If fully autonomous vehicles ever hit the world’s highways en masse, their developers have a lot of work to do to convince the humans inside the tech is trustworthy. Seventy-five percent of Americans say they would be afraid to travel in an autonomous vehicle, and initiatives are starting around the US to help self-driving cars earn the confidence of their would-be passengers. Taking our hands off the wheel won’t be easy.
GM’s Cruise Automation has increased the number of autonomous Bolts testing on California roads to 100 over the last three months. Prior to this ramp up, the company was only testing 30 to 40 self-driving units. Now that there are so many robo-Bolts on the road, there have been increased reports of minor crashes, all of which were caused by humans operating cars and bicycles. GM Cruise spokeswoman, Rebecca Mark, assured:Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV out testing in San Francisco (via Glenn L)“All our incidents this year were caused by the other vehicle.”Just over the course of September, the Bolts have been involved in six minor incidents, none of which they caused. The tests are taking place on the busy roads of San Fransico, in order to prepare the self-driving vehicles for real-world situations and urban stop-and-go traffic.The accident situation is something that we also saw early on when Google was testing prototypes. Just because these cars use artificial intelligence and are programmed not to “hit” people, cars, or bikes, among other things, this doesn’t mean that they are accident-free. In fact, since many humans don’t obey traffic laws, aren’t used to the robo-vehicles, and often make errors, accidents are likely. Though it seems that most are minor in nature, and no one has been hurt.
The battery materials are 100 percent inorganic, and possess no flammable or volatile components. Solid Power says its batteries provide two to three times higher energy than current Li-ion designs, and also offer the potential to eliminate costly safety features.Solid Power originated as a spin-out from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2012.
Nvidia just announced plans for “Pegasus,” its next-generation system for autonomous cars. Due out in the second half of next year, Pegasus is a license-plate sized computer that the chip giant says can process 320 trillion operations per second. That, Nvidia said, is the equivalent to a 100-server data center and — more importantly — enough to power a fully autonomous car.
Tesla is reportedly now working with the chip manufacturer AMD on the development of its own self-driving tech management AI chip, according to an unnamed source quoted by CNBC in a recent article.According to that source, Tesla has now “received back samples of the first implementation of its processor and is now running tests on it” — bringing the company closer to its goal of being entirely vertically integrated and not dependent upon outside firms for key components.This processor is, as noted above, based on top of AMD intellectual property, so complete independence is clearly not going to be the case within the immediate future, but perhaps not too long into the future either.
Autonomous vehicles — essentially driverless cars — have the potential to turn commuting from what is largely a waste of time to a productive stretch, as well as improve the environment and reduce traffic congestion. But they also could put many of us out of work.According to the U.S. Census, 130 million of us spend an hour every day commuting to work, mostly by car. That’s 130 million hours, sitting in traffic, amounting to 15,000 years of largely wasted human capital — every day. Even if you ask people who take public transport what work they do while commuting, they say listen to podcasts. Okay.Yet autonomous vehicles have the potential to allow us to reclaim many of those hours. Imagine, for example, that you are a working mom. You open up your autonomous vehicle app and request a ride to work. (Your employer subsidizes the cost of the service.) Five minutes later, a luxury Mercedes van pulls up. Your children pile in with you until the first stop, when they transfer to a second autonomous vehicle that takes them to school. By this time, you have solved that nagging math problem your son didn’t quite get done last night.