HOFOLDING, Germany — The other drivers wouldn’t have noticed anything unusual as the two sleek limousines with German license plates joined the traffic on France’s Autoroute 1. But what they were witnessing — on that sunny, fall day in 1994 — was something many of them would have dismissed as just plain crazy. It had taken a few phone calls from the German car lobby to get the French authorities to give the go-ahead. But here they were: two gray Mercedes 500 SELs, accelerating up to 130 kilometers per hour, changing lanes and reacting to other cars — autonomously, with an onboard computer system controlling the steering wheel, the gas pedal and the brakes. Decades before Google, Tesla and Uber got into the self-driving car business, a team of German engineers led by a scientist named Ernst Dickmanns had developed a car that could navigate French commuter traffic on its own. The story of Dickmann’s invention, and how it came to be all but … [Read more...] about The man who invented the self-driving car (in 1986)
Driverless cars new york times
AFTER a bumpy period of failed partnerships, Apple's finally snagged a co-pilot in Volkswagen for its ambitious self-driving car project. The tech giant had previously unsuccessfully tried to wrangle both Mercedes-Benz and BMW for a connected vehicle collaboration, reveals The New York Times. But those negotiations ultimately collapsed due to Apple's reported desire to hog both the data and design of any future motors. Then, in stepped Volkswagen to save the day. However, anyone expecting to see a VW robo-sports car fitted with Apple's AI is in for a letdown – the duo's first team-up will be on a decidedly less exciting van. Specifically, Apple will transform existing Volkswagen T6 Transporters into self-driving shuttle busses for its employees. Autonomous mini-vans built by French startup Navya have already been trialled on the public in East London and Las Vegas. But VW's T6 Transporters are much bigger than those dinky busses. And they'll likely soon be ferrying around Apple … [Read more...] about Forget driverless cars – Apple teams up with Volkswagen for self-driving VANS
DRIVERS of keyless cars are being gassed to death after accidentally leaving their engines running, it emerged today. At least 28 people have died and 45 others have suffered injuries from carbon monoxide poisoning in the US since 2006 after thinking they'd turn their engines off. In many cases, victims park up in their garage and inadvertently leave the exhaust to pump deadly fumes into the house. Concerns about further fatalities have been going on for years and there are fears these figures could be much higher, according to the New York Times. One fire chief was so concerned about the number of cases he was seeing that he began giving out carbon monoxide detectors. Doug McGlynn, a veteran firefighter in Palm Beach County also handed out signs to display in their garages: "Carbon Monoxide Kills. Is Your Car Off?" The Society of Automotive Engineers has demanded that alerts such as loud beeps are installed to warn drivers that the car engine is still running. Their recommendations … [Read more...] about More than two dozen people have been killed by carbon monoxide from their keyless cars
Self-driving cars are supposed to be our salvation, drastically reducing the 1.3 million road fatalities worldwide each year by replacing humans with robots who can do precision piloting and never get distracted, drowsy or drunk. So why did a self-driving Uber SUV being tested in Tempe, Arizona, strike and kill a woman March 18 without so much as hitting the brakes? The accident will only drive more anxiety about autonomy given that 63 percent of Americans already say they’d be afraid to ride in a fully self-driving car, according to a AAA survey. As experts and investigators pore over the Arizona fatality to determine the cause, here’s a look at some factors that may determine how safe robot rides may, or may not, be.1. How do self-driving cars work?Driverless cars “see” the world around them by using data from cameras as well as radar and lidar -- sensors that bounce laser light off objects to determine their shape and location. High-speed processors crunch … [Read more...] about Just How Safe Is Driverless Car Technology, Really?
The companies and officials influencing the development of self-driving technology offered a wide variety of reactions to the death last week of a pedestrian struck by an Uber autonomous vehicle. Uber Technologies Inc. suspended the testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Arizona, where the incident took place, and in other cities. So did Toyota Motor Corp., citing the emotional toll on the safety drivers who sit in the front seat and monitor for hazards. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo division kept testing.States also varied in their responses. While Arizona didn’t pause driverless car tests, Massachusetts quietly reached out to local companies and asked them to take a few days off the road, according to Karl Iagnemma, chief executive officer of NuTonomy, a Boston-based subsidiary of auto-parts maker Aptiv Plc.The autonomous car industry is still reeling from the accident, puzzling over the failure of an Uber SUV … [Read more...] about Regulators Are Asleep at the Wheel on Self-Driving Cars