Technology StocksDriverless autos, trucks, taxis etc.

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From: Sam9/25/2017 4:52:58 PM
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A simple question: where will all of this data get stored?

Hortonworks, Cloudera Players in Future of Self-Driving Cars, Says Cowen
Hortonworks, Cloudera and Teradata are among names that could benefit from an "explosion" of data in connected vehicles in coming years, say analysts with Cowen & Co. in a 242-page think-piece on autonomous vehicles.

By Tiernan Ray
Sept. 25, 2017 11:18 a.m. ET

Cowen's analysts project the "explosion" in data from connected cars.

Cowen & Co.’s analysts today published a mammoth, 242-page group report on the future of electric vehicles, one of whose takeaways is that there will be lots of work for software makers such as Hortonworks ( HDP) and Cloudera ( CLDR), purveyors of the open-source Hadoop data mining technology.

After that, however, artificial intelligence becomes the next goal, and the group see a field with lots of competing approaches and apparently no clear winner.

The authors, 19-strong, start with the premise that purchases of electric vehicles will be stronger in the next few years than the market currently expects, albeit still a fraction of annual auto sales:

We see an inflection of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the 2025 to 2030 time frame as vehicles become economical on an unsubsidized basis. We see the start of the “hockey stick” in demand starting in 2018 though due to electric cars being more widely available, having a “cool” factor more broadly than just the Tesla does today, as well as economic ownership as EVs becoming cheaper than internal combustion engines (ICEs). We see global EV penetration hitting 1% in 2017 and rising to 3.1% in '20 and 7.5% in '25. Most other forecasts call for about 2.5% penetration in' 20 and 5% in '25; however, estimates have been creeping up. While we expect a sharp acceleration of growth in EVs in the coming years, we note that our '20 forecast still has 98% of vehicles sold using some form of an internal combustion engine, which includes hybrid solutions as well as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Software analyst J. Derrick Wood offers his thoughts on A.I., with the premise that the “hundreds” of sensors and other chips in each vehicle will cause data “volumes to explode."

"This is already true,” writes Wood, "with Formula 1 cars which create 36TB of data per race, generated from >100 sensors that are distributed throughout the car, collecting data about the braking system, tire pressure, engine, calibration, temperature and much more.” He cites one research house, Datameer, stating that a self-driving car will generate 1 terabyte of data per hour.

Wood offers a forecast for the annual volume of data, which shows it reaching 1.5 million petabytes of data annually by 2020, as shown in the chart at the top of this post.

All that data grow will lead to car makers becoming “large consumers of data/analytics, and even applications software."

Among software that will gain popularity are Apache Spark and Apacke Kafka, two tools for “stream processing” to hand the flood of data coming from the sensors, writes Wood.

The next stage, he writes, is batch processing of all the data that is stored:

Vendors serving these kinds of applications span the data management stack, including data integration platforms (MuleSoft, Talend, Alteryx), Hadoop platforms (Cloudera, Hortonworks, MapR, Databricks), NoSQL platforms (MongoDB, DataStax, Couchbase, MarkLogic), SQL relational platforms (Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Teradata), Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP) and BI tools (Tableau, Power BI, Domo).

And that will lead to Hortonworks and Cloudera, along with privately held MapR, and Teradata ( TDC) becoming tools vendors to automakers for the latter to offer “new application and content services."

"These service providers will want to analyze usage behavior leveraging high-frequency feedback data to optimize their content & services and extend their omni-channel initiatives."

Already, notes Wood, four of the top five automakers are using Hortonworks’s software. He describes some of the capabilities:

The Hortonworks Data Flow (HDF) platform supports bi-directional data communication between an on-vehicle platform and the cloud (known as its data-in-motion platform). It communicates sensor and telematics control unit data in real-time such as speed, geo-location and airbag deployment. HDF has an intelligent agent that runs on embedded devices in the car, and it uses data filtering and prioritization to determine the most crucial data sets to communicate between the car and the cloud. The Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) manages the data-at-rest for storage, security, operations, analytics and machine learning.

The “key to bringing it all together,” writes Wood, is A.I. Wood then goes into a lengthy explanation of A.I. techniques, such as “machine learning.”

We have seen major technology initiatives from Uber, Lyft, Google, Ford, GM, BMW, Audi, Nissan, Volvo, Daimler, Renault, Toyota, Tesla, Navistar and many others. In fact, GM, Volvo, Nissan, Ford and Tesla all have plans to have achieved full autonomy into its vehicles at some point over the next several years, including Nissan in 2020 and Ford in 2021. Google created a new company, Waymo, for focusing on driverless vehicle technology.Wood notes that automakers have their own initiatives for A.I. and autonomous driving, and that […] Companies like Google (Tensorflow), Microsoft (CNTK) and AWS (DSSTNE) have open-sourced their Machine Learning IP and now ML algorithms are widely available to be used to build an AI platform. In turn, there are a plethora of start-ups building their own proprietary algorithms and services to evangelize the growing market opportunity. The automotive industry has widely embraced algorithms to analyze the vast amounts of data streaming from test vehicles, many of which are capturing 1000s of GB of data per hour from cameras and other sensors throughout the car.

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From: Sam10/3/2017 1:38:54 AM
1 Recommendation   of 282
Oct 2 2017, 3:01 pm ET
GM Is Going All Electric, Will Ditch Gas- and Diesel-Powered Cars
by Paul A. Eisenstein

General Motors plans to go 100 percent electric, the Detroit automaker announced Monday.

GM currently offers one extended-range electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, but will add two others within 18 months, said Executive Vice President Mark Reuss, with “at least 20” to be in the line-up by 2023. In addition, the company is developing a new truck platform powered by hydrogen fuel cells, dubbed Surus, short for Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV electric concept car is unveiled during the first press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 12, 2015. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won't happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers' needs.”

Related: Volvo to Offer Electric or Hybrid Only

In recent months, a number of manufacturers have announced plans to “electrify” their product lines. All Volvo models launched from 2018 and beyond, for example, will use either hybrid, plug-in or pure battery-electric drivetrains. Last month, Volkswagen AG said it will invest $20 billion to develop electrified products. Every model sold by its various brands — including VW, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini — will be offered with at least one battery-based drivetrain option.

But GM said it will go a step further.

Ditching the Combustion Engine

GM's goal is to abandon the internal combustion engine entirely. At some yet-unspecified point, all of its products will draw power either from batteries or hydrogen. Fuel cells are sometimes referred to as “refillable batteries.” They rely on devices called stacks to combine hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce water vapor and electric current. That power is used to drive the same sort of motors used in battery-cars.

GM was a pioneer in both battery and hydrogen technology. It launched its first fuel-cell prototype four decades ago. Its EV1 was one of the first electric vehicles produced by a mainstream manufacturer, but the line was scrapped when California abandoned its initial zero-emissions vehicle mandates in the 1990s.

Government mandates are clearly driving the industry’s current push to electrify. Even though the Trump administration is expected to roll back the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, California’s new ZEV mandate will require automakers to collectively sell millions of battery or hydrogen vehicles in the years ahead.

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From: Sam10/4/2017 8:05:15 AM
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GM jumps to record after Deutsche Bank says automaker to launch self-driving car fleet as soon as 2020
  • Deutsche Bank said in late September that it expects GM to launch self-driving cars sooner than most expect.
  • Since then, GM's management confirmed to Deutsche Bank that it will offer autonomous vehicles "well ahead of competitors," research analyst Rod Lache and a team of analysts said in a Sunday report.
  • Lache also said GM plans to launch its own transportation service to compete with Lyft and Uber.
Evelyn Cheng | @chengevelyn
Published 11:34 AM ET Mon, 2 Oct 2017 Updated 4:30 PM ET Mon, 2 Oct 2017

General Motors shares climbed Monday after Deutsche Bank said a meeting with the automaker's management "confirmed" expectations GM could launch self-driving vehicles "well ahead of competitors."

Shares of GM rose more than 4 percent Monday to a record, surpassing a previous high from December 2013.

"GM confirmed that their [autonomous vehicles] are on track for a critical milestone… they will be safely driving passengers in complex urban environments without a human backup driver within the next few quarters, well ahead of competitors," research analyst Rod Lache and a team of other analysts said in a Sunday report. "GM agreed with our suggestion that large scale commercial operations would start relatively soon (we expect this in 2020)."

The conversations with GM management also indicated the company plans to launch its own transportation service to compete with Lyft and Uber, Lache said. "GM does not intend to sell the technology to unaffiliated third parties; and GM appears to have thought through many details of how the will operate," he said.

GM declined to comment on the report and referred CNBC to its second quarter analyst call in which Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said the company is investing in "transformative technologies" such as electrification, autonomous technology and connectivity.

Separately, GM said Monday that it is planning to roll out two new electric vehicles in the next 18 months, for a total of up to 20 all-electric vehicles over the next six years.

Lache also expects GM's autonomous vehicle operations will first launch in the "most lucrative markets" of densely populated cities at a cost of less than $1 per mile.

Last Sunday, Sept. 24, Lache upgraded GM's shares to buy from hold and said that he expects "GM's [autonomous vehicles] will be ready for commercial deployment, without human drivers, much sooner than widely expected (within quarters, not years); that businesses built off of this platform will ramp much faster than is widely expected; and that this will be material, even to a company of GM's size."

"Our takeaway from this meeting [with GM management] was that our key conclusions were spot on," Lache said in his latest report.

GM shares have risen more than 7 percent from the close on Friday, Sept. 22, through Monday morning trading. The stock is up 21 percent for the year.

Shares of electric car maker Tesla, which many see as leading the future of automobile development, recovered intraday losses to close 0.13 percent higher Monday. The stock is up nearly 60 percent this year.

As of Friday's close, GM had a market capitalization of about $61.5 billion, recovering its lead on Tesla's market cap of $56.5 billion after falling below Elon Musk's company in April.

— CNBC's Tae Kim contributed to this report.

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To: Sam who wrote (130)10/4/2017 8:07:06 AM
From: Sam
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Alphabet wants to launch an Uber rival this fall, but the self-driving cars get tripped up by left turns, report says
  • Waymo is on the verge of launching a service with its self-driving cars that could rival Uber and Lyft, The Information reported on Tuesday.
  • But the vans have trouble making left turns.
  • The software in the cars gets tripped up by certain safety issues, especially when there is no green arrow for left turns, an unnamed source told The Information.
Anita Balakrishnan | @MsABalakrishnan
Published 18 Hours Ago Updated 13 Hours Ago

Google-parent Alphabet is on the verge of launching a service with its self-driving cars that could rival Uber and Lyft, The Information reported on Tuesday.

But Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car company, must fix a glitch first, according to The Information: The vans have trouble making left turns.

The Chrysler vans, which would pick up and drop off passengers in Arizona, would be ideally monitored remotely, rather than with a "safety" driver, The Information reported. But the software in the cars reportedly gets tripped up by certain safety issues, especially when there is no green arrow for left turns.

To be sure, the cars are still being tested and improved: Waymo recently released a detailed blog post about how it is using simulations to quickly train its cars to learn tricky turns.

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To: Sam who wrote (131)10/4/2017 8:10:28 AM
From: Sam
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Here is the blog post that was referred to in the last post:

How simulation turns one flashing yellow light into thousands of hours of experience
Each day, as many as 25,000 Waymo self-driving cars drive 8 million miles in our virtual world, testing out new skills and refining old ones.
By James Stout, lead software engineer

At the corner of South Longmore Street and West Southern Avenue in Mesa, Arizona, there’s a flashing yellow arrow that permits cars to turn left. Navigating this type of intersection can be tricky for humans and self-driving cars alike?—?drivers must carefully move into a five-lane intersection and then find a gap in oncoming traffic. Turning left too soon may cause a driving hazard for oncoming traffic; making the move too late may mean frustrated drivers behind.

While this type of traffic signal is rare in our hometown of Mountain View, CA, it’s become a common sight at intersections across Metro Phoenix, where we recently launched our early rider program. Since we first encountered this intersection, we’ve been teaching our self-driving cars to handle these types of traffic signals smoothly and confidently?—?just as an experienced driver would.

Just like for human drivers, the key to learning is practice. That’s where our simulator comes in. Waymo’s simulator is a realistic virtual world where we can recreate every real-world mile we’ve driven. Each day, as many as 25,000 virtual Waymo self-driving cars drive up to 8 million miles in simulation, testing out new skills and refining old ones. Like athletes visualizing the playing field, our virtual cars envision various scenarios and practice maneuvers that help them safely navigate the real world.

With simulation, we can turn a single real-world encounter?—?such as a flashing yellow left turn?—?into thousands of opportunities to practice and master a skill. Here’s how it works:

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[This post shows how powerful VR can be. So many uses for it in companies, schools and many many other learning contexts. ]

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From: Sam10/4/2017 8:16:03 AM
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Iris can’t hold your hand, but she may ease your mind as you step into a driverless car
By Ashley Halsey III October 3 at 6:32 PM

It may help if you call her “Iris” and allow her to talk with you as if she were sitting in the car beside you.

If you are like most Americans, being soothed by Iris’s calm voice may be just what you need as you make the traumatic transition to cars that drive themselves. Surveys show an overwhelming number of people — 87 percent, one poll says — are more than a little anxious about giving up the steering wheel forever. Never mind that the autonomous cars that will arrive in the next five to 10 years are expected to be far smarter and safer than the average driver.

There will come a time as you drive down the road, perhaps in the very car you now own, when a car without a driver or anyone inside will pass in the opposite direction. That transition period — certainly 10 years, more likely 20 and perhaps 30 — when normal cars and driverless cars share the roads figures to be the most revolutionary automotive era since Karl Benz put the first production car on the road in 1885.

“This is going to be a really dangerous time,” said Paul Brubaker, head of ATI21, a consortium of transportation technology innovators. “When I talk to the folks that I know who are developing the artificial intelligence that’s going to enable this, that’s the biggest challenge that they’ve got, predicting the unpredictable behavior of the human drivers.”

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From: Sam10/4/2017 8:20:29 AM
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Self-driving taxis like Uber’s will disrupt public transport networks, study says
    Self-driving taxi services could offer fares at a fraction of the cost of those offered by public transport networks today, UBS said in a research note
  • UBS researchers said that the autonomous vehicles, known as "robotaxis," could be rolled in the next few years

Ryan Browne | @Ryan_Browne_
Published 8:44 AM ET Fri, 29 Sept 2017 Updated 11:35 AM ET Fri, 29 Sept 2017

Driverless taxis are set to totally transform the landscape of mass transit systems, according to a study.

Self-driving taxi services – such as those Uber has tried to roll out in the U.S. – could offer fares at a fraction of the cost of those offered by public transport networks today, UBS said in a research note.

UBS researchers said that the autonomous vehicles, known as "robotaxis," could be introduced in the next few years.

"The shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles, combined with intensifying competition, should reduce the fee charged to passengers by as much as 80 percent compared to today," the authors of the report said Friday.

"Within the next few years, the technology will be available to make robotaxis a reality. In this new paradigm, owning a private car will cost almost twice as much as using robotaxis."

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[The article includes a video entitled, "Uber is serious about flying taxis"]

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From: Sam10/4/2017 8:26:12 AM
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Here is Ars Technica's article on Waymo's ambition to launch its taxi service within months:

Fully driverless cars could be months away Google's self-driving car unit prepares to launch a taxi service near Phoenix.
Timothy B. Lee - 10/3/2017, 2:11 PM

Real driverless cars could come to the Phoenix area this year, according to a Monday report from The Information's Amir Efrati. Two anonymous sources have told Efrati that Google's self-driving car unit, Waymo, is preparing to launch "a commercial ride-sharing service powered by self-driving vehicles with no human 'safety' drivers as soon as this fall."

Obviously, there's no guarantee that Waymo will hit this ambitious target. But it's a sign that Waymo believes its technology is very close to being ready for commercial use. And it suggests that Waymo is likely to introduce a fully driverless car network in 2018 if it doesn't do so in the remaining months of 2017.
These are all reasons to doubt whether Waymo will be able to launch a truly driverless taxi service this year as Page would like. However, it's important not to lose sight of the big picture: these are the kinds of problems you worry about when you are months, rather than years, away from launching a commercial product.

Most of Waymo's rivals are aiming to release self-driving cars in 2020, 2021, or later. Even if Waymo's schedule slips a few months and it introduces a self-driving car service in the middle of 2018 instead of late 2017, that will still give the company a multiple-year head start over most of its rivals. And it would confound skeptics who insist that full self-driving technology is still years away.

more at

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From: Sam10/4/2017 8:32:22 AM
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Seattle investors don’t want you — or any other human — behind the wheel on I-5 by 2040
Originally published October 2, 2017 at 6:00 am Updated October 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

The tech experts who proposed making Interstate 5, from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., open only to self-driving cars have updated their proposal. Now they’ve got a timeline: no human drivers by 2040.

By David Gutman
Seattle Times staff reporter

The venture-capital guys who proposed limiting Interstate 5 between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., to just self-driving cars are back with an update, and a timeline for when they’d like to see human drivers booted from the freeway.

The report by the Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based firm and an early funder of Amazon, and Craig Mundie, a former Microsoft executive, proposes phased-in changes to the highway, ultimately leading to a ban on human drivers, during peak travel hours, in 2040.

The new report wants carpool lanes opened immediately to autonomous vehicles, two lanes (one north, one south) exclusively for autonomous vehicles by 2025, a majority of I-5’s lanes just for autonomous vehicles by 2030 and no more human drivers on I-5 during peak travel times by 2040.

Human drivers would still be allowed on nights and weekends.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, CenturyLink, Kemper Development Co., Sabey Corp., Seattle Children’s hospital and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

Learn more about Traffic Lab »
In last year’s report and this year’s update, the authors write that Seattle and Vancouver can get ahead of the game by embracing and planning for what they say is the inevitable spread of self-driving cars. The pace of progress in the industry led the authors to update their proposal, they said.

Vancouver and Seattle, they write, can serve “as an example for how to proactively and responsibly incorporate this important cultural and technological change into their regional city and transportation planning.”

The proposal was first launched at a cross-border innovation conference in Vancouver last year, partly as a way to distinguish the region from cities hostile to autonomous vehicles, and is being updated for this year’s conference in Seattle.

The authors — along with Mundie, Madrone co-founder Tom Alberg and Madrona associate Daniel Li — predict fully autonomous vehicles, with no human input necessary, will be available in three years.

But even if that’s right — and some experts are skeptical — it doesn’t mean autonomous vehicles are going to be ubiquitous, said Don Mac­Kenzie, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Washington who studies electric and autonomous vehicles.

“There’s really no evidence to indicate that you would have all cars being capable of autonomous operation by 2040, or even the large majority,” MacKenzie said. “There’s still, to me, this huge equity issue where you’re shutting out travel on I-5 to lower-income people who have fewer alternatives.”

Madrona has a financial interest in promoting policy changes geared toward self-driving cars; the group is an investor in at least three local companies — Impinj, Mighty AI and Echodyne — that make components for potential use in autonomous vehicles.

Vehicles with different levels of autonomous control — automated braking or steering, for instance — are already on the road in cities and states across the country, albeit almost always with a driver behind the wheel.

Google began t esting self-driving cars, in small numbers, in Kirkland last year.

In July, Gov. Jay Inslee, hoping to lure tech companies in a growing industry, signed an executive order opening Washington’s roads to testing of self-driving cars, with or without a person behind the wheel.

“We humans are really good at a lot of things,” Inslee said at the time. “Driving cars isn’t necessarily one of them compared to the automated processes that are digital and foolproof.”

Widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles could, in theory, lead to fewer crashes and less traffic congestion — since fleets of self-driving cars could travel closer together and at more uniform speeds than human drivers can safely do.

But it also could lead to increased congestion if, for instance, your autonomous vehicle drives you to work and then drives itself home to avoid the hassle of finding parking. That turns one car trip into two.

Of course, cars last a long time. The average car on the road right now is 11 years old. And people aren’t going to be happy if their 2017 car is banned from parts of Washington’s most traveled highway just eight years from now, and banned entirely during peak driving hours in two decades.

“This final transition will require some tipping point in terms of vehicle availability and public interest,” the authors write, predicting that tipping point in 10 to 20 years.

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To: Sam who wrote (136)10/4/2017 11:15:24 AM
From: Savant
   of 282
Call me a skeptic, but what they want and what happens are 2 different things...IMHO...
Too many people with older cars that don't comply...
And, as the article points out, it would severely hamper lower income people.
Quite possibly, it will happen someday/year, but by 2040?
I doubt it.

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