John Maddox is senior director of autonomous safety and compliance at Lyft. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act in 1956, he predicted that the connected highway system would change the face of America. And it did exactly that - reshaping the way we move, and creating tremendous economic value. But it also created new challenges for our communities. Now, we stand to witness the next transportation revolution with the advent of self-driving cars. Self-driving vehicles have the potential to improve safety and reshape cities to transport people more efficiently. But to reach that future, we have work to do. Public and private stakeholders, including rideshare companies, public transit operators and local, state and federal governments must work together to create consistent industry regulations and streamline the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Rideshare's role … [Read more...] about For a self-driving future, it’s not just the tech we need to get right
Self driving autonomous cars
Washington, DC (CNN Business)For most people building self-driving cars, lidar is viewed as a godsend. In recent years, enthusiasm for the technology has sparked shortages of the depth-measuring sensor, acquisitions of startups developing it and more than a billion dollars of investments. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says they're all wasting their time. "Lidar is a fool's errand," Musk said in April at a Tesla event. "Anyone relying on lidar is doomed. Doomed." Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, sends out pulses that bounce off objects and return to the sensor, telling it how far away things are. This point cloud shows where lidar pulses reflected off nearby objects, helping a car to understand its surroundings. Companies with the most experience developing self-driving cars — including Alphabet's Waymo, Ford (F), and Amazon-backed Aurora — believe lidar is critical for safety. Lidar startups have raised $1.2 billion in the past five years, according to CB … [Read more...] about Most self-driving companies say this tech is crucial. Elon Musk disagrees.
If you see an electric scooter tootling along the street by itself in the not-too-distant future, do not be alarmed. It’s probably on its way to a charging station. Segway-Ninebot, currently the largest scooter supplier for smartphone-based services such as Bird and Lime, has unveiled a semi-autonomous scooter that can make its way to a charging station when its battery runs low. The KickScooter T60 will begin road testing in September 2019, and is slated to become available to scootersharing services in the first quarter of 2020. Scootersharing companies currently pay teams of people to gather up the scooters for recharging at the end of each day. While not exactly good news for those collectors who rather like the idea of holding onto their job, a scooter that can pretty much make its own way to a charging station will certainly be of interest to scootersharing companies as they look to streamline their operations. The KickScooter T60 could also help restore order to particular … [Read more...] about You could soon see electric scooters driving themselves to charging stations
Executives at Volkswagen (VW) told media on Monday that the German carmaker is in talks to form a joint venture with Didi Chuxing, China's biggest ride-hailing service. The partnership would include VW managing a fleet of around 100,000 cars for Didi, some two thirds of which would be VW models. VW would also design "purpose-built" vehicles for Didi's services. Read more: China's Didi raises massive funding to take on Uber The joint venture is expected to be finalized in early May. It would be a significant initiative between VW, the world's largest automaker and Didi, the global leader in ride-hailing, at a time when ride-sharing services are forcing auto manufacturers to adapt their business strategies. It also represents an increased push by VW to capitalize on the evolving Chinese transportation market. More than just ride-hailing "The joint venture with Didi is not just about ride-hailing. We want to explore mobility projects as well as autonomous driving and … [Read more...] about VW plans to work with China’s Didi ride service to design new car models
Next to the M56, on the outskirts of Manchester, the future has landed. A cluster of huge distribution centres sits at the heart of Airport City, a new development part-funded by the Beijing Construction Engineering Group (two years ago, it was visited by president Xi Jinping of China). Among the biggest buildings is one of Amazon’s self-styled “fulfilment centres”. Known within the company as MAN1, it opened in September last year, but everything inside, from the chairs to the wall-mounted screens, looks as if it has just come out of a box. Deeper within the centre, beyond the reception area and meeting rooms, there is something else just as new: a great expanse of space behind a metal cage, where dozens of robots, finished in Amazon orange and each emblazoned with its own number, glide across the floor, gracefully avoiding collisions and sprinting to their next task. Amazon employees call them “drives”, but to all intents and purposes these are droids, … [Read more...] about Meet your new cobot: is a machine coming for your job?