In 2019, We’ll Have Taxis Without Drivers—or Steering Wheels (1-3-19)

Illustration: Blood Bros.

A coming milestone in the automobile world is the widespread rollout of Level 4 autonomy, where the car drives itself without supervision. Waymo, the company spun out of Google’s self-driving car research, said it would start a commercial Level 4 taxi service by late 2018, although that hadn’t happened as of press time. And GM Cruise, in San Francisco, is committed to do the same in 2019, using a Chevrolet Bolt that has neither a steering wheel nor pedals.

These cars wouldn’t work in all conditions and regions—that’s why they’re on rung 4 and not rung 5 of the autonomy ladder. But within some limited operational domain, they’ll have the look and feel of a fully robotized car. The question is how constrained that domain will be.

Read Full Story Here (via IEEE Spectrum)

What’s Apple’s Plan for Autonomous Driving? (12-26-18)

As Apple (AAPL – Get Report) continues to slap autonomous driving test cars on the road and hire top-level talent for its initiatives, the rumor mill continues to churn.

Just what is Apple up to?

The iPhone-maker is a major secret-keeper when it comes to revealing what it’s working on. But thanks to a string of information earlier this year, we’re uncovering some its auto-related mysteries.

Read Full Story Here (via The Street)

Designing Self-Driving Cars for the Elderly (12-26-18)

The motoring world is set to witness a significant shift in the months and years to come, as autonomous vehicles begin to be used on public roads. Google has already revealed that it is trialing its automated technology in real-world situations, for instance, while both Lexus and Mercedes have confirmed that they are among the big-name vehicle manufacturers to be working on autonomous car technology. Across the Atlantic in the UK, Tesla has been putting its driverless Autopilot system through the paces too. There are also rumors that BMW and Apple are collaborating to create a vehicle which may well be automated.

A lot is going on when it comes to the topic of self-driving vehicles then. However, a lot of people are still skeptical about the technology. In fact, a survey by AAA suggested that around 75 percent of the public are currently fearful about riding in a self-driving car.

Various groups seen in our society could benefit from being able to use autonomous vehicles though, including senior citizens. This is especially apparent when considering the Surface Transportation Policy Project titled ‘Aging Americans: Stranded Without Options.’ This study revealed that 20 percent of Americans over 65 do not drive at all. Bearing all of this in mind, stairlift manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts has investigated exactly how self-driving cars have the capability to assist elderly people.

Read Full Story Here (via ECN)

Uber Approved To Resume Autonomous Car Tests In Pittsburgh (12-18-18)

This March 17, 2017, photo shows an Uber self-driving Volvo in Pittsburgh. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has approved Uber’s request to resume testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the Pittsburgh area. The approval, effective Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, and lasting for one year, comes about nine months after one of Uber’s autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian. Testing was suspended after March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has approved Uber’s request to resume testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the Pittsburgh area.

The approval, effective Monday and lasting for one year, comes about nine months after one of Uber’s autonomous test vehicles hit and killed an Arizona pedestrian. Testing was suspended after March 18 crash in Tempe, Arizona.

Uber can test throughout Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located. Its vehicles must have at least one human backup driver and two if the company plans to go over 25 miles per hour (40 kph), department spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.