US government set to change driverless vehicle regulations under pressure from automakers

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US President Donald Trump is set to announce “within the next few months” new regulations that will eliminate the barriers to autonomous cars on the roads, according to a report on Reuters

The current transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, acknowledged that automakers have been calling for rule changes which will give them more freedom to test and develop autonomous cars.

Chao says: “The pressure is mounting for the federal government to do something. We don’t want rules that impede future technological advances.”  Continue reading US government set to change driverless vehicle regulations under pressure from automakers

Toyota demonstrates robot to make elderly people walk faster

A model demonstrates Toyota’s rehabilitation robot Welwalk WW-1000. Reuters / Toru Hanai
A model demonstrates Toyota’s rehabilitation robot Welwalk WW-1000. Reuters / Toru Hanai

By Naomi Tajitsu, Reuters

Japanese automakers are looking beyond the industry trend to develop self-driving cars and turning their attention to robots to help keep the country’s rapidly graying society on the move.

Toyota said it saw the possibility of becoming a mass producer of robots to help the elderly in a country whose population is ageing faster than the rest of the world as the birthrate decreases.

The country’s changing demographics place its automakers in a unique situation. Along with the issues usually associated with falling populations such as labor shortages and pension squeezes, Japan also faces dwindling domestic demand for cars.

Toyota, the world’s second largest automaker, made its first foray into commercializing rehabilitation robots on Wednesday, launching a rental service for its walk assist system, which helps patients to learn how to walk again after suffering strokes and other conditions.  Continue reading Toyota demonstrates robot to make elderly people walk faster

Auto manufacturers refusing to take responsibility for their robot car failures, says campaign group

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Outspoken safety advocate says the same week in which Volkswagen pleaded guilty to felonies in connection with vast emissions deception, the automaker claimed it would stand on its record when it comes to autonomous vehicles

The Safe Autonomous Vehicles Campaign says that out of more than a dozen automakers it challenged to take responsibility for failures in their autonomous vehicle technology, only Volvo has publicly agreed to accept responsibility for their robot cars at some levels of automation.

Meanwhile, the campaign noted that VW, just days after pleading guilty to a massive effort to deceive customers, responded to the challenge by pledging that its “long track record … stand on its own merits”.  Continue reading Auto manufacturers refusing to take responsibility for their robot car failures, says campaign group

US President Donald Trump pressures automakers to increase production in the US

Donald Trump and Mary Barra
Trump pulls out a chair for GM CEO Mary Barra as he hosts a meeting with US auto industry CEOs at the White House, on January 24, 2017. Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

By David Shepardson and Roberta Rampton, Reuters

US President Donald Trump pushed the chief executives of General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler to increase production in the United States and boost American employment.

Trump opened a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House by saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States.

The new Republican president vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States. He promised frequently during his election campaign to be a job-creating president and stressed that message in his inaugural speech last Friday.  Continue reading US President Donald Trump pressures automakers to increase production in the US

Consortium of car companies to build massive power network for electric vehicles

A consortium of companies which includes some of the leading automakers has agreed to build what they say will be an “ultra-fast, high-power” charging network along major highways in Europe. 

The joint venture includes BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen, which owns the Audi and Porsche brands.

The group says it will build a direct current network of approximately 400 charging points for battery electric vehicles.

In a joint statement, the consortium says this is an “important step” towards facilitating mass-market battery electric vehicle adoption.

The network itself will be based on the Combined Charging System standard technology, and will expand the existing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Europe.

Individual charging points will enable motorists to use DC current to fast-charge their vehicles with 350 kW of power, say the companies.

At the moment, the country with the highest number of charging points is the United States, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

This is according to OpenChargeMap.org, which says there are approximately 80,000 charging stations across more than 40,000 locations around the world.

Intel commits $250 million extra to autonomous driving technology

intel connected car

Intel will invest an additional than $250 million into developing autonomous driving technology, says CEO Brian Krzanich.

Intel plans to help make fully autonomous driving a reality, acknowledges its decision signifies “how critical the automotive market has become for the company”.

Krzanich, who made the announcement at the LA Auto Show recently, says the new investment is part of the company’s ongoing work with automakers and system suppliers to help integrate advanced technologies into cars.  Continue reading Intel commits $250 million extra to autonomous driving technology

TU-Automotive Detroit conference and exhibition returns for 2016

sensors in a connected car
Sensors in a connected car. Picture courtesy Here 360.

Penton’s TU-Automotive has announced the agenda and speaker line-up for TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 (June 8-9, Nov, MI), the world’s largest conference and exhibition dedicated to innovation in automotive technology, covering connected cars, autonomy and mobility.

At TU-Automotive Detroit 2016, the city’s automakers (Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) will join international OEMs such as Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz to discuss their vision for how the car can become the leading “node” of the Internet of Things.

Leading technology disruptors such as Zipcar, Amazon, Via and Renovo Motors will also take center stage during discussions as the ecosystem widens to embrace new players.

The 80+ session agenda and 150+ speaker line-up can be viewed at TU-Automative Continue reading TU-Automotive Detroit conference and exhibition returns for 2016

Nvidia opens new office in former Bell Labs building to expand autonomous driving business

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Nvidia’s new facilities at the old Bell Labs building

Chipmaker Nvidia is opening a new office in New Jersey as its autonomous driving business continues to rev up. “We’re making room for a larger crew,” says the company.

Nvidia staff at the new office will focus on developing software for self-driving cars on its artificial intelligence Drive PX platform.

AI and deep learning are playing a critical role in advances in driver assistance and ultimately autonomous vehicles.

Nvidia’s new office space is in the former Bell Labs building, in Holmdel, New Jersey, where deep learning pioneer Yann LeCun invented convolutional networks back in the late 1980s. These networks are instrumental to deep learning in general, and to the work of our team in particular. Continue reading Nvidia opens new office in former Bell Labs building to expand autonomous driving business