Archive for the ‘Semi-autonomous Driving’ Category

VW’s I.D. Vizzion Concept Could Change the Way We Travel

Rethinking what an autonomous and electric vehicle could offer.

by on Mar.01, 2018

Volkswagen's fourth I.D. prototype, the I.D. Vizzion, is headed to the Geneva Motor Show.

It’s become something of an industry mantra that the automobile will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50, and you need only walk into your nearest showroom to see that this is more than hype. Manufacturers already are rolling out what will soon become a flood of electrified vehicles and there are now at least a half-dozen models with significant, semi-autonomous capabilities.

What comes next? Volkswagen has been offering up some intriguing hints with a series of concept vehicles previewing the launch of its new, electrified brand-within-a-brand, and it will debut the fourth prototype, the I.D. Vizzion, at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

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The German automaker is already offering a few intriguing teaser images, as well as a short video that puts some perspective on the Vizzion. You can to check it out on YouTube. But to sum it up, the I.D. Vizzion concept vehicle illustrates what motoring might be like in an age of zero-emission, always-on Level 5 autonomous vehicles. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Hyundai Nexo Fuel-Cell Vehicle

An Olympic effort: Hyundai’s 2nd-generation hydrogen car delivers mainstream manners, 400-mile range.

by on Feb.23, 2018

Hyundai offered Winter Olympic visitors a chance to test drive the new Nexo outfitted with its latest Level 4 autonomous drive

With the winter games heading into their final days, busloads of tourists have been flowing through the gates of Pyeonchang’s Olympic Village, but on this crisp, sunny morning, a steady stream of visitors veers off shortly before reaching the turnstiles, detouring to a small, downtown corner where a cluster of new SUVs are parked.

With a little patience, they’ll have the chance to go for a test drive in what some are calling the vehicle of the future – in this case, twice over. The slate gray Hyundai Nexo SUVs are not only powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cells but use the Korean carmaker’s latest Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology.

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I climb into the shotgun seat alongside a Hyundai engineer assigned to serve as a backup “operator,” just in case something unexpected happens along the 10-minute route, In passable English, he explains that the Korean carmaker hopes to have its first hands-free vehicle on sale “in a couple years.” But the Nexo itself, he quickly adds, will be in showrooms in barely a year.

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Autonomous Cars Will Have Same Impact as Smart Phones, Experts Claim

AI will make an enormous difference in future cars.

by on Feb.16, 2018

Autonomous vehicles are going to impact society as much as smart phones and the Internet, some experts say.

Autonomous vehicles will re-shape the world as decisively or even more decisively than the Internet or smart phones, one of the automotive industry’s top authorities on artificial intelligence told a panel sponsored by the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

David Atkinson, head, Systems & Technology and Chief Research Scientist for Artificial Intelligence Silicon Valley Research & Development Center Continental AG, noted he spent most of his career, which stretches back into the 1980s working on variety of projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Atkinson said he took a job with Continental to work on the artificial intelligence applications that are critical to the development of autonomous vehicles. (more…)

Highway Fatalities Dip After Two-Year Surge

“Complacency is killing us.”

by on Feb.15, 2018

More than 40,000 Americans died on the highway in 2017, despite a modest dip in fatalities.

Preliminary figures reveal that U.S. highway deaths declined nearly 1% last year but, at 40,100 fatalities, there’s no room for “complacency,” warned the National Safety Council.

Last year’s numbers were still significantly higher than in 2014 which marked the end of a decade-long decline in traffic deaths. And it is still the second year in a row that there were more than 40,000 Americans killed on the highway. The question, according to the NSC, is whether 2017’s decline was just brief a respite or the start of another era of improved automotive safety.

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“The price we are paying for mobility is 40,000 lives each year,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “This is a stark reminder that our complacency is killing us. The only acceptable number is zero; we need to mobilize a full court press to improve roadway safety.”

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New Mercedes-Benz C-Class Getting More Power, More Smarts

Semi-autonomous tech moves over from the S-Class.

by on Feb.14, 2018

The most important of the introductions by Mercedes-Benz at the Geneva Motor Show may be the midcycle refresh of the C-Class.

It’s going to be a busy Geneva Motor Show for Mercedes-Benz, the automaker rolling out an assortment of new models for global or European debuts, including the new four-door AMG GT, the updated S- and G-Class models, the all-new A-Class, and an updated C-Class.

While that compact sedan may only be getting a midcycle refresh it could prove to be the most significant of the introductions considering that the C-Class remains Mercedes’ global best-seller, generating more than 400,000 sales in 2017. Freshening it up will be critical at a time when more and more buyers are shifting from passenger cars to SUVs and CUVs.

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Both the C-Class sedan and wagon models will be updated for 2019, and while exterior and interior changes will be modest, buyers will be tempted with an increase in power, as well as the addition of new semi-autonomous technology lifted from the lofty S-Class and able to handle a limited amount of hands-free driving. (more…)

Nvidia, Continental Partnering on New Autonomous Vehicle Tech

New deal seeks to accelerate system development.

by on Feb.13, 2018

Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart, left, and Jensen Huang, Nvidia founder and CEO, say their new deal will accelerate autonomous vehicle development.

Continental AG, the giant automotive supplier, and Nvidia, one of Silicon Valley’s fast-growing tech companies, are planning to combine their talents on system for self-driving cars.

The goal, the latest in a string of partnerships between technology and automotive companies, expects to have a product ready by 2021. Nvidia has already become a supplier of choice to customers in the automotive industry, such as Audi, that also have long-standing links to Continental.

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The companies said the system will be used for driver-assist safety features all the way up to cars with no steering wheel or pedals. Nvidia, based in Santa Clara, California, makes computer processing units and artificial intelligence, or AI, software that reads sensors and makes decisions for autonomous vehicles.  (more…)

Mercedes Takes Covers Off Fourth-Generation A-Class

New entry-level Benz gets higher-class technology.

by on Feb.06, 2018

Dieter Zetsche introduces the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class wagon and sedan in Amsterdam.

At a time when sport utility vehicles seem to be taking over the world, Mercedes-Benz hasn’t hesitated to take the wraps off one of the smallest passenger cars in its line-up: the fourth generation A-Class.

The latest iteration comes with a slew of new technology, semi-autonomous driving capability and technical improvements aimed at improving the vehicles driving dynamics.

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The new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the new multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience, which, thanks to artificial intelligence, can be individualized and will also adapt to suit the user. The goal is to create an emotional connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers, Mercedes-Benz officials said as they rolled out the new system. (more…)

Denso Reveals Improved Night-Vision Sensor

Better sensor helps recognize objects in road more quickly.

by on Feb.02, 2018

Denso's new vision sensor provides a 40% improvement, potentially cutting response time of driver assistance technologies.

Denso Corp., one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, announced it has developed a new standard vision sensor that at night can detect pedestrians, cyclists, road signs, driving lanes and other objects or road users.

Working in conjunction with a millimeter-wave radar sensor, the new vision sensor allows automobiles to automatically activate emergency braking when obstacles are identified, helping reduce accidents and improve overall vehicle safety.

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The system is featured in the 2018 Toyota Alphard and Vellfire, which were released in Japan last month. In addition to Japan, the MPVs are sold in China, Russia and smaller Asian and Middle Eastern countries. (more…)

Toaster-Shaped Nuro R1 Could Soon Pop Up as Driverless Delivery Van

Silicon Valley start-up aims to launch driverless delivery service this year.

by on Jan.31, 2018

The R1 is about as long and tall as a Toyota Highlander, but barely half as wide.

It looks like a four-wheeled toaster, but when the Nuro R1 starts popping up later this year it will be bringing packages from online and local retail shops, according to the company’s founders.

The race to put self-driving vehicles on the road is rapidly heating up, and it’s a question of which will come first: robot taxis or automated delivery vans. If Nuro has its way, it will get a head start on companies like Waymo and General Motors, which hope to launch the first driverless ride-sharing services sometime in 2019.

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Considering the tens of billions of dollars in goods that roll across the nation’s highways each year, experts see a potentially lucrative market for driverless long-haul trucks. Several companies have already demonstrated prototypes, including Uber subsidiary Otto. But Nuro is targeting the final leg of the journey.

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Waymo Buying “Thousands” of Chrysler Minivans for New Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

Project will target “multiple U.S. cities.”

by on Jan.30, 2018

Waymo has been testing its ride-sharing program in Phoenix but plans to launch in other markets as it goes fully driverless.

Waymo plans to buy “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be used as Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off sets up a driverless ride-hailing service in “multiple U.S. cities,” Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Tuesday.

The announcement marks a significant step forward for both companies. While considered a leader in the field, it had not been clear how Waymo was planning to commercialize its development of self-driving vehicle technology. For its part, FCA has been reluctant to invest in autonomous vehicle research but could now make a big leap by expanding its nascent alliance with Waymo.

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“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”

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