An information request by The Guardianreveals that in May engineers from Apple’s Special Project group met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that features features 20 miles of paved highways and city streets which are hidden from the public eye, and is being used as a high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles. In an email to the facility Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote:
We would … like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it].
The site is already being used by Mercedes-Benz and Honda to test their own self-driving cars.
Audi presents a red RS7 that drives itself around Sonoma Raceway. Robby, as the test-car is called, uses radar, lasers and cameras to drive around the track. Audi and other automakers ultimately are banking on consumers being more interested in cars that can take over some, but not all, of the tasks of driving.
We want to produce a car that gives people the freedom to decide whether to drive yourself or have the car do it while you think of something else. These changes (to cars) won’t just arrive one day, it’ll be a step-by-step adding of functionality…The idea is to increasingly give customers less stress, and more situations in which they can relax in their car.
Ghosn says the Company will be ready with a self-driving car by 2020. Vehicles will be equipped with autonomous driving technology, however, self-driving features would be used to enhance the driving experience, not necessarily replace the driver.
Google will test 25 of its self-driving cars on public roads this summer. The cars will have steering wheels and brakes — not what the company envisioned a year ago– and will use the same software as Google’s Lexus RX450h sport utility vehicles, which have already self-driven about 10,000 miles a week in recent months. Convincing the public that driverless technology is safe is one of the hurdles the company must overcome. Project director:
This vehicle could go on a freeway, but when we think about introducing the technology, we want to do that very thoughtfully and very safely.
The DOT plans to expedite making vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication a requirement in future cars, autonomous or otherwise. The V2V technologies likely won’t become requirements for years to come — the proposal is called Beyond Traffic 2045 — but many autonomous driving technologies are hitting the road today. DOT Secretary Foxx says:
The Department wants to speed the nation toward an era when vehicle safety isn’t just about surviving crashes; it’s about avoiding them. Connected, automated vehicles that can sense the environment around them and communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure have the potential to revolutionize road safety and save thousands of lives. Autonomous technologies will lead to cars that can drive themselves better than a human can.
Reuters takes Google’s driverless car for a test drive.
A Ride in the Google Self Driving Car
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