Tag Archives: SelfDriving
You will soon be able to ride home from your local car dealership in a car that finds its way there unassisted while you nap or read. That reality came a whole lot closer this week, with bipartisan agreement in the Senate on legislation allowing self-driving cars to take the the roads. The law is expected to come up for vote in the near future, and pass.
The House passed similar legislation, also with bipartisan support, several weeks ago. That legislation allows car manufacturers to sell up to 25,000 autonomous vehicles the first year they offer them. That will go up to 100,000 cars a year if the self-driving cars prove as safe as human-driven ones. And that’s not all. The Trump administration also helped out recently by issuing voluntary safety guidelines for autonomous cars and at the same time requesting that states avoid writing laws or regulations governing self-driving cars and possibly hampering their introduction.
The senators who arrived at the self-driving deal note that autonomous cars appear to be safer than human-driven ones. “Ultimately, we expect adoption of self-driving vehicle technologies will save lives, improve mobility for people with disabilities, and create new jobs,” said Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) in a joint statement. They may be right: When a Tesla owner died while his car was in Autopilot mode last summer, company founder Elon Musk pointed out that it was the first known Autopilot fatality in 130 million miles of driving, whereas there’s a human fatality for every 89 million miles of traditional driving.
But if cars with no one at the wheel will soon become a common sight, the same won’t be true of semi trucks. The Teamsters successfully lobbied for the House version of the bill to limit self-driving vehicles to 10,000 pounds or less. That could be a problem for the U.S. trucking industry, which was short an estimated 48,000 drivers at the end of 2015, a shortage that’s expected to grow to 175,000 over the next seven years. That will create enormous pressure to replace hard-to-find long-haul truck drivers with no-muss, no-fuss AI.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A coalition of supporters of self-driving cars said on Tuesday that it will run ads this week in social media and Washington newspapers, in an effort to convince the U.S. Congress to adopt sweeping legislation to boost the nascent industry.
The ads are being placed by the Coalition for Future Mobility, which was formed in July by trade groups representing major automakers, along with other advocates for self-driving cars, as Congress began serious consideration of bills relating to autonomous vehicles.
They want the Senate to pass a bill that would speed up the use of self-driving cars by easing safety regulations, and bar states from blocking such vehicles. The House of Representatives has already unanimously approved a bill.
The Senate is considering a similar draft measure, but is divided over whether to include large commercial trucks, a dispute that could prevent the bill from winning approval this year.
The House measure, which only applies to vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg), would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year. The cap would rise over three years to 100,000 vehicles annually.
As part of the campaign, major automakers will be contacting their employees and retirees, asking them to reach out to their members of Congress, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said.
The coalition launched a website and will use targeted Facebook advertising, focusing on groups who could benefit from autonomous vehicles, such as disabled veterans.
One of the print ads seen by Reuters features a man dressed in military fatigues sitting in a wheelchair. The ad says: “He fought for our freedom. Let’s give him back his.” That “will only become a reality if Congress acts,” the ad says.
The coalition includes trade groups representing automakers General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), as well as organizations including ride sharing firm Lyft Inc, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the American Council of the Blind and a drone industry group.
Senate aides have been negotiating in recent days but have not reached agreement. A Senate panel could take up the issue at an Oct. 4 hearing, aides say.
Auto industry leaders say 3 million commercial truck jobs could eventually be at risk if self-driving vehicles replaced human drivers.
Self-driving proponents say 94 percent of U.S. car crashes are the result of human error and argue self-driving cars could dramatically cut the 35,000 annual road deaths.
Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
Even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world are at the mercy of a grade-school concept: supply and demand.
That’s how a person like Anthony Levandowski can get paid $ 120 million by Google, leave to start his own company, watch that company get acquired by Uber just months later, and then find himself barred from working on self-driving car technology by a U.S. court.
That goes to show just how important Levandowski—and other engineers like him—truly are to the arms race around self-driving cars.
“It’s not like [you] can hire any one of the thousands or tens of thousands of people who have a particular certification,” said Nidhi Kalra, who heads the RAND Corporation’s self-driving car policy work. “They’re looking for people who are innovators in the fields of machine learning, deep learning, LIDAR design—and there aren’t a lot of those people out there.” Read more…
As if Uber wasn’t already in enough trouble over claims of sexism within its organization from earlier this week, the company is sinking deeper in hot water as Waymo, the self-driving vehicle firm spun off from Google, is suing the company for allegedly stealing a key component of its autonomous car tech. A lawsuit filed on Thursday in a San Francisco federal court focuses on the alleged wrongdoings of former Waymo employee Anthony Levandowski, the engineer who built Google’s very first self-driving car. He is also a co-founder of Otto, the self-driving truck firm acquired by Uber in August 2016…
This story continues at The Next Web
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