Lyft is starting to get serious about self-driving cars.
The race to be the first to deploy autonomous vehicles is on among carmakers, emerging startups, and tech giants. Amid this constant news cycle of deals and drama, the purpose of all of it can get lost — or at least a bit muddied. What exactly are these companies racing for?
All machines eventually break down. Self-driving vehicles are no exception.
Autonomous vehicles pose two problems for the future of vehicles. The removal of the driver means there is no person providing feedback on how the vehicle performs over time. You are removing the point-person who says “something feels wrong, this needs to be checked out.” An autonomous truck could easily arrive at its destination with one fewer wheels than it left with at its origin without recognizing there is a problem.
Over the last decade, the stock price of Domino’s Pizza has crushed that of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook mainly because it stopped making pizza that tasted like cardboard. Now it’s innovating on the labor front with plans to test robots as substitutes for your friendly pizza delivery guy. “With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this,” Domino’s chief executive said in a statement announcing the pilot program.
The AImotive office is in a small converted house at the end of a quiet residential street in sunny Mountain View, spitting distance from Google’s headquarters. Outside is a branded Toyota Prius covered in cameras, one of three autonomous cars the Hungarian company is testing in the sleepy neighborhood. It’s a popular testing ground: one of Google’s driverless cars, now operating under spin-out company Waymo, zips past the office each lunchtime.
Starship is a new company that is promising to disrupt local delivery with the launch of a self-driving robot that can deliver groceries to customers’ doors in under 30 minutes for less than $1.50 (£1). The Starship robot has been developed by Skype co-founders Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis. It drives on pavements at an average speed of 4mph, and uses proprietary mapping and navigation technology to avoid crashing into obstacles.
Japanese car maker Toyota announced this month that it has planned to have self-driving cars commercially available by 2020 — the same year Nissan, General Motors and Google plan to have autonomous vehicles on the road.
Trucking driving is the most common job in 29 of 50 US states, according to NPR. This seems a bit overboard, and depends on how jobs are categorized, but here is the chart.
At least we know they’re not distracted by their cellphones, but the viability of self-driving cars will likely be debated and scoffed at for a long time. Continue reading… “Google’s self-driving cars have already been in 11 accidents”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently revealed that “in about three months” they will be providing a software update to its Model S fleet that will turn on auto-steering, or “autopilot” as Musk often refers to it. Continue reading… “Tesla to add self-driving ‘autopilot’ mode to Model S”
Chinese consumers are more interested in autonomous driving technology than anyone else.
The auto market in China is having an increasingly important effect on the bottom line for all automakers worldwide as it continues to grow. Just look at examples like General Motors’ strong recent growth or Porsche’s expanding sales. In addition to being vital for business, some industry watchers think the nation’s huge consumer force might just make it the premier place for automatic driving technology to prosper more quickly than in any other market.
Self-driving cars manage to backfire on Los Angeles and cause even more traffic.
In the year 2030, Google has taken over Atlanta’s transportation system. Self-driving cars have failed to solve Los Angeles’s traffic problems. There’s a fleet of smart buses and on-demand “jitneys” in New Jersey And Boston is hyper-dense: People live in downtown micro-apartments and get around mostly by walking and cycling.