Right now when it comes to self-driving vehicles, one of the general rules that many follow around the world is that there needs to be a human behind the “wheel”. This is because in the event that something goes wrong, the human can take over and steer the car away or apply the brakes to prevent accidents.
While it might be a while before we start seeing self-driving cars hit the roads and become more common, the self-driving revolution has already started with shuttle buses. In fact, over in Doha, Qatar, Volkswagen has announced that they will be working with the Qatar Investment Authority on a project known as “Project Qatar Mobility”.
When we drive, we use our eyes to see what’s around us and that lets us know when to brake, when to move forwards, when to turn, and so on. However, since computers don’t have “eyes”, at least not in the traditional sense, they need to use cameras, but even then, cameras need to be taught to know what they’re looking at.
The problem with delivering goods cross-country by trucks is that humans are involved. Humans get tired and thus need to make stops and rest. Being pressured to meet certain deadlines also does not help as it means that drivers could get careless, which in turn could result in accidents, none of which are ideal.
Grocery deliveries have always been around, but these days a number of companies have been working on take it to the next level. For example, Walmart has recently announced that they will start testing self-driving vehicles to help deliver groceries through a partnership with a company called Nuro.
apple logoCar sickness is something that people suffer from, but it seems that when it comes to self-driving cars, it can be made worse. Companies such as Uber have been working on coming up with ways to try and combat that, and now it looks like Apple could be working on something similar as well.
During CEATEC 2019, the Navya self-driving bus is moving a small number of people around a predetermined 1.5km route, which is “close to real-world” traffic, according to the organizers.
Due to the fact that self-driving cars rely on things like cameras and sensors to navigate, obviously driving about on a clear sunny day would provide the most ideal conditions. However, that isn’t always reality as the weather can shift, where it can get cloudy, it can snow, and it can rain, all of which presents challenges to the abilities of self-driving cars.
At the moment, no one really knows what Apple has planned for its self-driving cars. However, it seems that despite the secrecy surrounding the project and Apple’s plans, the company seems to be progressing rather nicely with whatever it is they are doing because according to reports, Apple has expanded on its self-driving car team.
Apple’s plans for their own electric/self-driving is an open secret, although it was earlier this year that it was suggested that the company’s car project could be scrapped. Whether or not they have is unclear as Apple has yet to confirm or deny anything, but it seems that things could be progressing as intended.
Waymo’s self-driving vehicles have driven some 10 million miles on actual roads and that’s an incredible milestone but it only represents a fraction of what the company’s autonomous driving system has driven in simulation. The company has revealed that the self-driving system has driven over 10 billion miles in simulation.
The California Public Utilities Commission has awarded Waymo a permit to take part in the state’s self-driving vehicle passenger service pilot program. This means that Waymo will be able to pick up passengers with its self-driving cars. However, Waymo may not charge drivers during this pilot program and there must always be a human safety driver behind the wheel.
Waymo has its own commercial self-driving ride-hailing service called Waymo One but the company did ink an agreement with Lyft back in May to bring its self-driving vehicles to the latter’s ride-hailing platform. It has now made some of its autonomous minivans available to Lyft riders.
Many are probably already familiar with the fact that Apple has a self-driving car division. In recent times, it has been suggested that the company could be looking to downsize the division with layoffs, but that does not appear to be the case because Apple has since confirmed that they have acquired a self-driving car startup.