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Automaker Volvo and Microsoft have announced they will work together to help develop autonomous car technology, with collected data aimed at delivering "meaningful services."
"Technology will transform when it comes to autonomous cars, connectivity and the car buying process," said Bjorn Annwall, senior VP of marketing at Volvo, in a statement to CNBC. "We believe this will happen it's naturally the tech and automotive industry comes closer to explore this together. We are exploring a number of different collaborations."
Specifics related to how the two companies will work together were not released - but the idea of machine learning and finding a way to promote Volvo vehicles using HoloLens are two likely solutions. Consumers can expect to begin seeing "mixed reality" solutions starting sometime in 2016.
Korean automaker Hyundai expects highly autonomous vehicle technologies available by 2020, with full autonomous models available by 2030, according to company senior executives. Over the next five years, almost $10 billion will be invested by Hyundai to bolster its autonomous research efforts.
"Fully-autonomous vehicles are still some way off, and a great deal of research and rigorous product testing will need to be carried out to make the 'self-driving car' a reality," said Lim Tae-won, VP of the Hyundai Motor Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute. "Kia is still in the early stages of developing its own technologies, and we are confident that the latest innovations - both partially and fully autonomous - will ultimately make driving safer for everyone."
Meanwhile, the Hyundai Genesis self-driving vehicle recently completed a three-kilometer series of test runs in South Korea - marking the first time the vehicle hit public city streets. The vehicle will be showcased next month, with the sedan supporting semi-autonomous solutions.
Following up its Volta Racer release in 2013, Volta has now published news of its Volta Flyer product, set to soar throughout the sky fully powered by solar panels attached to the structure, no batteries required.
It takes 90 seconds for the Flyer to warm up, and allows 10 to 15 seconds of flight time should you run out of sunlight, helping ensure a safe and soft landing when in danger. Coming complete with a build-it-yourself kit, the product is further packaged with a breakaway wing, meaning that crashes shouldn't completely demolish the frame. But just in case something does go wrong, a second wing is included for free.
The whole product will set you back $40 and is currently sitting on Kickstarter with $9,034 pledged of a $39,000 goal, at the time of writing this article. You can order one for yourself here.
Just how efficient are Google's prototype autonomous cars? Well, in over 1.2 million miles on the road, Google has yet to have received a ticket with one of its cars.
According to Google, the autonomous cars have driven 1.2 million miles, which is the equivalent to 90 years of driving experience for the average person. The new prototype cars are something Google classifies as "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles", with their speeds capped at 25mph. An officer had some questions about the car, which is a common occurrence with these strange looking vehicles.
Domino's has just unveiled an impressive new pizza delivery car, where it has heavily modified a Chevy Spark into the pizza delivery car to end the war between pizza delivery cars - it has a damn built-in oven!
The new '100 DXP' is being rolled out across 25 cities around the United States in the next 90 days, including Boston, Dallas, New Orleans, San Diego and Seattle. The vehicle has an outward-facing oven in the back, so that your pizza delivery driver can arrive to your house with pizza that has literally just come out of the oven.
Better yet, the modified Chevy Spark can hold 80 pizzas for those late night gaming sessions - you know, when you need 80 pizzas. The car makes sense, and once these bad boys have 3D printers in the back and get injected with some self-driving technology, we could see pizza delivery step into the future.
With its new autonomous, electric DeLorean, Stanford University has all the other Back To the Future Day creations beat.
Named after the film's iconic hoverboard-riding don't-call-me-chicken Marty McFly, Stanford's self-driving DeLorean was built in conjunction with the Revs Program at Stanford and Renovo Motors, and stands as the team's newest research project.
"We want to design automated vehicles that can take any action necessary to avoid an accident," said Chris Gerdes, a Stanford professor of mechanical engineering who orchestrated the project. "The laws of physics will limit what the car can do, but we think the software should be capable of any possible maneuver within those limits. MARTY is another step in this direction, thanks to the passion and hard work of our students. Stanford builds great research by building great researchers."
In order to improve its mapping, driver routes and ETAs, Uber has deployed a bunch of camera-equipped vehicles that are taking in imagery to better assist the ridesharing giant.
Uber's new camera-equipped cars have been spotted in Florence, Kentucky, and are being spread out across the Midwest. The systems used in the vehicles were designed by Microsoft, with Uber buying a chunk in Microsoft's Bing Maps technology back in June. The deal struck between the two companies is that Uber secured itself some "assets" from Microsoft, as well as around 100 staff. Some of those assets, were a bunch of these camera cars.
An Uber spokesperson talked with TechCrunch, where they said: "This is an Uber mapping car. In June, Uber acquired a subset of the Microsoft Maps business and imagery collection technology was included as part of that acquisition. These cars have been on the road for the last several months collecting imagery that will help improve mapping features that are so integral to the Uber experience".
Consumer Reports seems to have changed its mind on the Model S, pulling its recommendation for Tesla Motors' electric vehicle. The company once donned the Model S with its highest rating ever, but has since changed its mind, like a scorned lover.
The review organization has finished up with its Annual Auto Reliability Survey, reporting that some 1400 owners have the Model S with a "worse-than-average overall problem rate". These issues that Consumer Reports is mad over are mostly covered with Tesla's 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty - or even better with its 8-year/unlimited mileage powertrain warranty.
Tesla has responded saying that it works hard on making hardware fixes "painless", adding that Model S owners rated Tesla Motors' customer service as the best in the world. But this didn't stop Tesla stock from dropping from its high $228 to just $202, and while it has recovered some of that, we have to question the sudden reverse thinking by Consumer Reports. Maybe they were clouded in some of Volkswagen's fumes?
What's there left to do after you invent the Internet? Invent disappearing vehicles, apparently. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on this technology, which even it admits "sounds like [...] an episode from Mission Impossible."
Codenamed ICARUS (Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems), the project (which launched today) builds on its previous VAPR (Vanishing Programmable Resources) program, which produced self-destructive electronic components. The idea with ICARUS is utilize the potential of polymer panels and "electronics-bearing glass strips" to make delivery vehicles and their recoverables disappear should the need arise (whether that's the threat of the enemy retrieving items, or the hindrance of the vehicle and items on extraction, or any number of other scenarios).
ICARUS is set to last a little over two years, and will see funding of about $8 million. And though named after the tragic Greek myth, DARPA says, quite amusingly, that it "aims to mimic the material transience that led to Icarus' demise, but leverages that capacity in scenarios with more uplifting endings."
Over the next few years the automotive market is going to change in more ways than one, with Tesla Motors pumping out more electric cars than it can handle right now, the Volkswagen emission cheating scandal and then the future of autonomous cars being on our doorstep.
Well, Toyota has said that it wants to have an autonomous car on the road by 2020. The company thinks that it can remove the driver from the situation on the highways by 2020, which is something it is already experimenting with in its technology called Highway Teammate. Toyota used a modified Legus GS to show the world what is possible thanks to the combination of millimeter wave radar, LIDAR, and cameras. This gives the vehicle a full view of the road, and the software side handles all of the information being gathered to make the important decisions.
Toyota is making significant investments into autonomous technology and artificial intelligence that will not replace drivers, but heavily assist them. But the question remains; will you buy an autonomous vehicle in the next decade? I know I would.