For one, LinkedIn shows forty-six current Apple employees who were formerly at Tesla—rumors have it the company’s offering up to $250,000 and a 60 percent raise to those who agree to cross over—and 640 Apple employees with past experience in the automotive industry. The company has also been rumored to be aggressively recruiting engineers who specialize in battery technology, though it’s unclear if Apple would apply whatever it develops to consumer devices, the automotive market, or both.
The Copenhagen Post reports that 2014 set records for the number of cars on Danish roads. Maybe Blondie here (not to mention his friend Miss Paraguay) will change some minds—though hopefully not via Molotov cocktails.
Uber and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) are announcing today a strategic partnership that includes the creation of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, near the CMU campus. The center will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere.
The partnership will provide a forum for Uber technology leaders to work closely with CMU faculty, staff, and students — both on campus and at the National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) — to do research and development, primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology.
Uber is hiring more than fifty senior scientists from Carnegie Mellon as well as from the National Robotics Engineering Center, a CMU-affiliated research entity. Carnegie Mellon, home of the Mars Rover and other high-profile robotics projects, declined to comment at this time, as did scientists mentioned by our source. Uber has “cleaned out” the Robotics Institute, said the source.
The source also noted that most of these technologies came through a “massive” military spending push over the past decade and should net the university millions in IP licensing fees.
Uber will be developing the core technology, the vehicles, and associated infrastructure at this Pittsburgh facility, according to sources. They have already hired a number of employees and made moves to outfit them with software, including a multi-hundred-thousand dollar investment in third-party engineering workstations.
Google is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project. Drummond has informed Uber’s board of this possibility, according to a person close to the Uber board, and Uber executives have seen screenshots of what appears to be a Google ride-sharing app that is currently being used by Google employees. This person, who requested not to be named because the talks are private, said the Uber board is now weighing whether to ask Drummond to resign his position as an Uber board member.
There’s already an additional sign of a rift between the companies. Last week Google announced it would start presenting data from third party applications inside Google Now, a service that displays useful information prominently on the screen of Android smartphones. Google said it had struck deals to draw data from such apps as Pandora, AirBnb, Zillow, and the ride-sharing service Lyft. The company most obviously missing from that list? Google’s old and possibly former friend, Uber.
at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, project director Chris Urmson named Continental, Roush, Bosch, ZFLS, RCO, FRIMO, Prefix, and LG as companies that had helped to build the pod-like vehicle.
Roush Enterprises: from Detroit, design integration and final assembly of 100 units LG: battery supplier, possibly similar to the systems in Tesla’s vehicles (modular lithium ion system) Bosch: long-range radar, electric powertrain supplier; about to acquire ZFLS (German steering systems company) ZFLS: parallel, redundant motors RCO Engineering: seats designer FRIMO: plastic and composite components for interior/exterior Prefix: general automotive design and manufacturing engineering firm Continental: “intelligent transportation systems” business unit based in SV, developing competing autonomous vehicle technologies; supplying tires and some electronics/components Nvidia: microprocessors for object detection and recognition
LIDAR units (currently $70k) are being designed in-house.
This year, in close partnership with European cities, we can take 400,000 cars off the road, expand UberPOOL and reduce emissions, all while creating 50,000 new jobs across the continent.
As with our recent initiative with the city of Boston, Uber can share smart data with partner cities to help them manage growth, reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions and expand public transportation. We’re confident this combination of data sharing, job creation and reduced use of personal automobiles represents important partnership opportunities for Europe’s cities as well.
the Online Ride drivers make the very common mistake of acting as though the depreciation on their car costs them nothing because they have already bought the car. In talking to drivers, I have found that most do not account for the true cost of operating their car (around 50 cents/mile or about $20/hour) and rather mostly look at the cost of gasoline. They figure their income by just taking what they are paid and deducting very immediate costs like fuel. They are making an error, and this allows the companies to get drivers for less than the real cost. Robocars, of course, won’t have this issue.
Attacks on the online ride industry will continue. The official reason for slowing it down will be a reasonable sounding one such as safety
As a postscript, I should note that Uber has also gotten into deserved trouble because of very bad privacy practices and abuses, and disturbing attitudes by management about the press, their opponents and even women. These issues are unrelated to the real question, and Uber deserves trouble for them. Though it’s enemies will seize on its real mistakes in other fields to fight their battle.
By far the most ambitious smart-road project is to begin next year in Europe. It’s called the Cooperative ITS Corridor, and on day one it’s supposed to shepherd cars from Rotterdam through Munich, Frankfurt, and on to Vienna without a single interruption in the initial, basic service: warning drivers of upcoming roadwork and other obstacles. And because the Corridor will be the first to harmonize smart-road standards among different countries, its choices are meant to be a template for us all.
Tass answers such questions on its test bed, an 8-kilometer stretch of road in Helmond that is studded with sensors far more capable than the Corridor will have. “We measure the exact position of vehicles within 1-meter accuracy, 10 times per second, then compare this ground truth with the actual system being tested,” Van Vugt says. “There are cameras every 100 meters and Wi-Fi antennas every 500 meters—about twice as dense as what you’d have on a normal motorway. And we put Wi-Fi stations about on the same poles as the antennas and camera systems.”
Callout to security
For engineers, though, there’s only one real problem: how to safeguard communications. Today’s cars are dripping with communications channels, each of which offers a way into critical systems like engine controls, antilock brakes, and even the actuators that lock the doors and lower the windows. That’s a lot of targets, and smart roads threaten to hook them together and make them vulnerable to attackers, just as the Internet has done with the world’s desktop computers.
This is the state of things. The future comes slowly. The slow progress is attributed it difficulties negotiating between countries (within Europe) and probably also funding issues.
We can say all we want that the problem is (technically) solved, but in practice there are going to huge unexpected (to me) problems. So [after we’ve figured out the technical details], are we content to let the future happen without us?
Google is seeking auto industry partners in its efforts to produce a fully autonomous car, according to project director Chris Urmson. … He says Google’s plan involves two stages. First, the creation of a fleet of more advanced “beta one” prototype Google cars that will be three generations more advanced than its current model. Google plans to begin road-testing these prototypes in in early 2015, before debuting its fully autonomous car between 2017 and 2020. Google’s approach to self-driving cars is different from that being taken by most automakers. Urmson says the current plans are for Google’s car to have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and be classified as a neighborhood electric vehicle. It also will be completely autonomous and without a steering wheel. Meanwhile, most automakers are looking to slowly integrate autonomous or semi-autonomous driving technology into their vehicles while still retaining the ability for the driver to take direct control. General Motors, for example, is set to introduce what it calls “super cruise,” in a 2016 Cadillac sedan.