Archive for the ‘self-driving’ Category

“Driverless van” is just a VT researcher in a really good driver’s seat costume

August 7th, 2017

Enlarge / The “driverless car” in question looked similar to this one—it was a 2017 Ford Transit Connect. (credit: Ford)

The video opens with a guy rapping on the window of a van.

“Brother, who are you?” the person holding the camera says. “What are you doing? I’m with the news, dude.”

You can see hands holding the steering wheel from the bottom, but the man inside the car, dressed in a full driver’s seat costume—including a face mask—doesn’t react.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in autonomous, autonomous car, cars, self-driving | Comments (0)

Nvidia and Bosch team up to build an AI supercomputer for your self-driving car

March 15th, 2017

Enlarge / A cutaway image of the Bosch/Nvidia car supercomputer. (credit: Nvidia)

It seems that barely a day goes by without news of a tech company teaming up with the auto industry to advance the art of self-driving vehicles. On Tuesday, it was Nvidia and Bosch’s turn. In an announcement at Bosch Connected World in Berlin, Germany, the two companies revealed that they are collaborating on an onboard computer capable of running the AI necessary for self-driving.

Based on Nvidia’s Drive PX technology—which also powers semi-autonomous Teslas—the Bosch will also use Nvidia’s forthcoming “Xavier” AI system-on-chip. Nvidia says that Xavier is capable of 20 trillion operations per second while drawing just 20 watts of power, meaning the Bosch car computer should be smaller and cheaper than Nvidia’s current Drive PX 2 unit.

“We want automated driving to be possible in every situation. As early as the next decade, driverless cars will also be a part of everyday life. Bosch is advancing automated driving on all technological fronts. We aim to assume a leading role in the field of artificial intelligence, too,” Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner said in a statement.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Bosch, Cars Technica, NVIDIA, self-driving | Comments (0)

Volvo’s autonomous Drive Me research project gets underway

January 13th, 2017

Video shot and edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

DETROIT—Volvo is among the leaders of the pack of automakers when it comes to autonomous driving. The various advanced driver assists in its current XC90 and S90 are some of the best we’ve tested, and the carmaker recently linked up with Uber to develop redundant systems in self-driving cars. But before there was the Uber collaboration, there was Drive Me, a multiyear research program that the company will use to look at how it, as a car maker, can contribute to a “sustainable society.” In the video above, we speak to Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo, about the program.

Volvo chose this year’s North American International Auto Show to hand over the first set of keys in the Drive Me program. It’s in the process of recruiting 100 families in Gothenburg, Sweden, but the first lucky family is the Hains. Over the next few years, the Hains and the other participating families will be testing out a number of different research vehicles like the XC90 SUV seen in the video. In addition to testing out new iterations of self-driving systems, the vehicles will also be fitted with sensors and data loggers in the cabin to monitor the occupants.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Ars Technica Videos, autonomous driving, Cars Technica, Drive Me, NAIAS 2017, self-driving, volvo | Comments (0)

Two roads to the same place: 2016 and the future of self-driving cars

December 23rd, 2016

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

The self-driving car reached something of a watershed in 2016. All of a sudden, it seems we’re right on the threshold of autonomous vehicles transforming our transportation. I’d ask any engineer in 2015 when they thought we’d have full (i.e., SAE level 5) self-driving vehicles and the answer was always “ooh, that’s another 20-30 years away.” Fast forward a year, and all of a sudden that target has moved: BMW, Intel, Mobileye, Uber, Volvo, Ford, Delphi, and others have all set 2021 (or earlier in the case of Delphi) as the year by which steering wheels become optional.

The big breakthrough is down to the use of machine learning and deep neural networks, a field that has come along leaps and bounds in a relatively short space of time. For example, Nvidia will sell OEMs and tier one suppliers an open AI platform for automotive uses that leverages the company’s GPUs and machine learning—tech that it ably demonstrated with its BB-8 technology demonstrator:

Nvidia’s deep neural network allowed BB-8 to figure out how to drive on and off road in a short amount of time.

But along the way, the automakers and tech firms working on the problem have diverged into two groups: the ones who plan to get there in an incremental, stepwise fashion, and the others who plan to skip the intermediate step.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in autonomous cars, Cars Technica, self-driving | Comments (0)

After Uber defied California’s DMV, the DMV revoked Uber’s registrations

December 22nd, 2016

If these people are in California, this is not a self-driving Uber with an engineer up front. (credit: UberPop)

On Wednesday night, the California DMV issued a statement saying it would revoke the registrations of 16 cars owned by Uber, which the company had been using to test its self-driving system. The DMV said that “the registrations were improperly issued for these vehicles because they were not properly marked as test vehicles.”

The move from the California DMV comes after a contentious public battle last week, when Uber suddenly announced the launch of its pilot program in San Francisco (the same program had been running in Pittsburgh for a few months already). But Bloomberg noted that the ride-hailing company still hadn’t registered with the state’s DMV, which requires that companies looking to test self-driving cars apply for a special permit to do so on public roads.

Uber countered that its system wasn’t very advanced yet and was indistinguishable from a mere Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), which do not require special permits. Uber cited Tesla’s autopilot software, which drivers currently use without adhering to the DMV’s autonomous vehicle rules. Tesla, however, has registered with the state’s motor department to test autonomous vehicles.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in autonomy, California, Cars Technica, self-driving, Uber | Comments (0)

California DMV orders Uber to stop self-driving car tests on SF roads [Updated]

December 14th, 2016

Enlarge (credit: Uber)

Update: California’s DMV has ordered Uber to stop testing its self-driving hardware and software on California roads until the company gets from proper permitting from the state, according to a letter seen by the Associated Press. Ars Technica has reached out to Uber for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Original story: Uber has started testing self-driving functions on roads in San Francisco after a few months of testing its sensor suite and hardware on the streets of Pittsburgh.

The ride-hailing company has three Volvo XC90s, each equipped with Uber’s hardware and software. (Although Volvo has made strides in self-driving functions, Uber is using its own system.) When a passenger requests a ride, Uber lets the passenger know a car with self-driving functions will be picking them up, and the passenger can accept or decline the ride. An Uber engineer rides in the front seat at all times.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in autonomy, Cars Technica, self-driving, Uber, volvo | Comments (0)

From Audi to Volvo, most ‘self-driving’ cars use the same hardware

May 26th, 2016

My actual drive from Washington, DC, to Columbus, Ohio, and back took about 12 hours in total, but thanks to the magic that is time-lapse, you can come with me in a mere 90 seconds. Video edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

On Sunday, my colleague Lee Hutchinson regaled you all with a tale of his semi-autonomous driving adventure in one of Tesla’s high-speed electric chariots. But that’s not the only semi-autonomous (Level 2 self-driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) road trip we’ve conducted here at Ars. You can read all about how we got on with Volvo’s latest and greatest XC90 SUVs in a week or so. Plus, there’s the new Audi A4, which in Dynamic mode really puts the mantra of “trust the machine” to the test as it late-brakes for exits at up to 0.5G. And finally, I was also fortunate enough to have put many miles on an Audi A7 TDI, driving from DC to Columbus, Ohio, and back when I went to visit the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3.

Much of the technology that underpins these systems is shared among the industry. A handful of companies like Bosch, Delphi, and Mobileye provide sensors, control units, and even algorithms to car makers, who then integrate and refine those systems.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Ars Technica Videos, Bosch, Cars Technica, Delphi, Mobileye, self-driving | Comments (0)

Freightliner unveils the first road-legal self-driving truck

May 6th, 2015

Last night, on the Hoover Dam, Freightliner (which is owned by automotive giant Daimler) unveiled the first road-legal self-driving truck. At the event last night, the Inspiration Truck (yes really) was awarded an official autonomous vehicle license plate by the governor of Nevada. Sadly, there was no mention of pricing or commercial availability—but it won’t be particularly soon. The license plate is a step towards lots more testing on the roads of Nevada… and then we’ll see what federal regulators think about fleets of self-driving trucks.

The lorry has the same “NHTSA Level 3” rating as Google’s self-driving car, which means that it’s fully autonomous, but that the driver still has to be able to take over “with sufficiently comfortable transition time” if the need arises. In this case, while the Inspiration Truck could drive itself for hundreds of miles without driver intervention, Daimler is framing this as a conversation around driver fatigue. According to Daimler, 90 percent of truck crashes are due to driver error, and driver fatigue plays a role in 1/8th of those crashes.

Wolfgang Bernhard, head of Daimler’s truck company, said at the event last night that the company tested driver brain activity with and without the autonomous driving system enabled. With the system turned on, “driver drowsiness decreases by about 25 percent.”

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in autonomous cars, Cars Technica, daimler, self-driving, trucks | Comments (0)

Ford’s new car automatically slows down when it sees a speed limit sign

March 27th, 2015

Ford has announced that the new S-Max, which goes on sale in Europe in August, will have a new feature that automatically slows you down so that you’re traveling within the speed limit.

Called the Intelligent Speed Limiter, the new feature is a combination of two nascent automotive technologies: adjustable speed limiters and traffic sign recognition. An adjustable speed limiter might sound like cruise control, but it’s slightly different: cruise control keeps your speed constant, while an adjustable speed limiter stops the throttle from delivering more fuel to the engine once you reach the desired speed.

Traffic sign recognition is exactly what it sounds like: using a forward-facing camera, usually behind the rearview mirror, an on-board computer scans the environment for signs that might be important. Over the last few years, there have been a number of cars that automatically recognize signs and flash up alerts on a digital dashboard display.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Cars Technica, Ford, s-max, self-driving, speed limit | Comments (0)