Roborace shows off its driverless race car at MWC

Roborace car on pavement courtesy of Roborace and Daniel Simon

While most of the attention around autonomous vehicles has centered on “everyday drivers,” there is one effort that goes off in an entirely different direction. An offshoot of Formula E, Roborace aims to launch a parallel series of races conducted entirely without human drivers. The effort has taken longer than planned, but is getting closer to reality. At MWC in Barcelona this week, Roborace showed off the complete design of its first race car. Until now, it has been using awkward-looking “devbots” that have a seat for a driver to test its software and hardware designs.

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Teaching Robots to Fight Wars

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  A robot does not kill someone out of fear, anger, or desperation. They kill because someone told them to do it. At least that the way it works with our current generation of robots. What comes next may be a different story.

Normally, when we think about war, it has to do with countries using their armies to fight other countries, or in the case of a civil war, countries torn apart by internal rival factions.

But that line of thinking is far too narrow for the conflicts in our future as our choice of weaponry and choice of battlefront continues to expand.

From my perspective, the traditional country vs. country war tends to be far more about political theater, a theater that plays out on the world stage in full view of the public, than the subversive battles being fought over countless levels of minutia in the background.

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The Coming of “Peak Car”

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Futurist Thomas Frey:  In what year will the number of cars in the world reach its peak and auto sales overall begin to decline?

For most, it may be surprising to realize we’re already there in the U.S. Growing data shows many wealthy economies have already hit “peak car,” a point of market saturation characterized by an unprecedented deceleration in the growth of car ownership, total miles driven, and annual sales.

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Germany is reserving part of autobahn for driverless car testing

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Germany’s Transportation Ministry spokesman Ingo Strater told reporters yesterday that plans call for a driverless-car pilot project on a portion of the A9 autobahn, the north-south artery that connects Munich and Berlin.  Though tests have already been done on driverless cars in the U.S. and Germany, the project would be one of the first to equip a stretch of public highway specifically for that purpose. Continue reading… “Germany is reserving part of autobahn for driverless car testing”

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Which company will win the race to dominate the emerging driverless car industry?

The arguments in favor of self-driving cars are many: computer-sorted traffic could yield higher maximum speeds and optimized drive times (sayonara “stop and go,” hello increased fuel efficiency!), the option to drive whether you’ve had too much to drink or not and driverless valet park anywhere you go (as well as make better use of parking space — no more sloppy two-for-one parking jobs). Imagine your vehicle driving itself off to a maintenance facility without your assistance, returning home on its own, or the option to be as distracted as you like while your vehicle’s escorting you around, from texting to watching a video to catching up on your notes for a morning work meeting. (Infographic)

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Are we ready for driverless cars?

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Governor Jerry Brown of California will most likely sign off soon on the proposed bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  It has been characterized by the Obama administration and its other supporters as an effective way to reduce highway congestion. These costs amount to more than $100 billion annually in wasted time and higher fuel expenses.

 

 

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