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SoftBank Invests in GM’s Cruise Automation

The SoftBank Vision Fund will be investing $2.25 billion in GM’s Cruise Automation, its self-driving car division. The company will receive an initial investment at the close of the transaction, and the remaining $1.35 billion when GM deploys its self-driving cars for commercial use. (GM has claimed that it will mass-produce autonomous cars without steering wheels or pedals by 2019.) At that point, SoftBank will own 19.6% of Cruise Automation; it has also invested in Uber, Asian ride-hailing companies, Nvidia, and...
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Drugs and Car Accidents

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Administration suggests that more and more people are driving with drugs in their system. In 2016, 44% of drivers who were killed in car accidents and tested for drugs tested positive, and 58% of those who tested positive had taken marijuana, opioids, or both. By comparison, only 38% of drivers in fatal accidents in 2016 had alcohol in their systems. (Nearly half of those who were alcohol-impaired also had taken drugs.) Although it should be noted that the presence of drugs does not necessarily mean that the driver was impaired, the report...
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New Trucking Forum Created To Discuss Industry Trends

International Truck is creating an industry forum, UPNEXT, where leaders of the commercial trucking sector can come together to discuss emerging trends and topics that are driving industry change. UPNEXT will include a number of initiatives intended to create a discussion among industry experts. The first of UPNEXTtrucking.com, which will store content related to pertinent issues.
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Arizona May Have The First City To Adjust Zoning Laws For Self-Driving Vehicles

In late 2017, Waymo announced they would be unleashing self-driving vehicles on the road in Chandler, Arizona. Now, while officials are still working on how to prepare for vehicles on the road, the Chandler City Council is addressing for the impact self-driving vehicles will have on parking. The ordinance, which chief city planner David de la Torre believes to be the first in the country, will allow developers to use less space for parking and more space for buildings if they meet certain accommodations for self-driving vehicles. De la Torre highlighted several examinations on future zoning...
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How Confused Are Consumers About Self-Driving Cars?

A recent study that polled more than 1,000 consumers about self-driving vehicles concluded that the general public is very confused on the topic. A key component of the survey noted that almost half the participants have a hard time discerning the difference between a semi-autonomous vehicle and a fully autonomous vehicle. Another item that stood out in the survey is the government’s role in the development of self-driving vehicles. Over 60% of respondents believe the government should be involved while 34% believe it should be left up to the...
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Autonomous Vehicle Project Reaches Landmark With First Public Demonstration

Driven, a group researching autonomous vehicles, launched its first public demonstration involving two cars driving on their own at its headquarters at the Culham Science Centre in Abingdon. The two vehicles used their cameras, computers and sensors to navigate the track which included basic traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. The Driven group is comprised of a number of companies, including XL Catlin, who is developing a risk assessment tool that will enable the users of autonomous vehicles to make decisions about what level of autonomy and speed is appropriate for what driving conditions,...
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BMW Announces Solid-State LiDAR System For Self-Driving Vehicles

BMW announced it will use solid-state LiDAR system for the company’s self-driving vehicles, which they plan to put into production by 2021. Israeli startup, Innoviz Technologies, along with Magna, will provide the technology that utilizes solid-state LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors with computer vision technology. The BMW contract is one of the first in the automotive industry involving a solid-state system, potentially opening the door for the technology and indicating a new scheme of cheaper autonomous driving.
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England And Michigan To Work Together On Driverless Cars

Michigan governor Rick Snyder and UK business minister Richard Harrington signed a contract of understanding allowing agencies and businesses in Detroit to work with organizations in the UK on new technologies and new rules related to the development of autonomous vehicles and smart roads. British organizations will be able to share experiences with their counterparts in Michigan and make use of MCity and the American Center for Mobility, two driverless car testing grounds.
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Alibaba Joins Baidu And Tencent In China’s Autonomous Car Race

Alibaba has joined rival internet giants Baidu and Tencent—which are collectively known as BAT—in the artificial intelligence-driven industry. The company is looking to hire 50 more self-driving specialists for its AI research lab and is now running road tests of autonomous cars on a regular basis. The company has capabilities for open road trials with a goal of achieving Level 4 autonomous capability, meaning cars can self-drive in most conditions without human intervention. Baidu, which was previously identified by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology as national champion in China’s...
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Jaguar Land Rover To Test Cars That See Through Obstacles

Jaguar Land Rover is leading project “AutopleX” to develop self-driving cars that have the ability “see” at blind points and through obstacles. AutopleX will aim to use technology to deliver information earlier to self-driving vehicles allowing communication with road users and detection of obstacles when no direct view is available. This should allow the vehicles to safely merge lanes, traverse roundabouts and safely advance around blind turns. AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments.
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BMW Opens Campus to Develop Autonomous Vehicles

BMW recently opened an autonomous driving campus in Bavaria, allowing a centralization of development of fully automated driving. Fifteen months ago, BMW decided to pool together its development resources in the fields of vehicle connectivity and highly and fully automated driving at a single location, according to a BMW announcement. The campus will house more than 1,500 employees and is near the Research and Innovation Center and motorway network. The company is recruiting software developers in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis. The theory behind...
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Head Of Self-Driving Cars at Audi Leaves Company

Audi’s Senior Vice President of Automated Driving has left the company. Alejandro Vukotich had been the head of Audi’s autonomous efforts since January 2017. While he led Audi’s research into advanced driver assist systems [ADAS], Vukotich is best known for his role in developing Audi’s new A8, a model the company claims is the first production car to offer Level 3 automated driving capabilities. The A8 is the first series model to offer a lidar scanner. Vukotich and his team had worked to develop a comprehensive sensor and processor network involving no fewer than 23 pieces of hardware. It...
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Do People Want Self-Driving Cars In Their Neighborhoods?

A recent survey of 1,100 California residents found that more than half of all residents surveyed (57%) said they don’t want autonomous vehicles on the streets of their neighborhoods. Less than one in four (23%) said it would be OK, and about one in five (19%) said they weren’t sure. State residents expressed similar views when asked about the relative safety of self-driven cars. More than half (57%) said they would feel “unsafe” or “very unsafe” riding in such a car, 28% said they would feel “safe” or “very safe,” and 15% said they were not sure. Finally, a Pew Research poll released in...
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Indonesia Requires Registration of Ride-Hailing Companies

The government of Indonesia recently announced that ride-hailing companies in that country could not be registered as technology companies, but must be registered as transportation companies.  This transition would give more protection to the companies’ drivers.  Currently, the regulation applies only to cars, but motorcycle-taxi drivers would like the rules to be expanded for their protection as well.  The biggest companies affected by the change are Go-Jek and Grab, the latter of which recently acquired the southeast Asian business of...
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