Tech Firms, Government Officials Put The Brakes On Testing Self-Driving Vehicles After Fatal Uber Crash (3-27-18)

More than a week after one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, government officials and technology firms have begun reconsidering their rapid deployment of some autonomous technology amid fears it’s not ready for public testing.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) banned Uber’s self-driving cars from the state’s roads Monday, saying he was “very disturbed” by police video showing one of the company’s self-driving cars striking and killing a pedestrian in Tempe last week. The ban was limited to Uber, but it held special significance because Ducey had previously welcomed Uber’s testing in the state by pitting Arizona’s comparatively relaxed regulatory framework against neighboring California’s.

Separately, Uber agreed to discontinue testing its autonomous vehicles in California, according to a letter from the state Department of Motor Vehicles to the company, citing conversations with company executives. Uber’s permit to test its vehicles in the state expires March 31, and the company has no immediate plans to renew it, the letter said.

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)

Hail Technology: Deep Learning May Help Predict When People Need Rides (3-1-18)

Computers may better predict taxi and ride sharing service demand, paving the way toward smarter, safer and more sustainable cities, according to an international team of researchers.

In a study, the researchers used two types of neural networks — computational systems modeled on the human brain — that analyzed patterns of taxi demand. This deep learning approach, which lets computers learn on their own, was then able to predict the demand patterns significantly better than current technology.

“Ride sharing companies, like Uber in the United States, and Didi Chuxing in China, are becoming more and more popular and have really changed the way people approach transportation,” said Jessie Li, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State. “And you can imagine how important it would be to predict the taxi demand because the taxi company could dispatch the cars even before the need arises.”

Read Full Story Here (via ScienceDaily)