Marvel at this autonomous, drifting DeLorean

MARTY is the name of this 1981 DeLorean that researchers from Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab customized into a self-driving electric car. Now, Jon Goh and Tushar Goel have augmented MARTY so it's capable of drifting through a complicated driving course with incredible precision. From Stanford:

Conducting research in high-speed, complicated driving conditions like this is a bread-and-butter approach of the Dynamic Design Lab, where mechanical engineer Chris Gerdes and his students steer autonomous cars into challenging driving situations that only the top human drivers can reliably handle. On-board computers measure the car’s response over dozens of runs, and the engineers translate those vehicle dynamics into software that could one day help your car quickly dodge a pedestrian that darts into the road.

Most automated vehicles on the road have been designed to handle simpler cases of driving, such as staying in a lane or maintaining the right distance from other cars.

“We’re trying to develop automated vehicles that can handle emergency maneuvers or slippery surfaces like ice or snow,” Gerdes said. “We’d like to develop automated vehicles that can use all of the friction between the tire and the road to get the car out of harm’s way. We want the car to be able to avoid any accident that’s avoidable within the laws of physics.”

Read the rest

Autonomous vehicles fooled by drones that project too-quick-for-humans road-signs

In MobilBye: Attacking ADAS with Camera Spoofing, a group of Ben Gurion security researchers describe how they were able to defeat a Renault Captur's "Level 0" autopilot (Level 0 systems advise human drivers but do not directly operate cars) by following them with drones that projected images of fake roadsigns for a 100ms instant -- too short for human perception, but long enough for the autopilot's sensors. Read the rest

Self-driving car jargon

Bruce Sterling republishes the acronyms in a recent Daimler white-paper on self-driving cars: Read the rest

Now that Uber and Lyft are public, their inevitable financial collapse is much clearer

Veteran transportation economics Hubert Horan has consistently published the best-informed, deepest critiques of Uber and Lyft, explaining how the companies can never, ever be profitable, and warning investors away from becoming the "greater fools" that allow Uber/Lyft's early investors to cash out at their expenses, while cataloging the many ways that Uber and Lyft's legislative strategy, coupled with predatory pricing, is destroying the cities they operate in. Read the rest

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don't

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits -- everything from where you're going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they're connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. Read the rest

Ford CEO: we "overestimated" self-driving cars

Ford CEO Jim Hackett -- formerly head of the company's autonomous vehicle division -- publicly announced that the company had "overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles" and that the vehicles, when they did arrive, their "applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex." Read the rest

Small stickers on the ground trick Tesla autopilot into steering into opposing traffic lane

Researchers from Tencent Keen Security Lab have published a report detailing their successful attacks on Tesla firmware, including remote control over the steering, and an adversarial example attack on the autopilot that confuses the car into driving into the oncoming traffic lane. Read the rest

Apple layoffs hit nearly 200 employees in self-driving car division

The company says 190 employees in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, CA will lose their jobs.

CES-goer says his camera was killed by a self-driving car's LIDAR

Jit Ray Chowdhury attended CES in his capacity as an autonomous vehicle engineer, and while there, snapped a picture of a self-driving car equipped with a LIDAR system from Aeye; he says the LIDAR's laser lanced through his camera's aperture and zapped its optical sensor, burning a permanent spot into it and ruining the camera (Aeye has offered to replace it). Read the rest

Uber is a "bezzle," doomed to disappoint the suckers who buy into its IPO

Writing in New York Magazine, Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith draws on Hubert Horan's outstanding series on the underlying economics of Uber to describe why the company's IPO will be a terrible bet for the investors who buy into it. Read the rest

Stet, a gorgeous, intricate, tiny story of sociopathic automotive vehicles

Sarah Gailey's micro-short-story STET is a beautiful piece of innovative storytelling that perfectly blends the three ingredients for a perfect piece of science fiction: sharply observed technological speculation that reflects on our present moment; a narrative arc for characters we sympathize with; and a sting in the tail that will stay with you long after the story's been read. Read the rest

EU hijacking: self-driving car data will be copyrighted...by the manufacturer

Today, the EU held a routine vote on regulations for self-driving cars, when something decidedly out of the ordinary happened... Read the rest

Motorola patents a robocop autonomous car that brethalyzes, mirandizes you, calls your lawyer and collects your bail

In Patent 10049419, "Mobile law enforcement communication system and method," Motorola engineers describe "A communication system, comprising: a self-driving vehicle within which to detain a detainee by a law enforcement officer" that locks you up, administers a breathalyzer, reads you your rights, figures out who your counsel of record is, conferences you in with your lawyer, consults with a court on your bail, and lets you swipe your cards to bail out of the car. Read the rest

First pedestrian killed by autonomous vehicle

KNXV in Arizona reports that a pedestrian died last night after being hit by an autonomous vehicle.

The Uber had a human safety driver but was self-driving when it collided with the victim, according to KNXV. Early reports identified the victim as a bicyclist, but the latest updates say she walked into the street. It appears to be the first pedestrian killed by an autonomous vehicle.

10 pedestrians were killed in the last week by cars driven by humans in Phoenix in what local officials described as a "major crisis."

Read the rest

US smart traffic flow systems vulnerability would allow a single car to mess up intersection timing

All new cars are equipped with "Connected Vehicle" signaling technology, which allows them to send messages to other cars and to traffic lights and other fixed road infrastructure to help improve road signaling and, eventually, guide self-driving cars. Read the rest

Self-driving cars face a huge challenge in detecting bicycles

Self-driving cars have a hard time predicting bicycle movement, and workarounds that require cyclists to buy transmitters are running into resistance from some. Read the rest

Watch an impressive series of crashes avoided by autonomous vehicles

Some of these near-misses would probably have been catastrophic and unavoidable without predictive autopilot. Read the rest

More posts