For some strange reason, Waymo Cars are flocking to a certain dead-end street in San Francisco. Some days, there are up to 50 of the self-driving cars going into the dead end, turning around and exiting! And it happens all day long. Leo says it has to be a bug in the mapping software, but at least they are crashing into the dead end. But it's pretty funny.
self driving cars
Sam joined Leo to talk about cars. This week, he drove the Mustang MachE GT, which has more power (480hp) and up to 630 footpoints of torque. Meaning it can run as fast as a Shelby GT but quieter. Sam also went to GM this week to cover a bunch of announcements during Investor Day. GM will be revealing the upcoming Silverado Electric with a range of over 400 miles per charge. Leo says the competition in the truck market is really heating up for electric.
Sam joins Leo to talk about Tesla's new beta self-driving program that you can buy for $10,000. But when you buy it, the car will monitor your driving for a week and then decide whether you deserve the upgrade. It's looking for risky behavior and has to do with insurance and sharing driving data. Sam doesn't think anyone should rely on self-driving software. It's nowhere near ready for the average driver.
Sam joins Leo fresh from his trip to Austin, Tx., his first trip in 18 months. But he can't talk about that this week (the Ford E-Bronco), so we're talking about the Luminar LIDAR Sensor, which will be coming to new Volvo cars in the future. The interesting trend is to put new technology in cars and then offer to unlock that technology for an extra fee down the proverbial road. So users will have the option to activate the LIDAR sensor and use it for more accurate scanning for the traffic ahead.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the GM Cruise Origin, a self-driving modular vehicle announced last year. It's a "robo taxi" developed by GM and Honda. It's designed specifically to be an autonomous taxi with no safety driver. Leo says it looks like a "Johnny Cab" from the film, Total Recall. Sam says it can also be adapted to be a delivery vehicle. An Amazon locker on wheels. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced funding to become the Cruise cloud provider. All told, Microsoft, GM, Honda and others are investing more than $2 billion in development.
Sam joins Leo to talk about new infrared driving sensors from FLIR that offer improved accuracy for self-driving systems in cars. NightVision sensors are very costly, and FLIR has developed a new CMOS design that will make the sensor more affordable. Compared to current systems that rely on Radar for automatic emergency braking, the new FLIR sensor outperformed them. Sam says that infrared sensors could be out in the next few years.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the Michigan Connected Corridor. An initiative designed to create transportation infrastructure driven by data from drivers as they travel. The initiative will create a 40-mile corridor between Detroit and Anarbor, which will offer an affordable roadway for autonomous connected vehicles. The infrastructure will also have sensors and internet connectivity, assigning lanes to autonomous vehicles based on capacity. Other vehicles will have access who pay a toll.
Sam joins Leo to talk about over-relying on autonomous features that aren't really autonomous but are hyped that way. Called "Autowashing," it's a concept where a company hypes the autonomous nature of a feature that isn't' really autonomous. Self-driving features are hyped this way. In reality, it's more like "driver assist," and over-marketing it as anything more than that can be inherently dangerous as people think they don't have to pay attention to the road.
Sam Abuelsamid joins Leo to talk about Nissan's new electric vehicle, called the Nissan Aria. It will use CCS charging, which will offer 130 kW and faster charging. Sam adds that it's a typical compact SUV like the Toyota Rav 4. It will also have a level 3 auto-driving system with geofencing and speed limitations. It will also have a black box system to record all data and save it in an open format accessible through the OBD2 port. Drivers also won't have to take control very often when the system is engaged.
Sam says upcoming cars will require subscriptions for premium services like Autopilot. This is mainly due to having to maintain and support those premium services beyond the warranty period. Still, Sam says that car companies are becoming more interested in ongoing revenue streams, and it could be that in the future, you won't buy your car so much as pay to use one every time you drive.