For a long time, Tesla refused to implement driver gaze monitoring with Autopilot. Now, quietly, the new release does it, though with no other changes as yet.
But it's quite a shift in their actions.
See the details at this Forbes.com story at
Some buzz has arisen due to photos of a Tesla with a LIDAR on it, and hints that Tesla is dropping radar from their cars in a hurry. Is this a major change of heart, par for the course, or a response to the chip shortage.
See analysis of that at this new Forbes site article:
Governor Inslee of Washington has refused to sign a bill he says he supports, which bans new fossil cars by 2030. He refused to sign it because it ties it to creating a road use tax system for EVs, which he says he also supports, but not in the same bill.
He might be right, but the reality is that having a road use tax system is a pretty trivial thing for the cars of 2030. In fact the Teslas of 2018 could do it with a software update.
A recently released video shows Waymo having some real problems when it encounters a construction zone it doesn't understand (that's expected) but then the remote ops team gives the wrong instructions and a comedy of errors follows. I discuss it here:
A VW executive suggested they might sell you a real self-driving function (when they have it) for around $8.50 per hour, as opposed to paying for it in a lump sum when you buy the car as Tesla plans.
What are the economics like of buying self-driving by the hour?
Read about that in my Forbes.com article at VW will sell you self-driving for $8.50/hour some day. Too high or too low?
The controversial Tesla crash in Texas is probably not so controversial. The NTSB's preliminary report only releases a few tidbits of information, but they point to Autopilot not being involved.
The new services keep coming, and now Baidu/Apollo has opened up a robotaxi service in outer Beijing, at an industrial park. While they call it fully driverless, they still have an employee in the passenger seat who is told to do nothing. This is in contrast with AutoX's service near Shenzhen and a few others, as we move closer to a true robotaxi service.
Details, and contrast with AutoX are in my new Forbes site article at:
Tesla released some important new details on the Texas crash that everybody's talking about (but probably shouldn't be talking that much about.)
The new details are not enough, though. Information is now contradictory until we learn more. Was there somebody in the driver's seat or not? We've learned that cruise control did play a role, but are told it brought the car to a stop, which it clearly didn't.
Read more details in this piece at:
My client DeepMap asked me to write an article listing various benefits that can come from having good maps, over and above their obvious use in localization, perception and safety.
You can find this post at Here Be Dragons: Surprising benefits of maps
As before, since this is done for a client, I want to disclose that conflict of interest, but what I put under my own byline does represent my views.
There has been much coverage about a fatal Tesla crash in Texas because police say the car didn't have anybody in the driver's seat. Elon Musk says Autopilot was not engaged, though of course the dead men may have been trying to pull a stunt hoping they could engage it in an area it isn't supposed to work. It didn't work.
So here's my analysis of what we know and don't know and why there probably is no big new story here.
I've been working as a paid advisor to DeepMap, which builds technology to allow self-driving teams and ADAS-Pilot systems to create the maps which allow them to work and get greater safety.
As part of that project, they have invited me to write some blog posts for them. The first, explaining just what high definitions maps are, how they came to be, and why they are valuable is now available to read.
Some announcements of hard ship dates for robotic vehicle deployments -- 2022 in Israel for shuttles, 2023 in USA for delivery vans using MobilEye and 2023 in Dubai for GM/Cruise Origin shuttle.
A few more details in new Forbes site post at MobilEye and GM/Cruise announce production ship dates in 2022 and 2023
President Biden has proposed massive spending on electric vehicle infrastructure, including 500,000 charging stations. Yet the first 100,000 stations were deployed for the wrong reasons, and many sit mostly unused. We do want lots of charging stations, but they don't need to be very expensive at all. I outline how in this new Forbes site article at:
Waymo self-driving's CEO, John Krafcik, has stepped down. More interesting is the two new co-CEOs appointed from inside (one from the original founding team that I worked with) have no automotive industry background. Having worked at Waymo and followed it more closely than almost anybody, I have some thoughts on the shift in this Forbes site column:
Over a decade ago I started advocating for having a large public library of simulation scenarios to test self-driving cars. Today, Deepen.AI, a company I am an investor/advisor to announces it has built such a library, in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and WMG University of Warwick and with involvement from many companies and government agencies. In the Safety Pool, people can build and contribute test scenarios, and in return get back manyfold from the contributions of other members.