State Of Autonomy: April Recap

Industry relationship graph from Reuters:

Every month, I recap the news articles I’ve consumed around autonomous vehicles, calling out the highlights and keeping track of market projections. This is also your chance, dear readers, to nominate a topic for discussion in the following month.

Spring Training is over, and the sluggers have taken to the turf. Aurora Innovation just emerged from stealth status: that’s Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell — three of the most accomplished men from the most prominent autonomous vehicle programs of the past decade — purporting to develop a full-stack technology solution in partnership with several major automakers.

Google/Waymo pulled off an acrobatic PR move to the chagrin of both Uber and GM, announcing the rollout of a 600-vehicle public test fleet in the Phoenix, AZ area. It’s a larger fleet than the “world’s largest fleet” GM is rumored to release next month, deployed specifically in the state where Uber briefly paused its own self-driving program due to a collision investigation. Coincidence or conspiracy, it’s comedy either way.

Lastly, Baidu followed up on news of AI chief Andrew Ng’s departure by announcing they’d be open-sourcing their self-driving software. No real details or limitations provided yet, but that’s one way to stay relevant.

This Month’s Highlights:

Market Predictions:

Cadillac Changed To Hybrid-Piloted, 2017, Production: While it’s certainly no revolution in semi-autonomous technology, it is now in production. Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, you can take your hands off the wheel… but GM will actually be watching you to make sure you’re still attentive. And, as the name implies, Super Cruise is basically limited to major highways. Cadillac controls where it works, and when.

Coming In May:

  • Wheel Deals: Who’s Getting Rich From The Miles You Drive
  • Your suggestion? Send a tweet to Mitch Turck

Reactions From The Public:

Re: GM Lobbying For Pro-Manufacturer Caveats In Self-Driving Regulation

Re: GM’s Release Of Super Cruise feature On New Cadillacs

Re: GM Preparing To Deploy A 300-Vehicle Test Fleet