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Lyft Gets The Go-Ahead To Test Autonomous Cars In California 24
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Lyft, Reports, Tech on 11 24th, 2017


Lyft has become the latest company to be granted the green light to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California.

The ride-hailing company hasn’t specified exactly when it intends to put the self-driving permit to use but the news comes about four months after Lyft said it will start to create its own autonomous technology.

Lyft is relatively late to the party when it comes to self-driving technologies but it hasn’t stopped that from holding it back. In fact, it has already formed partnerships with Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, NuTonomy, Drive.ai, and Waymo to deploy their respective technologies through its huge fleet of vehicles.

In receiving this permit, Lyft joins the likes of VW, Mercedes-Benz, Waymo, Delphi, GM, BMW, Honda, Ford, Baidu, NVIDIA, Subaru, Apple, Samsung, and Continental to be granted testing rights in California.

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Toyota’s T-HR3 Robot Will Transport You To The Future 23
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Tech, TOYOTA on 11 23rd, 2017


As if developing advanced hydrogen and electric vehicles for the car industry wasn’t enough, Toyota has found the time to create this; the T-HR3.

The creation is Toyota’s third-generation “humanoid robot” and has been designed to provide people with assistance in the home, in hospitals and even outer space.

The Toyota T-HR3 robot doesn’t use artificial intelligence and is instead controlled by a separate contraption, dubbed the Master Maneuvering System, that the operator is strapped into. This allows the operator’s movements to be replicated by the robot and its 29 distinct body parts. Additionally, the T-HR3 provides force feedback to the operator through the control chair.

Beyond replicating the movements of a human strapped into the control chair, the T-HR3 utilizes Flexible Joint Control to allow it to control the force of contact it makes with objects in its surrounding environment.

Toyota hasn’t said what it aims to achieve with the T-HR3 but will display the robot at the International Robot Exhibition 2017 from November 29 to December 2.

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Third Generation Humanoid Robot T-HR3 B-roll from ToyotaGB on Vimeo.



Taiwan’s Xing Mobility Claims ‘Miss R’ Is Quicker Than New Tesla Roadster 23
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Asia, Electric Vehicles, new cars, Reports, Taiwan, Tech on 11 23rd, 2017


Not threatened by Tesla’s promise to shake-up the performance car industry with its second-generation Roadster, a Taiwanese manufacturer is promising to create an electric vehicle quicker than the Roadster.

Dubbed ‘Miss R’ and created by Xing Mobility, the vehicle apparently produces the equivalent of 1,341 hp. Like other electric supercars, it utilizes a high powered electric motor at each wheel and can allegedly sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 1.8 seconds and 124 mph (200 km/h) in 5.1 seconds.

Sitting in the floor of the Miss R is 4,200 lithium-ion 18650 cells, the same cells used by the Tesla Model S. However, where the Tesla Roadster promises roughly 620 miles (1000 km) of range, Xing Mobility says the Miss R will be capable of traveling 155 miles (249 km) with its 52 kWh battery.

Beyond its bold acceleration claims, a particularly interesting thing about the Miss R is that it takes some design inspiration from rally cars and therefore features a set of beefy tires.

Xing Mobility intends on revealing a completed prototype in 2018.

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Taiwan’s Xing Mobility Claims ‘Miss R’ Is Quicker Than New Tesla Roadster 23
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Asia, Electric Vehicles, new cars, Reports, Taiwan, Tech on 11 23rd, 2017


Not threatened by Tesla’s promise to shake-up the performance car industry with its second-generation Roadster, a Taiwanese manufacturer is promising to create an electric vehicle quicker than the Roadster.

Dubbed ‘Miss R’ and created by Xing Mobility, the vehicle apparently produces the equivalent of 1,341 hp. Like other electric supercars, it utilizes a high powered electric motor at each wheel and can allegedly sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 1.8 seconds and 124 mph (200 km/h) in 5.1 seconds.

Sitting in the floor of the Miss R is 4,200 lithium-ion 18650 cells, the same cells used by the Tesla Model S. However, where the Tesla Roadster promises roughly 620 miles (1000 km) of range, Xing Mobility says the Miss R will be capable of traveling 155 miles (249 km) with its 52 kWh battery.

Beyond its bold acceleration claims, a particularly interesting thing about the Miss R is that it takes some design inspiration from rally cars and therefore features a set of beefy tires.

Xing Mobility intends on revealing a completed prototype in 2018.

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Apple Scientists Submit Paper On Autonomous Vehicle Research 22
Nov
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Apple, Autonomous, Reports, Tech on 11 22nd, 2017


In what appears to be Apple’s first publicly disclosed paper on autonomous vehicle technology, we learn that the Cupertino giant has a better way to spot cyclists and pedestrians on the road.

The paper was submitted last week to an independent online journal by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel, who proposed an improved way for helping computers detect three-dimensional objects, reports Autonews.

It’s called “VoxelNet” and has apparently produced “highly encouraging results” in spotting pedestrians and cyclists with just Lidar data. The pair also disclosed that they were able to beat other approaches for detecting three-dimensional objects that used only Lidar.

Usually, autonomous cars use a combination of two-dimensional cameras and deep-sensing ‘Lidar’ units in order to navigate their surroundings. Even though these units provide good depth information, their low resolution makes it difficult to detect small objects in the distance without help from a normal camera. In other words, Apple has apparently found a way to extract more performance from ‘Lidar’ technology.

It’s important to point out that these tests were simulated on a computer and did not involve any cars hitting the road.

Renderings by Aristomenis Tsirbas

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Uber Creating Tech To Eliminate Motion Sickness In Autonomous Cars 22
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 22nd, 2017


Uber is hoping to ensure its upcoming fleet of self-driving vehicles don’t trigger car sickness among passengers.

To do so, the ride-hailing company has applied for a patent on a selection of technologies to counter motion sickness, The Guardian reports.

In the patent are features like light bars and screens that signal the car’s intentions, vibrating and moving seats, and a flow of air that targets the face and other parts of the body in order to prevent passengers from getting sick. Uber doesn’t intend on providing stimulation to mimic the experience of the car moving, but instead wants to distract the brain when the car turns, accelerates or brakes.

In the patent, Uber says, “With the advent of autonomous vehicle technology, rider attention may be focused on alternative activities, such as work, socializing, reading, writing, task-based activities and the like.”

“As the autonomous vehicle travels along an inputted route, kinetosis (motion sickness) can result from the perception of motion by a rider not corresponding to the rider’s vestibular [balance and spatial orientation] senses.”

One intriguing feature of autonomous vehicles from Uber could be seats that automatically adjust their pitch, roll and/or yaw depending on what the car is doing.

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Uber Fined $8.9 Million In Colorado For Employing Unqualified Drivers 21
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 21st, 2017


Uber has been fined $8.9 million in Colorado for allowing 57 people to drive with the company despite not meeting requirements.

During a probe into the ride-hailing company, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission said it discovered 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 with significant moving-vehicle violations and three drivers with a special license only issued to those with drunk-driving convictions.

In a statement issued to Automotive News, commission director Doug Dean said the drivers should never have been permitted to work for Uber.

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway.”

Uber claims that it had made an error in its background check process in Colorado and is working to correct the issue.

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Porsche Dealers To Begin Using Smart Glasses To Speed Up Vehicle Repairs 20
Nov
Posted by Michael Gauthier in porsche, Tech on 11 20th, 2017


Augmented reality is become increasing popular in vehicle design and Porsche is bringing the technology even further by announcing plans to begin using it in vehicle service departments.

Following a successful pilot program at eight dealerships, Porsche will begin using lightweight smart glasses at dealerships in Canada and the United States.

The glasses work in conjunction with “Tech Live Look” software and they feature a high-resolution, auto focusing camera which can see fine details like the threading on screws. The glasses have also been equipped with powerful LED lights which can be used to illuminate dark areas such as the engine compartment.

The glasses are more than just a high-tech toy as the company explains a service technician in Los Angeles can be looking at a component while the company’s technical support team in Atlanta can be seeing the same thing even though they are 2,200 miles (3,540 km) away. Porsche says this will allow them quickly identify and resolve technical issues and this has the potential to reduce service times by up to 40 percent.

The smart glasses offer more than just a video conferencing capability as Porsche also notes they can be used to take screenshots and display service information – such as technical bulletins or instructions – on the projection surface of the glasses.

The glasses will be used at dealerships beginning next year and Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said “Tech Live Look allows us to be more efficient and helps get vehicles back in the hands of our customers faster, all while still delivering exceptional service quality.”

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Meet Kian, Kia’s Friendly AI-Powered Virtual Assistant 20
Nov
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Kia, Reports, Tech on 11 20th, 2017


Kia has launched ‘Kian’, an artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant meant to offer customers an improved online shopping experienced.

Kian can be found on the Kia Facebook Messenger page and according to the South Korean automaker, it will also make its way to the Kia.com website, offering 24/7 support.

In a way, Kian is a lot like NiroBot, only better. Where the latter is model specific, Kian will actually allow shoppers to research everything from pricing, estimate payments, specific offers, make comparisons, view photos and videos, search vehicle inventory and even find nearby dealers for you.

Once shoppers are finished asking Kian a series of questions, the program’s natural language processing ability will make the back-and-forth feel like a regular conversation with a human automotive expert.

“In our ever-changing digital world, Kian is programmed to understand individual customer needs and then provide shopping decision support instantly and intuitively,” said the automaker’s marketing VP, Saad Chehab. “Shoppers and Kia owners can chat with Kian on their own time, with no pressure and on the mobile messaging platform they use the most.”

According to CarLabs, which helped Kia create their AI-powered assistant, Kian can answer questions like:

– Show me a SUV that gets at least 25 miles per gallon in the city.
– Show me the current inventory at my local Kia dealer.
– Does the 2017 Cadenza have more horsepower than the 2017 Acura TLX?
– What’s the starting price of the Forte?
– Show me Kia vehicles that seat seven people.
– What’s the MPG of the Optima Hybrid?

“As more shoppers use the system, it learns to anticipate questions, provides more specific answers and gets smarter over time,” said CarLabs CEO, Martin Schmitt. “Having access to that level of shopper data is a powerful tool for understanding and serving customers better than previously possible.”



Jeremy Clarkson Says He Nearly Crashed While Testing An Autonomous Car 20
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech, The Grand Tour on 11 20th, 2017


Jeremy Clarkson claims he was almost killed while testing a driverless car on UK roads recently.

Writing in The Sunday Times, the outspoken journalist didn’t specify what semi-autonomous car he was piloting but said his experience tells him that we’re a long away from having safe and fully-autonomous vehicles on public roads, The Independent reports.

“I drove a car the other day which has a claim of autonomous capability and twice in the space of 50 miles on the M4 it made a mistake, a huge mistake, which could have resulted in death.

“We have to be very careful legally, so I’m not going to say which one,” Clarkson said.

The experience of The Grand Tour host comes at an interesting time in the UK. The country’s chancellor, Philip Hammond, is preparing to give the green light for developers to test self-driving vehicles on public roads.

In typical Clarkson style, he jokingly suggested he’ll only buy into self-driving cars when they can drive along the Death Road in Bolivia.

“You drive one of your driverless cars over the Death Road in Bolivia and I’ll buy one.

“Sit there with your hands folded and let it drive you up there, then squeeze past a lorry with half the tire hanging over a 1,000ft drop while the car drives itself. Fine, I’ll buy into it,” he said.

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Uber Getting Thousands Of Autonomous Robo-Taxis From Volvo 20
Nov
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Autonomous, Reports, SPA, Tech, Uber, VOLVO, Volvo XC90 on 11 20th, 2017


Volvo will be supplying ride-sharing giant Uber with up to 24,000 autonomous drive compatible vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

These cars will be based on Volvo’s fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which is currently being used on the Swedish automaker’s 90-series cars, as well as on the new XC60 SUV.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Volvo boss, Hakan Samuelsson. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

These base XC90 premium SUVs that will be supplied to Uber feature all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies required by the ride sharing company. The only thing left for Uber to do is add its own self-driving features.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo”, said Uber’s head of auto alliances, Jeff Miller. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

When asked when Uber might be debuting these self-driving cars in the U.S., Miller told Autonews that it’s “sooner than most people think,” adding that his company’s objective is to “be able to operate them [the cars] without anyone behind the wheel in select cities and environments.” In other words, he’s talking about Level 4 autonomous driving, as level 5 is still far off into the future.

“I don’t know of anyone in the world who is saying they will be able to do Level 5, which is autonomous all the time everywhere in every use case.”

Even though Uber won’t be fiddling with the XC90’s powertrain, Miller also said that several modifications had to be made to the car’s steering and braking systems.

“Those are two elements that we are making modifications to so the vehicle can operate as a Level 4 autonomous vehicles as opposed to just Level 2 or Level 3. We also have to embed sensors around the vehicle. In addition to what you see on the roof, there are several sensors behind the fascia of the vehicle.”

Of course, the fact that they’re starting off with the existing XC90 makes things easier on both companies.

“This would not be possible if it was a special [one-off] vehicle,” confirmed Samuelsson.

While providing Uber with these AD-compatible cars, Volvo will also use them for its own independent autonomous car strategy, which should lead to the release of a fully autonomous model in 2021.

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UK To Introduce Fully-Autonomous Cars By 2021 20
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech, UK on 11 20th, 2017


Sweeping changes to regulations in the UK are set to pave the way for fully-autonomous vehicles to be on the country’s streets by 2021.

This week, Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to announce regulation changes in the budget which will permit driverless cars to test on public roads without any human operator inside or outside the vehicle. Additionally, the vehicles won’t be hit with the same legal constraints as other EU countries or the U.S.

The Guardian reports that Hammond wants to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of technological changes in the car industry as the nation prepares to leave the European Union in 2019.

Speaking about the forthcoming changes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Mike Hawes, said it will be good for the country.

“We support government’s measures to make the UK one of the best places in the world to develop, test and sell connected and autonomous vehicles. These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives every year, while adding billions of pounds to the economy. We look forward to continuing industry’s collaboration with government to ensure the UK can be among the first to grasp the benefits of this exciting new technology,” he said.

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Jaguar Land Rover Starts Testing Autonomous Vehicles On UK Roads 18
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Jaguar, Jaguar Land Rover, Land Rover, Reports, Tech on 11 18th, 2017


Jaguar Land Rover has commenced testing of self-driving prototypes on roads throughout the United Kingdom. In particular, according tto The Telegraph, the British automaker has been running its driverless vehicles through the country’s streets for a number of weeks already.

This is the first time these vehicles have left the confines of closed roads and tracks and been used in public. Jaguar Land Rover says that a human driver sits behind the wheel of each prototype, but for the most part the vehicle controls itself through a plethora of advanced sensors.

“We stand on the brink of a mobility revolution. The impact of the changes we are about to embrace will be huge across all sectors of the UK economy. The opportunities are great: this mobility revolution will change lives profoundly,” said JLR chief executive Ralf Speth.

While the UK hasn’t become a hotbed for autonomous vehicle testing like some U.S. states, like California, the country has quite generous laws about the testing of such vehicles. In fact, the UK never ratified the Vienna Convention, which requires drivers to have control of their vehicle at all times. This means no law changes had to be made for self-driving cars to test throughout the country.

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The White House Didn’t Really Give Musk Approval To Build A Hyperloop 16
Nov
Posted by Brad Anderson in Elon Musk, Reports, Tech, Tesla on 11 16th, 2017


In July, Elon Musk shocked many observers by claiming he had received “verbal governmental approval” to build a Hyperloop between New York City and Washington, D.C.

However, it has just emerged that the whole thing may have just been a misunderstanding and that Musk jumped the gun when announcing the project.

Speaking to Recode earlier in the week, a top tech advisor to President Donald Trump, Reed Cordish, admitted that he may have been the one to get Musk’s hopes up.

“I think that I was the culprit. As I said to Elon after, I think what you heard was ‘verbal government excitement,’” he said.

Despite admitting that Musk hasn’t been given the approval he initially thought he was, Cordish did throw his support behind the entrepreneur’s plans to challenge how tunnels are built with The Boring Company.

“In essence, we’ve had the same technology for tunneling, it hasn’t changed in the last fifty years. And what Elon has done is he’s challenged his best engineers to reimagine that approach and we are working with them every day.”

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Watch Volvo’s Automatic Braking System Save A Kid’s Life 16
Nov
Posted by Cristian Gnaticov in AEB, Offbeat News, Tech, video, VOLVO, Volvo Videos on 11 16th, 2017


Driving a new vehicle that’s equipped with the latest safety assistance systems could make a difference between life and death not only for its occupants, but for distracted pedestrians, too.

What you’re about to watch is a good example of how far technology has evolved over these last few years, in a scenario that’s unfortunately too common – a bus drops off a few kids, and two of them start running across the road without checking for traffic first.

The second kid manages to spot the oncoming semi just in time, but it appears that it’s already too late for the first child. However, this Volvo truck is equipped with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system, in addition to other safety features, so it automatically applies the brakes.

Thanks to the safety technology, likely combined with the driver’s quick reaction time, the semi appears as if it almost defied the laws of physics, as it came to a complete stop in no time, saving a precious life during the process. Hats off to Volvo and the driver!

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