Advertisement

Waymo’s robot minivans are ready to roll in the Bay Area for the first time since COVID-19 outbreak

waymo’s robot minivans are ready to roll in the bay area for the first time since covid-19 outbreak

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Waymo’s self-driving cars are returning to Bay Area roads for the first time since the company halted its public testing in early March because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Alphabet-owned company plans to return its fleet of autonomous minivans to service starting June 8th, according to an email obtained by The Verge.
Waymo’s self-driving cars will be put to use delivering packages for two Bay Area non-profits: illustrator Wendy McNaughton’s #DrawTogether, which provides art kits to Bay Area kids; and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The company is the latest autonomous vehicle operator to discover that doing deliveries allows it to sidestep restrictions that would otherwise require them to keep their autonomous vehicles off the road. Waymo, along with the rest of California’s AV companies, paused on-road testing in mid-March after the city issued a “shelter-in-place” order banning all nonessential travel. That order does not have a set end date.

Waymo’s robot minivans are already back on the road in the Phoenix area, as well as the company’s private test facility in California’s Central Valley.
It’s unclear how many vehicles will be involved in the deliveries, or how many vehicle …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE

Jacksonville, feds finalize funding for autonomous vehicle system

jacksonville, feds finalize funding for autonomous vehicle system

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority and the Federal Transit Administration finalized an agreement Friday that provides funding for the beginning phases of a public automatic vehicle system in the downtown area.
The accord allows JTA to begin using $12.5 million in discretionary grant funds to start the transition of the existing Skyway Express rail people mover into a public autonomous vehicle system. The JTA will begin planning and requests for proposals for contractors by the end of this year and start work on the system in 2021.
The system is being called the “Ultimate Urban Circulator” in Jacksonville’s urban core and surrounding urban neighborhoods. Much of the work will involve converting the rail for the Skyway, which rises about 25 feet above the street level on an elevated track.
“This is a significant step for the Ultimate Urban Circulator and Jacksonville,” said Nat Ford, JTA CEO. “With funding secured for phase one, we are pushing ahead with the procurement process and laying the groundwork for a fully autonomous vehicle network in downtown Jacksonville.”
The conversion of the rail system for the people mover will involve removing a concrete “track” or tongue in the middle of the raised platforms and turning the pathway into …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Jacksonville, feds finalize funding for autonomous vehicle system”

AI Weekly: Autonomous vehicle companies pivot to charitable deliveries during the pandemic

ai weekly: autonomous vehicle companies pivot to charitable deliveries during the pandemic

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Early on, the pandemic — which passed a grim milestone in the U.S. this week of over 100,000 dead — motivated the shuttering of businesses deemed nonessential out of concern for workers’ well-being. One industry heavily affected was self-driving vehicles, whose operators and developers were forced to pause pilots under guidance from state and local officials. Several companies resumed tests, however, after implementing a series of new precautionary safety protocols. And in something of a bright spot among a torrent of bad news, they’ve repurposed — or plan to repurpose — their vehicles for deliveries to those in need.
Some experts predict the coronavirus outbreak will hasten the adoption of autonomous vehicles for delivery. A study published by CarGurus found that 39% of people won’t use manually driven ride-sharing services post-pandemic for fear of insufficient sanitation. Despite the public’s misgivings about driverless cars and their need for regular disinfection, they promise to minimize the risk of spreading disease because they inherently limit driver-rider contact.
Beep Mobility, which provides autonomous, fully managed mobility solutions like driverless shuttles to private and public communities, tells VentureBeat that it’s ferrying food to frontline workers at the Orlando Veteran Affairs Medical Center and Nemours Children’s …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “AI Weekly: Autonomous vehicle companies pivot to charitable deliveries during the pandemic”

Autonomous Vehicle Outlook | Middle Market Growth

autonomous vehicle outlook | middle market growth

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to transform the U.S. transportation system for the better. From increasing public safety, to improving mobility for the elderly and expanding transportation access for the disabled community, autonomous vehicles, known as AVs, offer an array of benefits that will drive positive change for decades.
Private equity, venture capital and growth equity funds that understand these benefits, the legal framework and the technology are likely to make the best investments in this emerging sector.
Recent years have brought exciting technological advances, contributing to a robust ecosystem that has begun to flourish. Hundreds of companies are racing to develop the pieces that will make fully self-driving vehicles a reality: autonomous driving software, complex sensors that can perceive and analyze the outside world in real time, computer simulation that teaches the AV software about edge cases, precision mapping capabilities that are necessary for AV routing, connectivity devices for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, telematics applications to handle the vast quantities of data being generated, and many other technologies.
Policymakers at the state and local levels have acted in turn to address the emergence of self-driving vehicles. Some have welcomed AVs and implemented policies intended to encourage AV testing, while others …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Autonomous Vehicle Outlook | Middle Market Growth”

SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China’s biggest autonomous driving round

softbank led $500m investment in didi in china’s biggest autonomous driving round

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

The race to automate vehicles on China’s roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced this week an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Leading the round — the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector — is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese telecom giant and startup benefactor that has also backed Uber.
The proceeds came through Softbank’s second Vision Fund, which was reportedly lagging in fundraising as its Fund I recorded massive losses in part due to the collapsing valuation of WeWork.
As China’s largest ride-hailing provider with mountains of traffic data, Didi clearly has an upper hand in developing robotaxis, which could help address driver shortage in the long term. But it was relatively late to the field. In 2018, Didi ranked eighth in kilometers of autonomous driving tests carried out in Beijing, far behind search giant Baidu which accounted for over 90% of the total mileage that year.
It’s since played aggressive catchup. Last August, it spun off its then three-year-old autonomous driving unit into an independent company to focus on R&D, building partnerships along the value chain, and promoting the futuristic technology to …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “SoftBank led $500M investment in Didi in China’s biggest autonomous driving round”

SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi’s self-driving unit

softbank leads $500 million fundraising for didi’s self-driving unit

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Friday, May 29, 2020 3:53 a.m. EDT

by Thomson Reuters

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Didi Chuxing said on Friday it had completed a fundraising round of over $500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary that was led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2.
The ridehailing giant said in a statement the round marked the first time Didi’s autonomous driving business had brought in external funding since it became a standalone unit last year and was also the single largest fundraising round in China’s self-driving sector.
Didi said it would use the capital to invest further in the research and development of autonomous driving technology as well as testing, and accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving services.
Didi has gained open-road testing licences in California, Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou, it said. It first began to develop and test autonomous driving vehicles in 2016.
The fundraising comes as SoftBank has been selling off other stakes to raise cash for stock buybacks aimed at supporting the price of its shares as its tech investments falter. Some of the Japanese firm’s investments, including Uber and Indian-based hotel chain Oyo, have been hugely impacted by lockdowns in the coronavirus pandemic.
Autonomous driving technology has remained popular with investors even …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “SoftBank leads $500 million fundraising for Didi’s self-driving unit”

Who Will Own the Cars That Drive Themselves?

who will own the cars that drive themselves?

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

It was a difficult question even before the coronavirus pandemic hit: When self-driving cars eventually rule the roads, will Americans own their cars or make use of ride-hailing fleets?The challenge is now threefold. Self-driving car technology had already reached a plateau, and getting to full Level 5 autonomy will be more difficult than many had thought. With the nation’s economy hobbled by the virus, investment is slowing. And to car owners, their private automobile is now a sanctuary, and it’s unclear how long that attitude will persist.A CarGurus.com poll of 400 active car shoppers, conducted in May for this article, asked, “What is your overall opinion about the development of self-driving cars?” It showed 22 percent of customers were excited by the prospect. A survey of auto owners in 2019 showed 31 percent of them were excited for autonomous cars.The question about the long-term future for the world’s cars is far from settled, and the experts (some of whom see disaster for the planet if people own autonomous cars as we own our cars now) differ sharply in their perception of where we’re heading.Last year, Tesla’s chief, Elon Musk, predicted that his company would have …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Who Will Own the Cars That Drive Themselves?”

Self-driving vehicles to deliver prescriptions in Houston pilot next month – News – McKnight’s Senior Living

self-driving vehicles to deliver prescriptions in houston pilot next month – news – mcknight’s senior living

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

CVS Pharmacy is partnering with Silicon Valley robotics company Nuro to test prescription delivery via self-driving vehicles in the Houston area in June.

Nuro will use a fleet of autonomous Prius vehicles to deliver prescriptions and other essential items to CVS Pharmacy customers who order prescriptions on CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app. Customers in the pilot area near CVS Pharmacy’s Bellaire, TX, location, can choose the autonomous delivery option and add other non-prescription items to their order. Deliveries will be free to all CVS Pharmacy customers.

If a customer selects the autonomous delivery option, one of Nuro’s autonomous vehicles will deliver the prescription curbside to the customer’s address within three hours. To ensure security, customers will need to confirm their identification to unlock their deliveries when the autonomous vehicles arrive curbside at their homes.

“We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery,” Ryan Rumbarger, CVS Health senior vice president of store operations, said in a release. “We want to give our customers more choice in how they can quickly access the medications they need when it’s not convenient for them to visit one of our pharmacy locations.”

In Florida, residents of The …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Self-driving vehicles to deliver prescriptions in Houston pilot next month – News – McKnight’s Senior Living”

Watch the video Mobileye says casts doubt on every other autonomous car project

watch the video mobileye says casts doubt on every other autonomous car project

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Intel’s autonomous car division, Mobileye, has released a new video showing one of its self-driving cars in action, an unedited 40 minute stretch of the vehicle navigating a challenging urban environment. In the process, Mobileye – which was acquired by Intel in early 2017, in a deal worth over $15 billion – raises questions about the path to autonomous driving taken by most other projects, Tesla and Waymo included.

Driverless vehicle demos aren’t uncommon, of course. One of the easiest ways to drum up hype about a Level 4 or Level 5 self-driving car project is to stick a camera inside it – and, optionally, a few journalists – and send it off on a city route.
Neither is it the first time we’ve seen a Mobileye-powered prototype in action, and indeed we had a front-row seat of the tech at work in a Delphi prototype three years ago. Still, the company’s latest footage goes further than most. The video, Mobileye says, is unedited, and there’s only one interruption: that was when the drone the company had following the autonomous vehicle needed a new battery swapped in.
[embedded content]
What’s interesting – and fairly unique – about Mobileye’s approach here is that the whole 40 …

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Watch the video Mobileye says casts doubt on every other autonomous car project”

Internet-connected cars are first step towards autonomous driving: 5G to be backbone of connectivity

internet-connected cars are first step towards autonomous driving: 5g to be backbone of connectivity

BEGIN ARTICLE PREVIEW:

Stronger Internet-connected car tech will not only make way for autonomous cars, it will also be required for data management. A self-driving car could generate 100 gigabytes of data per second.

END ARTICLE PREVIEW

READ MORE FROM SOURCE ARTICLE Continue reading “Internet-connected cars are first step towards autonomous driving: 5G to be backbone of connectivity”