cars , google car , Google driverless car , google self-driving car , hands free driving , Oxford RobotCar , Oxford self driving car , RobotCar , self driving car laws , self driving cars , self-driving vehicles , UK driverless cars , UK self driving vehicle laws

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