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Autonomous Vehicles

Google has followed up news of its "self-driving lessons learned" with an announcement that it is to begin testing its self-driving cars on public roads in California. The first complete prototype was unveiled late last year. The new pilot will allow Google to study public responses to the cars and have them face real-world challenges.

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Chris Urmson, director of the Google Self-Driving Car program, has published a post in which he admits that the small fleet (20+) of Google autonomous cars has been involved in 11 accidents over the almost 1.7 million miles (2.7 million km) the cars have traveled in the six years the vehicles have been on the road. However, Urmson was adamant that “not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident” and revealed some of the lessons learned over the journey so far.

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Self-driving cars might be grabbing all the headlines, but it seems like self-driving trucks might hit the road first. At the Hoover Dam outside of Las Vegas, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) showed off its Freightliner Inspiration Truck, which has been officially licensed to operate on public highways in the state of Nevada. The autonomous hauler allows the driver to hand over full control to the onboard computer under proper traffic and environmental conditions.

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While armed drones like the Predator tend to attract most of the attention when it comes to military use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the unmanned K-MAX helicopter recently demonstrated its ability to evacuate wounded fighters from a hypothetical battlefield. Read More
BMW has announced a host of new technologies that will be coming to its new 7 Series range. The firm says the tech, which includes driverless parking and gesture control functionalities, will deliver improved lightweight design, driving dynamics, comfort, intelligent connectivity and operation. Read More
When it comes to concerns about the widespread use of drones, one of the big ones is the worry that the things will crash on peoples' heads. That's why researchers at the University of Zurich have created a system to keep that from happening. Their technology allows a drone to regain stable flight after losing control, and to autonomously land in a "safe" area in the event of mechanical or battery failure. Read More

British-based auto-firm Delphi has completed a journey from San Francisco to New York with its self-driving car. The trip, announced in March, covered nearly 3,400 miles (5,500 km) and took nine days. Delphi says it is the first US coast-to-coast trip ever taken by an automated vehicle. Read More

We may all be excited about Google's autonomous car hitting the roads of California this year, but that's small-fry to British-based auto-firm Delphi. The company's autonomous car is set to travel 3,500 miles (5,600 km) across the US, starting near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on March 22. Read More

As cars move gradually towards becoming fully automated, it won't just be the way we operate them that will be different. Rinspeed and Mercedes, for example, have both explored the how car design and use may change. Now, Italdesign Giugiaro has imagined what automobile luxury may mean in the future. Read More
Take one BMW i3, add some autonomous smarts like laser guidance, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, radar, motion sensing systems, and an advanced camera monitoring set up, then give it a quirky robot arm to do the steering, and you have Rinspeed's new Budii concept car. Described as your "friend on wheels," the Budii is also designed to adapt to the habits and preferences of the owner via a user interface. In this way, according to its creators, it becomes your proactive and attentive companion who knows just how you like your driving experience. Read More
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