The Expansion of Self-Driving Taxis Raises Concerns Over Privacy and Surveillance

As self-driving taxis continue to proliferate in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Vegas, concerns are growing regarding their impact on privacy and the potential collaboration between these companies and law enforcement. Bloomberg recently investigated how self-driving car companies are working with the police and found that caution is being exercised in the release of data to investigations.

While security cameras are already prevalent in American cities, self-driving cars represent a new level of access for law enforcement, raising questions about privacy infringement. These autonomous vehicles traverse the city, capturing a wider range of footage compared to stationary security cameras. Law enforcement finds it more convenient to approach a single company with a substantial video repository and a dedicated response team rather than reaching out to numerous businesses with their own security systems.

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New algorithm for self-driving vehicles has a bold ‘collision-free guarantee’


Northwestern University researchers tested their invention on a swarm of 100 robots

 Algorithm for self-driving vehicles could reduce traffic and crashes Northwestern University. Researchers have developed an algorithm that could stop self-driving vehicles from getting in crashes and traffic jams. The team from Northwestern University (NU) claims their invention is “the first decentralized algorithm with a collision-free, deadlock-free guarantee.”

The algorithm divides the ground beneath the machines into a grid. The robots learn their position through technology similar to GPS and coordinate their movements through sensors that assess where there’s free space to move.

“The robots refuse to move to a spot until that spot is free and until they know that no other robots are moving to that same spot,” said Northwestern Engineering’s Michael Rubenstein, who led the study. “They are careful and reserve a space ahead of time.”

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Top companies hiring for autonomous vehicle talent


Over the last few years, the autonomous vehicle industry has grown rapidly. Here are thoughts and stats from Indeed for the top companies hiring for autonomous vehicle talent.

When news about autonomous vehicles filled headlines a few years ago, it was characterized by bold claims: that entire lanes would be dedicated to hands-free driving by 2020 and door-to-door autonomous trips would be possible around 2030, for example.

Since then, the frenzy about an autonomous takeover of our personal transportation system has waned. But a new reality has set in: Autonomous vehicles are already operating in a number of industries, such as transportation, farming, and small deliveries. While it may not be driving the news cycle, the work on this technology hasn’t slowed down.

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China’s driverless future farther off than first thought, report predicts


As a number of Chinese tech companies put the pedal to the metal in the race to dominate the autonomous vehicle industry, a major global information provider is proceeding with caution with regard to predicting the industry’s near-term growth

Driverless cars won’t be widely available for online hire in China until around 2025, according to a report published Friday by London-based research firm IHS Markit.

While researchers recognized the potential of autonomous vehicles to make travel more efficient, they warned that the need for policymakers to regulate emerging industries will put the brakes on the switchover from conventional vehicles.

Nonetheless, by 2035 China is expected to be home to some 33.6 million autonomous vehicles, around 10% of the world’s total, the report added.

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Waymo picks Detroit factory for self-driving fleet, to be operational by mid-2019

2C1818AF-E393-412E-A36A-D679054226BDWaymo CEO John Krafcik speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Waymo said on Tuesday it had chosen a factory in Detroit to mass produce self-driving cars, looking to the historical heart of the auto industry to build the vehicles of the future.

The company’s chief executive, John Krafcik, said in a blog post that Waymo would partner with American Axle & Manufacturing to lease and repurpose an existing Detroit facility that will be operational by mid-2019.

Waymo said in January it had chosen Michigan for its first production facility, adding it would receive incentives from the public-private partnership agency, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and create up to 400 jobs over time exclusively related to self driving.

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Driverless cars ‘don’t make business sense’


The Waymo car (above), formerly the Google self-driving car project, at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the annual trade show CES earlier this year. Companies such as Google and Uber have spent billions of dollars developing driverless vehicles.


Developing fully autonomous cars will take another five years and is an expensive undertaking with no clear returns, says Volkswagen’s head of commercial vehicles.

GENEVA • Fully autonomous vehicles will take at least another five years to perfect, with the cost and complexity of rolling out the technology globally serving to undermine the business case, Volkswagen’s head of commercial vehicles said.

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Amazon is hauling cargo in self-driving trucks developed by Embark


Amazon is using self-driving trucks developed by Embark to haul some cargo on the I-10 interstate highway, CNBC has learned.

CNBC has learned that Amazon is hauling some cargo in self-driving trucks from Embark.

Embark and other firms working on autonomous systems aim to alleviate industry pains by making existing truck drivers safer and more efficient.

The trucks were previously noticed by a Reddit user, who photographed and shared images this week showing tractors emblazoned with the Embark logo and trailers painted with the Amazon Prime logo.

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It seems clear that driverless vehicles are coming, although the timeline for their arrival remains unclear. David Beede, Regina Powers and Cassandra Ingram of the Economics and Statistics Administration at the US Department of Commerce look at one aspect, “The Employment Impact of Autonomous Vehicles,” in ESA Issue Brief #05-17 (August 11, 2017). They set the stage this way:

“In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published policy guidelines for AVs [autonomous vehicles], recognizing their potential as “the greatest personal transportation revolution since the popularization of the personal automobile nearly a century ago” (NHTSA 2016). … The worldwide number of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), such as backup cameras and adaptive cruise control, increased from 90 million to 140 million units between 2014 and 2016. Consumers have indicated a willingness to pay $500-$2,500 per vehicle for ADAS. Sensor technologies are rapidly advancing to provide sophisticated information to vehicle operating systems about the surrounding environment, such as road conditions and the location of other nearby vehicles. However, slower progress has been made in developing software that can mimic human driver decision-making, so that fully autonomous vehicles may not be introduced for another ten or more years …”


U.S. to allow cars without steering wheels


Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said today in an 80-page report.

The report gives guidelines, which are voluntary. Precise rules, which are binding, have yet to be spelled out. But the policy clearly is to cut rules whenever possible while reserving the right to tighten regulation if problems should emerge. “When regulation is needed, USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] will seek rules that are as non-prescriptive and performance-based as possible,” the report says.

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10 surprising ways driverless cars will change the world


When you think about the amount of time we spend behind the wheel today, whether in congestion or helping friends and family getting to and forth, being able to spend this time on other activities whilst on the move opens up a whole host of possibilities.

But not only will we have more free time, driverless cars also promise to make our roads safer and make our journeys faster.

Driverless cars are set to arrive on UK roads by 2021 according to the government and are predicted to change the face of personal mobility forever. Looking past the obvious benefits, Select Car Leasing have looked into the less predictable consequences of driverless cars.

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Here’s how Uber’s self-driving cars are supposed to detect pedestrians


A self-driving vehicle made by Uber has struck and killed a pedestrian. It’s the first such incident and will certainly be scrutinized like no other autonomous vehicle interaction in the past. But on the face of it it’s hard to understand how, short of a total system failure, this could happen, when the entire car has essentially been designed around preventing exactly this situation from occurring.

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Chinese tech giant Baidu just revealed its plan to mass-produce self-driving vehicles beginning this year — and Waymo should be nervous


Chinese tech giant Baidu announced partnerships to build self-driving vehicles starting in 2018.

The company’s software will be used in a mini bus and mass-market consumer vehicles.

The company has been making significant investments in autonomous driving technology to compete with American companies like Tesla and Waymo.

Continue reading… “Chinese tech giant Baidu just revealed its plan to mass-produce self-driving vehicles beginning this year — and Waymo should be nervous”

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