News from atlatec, AAA, Waymo, Uber and Lyft: your monthly automotive briefing
August has passed – and while things seem to slow down a little during summertime, there were still some news items worth noting. Let’s get right to it, and allow me to start with the piece of news from us here at atlatec which I’ve been promising:
We have finally released our new, entirely free HD map of Downtown, San Francisco! Ed Garsten interviewed our CEO Henning Lategahn and me on the contents and creation of the data – which we believe might well be the largest OpenDRIVE data set freely available – and our reasons for sharing it with the public.
You can read his article on Forbes or jump right ahead and grab a download link for the map on our website: https://www.atlatec.de/getsampledata.html
“AAA research finds driving assistance systems do less to assist drivers, more to interfere” – via Augusta Free Press
AAA advocates for better testing of ADAS systems – and undertook a study to benchmark how current systems perform. The results are well worth noting: “[Over] the course of 4,000 miles of real-world driving, vehicles equipped with active driving assistance systems experienced some type of issue every 8 miles, on average. […] On public roadways, nearly three-quarters (73%) of errors involved instances of lane departure or erratic lane position.”
It seems the need for more (and more realistic) simulation and virtual validation will not go away any time soon …
Some more details about Waymo’s branching-out into cargo transportation have been made public. Like TuSimple, Kodiak and other autonomous trucking companies, the Google spin-off has chosen Texas for their logistics testing, citing high freight volume and other favorable environmental factors as their reasons.
Waymo’s trucks will apparently be operating between Texas and New Mexico, in particular on the I-10, I-20 and I-45 interstates. With Tesla also building a new Gigafactory in Austin, it looks like the Lone Star State is becoming a new hot spot for automotive tech!
While Uber and Lyft both aim for autonomous robotaxis to finally become profitable, that day still won’t come as soon as some may have thought. In the meantime, the mobility providers rely entirely on contractor drivers/gig workers to be operational. However, the state of California (and some Californian cities) have successfully argued in court that Uber and Lyft drivers are, in fact, employees: That would mean they have to be paid better and given benefits that contractors have no claim to. Uber and Lyft argue this would force them to shut down operations – and have now achieved a temporary stay of the reclassification.
There will be more development in the months to come, and I personally am very interested to see how this plays out.
That’s it for this month – I hope you all have an excellent summer, even with things being the way they are, pandemic-wise. Stay safe, however you spend it!
All the best