AI News, First Aftermarket Autonomous Cars Hit the Road in California
- On Saturday, February 17, 2018
- By Read More
First Aftermarket Autonomous Cars Hit the Road in California
Its most obvious component is a pod mounted above the windshield, containing millimeter-wave radar, stereo video cameras, GPS and inertial sensors—although not the expensive laser-ranging lidar systems favored by Google.
Although Cruise only received its DMV permits for two cars in June, the company’s job ads say that it has already “logged thousands of autonomous miles on California highways.” An aftermarket robot chauffeur could accelerate the arrival of self-driving vehicles.
(Tesla is promising a similar highway autopilot for its $70,000 Model S sedanthis summer.) Cruise is doing its best to keep the price down further, using commodity hardware, low-cost sensors and affordable but high-powered graphics processing units (GPUs) to process images of the road ahead.
An advertisement for computer vision engineers note that the company is working on “making our vision systems more robust to changes in lighting conditions or shadows” and developing “new ways to use image features or tracking to improve mapping and localization.” Re/code reported last year that Cruise intended to start installing its first 50 Highway Autopilots, for late-model Audi A4 and S4s, in “early 2015.”Cruise would not comment on this story, or say when the first installations would actually begin.
Self-driving electric cars can save millions of lives and significantly accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, but only when they’re deployed in large numbers.
In March 2016, General Motors acquired Cruise for an undisclosed amount, although reports have placed the number from 'north of $500 million', to $580 million to over $1 billion. Cruise received a permit to test self-driving vehicle technology from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in June 2015, nine months before it was acquired by GM. Cruise forms the core of GM's self-driving efforts. Industry observers have noted, and GM CEO Mary Barra has stated, that GM allowed Cruise to remain responsible for both technology and commercialization, giving Cruise independence in order to avoid the pitfalls common when a large company acquires a technology startup. After it successfully graduated from Y-Combinator, a startup accelerator that mentors up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Cruise was acquired by GM in March 2016. Upon acquisition, Cruise had around 40 employees. In a September 2016 interview with Darrell Etherington at the San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Vogt confirmed that the company had over 100 employees. Cruise's current headcount is unknown, but multiple outlets have reported that Cruise has continued to grow rapidly.
In June 2017, Mary Barra stated that Cruise has close to 200 employees. Cruise initially focused on developing direct-to-consumer kits to retrofit vehicles with limited self-driving capabilities. In 2015, Cruise changed its strategy and began writing software to be used for fully self-driving vehicles. Since becoming part of General Motors, Cruise has been working exclusively on developing software for making GM's Chevy Bolt electric vehicle fully autonomous.
New Aftermarket System Makes Your Car Self-Driving
Self-driving and autonomous cars are being tested by tech companies like Google and auto manufacturers like Audi, and almost every new car on the market has some kind of driver-assist systems.
Now Cruise Automation promises to bring that bleeding-edge tech to your very own car (as long as that car is an Audi A4 or S4 in California, so far) with its RP-1 “highway autopilot.” Rather than using the sensors that may be built into your car, the Cruise RP-1 is a pod of cameras, radar, and actuators that is mounted on the roof just above the windshield.
This Startup Says It Can Make Any Car Autonomous for $10,000
Google gets all the love when it comes to self-driving cars, and all the biggest automakers are well on the way to selling us autonomous vehicles.
He promises Cruise offers greater autonomous capability than what’s available from automakers offering things like adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems, and it will be widely available years before Google’s car.
Cruise, which was founded last year, falls between Google's “moonshot approach”—making its first product a fully autonomous car, possibly without a steering wheel or pedals—and the auto industry's inch-by-inch approach of introducing autonomous features slowly.
A computer that occupies less than two square feet in the trunk crunches the data and controls actuators under the pedals and on the steering wheel to move them as needed.
It chose Audi for its appeal as a “young, edgy brand.” Audi may be flattered by that designation, but it doesn't like the idea of customers altering its cars–which already offer a suite of driver assistance systems.
“Audi of America does not support or condone the modification of its vehicles by third parties for this or other purposes,” a rep says, adding that Audi is developing an automated driving system that should be ready within five years.
- On Monday, June 17, 2019
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