11 Big Autonomous Vehicle & AI Stories — #NewsBonanza

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Following up on EV battery and EV charging #NewsBonanza posts, here’s one on 11 autonomous vehicle & AI stories from the past couple of months that we thought should be covered but we never got to for individual stories. Enjoy.

1. Google wants to make “good” AI, and it wants your help doing so. “Google is taking both its immense tech capabilities and social responsibility role very seriously. Namely, it has pledged to provide tangible support to organizations wanting to help address societal challenges using artificial intelligence through its just announced ‘AI Impact Challenge’. Whether an idea needs coaching, grant funding from a pool of $25 million available, or credit and consulting from cloud services, Google will be there to help.”

2. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is putting $2 billion into an effort to provide artificial intelligence with common sense, via a program called Machine Common Sense (MCS). “The program aims to enable computers to communicate naturally, behave reasonably in new situations, and learn from new experiences.”

3. Smart Columbus & DriveOhio launched a self-driving shuttle service on December 10th. Smart Circuit, as it’s called, uses vehicles from May Mobility and covers a 1.5-mile loop around the Scioto Mile during the hours 6:00–22:00. There are 4 stops and departures are every 10 minutes. While the shuttle is autonomous (and free), there is a backup driver onboard for now.

4. Lyft bought AR company Blue Vision Labs. “Blue Vision Labs will be the first Lyft office in London, and will become part of Lyft’s Level 5 division to build technology for Lyft’s self-driving efforts.”

5. Bosch & Daimler aim to make San José, California, the test locale of an on-demand, autonomous, ride-hailing service. “Using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, Bosch and Daimler propose to offer the service to a selected user community in the San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor between downtown and west San José.

“The on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services will demonstrate how mobility services such as car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi), and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be intelligently connected. The test operation will provide information about how highly and fully automated vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transportation network. The intent is to provide a seamless digital experience, in which a selected user community will have the opportunity to hail a self-driving car, monitored by a safety driver, from a designated pick-up location and drive automatically to their destination.”

6. Emily Hamilton of Market Urbanism proposes three policies that are critical to make self-driving cars actually work for cities — help cities rather than hurt them. Click the link to read the ideas.

Waymo autonomous van

7. Brett Winton of Ark Invest noted on Twitter how rapidly the computing performance needed for autonomous driving has improved. To be honest, the tweet (below) would have flown over my head if I saw it without context, but someone on the Tesla Motors Club forum made the point clear via his/her forum post headline: “The plummeting cost of deep learning silicon.”

8. Hyundai has plopped some undisclosed amount of cash into deep learning computer vision startup Allegro.AI.

“Hyundai expects to provide safer driving experiences for its customers by adopting DL computer vision technologies from prominent firms such as allegro.ai. These technologies can be applied to autonomous driving systems to enhance road navigation and real-time decision making,” Hyundai noted alongside the announcement.

“Founded in 2016, allegro.ai offers the first end-to-end DL lifecycle management solution focused on deep learning as it applies to computer vision. The company’s platform simplifies the process of developing and managing deep learning-powered solutions – such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security, logistics and others.”

9. Volkswagen, Mobileye, & Champion Motors teamed up for investment in an autonomous electric ride-hailing service. The trio formed a joint venture “to deploy Israel’s first self-driving ride hailing service.” Sounds like #5, no?

10. Alliance Ventures, which is the venture capital arm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (is that still a thing?), “has become the lead strategic investor of WeRide.ai (formerly JingChi.ai), China’s leading autonomous driving company focused on Level 4 (L4) self-driving technology, following completion of the company’s Series A funding.” What’s better than investing in an autonomous electric ride-hailing startup? Investing in an autonomous electric ride-hailing startup in China.

“Utilizing the latest investment, WeRide.ai plans to deploy a fleet of 500 autonomous vehicles in 2019, to accumulate 5 million kilometers of actual autonomous driving mileage, and conduct operation and commercialization trials in Guangzhou and Anqing with key partners. Since launching its autonomous trial operations in China, WeRide.ai’s autonomous vehicles have accumulated a total mileage of more than 60,000 kilometers, and served more than 3,000 passengers worldwide.

“Pre-A round lead-investor, Qiming Venture Capital participated in the latest round, which was also supported by Hanfor Capital, Atop Capital, Johnson Electric, Xiaopeng He, Idinvest Partners, and OceanIQ Capital.

“WeRide.ai, which currently has more than 200 employees worldwide – 70% of whom are engineers, is the first autonomous driving company in China to use 5G network for remote control of a driverless vehicle. The company’s goal is to bring autonomous vehicle operations into Chinese cities by 2020 and become the world’s first large-scale commercial application of autonomous vehicle technology.”

11. Eric Swildens, a “vigilante engineer,” apparently discovered and thought that Waymo shouldn’t be able to monopolize the benefits of a bunch of autonomous driving tech got the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to rejected all but 3 of 56 claims Waymo made in a patent application.

“The USPTO found that some claims replicated technology described in an earlier patent from lidar vendor Velodyne, while another claim was simply ‘impossible’ and ‘magic.’

“Swildens, who receives no money or personal advantage from the decision, told Ars that he was delighted at the news. ‘The patent shouldn’t have been filed in the first place,’ he said. ‘It’s a very well written patent. However, my personal belief is that the thing that they say they invented, they didn’t invent.'”

For autonomous vehicle and AI stories we have covered in recent months, click any or all of the following links:

  1. Rolls Royce & Finferries Put To Sea In An Autonomous Ferry
  2. Tesla Invites More Employees To Beta Test Hardware 3 Autonomous Driving Upgrade
  3. Wall Street Analyst: Tesla “One of the Most Dynamic Technology Innovators over the Last 30 Years”
  4. EVA Autonomous Air Taxi Has Extended Wings & Can Function As Search & Rescue Aircraft
  5. Elon Musk & Gayle King Test Drive Through The Tunnel He Hopes Will Improve LA Traffic
  6. Nuro Driverless Grocery Deliveries
  7. Anthony Levandowski Claims To Have Ridden In A Self-Driving Car Across The US
  8. Honda To Feature Safe Swarm, Wireless V2G, & Autonomous Work Vehicle At CES 2019
  9. Tesla’s Active Safety Features Prevent Accidents, Caught On DashCam
  10. John Deere Unveils An Autonomous, Electric Tractor… With A Really Long Extension Cord
  11. Robot Chargers For Electric Ferries Blinded By The Sun — Black Paint Solves Problem
  12. Miami People Mover — Autonomous, Electric, & Free
  13. Waymo One Launches In Phoenix Today
  14. Smart Mobility Center Will Be Based At University Of Warwick
  15. Walmart Partners With Ford To Define The Future Of Autonomous Grocery Delivery
  16. International ZF — From Gearboxes To Autonomous Flying Drones
  17. Tesla Cars Could Deliver Themselves In ~1 Year
  18. Deep Dive Into Tesla’s Autopilot & Self-Driving Architecture vs Lidar-Based Systems
  19. Ford, Volkswagen To Partner On Electric & Autonomous Cars
  20. You Can Soon Walk Your Tesla Like A Pet — New Tesla Summon Features Coming

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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