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The weight of the automotive and tech industries is fully behind the move toward self-driving cars. Cars with "limited autonomy"—i.e., the ability to drive themselves under certain conditions (level 3) or within certain geofenced locations (level 4)—should be on our roads within the next five years.
Designers get to have a lot of fun with self-driving cars. Foldaway steering wheels. Spinning seats. Screens everywhere you look. After all, things get wild when the human inside doesn’t have to drive, or even look at the road, anymore. But when you take the human out of the car altogether, the design department can fully let loose.
“We want people to see this like a Tron, or an Oblivion, or a Star Wars spaceship,” says Justin Cooke, chief marketing officer of Roborace.
A few hours after dark one evening earlier this month, a small quadcopter drone lifted off from the parking lot of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel. It soon trained its built-in camera on its target, a desktop computer’s tiny blinking light inside a third-floor office nearby. The pinpoint flickers, emitting from the LED hard drive indicator that lights up intermittently on practically every modern Windows machine, would hardly arouse the suspicions of anyone working in the office after hours.
Harvard boffins have emerged from their smoke-filled rooms having invented a liquid battery which can last for a decade.
Most lithium-ion batteries are ready for silicon heaven after a few years. But Harvard researchers’ solution involves something called a flow battery.
It’s report card time for the automakers and Silicon Valley denizens studying the tricky problem of making cars drive themselves, and everyone is passing.
The California DMV just released its annual slate of “disengagement reports,” documents provided by the 11 companies that received state permits to test autonomous vehicles by the end of 2015. The results, summarized below, reveal how often humans had to wrest control away from the computer, and why (sort of).