Monday, July 25, 2016

Honda and Softbank: Talking cars that can read a driver's emotions.

Speaking at an event in Tokyo, Softbank and Honda described a future in which Honda cars could speak and interact with their drivers via cloud-based technology based on SoftBank's "Pepper" robot, a life-sized robot that can read human emotions. "Imagine if robots, with their super intelligence, devoted themselves to humans," Son said. "And imagine that cars themselves became supercomputers or robots one day. Honda will be the first to adopt this technology." The two companies would research ways to assess a driver's speech, along with other data compiled by vehicle sensors and cameras, to gauge the driver's emotions and allow the vehicle to engage in conversation.  As a result, vehicles would be able to offer advice and support to drivers, such as during challenging driving or parking situations, while also providing company to drivers on long, solitary trips.

GM exec: Autonomous cars could be for sale in 10 years

“We believe that they [NHSTSA] will start with a safety driver in the vehicle, which I think provides that extra layer of attention as we not only prove and validate the technology, but then demonstrate to consumers the safety of technology,” Barra said. “I think the framework will work.” Barra has previously said GM believes autonomous vehicles should have a brake, accelerator and steering wheel while the systems are proven safe. The carmaker expects the first deployment of self-driving vehicles will be for ride-sharing services. It has a partnership with Lyft Inc.

GM’s semi-automated hands-free, pedals-free highway driving feature – Super Cruise – is on track to debut next year on the Cadillac CT6, Barra said. GM confirmed in January it was being delayed for an unspecified reason. It previously was supposed to be available on the 2017 CT6.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Automakers Need to Work Together for a Truly Autonomous Future

Just because a car has autonomous features doesn't mean that a driver will use them, indeed this "off" or "on" approach is what is currently shaping car companies' technology development. "I want the capability to drive myself and I want the capability to be driven and I will decide which capability I want to have happen at that moment," said Sierhuis.  Therefore HERE is calling for carmakers to work together rather than in competition. "Greater collaboration is needed to ensure drivers and road operators alike can seamlessly transition into the era of automated vehicles," said Carrie Cox, Senior Product Marketing Manager at HERE. "But how we get to that objective and what it takes to get there, in terms of building the necessary digital infrastructure at scale, is a call to action for all of us."

Friday, July 22, 2016

2017 TRB Annual Meeting: Papers Due August 1, 2016

TRB is accepting papers for consideration as part of the program for the 96th TRB Annual Meeting, January 8–12, 2017, in Washington, D.C., and for publication in the Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board (TRR). All papers—whether for presentation at the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting or publication in the TRR—must be submitted in PDF format directly to TRB’s paper submission website by August 1, 2016.

The spotlight theme for the 2017 TRB Annual Meeting is Transportation Innovation: Leading the Way in an Era of Rapid Change. The information-packed program is expected to attract more than 12,000 transportation professionals from around the world.

Uber is partnering with a satellite imaging company to help drivers find you

In a blog post announcing the deal, DigitalGlobe said its imagery would help "improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers," and that Uber would be using DigitalGlobe’s technology to "identify and improve pick-up and drop-off locations," rather than displaying maps to users of the Uber app. Uber has been building up its mapping division for a while, as high-definition maps are key to its self-driving car project. A number of engineers poached from both Google and Carnegie Mellon University are working on Uber’s mapping efforts, including Brian McClendon, the former head of Google Maps who is now in charge of Uber maps.

Volkswagen's Audi plans electric car push to put heat on Tesla

Audi will aim for electric cars to account for a quarter of its sales by 2025 as part of a strategic overhaul following the emissions scandal at parent Volkswagen, company sources said, in a move that could step up the challenge to U.S. group Tesla. Audi, which has been slow to embrace battery-powered vehicles, will now invest about a third of its research and development (R&D) budget into electric cars, digital services, and autonomous driving, two company sources told Reuters. Based on the 1.8 million cars sold by the German automaker last year, that would mean it selling at least 450,000 electric cars a year. Factoring in an expected rise in sales, that could turn Audi into a major competitor to Tesla, which believes it can sell 500,000 electric cars by 2020 or sooner.

Uber Inks Software Deal With Concur to Ease Business Trips

Uber will use software from Concur Technologies that allows large companies to track employee expenses as it continues its push into the corporate travel market. "We've seen almost 230% growth in Uber transactions in the past year and with this integration we expect to see that growth accelerate as we help companies leverage the benefits of Uber as part of their travel program," said Concur's Elena Donio.

U.S. Considers Expanding Automated-Driving Technology Oversight

U.S. regulators are studying whether to require federal approval of self-driving car technology before it can be sold to the public, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday. “I’ve been encouraging our team to think about … the extent to which we should encourage pre-market-approval steps. That would require industry and the department to be more in sync and more rigorous on the front end of development and testing,” he said at an industry conference in San Francisco.
Foxx's comments, reported by the Wall Street Journal, follow the launch of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into a fatal crash involving Tesla's self-driving car software, Autopilot.

GM’s first fully autonomous car will be electric and launch on Lyft

Pam Fletcher, executive chief engineer of autonomous tech at GM, would not share specifics about timing, but she did say the company’s first fully autonomous car will be available via the ride-sharing service sooner than you may expect."We have not made that announcement yet, but what I would say is this is all coming much faster than people anticipate, so I’ll say that much. We have been transparent about that,” she said. “We are working on an on-demand ride-sharing network with Lyft, it’s not something we are thinking about, it’s something we are very much readying for consumer use.”

Yes, Car-Sharing Really Does Reduce Car Ownership

In a report published Tuesday, new research by UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center quantifies the effects of car2go—a one-way car-sharing service powered by German automaker Daimler AG—in select North American cities. The report, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and car2go, among other funders, found that the service creates a net reduction on the number of vehicles on the road, which in turn seems to be reducing the number of vehicle-miles traveled and greenhouse-gas emissions.