Google’s self-driving startup Waymo is introducing fully driverless rides to San Francisco

Waymo self-driving autonomous car.

By Urooba Jamal 

  • The company is initially limiting the rides to its employees before opening up to the public.
  • Waymo’s autonomous vehicles have been operating in San Francisco, but with safety specialists in the driver’s seat.
  • The company first began offering autonomous rides in Arizona in 2017.

Google’s self-driving startup Waymo has begun operating fully driverless rides in San Francisco, the company announced on Wednesday.

The company said that the service is just for its employees at the moment, but it hopes to open the service to the general public soon. The company’s vehicles have been operating in the city for years, but with safety specialists in the driver’s seat. 

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NAVYA’s technology is ready for the commercialization of Level 4 remotely supervised driverless fleets

VILLEURBANNE, France–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Regulatory News:

NAVYA (FR0013018041- Navya) (Paris: NAVYA), a leading company in autonomous mobility systems, presented a fleet of self-driving shuttles operated by remote supervision at the Autonomy mobility show, which was held in Paris on March 16th and 17th. NAVYA took the opportunity to transform its booth into a genuine control center where visitors had a ring-side view of four driverless shuttles being shepherded remotely in real-life conditions on two different sites. While the operator carried out various control and monitoring tasks, Olivier Le Cornec, NAVYA’s Technical Chief Officer gave a running commentary of each situation that was transmitted live onto a big screen.

Manage, monitor, secure and anticipate were the catchwords that demonstrated NAVYA’s holistic answer to a series of critical situations: an obstacle on the road, an absent-minded pedestrian in the lane, a passenger feeling ill, fire on the route, to name but a few. Eleven simulated scenarios from a large range of potential events were projected onto the screen, to which NAVYA reacted and responded, guaranteeing the safety of both the passengers and other road users on each occasion.

As a recognized Level 4 global player, NAVYA also took the opportunity to host a round-table discussion with a number of high-level speakers on its vision for Level 4 and related ecosystems, where the challenges facing driverless autonomous mobility were aired and the solutions debated.

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Einride Unveils World’s First Remote Pod Operator of Autonomous, Electric Vehicle Fleet

The Einride Pod makes shipping safer and cleaner with electric power, advanced autonomous technology and remote operation capability.

  • Long-time trucking veteran will be first in new job that will revolutionize autonomous shipping industry
  • Creates an entirely new type of shipping job, one that will allow for more regulated working conditions compared to conventional trucking and solve for the global shortage of trucking resources
  • By keeping humans in the loop, a team of Einride Remote Pod Operators, will ensure safe scaling of autonomous shipping solutions across current and future customer operations

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Swedish freight technology company Einride announced today at SXSW the official introduction of the world’s first Remote Pod Operator, a role that has been fulfilled with the hiring of long-time trucking veteran Tiffany Heathcott. The position will shift how humans play a role in the increasing prioritization of autonomous vehicles in the freight industry, enabling a strong safety case that is scalable from day one for shippers looking to automate their shipping fleets.

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Autonomous vehicles can lose the steering wheel under new US safety standards

General Motors’ autonomous vehicles division sought a review of the safety rules before starting production of its purpose-built driverless pod   

By Tom Bateman  

Fully autonomous vehicles in the United States will no longer have to be equipped with manual controls like pedals and a steering wheel to meet safety standards.

New passenger safety regulations published on Thursday replace older rules written with the assumption that vehicles would always have to be controlled by a human driver.

In a statement announcing the “first-of-its-kind” safety ruling, the National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the old wording of vehicle safety standards no longer made sense for vehicles designed to be entirely self-driving.ADVERTISING

“The occupant protection standards are currently written for traditionally designed vehicles and use terms such as “driver’s seat” and “steering wheel,” that are not meaningful to vehicle designs that, for example, lack a steering wheel or other driver controls,” the NHTSA said. 

“For vehicles designed to be solely operated by an ADS (Automated Driving System), manually operated driving controls are logically unnecessary,” the agency added.

The rule change comes after US carmaker General Motors and its self-driving technology unit Cruise petitioned the NHTSA last month for permission to build and deploy a self-driving vehicle without human controls.

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How Self-Driving Vehicles Fit In Perfectly With the Future of Retail

BY BRADLEY BERMAN

The days of needing to drive to the store to pick up a whole cartful of groceries are gone. If you live near a major metropolitan area in the United States or a populous suburb, nearly everything you can imagine is available for delivery to your doorstep through mobile apps and e-commerce sites—sometimes in a matter of hours. Even the small, local mom-and-pop shops just down the street are quickly changing. 

Among the many hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic was that it forced brick and mortar retailers to radically rethink their approach, accelerating the long-term trends of consumers moving away from in-person shopping. After previously relying heavily on foot traffic and in-store customers, they suddenly needed to figure out how to reach their customers online, safely at home, or socially distanced. 

Now, as parts of the world emerge from the pandemic (or at least adjust to a less dire “new normal”), autonomous vehicles are poised to help these retailers rebuild even more sustainable, efficient, and long-lasting businesses with new ways to connect to their customers. “Retailers are shifting capital to change their stores,” says Troy Beeler, cofounder of the Future Commerce Initiative, a consulting firm. “All the effort is going into distribution, getting the inventory close to the consumer in a way that the consumer can either pick it up or you can deliver it to them in the most cost-effective way.” 

We’re seeing these changes happen today. Fast food restaurants are experimenting with drive-through-only locations. Weather permitting, entire store facades now slide open to allow circulation. Kiosks are wheeling outside. Customers and delivery contractors pick up orders at the curb or via newly installed takeout windows. Consumers seeking the ability to touch and feel products can still do so, but outside, in more limited quantities, and they are encouraged to look up more inventory on the store’s website. “The idea of super-dense interior spaces is no longer palatable,” says Zachary Colbert, an architecture professor at Carleton University. Now it’s all about open-air courtyards, verandas, pop-up tents, parklets, and pickup zones. 

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Outrider releases ‘fully autonomous’ truck parking system

BY DAVID EDWARDS 

Outrider, a developer of autonomous technology for yard operations at logistics hubs, has released “fully autonomous” trailer backing capabilities to its fleet.

This proprietary technology enables autonomous yard trucks to back trailers into tight spaces with precision and without modifications to trailers.

These capabilities are now available as part of the Outrider System, which automates distribution yards for large, logistics-dependent enterprises. 

Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Outrider, says: “Automation is key to relieving the inflationary pressure on the supply chain.

“Distribution yards are critical links in the supply chain and prime targets for automating the flow of goods between over-the-road transportation and fulfillment centers, warehouses and manufacturing plants.

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DARPA’s RACER Program Sends High-Speed Autonomous Vehicles Off-Road

For the next three years, robotic vehicles will be pushing the limits of all-terrain racing

By EVAN ACKERMAN

DARPA    DARPA has announced the first phase of a shiny new program called RACER, which stands for Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency.

I’m not sure why they couldn’t have just left it at RACE, but that’s government backronyms for you. Anyway, the RACER program is all about high-speed driving in unstructured environments, which is a problem that has not been addressed by the commercial-vehicle-autonomy industry, because we have, you know, roads.

But where DARPA is going there are no roads, and the agency wants autonomous vehicles to be able to explore on their own as well as keep up with vehicles driven by humans. DARPA has announced three teams that will each get funding and vehicles: Carnegie Mellon University, NASA JPL, and the University of Washington.

And if everything goes well, we’ll be seeing some absolutely bonkers off-road autonomous racing over the next three years.The goal of the Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program is to develop and demonstrate new autonomy technologies that enable ground combat vehicles to maneuver in unstructured, off-road terrain at speeds that are no longer limited by the autonomy software or processing time, but only by considerations of sensor limitations, vehicle mechanical limits, and safety.

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John Deere’s First Fully Autonomous Tractor to Begin Plowing This Year

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is often the stage for big announcements from even bigger companies and this year has been no exception, with everybody from software and automation developers to automotive and consumer goods manufacturers vying for the attention of the tech-minded.

Stakeholders in the agricultural industry were greeted with some exciting news from industry leader John Deere when the company announced at the CES that its autonomous tractor is production-ready.

Back in 2019, John Deere showed off its prototype at this very event and now says it’s ready for prime time, revealing that it intends to embark on large-scale production in 2022, with the driverless tractors being available to farmers before the end of the year.

Elektrek calls it “a step into the future” as John Deere’s new vehicle will allow farmers to leave the cabs of their tractors after programming the devices to accomplish the task at hand.

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PININFARINA DESIGNS SLEEK SEMI PACKED WITH LATEST AUTONOMOUS TECH

A quick-swap system can change the battery in six minutes. 

By: Anthony Alaniz

Pininfarina has branched out far beyond its car design roots. The Italian design house has crafted a tractor, a driving simulator, and even Motor1.com‘s logo. Its latest, which hails from Pininfarina Shanghai, the company’s Chinese studio, looks like it could haul a fleet of Pininfarina creations. It’s called the DeepWay Xingtu, and it’s a sleek new semi-truck packed with the latest self-driving technologies and a stunningly futuristic cabin.

Fully autonomous vehicles that can go everywhere are still a dream and will remain one for several years. However, the road to that future will see the technology used in limited fashions, like in the trucking industry. The DeepWay Xingtu demonstrates what’s necessary to achieve it, designing the self-driving semi with 11 onboard cameras, an infrared detector, five millimeter-wave radars, and a LIDAR sensor. According to the company, the semi can achieve ultra-long-range detection of more than 1 kilometer.

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Nuro’s newest autonomous delivery bot is designed for the masses

There’s even an airbag on the exterior

By Kirsten Korosec

Nuro showed off Wednesday one of the final pieces of its commercial autonomous delivery strategy.

The startup, which has raised more than $2.13 billion since former Google engineers Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu founded the company in June 2016, unveiled a third-generation electric autonomous delivery vehicle designed for commercial operations and manufactured in partnership with BYD North America.

Nuro has dropped the alpha-numeric nomenclature (R1 and then R2) for this delivery bot that is designed to haul packages, not people. Instead, the vehicle is called “Nuro” — a self-titled album of sorts meant to introduce the robot to the masses and a name that illustrates where this flagship model sits within the company. If it’s not clear, the “Nuro” is at the top.

The Nuro bot is not a sidewalk delivery bot. This new generation, and all of Nuro’s previous iterations, are meant for the road.

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Seoul Robotics’ autonomous ‘Control Tower’ remotely manages self-driving vehicle fleets

BMW is currently testing the system at its Munich manufacturing facility.

By A. Tarantola

Despite Tesla’s ambitious claims of its vehicles’ Full Self-Driving capabilities, today’s autonomous navigation technology generally tops out at Level 2. More advanced self-driving systems are in development but likely still years away from being safe and cost-effective enough for everyday use. Seoul Robotics, however, has developed a mesh network that reportedly imparts Level 5 autonomy to vehicle fleets, if only for the “last mile.”

The company’s Level 5 Control Tower system sidesteps some technical challenges of self-driving technology by embedding sensors in the surrounding infrastructure — traffic lights, nearby buildings, freeway overpasses, etc — rather than on the vehicles themselves. Instead of each vehicle looking out for itself and responding autonomously to surrounding traffic, the Level 5 Control Tower uses its meshed sensor network to collect data on the overall traffic situation and automate vehicles in the area accordingly, using V2X communications and 4/5G radios.

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John Deere says its autonomous tractor is ready for production

The self-driving Deere 8R can operate without a pilot when covering a field.

By D. Cooper

Agricultural hardware giant and scourge of right-to-repair advocateseverywhere John Deere is ready to show off its finished, fully-autonomous tractor. Here at CES, the company is saying that this unit is going to be put into large-scale production, and will be made available to farmers later this year. When in use, a farmer can set the hardware to work and then leave it running, allowing them to tend to vital work elsewhere. The idea, so the company says, is to help make farming more efficient and more robust in the face of ever-increasing demand and dwindling resources.

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