Tag Archives: autonomous vehicles

Mercedes AMG developing an autonomous car for the race track

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Mercedes-Benz high-performance division, AMG, has been innovating the sport/race industry in the automotive world since its beginnings. Creating the most hardcore versions of, almost all, Mercedes models, setting the best lap times around famous German racetracks – Nurburgring Nordschleife and others, and pushing the boundaries of how fast the road-legal cars can go. They have enabled us with a lot of amazing technologies, that all of the other manufacturers use for their sports cars as well.

The EQS model. Picture from: https://newsbeezer.com/swedeneng/the-mercedes-eqs-electric-car-can-now-drive-itself-on-certain-roads-in-germany/

And this time, it’s no different. Mercedes-Benz is on a crusade to fight the self-driving cars with Tesla and others, with a lot of success. Their newest electric model called EQS has been approved to drive completely on itself on certain roads at speeds below 60 km/h. A major breakthrough for the autonomous technology and car industry, and a great way for them to collect valuable data. So there is that.

Mercedes-AMG allows self-driving GT 4-door Coupe to relax on the road -  News7h
The self-driving AMG car. Picture from: https://news7h.com/mercedes-amg-allows-self-driving-gt-4-door-coupe-to-relax-on-the-road/

However, the AMG division wanted to get their hands on it and develop something on self-driving technology. As their main goal is to maximize race track performance, they decided to develop a car that will be able to do stuff out of a video game. Imagine, how many hours you have spent racing against AI in games like Forza or Gran Turismo. This could be the same situation. The car can accelerate, brake and steer itself following the most optimal line through the course without the help or interaction from any of the car’s occupants. In the video released by the AMG youtube channel, there is a racing driver present in the driver’s seat, however, they say that the car can be completely empty and still do that.

From the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA6SvyJSGpI&t=824s

It uses a lot of GPS trackers to have the car’s exact position at all times in real-time, processes it through a powerful computer located in the trunk of the car which then decides on the output and performs, as said before – steering, braking, accelerating by itself. The car is limited to “only” 170 km/h, as the engineers say they do not want to go fast on the straights (as it is pretty easy) but teach the car the fastest way around the corners.

Obviously, it’s all in a controlled environment thought on a very specific track for a long time and is meant to create more buzz around the Mercedes’ self-driving tech. I see two sides to this story. One, it’s created to help drivers learn the best possible line through the track. In this sense, it’s going to be very useful, if there are no other cars on the track which could be endangered by it. The second one is that it’s totally useless, as we will not race as in video games, against AI drivers for fun. Also, it’s, hopefully, not going to be used for races only with autonomous cars, as it’s going to be boring and the ethical part could easily be questioned.

FYI, Croatian startup-car-manufacturer Rimac Automobili also will try to do something very similar with their newest electric car called the Nevera.

I am really looking forward to your opinions on this topic. Do you also feel it’s boring or do you think it’s cool? Let me know in the comment section down below.





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Uber and Hyundai. Are we close to having air taxis on daily basis?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Uber and Hyundai are collaborating to develop electric air taxis. The cars would revolutionize urban transportation. According to both businesses, they are entering a global race that will result in the advancement of ways to reduce traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. Since 2016, Uber has been educating customers about the possibility of flying taxis. He intends to collaborate in this region with a total of eight firms. It functions as a safety net. The American corporation acknowledges that expecting all of its suppliers to hit the market at the same time would be unrealistic and irresponsible form business point of view.

Uber revealed its collaboration with Hyundai at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The company will produce flying taxis for Uber. A concept of such a vehicle and its associated infrastructure was also shown. The vehicles will be manufactured by the South Korean company, and Uber will, of course, offer flight sharing services. Aurora Flight Sciences, a division of Boeing, will also follow them. 


The flying taxis developed by Uber and Hyundai would be entirely electric and therefore very silent. They claim that by using smaller, electric-powered rotors, the aircraft can emit less noise than a combustion engine helicopter, which is important for communities concerned with noise emissions. The battery will allow you to travel up to 290 km/h over a maximum distance of 100 km. The vehicle can fly at altitudes ranging from 300 to 600 meters. During peak hours, recharging can take just between five or seven minutes. The cars would be capable of transporting up to four passengers. One of them will serve as the pilot at first. Uber will not have a completely automated fleet available to consumers until after 2028.

Hyundai also revealed designs for a landing center and an environmentally sustainable “Purpose Built Vehicle” (PBV) for ground transportation to and from the station. According to Hyundai, the PBV will look like a beige rectangle and will use AI to search suitable routes and fly in platoons. Each PBV would be able to perform a variety of functions, such as transportation, a coffee shop, or a medical clinic.

And how long would such a luxury set you back? 

Uber did not have specific pricing. We should anticipate that it would be expensive at first. Only as more air taxis arrive in the sky does the rate drop to that of Uber Black providers. According to Uber, if vehicles become self-driving, the expense of renting a cab would be the same as the cost of a regular car.

What’s next?

According to Uber’s announcements, the first private flying taxis could be operational as early as 2023. For the time being, it is only available in the United States. Currently the vehicles will only be operated by qualified drivers during the first phase of the project. However, the air taxis would eventually be completely autonomous. If it becomes success the vehicles will be for sure introduced in other countries. As a result of success, long flights will be avoided.  The technology is still in its early stages, and Uber and Hyundai, as well as a number of other players in the market, face immense regulatory and technological hurdles in launching their respective air taxi services.

In few years we will find out if air taxis will become our new reality. 






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Tesla, fatal accidents and false advertising

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Unfortunately on the 18 of April 2021 two people died after crushing into a tree in fatal accident in Woodlands, Texas. The car that these two people were in, was a Tesla and there was no-one in the drivers seat. This crash has sparked a discussion whether Tesla is false advertising its cars driving abilities or at least whether their naming scheme is misleading. So far Tesla denied that the vehicle was operating either in Full Self Driving mode, because the vehicle didn’t have an active subscription to this system, but they also said that according to the cars data logs autopilot was also not engaged. People tried disproving that the vehicle could be operating in these modes by showing that if you unbuckle the seatbelts, the car warns the driver and eventually pulls over, as it is shown in this short video:

Video showing how Tesla behaves after you unbuckle the drivers seatbelt

What the video fails to show is that this entire system can be extremely easily cheated by just bucking the seatbelt behind your back. By then the seats weight sensor is disengaged (it foolishly assumes that when the seatbelt us buckled there is someone sitting there). The last thing that separates you from “driving” from any other seat is cheating the sensors embedded in the steering wheel, which has been proven to be extremely easy (for example by hanging a water bottle on the steering wheel).

Of course, Tesla shouldn’t be responsible for their clients stupidity, but they should prevent them from exploiting these systems, especially this easily. Although now, on their website Tesla is explicitly saying that their Autopilot and Full Self Driving systems are only drivers assistance and so called “hands-on” (the steering wheel) systems, why name them as if they allowed you to leave everything up to the car, when this is clearly not the case. Even recently, in emails to California DMV, Tesla has admitted its supposedly Full Self Driving system, that is only available to 2000 beta drivers, is only working as a level 2 (hands on) autonomous system (in a scale from level 0 to level 5). In my opinion all of the Tesla’s “autonomous” systems in their offerings are just Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems, and should be Advertised as such – everywhere. The naming scheme is also highly suggestive, indicating the cars can do much more than they actually can.

Elon Musk has defended the name “Autopilot” saying that on airplanes, there also is an autopilot system and the pilot still has to be attentive and ready to take over. I think this argument is invalid, because pilots (especially commercial) are actually trained to use these features and have to have a certain amount of experience in order to be able to operate such machines.

Although for now the official states that the car was not operating in any of Teslas autonomous modes, how was it even operating if there was no-one in the drivers seat? Assuming that the car actually had autopilot engaged, this is not the first accident involving a Tesla car operating in this mode. Despite the statistics saying that Tesla’s autopilot is almost 10 times safer that “average” vehicle, with one accident every 4.19 million miles traveled with autopilot engaged vs one crash in every 484,000 miles for human-operated cars. Even though the number is impressive it could still be easily improved, if all of people driving Teslas understood what the systems that their cars are equipped with really were.

Stay safe, and remember to always pay attention to the road, whether you are using ADAS systems or not. Don’t text and drive. Stay hydrated.






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Flying cars are on the way!

Reading Time: 3 minutesAirbus and Audi partner for urban mobility services

Stock up on strong nerves as well as fat wallets to make use of the world’s first airborne automobiles on an industrial scale.

The idea of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) so far remains pie in the sky for someone, but it’s not for aviation giant Airbus, German car manufacturer Audi, and Italdesign design house. The trio collaborated to develop real, near-term urban mobility solutions for avoiding rush hour, unveiling a scale-model prototype of a flying drone-car called the “Pop.Up Next”. Why are we still obsessing, if there’s a chance just to fly over traffic jam that we are sick of?

“This important partnership with Audi addresses both current and future challenges for urban mobility. As a first concrete milestone in the cooperation we are developing, we will be offering multi-modal transportation solutions to the world’s most congested cities,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders. “The world is rapidly urbanizing, and ground infrastructure alone cannot meet the demands of tomorrow. Increased congestion is pushing the cities’ transport systems to the limits, costing travellers and municipalities valuable time and money. Adding the sky as a third dimension to the urban transport networks is going to revolutionise the way we live – and Airbus is ready to shape and build that future of flight.”

airbus car drone conceptWell, the car-drone combo is made up of three separate modules, which allow customers to have a seamless and ultra-convenient travel experience. The key component is a capsule for passengers that is 2.5 meters long and 1.4 meters high. Its modular design means that it can easily unhook from its chassis with wheels and get airlifted by an accompanying drone, which is autonomous and powered by 4 rotors. The so-called cubicle can attach to a battery-powered chassis to become a two-seater electric car. Without the cubicle, the chassis can drive only 100 kilometers on a single charge, so we are faced with not a long-distance vehicle concept, unfortunately.

No less interesting is the fact that passengers can summon the drone using a phone app that can also suggest the best transport solutions as well as ride-sharing demand and relative cost. The capsule can even be paired with other futuristic transport systems, like the Hyperloop.

Despite the fact that the model’s test flight went off without a fault, Airbus executive Jean Brice Dumont is prudently optimistic about when the Pop.Up system will actually become a reality.

“I think it will take more than a decade until a real significant, massive deployment of an air taxi system” is ready, he said, and “for this we need to tick a list of boxes. The vehicle is one, safety is the overarching one, infrastructure is one, acceptability is another one.”


However, the serious competitor Uber turned out to be even more ambitious. Last year, the transportation company revealed an artist’s impression of a sleek machine with the goal to start using for demonstration flights of the year 2020 and by 2023 for actual use. Uber’s battery-powered aircraft looks like a blend of a small plane and a helicopter with fixed wings and rotors.

So, what to expect from state-of-the-art technology?

You must agree, that anxiety comes in this case by itself. The barrier standing between you and a future of commuting through the skies is bravery. The fact that you may feel uneasy in a flying car, that was once just a stupid dream from your childhood is hardly a shocker. That’s not to say that they’re unsafe, anyway, the parachute, of course, should help. You’re still going to have to entrust your life to a vehicle. And yet, the attractiveness of freedom and faster journeys might be sufficient for many people to roll the dice.


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IKEA going into industry of self-driving cars

Reading Time: 2 minutesWhat comes to yours mind when you think about IKEA? A worldwide network of shops with scandinavian furniture, which are almost in every house, probably. Was it autonomic self-driving car? Probably not. Ikea is constantly growing, now even more than earlier, the company changes its purpose and from only furniture seller broadens its horizons on the other industries, changing itself into innovative and technologically advanced company. 

Fully autonomous vehicles are becoming more and more advanced and are near to becoming common on daily basis. Once cars will be driving itself people will have great amount of time to use. With the solution to this comes the newest project of IKEA developed in their Space10 lab, it is called „Space on Wheels”. It changes the perspective of thinking about a car as only mean of transport. 

They provide different variants of using vehicle as an office, medical or coffee point. The research lab came up with various shapes and interior design for this autonomous cars. Till know it consists of 7 different solutions. Interior design is without major changes, it is typically minimalistic as the concept of IKEA .

IKEA car office would allow you to work during your journey. Not only it would save time but what is more it would increased efficiency of working during the day. For many people it could simplify their lives as many of them is working far away from home and spends approximately 60 minutes in traffics. 

Medical Center car could simplify doing periodic reviews. Moreover, it would increase effectiveness of transporting professionals to people in need, which would allow to save more lives without concerning extra help, as the car drives itself. 

However IKEA does not plan to construct the car itself, it mainly focuses only on design inside of it. The concept of interior will be constantly developed as with every minute we are a step closer to fully autonomous vehicles. Whether this cars will be our reality someday or not, for now we can only imagine the comfortability it would gave us.




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(autonomous vehicles – part 4)



Picture:URL:http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GM_Spark_STORY-ART1.jpg or URL:http://www.wired.com/2016/01/maven-gms-car-sharing-scheme-is-really-about-a-driverless-future/


Article: (from WIRED – http://www.wired.com/category/transportation/)

  • “Maven, GM’s Car-Sharing Scheme, Is Really About a Driverless Future”

Author: Alex Davies; Date of Publication: January 21, 2016



General Motors is launching a car-sharing program. It is called Maven, and it is to be accessible in exactly one city. What is more, nevertheless the fact that the concept is similar to the approach implemented by ZipCar, a car sharing company, it has to be stressed that GM does not actually want to be perceived as a contender. It is possible to conclude that General Motors – within this project – is concentrating solely on the future. However, it is also crucial to emphasize that the Detroit automaker has presented even more ambitious projects this month. The company introduced the Chevy Bolt, the first mass-market electric car. Moreover, it acquired the remains of Sidecar, the defunct Uber competitor, to dismantle it for parts. Furthermore, what was also presented in a separate post, the company is cooperating with Mobileye to develop maps for robo-cars. What is more, it is crucial to emphasize that GM is also working with Lyft with an aim of building a network of driverless vehicles. Due to the fact that Maven is available only in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is likely to consider this project as a strange step. However, it has to be also emphasized that GM intends to deploy the Maven service within other cities soon – and it will not offer the convenience of Uber or Lyft. “Oh sure, there’s money to be made in car-sharing, as ZipCar and others have shown. But it’s small potatoes for a company like GM. It isn’t until you take the long view that this move makes sense,” Davies stresses. It is possible to conclude that Maven can be the base for the self-driving car network General Motors wants to create. It has to be stressed that the typical “owner-driver” concept that has been the most essential part of the auto industry for a century will not be vanishing anytime soon, however, the industry is in the middle of fundamental, revolutionary transition. What is necessary to stress is the information that GM claims some 5 million people worldwide use vehicle sharing services like Uber, and that number is anticipated to reach 25 million by 2020. Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasize that the emerging car sharing industry will be entirely remade by autonomous vehicles, and GM is trying to position itself for that change now. “We feel that we are very well-positioned as a company to be at the very forefront of this change in ownership model, change in mobility, particularly in the urban environment,” says GM President Dan Ammann. Moreover, it is possible to conclude that Maven can be characterized as a key to how GM is addressing that shift. It is important to emphasize that, in the beginning, the service is to be accessible to students and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor school grounds. Moreover, while concentrating on the number of available Maven vehicles, it has to be stressed that Chevrolet vehicles – Volts, Sparks, Malibus, and Tahoes – will fill 21 parking spots. It is also necessary to stress that users will have the opportunity to reserve cars via the Maven app, as well as use their phones to unlock and start the vehicles. What is more, the cars will support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, what will allow users to carry their digital lives with them into whatever car they rent. “It’s a truly personalized experience. You can take your life with you,” says Julia Steyn, GM’s head of urban mobility programs. It has to be stressed that the program is complimentary and charges as little as $6 an hour to use a car, which includes insurance and gas. Furthermore, what is also crucial to emphasize is the information that GM is not the only automobile manufacturer exploring the new business models. It has to be stressed that Ford, among other undertakings, is testing peer-to-peer car sharing for its employees, and moreover, it will soon let up to six people jointly lease its cars. What is more, BMW conducted a vehicle sharing program in the Bay Area until November of last year, and Daimler’s Car2Go service works in many cities throughout the US and Europe. Finally, in November, Audi deployed a premium car sharing service in San Francisco and Miami. It is necessary to emphasize that – in the next few months – GM aims to extend Maven to other municipalities. Furthermore, its actual mobility programs, including car sharing services in New York City and Germany, will be enclosed into the new program. It is possible to conclude that Maven will offer services adjusted to users in cities, on campuses, and residences like co-ops. “We see it as a real commercial opportunity,” Ammann says. It is necessary to conclude that it is possible to distinguish many opportunities concerning the expansion of this new program: geographically, with more cars, with more types of cars, by trying new pricing schemes, and by bringing in new customers. However, for the moment, all that is distinct from GM’s autonomous vehicle research and its partnership with Lyft. GM wants to launch a ride-hailing network using driverless vehicles. It has to be emphasized that Maven can be the groundwork for that type of service, with ready-made groups of users, accurately organized by geography as well as by how they like to travel, already using a GM service. “We’re putting in place all the building blocks,” Ammann says. “This is all part of a very comprehensive approach.

In my opinion, it is crucial to emphasize that due to the autonomous vehicles’ development processes, the automotive industry – and thus its most essential part; the classic “owner-driver” model – is in the middle of fundamental, revolutionary transition. Moreover, it is necessary to stress that according to the General Motors Company nearly 5 million people worldwide use vehicle sharing services like Uber, and that number is anticipated to reach 25 million by 2020. Furthermore, it is necessary to stress that even though the car sharing programs are estimated to serve more than 20 million of people globally by 2020, this emerging car sharing industry will be also entirely remade with the introduction of autonomous vehicles. It is possible to conclude that, due to the current GM’s strategy toward Maven car sharing platform – therefore obtaining ready-made groups of users, accurately organized by geography as well as by how they like to travel, already using a GM service –, this service can be a perfect base for autonomous car sharing network. All things considered, I believe that the project of driverless car sharing services will have a significant impact on the broadly defined issue of travelling. In my opinion, autonomous car sharing companies will also have in their offers the opportunity to use their cars in a similar manner to bus services (specific routes and stops – in order to use while going to work or shopping), and moreover, the system will be basing on an Internet platform, where people will basically buy their “tickets”. However, while focusing solely on the advantages of autonomous vehicles, it will be possible to purchase or rent and plan even the longest journeys, not thinking about sitting in the “driver’s seat”.

Nevertheless, it is important to take into consideration the fact that some of benefits provided by autonomous vehicles may be limited by specific driverless cars’ regulations.


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(autonomous vehicles – part 3)



Picture:URL:http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GM_Mobileye_R5_8.10-094.jpg or URL:http://www.wired.com/2016/01/gms-building-self-driving-car-maps-with-cameras-on-customer-cars/


Article: (from WIRED – http://www.wired.com/category/transportation/)

  • “GM’s Using Cameras on Customer Cars to Build Self-Driving Car Maps

Author: Alex Davies; Date of Publication: January 5, 2016



General Motors is planning to use cameras on customer cars in order to create as well as develop the maps that will help self-driving cars navigate. What is crucial to stress is the information that the American automobile manufacturer is analyzing – scrutinizing – new technology from Mobileye, an Israeli provider of visual processing chips and software. It has to be emphasized that the technology invented and supplied by the Mobileye Company is able to identify vehicles, pedestrians, and other obstacles, as well as road markings, signs, and traffic lights. Furthermore, it is necessary to stress that the Mobileye technology powers favorite features like lane departure warnings, and is introduced into hundreds of thousands of GM cars. What is also important to emphasize is the fact that GM’s concept bases on pulling that camera data – exploiting its OnStar system – from client vehicles to design exceptionally accurate, constantly updated road maps. Moreover, it is crucial to stress that those maps would allow a driverless car to know its position within about 10 centimeters. It has to be emphasized that it is a great advantage over contemporary GPS systems, which estimate location counting the margins of error in meters – “Good enough for knowing what street you’re on, but not for navigating a robo-car through traffic,” Davies stresses. It is possible to conclude that mapping processes compose an increasingly critical, valuable part of the pursuit towards the automotive autonomy. The more data regarding specific area a vehicle receives, the more it can concentrate its sensors and computing power on temporary obstacles like cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. “Creating and updating maps using on-board camera technology supplies the missing link between on-board sensing and the requirement for full redundancy to enable safe autonomous driving,” says Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s co-founder and CTO. Furthermore, Alex Davies concludes: “That’s why the consortium of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes recently bought Nokia’s mapping arm, HERE, for $3.1 billion. It’s why TomTom is still relevant. It’s why Google has a fleet of cars loaded with sensors scoping out all the roads its autonomous cars will later traverse.” It has to be emphasized that as the maps General Motors aims to create will depend on visual data, they are unlikely to be as comprehensive as well as precise as those that HERE, TomTom, and Google are developing – as those which are based principally on LIDAR data. Nevertheless, it is possible to conclude that GM possesses an instantaneous advantage by using technology that goes into its cars anyway – scale. “GM is committed to bringing semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles to our customers, and this technology will be a critical enabler to getting us there,” says Mark Reuss, GM’s head of product. What is crucial to stress here is the fact that, currently, GM is testing the technology on five cars; the second phase would extend that up to 30. If that testing goes well, a company representative stresses: “this could move quickly,” concluding that the company could deploy the technology into its new vehicles later this year.

I would like to stress that even though the constantly updated maps General Motors aims to develop will depend on visual data and they are unlikely to be as precise as those which are based principally on LIDAR data, GM, while pulling the camera data, will base on its OnStar service (a personal onboard assistant) therefore it will possess an instantaneous advantage by exploiting technology that can be activated within its cars anyway. All things considered, it is necessary to emphasize that the mapping processes compose an increasingly critical, valuable part of the pursuit towards automotive autonomy.


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(autonomous vehicles – part 2)



Picture:URL:http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/G7C5023.jpg or URL:http://www.wired.com/2015/12/roborace-autonomous-vehicle-racing/



  • “Racing Self-Driving Cars Will Make Roads Safer for Everyone”

Author: Alex Davies; Date of Publication: December 2, 2015


  • “Formula E & Kinetik Announce Driverless Support Series”

Author: Formula E; Date of Publication: November 27, 2015



In motorsports, Formula One has long been recognized as the Queen, as the sport where the most advanced, sophisticated technology is rapidly as well as viciously developed, but also brutally tested. However, it is necessary to stress that this perception is agreed to shift with a racing series aiming to definitely eliminate the most obsolete, but still the most important component of an F1 car – the driver. Formula E, the all-electric racing series currently in its second season, is launching “Roborace,” an international motorsports series destined specifically for autonomous vehicles. According to Alex Davies, the author of article “Racing Self-Driving Cars Will Make Roads Safer For Everyone”, this unique championship will provide a competitive platform for the autonomous driving solutions that are now being developed by many large industrial automotive and technology players as well as top tech universities. It is possible to conclude that the Roborace Series, initiated in partnership with automaker Kinetik, encourages as well as indicates to be more than an absolutely magnificent demonstration of what the technology is able do when humans get out of the way. Furthermore, it has to be emphasized that developing autonomous racing vehicles (still “single-seaters”?) that race each another around difficult, sophisticated circuits at nearly 200 mph could provide essential information concerning how such technology could be deployed, implemented in our everyday lifes. What is more, it is necessary to stress that Roborace Series are to form part of the support package of the FIA Formula E Championship, with the first race expected to take place during the 2016-2017 season. Moreover, what has to be emphasized is the fact that Roborace is planned to race prior to each Formula E race, using the same circuits in major cities across the world. Ten teams – including a “crowd-sourced community team,” open for passionate software and technology specialists throughout the world –, and moreover, each with two driverless cars, will face one-hour races over the full championship season. It also crucial to stress that nevertheless the fact that all the teams will have the same cars, they are to contend using real-time computing algorithms and AI technologies. The cars will be electric, however, it has to be emphasized that the event organizers admit they will be nearly as fast as the single-seaters competing in Formula One. Moreover, nevertheless the fact that Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Kinetik Company, promises “really crazy speeds” up to 186 mph, specific limits almost certainly will be imposed for racing. What has to be also stressed is the information that the cars may look completely different from the current, traditional race cars, as there is no need for a human inside. It is possible to conclude that the mission of Roborace is to determine that the future of automotive and information technology is already available and can even work in the most extreme conditions. Denis Sverdlov is of the following opinion: “We passionately believe that, in the future, all of the world’s vehicles will be assisted by AI and powered by electricity, thus improving the environment and road safety.” “It’s a global platform to show that robotic technologies and AI can co-exist with us in real life. Thus, anyone who is at the edge of this transformation now has a platform to show the advantages of their driverless solutions and this shall push the development of the technology.” Furthermore, “Roborace is an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world. It is very exciting to create a platform for them to showcase what they are capable of and I believe there is great potential for us to unearth the next big idea through the unique crowd-sourced contest,” emphasizes Alejandro Agag – CEO of Formula E.

However, what is even more exciting than the concept of robots racing is the issue of how training, teaching those vehicles to race may develop the systems destined for consumer vehicles. “There are certain problems you have to solve at these high speeds that could improve performance at low speeds,” says John Dolan, who studies autonomous technology at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. What is crucial to emphasize here is the problem to reduce latency – the time it takes the computer to process the data coming from a sensor and transmit instructions to various systems. “At 180 mph, you’re gonna have to do that faster,” Dolan stresses. It is possible to conclude that reducing that time, which is mostly a software issue, in racing develops a more efficient as well as effective system in the automobiles we will have the opportunity to use. On the other hand, it is also necessary to stress that creating an “everyday” car that can handle racing dynamics may also have a significant impact on the broadly defined behavior of autonomous cars. It has to be emphasized that – two years ago – Audi’s self-driving RS7 lapped Germany’s Hockenheimring F1 track, hitting all 17 turns with precision and reaching maximum speed of 149 mph. What is more, Audi also decided to send an autonomous TTS racing up the 156-turn Pikes Peak mountain circuit in 2010, then around California’s Thunderhill Race Track in 2012. Furthermore, it is also crucial to present here the information that Stanford University researchers demonstrated an autonomous DeLorean they instructed to drift and do donuts. It is possible to conclude that both of the projects were focused on comprehending how driverless cars behave at the limit of traction and grip, and implementing that learnings to technology destined for consumers. Moreover, Alex Davies is of the opinion that by developing cars that can reach triple-digit speeds while racing on the very difficult street circuits of the Formula E calendar, the Roborace teams will inevitably be developing systems that can be deployed to consumer cars. However, it is crucial to stress that the Roborace vehicles will have to confront a challenge the Audi and Stanford cars did not have to deal with: competition. The Roborace cars will be racing, and the only way to come in first – if you do not start from the pole position and hold the lead – is to pass the car – the robot – ahead of you. It is important to emphasize that for a human, whether on the racetrack or a two-lane country road, passing is considered to be a problematic maneuver – it is necessary to pick the perfect moment, the right direction, the proper steering angle and degree of acceleration; all while balancing the risk of crashing with the reward of moving ahead. Finally, it is possible to conclude that the capability to make that kind of complex decision in near real time is key to safely handling all sorts of everyday driving situations.

I would like to emphasize that even though some of the most crucial details concerning the Roborace Project have already been presented, there is still no information regarding the potential participants. Nevertheless the fact that it is impossible to confirm that the most deeply involved in automotive autonomy concept companies (Ford, Google) will also concentrate on creating self-driving racing cars – developing “racing” algorithms and AI “racing” technologies –, I believe that the implementation of this great, unique racing series will have a significant impact on the autonomous driving solutions, technologies that are now being developed by many large industrial automotive and technology players – on the systems destined for consumer vehicles. I am convinced that developing autonomous racing vehicles that can race each another around difficult Formula E street circuits – at nearly 200 mph – will provide essential information concerning how such technology could be implemented in our daily lifes. What is crucial to emphasize here is the issue of reducing latency – the time it takes the computer to process the data coming from a sensor and transmit instructions to various systems. It is possible to conclude that reducing that time, which is mostly a software issue, in racing develops a more efficient as well as effective system in the automobiles we will have the opportunity to use. However, it is also crucial to stress that the Roborace vehicles will have to confront a challenge concerning overtaking other vehicles. In my opinion, the capability to perform that kind of difficult maneuver in near real time is key to safely handling all sorts of everyday driving situations. It is also important to remember about the idea of creating crowd-sourced community racing team. I would like to stress that this is a great idea since there are many independent talents in the world that might contribute to this initiative. All things considered, the Roborace teams will inevitably be developing systems that can be deployed to consumer cars.


Picture:URL:http://www.wired.com/wpcontent/uploads/2015/12/JAGUAR_FORMULA_E_02-932×524.jpg or URL:http://www.wired.com/2015/12/jaguars-joining-formula-e-electric-racing-but-its-not-just-about-the-races/#slide-3


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