self-driving Stories May 12, 2016

Google seeking self-driving vehicle operators for testing in Phoenix

Google today has posted a new job listing looking for “self-driving vehicle operators” in Phoenix, Arizona. The job listing says that the job would consist of riding around in a self-driving car for 6-8 hours per day, five days a week, monitoring the car’s performance and being prepared to take over should anything happen.

self-driving Stories May 7, 2016

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In this week’s top stories: The best Android phones you can buy (May 2016 edition), we go hands-on with CyanogenMod on the Honor 5X, the latest Android phone leaks, and we show you how to enable YouTube’s new Material reDesign on the web.

Head below for all of the handy links to this week’s most shared stories and videos.

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self-driving Stories May 3, 2016

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Following a report this morning from Bloomberg suggesting that Google and Chrysler were about to announce a deal that would see Google’s self-driving technology being implemented in Chrysler’s upcoming new Pacifica minivan, the CEOs of both companies have now confirmed an agreement albeit not exactly what was being discussed earlier today.

While this morning’s report suggested a plan to work on a few “dozens of self-driving prototypes” in order to later bring the technology to the production version of the Pacifica, instead the deal would now see Google buying about 100 Pacifica minivans from Chrysler to use as prototypes,  but no exactly like it does with its current Lexus SUVs, and the Mountain View company will provide a “technological crash course” in self-driving technology to Chrysler though the new partnership.

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self-driving Stories April 4, 2016

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Google/Alphabet published its self-driving car report for March over the weekend, and besides of course the latest numbers (including the number of cars in each city, the total number of autonomous and manual driven miles, etc.), there are also some new details on the system the company uses to map the cars’ surroundings, and mention of a mundane accident that happened in Austin, Texas involving one of the company’s Lexus vehicles…

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self-driving Stories March 10, 2016

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Speaking in South Korea (where he was also seen using an iPhone), Eric Schmidt addressed the possibility of Google’s driverless cars expanding outside of the United States. In an interview with The Telegraph, Schmidt explained that UK officials have approached the company about bringing its self-driving vehicles to the streets.

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self-driving Stories February 15, 2016

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According to a report over the weekend from Crain’s Detroit Business, Google/Alphabet is seeking an R&D site for its self-driving cars near Ann Arbor, Michigan. This report comes as FCC documents last month revealed that the Mountain View company was planning to bring the cars to four new cities. Kirkland, Washington officially became one of those locations two weeks ago, and as we noted, a location near Ann Arbor makes perfect sense to be one of the next bunch… expand full story

self-driving Stories January 12, 2016

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Google published today its annual report on disengagements of autonomous mode for its self-driving car program (SDC), which is required by California’s DMV. The report details events where Google’s test drivers have taken control over the car’s autonomous system, whether it’d be because of a shutdown due to technology failure or for safety reasons.

After having driven over 1.3 million miles in autonomous mode, Google’s self-driving cars were involved in 17 reported accidents, but the company prides itself of not having been at fault in any of them. But with today’s report, we learn the self-driving cars would have caused 10 accidents during the past year if test drivers wouldn’t have disengaged the system and taken controls. expand full story

self-driving Stories December 21, 2015

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Google’s self-driving car initiative has been gaining momentum over the past year, but now it looks like the company has at least one more big piece of news up its sleeve. According to a report from Yahoo Autos, Google and Ford are planning to announce a joint venture to build self-driving cars.

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self-driving Stories December 9, 2015

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Google has said that its goal is to reach widespread distribution of its self-driving car by 2020, but Chinese search giant Baidu might beat the Mountain View company. Today, Baidu, often referred to as the “Chinese Google” announced that its self-driving car successfully completed its first route through Beijing.

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self-driving Stories November 30, 2015

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Update: A source close to the company tells us Rose is not working on Google’s car project. We are also hearing that he might have been let go at Tesla.

Robert Rose has an impressive resumé as a software engineer. He worked at HP while completing his MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State University. He then developed award-winning PSP games at Sony such as Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and Resistance: Retribution.

In 2009, he moved to California to be the lead software engineer for SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 and Dragon flight. He quickly became Director of Flight Software, a position he held until July 2014. After a brief stint at machine learning firm Vicarious, he joined Tesla last May to lead the Autopilot team into the release of v7.0 update, which enabled ‘Autosteer’ and ‘Auto Lane Change’.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Rose left Tesla right after the release of the Autopilot in October and a month later, we learn that he joined Google. expand full story

self-driving Stories November 12, 2015

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Google’s ongoing self-driving car project has recorded more than 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving so far and like most drivers it’s picked up a few interesting stories. Today, the Google self-driving car team shared a post on Google+ showing that one of its cars had been pulled over while driving though California.

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self-driving Stories November 4, 2015

Google driverless car prototype Tony Fadell, often called the “father of the iPod” and now CEO of Alphabet’s Nest, appeared on Bloomberg TV today to discuss his time at Apple, his current effort in the connected home industry and the future of mobility. He briefly talked about Google’s self-driving car project and confirmed he spent some time in the vehicles. He compared the experience to being driven by a “professional driver”. expand full story

self-driving Stories October 22, 2015

Google driverless car prototype

Google’s driverless car project has been long in the making. The company lead development in the field since 2009 and as of September 30, they have accumulated 1,210,676 miles on autonomous mode through 2 fleets: one in Mountain View, CA and  one Austin, TX. Google’s latest official comments on the timeframe of the project suggested a commercialization of the technology around 2020, but a consultant on Google’s driverless team revealed that the vehicle could be ready in less than 3 years… expand full story

self-driving Stories October 16, 2015

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a press conference a couple of days ago to explain the Autopilot features included in the company’s 7.0 software update, but LIDAR, one of the remote sensing technologies that Google uses in its self-driving car, also came up briefly. Elon Musk had some bold comments about to use of LIDAR in autonomous vehicles, in response to one inquiry from a WSJ reporter, which questioned whether the Model S would need more sensors for greater levels autonomy… expand full story

self-driving Stories September 29, 2015

(Image via Harry McCracken) (Image via Harry McCracken)
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(Image via Harry McCracken)

(Image via Harry McCracken)

In San Francisco today, Google held an event focused on its self-driving car technology with head of the project Chris Urmson and Sergey Brin. During the event, Google Urmson and Brin offered several details on its self-driving vehicles, as well as let the press ride in the cars and try them out themselves (via Harry McCracken).

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self-driving Stories August 25, 2015

Google patent covers using vehicle sensors to detect road quality, improve Maps

As first spotted by AutoBlog, Google was recently granted a patent covering a system capable of detecting road quality conditions, which in theory could allow it to deliver warnings of potholes and other road quality issues to its users.

The patent describes using a number of sensors in the vehicle, in addition to  potentially adding other sensors to a vehicle’s shocks and elsewhere, and transmitting the data through a mobile network. Google would in return use the data for Google Maps to improve driving directions and potentially warn users of dangerous road conditions. It’s also data that would undoubtedly come in handy for Google’s self-driving car project.

Google Maps already offers similar warnings for things like accidents, construction, road closures, and more via user submissions in the Waze mapping app it acquired along with a few other sources. But having data compiled directly from the vehicles would likely allow it to have more accurate and up to date data for much larger areas compared to user submitted data.

You can view the Google patent in full here.

self-driving Stories July 17, 2015

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Google’s self-driving cars are drawing a lot of attention and conversation online. Perhaps one of the biggest concerns from regular people like you and I is how safe they are. But as a recent video and blog post shows, you’re seemingly infinitely far more likely to be hit by another driver not paying attention, than your car malfunctioning and crashing in to someone else. But why do Google’s cars get hit so much?

Chris Urmson posted a really interesting article about what it’s like being hit by another car, driven by a human, while taking a ride in a self-driving Googlemobile. Urmson notes that the autonomous cars are being hit “surprisingly often”, despite their fancy array of sensors, processors and algorithms.

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self-driving Stories June 24, 2015

sample-2Google’s self-driving car initiative could hit the market as early as 2020, but until then Google is continuing to test its cars around Mountain View. Today, Google announced a new program that will see its self-driving cars become a little more interesting to look at. The new program, called Paint the Town, is touted by Google as being a “moving art experiment” and transforms the company’s self-driving cars into moving pieces of public art.

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self-driving Stories March 18, 2015

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Google’s self-driving car initiative may not be as far off as many might think. During a talk at the TED conference in Vancouver, Google’s head of self-driving cars Chris Urmson said that his team is working to launch the technology onto the market by 2020 (that year may sound familiar if you’ve followed the Apple Car rumors). The executive said that he has an 11-year-old son that could be eligible to get his license in 4 and a half years, although he hopes that won’t be needed thanks to the availability of self-driving cars. “My team and I are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen,” Urmson said (via Re/Code).

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self-driving Stories May 7, 2013

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(Googlers turned Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S into a pink Batmobile for April Fool’s Day)

According to a report from Bloomberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk has discussed with Google the possibility of adding self driving vehicle technology to its fleet of all-electric cars. The problem, says Musk, is that Google’s approach to the technology is currently too expensive compared to camera-based systems:

“The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive,” Musk said. “It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things… “We’ve had some technical discussions with Google” about its Light Detection and Ranging, or Lidar, laser tracking system, Musk said last week, noting that it’s an expensive approach that may not prove feasible, Musk said.

While it’s possible Google could contribute to bringing the driverless features to future Tesla vehicles, Musk told Bloomberg it’s more likely the company will develop its own “autopilot system”. That’s something that other automakers are already doing with Toyota, Lexus, and Audi all showing off self-driving car technology at CES back in January: expand full story

self-driving Stories January 4, 2013

Toyota, Lexus, and Audi to show off their own Google-like self-driving cars at CES

While Google often uses Toyota vehicles in its fleet of self-driving cars, Toyota is planning to show off its own autonomous car technology next week at CES. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, Toyota yesterday posted a short five-second clip of its advanced active safety research vehicle, a Lexus LS 600h, equipped with advanced cameras and sensors. Toyota confirmed to the WSJ that its system is being developed independently from Google. Audi is also said to have self-driving capabilities ready to demonstrate at CES in Las Vegas next week. We’ll be on hand with live coverage from Las Vegas, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for any vehicles driving around by themselves.

Toyota’s prototype vehicle is a Lexus LS 600h fitted with radar and camera equipment that can detect other vehicles, road lane lines and traffic signals, giving the vehicle the ability to navigate streets without a driver. It also includes what appears to be the same roof-mounted laser that Google Inc. has been using on its autonomous research cars. Google began testing self-driving cars in 2009.

An Audi official also said the luxury-car company will be demonstrating autonomous vehicle capabilities at the Las Vegas show, including a feature that allows a car to find a parking space and park itself without a driver behind the wheel.

Earlier this year, Cadillac also showed off its own “Super Cruise” self-driving car technology.

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