Monday 6th April 2015
Driverless Car Travels 3,400 Miles from San Francisco to New York
Delphi’s driverless SQ5 covered almost 3,400 miles while crossing 15 states and the District of Columbia in nine days.
Delphi packed their SUV full of autonomous features that should make it into production in just a few years from now. The coast-to-coast trip was the longest automated drive in America so far, and with 99 percent of the distance covered in fully autonomous mode, Delphi calls it a success despite missing that crucial final percent – Mate Petrany
Tuesday 29th March 2016
Self-Driving Car Startup Fights to Beat Tesla and Google
We want to ship a product by the end of the year that people will be able to install in their own cars and it will give them more self-driving capability than the Tesla today. – George Hotz
George Hotz’s pitch is that he can build self-driving car algorithms faster and better than any carmaker or even Google.
“Google is going to ship by the end of 2020? We’re actually making this stuff work,” said Hotz, who’s wearing jeans and a black hoodie with a large white comma on the front for his new company, Comma.ai.
Since he revealed his ambitions in a Bloomberg Businessweek article published last December, Hotz has attracted plenty of attention. The CEOs of Delphi, a major auto parts supplier, and Nvidia, maker of graphics processing units, have paid visits to his basement office at the “Crypto Castle,” a three-story house located in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and occupied by some of the city’s Bitcoin entrepreneurs.
He’s generated enough excitement to score an unannounced seed investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz that values Hotz’s tiny, fledgling company at $20 million, according to sources.
Hotz began Comma last October and he’s well past the lone-hacker-in-the-basement stage. Yunus Saatchi, who has a PhD from the University of Cambridge in artificial intelligence, has joined as chief machine learning officer. Saatchi was a colleague of Hotz’s at Vicarious, a San Francisco-based AI startup with $72 million in financing from investors like Musk and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
Jake Smith, a roommate of Hotz’s in the Crypto Castle who is involved in the Bitcoin community, is head of operations. And Elizabeth Stark, another prominent fixture in the Bitcoin startup world, is Comma’s legal advisor. (They’re all wearing Comma.ai shirts when I meet them.) Hotz plans to hire around eight people total in the coming three months. He’s looking for people in machine learning and consumer hardware.
Hotz is also starting work on what will become the company’s first product — a self-driving kit that car owners will be able to purchase directly from Comma to equip their vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. He hasn’t come close to working out the details of what this product will ultimately look like, but he said it might be a dash cam that plugs into the on-board diagnostics 2 port, which gives access to the car’s internal systems and is found in most cars made after 1996. It will provide cars with ADAS features, like lane-keeping assistance and emergency breaking.
“We believe our killer app is traffic,” Hotz said. “Humans are bad at traffic. We can make something that drives super-humanly smooth through traffic.”
Hotz said he won’t be able to turn every car into a semi-autonomous vehicle. At a minimum, the car will have to have anti-locking brakes and power steering. He’s hoping Comma’s product will work most with the five top-selling cars in the United States. – Aaron Tilley
Friday 30th September 2016
Singapore Blazes Self-Driving Taxi Trail
- Autonomous vehicle software start-up nuTonomy has announced that it is the first in the world to offer autonomous taxi rides. It beat Uber, which has started offering rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh
- Self-driving taxis can now be booked through an app by Grab, the biggest ride-hailing company in south-east Asia.
- NuTonomy and Grab won’t be the only providers of driverless, on-demand trips in Singapore. Last month, Delphi announced that it will provide a fleet of self-driving cars to the city-state.
Autonomous vehicle software start-up nuTonomy has made rides on its self-driving taxis available to the general public in Singapore for free, expanding a first-in-the world run that was initially invitation-only.
The Singapore trial was limited to a 2.5 square mile (6.5 square kilometre) business and residential district called One North.
NuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma said that the test area has since been doubled by the government. The approved route does not include any highways.
NuTonomy, a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced that the public can now book self-driving taxis through an app by Grab, the biggest ride-hailing company in south-east Asia. The two companies announced a year-long partnership.
To book a ride passengers will have to select the ‘robo-car’ option on Grab’s app. Passengers have to be older than 18 years old, book in advance and sign a liability waiver. Rides will be free for at least two months.
“We will be combining nuTonomy’s self-driving car software with Grab’s app, with their proven fleet routing technology and their mapping capabilities,” said Iagnemma.
The cars – modified Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electrics – have a safety driver in front who is prepared to take the wheel and a researcher in the back, who watches the car’s computers.
If a pick-up or drop-off point is out of approved testing perimeters the driver will take over for the rest of the journey, Iagnemma said. “It’s an evolution to identify where are the easy parts, where are the trickier parts where we need to spend more time,” he said.
Iagnemma would not say how many rides nuTonomy provided in the trial period, but said thousands signed up for the invited trial within the first 48 hours. The company said there have been no problems and plans to make its Singapore taxi fleet fully self-driving by 2018. – The Gleaner