On Thursday, Google’s autonomous car development team reported that Mountain View, California police pulled over the robot car for traveling too slowly. No ticket was issued.
According to the team’s Google Plus page, officers pulled over the car because they “want to know more about the project.” According to Mountain View police, the officer wanted reminded the car’s human passengers that impeding traffic is against the law. Tomato, potato.
In wonderful Bob Lutz fashion, the former General Motors head told entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that making cars is hard.
“I think, like so many Silicon Valley techies, that they believe they are smarter than the world’s automobile business, and that they will do it better,” Lutz told The Associated Press. “No way.”
His argument, in a Readers Digest version: Cars are more dangerous than Walkmen and when you make things that can explode it costs money so beat it, nerds.
Speaking Wednesday at the 10th annual J.D Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen didn’t mince words regarding Silicon Valley’s infatuation with fully autonomous driving.
The luxury brand chief, while standing before an image of Google’s autonomous prototype, said: “Many autonomous car (prototypes) emphasize sheer functionality. It would be a mind-numbing experience going from point A to B. My goodness, you might as well take the bus.”
De Nysschen said Cadillac’s upcoming Super Cruise strikes a balance between fully autonomous driving and driving yourself.
John Martin, Nissan North America’s senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain management, had some harsh words for Tesla on Friday. According to him, Uber — not Tesla — is the real disruptor, and what Tesla is doing now is relatively easy, Automotive News reported.
“Lot’s of people are calling Tesla a disrupter. They are not,” he said while arguing that building a performance vehicle that’s priced over $100,000 is much easier than manufacturing an electric car for under $30,000.
And what about Apple and Google? Martin doesn’t foresee either of them getting into the auto manufacturing business anytime soon.
Next year, Volvo said it would make available in Sweden 100 autonomous driving XC90s that will be capable of driving themselves on roughly 50 kilometers (31 miles) of roads near Gothenburg.
The technology, which is dubbed IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, adds self-driving to technology already available in its cars; under 30 mph Auto Pilot will drive an XC90 as long as it senses a hand on the steering wheel.
According to the automaker, the car will notify the driver if it enters a stretch of road where it can drive itself. The driver would need to pull both steering wheel-mounted paddles to engage the autonomous driving features. When the car is about to leave self-driving roads, it alerts the driver that they have one minute to regain control of the car or the XC90 will come to a stop.
Former Hyundai America CEO and TrueCar president John Krafcik has been hired by Google to head the California tech giant’s autonomous vehicle program.
Per Automotive News, Krafcik will begin his new work as the program’s director in late September, while current director and former Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Chris Urmson will remain aboard to lead technical development.
Google. While breaking privacy laws seems to be their global sport of choice, they sure do stick to the letter of the law when their autonomous cars are perusing American roads.
Oddly, that’s a problem according to the New York Times, because the rest of us operate our automobiles in a legal gray area, bending the rules to our benefit when we know we won’t get caught.
Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot).
Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.
“A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself.”
Criminals in Denver have already used burners, pre-paid cards and fake names to rent Car2go cars for drive-by shootings.
Tesla’s ride-sharing business could be worth hundreds of millions to the company in the future, an analyst for Morgan Stanley said Monday.
Adam Jonas increased his price target for Tesla from $280 to $465 — but said the stock could go even higher to $611 — based on his forecast that Tesla could introduce an autonomous ride-sharing service by as early as 2018, Bloomberg reported.
It’s at least the third time that Jonas has publicly pumped Tesla’s stock.
Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries.
Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the Lexus appeared to be at fault.
“Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road,” he wrote.
The robots will not look kindly on our inattention.