Ford Patents ‘Autonomous Racecar Mode’ To Save You From The Hassle Of Having Fun


How soon before cars start driving themselves on race tracks? Maybe it’s in the cards, based on this Ford patent application for “Selectable Autonomous Driving Modes.” One of these modes was called “racecar” mode, and it’s exactly what you think it is.Over on Oppositelock, DCCarGeek was digging around in what I’m assuming was a big, damp box of patents when he found something very interesting from Ford. The basic idea behind this really isn’t too radical, but apparently it’s enough for Ford to apply for a patent.Basically, they want the passenger in an autonomous car to be able to select a “personality” for the car, and that includes a number of characteristics. As Ford describes in the patent:[0017] The user interface device 110 may adopt the “personality” of the selected driving mode. For instance, the user interface device 110 may communicate using one of the voices discussed above. Additionally, the user interface device 110 may adjust a color scheme to fit the “personality.” The color scheme for the “chauffeur” mode may include mostly black and white while the color scheme for the “sport” or “racecar” modes may include bright colors or the color schemes of well-known racecars. The color scheme for the “eco-friendly” mode may include green, which is sometimes associated with environmentally friendly objects.

Source: Ford Patents ‘Autonomous Racecar Mode’ To Save You From The Hassle Of Having Fun

Ford CEO Looks to Autonomous Cars, Sharing Economy | Sci-Tech Today


ord CEO Mark Fields says the 112-year-old company is tripling its investment in new technologies that will ultimately lead to self-driving vehicles — but will make sure to keep making cars for drivers who want to keep their hands on the wheel.Fields said it was no coincidence that Ford chose the Mobile World Congress, a massive technology trade show in Barcelona, to unveil its new Kuga SUV [pictured above], which features its latest connectivity and driver-assisted technology.”We are really emphasizing our transition from an auto company to an auto and mobility company,” Fields told The Associated Press in an interview Monday at Ford’s stand, which stood out in a sea of smartphone and gadget makers.

Source: Ford CEO Looks to Autonomous Cars, Sharing Economy | Sci-Tech Today

Autonomous Vehicles Come to the Côte d’Azur with CityMobil2


CityMobil2, the autonomous transport vehicle developed as part of a European project, will soon be tested in the Côte d’Azur region by CASA.From January to March 2016, the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration Community will test three electric autonomous vehicles capable of transporting nine people within an urban environment. From Monday to Friday, three vehicles will follow a test route on Roumanille Avenue in Biot, taking passengers to five stops. A technician on board will collect feedback from the passengers. EasyMile, a joint venture of the French Manufacturers Robosft and Ligier, designed the EZ10 model to include an obstacle detection system that functions through utilizing laser and GPS technology.The CityMobile2 project has already been tested in Rochelle Lausanne (Switzerland), Trikala (Greece), and Vantaa (Finland). The project is positioned as a recommended method of urban European transportation.To learn more about CityMobile2, go to

Source: Autonomous Vehicles Come to the Côte d’Azur with CityMobil2

Ford to Debut Traffic Jam Assist, Fully Autonomous Car in Four Years


Without delving into any specifics, Fields said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the company was finalizing a traffic jam assist and a “fully active” auto-parking system that can shift, brake, and steer into a spot. The traffic jam assist is an auto pilot that combines the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist for a few seconds of no-hands driving. Currently, no Ford or Lincoln offers these kind of capabilities. Fields offered no timeline on when he would unveil them.

Source: Ford to Debut Traffic Jam Assist, Fully Autonomous Car in Four Years

Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Doesn’t Give A Shit About Your Weak Human Attacks – Digg


A new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings, can withstand both difficult terrain and stupid humans taunting it with a hockey stick.

Source: Boston Dynamics’ New Robot Doesn’t Give A Shit About Your Weak Human Attacks – Digg

What self-driving cars can learn from autonomous industrial trucks: A conversation with Seegrid – TechRepublic


In 2003, Moravec founded Seegrid, a robotics company that uses “vision guided vehicles” (VGVs)—thus “see” and “grid”—to navigate warehouses. They unveiled their first VGV, a truck that could move through its environment autonomously, in 2008. TechRepublic caught up with Moravec and Jim Rock, Seegrid’s CEO, to learn how the technology works, and why the self-driving car industry should take notes.

Source: What self-driving cars can learn from autonomous industrial trucks: A conversation with Seegrid – TechRepublic

Denso, NTT Docomo to cooperate on self-driving technology | The Japan Times


Auto parts maker Denso Corp. and mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc. will work together in developing a vehicle control system for automated driving and advanced driver assistance.They said Monday that the LTE and next-generation 5G mobile standards will be used to develop a system that lets vehicles merge onto expressways and cross intersections with poor visibility.

Source: Denso, NTT Docomo to cooperate on self-driving technology | The Japan Times

Ford to Triple Investment in Semi-Autonomous Features | Watch the video – Yahoo Finance


February 22 — Carmakers are becoming a familiar sight at tech shows, where they’re rolling out new models to woo a generation of consumers who question the need for a car that only gets them from A to B. At this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ford Motor Co. will unveil a new vehicle for Europe, eager to win the race with other automakers to dominate the connected vehicle market. Company CEO Mark Fields told Bloomberg’s Caroline Hyde at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona why the automaker is becoming more tech-savvy.

Source: Ford to Triple Investment in Semi-Autonomous Features | Watch the video – Yahoo Finance

Roadblocks remain for autonomous cars – News – Citizens’ Voice


In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defined five stages of vehicle autonomy, with level 0 being that the driver has full control of steering, brakes and throttle, and level 4 meaning that the car performs all functions independently.Some commercial vehicles are already considered levels 1 and 2, with functions like automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and self-parking.But there’s much to be achieved before level-4 cars chauffeur people around town.Fully autonomous vehicles need to cover two domains: highway driving and urban driving.“Technologically, we’re pretty much there in terms of highway driving,” said John Dolan, principal systems scientist at CMU’s Robotics Institute. The demands of urban driving are “problematic,” he continued. “Nobody’s really claiming they’ve solved it.”There are three major fields when it comes to teaching cars to drive themselves: perception, behaviors and motion planning.

Source: Roadblocks remain for autonomous cars – News – Citizens’ Voice

We tried out a flexible LCD bracelet, and it was the geekiest thing ever


The company’s booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, hidden in a remote corner of the huge Fira venue, looks like the desk of a genius inventor. Screen parts, chips, and various partly assembled gizmos did not give us hope we’d see anything close to a finished product here, but a curvy LCD display, shaped like a bracelet, piqued our interest. SEE ALSO: Alcatel Idol 4 comes in a box that doubles as VR gogglesADVERTISEMENT The LCD screen is functional, and even though it’s not a real touchscreen, we could tap the buttons on its side to change the displayed info, including an animated map and a grid of icons.A company rep told us the company doesn’t plan to launch an actual product; instead, it’s highlighting the technology, which it plans to license to screen manufacturers.

Source: We tried out a flexible LCD bracelet, and it was the geekiest thing ever

Google Gets One Step Closer to Making Driverless Cars Happen — The Motley Fool


Google, or parent company Alphabet, depending how you look at it, has taken up the vanguard position and asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a number of interpretations in a Nov. 12 letter. The agency’s Feb. 4 response, which Reuters reports on here, gave the company — and by extension Apple, Uber, and anyone else considering creating or using this technology — a big win.GOOGLE IS CURRENTLY TESTING CARS THAT DO NOT NEED DRIVERS. IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE.What did the NHTSA say?The most important question in Google’s letter, from a potential manufacturer’s point, involved who, or what, would be considered the driver of a driverless car. If, for example, the NHTSA considered the passenger the driver, it would create legal liability for people that might cause them to avoid the technology. But the NHTSA did not see it that way, and wrote that the artificial intelligence would, in fact, be considered the entity in charge.

Source: Google Gets One Step Closer to Making Driverless Cars Happen — The Motley Fool

Volvo will (kinda) let drivers ditch car keys for phones


From 2017, Volvo will offer its customers the option to ditch keys and buy a car that’s only unlocked with your smartphone. The firm is piloting the technology for the rest of this year with car-sharing outlet Sunfleet, based in Sweden. Subsequently, a limited number of retail vehicles will be given the Tesla-like ability to have smartphone-only access as well as remote start. Since access to the ride will be entirely app-based, users will be able to swap digital keys with other people or simply add a rental car to their device’s list of trusted cars.Volvo’s implementation isn’t really about consumers, and we’d look at someone strangely if they flat out refused to pick up a key when offered. Instead, the firm is exploring how people will interact with their cars in the future and how car usage will change. For instance, self-driving cars won’t sit in the car park while you’re in the office, they’ll ferry other people around during the day. Similarly, being able to share keys digitally makes it easier for car clubs and ride-sharing firms to manage their fleets. So, yeah, relax, Volvo’s got an eye on how the future of transportation will shake out, you probably won’t have to deal with it for a while.

Source: Volvo will (kinda) let drivers ditch car keys for phones

A new report projects the future sales volumes for self-driving vehicles | Trucks at Work


Stossel reiterated an often-highlighted statistic when the subject of “driverless cars” comes up: They are safer than one operated by human drivers are, because 94% of people killed in car crashes are killed because of human error.Yet Stossel’s consternation at “doing nothing” (expect for hyperventilating, which is what I would do, too) with the Tesla in self-pilot mode reminds me of a similar issue confronting truck drivers placed behind the wheel of autonomous trucks; something discussed in detail last December during a two-day conference in Texas.“The big challenge here is a driver faced with 10 hours of drive time sitting there doing nothing, yet still responsible for intervening at a moment’s notice if something goes wrong,” explained Stephan Keese, senior partner for the North American automotive practice at global consulting firm Roland Berger, during a presentation at that meeting.“So how do you keep them awake and attentive in such an environment? That can almost be more stressful than driving,” he said. “But driver acceptance is essential to making all of this work.”Navigant’s Alexander adds another concern to the mix: accident liability.“While improved safety and a reduction in accidents is one of the biggest benefits of autonomous driving, liability is a concern for many OEMs,” he said. “Claims that a vehicle itself caused damage or injury could be potentially ruinous for manufacturers,” though he stressed that legislation establishing that “liability rests with whomever activates a system” would encourage the launch and deployment of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs).

Source: A new report projects the future sales volumes for self-driving vehicles | Trucks at Work

Self-Driving Cars Could Save Millions Of Lives — But There’s A Catch


Worldwide, about 1.25 million people die from auto accidents per year. Something like 95 percent of these accidents are caused by human error. So by automating driving, we could save about a million lives a year. At the same time, this change will have a huge economic impact, launching whole new industries and destroying old industries. About 10 percent of the U.S. workforce operate vehicles as part of their job, and the automation of driving will eliminate millions of jobs in the U.S. alone. But with so many lives saved, I believe it is a moral imperative to deploy the technology.By automating driving, we could save about a million lives a year.Dr. Moshe VardiWe can expect an epic battle between car companies and computer companies to dominate the driverless cars market. Also, cars will be used much more efficiently, so car ownership may plummet by up to 80 percent. We can also expect a significant productivity boost from self-driving cars, since the time we now spend behind the wheel is usually nonproductive. What will happen to the truck drivers, cab drivers and other workers who are displaced by self-driving technology?What happened to many U.S. manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs? Many have found new jobs, but many also left the workforce, which accounts for the significant drop in the U.S. labor force participation rate over the past 20 years. Not all of the workers that will be displaced by the automation of driving will be able to find new jobs.What will that mean for the U.S. economy?Our current economic system requires people to either have wealth or to work to make a living, with the assumption that the economy creates jobs for all those who need them. If this assumption breaks down — and progress in automation is likely to break it down, I believe — then we need to rethink the very basic structure of our economic system.For example, we may have to consider instituting Basic Income Guarantee, which means that all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, in addition to any income received from elsewhere.ASSOCIATED PRESSThe Actros autonomous truck by Mercedes-Benz drives on a public motorway in Germany.Do you share concerns about the rise of artificial intelligence — that intelligent machines will one day do us all in?Elon Musk and others are worried about AI systems developing autonomy and agency. At this point, we are incredibly far from being able to build such systems, so these worries seem a bit theoretical to me. In 25 years it might make sense to talk about a possible threat, but now such talk is really fear-mongering. We simply do not have enough facts to think about such threats.The threat to jobs, however, is imminent and deserves our immediate attention, while we continue to monitor for other emerging threats.What about the development of military robots capable of mounting attacks without input from humans?Many people now call for banning what’s being called LAWS — Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems — by an international treaty. The challenge is to define autonomy. What kind of human input is sufficient for “killer robots”? What about a robot that kills an enemy solider without human input in order to save our own soldiers? These issues need to be fully hashed out.

Source: Self-Driving Cars Could Save Millions Of Lives — But There’s A Catch

Risk management company tests self-driving car systems on the A2 –


More than 50 cars with a variety of self-driving systems will travel in convoy on the A2 motorway between Amsterdam and the village of Beesd on Wednesday.The 120-kilometre drive has been organised by risk management group Aon together with civil engineering group HaskoningDVC and a lease car company. The cars making the journey include BMWs, Hyundais, Mercedes, Teslas, Toyotas and Volvos.The aim is to identify the ‘advantages and risks’ of highly-autonomous cars, Aon spokesman Evert-Jeen van der Meer told website Automobiel Management. The cars will make the trip during the day, in the middle of ordinary traffic.SystemsThe cars in question are fitted with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance systems and blind spot monitoring. The test will also show whether these systems contribute to better traffic flows and safer driving, the website said.The companies working on the project have been testing the cars on a circuit in Lelystad since October last year.

Source: Risk management company tests self-driving car systems on the A2 –