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Found 20 results

  1. There has been a prevailing thought about the likes of Uber and Lyft that once they switch from human drivers to self-driving vehicles, they would stand to see a significant reduction in overall operating costs. This possibly means consumers could see these services as an alternative to owning a vehicle. But a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) disputes that claim. Researchers Ashley Nunes and Kristen D. Hernandez examined the San Francisco market on the per-mile cost of an automated taxi service to owning a vehicle. They found an automated taxi would range between $1.58 and $6.01 per mile, while the conventional vehicle would be at $0.72 per mile. "When we started going into this work, we found there's a lot of hand-waving. There was a notion that 'All we have to do is remove the driver, assume a reduction in insurance, and there's our great number.' We said, 'Let's hold it up to scrutiny.' It didn't hold up," explained Nunes to Automotive News. The massive disparity gap isn't due to ownership or maintenance, rather a fundamental issue about the taxi market in general. Nunes said taxi operators drive too many miles without a paying customer - hence their higher costs. In San Francisco, the MIT researchers found a 52 percent utilization rate for ride-hailing. Even if they were able to reach 100 percent utilization, Nunes said they would still be "unable to provide a fare that's comparable to car ownership." "Their approach with the investment folks has been, 'Trust us, we'll figure this out and it'll be this great utopia where everyone is jumping from an Uber to a scooter to an air taxi.The future may well be all those things. But you need to demonstrate you can offer the service at a price point that consumers are willing and able to pay. Thus far, they are unable to do so," said Nunes. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  2. There has been a prevailing thought about the likes of Uber and Lyft that once they switch from human drivers to self-driving vehicles, they would stand to see a significant reduction in overall operating costs. This possibly means consumers could see these services as an alternative to owning a vehicle. But a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) disputes that claim. Researchers Ashley Nunes and Kristen D. Hernandez examined the San Francisco market on the per-mile cost of an automated taxi service to owning a vehicle. They found an automated taxi would range between $1.58 and $6.01 per mile, while the conventional vehicle would be at $0.72 per mile. "When we started going into this work, we found there's a lot of hand-waving. There was a notion that 'All we have to do is remove the driver, assume a reduction in insurance, and there's our great number.' We said, 'Let's hold it up to scrutiny.' It didn't hold up," explained Nunes to Automotive News. The massive disparity gap isn't due to ownership or maintenance, rather a fundamental issue about the taxi market in general. Nunes said taxi operators drive too many miles without a paying customer - hence their higher costs. In San Francisco, the MIT researchers found a 52 percent utilization rate for ride-hailing. Even if they were able to reach 100 percent utilization, Nunes said they would still be "unable to provide a fare that's comparable to car ownership." "Their approach with the investment folks has been, 'Trust us, we'll figure this out and it'll be this great utopia where everyone is jumping from an Uber to a scooter to an air taxi.The future may well be all those things. But you need to demonstrate you can offer the service at a price point that consumers are willing and able to pay. Thus far, they are unable to do so," said Nunes. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Most people aren't so keen on letting an autonomous system take control of their vehicle according to a new survey done by Cox Automotive. Nearly 85 percent of the 1,250 people surveyed said they should have the option to drive themselves even in a self-driving vehicle. Only 16 percent said they would feel comfortable allowing a autonomous driving system take over. When asked if they would be a fully-autonomous vehicle (Level 5 under SAE's vehicle autonomy guidelines), almost half said no. Automotive News notes that is up from the 30 percent of people surveyed in 2016. Why the increases in overall apprehension? It mostly comes down to number of crashes that autonomous vehicles have been involve in, such as the Uber crash that killed a pedestrian. “People now have a deeper understanding of the complexities involved when creating a self-driving car, and that has them reconsidering their comfort level when it comes to handing over control,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. In the past two years, awareness into self-driving tech increased 24 percent. But the perception of the safety of self-driving vehicles dropped 20 percent. Despite the trepidation, Cox believes the adoption of self-driving vehicles will gain traction - bringing big implications for automakers and dealers. “Miles traveled will shift toward fleet-owned vehicles, causing what we believe to be a potential 40 percent reduction in consumer vehicle sales,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. We should note that Cox Automotive does an interest in the self-driving marketplace. Automotive News says the company has created a new unit that will sell software and services for car-sharing, ride-hailing, subscription programs, and, eventually, self-driving taxi fleets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  4. Most people aren't so keen on letting an autonomous system take control of their vehicle according to a new survey done by Cox Automotive. Nearly 85 percent of the 1,250 people surveyed said they should have the option to drive themselves even in a self-driving vehicle. Only 16 percent said they would feel comfortable allowing a autonomous driving system take over. When asked if they would be a fully-autonomous vehicle (Level 5 under SAE's vehicle autonomy guidelines), almost half said no. Automotive News notes that is up from the 30 percent of people surveyed in 2016. Why the increases in overall apprehension? It mostly comes down to number of crashes that autonomous vehicles have been involve in, such as the Uber crash that killed a pedestrian. “People now have a deeper understanding of the complexities involved when creating a self-driving car, and that has them reconsidering their comfort level when it comes to handing over control,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book. In the past two years, awareness into self-driving tech increased 24 percent. But the perception of the safety of self-driving vehicles dropped 20 percent. Despite the trepidation, Cox believes the adoption of self-driving vehicles will gain traction - bringing big implications for automakers and dealers. “Miles traveled will shift toward fleet-owned vehicles, causing what we believe to be a potential 40 percent reduction in consumer vehicle sales,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. We should note that Cox Automotive does an interest in the self-driving marketplace. Automotive News says the company has created a new unit that will sell software and services for car-sharing, ride-hailing, subscription programs, and, eventually, self-driving taxi fleets. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  5. Ford has announced a new subsidiary that will be tasked with the development of autonomous vehicles. Called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, the group will be overseeing all parts of the company's autonomous plans including the integration of self-driving technologies, research, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, and business strategy. Ford is also planning to spend $4 billion in investments through 2023. "Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain — from technology development to business model innovation to user experience. Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead," said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. The first big task for the new LLC is fulfilling Ford's promise of launching a new self-driving commercial vehicle in 2021. Ford will be putting the new subsidiary at the company's new campus in Detroit. Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification will become CEO of the group. Source: The Detroit News, Ford Ford Creates ‘Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC’; Strengthens Global Organization To Accelerate Progress, Improve Fitness Ford creates Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, which will encompass all aspects of its self-driving vehicle business operations, to accelerate its AV business and capitalize on market opportunities As it accelerates the integration and application of technology across its industrial system, Ford is realigning its Information Technology and global order to delivery teams under its Global Operations organization Ford is embedding a deeper product-line focus across the company. The effort is anchored in human-centered design with product teams putting even greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities to deliver the products people love across global markets DEARBORN, Mich., July 24, 2018 – Ford Motor Company today announced it has created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organization charged with accelerating its AV business to capitalize on market opportunities. The company also detailed key organizational changes designed to improve its operational fitness and drive profitable growth. The company is organizing its self-driving business into Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, which will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. The new LLC, which is structured to take on third party investment, will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development. Ford expects to invest $4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its $1 billion investment in Argo AI. Sherif Marakby, currently Ford vice president, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, is appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s executive vice president and president, Mobility. The closer alignment of the self-driving platform and the mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds. “Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.” With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, global director, electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market next-generation electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, executive vice president and president, Global Markets. Ford’s electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features. In addition, Ford is reorganizing its Global Operations division led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs to include Information Technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system, integrating the teams, technologies and processes from both across Ford’s production system. As a result, Jeff Lemmer, vice president and CIO, will report to Hinrichs. This realignment will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to further streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories and improve capital efficiency. “The evolution of computing power and IT have helped bring great products to customers – from cars to tablets,” Hackett said. “We can now harness this technology to unlock a new world of vehicle personalization, supply chain choreography and inventory leanness that rivals any industrial model in the world – and Joe’s challenge is to help us redesign this system to do just that – while better serving customers and dealers and improving our overall fitness.” Hau Thai-Tang, executive vice president, Product Development and Purchasing, will now report directly to Hackett. The move ensures these critical functions have an even stronger voice as the company creates a winning portfolio of products. Under Thai-Tang, Ford is moving to flexible vehicle architectures and more common parts across models, cutting new product development time – from sketch to dealer showroom – by 20 percent. This is helping Ford achieve its commitment to deliver nearly $7 billion of engineering efficiencies. The company intends to have the most efficient Product Development organization among full-line automakers within five years. Ford’s five flexible vehicle architectures – body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody and BEV – are paired with module “families” that address the power pack, electrical pack and vehicle configurations. Seventy percent of each vehicle’s engineering will be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30 percent of content – including grilles, hoods, doors and more – customized for each vehicle. All organization changes announced today are effective Aug. 1. Additionally, Ford is embedding a deeper product-line focus across the company. Led by Jim Farley, the effort is anchored on human-centered design with product-line teams putting greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities to deliver more consumer driven products and services. This customer-focused product-line approach builds on the success already seen throughout Ford with the F-Series team in North America, the Ranger team in Asia Pacific and the Commercial Vehicle team in Europe. By 2020, Ford will offer North America’s freshest lineup among all full-line automakers, with its average showroom age dropping from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and SUVs. Ford has similarly aggressive product refresh plans in other regions, including Europe and Asia. “We’re looking at every part of our business, making it more fit and ensuring that every action we take is driven by what will serve our customers in a way that supports our fitness and performance goals,” Hackett said. View full article
  6. Ford has announced a new subsidiary that will be tasked with the development of autonomous vehicles. Called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, the group will be overseeing all parts of the company's autonomous plans including the integration of self-driving technologies, research, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, and business strategy. Ford is also planning to spend $4 billion in investments through 2023. "Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain — from technology development to business model innovation to user experience. Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead," said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in a statement. The first big task for the new LLC is fulfilling Ford's promise of launching a new self-driving commercial vehicle in 2021. Ford will be putting the new subsidiary at the company's new campus in Detroit. Sherif Marakby, Ford's vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification will become CEO of the group. Source: The Detroit News, Ford Ford Creates ‘Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC’; Strengthens Global Organization To Accelerate Progress, Improve Fitness Ford creates Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, which will encompass all aspects of its self-driving vehicle business operations, to accelerate its AV business and capitalize on market opportunities As it accelerates the integration and application of technology across its industrial system, Ford is realigning its Information Technology and global order to delivery teams under its Global Operations organization Ford is embedding a deeper product-line focus across the company. The effort is anchored in human-centered design with product teams putting even greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities to deliver the products people love across global markets DEARBORN, Mich., July 24, 2018 – Ford Motor Company today announced it has created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, a new organization charged with accelerating its AV business to capitalize on market opportunities. The company also detailed key organizational changes designed to improve its operational fitness and drive profitable growth. The company is organizing its self-driving business into Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, which will include Ford’s self-driving systems integration, autonomous vehicle research and advanced engineering, AV transportation-as-a-service network development, user experience, business strategy and business development teams. The new LLC, which is structured to take on third party investment, will be primarily based at Ford’s Corktown campus in Detroit and will hold Ford’s ownership stake in Argo AI, the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development. Ford expects to invest $4 billion in its AV efforts through 2023, including its $1 billion investment in Argo AI. Sherif Marakby, currently Ford vice president, Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification, is appointed CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC reporting to a board of directors chaired by Marcy Klevorn, Ford’s executive vice president and president, Mobility. The closer alignment of the self-driving platform and the mobility solutions teams will allow faster development of businesses that can thrive in the pre- and post-autonomous vehicle worlds. “Ford has made tremendous progress across the self driving value chain – from technology development to business model innovation to user experience,” said Jim Hackett, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company. “Now is the right time to consolidate our autonomous driving platform into one team to best position the business for the opportunities ahead.” With Marakby’s move, Ted Cannis, global director, electrification, will lead Ford’s Team Edison, the team responsible for developing and bringing to market next-generation electric vehicles. Team Edison will continue to report to Jim Farley, executive vice president and president, Global Markets. Ford’s electric vehicle strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience, including making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road, as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features. In addition, Ford is reorganizing its Global Operations division led by Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs to include Information Technology as well as the company’s global order-to-delivery system, integrating the teams, technologies and processes from both across Ford’s production system. As a result, Jeff Lemmer, vice president and CIO, will report to Hinrichs. This realignment will help the company accelerate the integration and application of technology across its industrial system to further streamline manufacturing, speed vehicle delivery times, reduce inventories and improve capital efficiency. “The evolution of computing power and IT have helped bring great products to customers – from cars to tablets,” Hackett said. “We can now harness this technology to unlock a new world of vehicle personalization, supply chain choreography and inventory leanness that rivals any industrial model in the world – and Joe’s challenge is to help us redesign this system to do just that – while better serving customers and dealers and improving our overall fitness.” Hau Thai-Tang, executive vice president, Product Development and Purchasing, will now report directly to Hackett. The move ensures these critical functions have an even stronger voice as the company creates a winning portfolio of products. Under Thai-Tang, Ford is moving to flexible vehicle architectures and more common parts across models, cutting new product development time – from sketch to dealer showroom – by 20 percent. This is helping Ford achieve its commitment to deliver nearly $7 billion of engineering efficiencies. The company intends to have the most efficient Product Development organization among full-line automakers within five years. Ford’s five flexible vehicle architectures – body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheel-drive unibody, commercial van unibody and BEV – are paired with module “families” that address the power pack, electrical pack and vehicle configurations. Seventy percent of each vehicle’s engineering will be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30 percent of content – including grilles, hoods, doors and more – customized for each vehicle. All organization changes announced today are effective Aug. 1. Additionally, Ford is embedding a deeper product-line focus across the company. Led by Jim Farley, the effort is anchored on human-centered design with product-line teams putting greater emphasis on customer insights and market opportunities to deliver more consumer driven products and services. This customer-focused product-line approach builds on the success already seen throughout Ford with the F-Series team in North America, the Ranger team in Asia Pacific and the Commercial Vehicle team in Europe. By 2020, Ford will offer North America’s freshest lineup among all full-line automakers, with its average showroom age dropping from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup and adds four new trucks and SUVs. Ford has similarly aggressive product refresh plans in other regions, including Europe and Asia. “We’re looking at every part of our business, making it more fit and ensuring that every action we take is driven by what will serve our customers in a way that supports our fitness and performance goals,” Hackett said.
  7. There has been a lot of talk about driverless cars with companies (both automotive and tech) promising a safe and grandiose future and a number of high-profile crashes that have resulted in fatalities. This got us wondering how the general public feels about them. Recently, two studies came asking this and their results are very interesting. First up is CarGurus which asked 1,873 vehicle owners in the U.S. between the ages of 18 to 65 about self-driving vehicles. 79 percent of participants said they were not excited about owning a self-driving car. 84 percent said they were unlikely to own a self-driving car in the next five years. This number drops to 59 percent when the window is extended to ten years. Here's where it gets interesting: In terms of geographical areas, owners on the West Coast are the most excited at 26 percent. The least, those in Central U.S. at 18 percent. When it comes to brands, BMW owners lead the pack when asked if they would consider a self-driving vehicle from their brand - 55 percent. Least likely? That would be Chrysler owners at 23 percent Safety is the key reasons that owners are excited and concerned about self-driving cars - 64 and 81 percent respectively. When asked what company is most trusted to develop self-driving cars, 27 percent of participants said none. Second and a bit of surprise was Tesla at 24 percent. (We're wondering if this survey was done before the fatal crash of a Tesla Model X on Autopilot in late March) The second study comes to us from AAA which asked people how trustful are you of self-driving cars. 73 percent said they would be too afraid to ride in an autonomous car, up from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, 63 percent of those asked said they would feel less safe either walking or on a bike if there is a self-driving vehicle. We have to assume that the fatal crash involving an Uber autonomous vehicle made this number rise. AAA's study also found a big surprise. Millenials, a group that is quick to accept new technologies, are not as trusting as they once were. In late 2007, 49 percent said they were afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. Now, that number rose to 64 percent. “Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety. Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. Source: Roadshow, AAA AAA: American Trust in Autonomous Vehicles Slips ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2018) – Following high-profile incidents involving autonomous vehicle technologies, a new report from AAA’s multi-year tracking study indicates that consumer trust in these vehicles has quickly eroded. Today, three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults report they would actually feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle. “Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.” Surprisingly, AAA’s latest survey found that Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies — were the most impacted by these incidents. The percentage of Millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent since late 2017, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed. “While autonomous vehicles are being tested, there’s always a chance that they will fail or encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced system,” said Megan Foster, AAA’s director of Federal Affairs. “To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road.” AAA supports thorough testing of automated vehicle technologies as they continue to evolve, including testing under progressively complicated driving scenarios and under varying conditions, but not at the expense of safety. Additionally, to help prevent the accidental misuse of the systems, AAA advocates for a common sense, common nomenclature and classification system, and similar performance characteristics of future autonomous vehicle technologies. “There are sometimes dozens of different marketing names for today’s safety systems,” continued Brannon. “Learning how to operate a vehicle equipped with semi-autonomous technology is challenging enough without having to decipher the equipment list and corresponding level of autonomy.” To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation.
  8. There has been a lot of talk about driverless cars with companies (both automotive and tech) promising a safe and grandiose future and a number of high-profile crashes that have resulted in fatalities. This got us wondering how the general public feels about them. Recently, two studies came asking this and their results are very interesting. First up is CarGurus which asked 1,873 vehicle owners in the U.S. between the ages of 18 to 65 about self-driving vehicles. 79 percent of participants said they were not excited about owning a self-driving car. 84 percent said they were unlikely to own a self-driving car in the next five years. This number drops to 59 percent when the window is extended to ten years. Here's where it gets interesting: In terms of geographical areas, owners on the West Coast are the most excited at 26 percent. The least, those in Central U.S. at 18 percent. When it comes to brands, BMW owners lead the pack when asked if they would consider a self-driving vehicle from their brand - 55 percent. Least likely? That would be Chrysler owners at 23 percent Safety is the key reasons that owners are excited and concerned about self-driving cars - 64 and 81 percent respectively. When asked what company is most trusted to develop self-driving cars, 27 percent of participants said none. Second and a bit of surprise was Tesla at 24 percent. (We're wondering if this survey was done before the fatal crash of a Tesla Model X on Autopilot in late March) The second study comes to us from AAA which asked people how trustful are you of self-driving cars. 73 percent said they would be too afraid to ride in an autonomous car, up from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, 63 percent of those asked said they would feel less safe either walking or on a bike if there is a self-driving vehicle. We have to assume that the fatal crash involving an Uber autonomous vehicle made this number rise. AAA's study also found a big surprise. Millenials, a group that is quick to accept new technologies, are not as trusting as they once were. In late 2007, 49 percent said they were afraid to ride in an autonomous vehicle. Now, that number rose to 64 percent. “Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety. Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. Source: Roadshow, AAA AAA: American Trust in Autonomous Vehicles Slips ORLANDO, Fla. (May 22, 2018) – Following high-profile incidents involving autonomous vehicle technologies, a new report from AAA’s multi-year tracking study indicates that consumer trust in these vehicles has quickly eroded. Today, three-quarters (73 percent) of American drivers report they would be too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle, up significantly from 63 percent in late 2017. Additionally, two-thirds (63 percent) of U.S. adults report they would actually feel less safe sharing the road with a self-driving vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle. “Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.” Surprisingly, AAA’s latest survey found that Millennials – the group that has been the quickest to embrace automated vehicle technologies — were the most impacted by these incidents. The percentage of Millennial drivers too afraid to ride in a fully self-driving vehicle has jumped from 49 percent to 64 percent since late 2017, representing the largest increase of any generation surveyed. “While autonomous vehicles are being tested, there’s always a chance that they will fail or encounter a situation that challenges even the most advanced system,” said Megan Foster, AAA’s director of Federal Affairs. “To ease fears, there must be safeguards in place to protect vehicle occupants and the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians with whom they share the road.” AAA supports thorough testing of automated vehicle technologies as they continue to evolve, including testing under progressively complicated driving scenarios and under varying conditions, but not at the expense of safety. Additionally, to help prevent the accidental misuse of the systems, AAA advocates for a common sense, common nomenclature and classification system, and similar performance characteristics of future autonomous vehicle technologies. “There are sometimes dozens of different marketing names for today’s safety systems,” continued Brannon. “Learning how to operate a vehicle equipped with semi-autonomous technology is challenging enough without having to decipher the equipment list and corresponding level of autonomy.” To help educate consumers on the effectiveness of emerging vehicle technologies, AAA is committed to the ongoing, unbiased testing of automated vehicle technologies. Previous testing of automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, self-parking technology and lane keeping systems has shown both great promise and great variation. Future AAA testing will look at how well systems work together to achieve higher levels of automation. View full article
  9. Whenever Bob Lutz speaks, many people tend to listen as he a number of years of being in the automotive industry under his belt. Recently, Lutz wrote an editorial for Automotive News' Redesigning the Industry where he predicts we are “approaching the end of the automotive era,” within the next 20 years. “The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation,” Lutz wrote. Lutz sees governments pushing for a 'no-human-drivers' mandate when it becomes clear that self-driving vehicles are much safer than vehicles operated by humans. "The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents." This according to Lutz will have catastrophic effects for the industry. Most of the driverless pods will be owned, operated and branded as "Uber or Lyft or who-ever else is competing in the market." Many automakers will be forced out of the business as people turn to sharing and not owning a vehicle. Some will remain, but acting as a supplier. Other parts of the business such as dealers, repair shops, and enthusiast magazines will fade away. "The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it — all will be gone in 20 years." We're not fully on board with Lutz's train of thought. The time frame is a bit too soon as we are still on the ground floor when it comes to autonomous technology and the numerous hurdles that still need to be overcome. Plus, how will this driverless pod system work in rural areas? That isn't to say it will not happen. Elements of Lutz's viewpoint are coming into focus. For example, Waymo will not have any way for a human to intervene in emergency situations. We highly recommend reading this piece. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  10. Whenever Bob Lutz speaks, many people tend to listen as he a number of years of being in the automotive industry under his belt. Recently, Lutz wrote an editorial for Automotive News' Redesigning the Industry where he predicts we are “approaching the end of the automotive era,” within the next 20 years. “The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you’ll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway On the freeway, it will merge seamlessly into a stream of other modules traveling at 120, 150 mph. The speed doesn’t matter. You have a blending of rail-type with individual transportation,” Lutz wrote. Lutz sees governments pushing for a 'no-human-drivers' mandate when it becomes clear that self-driving vehicles are much safer than vehicles operated by humans. "The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents." This according to Lutz will have catastrophic effects for the industry. Most of the driverless pods will be owned, operated and branded as "Uber or Lyft or who-ever else is competing in the market." Many automakers will be forced out of the business as people turn to sharing and not owning a vehicle. Some will remain, but acting as a supplier. Other parts of the business such as dealers, repair shops, and enthusiast magazines will fade away. "The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it — all will be gone in 20 years." We're not fully on board with Lutz's train of thought. The time frame is a bit too soon as we are still on the ground floor when it comes to autonomous technology and the numerous hurdles that still need to be overcome. Plus, how will this driverless pod system work in rural areas? That isn't to say it will not happen. Elements of Lutz's viewpoint are coming into focus. For example, Waymo will not have any way for a human to intervene in emergency situations. We highly recommend reading this piece. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  11. Almost a week after the state of Michigan signed into law a series of bills that allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads, General Motors announced today that it would begin testing them immediately. The plan will see GM beginning to test vehicles on road the company's technical center in Warren, MI. In due course, the testing will move to the metro Detroit area. During a press conference today, CEO Mary Barra said Detroit would be GM's primary test area for snow and cold-weather driving. “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality. Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles,” said Barra in a statement. Along with this, General Motors is assigning the Orion assembly plant to build the next-generation autonomous testing vehicles. They'll be based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV and come equipped with LiDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware required for full autonomy. The vehicles will be used in Detroit, San Francisco, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently, GM has 40 test vehicles operating in San Francisco and Scottsdale. Source: General Motors Press Release is on Page 2 GM to Start Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturing and Testing in Michigan DETROIT — On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.” Testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan, and with the passage of the SAVE Act legislation will now expand to public roads on the facility’s outskirts. Within the next few months, testing will expand to metro Detroit, which will become GM’s main location for the development of autonomous technology in winter climates. Workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will build test fleet Bolt EVs equipped with fully autonomous technology. The plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic. The new equipment will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety, leveraging GM’s proven manufacturing quality standards. The test fleet vehicles will be used by GM engineers for continued testing and validation of GM’s autonomous technology already underway on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as part of the Michigan testing fleet. Since the beginning of 2016, GM has taken significant steps in its development of autonomous vehicle technology. In January, the company announced the formation of a dedicated autonomous vehicle engineering team and a $500 million investment in Lyft to develop an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. In March, the company announced the acquisition of Cruise Automation to provide deep software talent and rapid development expertise to help speed development. In June, GM began testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs on the public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale. The company has more than 40 autonomous vehicles testing in the two cities. View full article
  12. Almost a week after the state of Michigan signed into law a series of bills that allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads, General Motors announced today that it would begin testing them immediately. The plan will see GM beginning to test vehicles on road the company's technical center in Warren, MI. In due course, the testing will move to the metro Detroit area. During a press conference today, CEO Mary Barra said Detroit would be GM's primary test area for snow and cold-weather driving. “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality. Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles,” said Barra in a statement. Along with this, General Motors is assigning the Orion assembly plant to build the next-generation autonomous testing vehicles. They'll be based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV and come equipped with LiDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware required for full autonomy. The vehicles will be used in Detroit, San Francisco, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Currently, GM has 40 test vehicles operating in San Francisco and Scottsdale. Source: General Motors Press Release is on Page 2 GM to Start Autonomous Vehicle Manufacturing and Testing in Michigan DETROIT — On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. “Revolutionizing transportation for our customers while improving safety on roads is the goal of our autonomous vehicle technology, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to making this vision a reality,” said General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Our autonomous technology will be reliable and safe, as customers have come to expect from any of our vehicles.” Testing is already underway on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan, and with the passage of the SAVE Act legislation will now expand to public roads on the facility’s outskirts. Within the next few months, testing will expand to metro Detroit, which will become GM’s main location for the development of autonomous technology in winter climates. Workers at the Orion Township assembly plant will build test fleet Bolt EVs equipped with fully autonomous technology. The plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Sonic. The new equipment will include LIDAR, cameras, sensors and other hardware designed to ensure system safety, leveraging GM’s proven manufacturing quality standards. The test fleet vehicles will be used by GM engineers for continued testing and validation of GM’s autonomous technology already underway on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as part of the Michigan testing fleet. Since the beginning of 2016, GM has taken significant steps in its development of autonomous vehicle technology. In January, the company announced the formation of a dedicated autonomous vehicle engineering team and a $500 million investment in Lyft to develop an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. In March, the company announced the acquisition of Cruise Automation to provide deep software talent and rapid development expertise to help speed development. In June, GM began testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs on the public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale. The company has more than 40 autonomous vehicles testing in the two cities.
  13. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law today a full suite regulations regarding the testing, use and eventual sale of autonomous vehicles in the state. “By establishing guidelines and standards for self-driving vehicles, we’re continuing that tradition of excellence in a way that protects the public’s safety while at the same time allows the mobility industry to grow without overly burdensome regulations,” said Synder in a statement. The new law will allow vehicles without steering wheels or brake pedals to travel on public roads, companies to operate autonomous ride-hailing services, and sell autonomous vehicles of the public once they have been certified and tested. This law also establishes the Michigan Council on Future Mobility. Part of the state's department of transportation, the council will be tasked with developing policies and standards on autonomous vehicles, along with regulating connected vehicle networks and data sharing. Michigan's autonomous vehicle legislation has fewer restraints than states such as Nevada, Florida, and California. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, Roadshow
  14. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law today a full suite regulations regarding the testing, use and eventual sale of autonomous vehicles in the state. “By establishing guidelines and standards for self-driving vehicles, we’re continuing that tradition of excellence in a way that protects the public’s safety while at the same time allows the mobility industry to grow without overly burdensome regulations,” said Synder in a statement. The new law will allow vehicles without steering wheels or brake pedals to travel on public roads, companies to operate autonomous ride-hailing services, and sell autonomous vehicles of the public once they have been certified and tested. This law also establishes the Michigan Council on Future Mobility. Part of the state's department of transportation, the council will be tasked with developing policies and standards on autonomous vehicles, along with regulating connected vehicle networks and data sharing. Michigan's autonomous vehicle legislation has fewer restraints than states such as Nevada, Florida, and California. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, Roadshow View full article
  15. The differences between automakers and technology companies are blurring more and more each week. Google has been bringing veterans from the auto industry to help with their autonomous vehicle project. Tesla has been hiring people from Google and Apple to help with their vehicles. There are many more examples we could pull out. So it should not come as a surprise that BMW is planning to make some major changes with more of a focus on tech. Klaus Froehlich, BMW's board member for research and development told Reuters that a major restructuring was going to take place so the company could compete with the likes of Google with building the brain for autonomous vehicles. "For me it is a core competence to have the most intelligent car," said Froehlich. To pull this off, BMW will change up its R&D staff so that half will be computer programmers in an effort to build the new AI for self-driving BMW vehicles. "Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them," said Froehlich. Aside from building their own AI, BMW hopes to build out a cloud network so that a self-driving vehicle could get messages about weather conditions and traffic. Source: Reuters
  16. The differences between automakers and technology companies are blurring more and more each week. Google has been bringing veterans from the auto industry to help with their autonomous vehicle project. Tesla has been hiring people from Google and Apple to help with their vehicles. There are many more examples we could pull out. So it should not come as a surprise that BMW is planning to make some major changes with more of a focus on tech. Klaus Froehlich, BMW's board member for research and development told Reuters that a major restructuring was going to take place so the company could compete with the likes of Google with building the brain for autonomous vehicles. "For me it is a core competence to have the most intelligent car," said Froehlich. To pull this off, BMW will change up its R&D staff so that half will be computer programmers in an effort to build the new AI for self-driving BMW vehicles. "Our task is to preserve our business model without surrendering it to an internet player. Otherwise we will end up as the Foxconn for a company like Apple, delivering only the metal bodies for them," said Froehlich. Aside from building their own AI, BMW hopes to build out a cloud network so that a self-driving vehicle could get messages about weather conditions and traffic. Source: Reuters View full article
  17. California and Michigan are currently fighting a chunk of close to $4 billion in federal funding that President Barack Obama proposed last month to develop autonomous vehicles. Both are proposing World War II military sites as the place to test autonomous technologies. But Michigan has an interesting trump card; potholes. Anyone who has driven the roads in Michigan knows they are quite terrible (and that's being somewhat kind). Due to the harsh weather conditions and difficulty in keeping the roads maintained, potholes spring up and can grow into very frightening sizes. “California is not the real world -- they don’t have four seasons. We’ve got real potholes. It’s a much more real-world scenario,” said Debbie Dingell, the Democratic congresswoman representing Ypsilanti, MI. Michigan is proposing to use the run down Willow Run factory site - a former bomber and GM transmission plant - as the test site. Not only does the site offer a wide range of potholes, it is also quite large - 330 acres to be exact. The state has put up $20 million to buy and develop the site from Racer Trust, a holding company set up by GM during the 2009 bankruptcy. California's proposal is the former Navy base in Concord, California (near San Francisco) that offers 2,100 acres and 20 miles of roads. It is also the home to GoMentum Station, a facility that tests autonomous vehicles. Both locations have their advantages. California's location is nearby Silicon Valley. Michigan's location is nearby a number auto manufacturer testing and engineering facilities. Who will take the prize? Supporters believe with pothole-laden roads and the harsh winters could give Michigan the edge. We'll be watching this fight. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  18. California and Michigan are currently fighting a chunk of close to $4 billion in federal funding that President Barack Obama proposed last month to develop autonomous vehicles. Both are proposing World War II military sites as the place to test autonomous technologies. But Michigan has an interesting trump card; potholes. Anyone who has driven the roads in Michigan knows they are quite terrible (and that's being somewhat kind). Due to the harsh weather conditions and difficulty in keeping the roads maintained, potholes spring up and can grow into very frightening sizes. “California is not the real world -- they don’t have four seasons. We’ve got real potholes. It’s a much more real-world scenario,” said Debbie Dingell, the Democratic congresswoman representing Ypsilanti, MI. Michigan is proposing to use the run down Willow Run factory site - a former bomber and GM transmission plant - as the test site. Not only does the site offer a wide range of potholes, it is also quite large - 330 acres to be exact. The state has put up $20 million to buy and develop the site from Racer Trust, a holding company set up by GM during the 2009 bankruptcy. California's proposal is the former Navy base in Concord, California (near San Francisco) that offers 2,100 acres and 20 miles of roads. It is also the home to GoMentum Station, a facility that tests autonomous vehicles. Both locations have their advantages. California's location is nearby Silicon Valley. Michigan's location is nearby a number auto manufacturer testing and engineering facilities. Who will take the prize? Supporters believe with pothole-laden roads and the harsh winters could give Michigan the edge. We'll be watching this fight. Source: Bloomberg
  19. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 31, 2013 With automakers and researchers testing autonomous cars more and more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put its regulatory hat on and announced guidelines that outline the recommended rules for the vehicles and drivers. NHTSA in its guidelines says it recognizes five different levels of vehicle automation. Those five levels are, Level 0 - No Automation: Driver is in complete control of the vehicle Level 1- Function-specific Automation: Vehicle has some features that can temporally take control of the vehicle, such as electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes Level 2 - Combined Function Automation: Two Features work together to temporary relieve the driver of control. Example is adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Level 3 - Limited Self-Driving Automation: Vehicle can drive it self, but must give back control to the driver under certain conditions Level 4 - Full Self-Driving Automation: Vehicle performs all driving functions without any human interaction NHTSA also issued recommended guidelines for states that want to allow autonomous vehicles to test on public roads. Those guidelines include a special driver’s license endorsements for anyone operating an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles and limitations on where and in what types of conditions autonomous vehicles can operate. In addition to their guidelines, NHTSA announced a four-year initial research program that will look at how autonomous and partially autonomous technologies can have an impact on safety. "Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe. Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Source: NHTSA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Automated Vehicle Development NHTSA 14-13 Thursday, May 30, 2013 Provides guidance to states permitting testing of emerging vehicle technology WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced a new policy concerning vehicle automation, including its plans for research on related safety issues and recommendations for states related to the testing, licensing, and regulation of "autonomous" or "self-driving" vehicles. Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode. "Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe," said Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits." NHTSA's policy addresses: An explanation of the many areas of vehicle innovation and types of automation that offer significant potential for enormous reductions in highway crashes and deaths; A summary of the research NHTSA has planned or has begun to help ensure that all safety issues related to vehicle automation are explored and addressed; and Recommendations to states that have authorized operation of self-driving vehicles, for test purposes, on how best to ensure safe operation as these new concepts are being tested on highways. Several states, including Nevada, California and Florida have enacted legislation that expressly permits operation of self-driving (sometimes called "autonomous") vehicles under certain conditions. These experimental vehicles are at the highest end of a wide range of automation that begins with some safety features already in vehicles, such as electronic stability control. Today's policy will provide states interested in passing similar laws with assistance to ensure that their legislation does not inadvertently impact current vehicle technology and that the testing of self-driving vehicles is conducted safely. "We're encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today, but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "As additional states consider similar legislation, our recommendations provide lawmakers with the tools they need to encourage the safe development and implementation of automated vehicle technology." The policy statement also describes NHTSA's research efforts related to autonomous vehicles. While the technology remains in early stages, NHTSA is conducting research on self-driving vehicles so that the agency has the tools to establish standards for these vehicles, should the vehicles become commercially available. The first phase of this research is expected to be completed within the next four years. NHTSA's many years of research on vehicle automation have already led to regulatory and other policy developments. The agency's work on electronic stability control (ESC), for example, led to a standard mandating that form of automated technology on all new light vehicles since MY 2011. More recently, NHTSA issued a proposal that would require ESC on new heavy vehicles. NHTSA defines vehicle automation as having five levels: No-Automation (Level 0): The driver is in complete and sole control of the primary vehicle controls – brake, steering, throttle, and motive power – at all times. Function-specific Automation (Level 1): Automation at this level involves one or more specific control functions. Examples include electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes, where the vehicle automatically assists with braking to enable the driver to regain control of the vehicle or stop faster than possible by acting alone. Combined Function Automation (Level 2): This level involves automation of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of those functions. An example of combined functions enabling a Level 2 system is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering. Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions and in those conditions to rely heavily on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions requiring transition back to driver control. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time. The Google car is an example of limited self-driving automation. Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles. View full article
  20. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 31, 2013 With automakers and researchers testing autonomous cars more and more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put its regulatory hat on and announced guidelines that outline the recommended rules for the vehicles and drivers. NHTSA in its guidelines says it recognizes five different levels of vehicle automation. Those five levels are, Level 0 - No Automation: Driver is in complete control of the vehicle Level 1- Function-specific Automation: Vehicle has some features that can temporally take control of the vehicle, such as electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes Level 2 - Combined Function Automation: Two Features work together to temporary relieve the driver of control. Example is adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Level 3 - Limited Self-Driving Automation: Vehicle can drive it self, but must give back control to the driver under certain conditions Level 4 - Full Self-Driving Automation: Vehicle performs all driving functions without any human interaction NHTSA also issued recommended guidelines for states that want to allow autonomous vehicles to test on public roads. Those guidelines include a special driver’s license endorsements for anyone operating an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles and limitations on where and in what types of conditions autonomous vehicles can operate. In addition to their guidelines, NHTSA announced a four-year initial research program that will look at how autonomous and partially autonomous technologies can have an impact on safety. "Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe. Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Source: NHTSA William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 U.S. Department of Transportation Releases Policy on Automated Vehicle Development NHTSA 14-13 Thursday, May 30, 2013 Provides guidance to states permitting testing of emerging vehicle technology WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced a new policy concerning vehicle automation, including its plans for research on related safety issues and recommendations for states related to the testing, licensing, and regulation of "autonomous" or "self-driving" vehicles. Self-driving vehicles are those in which operation of the vehicle occurs without direct driver input to control the steering, acceleration, and braking and are designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the roadway while operating in self-driving mode. "Whether we're talking about automated features in cars today or fully automated vehicles of the future, our top priority is to ensure these vehicles – and their occupants – are safe," said Secretary Ray LaHood. "Our research covers all levels of automation, including advances like automatic braking that may save lives in the near term, while the recommendations to states help them better oversee self-driving vehicle development, which holds promising long-term safety benefits." NHTSA's policy addresses: An explanation of the many areas of vehicle innovation and types of automation that offer significant potential for enormous reductions in highway crashes and deaths; A summary of the research NHTSA has planned or has begun to help ensure that all safety issues related to vehicle automation are explored and addressed; and Recommendations to states that have authorized operation of self-driving vehicles, for test purposes, on how best to ensure safe operation as these new concepts are being tested on highways. Several states, including Nevada, California and Florida have enacted legislation that expressly permits operation of self-driving (sometimes called "autonomous") vehicles under certain conditions. These experimental vehicles are at the highest end of a wide range of automation that begins with some safety features already in vehicles, such as electronic stability control. Today's policy will provide states interested in passing similar laws with assistance to ensure that their legislation does not inadvertently impact current vehicle technology and that the testing of self-driving vehicles is conducted safely. "We're encouraged by the new automated vehicle technologies being developed and implemented today, but want to ensure that motor vehicle safety is considered in the development of these advances," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "As additional states consider similar legislation, our recommendations provide lawmakers with the tools they need to encourage the safe development and implementation of automated vehicle technology." The policy statement also describes NHTSA's research efforts related to autonomous vehicles. While the technology remains in early stages, NHTSA is conducting research on self-driving vehicles so that the agency has the tools to establish standards for these vehicles, should the vehicles become commercially available. The first phase of this research is expected to be completed within the next four years. NHTSA's many years of research on vehicle automation have already led to regulatory and other policy developments. The agency's work on electronic stability control (ESC), for example, led to a standard mandating that form of automated technology on all new light vehicles since MY 2011. More recently, NHTSA issued a proposal that would require ESC on new heavy vehicles. NHTSA defines vehicle automation as having five levels: No-Automation (Level 0): The driver is in complete and sole control of the primary vehicle controls – brake, steering, throttle, and motive power – at all times. Function-specific Automation (Level 1): Automation at this level involves one or more specific control functions. Examples include electronic stability control or pre-charged brakes, where the vehicle automatically assists with braking to enable the driver to regain control of the vehicle or stop faster than possible by acting alone. Combined Function Automation (Level 2): This level involves automation of at least two primary control functions designed to work in unison to relieve the driver of control of those functions. An example of combined functions enabling a Level 2 system is adaptive cruise control in combination with lane centering. Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3): Vehicles at this level of automation enable the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic or environmental conditions and in those conditions to rely heavily on the vehicle to monitor for changes in those conditions requiring transition back to driver control. The driver is expected to be available for occasional control, but with sufficiently comfortable transition time. The Google car is an example of limited self-driving automation. Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4): The vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This includes both occupied and unoccupied vehicles.

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