Tesla CEO Elon Musk Promises Self-Driving Cars within Two Years

When the CEO of a company that has already made future technology possible, promises something, we just can’t refute his claims. Elon Musk has confirmed that the company will be ready with its wave of autonomous cars within two years.

The statement might seem to be made in a hurry, because earlier Musk said that the company is busy building its Gigafactory. It will enable them to create batteries which are designed to be high on power, but provide cost efficient solutions, leading to the building of cheaper all-electric cars. They will be priced exceptionally lower, possibly at $35,000 same as what every other gasoline vehicle is priced at.

However, the CEO has now added that the e-car specialist will not only manufacture cheaper cars in the next two years but will also manufacture autonomous vehicles. The self-driving cars are all the rage at the moment because companies are keen to attract new buyers and keep the automobile industry as live as possible. But, there are plenty of issues to take care especially those related to safety that could affect the passengers within. After all, in a situation where a car has to decide whether to hit the pedestrian or hurt the passenger, it may not be able to make a humane decision, claimed experts.

All these factors seem to hardly have an impact on Elon Musk. “We are going towards a world where cars will be fully autonomous. Our plans are becoming into reality and it should happen within the next few years”, he said.

In his speed, he added that all the necessary parts to construct such cars are ready. The only task that remains is to put them all together. “We not only have to put the parts together but also make sure that it works in a wide range of environments and situations around the globe. It might take some time but two years should be enough”, Musk added.

It might come as a surprise for those who didn’t read news in the past. The CEO of Tesla earlier predicted that it might take another five years for them to talk about autonomous vehicles and bring them into the mainstream market.

Elon Musk said this about a year ago, but now he’s a completely different person. Joining him in the quest will be Google which has already been testing self-driving vehicles for years and Ford, a brand new entrant, ready to test such cars in California.

Ford is the First Automobile Company to Test Self-Driving Cars in 2016

Google has been testing autonomous cars for a very long time, but Ford is probably the first well-known automobile manufacturer to do the same in California next year.

The company has acquired the official rights to test their cars even amidst times when concerns over safety are increasing at a rapid pace. It has been confirmed that Ford has a strong presence in the field of autonomous cars and have invested over 10 years into researching the industry. They earlier unveiled the Fusion Hybrid in the year 2013 which was one step closer towards making cars run on their own.

At least two dozen vehicles from Google have been making rounds in different parts of the United States. Even though, they have had very few crashes and that too with majority of them owing to mistakes committed by other human drivers, safety concerns still loom large. Ford has decided to go with the particular location because it is the headquarters for the search engine giant and their slew of autonomous cars.

While the company has officially revealed a huge press release statement, there is no significant information on how they plan to handle the safety issues. Ever since self-driving cars came into being, understanding human signs on the road and cultural behaviour has been a tough call for most cars.

Deciding whether to brake, move or save the pedestrians is a big question that autonomous cars should answer before they go mainstream. Besides, there are many insurance companies who have second thoughts about insuring a vehicle which is driven by a computer and not by a person who may know what to decide in a critical situation.

Amidst such issues, Ford is taking a bold step towards the future of automobile industry and will test their cars in California next year. The company’s Palo Alto team has worked and invested a lot of man hours to make this a possibility, claimed the company in their press release. We have to wait for a couple of months to see how the audacious venture turns out when it hits the roads and how the cars handle real life situations.

Google, Mercedes and Volvo Ready to Accept Liability for their Autonomous Cars’ Mistakes

Almost every major automobile manufacturer and tech giant in the world has an autonomous car project going in their stables.

Apple is a good example and everyone knows that Google has been reading the statistics of their self-driving cars for a while now. It is an inevitable occurrence and there may be cars that drive on their own in the near future, probably in the next three to five years. But, when such technologies come into being, it is obvious that the government and the authorities will be ready with a whiplash to stop them from being mainstream.

Before such obvious occurrences take place, some of the biggies in the world of automobile and technology have come together. Google, the pioneers in the world of autonomous cars confirmed that they are ready to accept liability in case their technology fails on the road. In other words, if an accident is caused by their car due to malfunctioning spares, lost connection or hacking, the company will compensate the sum for the damages occurred. After all, with no driver on board and insurance companies shying away from protecting consumer rights, there is no option except for the companies to take liability at the moment.

Consumers, in some cases may decide to blame the cars, even if they have not committed a mistake. With huge backing from Google and their lawyers, especially in a world filled with cameras, it may not be easy to blame, unless it committed a mistake.

In similar fashion, Mercedes Benz which is yet to showcase its own self-driving cars confirmed their willingness to accept liability in case of issues. Volvo has done the same and released an official statement explaining their stand. Volvo will accept full liability when any of their cars in full autonomous mode is involved in a car or any other incident.

It is the first ever company to make such a bold claim and confirm that they are ready to face lawsuits by the public, in case things go wrong. If the companies could take care of it initially, it may not be long before the users start purchasing autonomous cars of their own and insure it. When any product is accepted in the mainstream market, insurance companies and other service providers may not be left with much choice. Besides, if self-driving cars are the future, they should insure it to make a revenue out of it. Until then, it’s going to the manufacturers who will back them.

Apple Joins Tesla, Google and Other Manufacturers of Self-Driving Cars

Apple is aiming to have its self-driven Apple car on the road sometime in 2019. This follows a recent report by the Wall Street Journal that Cupertino will finally be joining the likes of Tesla, Google and other car manufacturers in developing self-driven cars.

Even though the WSJ mentioned unnamed sources in the report, the news comes at a point when the internet is being bombarded with rumors that Apple is secretly developing a high-tech motor that will carry its iconic brand. This is an amazing move by the company that has seen huge success in the technology world, especially with computers and mobile devices. However, no word has come from this California-based tech giant.

Project Titan hires more employees to speed up the production process

Codenamed Project Titan, the leaders of the production process of the Apple car have had a green light shed on their efforts. According to the WSJ, the project has now tripled its number of workers, which now stands at about 1,800 people. This is a huge team, and if the rumors are correct, we might see this automobile on the roads just as expected – 2019.

Even if Apple is showing some interest in manufacturing self-driving cars, the first version will still require control from motorists before they can ‘learn.’ It is, for this reason, we believe the car will heavily be based on artificial intelligence; a feature that will enhance its learning process as far as self-driving is concerned.

Apple may work with partner in developing the electric car

Apple has constantly been luring more and more employees from car making company Tesla, something that is thought to be aimed at boosting the prospects of Project Titan. However, this might not be enough as there are also other suggestions that the company may look for a partner to work with on this project.

Last week, Apple met with the DMV (California Department of Motor Vehicle) in a meeting to discuss the rules regarding self-driving car tests. Apple is new on the road and as such, it is striving to get familiar with the autonomous vehicle regulations before embarking on developing the new electric car.

Apple to face stiff competition from other autonomous car makers

As noted earlier, Apple will be joining the likes of Tesla and Google in developing self-driving cars. In fact, Google has been pursuing the autonomous vehicle technology for some time and as of now; the company is already testing some of these creations in Silicon Valley and other places.

A few weeks ago, Toyota revealed that it had plans to invest up to $50 million into AI-based cars. This is a strong indicator that this Japanese automaker could also be joining the race for supremacy with respect to autonomous vehicle technology. However, the car maker has not mentioned anything to do with this self-driven car technology, just yet.

Google’s Self Driving Cars had a Tough Time Identifying a Track Standing Cyclist

Google has created a bunch of autonomous self driving cars which are now roaming across the streets. They are doing a good job so far, but just like every other new software, there are plenty of bugs to be fixed.

A hilarious issue was identified a couple of days ago when a professional cyclist had an encounter with one such self-driving car from Google. These cars usually have passengers inside who are responsible for taking notes and submitting a comprehensive report at the end of the journey. However, they don’t have a direct control over the car and the practical issues it faces on the road.

During this particular encounter, a cyclist and the autonomous car met in a four way intersection. The vehicle is equipped with a motion sensor and other sensors that can scan objects in front of it. In order to allow the car to pass, the cyclist did a track stand and waited for the vehicle to take the turn.

A track stand is a position where a rider balances himself on top of a bicycle without placing his legs on the road. It is easy to do it on a gear bicycle because it allows them to keep the pedal in a fixed position for a long time. Being a professional rider, the cyclist did a track stand with ease, but according to Google’s self-driving car, he was about to ride.

According to the biker who shared his experience on a cyclists’ forum, the car came to a halt and expected him to make the first move assuming that he’s in a position to pedal. When he didn’t move, the car started moving and by instinct the person did the same. Both of them had to halt multiple times in order to avoid a collision after which the cyclist took a turn and changed course so as to allow the autonomous car to pass.

In the forum, he added that the people who were seated inside the car took notes and probably elaborated the situation so that the Google car’s programming is properly modified to identify a track stand from a person in motion who’s actually pedaling on a bicycle.

So far, Google’s self-driving cars powered by their Maps service are enjoying a good run. The cars have met with fewer accidents and in most cases, it was because of an error committed by a human rather than the AI. Analysts predict that within 5 to 10 years, these autonomous cars could become ubiquitous.

Google’s Self Driving Cars are Safe, Says Chief Chris Urmson

Google has been testing self driving cars for quite some time, and the company’s cars have been part of several accidents during that time.

However, despite all, Chief Director Chris Urmson says that Google’s self-driving vehicles are safer than normal vehicles.

Speaking at an event in Michigan, Urmson said that accidents involving Google’s self driving cars are due to human driver error.

Until today, Google’s vehicles have covered almost 2 million miles, and have been hit 14 times during that time. Following the recent accident that happened on July 16, Google has taken a serious hit about the safety of the vehicles. There has been lots of criticism, and the vehicle even made its way to the Jimmy Fallon’s show where the guys had several “punchlines” about Google’s car.

Putting that aside, Urmson was quick to say that the vehicle is as safe as possible, and that the accidents show the growing problem of human distraction.

There’s been a lot of noise recently in the press about the fact that our vehicles have been in collisions. We’ve been hit 14 times over the lifetime of the program, and there’s been a bunch of speculation about that – said Urmson during the event.

During the event, Urmson showed video examples of few situations where Google’s self driving cars triumph standard cars driven by humans. Some of the video examples included a woman in a wheelchair chasing a duck and people jumping from trucks.

The duck example is one of the best ways to show the vehicle’s sensors. In the video, a duck was scampering across an intersection. The duck was followed by a woman in a wheelchair. And while human cars might look for a safe opening, Google’s car will wait until the sensors don’t notice impediment. As long as there are obstacles on the road, the self driving car will not move.

The second example was at an intersection with three lanes of traffic. As the vehicles in all three lanes were about to proceed since the light turned green, Google’s car waited. The self driving car was positioned in the far right lane. From the left, there was a bicyclist who wanted to shoot through the intersection, no matter the fact that he was faced with a red light. The first two lanes were occupied by human driving cars, and the cars moved, forcing the bicyclist to find a way to avoid them. Google’s vehicle held its position. The reason is simple: one of the sensors caught the cyclist and his speed.

Chris Umrson concluded that Google’s vehicles are learning the road and with more and more hours of testing, they will eventually be ready for the market. Google’s Chief of self driving cars added that the cars operate at a constant speed on the highway.