Category Archives: Autonomous Vehicles

Robocar-Driverless car makes History on the streets of Paris

roborace

Roborace today showed their self-driving Robocar on the city streets of Formula E’s Paris ePrix. The Robocar is the first driverless car on the streets of Paris. The driverless race car performed a demonstration for the crowds at Les Invalides in the French capital and wowed the fans with a successful showcase of its autonomous capabilities.

The demonstration saw the car negotiate its way around 14 turns of the 1.9km circuit without a human in the vehicle entirely self-driven by autonomous software. Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov said, “We are extremely proud and excited to see the Robocar perform this demonstration in front of all the fans in Paris. It is another major milestone on this incredible journey. The team has worked so hard to get us to this point in a short amount of time, the car is alive and it has emotion and its own personality already. Roborace is the only company in the world right now testing driverless technologies on city streets without a human in the car – this is something truly unique.”

The Robocar is designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist who creates vehicles for Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters including Tron Legacy and Oblivion, It weighs 1000kg and measures 4.8m long and 2m wide. It has 4 motors of 300kW each, a 540kW battery and is capable of speeds over 200mph.

The car uses a number of technologies to ‘drive’ itself including 5 lidars, 2 radars, 18 ultrasonic sensors, 2 optical speed sensors, 6 AI cameras, GNSS positioning and is powered by Nvidia’s Drive PX2 brain, capable of up to 24 trillion A.I. operations per second to be programmed by teams’ software engineers using complex algorithms.

At the car’s unveiling in Barcelona in February, Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon said “This needs to be the superhero of self-driving cars. An ambassador for this amazing rise of artificial intelligence.” Roborace’s open A.I. platform allows companies to develop their own driverless software and push the limits in an extreme and safe environment. The series is designed to be a competition of intelligence so all teams will use the same “Robocar” to ensure all efforts will be focussed on advancing the software for everyday road cars to adopt. Roborace will continue to perform demonstrations at Formula E events during the remainder of the season.

Source: Roborace

 

Connected and autonomous vehicles set to provide huge economic benefits to the UK

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will provide huge social, industrial and economic benefits to the UK. In particular, these innovative vehicles will expand our industrial base, improve safety and congestion, drive up productivity and free up space usually devoted to vehicles in our urban areas.

CAVs will transform the lives of six out of every 10 people in the UK, according to our research published in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Revolutionising Mobility in Society. The first comprehensive UK-based study of the human impact of CAVs, canvassed the views of more than 3,600 respondents and found that this new technology will offer freedom to some of society’s most disadvantaged, including those with disabilities, older people and the young.

Connected vehicle technology is varied and can be grouped under the following headings:

  • In-vehicle systems
  • Commercial management systems
  • Infrastructure systems
  • Vehicle to vehicle systems (V2V)
  • Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I)

There is already a staggering level of connectivity and autonomy in vehicles compared to just a decade ago – in 2015, more than half of all new cars sold in the UK featured autonomous safety features. Autonomous emergency braking and lane assist technologies provide safer driving and internet connectivity over mobile networks is capable of keeping vehicle occupants connected to the online world.

According to the KPMG study commissioned by SMMT, connected and autonomous vehicles are set to add £51 billion a year to the UK economy by 2030. This is in addition to creating 320,000 jobs news, 25,000 specifically in automotive manufacturing.


connected autonomous vehicles graphics

To find out more about connected and autonomous vehicles read our position paper.

Source: SMMT

 

World’s first autonomous pods tested by RTA Dubai

The Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai are beginning the initial tests on autonomous pods with the aim to modernise their transportation system, offering innovative mobility solutions which reduces congestion in the city…

World’s first autonomous pods are tested by RTA Dubai

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative, has begun testing the world’s first autonomous pods.

Each pod measures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height. With a weight of approximately 1500kg, each pod has an average speed of 20km/h and a capacity of 10 riders: six seated, four standing. The autonomous pod is fuelled by a battery that can supply three hours of operation and is chargeable in six hours.

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said: “The RTA has signed an agreement with the American Next Future Inc. to develop autonomous units named NX1 as part of the initial phase of Dubai Future Accelerators. The prototypes of these units are manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai for trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system.”

The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. Depending on the destination of the riders, they can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached in five. Fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies enabling the pods to couple and detach, the feature can be activated in-motion.

“The pilot test of driverless units is directed in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide,” continued Tayer. “It is also part of RTA endeavours to provide autonomous transport through technological tests under Dubai’s climatic conditions. It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030.

“The RTA is keen on ensuring the principle of safety in all services delivered to clients. The autonomous pods have three protection systems in order to ensure full control and avoid crashing. The main system comprises of 3D cameras, the second is a standby system based on ordinary cameras with the last being operated manually by the operator.”

Source: Intelligent Transport

The World Of Self Driven Cars Is Truly Here

Today we have a new technology in the automobile and car industry which might take the world by storm tomorrow. It is known as self driven cars. Yes, the day may not be far off when you could sit and relax with your family in your car as the computer and other advanced technologies takes over the driving and negotiating aspects of the car. We share below the way in which modern day technology has made it real and workable on the ground. The points mentioned below are all now in advanced stages of development and the first fully working prototype of self driven car will soon become a reality thanks to the effort of Google and others.

The World Of Self Driven Cars

 

  1. Laser Ranger Finder

The rotating roof top camera or the laser ranger finder or lidar is the heart of this self driven car. It has 64 laser beams, and can create 3D images which make safe self drive a reality.

  1. Camera For Near Vision

It also comes with a front camera for near vision. It is mounted on the windshield and plays a big role in helping the car to see objects right in front of it while on the move.

  1. Bumper Mounted Radar

The self driven car has 4 radars that are located in the rear and front bumpers. It helps the car to find out more about the cars behind it and in front of it.

  1. Geo-Location Aerial

The car is able to get information about its exact location because of high quality aerial which receives inputs from GPS satellites.

  1. Ultrasonic Sensors

If there are any obstacles on the rear and if there is a need to track movements of the car, the ultrasonic sensors placed on one of the rear wheels will be helpful.

  1. A Few Devices Inside The Car

The insides of the self driven come with some devices such as gyroscopes, altimeters, and tachymeters. This helps to find out the exact. They help to generate the right data for smooth operation of the car.

  1. Sensors Function With Synergy

While there are many sensors, the greatest thing is that all that data collected from the sensors is clearly interpreted by the CPU of the car and this helps in a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

  1. It Can Understand Common Road Signs

Another wonderful feature is that the self driven car from Google will also be able to understand and interpret common motorist signs and road behaviors. It has the ability to understand common signals emanating from other motorists and also cyclists.

  1. It Maps The Route In Advance

Before a self-driven car is chosen for a particular route, a regular car is sent out to map the entire route and come out with a full picture regarding pot holes, road signs, road markers and more. The map is fed into the software of the car to make driving easy.

  1. Can Handle Real Life Behavior

Finally the car has some real life behaviors which have been programmed by Google engineers. It can detect slow moving cars and overtake and also slow down when there are cars coming its way and so on.

Source: Techrogers

Hotel guests get a kick out of Nissan’s self-parking slippers

Combining the ultimate in traditional hospitality with Nissan’s autonomous driving technology, one Japanese inn is treating guests to some unusual amenities: self-parking slippers, tables and floor cushions.

At first glance, the ProPILOT Park Ryokan looks like any other traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan. Slippers are neatly lined up at the foyer, where guests remove their shoes. Tatami rooms are furnished with low tables and floor cushions for sitting.

What sets this ryokan apart is that the slippers, tables and cushions are rigged with a special version of Nissan’s ProPILOT Park autonomous parking technology. When not in use, they automatically return to their designated spots at the push of a button.

First introduced in the all-new Nissan LEAF in Japan in October 2017, ProPILOT Park detects surrounding objects and lets drivers automatically park the vehicle in a selected parking space by pressing a button. The same technology is being used in the amenities at the ProPILOT Park Ryokan during a demonstration to entertain guests and reduce staff workload.

How to experience ProPILOT Park Ryokan

Nissan will offer a free night at the ProPILOT Park Ryokan, located in Hakone, Japan, for one lucky pair of travelers. For a chance to win, contestants must post on Twitter using the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10.

Visitors to the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama can also experience the atmosphere of the ProPILOT Ryokan and try on the actual self-parking slippers at a dedicated exhibition booth, open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Feb. 1-4. The Gallery is at 1-1-1 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama.

video of the ProPILOT Park Ryokan can be viewed on Nissan’s YouTube channel:
https://youtu.be/tazFfEP_NcY

Source: Nissan

Volocopter Flying Taxis to Revolutionise Urban Transport

Daimler-Volocopter-830x467

The objective of making flying possible for everyone has drawn closer:  In July 2017 the aviation start-up Volocopter agreed a finance deal over 25 million Euros with the automobile firm Daimler from Stuttgart, the technology investor Lukasz Gadowski from Berlin and further investors. Using this fresh capital  Volocopter will further expand upon the leading technology in its purely electrically driven VTOLs, (eVTOL), speed up the introduction process of the Volocopter serial model and conquer the market for flying air taxis. The safe, quiet and environmentally friendly aircraft, suitable for transporting two passengers, will revolutionize mobility in metropolises. In order to realize this vision Volocopter also invests in its team and  plans to continuously develop it further.

volocopter-2x-innercity-preview

Volocopter is up for a soaring start not just because of the successful round of funding: As early as in June the young enterprise already won top place in the international run for the world’s first pilot project involving air taxis in urban spaces. In the fourth quarter of 2017 Volocopter, together with the state transport authority „Roads and Transport Authority“ (RTA) in Dubai, will conduct initial demonstrations of an autonomous air taxi. By 2030 Dubai aims to carry out 25% of its passenger transportation with the help of autonomous means of transport.

“The strong financial commitment of our new investors is a signal as well as proof of the growing confidence in the newly emerging market for electrically driven VTOLs put to use as personal air taxis“  Florian Reuter, managing director of Volocopter, is pleased to point out. “We deliberately sought a mix of investors with strategic and entrepreneurial backgrounds  and were able to implement this perfectly with Daimler und Lukasz Gadowski”.

Automobile companies specifically are intensely interested in the mobility of the future – in autonomous driving or electrical mobility for example. Daimler is therefore a very valuable strategic partner for Volocopter. “We are world leaders in the development of electrical VTOL aircraft” says Reuter, “and for it to stay that way in the future we are very pleased with the participation of the worldwide leader in automobiles”.

The investor Lukasz Gadowski on the other hand, can support the aviation start-up in very different ways: He has already successfully founded and financed numerous enterprises. Gadowski has enormous experience in the fast and global scaling of tech start-ups. This will be of great value to Volocopter in asserting itself on the global market. “I have been interested in flying cars and following their development for a while. When I saw the Volocopter I got it: The “flying car” has no wheels! What is exciting at Volocopter is not just the magnificent vision but also that which has already been tangibly implemented. Huge ambition with both feet on the ground – a unique combination! In the coming years we can expect a revolution in manned aviation. We at Volocopter will significantly contribute to shaping it!”

Together with its partners, Volocopter will be using the new funding to further expand upon technical innovations and its pioneering role within the emerging industry. The plan is to further the development of the Volocopter up to production maturity and commercial licensing through aviation authorities worldwide. Amongst other things, extensive test flight programs are envisaged for this purpose. In order to speed up progress, the employment of additional engineers specialized in the development of flight systems, software and electric propulsion as well as the development of commercial function is envisaged.

To introduce the Volocopter serial model to the market with full impact the company will also apply the investment to developing brand awareness. The prelude to this will be the new website which is launched today. In addition a professional communications team all around marketing and PR will be installed in order to be optimally equipped for planned events and demonstrations of the Volocopter in the coming months. This will create additional interest and customers for the Volocopter – besides RTA in Dubai.


About Volocopter

Volocopter GmbH is the global leader in the development of vertically launching, fully electrical multicopters for the transport of people and of heavy lifting cargo drones. The technical platform is extremely flexible and permits piloted, remote controlled and fully autonomous flight. In addition, the unique design offers a huge degree of safety based on the high redundancy of all critical components. The company’s stated objective is to make every human’s dream of flying come true and to help modern cities resolve their increasing mobility issues. As early as 2011 the company earned its entry into the history of aviation through the manned flight of the world’s first purely electrical multicopter. Since then the young enterprise has set new milestones: In 2016 Volocopter was granted provisional licensing for a two seater Volocopter by the German aviation authority and in 2017 the aviation start-up entered into an agreement with RTA Dubai over the global premiere of an autonomously flying air taxi. The first licensed Volocopter should be on the market next year. In the meantime, the founders Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel have gathered an excellentteam of experienced managers like CEO Florian Reuter (formerly of Siemens) and CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens (formerly of Airbus Helicopters). This paved the way for the further expansion of the company.

25 Million Euros for Volocopter
⋅ Lukasz Gadowski and the Daimler AG are amongst investors
⋅ Increased investment flows into the launch of the Volocopter

Souce: Volocopter

George Hotz has created an $88 device that will let you ‘hack’ your car so that it can do new things

georgehotzi

Famous hacker George Hotz put his first car product on the market on Friday, a few months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration prevented him from selling a self-driving roof kit.

Called Panda, the device sells for $88 and can plug into a vehicle’s OBDII port to access data typically only available to vehicle manufacturers. Hotz also released a software tool called Cabana that will allow car enthusiasts to reverse engineer their cars using the data compiled by Panda.

Why would you want to do that?

The idea is to let people “hack” their cars the same way they can tinker with and customize a computer. That could mean souping up a vehicle with semi-autonomous features. Using the Panda/Cabana combo for example, someone could theoretically write software to give a car automatic braking or advanced cruise control (assuming the car has the necessary sensors built-in).

The Panda dongle can also let car owners geek out and access information about the car’s performance under certain conditions, such as how fast the car can accelerate on a full tank of gas versus a half tank of gas.

Clearly this isn’t aimed at the average driver.

Hotz is best known as the first person to hack the iPhone when he was 17, allowing people to use the phone on other networks aside from AT&T’s. He also broke into the PlayStation 3 in 2010 when he was 20.

 

panda comma aiComma AI just launched its first product, Panda.Comma AI

Both Panda and Cabana are being sold by Hotz’ startup, Comma AI, which initially planned to sell a self-driving retrofit kit for $999 at the end of 2016.

“A car is $25,000. Imagine you can buy a $1,000 add-on kit to the car you already have versus buying like a new Model 3 Tesla? It looks like a pretty good value proposition,” Hotz previously told Business Insider.

But Hotz decided not to sell the roof kit in late October after receiving a letter from the NHTSA that asked the startup to provide information ensuring the product’s safety or face civil penalties of up to $21,000 a day.

Comma AI still has ambitions to build, what Hotz has called, the Android version of Tesla Autopilot. Users can choose to upload the data collected to Comma AI’s chffr cloud app, which Hotz said will be used to build future self-driving car models.

“iOS is a walled garden that only runs on one model, just like Autopilot is a walled garden that only runs on one manufacturer’s car,” he said. “Android on the other hand runs on many different manufacturer’s phones. That’s where we want to be.”

Source: Business Insider

Toyota pushes into blockchain tech to enable the next generation of cars

On the same day that Ford officially ousted its chief executive in a bid to remake itself as future-focused vehicle manufacturer, Toyota announced its own steps to embrace technology’s next wave.

Andwhile Ford is looking to catch up to the leaders in autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturing, Toyota (through the Toyota Research Institute) appears to be taking the next fork in the road toward enabling that autonomous and electric future.

Together with MIT’s Media Lab, Toyota has enlisted a series of partners that specialize in different aspects of blockchain technology (the distributed, encrypted ledger technology that powers the cryptocurrency bitcoin) to explore how the technology may be applied to the car industry.

Toyota unveiled a number of projects that aimed to address how software will help people become comfortable with autonomous technologies. That means monitoring and distributing information about the safety of individual vehicles, the way owners use the cars, and cut down on fraud.

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at Toyota’s research institute, in a statement. “Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”

Initially the research is focusing on sharing data on every trip that an autonomous vehicle takes; on developing tools that users can have to make ride-sharing easier; and to create new insurance products that are usage-based for customers who may prefer that coverage.

“I’m excited Toyota is spearheading this initiative that uses blockchain technology to create an open platform where users can control their driving data,” said Neha Narula, Director, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, in a statement. “Our hope is that other industry stakeholders will join this effort to bring safe and reliable autonomous vehicles one step closer to reality.”

TRI isn’t just working with MIT on the initiative, but also with a few choice startups and smaller companies big in the blockchain space. Berlin-based BigchainDB, a startup which raised over $3 million to develop a flexible, scalable blockchain-based ledger; is helping develop the kind of architecture Toyota will need to roll out to have growth and scale it wants. Meanwhile Oaken Innovations and Commuterz, from Dallas and Tel Aviv, respectively, are working to develop blockchain apps for car sharing, vehicle access and payments and carpooling.

Finally, Toyota is tapping the Los Angeles-based blockchain application developer, Gem to port the applications it has been developing for the healthcare insurance industry to car insurance. The company provides a ledger for distributed inputs from a number of different sources that can then be used to automate much of the insurance claim process.

With Toyota, Gem will specifically work on usage-based insurance products tied to the telematics coming off of a users’ vehicle.

TRI’s partners include: Berlin-based BigchainDB, which is building the data exchange for sharing driving and autonomous vehicle testing data; Oaken Innovations, based in Dallas and Toronto, is developing an application for P2P car sharing, vehicle access and payments with a newly created mobility token; Commuterz, a startup from Israel, is working with TRI on a P2P carpooling solution; Gem, from Los Angeles, is working with Toyota Insurance Management Solutions (TIMS) – Toyota’s joint venture telematics car insurance company – and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services on the usage-based insurance platform.

FEATURED IMAGE: CHOMBOSAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Source: Jonathan Shieber Techcrunch

Uber plans flying cars to beat jams

 

Flying cars may finally move from science fiction to factVALERY HACHE/AFP/GETTY

The $70bn (£54.6bn) ride-hailing giant has made much of its plans for self-driving cars. The next step is more outlandish. The San Francisco company is one of more than a dozen pouring money into the development of crafts that take off like a helicopter but fly like an aeroplane — VTOL (vertical take-off and landing vehicles).

Uber claims that these flying machines could be the key to ending millions of hours that are wasted by people sitting in traffic. The company will this week hold a summit in Dallas to unveil progress towards the
large-scale introduction of airborne cars.

Source: The Sunday Times

 

Stan Boland Revved up for driverless


Stan Boland’s Streetwise will get £12.8m to test driverless vehiclesADRIAN SHERRATT

Plans to put driverless cars on Britain’s roads have been fired up by a government decision to support a consortium led by a veteran technology entrepreneur.

Stan Boland, pictured, leads the StreetWise project, which will receive £12.8m from Whitehall for its £23m project to test driverless vehicles on London’s roads in two years.

The Streetwise consortium is led by Boland’s FiveAI, a Cambridge and Bristol start-up that uses artificial intelligence for software to run driverless cars. It includes the Transport Research Laboratory, Oxford University, Transport for London and insurer Direct Line.

The grant underlines the commitment to supporting driverless cars and AI in business secretary Greg Clark’s industrial strategy green paper.

“We can look to become a technology leader and catch up with countries such as the US, Germany and Sweden that have already staked their claim in the market,” said Boland, 57, who started FiveAI, whose backers include Amadeus Capital Partners, in 2015. He has a strong track record of building technology firms. At Acorn Computers, he created a new business called Element 14, which was bought by US giant Broadcom in 2000 for $640m.

He co-founded chip designer Icera, sold to America’s Nvidia in 2011 for $367m (£286m).

The London trial will test a “personal mobility service” for commuters to cut congestion and pollution, improve safety and free up parking spaces.

Source: Andrew Lynch. The Sunday Times