Robocars

The future of computer-driven cars and deliverbots

Is there safety theatre among robocar developers?

A recent essay by Robbie Miller, who blew the whistle at Uber about their bad practices, accuses the industry at large of "safety theater" and driving too many unsafe miles. He's not wrong about some of his accusations, but there does need to be some risk taken. I outline the reasoning in this new Forbes.com article:

Are Robocar teams doing safety theater?

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Report from first person to give up their car for a robotaxi

A family riding in a Waymo One Robotaxi

I'm back from another electric car road trip -- more later on that -- but here's a story where I provide a report from a Waymo One user on how he sold one of his family's two cars and replaced it with robotaxi service. He's an early adopter, but he helps us examine just what some of the issues are around getting people to do that.

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Nvidia simulator and Safety Force Field and other news from GTC

This week I am at the Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, which has become a significant conference for machine learning, robots and robocars.

Here is my writeup on a couple of significant announcements from Nvidia -- a new simulation platform and a "safety force field" minder for robocar software, along with radar localization and Volvo parking projects.

News from Nvidia GTC

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Where's my flying car? Coming in for a landing...

Opener predicts the Blackfly will be for sale in 2019

Readers all know I love robocars and write about the tremendous effect they will have on our lives and cities. But a new technology, running about a decade behind but now real, is coming which could have even more dramatic effects, the e-VTOL or "flying car."

Autopilot review Update

Of course, just after releasing my review of Tesla Autopilot they announced new pricing and features, with some explanation of what "full self drive" is.

For now, it turns out it's still driver assist, but on city streets. It's an interesting question if that's a good idea. I offer some additional analysis and updates.

Read my Update to Tesla Autopilot Review

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We need a world where open source robocars are possible

An early student robocar at Stanford

We all love open source. But the usual rules of open source break down if every vehicle deployed on the road has to have gone through a complex and expensive safety certification process. You can't just download, patch and go.

So we need other solutions to allow the world of the tinkerer/hacker and the innovation and superior function it can provide.

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Ethics professors solve the "Trolley Problem" by debating switching tracks to kill 1 person vs. 5. Engineers solve it by fixing the brakes.

Since the famous Trolley Problem has come up again recently thanks to the MIT Moral Machine, it's time for what seems to be an annual debunking of the notion.

This time, to illustrate the pithy headline above, I tell the story of why the hypothetical situation is even rarer than people imagine because of the way braking and steering systems are designed on robocars, and how their driving patterns will be designed to minimize risk.

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The end of the A380 and California HSR teach us smaller is better

It was just too big to succeed

I have written often about the new economies in transportation that future technology like robocars provide. In my research I've learned something that seems to not be well known in the transportation world -- that often, smaller is better and more energy efficient.

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No, cars won't circle around in traffic to avoid paying for parking

For many years, people have wondered if people might tell their robocars to just drive continuously around the block rather than pay for parking. I've written before about how that doesn't make sense, but a recent paper from Adam Millard-Ball of UC Santa Cruz tries to make a real case that it could make economic sense, even if it's antisocial.

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New Forbes.com post: The in car experience of the robocar will be quite minimalist

I have started doing some of my posts on forbes.com. They invited me to contribute and I felt it is worth finding out if it extends my reach. For now, I will link to posts here, and eventually I will perhaps build a special RSS feed to combine the posts I do there with the ones here to make it easy for readers.

This is what everybody does today when they travel.

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