In the summer of 2012, the California state government approved a bill that allowed driverless cars on the roadways in California. This opened the door for firms like Google working in the autonomous car industry to begin testing cars on public streets. Before the cars could come to the public, a myriad of rules needed to be created and enforced.
With the purchase of Boston Dynamics, Google has become the proud owner of a robotics company - for the 8th time. This is not Google's first acquisition of a company in the robotics industry, nor will it be the last. What we've got instead is the continued efforts of the big G to collect the best minds in the industry to push forth their own efforts in robotics for the distant future.
Self-driving cars could cut crash and road injury rates by 90-percent and save the US economy by around $450bn each year, a new thinktank report suggests, though the technology risks being hamstrung by expensive components and a "disparate patchwork" of regulations. The independent research by the Eno Center for Transportation into autonomous vehicles such as Google's self-driving cars and similar projects from Nissan, Toyota, Mercedes and others argues that, since driver error is calculated to be the primary reason behind more than 90-percent of crashes, removing humans from their responsibility behind the wheel could save a huge amount of lives and money.
Google is working on its own self-driving, production-ready car and could initially deploy the autonomous vehicles as a "Robo Taxi" service, insiders claims, with the search giant supposedly exploring how it could use its R&D into car-AI itself rather than license it to existing manufacturers. company has been negotiating with contract manufacturers around building an autonomous Google car, former WSJ reporter Amir Efrati claims, after supposedly getting the cold shoulder from established brands.
Nissan's self-driving car technology works, but when will we see the first autonomous vehicles on the road, and how do you coax keen drivers out from behind the wheel and into trusting their AI chauffeur? Cars that can drive themselves are, many believe, the answer to cutting road-related fatalities and making better use of highways, but it raises challenges beyond those the industry has traditionally faced about "normal" transportation. We talked with Carla Bailo, president of Nissan Technical Center North America and senior vice president of NNA R&D Americas, at Nissan 360 this week about where the company's first real-world trials, the similarities and differences between Nissan's approach and Google's, and why one of the biggest selling points might well be the promise of a good cup of coffee.
Self-driving cars could be on the roads by 2016, specialist Mobileye Vision claims, though don't expect the full autonomy of a Google driverless car unless you have a very deep wallet. The company is readying a camera-based system which relies on a few hundred dollars of components, rather than the tens of thousands of dollars Google pays for each of the lidar sensing arrays atop its own test vehicles, though as The NYTimes discovered it doesn't add up to quite the same relaxing, hands-off ride.
Automated driverless cars have been a popular topic for some months now, brought to the forefront of public attention by Google's efforts to develop such vehicles. One would be tempted to believe - science fiction stories and movies aside - that such ambitions are a new reality, the result of our ever-expanding technologies that allow us to pursue this seemingly futuristic mode of transportation. Under such an assumption, the reality is surprising - in the early 1990s, Congress passed a bill devoting $650,000 towards developing technologies for driverless vehicles, a project undertaken by a consortium composed of nine organizations. In fact, one "driverless" vehicle was demonstrated on California's Interstate 15 for over 7 miles in 1997, and we have a video of it after the jump.
A team of scientists at Oxford University, led by Professor Paul Newman, has developed a new self-driving car system that that is supposedly much more advanced than the one being developed by Google. The self-driving car system will be able to be implemented into existing cars. The car that the team test drove was a Nissan Leaf electric car, and it was tested on the private roads of Oxford University.
While Google might be working on their own driverless cars of tomorrow, it looks like the company is wanting to expand further into the auto industry. The company is partnering up with Kia Motors to bring Google Maps and Place services into Kia’s new UVO eServices telematics system, which will be rolling out in new models later this year.
Google has poached a US highway safety executive to work on its driverless cars program, NHTSA deputy director Ron Medford, to better guide its autonomous cars through evolving legislation. Medford, who has worked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2003, will jump ship to Google's automotive division from January 7, 2013, as the new Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars.