Engineers fall asleep at the wheel of autonomous cars

February 21, 2017

The Ford Motor Company’s own engineers were falling asleep during Level 3 test drives, so it is skipping Level 3 autonomy—when the driver must be prepared to take the wheel—and going straight to Level 4—when there is no steering wheel at all. “These are trained engineers who are there to observe what’s happening,” Raj Nair, Ford’s product development chief, told Automotive News. “But it’s human nature that you start trusting…


Atlanta on track for self-driving car tests

February 20, 2017

Atlanta would become one of the largest urban areas for testing self-driving vehicles if plans come together for a demonstration as early as September. Nationwide, 10 sites were designated last month as ‘proving grounds’ for automated vehicles by the U.S. Department of Transportation. They include North Carolina turnpikes, the eastern Iowa prairie and a Michigan site where World War II bombing aircraft were produced in a factory built by automobile…


Crash testing drones and self-driving cars with an open-source sim

February 17, 2017

To let developers crash drones and self-driving cars, Microsoft has released open-source software. Called Aerial Informatics and Robotics Platform, or AirSim for short, the code creates a realistic training environment in which it’s possible to simulate mistakes without real-world consequences. Let’s say you want to teach an aerial robot to tell the difference between a wall and a shadow,” Microsoft says in a blog post. “Chances are, you’d like to…


Dubai plans for autonomous passenger drones

February 16, 2017

Commuters in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, may soon climb aboard automated flying taxis, soaring over busy streets and past the desert city’s gleaming skyscrapers, all — quite literally — at the push of a button. Passenger drones, capable of carrying a single rider and a small suitcase, will begin buzzing above the emirate as early as July, according to the director of the city’s transportation authority, part of…


Ahoy there captain- oh wait there isn’t one

February 8, 2017

Let’s set the scene, a massive container ship has just received the latest weather report at midnight on the North Atlantic Ocean. A nasty storm can be seen approaching ahead, and quietly the shop decides to change course and speed to skirt the worst of the storm, and ensuring an on-time arrival at its destination. The owners of the ship and its harbormaster at the next port of call are…


Driverless cars pose threat to millions of jobs

January 23, 2017

Those in favor of driverless cars see a bright future coming down the road: thousands of lives saved, countless driving hours freed up, cityscapes transformed with traffic jams vanquished. But the new technology also threatens millions of jobs and raises a slew of ethical dilemmas—prospects that were on the minds of business chiefs and politicians meeting at the World Economic Forum this week. “Companies are going to have to start thinking…


Florida Tesla crash had no defect in autopilot system

January 20, 2017

Federal regulators have closed the investigation into the crash that killed a Tesla driver in May, saying that officials found no defects in the semiautonomous Autopilot system being used at the time. But while investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no flaws in the software or braking systems, a broader federal review of dozens of Autopilot crashes did point to industry-wide challenges as drivers — sometimes inattentive…


2017 to host autonomous airborne taxis

January 17, 2017

The Airbus Group’s Chief Executive has said that they plan to test a prototype for a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads by the end of the year. Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. The aim would be for people to…


Cutting Apple and Google out of the automotive equation

January 16, 2017

The splashiest auto news coming out of CES and the North American International Auto Show has been about new models, self-driving tech, and wild concepts. But in a quieter series of moves, automakers also continued to strengthen their control over what it is we’re able to do inside our cars, particularly when it comes to the apps that run on infotainment systems. Though carmakers have generally embraced Apple’s CarPlay and…


2017: Automotive trends and innovations

January 16, 2017

Market research shows, the average vehicle on American roads is nearly 12 years old, as drivers hold on to their old, reliable wheels for longer stretches of time. That has held true even as more people than ever bought new cars last year — 17.5 million of them. If you’re not a consumer who bought new in recent years, the showroom floor and its wares may look different from what…