autonomous car

This is what public transport should look like

Len Brown and other socialists want 19th century technology for public transport.

The future of public transport are vehicles that pick you up from where you want to leave from and take you to where you ant to go to, for a reasonable price.

Beverly Hills seems to have worked it out.

Beverly Hills is known for celeb residents like Jennifer Lawrence and Harry Styles, but in just a few years tourists might be heading there to take photos of something else – a brand new fleet of on-demand driverless cars.

A unanimous vote by the council means that preparations are now underway to build a fleet of robot-controlled vehicles that will take people to every address in the city, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

‘This is a game-changer for Beverly Hills and, we hope, for the region,’ Mayor John Mirisch said in a press release. ‘Beverly Hills is the perfect community to take the lead to make this technology a reality.’   Read more »

Forget trains, invest in driverless techology

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Google has released a study that shows clearly that driverless cars are safer than cars with drivers.

Google commissioned a study whose results were released on Friday. The study carried by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that the vehicles with a driver behind the wheels are more prone to accident than the self-driving cars.

Google’s self-driving cars have been reported to be involved in a series of minor crashes. The study considered only Google’s fleet, which has more than 50 self-driving cars. These cars have already traveled 1.3 million miles on the streets of Texas and California in self-driving mode.    Read more »

Stick Len’s rail loop, here come driverless cars

As I said earlier this month driverless cars are the future, not stupid stuck on rails trains.

Don’t get too attached to your steering wheel and brake pedal because self-driving cars could be hitting our roads sooner than you think.

The first privately-owned driverless vehicles could start appearing in New Zealand in as little as two years, once European manufacturers start bringing them to market, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

Bridges is in the German city of Leipzig to attend the International Transport Forum’s annual summit, where a lot of the talk has been about the rapid pace of driverless car technology and how it could dramatically reduce the number of vehicles clogging up our roads.

Alexander Dobrindt, the German Federal Minister of Transport, arrived at the summit on Wednesday in a self-driving BMW and predicted the technology would start rolling off German assembly lines as soon as 2017.   Read more »

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We don’t need Len’s trains, we need Google’s cars

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We don’t need to be sinking billions into 19th century technology when Google is planning on making human drivers obsolete within 5 years.

GOOGLE’S ADORABLE SELF-DRIVING car prototype hits the road this summer, the tech giant announced last week. Real roads, in the real world. The car has no steering wheel or pedals, so it’s up to the computer to do all the driving.

As cool as this sounds, it isn’t a huge technological step forward. The goofy little cars use the same software controlling the Lexus and Toyota vehicles that have logged hundreds of thousands of autonomous miles, and Google’s spent the past year testing its prototypes on test tracks. And, in keeping with California law, there will be a human aboard, ready to take over (with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal) if the something goes haywire.

What’s important here is Google’s commitment to its all-or-nothing approach, which contrasts with the steady-as-she-goes approach favored by automakerslike Mercedes, Audi and Nissan.

Autonomous vehicles are coming. Make no mistake. But conventional automakers are rolling out features piecemeal, over the course of many years. Cars already have active safety features like automatic braking and lane departure warnings. In the next few years, expect cars to handle themselves on the highway, with more complicated urban driving to follow.

“We call it a revolution by evolution. We will take it step by step, and add more functionality, add more usefulness to the system,” says Thomas Ruchatz, Audi’s head of driver assistance systems and integrated safety. Full autonomy is “not going to happen just like that,” where from one day to the next “we can travel from our doorstep to our work and we don’t have a steering wheel in the car.”

Google thinks that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It isn’t messing around with anything less than a completely autonomous vehicle, one that reduces “driving” to little more than getting in, entering a destination, and enjoying the ride.

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So tell me again why we need Len’s train set?

Len Brown and his bunch of useful idiots want to put in 19th century technology to solve 21st century problems.

He is raising property taxes to pour billions into a train set.

Instead, he should be investing in infrastructure to make new technologies usable and enable them to be delivered quicker than anywhere else in the world.

Like self driving vehicles.

The world is one step closer to the day when people can, in good conscience, drive to work while sipping coffee, texting with a friend and working on a laptop computer.

On Friday, Google announced that sometime this summer several prototype versions of its self-driving cars are set to hit the streets of Mountain View, Calif., the search giant’s hometown. The move is still just another round of testing but it is a significant step toward a pilot program in which regular consumers could ride in self-driving cars.

Google has long been testing its self-driving car technology with a fleet of Lexus sport utility vehicles that have driven about a million miles on public roads, and that continue to put in 10,000 miles each week.

Traditional automakers are also pushing the envelope of driverless tech with on-the-road testing of their own autonomous prototypes, and the industry predicts that by 2020 those dreams could come true.

Getting there is now much more about software than hardware. The systems of radar, lasers and cameras currently used by Google and automakers have grown so sophisticated that the vehicles can easily monitor the road in all directions — even beyond what the eye can see. The tough part is figuring out what to do with all that information.

In essence, the cars need an electronic brain that knows how to drive in a world where human drivers, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists, often do unpredictable things.     Read more »

Finally a minister who gets that driverless cars and not trains is our future

Simon Bridges appears to get it.

That our future lies in enabling technologies not restrictive technologies.

Trains are constrained by tracks and are not at all versatile, whereas driverless vehicles are enabling in many, many ways.

The prospect of cars travelling New Zealand highways with no one behind the wheel is moving closer says new Transport Minister Simon Bridges. Officials are reviewing legislation allowing for the testing of umanned autonomous vehicles on public roads.

Mr Bridges has pledged to work with environmental interests while also pursuing the Government’s road building programme.

Mr Bridges said he was committed to “a balanced approach” and ongoing investment roads were important even from a green perspective, “over time as we move to electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles”.

Mr Bridges said the Government was not doing a great deal to accommodate autonomous vehicle technology, “but I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you look at what’s going on internationally, maybe not in the next couple of years, but over time we will see driverless vehicles and that will have implications, like for example less congestion because vehicles can travel closer together”.

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More than 10,000 miles and not a single ticket for Google’s Self Driving Cars

Google’s self driving cars are cool, apart from the Prius platform.

They are certainly much more appealing to me than any public transport system currently mooted, and would go a long towards ameliorating traffic issues.

It also seems to me that we would be better off investing several billion dollars in working Google to bring self-drive cars to a reality in NZ, rather than wasting the money on stupid 19th century technology that is confirmed to corridors and rails.

But are they safe?

Well it appears they are, logging more than 10,000 miles without a single infringement.

On a drive in a convoy of Google’s autonomous vehicles last week, a difficult driving situation arose.

As our platoon approached a major intersection, two Google cars ahead of us crept forward into the intersection, preparing to make left turns. The oncoming traffic took nearly the whole green light to clear, so the first car made the left as the green turned to yellow. The second, however, was caught in that tough spot where the car is in the intersection but the light is turning, and the driver can either try to back up out of the intersection or gun it and make the left, even though he or she or it knows the light is going to turn red before the maneuver is complete. The self-driving car gunned it, which was the correct decision, I think. But it was also the kind of decision that was on the borderline of legality.

It got me wondering: had these cars ever gotten a ticket driving around Mountain View, where they’ve logged 10,000 miles?

“We have not cited any Google self-driving cars,” Sergeant Saul Jaeger, the press information officer at the Mountain View Police Department, told me. They hadn’t pulled one over and let the vehicle go, either, to Jaeger’s knowledge.

I wondered if that was because of a pre-existing agreement between Google and the department, but Jaeger said, “There is no agreement in place between Google and the PD.”

Google confirmed that they none of their cars had ever been ticketed in Mountain View or elsewhere.

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Wednesday Weapons – Robot Trucks

You’ve all heard of Google’s autonomous vehicles, well now the US Army is trialling  autonomous trucks.

U.S. Army convoys will soon be able to roll into even the roughest of unfriendly foreign urban areas and combat zones without the worry of loss of life, thanks to new technology that will make large vehicles fully autonomous.

In demonstrations earlier this month at Fort Hood, Texas, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin demonstrated the ability of the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS), which gives full autonomy to convoys to operate in urban environments. In tests, driverless tactical vehicles were able to navigate hazards and obstacles including pedestrians, oncoming traffic, road intersections, traffic circles and stalled and passing vehicles.  Read more »

Self Driving cars are safer

Instead of focussing on the expansion of an 19th century technology to move people around Len Brown should be focussing on what is required to bring self-driving cars to Auckland in large quantities.

Entire fleets of the vehicles could replace taxis and provide ordinary citizens with a much safer driving environment.

I’d love one…it would eliminate the dead time of driving and allow me to be much more productive…plus they are safer, much safer than humans driving cars.

Human beings make terrible drivers. They talk on the phone and run red lights, signal to the left and turn to the right. They drink too much beer and plow into trees or veer into traffic as they swat at their kids. They have blind spots, leg cramps, seizures, and heart attacks. They rubberneck, hotdog, and take pity on turtles, cause fender benders, pileups, and head-on collisions. They nod off at the wheel, wrestle with maps, fiddle with knobs, have marital spats, take the curve too late, take the curve too hard, spill coffee in their laps, and flip over their cars. Of the ten million accidents that Americans are in every year, nine and a half million are their own damn fault.

We see this everyday on the motorway, despite laws supposedly designed to prevent such behaviours.  Read more »

This will kill the rail loop faster than anything else

Rail is old technology…despite Len Brown having virtual; orgasms over new trains, the simple fact is they still only travel on rails, in a corridor and don;t travel where you want to go when you want go.

Autonomous cars and technology is what is going to solve transport issues, if only the moron politicians would stop hankering after solution for public transport from the 19th century.

If the money Len Brown is planning on plowing into rails was instead put into enabling self drive cars for Auckland we would see amazing advances.

Nearly every automaker is working on some form of autonomous vehicle technology, but according to a new study, consumers are more interested in a self-driving car from Google than General Motors.

The study, conducted by U.S. audit and advisory firm KPMG, polled a diverse group of drivers from both coasts and in between, pulling samples from Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Iselin, New Jersey.

The focus groups were asked about their willingness to use an autonomous vehicle every day, and rank their trust in the company producing the car on a scale of one to 10. While high-end automakers like Mercedes-Benz received a median score of 7.75, tech companies like Google and Apple scored an eight, and mass-market brands (Chevrolet and Nissan) came in at five.

“We believe that self-driving cars will be profoundly disruptive to the traditional automotive ecosystem,” said Gary Silberg, KPMG auto expert and author of the report. The company’s polling bears that out, although KPMG is quick to add the caveat that while “focus group discussions are valuable for the qualitative, directional insights they provide; they are not statistically valid.”   Read more »