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Autonomous Driving

  • Google’s taught its self-driving cars to be extra careful around kids

    Anyone who's spent more than a few minutes around small children will know that they can be, well, unpredictable. It seems Google's realised as much and recently asked a bunch of Googlers and their kids to hang around the internet giant's parked cars. The reason for doing so, it explained in a Google+ Post, was to give its sensors and software "extra practice at recognizing children in all their unique shapes and sizes". As the company notes, "Children's movements can be more unpredictable -- suddenly darting across the road or running down a sidewalk -- and they’re easily obscured behind...

  • Merc’s got another autonomous concept planned for Tokyo

    Mercedes-Benz seems determined to prove to the world that it's ahead of the pack when it comes to autonomous motoring. The German auto giant on Sunday posted a teaser image of its latest autonomous concept ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show. The car will be the second such concept from Merc, following the sensational debut of its F 015 concept at CES back in February. From the looks of things, this particular vehicle seems likely to have a larger passenger capacity than the F 015, but retains the distinctive windowless side-panels. That suggests there will once again be plenty...

  • Toyota wants to put driverless cars on the road by 2020 Olympic Games

    Driverless cars are becoming less of a fad and more of a future reality, especially when companies like Toyota get involved. One of the world's biggest car manufacturers is pushing for driverless cars to be on the roads, roaming around, by 2020. The company was recently spotted testing one of its Lexus saloons, which "uses multiple external sensors" to steer clear of potential hazards and, well, things it could possibly crash into. Of course, the car also adjusts acceleration, braking and steering to achieve this. For now, it's limited in its abilities. It's not exactly an automated master of its craft...

  • Autonomous cars won’t really take off until manufacturers start cooperating

    Every month seems to bring a new development in the autonomous motoring space, whether it's Tesla drivers being able to beta test software or trucks taking to the roads of Nevada. But real, universal autonomous motoring will remain a messy pipe dream until vehicle manufacturers and other industry players figure out how to collaborate in real and meaningful ways. At least that's according to a new report from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). “To accelerate AV adoption, industry players must collaborate to overcome technology challenges—including those involving cybersecurity, high-definition maps, and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication,” says Nikolaus Lang, a...

  • Why the difference between self-driving and autonomous vehicles really matters

    According to the Oxford Dictionary, the adjective “autonomous” describes something – in our case, a motor vehicle – that has “the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs”. Pretty much a “self-driving” car then, right? Well, no – apparently not. A recent article in London’s The Economist states that many automakers are eager to point out that autonomous cars and self-driving vehicles are actually fundamentally different concepts. In fact, we’d go one step further and submit that autonomous cars already exist – and are even fairly widespread – on our roads, while self-driving automobiles quite simply don’t...

  • Google says crashes involving its self-driving cars are mostly down to human error

    Google has hit back at a report from the Associated Press which says that three of its self-driving cars have been involved in accidents since they hit Californian roads in September last year. According to the report, Google's self-driving Lexuses accounted for three of the four accidents involving self-driving cars (the fourth involved a 2014 Audi SQ5 belonging to automotive technology company Delphi). Both companies have however pushed back at the report, saying that none of the incidents were caused by the vehicles being in self-driving mode. In a statement to the the press agency, Google acknowledged that its...

  • This autonomous truck just got a license to hit the highways of Nevada

    If you're afraid of autonomous vehicles, you might want to avoid the roads of Nevada. That state has officially granted Daimler trucking subsidiary Freightliner the first license for an autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the United States. The Freightliner Inspiration officially got its state plates in a ceremony on Thursday, as part of Daimler Trucking North America's showcase of the developments it's made in autonomous commercial truck technology. While an autonomous truck launch might seem pretty odd amid all the hype around self-driving personal cars, it's actually a pretty big deal. Think about the immense...

  • We know autonomous cars are coming, but what form will they arrive in?

    Autonomous cars are coming. Sure we've still got a long way to go, especially when it comes to the ethics and safety behind them, but there's no changing the fact that they will go into mass production in the very near future. Heck, you only need to look at the fact that an autonomous car just crossed to the continental United States to see just how close we are. But how will market for self-driving cars evolve once they do arrive? Will human drivers eventually become illegal, as Elon Musk predicts? Or is Bosch's vision of drivers switching...

  • Bosch reckons we’ll be able to tweak the performance of our autonomous cars

    We've seen some fantastic imaginings around the future of autonomous driving, with the most outlandish suggesting that our cars could end up being four-wheeled lounges, complete with swiveling seats, screens all over the place and gesture control. In the future promised by these concepts, the world sails gently by while people do work, watch movies or hold meetings, all from the comfort of their surprisingly roomy cars. In truth though, that's probably a long way off. While increasingly large sections of road are now open to autonomous vehicles, the likelihood is that you'll still have to have...

  • Self-driving cars? Pah! How about just meeting basic safety standards first?

    Safety. This single word is ostensibly one of the major driving forces behind the global push towards the autonomous car. The self-driving vehicle, many proponents believe, has the potential to virtually eliminate fatal car crashes. How? Well, such vehicles would effectively render drivers obsolete, thus eradicating the sort of “human error” responsible for so many on-road incidents. In an ideal world (from a safety standpoint, anyway), every single vehicle on a given road network would be of the autonomous variety, connected to both other cars and the relevant road infrastructure. Constant wireless communication between all elements would at best...

  • Could motion sickness put the brakes on autonomous motoring?

    With autonomous cars now certain to be an inevitable part of our driving future, plenty of column inches have been spent explaining how much time will be freed up on our daily commutes for working, catching up with friends on social media, or watching series. And that's great. Unless, like me, you suffer from motion sickness. One of the reasons I've always enjoyed driving is because it allows me to anticipate the movement of the car and forces me to keep my eyes on the road. I'm mostly fine in the front passenger seat, as long as there's something...

  • Elon Musk: driving your own car will be illegal in the future

    Never one to be backward when it comes to making bold declarations about the future, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has predicted that once autonomous cars become the norm, conventional drivers will be outlawed. Speaking at the NVIDIA GPU conference in San Jose, California, Musk explained that mainstream autonomous driving could be much closer than we all think. In fact, he said, the sensors on most high-end cars could pretty much handle themselves on the highway. "It's much easier than people think," he said, adding that "once you're above 50 MPH (80km/h) it gets easier" because the set of possibilities...

  • Audi wants students to build tiny autonomous cars

    When you're a student, there are plenty of ways to fill your day. Given a choice though, few would take on the most productive options. But if you are ambitious and have a penchant for both cars and technology, then Audi has a new initiative that could be right up your alley. The German marque is hosting the inaugural Driving Cup, which will pit groups of students against each other as they get 1:8-scale Audi Q5s to perform a number of autonomous driving tasks. The competition, which is primarily for students in computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering,...

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