Uber: Poor object recognition and system design caused death

Uber crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released the preliminary findings of its investigation into the fatal accident in March involving an autonomous Uber test vehicle and a pedestrian. Uber announced on 23 May that it was formally ending its driverless test programme in Arizona, where the accident took place. While ‘probable cause’ has been left blank by investigators, whose work is ongoing, their initial report makes it clear that the accident was due to poor object recognition and system design, and Volvo’s own emergency braking and driver assistance…

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Intel Mobileye signs European deal for 8 million semi-autonomous cars

traffic road highway

Intel’s Mobileye autonomous driving division has signed a deal to supply an unnamed European automaker with driverless vehicle and driver assistance technologies. The value of the deal has not been announced, but is reported to cover eight million vehicles. Autonews reports that the deal will begin in 2021, when Mobileye’s EyeQ5 chip, which is designed for fully autonomous driving, is launched as an upgrade to the EyeQ4 that is scheduled for rollout this summer. According to figures from Statista, VW has by far the largest share of the European car…

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Apple has more autonomous cars on road than Waymo or Tesla

Apple car

Apple has increased its fleet of autonomous test vehicles in California to 55, with 83 registered drivers, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The announcement means that Apple now has more autonomous test cars in the state than Waymo (51), Tesla (39), and recent entrant Drive.ai (14). Only GM Cruise has more registered vehicles, at 104. According to the DMV, 53 companies are testing a total of 409 autonomous vehicles in California. However, Apple has yet to apply for a driverless permit, which would allow it to…

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Ultra-fast power options open up for electric vehicles


Home charging of plug-in cars looks set to be displaced by charging stations in car parks and petrol stations, as investment in EV infrastructure soars, says Jessica Twentyman. For electric vehicle (EV) owners today, charging their car at home is a vital part of the daily routine. If they’re lucky and they plan their trips well, they can avoid the worst symptoms of ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that their vehicle’s battery will run out of charge before they arrive home or are able to locate a charging station. The…

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Five automakers motoring ahead with 3D printing


In recent months, major automotive companies have announced new moves in 3D printing as the technology gathers pace in their sector. Jessica Twentyman reports. The global automotive industry was one of the earliest sectors to see the potential of 3D printing. Today, it’s where some of the most mature applications of the technology can be found. Take, for example, General Motors, the maker of automobiles under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC brands. The company claims to have owned some of the first 3D printers, and now has some of…

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MIT system enables autonomous driving on poorly mapped roads


A new system from MIT, known as MapLite, enables self-driving cars to navigate using just GPS and sensors. Self-driving systems are typically seen being tested in urban environments – locations that have been mapped and manually labelled to allow an AI to navigate the roads safely. However, a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), supported by the Toyota Research Institute, have rigged a Toyota Prius with LIDAR and IMU sensors and used CSAIL’s MapLite system to enable the vehicle to drive autonomously beyond city…

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BMW, Ford, Toyota, Jaguar partner on Future Mobility, blockchain, IOT

Future Mobility

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd (SMMT) has launched a ‘Future Mobility Challenge’ to the technology and automotive sectors. Under the new scheme, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Ford, and Toyota are collaborating with the SMMT to encourage tech startups across a broad range of sectors – including finance, health, and even fashion – to pitch solutions to a range of challenges that are facing the automotive industry (see below). The Challenge aims to explore a range of issues, from investigating the potential of blockchain, to security, the…

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IoT solution to bring location awareness for half a million cars


Manheim is deploying an LPWAN solution from sister company Cox Communications to track the locations of its vehicles across its North American sales lots. Automobile auctioneering company Manheim is using a low-power wide-area network (LPWAN)-based Internet of Things (IoT) system developed by its sister company, Cox Communications, (both owned by Atlanta-based Cox enterprises), to track up to 500,000 vehicles at car lots across North America. The new solution, known as Cox2M, is designed for asset management across multiple industries, but is initially being launched with the company’s automotive division to…

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Uber self-driving cars ordered off road in Arizona

UBER selfdriving car

State Governor Doug Ducey has withdrawn permission for the company to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in Arizona, one week after the accident that killed 49-year-old pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg. It has been reported in the US that Herzberg was, or had been, homeless. “Improving public safety has always been the emphasis of Arizona’s approach to autonomous vehicle testing, and my expectation is that public safety is also the top priority for all who operate this technology in the state of Arizona,” Ducey wrote in a letter to Uber CEO,…

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Porsche brings the blockchain to cars


In collaboration with the Berlin-based start-up XAIN, Porsche is currently testing blockchain applications directly in vehicles. This makes the Zuffenhausen-based company the first automobile manufacturer to implement and successfully test blockchain in a car. Transactions based on this technology are both secure and can be processed far more quickly than anything that has come before. The applications tested include locking and unlocking the vehicle via an app, temporary access authorisations and new business models based on encrypted data logging. This could be developed further, for example, to improve autonomous driving…

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Bosch’s NA President Is Upbeat about Self-Parking Cars


The multinational firm’s push to enable self-parking cars is a microcosm of its broader IIoT strategy. Most people still have misgivings about the prospect of turning over driving duties to a robotic car, even as researchers rush to make self-driving vehicles mainstream. But many are happy enough to adopt technology to make driving more convenient (i.e., Google Maps) or safer (i.e., lane departure warning systems and collision avoidance systems). It stands to reason motorists will be happy enough to use technology to help find parking spots. “Parking is one of…

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NXP and Baidu collaborate on Apollo to revolutionise Chinese intelligent vehicles

Automotive semiconductor supplier NXP has announced plans to collaborate with Baidu on its Apollo connected car platform. NXP seeks to bring about a new automotive revolution in China by capitalising on Baidu’s autonomous driving and connected car technologies. NXP will provide semiconductor products and solutions including millimetre wave radar, V2X, security, smart connectivity and in-vehicle experience technologies. The company also seeks to further its ‘BlueBox’ development platform that offers low energy consumption, high-performance and functional safety benefits. Both companies will work together on sensor integration and high-performance processors for deep…

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Upstream Security receives series A funding for cloud-based connected and autonomous cars

Upstream Security, pioneer of the cloud-based cybersecurity platform for connected cars and autonomous vehicles, has announced the closing of $9 million in Series A funding, led by CRV (Charles River Ventures). The round included expanded investments from Israeli-based Glilot Capital Partners and Maniv Mobility. Following a $2 million seed funding round in June, the company will use the latest investment to expand its R&D program and continue building out its world-class engineering team and security research team, and open marketing and sales offices in the United States and Europe. The…

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Mojio secures $30m to speed up its connected car solution

Canadian connected vehicle startup Mojio has managed to secure a total of $30 million in Series B funding round led by Kensington Capital. Mojio, whose connected-vehicle solution helps transform any car into a connected one, plans to utilise the funding to speed up the automotive solution and expand globally. The Mojio device supported by seven wireless carriers operates in five nations at present. According to company CEO Kenny Hawk, thus far Mojio has transformed 500,000 vehicles into connected vehicles globally. “People don’t want to wait for their next vehicle to…

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Expect GM Cruise self-driving vehicles to arrive in ‘quarters, not years’

GM and Cruise are still reluctant to put any specific timeframes on their plans for self-driving vehicle deployment, but the company is getting a bit more specific about its intent to bring self-driving to market. It wants to do so only when it can manage it safely, at scale, and in busy urban markets where it’ll have the largest impact, according to GM President Dan Ammann – and while major hurdles remain in terms of being able to technically achieve that, he says we should think about it in terms…

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