Category: Automation

June 4, 2019 Off

Aurora’s head of product is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility

By Jill T Frey

Self-driving car startup Aurora might be as buzzy as they come. The company raised more than $530 million just a few months ago in a round led by Sequoia Capital, and with “significant investment” from Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates. We’ve learned Aurora isn’t shy about using that capital, with two acquisitions in the books.

But how, when and where will Aurora’s autonomous vehicle technology end up? Lia Theodosiou-Pisanelli, who leads product development and program management for all of Aurora’s partnerships, will join us onstage at TC Sessions: Mobility to give us the scoop.

Theodosiou-Pisanelli has had an up-close view of the autonomous vehicle industry. Prior to joining Aurora this spring, she was director of business development for Lyft’s self-driving technology business, Level 5.

Her background in global government relations at Square, as well as a U.S. Trade Representative at the White House, gives Theodosiou-Pisanelli insight into how … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Aptiv’s self-driving BMWs have made more than 50,000 rides on the Lyft app in Las Vegas

By Jill T Frey

A little more than a year ago, self-driving software company Aptiv and Lyft launched a pilot project to test a robotaxi service — with human safety drivers still behind the wheel — in Las Vegas during the week of CES.

That one-week pilot never ended. And now, the companies say they’ve given more than 50,000 rides in Aptiv’s self-driving BMW 5 series vehicles via the Lyft app. The average ride received a rating of 4.97 out of 5 stars, according to Lyft, which added that 92% of riders said they felt very safe or extremely safe during the ride.

The milestone illustrates how far Aptiv and Lyft has come in a span of 18 months. It also shows that in spite of amassing so many rides, there’s much left to achieve before humans leave the driver’s seat for good.

Lyft and Aptiv first launched the pilot in January 2018. By … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Automakers have a choice: Become data companies or become irrelevant

By Jill T Frey

While Bezos amassed billions, Apple took over our culture, Google became ubiquitous and software ate the world, the automotive industry needed a bailout. Since then, they have more or less recovered, but they are no longer the undisputed titans of American industry. That title now belongs to companies that traffic in data, and the FAANGs of the world have their digital fingers on the pulse of what moves us.

However, not all hope is lost for the old auto titans. Cars are here to stay, whether they have drivers or not. Automakers can ensure their seat at the table … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Cruise says its AV successfully completed 1,400 unprotected left-hand turns

By Jill T Frey

Unprotected left-hand turns are tough for robots and humans alike. The compounding variables of crossing in front of oncoming traffic make it one of the toughest maneuvers in driving. It’s one of the toughest challenges for self-driving platforms — even more so as drivers often look for non-verbal cues from other drivers to when it’s safe to cross.

Cruise, the self-driving division within General Motors, today released a video reporting it successfully completed 1,400 such turns within a 24-hour period. The test took place on the busy and hilly streets of San Francisco. Some of the examples on the video show a vehicle cautiously entering an intersection only to wait for another vehicle to pass before making the turn. Other times, the vehicle is assertive and enters the turn without delay. Only four examples are shown, though Cruise insists they have video proof of all 1,400. None of the videos … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

Consumer Reports knocks Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot feature

By Jill T Frey

Consumer Reports is calling the automatic lane-change feature on Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot “far less competent” than a human driver and cautioned it could pose safety risks.

The consumer advocacy organization posted its review Wednesday on the newest version of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system.

Navigate on Autopilot is an active guidance system that is supposed to navigate a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including interchanges and making lane changes. Once drivers enter a destination into the navigation system, they can enable “Navigate on Autopilot” for that trip.

Tesla pushed out a software update last month to allow for automatic lane changes. Drivers must enable this feature, which gives the car permission to make its own lane changes. If not enabled, the system asks the driver to confirm the lane change before moving over. Automatic lane changes can be canceled at any time.

The system has been

Read the rest
May 22, 2019 Off

Reserve your demo table for TC Sessions: Mobility 2019

By Jill T Frey

Early-stage startup ingenuity is one of the driving forces shaping the rapid, radical changes taking place in mobility and transportation. Come July 10, TechCrunch will host more than 1,000 movers, shakers and makers in San Jose for TC Sessions: Mobility 2019 for a day-long exploration of the technologies and challenges upending both industries.

Talk about a targeted audience. It’s the perfect place and opportunity to strut your startup stuff. Simply book a demo table to position your company in front of some of the most influential founders, investors, technologists and media. Networking made simple. You’re welcome.

TC Sessions: Mobility is jam-packed with speakers, workshops and demos that showcase an astounding range of topics, technologies, products and insight. We’ll dig deep into the future of transportation and mobility — including new and once-unimaginable technologies that lie ahead. We’ll cover the promises, the problems and the potential. And don’t worry, we’ll cover … Read the rest

April 23, 2019 Off

Locus Robotics raises $26 million for warehouse automation

By Jill T Frey

Warehouse automation is all the rage in robotics these days. No surprise then, that another emerging player just got a healthy slice of venture funding. Massachusetts-based Locus Robotics this week announced that it has secured a $26 million Series C. The round, led by Zebra Ventures and Scale Venture Partners, brings the startup’s total funding to around $66 million.

The five-year-old company produces robotic shelving designed to transfer bins inside of warehouses. Founder Bruce E. Welty was onstage at our robotics event back in 2017 demonstrating the technology.

It’s a similar principle to many other players in the space, including Amazon’s Kiva and Bay Area-based Fetch. And like those companies, Locus has garnered interest from some big players — most notably delivery giant, DHL.

The robotics automation space has heated up quite a bit in 2019. Colorado-based Canvas, which makes autonomous warehouse delivery carts, was acquired by Amazon … Read the rest