Category: self-driving car

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 29, 2019 Off

Use SocialLadder to earn a free pass to TC Sessions: Mobility 2019

By Jill T Frey

TC Sessions: Mobility 2019, TechCrunch’s day-long intensive event focused on the current and future state of mobility, takes place in San Jose, Calif. on July 10. More than 1,000 of the industry’s top technologists, founders, investors, engineers and researchers will join us to discuss, explore and demo transformational technologies that will have a profound effect on people around the world. And you can, too — for free.

Yup, you can earn a free ticket by becoming a TechCrunch ambassador. Simply participate in our referral program, powered by SocialLadder. Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the SocialLadder app on your phone (Apple Store) (Google Play). Already have the SocialLadder app? Tap Find a New Area > Add Invite Code
  2. Share the event code (TECHCRUNCH) with your friends to earn points toward a free ticket
  3. Use the app challenges to earn even more points — share a TechCrunch
Read the rest
May 23, 2019 Off

Fresh off a $530M round, Aurora acquires lidar startup Blackmore

By Jill T Frey

Aurora, the self-driving car startup backed by Sequoia Capital and Amazon, is in an acquiring mood. The company, founded in early 2017 by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell, announced Thursday that it acquired lidar company Blackmore.

The Blackmore purchase follows another smaller, and previously unknown, acquisition of 7D Labs that occurred earlier this year, TechCrunch has learned. 7D, founded by former software engineer from Pixar animation Magnus Wrenninge, is a simulation startup that makes photorealistic synthetic data sets for street scenes. Aurora confirmed the acquisition.

Aurora’s larger Blackmore acquisition comes on the heels of its $530 million Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital and “significant investment” from Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates. Aurora did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Lidar, or light detection and ranging radar, measures distance. It’s considered by many in the emerging automated driving industry — with the exception … 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 16, 2019 Off

Unveiling its latest cohort, Alchemist announces $4 million in funding for its enterprise accelerator

By Jill T Frey

The enterprise software and services-focused accelerator Alchemist has raised $4 million in fresh financing from investors BASF and the Qatar Development Bank, just in time for its latest demo day unveiling 20 new companies.

Qatar and BASF join previous investors, including the venture firms Mayfield, Khosla Ventures, Foundation Capital, DFJ and USVP, and corporate investors like Cisco, Siemens and Juniper Networks.

While the roster of successes from Alchemist’s fund isn’t as lengthy as Y Combinator, the accelerator program has launched the likes of the quantum computing upstart Rigetti, the soft-launch developer tool LaunchDarkly and drone startup Matternet .

Some (personal) highlights of the latest cohort include:

  • Bayware: Helmed by a former head of software-defined networking from Cisco, the company is pitching a tool that makes creating networks in multi-cloud environments as easy as copying and pasting.
  • MotorCortex.AI: Co-founded by a Stanford engineering professor and a Carnegie Mellon roboticist, the company
Read the rest
May 1, 2019 Off

Tesla sued in wrongful death lawsuit that alleges Autopilot caused crash

By Jill T Frey

The family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer who died after his Tesla Model X with Autopilot engaged crashed into a highway median, is suing Tesla. The State of California Department of Transportation is also named in the lawsuit.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara, alleges that errors by Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system caused the crash that killed Huang on March 23, 2018. Huang, who was 38, died when his 2017 Tesla Model X hit a highway barrier on Highway 101 in Mountain View, Calif.

The lawsuit alleges that Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system misread lane lines, failed to detect the concrete media, failed to brake and instead accelerated into the median.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live … Read the rest

April 29, 2019 Off

Autonomous vehicles make congestion pricing even more critical

By Jill T Frey

Autonomous vehicles will soon be ubiquitous on city streets. Before this happens, we should ask ourselves: Will they whisk us quickly through cities or make traffic worse?

A car is a car, whether self-driving or people driven—taking up a great deal more space than busses, streetcars, or trains—so let’s make sure the cost is right. Traffic has already increased in many cities due to widespread ride-hailing. Once Uber further rolls out autonomous vehicle fleets, calling a car will be cheaper, more competitive—and a potential burden on our streets.

A new study by UC Santa Cruz Professor Adam Millard-Ball in the Journal of Transportation PolicyRead the rest