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Game

Apple Car Is Making Some Serious Moves

Even with the Apple Car project seemingly back on track and set to deliver an EV with potentially full self-driving capabilities, the project team continued to lose key members to rival car companies, at least based on information that leaked over time. The most notable of these was Doug Field, a former Apple VP of Mac hardware who had been a key re-hire from Tesla and eventually became the fourth senior executive in six years to lead the Apple Car project, only to leave Apple once again. Field bailed out to head up Ford’s EV technology efforts. Seemingly hoping things might be able to run like clockwork, Apple tapped Kevin Lynch – who had been leading its Apple Watch software efforts — to take over the job, as reported by Bloomberg.

Lynch is clearly determined to stabilize the project, and it was made quite clear that Apple is still aiming to deliver a fully-fledged vehicle with the recent hire of Desi Ujkashevic, a 31-year veteran of Ford, which was also first reported by Bloomberg. Ujkashevic’s LinkedIn profile reveals she is a highly skilled engineer who has headed various Ford global engineering teams covering areas including interior design, chassis design, exterior design, and electrical design. Her arrival at Apple is the strongest sign in recent times that the company is steadfast in its desire to ensure the truckload of money it has undoubtedly sunk into the project will yield an EV that will (hopefully) go on sale to the public. 

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Computing

This Is What the Self-Driving Apple Car May Look Like

Thanks to several 3D concept renders, we now know what the future self-driving Apple Car might look like.

Vanarama, a British car-leasing company, took inspiration from other Apple products, as well as Apple patents, in order to accurately picture the rumored Apple car.

Image source: MacRumors

Although Apple has revealed very little about the self-driving car it is allegedly working on, Vanarama claims to have based the renders on patents filed by Apple itself. The design of the car takes after current Apple products, such as iPhones and MacBooks, and incorporates their current style into the coupe SUV model pictured above. Aside from the images, Vanarama has shared a fully interactive 3D concept render that lets the user explore both the exterior and the interior of the car.

The design places a lot of emphasis on the comfort of use and is much different from the cars we see every day, although it’s not too different from Elon Musk’s Tesla. It especially resembles the Tesla Cybertruck, but with a sleeker design without the sharp edges of the Tesla. The interior of the car includes several parts inspired by Apple products, such as the door handles that resemble iPhone buttons.

Vanarama’s render showcases a pillarless design that makes the car easier to get in and out of when both sets of doors are open. The seats are fully rotatable, which allows for the front seats to be turned to face the back seat. The inclusion of coach doors comes from another Apple patent. The car offers ample space for passenger movement when boarding and for loading larger items into the vehicle.

The interior of the rumored Apple Car.
Image source: MacRumors

Apple had also filed a patent for an intelligent automated assistant for the car, and thus, Vanarama included Siri. The assistant is built into the steering column alongside the customizable dashboard and navigation screen.

The renders were first shared by MacRumors. Such a spacious design that promotes freedom and comfort is definitely plausible for the Apple car, as the company seems to have settled on the self-driving technology and might even remove both the steering wheel and the pedals.

The car would rely on hands-off driving and would likely include an iPad for the users to interact with. However, Apple is reportedly still considering adding a steering wheel that would allow the passengers to take over the car in the case of emergencies.

It’s hard to tell whether Vanarama’s design is close to what Apple is planning, but it’s certainly inspired by real Apple patents. According to Bloomberg, Apple may be considering a design that resembles the Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo, where passengers sit along the sides of the car, facing each other.

Although an exciting prospect, the Apple Car is still a long way from being confirmed or released. The current goal is for the car to be launched sometime in 2025, but at this point in development, delays are very possible.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Fortnite will add the Ferrari 296 GTB sports car: What we know

Tomorrow, July 22, Epic Games will add an entirely new vehicle to its hit battle royale game: the Ferrari 296 GTB. The crossover was announced by Ferrari, which shared the same teaser image as Epic via the official Fortinte Twitter account. Though Fortnite has been home to a number of crossovers, some more substantial than others, this marks the first time an automotive brand has marketed in the game.

The same teaser image (above) has been shared by Ferrari, its Ferrari eSports Twitter account, and on the Fortnite Twitter account. Though Epic doesn’t have anything to say about the teaser, Ferrari did drop some brief details, namely that the real-life sports car will arrive in the fictional battle royale universe on July 22.

Because details are lacking, it’s unclear whether we can expect an existing car (the Whiplash, likely) to get a makeover with a Ferrari 296 GTB skin or if Epic has developed an entirely new vehicle model based on the sports car for this crossover. The latter seems most likely given the high-profile nature of Ferrari and how odd it may seem to retrofit a generic sports car model with the luxury vehicle.

The image doesn’t show us the entire car, but does reveal a few details: there’s the Battle Bus in the sports car’s shiny, polished exterior, of course, plus the tires say Fortnite beneath the treads. The iconic Ferrari emblem is visible on what appears to be the car’s front fender, plus — quite obviously — the car will debut in the game with a bright red shade.

It’s hard to tell how extensive this crossover will be. There’s the possibility that the Ferrari 296 GTB will usher in a Fortnite racing event, for example, or that Epic may add showrooms for the vehicle in the game — though that latter possibility seems like it would be a bit out of touch with the general style and wider nature of the title. Perhaps this crossover won’t be so dramatic and Ferrari is, one could speculate, simply jealous that Epic’s generic Whiplash vehicle is clearly inspired by Lamborghini.

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Tech News

PSA: Don’t put a Starlink satellite dish on your car

There’s a saying that goes: if you see a warning sign, no matter how absurd, it exists because someone performed the action advised against. That’s the case with this new warning against putting a Starlink satellite dish on your car’s exterior, an action that recently earned one customer a moving violation citation.

The California Highway Patrol in Antelope Valley recently shared two images of a car that was pulled over because it featured a large Starlink satellite dish on the hood. The images are joined by a warning the state’s Highway Patrol seems surprised it has to explicitly state: you can’t put a satellite dish on your car’s hood.

According to the officer who posted the images on the department’s Facebook account, he or she asked the driver whether the satellite dish on their hood made it difficult for them to see while driving. The motorist allegedly acknowledged that it did, but “only when [making] right turns.” That, of course, is a big safety problem and also a moving violation, at least in California.

Other states no doubt have similar rules on the books about what you’re allowed to mount on your windshield and other areas of your vehicle. Whether you could get away with mounting the satellite dish on the roof of your car is probably a question best left to your county’s law enforcement officials, but there is a better solution regardless.

Assuming you want high-speed Internet service in your car (to stream music, perhaps) and your mobile phone doesn’t have unlimited data, you can purchase an LTE or 5G hotspot and mount it somewhere safely inside of your vehicle. These hotspots can be plugged directly into your car’s USB port and will provide high-speed mobile data as long as you stay within the provider’s coverage area. Even better, you won’t have to worry about a large satellite dish breaking free and hitting the car behind you.

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Tech News

Flying Car Makes History With First Intercity Flight

A vehicle capable of flying in the sky and driving on the road completed a momentous  journey this week.

Stefan Klein, founder and CEO of research and development company Klein Vision, drove his prototype AirCar to Nitra international airport in Slovakia before motoring down the runway and taking off. He then flew the 35-minute route to Bratislava and, after landing at the city’s airport, drove the two-passenger vehicle to the downtown area three minutes away. A video (above) shows key moments from the incredible ride.

Klein has been developing a flying car for the last 20 years. His vehicle has already taken more than 140 test flights, but this week’s outing was the team’s most ambitious effort to date.

With the simple push of a button, the dual-mode vehicle retracts/deploys its wings and tail in a mere 135 seconds, enabling it to hit the road or take to the skies.

The gasoline-powered AirCar uses a BMW engine and a fixed propeller. It has a maximum cruising speed of 119 mph (190 kph) and has flown as high as 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). The next version of the AirCar is expected to have a top cruising speed of 186 mph (300 kph) and be able to travel as far as 621 miles (1,000 km) on a single tank of fuel.

There has been growing interest in so-called “flying cars” in recent years — Digital Trends profiles some of the leading designs — though most vehicles can only fly and have no ability to transform into a roadworthy automobile. However, unlike the AirCar, many of the vehicles can take off and land vertically, making them ideal for travel in urban areas. They’re also electric, whereas the AirCar currently requires gasoline.

Still, Klein’s focus has been on something that’s truly worthy of the “flying car” label.

“This flight starts a new era of dual-transportation vehicles,” the inventor said in a release. “It opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual.”

Of course, for Klein’s unique vehicle to go mainstream, it’ll first have to convince regulators of its safety and durability, while owners of the AirCar will have to have both a pilot’s license and a driver’s license to obtain the full benefit.

With all that in mind, it may be some time before we see Klein’s flying car on our roads and in our skies, but we can surely all agree that it’s one cool-looking machine and a remarkable achievement.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Tech News

Flying Car Makes History With First Inter-city Flight

A vehicle capable of flying in the sky and driving on the road completed a momentous  journey this week.

Stefan Klein, founder and CEO of R&D company Klein Vision, drove his prototype AirCar to Nitra international airport in Slovakia before motoring down the runway and taking off. He then flew the 35-minute route to Bratislava and, after landing at the city’s airport, drove the two-passenger vehicle downtown three minutes away. A video (below) shows key moments from the incredible ride.

Klein has been developing a flying car for the last 20 years. His vehicle has already taken more than 140 test flights, but this week’s outing was the team’s most ambitious effort to date.

With the simple push of a button, the dual-mode vehicle retracts/deploys its wings and tail in a mere 135 seconds, enabling it to hit the road or take to the skies.

The gasoline-powered AirCar uses a BMW engine and a fixed-propeller. It has a maximum cruising speed of 119 mph (190 kph) and has flown as high as 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). The next version of the AirCar is expected to have a top cruising speed of 186 mph 300km/h (162kt) and be able to travel as far as 621 miles (1,000 km) on a single tank of fuel.

There has been growing interest in so-called “flying cars” in recent years — Digital Trends features some of the leading designs — though most vehicles can only fly and have no ability to transform into a roadworthy automobile. However, unlike the AirCar, many of the vehicles can take off and land vertically, making them ideal for travel in urban areas. They’re also electric, whereas the AirCar currently requires gasoline.

Still, Klein’s focus has been on something that’s truly worthy of the “flying car” label.

“This flight starts a new era of dual-transportation vehicles,” the inventor said in a release. “It opens a new category of transportation and returns the freedom originally attributed to cars back to the individual.”

Of course, for Klein’s unique vehicle to go mainstream, it’ll first have to convince regulators of its safety and durability, while owners of the AirCar will have to have both a pilot’s license and a driver’s license to obtain the full benefit.

With all that in mind, it may be some time before we see Klein’s flying car on our roads and in our skies, but we can surely all agree that it’s one cool-looking machine and a remarkable achievement.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

World’s First Flying Race Car Makes Historic Maiden Flight

Imagine a car race where the vehicles aren’t hurtling along the ground but instead tearing across the sky.

That’s the lofty ambition of Australia-based Airspeeder, which is planning to launch a three-race series using eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicles before the end of this year.

Airspeeder recently revealed the completion of the first successful test flight of the flying race car that it’s aiming to use in its contest.

The Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 took its maiden flight recently in the skies over southern Australia. Lifted into the sky by eight sets of rotors on four arms, the vehicle can reach 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and fly as high as 500 meters. On this occasion, it was piloted remotely, but it also has a seat and controls for an onboard pilot.

Racing series

Billed as “the world’s first racing series for electric flying cars,” the event, called EXA, will pit the flying skills of up to four teams at three different sky-based racetracks around the world.

In each race, teams will be given identical flying vehicles — in this case the Alauda — with competitive advantage “only gained through pilot skill and world-class strategy,” Airspeeder said.

The first race season will see the eVTOL vehicles flown remotely, but the plan is to put pilots into the flying cars for subsequent racing events. Races will involve navigating virtual courses with the machines flying blade-to-blade, Airspeeder said.

To avoid any devastating midair collisions, the eVTOL aircraft will be fitted with the latest lidar and radar technologies that create what Airspeeder describes as “virtual forcefields” around each of the flying cars.

As the current batteries can only sustain 15 minutes of flight, the vehicles will have to come in for pit stops to swap out power units. Airspeeder says it has developed an innovative “slide and lock” system to enable rapid battery removal and replacement, though just as with more traditional motor racing, the efficiency of the pit stop team will be key to getting the edge over competitors.

Airspeeder

The Airspeeder engineers that built the Alauda Aeronautics Mk3 have come from a range of industries, including motorsports, automotive, and aviation.

Adelaide-based Airspeeder, which launched in 2016, says its ultimate mission is to use the racing series to boost eVTOL technology through intense sporting competition.

“This mobility revolution, underpinned by future tech, will transform urban air mobility, global logistics, and even medical applications with a clean-air electric vehicle solution,” the company said.

Airspeeder is yet to announce specific dates and locations for its debut EXA season. We’ll be sure to update just as soon as we find out.

Airspeeder’s interest in eVTOL aircraft mirrors growing investment in the sector, with companies such as Airbus and Toyota eying the technology for short trips in urban areas using greener technology. Take a look at some of the impressive designs currently in development.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Ring Car Cam leaks: This could be Amazon’s Alexa dash-cam

Details and what appears to be an image of Ring’s upcoming Car Cam have leaked, with the connected dash cam expected to add security both when the vehicle is parked and while it’s on the move. The newest addition to Ring’s line-up was actually announced in September 2020 as part of Amazon’s big device launch, though at the time no pictures of the Car Cam hardware itself were shared.

Still, Ring’s description painted a fairly comprehensive picture of what it was intended to do. As well as tracking bumps and attempted break-ins, and notifying owners via the Ring smartphone app, it can also be used to record journeys and summon emergency services in the case of an accident being detected.

If you’re being pulled over by the police, meanwhile, saying “Alexa, I’m being pulled over” will automatically begin video and audio recording. At the same time as that’s being uploaded to the cloud, the system will send a notification to pre-selected family members to let them know the stop has taken place. Ring said there would be a physical privacy shutter, too, and a choice of WiFi or LTE connectivity. The whole thing would be $199.99, though cellular plans would be on top of that.

Since then, we’ve not heard anything more about the new dash camera. A leak on The Tape Drive, though, has revealed what it could look like, and it’s certainly an unusual design.

The camera assembly looks to be mounted on some sort of bracket, either to be positioned above the dashboard or potentially hung from above the rearview mirror. There’s presumably a fish-eye camera on both sides – only visible from one side in the render – to capture footage both inside and outside of the car.

As for functionality, ZatzNotFunny spotted a seemingly prematurely-published Ring Car Cam information document on the company’s support site. It reconfirms some of the details which Ring told us late last year, but also adds a few extra tidbits.

For example, the camera will connect via the vehicle’s data port, not just hook up to a USB or 12V outlet for power. “Ring Car Cam easily installs directly to the OBD-II port in your vehicle, located behind your steering wheel in most cars,” Ring explains. “It securely attaches to the windshield and dashboard of the car, and the cable can be neatly tucked away and out of sight.”

It’s unclear what extra data Ring might be gathering by using that approach. The OBD-II port typically grants access to various driving metrics, and though originally intended as a way for vehicle technicians to diagnose faults and issues in increasingly computerized models, has also gained traction as a way for third-party devices to tap that same stream of information. Amazon had also announced Ring Car Alarm, a cellularly-connected dongle that plugs into the ODB-II port.

The Ring Car Cam itself won’t require a subscription, though you won’t get all of the features in that case. “You can access video stored locally on the device via the Ring app when the car is within range of wifi,” the company explains. “With an optional Ring connectivity plan, you can access video from anywhere via LTE as well as advanced features like Emergency Crash Assist.”

The connectivity plan for Ring Car Cam will also unlock features like real-time tracking, to help locate a stolen vehicle.

What remains to be seen is how Ring Car Cam will fit into Ring’s existing sharing policies with police departments. The Amazon-owned company has found itself mired in controversy in recent years, after inking deals with law enforcement that saw many requests for footage from connected security cameras and video doorbells. Ring had been accused of fueling privacy infringement and supporting racial profiling.

Earlier this month, the company announced a new policy around sharing with public safety and law enforcement agencies. Moving forward, such agencies will ahem to request information or video from communities through a publicly-viewable category on Ring’s Neighbors app. This new section, “Request for Assistance,” will allow communities to see just what sort of data is being shared, Ring says.

“All Request for Assistance posts will be publicly viewable in the Neighbors feed, and logged on the agency’s public profile,” Ring explains. “This way, anyone interested in knowing more about how their police agency is using Request for Assistance posts can simply visit the agency’s profile and see the post history.”

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AI

What Waabi’s launch means for the self-driving car industry

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It is not the best of times for self-driving car startups. The past year has seen large tech companies acquire startups that were running out of cash and ride-hailing companies shutter costly self-driving car projects with no prospect of becoming production-ready anytime soon.

Yet, in the midst of this downturn, Waabi, a Toronto-based self-driving car startup, has just come out of stealth with an insane amount of $83.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures, with additional participation from Uber, 8VC, Radical Ventures, OMERS Ventures, BDC, and Aurora Innovation. The company’s financial backers also include Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Peter Abbeel, and Sanja Fidler, artificial intelligence scientists with great influence in the academia and applied AI community.

What makes Waabi qualified for such support? According to the company’s press release, Waabi aims to solve the “scale” challenge of self-driving car research and “bring commercially viable self-driving technology to society.” Those are two key challenges of the self-driving car industry and are mentioned numerous times in the release.

What Waabi describes as its “next generation of self-driving technology” has yet to pass the test of time. But its execution plan provides hints at what directions the self-driving car industry could be headed.

Better machine learning algorithms and simulations

According to Waabi’s press release: “The traditional approach to engineering self-driving vehicles results in a software stack that does not take full advantage of the power of AI, and that requires complex and time-consuming manual tuning. This makes scaling costly and technically challenging, especially when it comes to solving for less frequent and more unpredictable driving scenarios.”

Leading self-driving car companies have driven their cars on real roads for millions of miles to train their deep learning models. Real-road training is costly both in terms of logistics and human resources. It is also fraught with legal challenges as the laws surrounding self-driving car tests vary in different jurisdictions. Yet despite all the training, self-driving car technology struggles to handle corner cases, rare situations that are not included in the training data. These mounting challenges speak to the limits of current self-driving car technology.

Here’s how Waabi claims to solve these challenges (emphasis mine): “The company’s breakthrough, AI-first approach, developed by a team of world leading technologists, leverages deep learning, probabilistic inference and complex optimization to create software that is end-to-end trainable, interpretable and capable of very complex reasoning. This, together with a revolutionary closed loop simulator that has an unprecedented level of fidelity, enables testing at scale of both common driving scenarios and safety-critical edge cases. This approach significantly reduces the need to drive testing miles in the real world and results in a safer, more affordable, solution.”

There’s a lot of jargon in there (a lot of which is probably marketing lingo) that needs to be clarified. I reached out to Waabi for more details and will update this post if I hear back from them.

By “AI-first approach,” I suppose they mean that they will put more emphasis on creating better machine learning models and less on complementary technology such as lidars, radars, and mapping data. The benefit of having a software-heavy stack is the very low costs of updating the technology. And there will be a lot of updating in the coming years as scientists continue to find ways to circumvent the limits of self-driving AI.

The combination of “deep learning, probabilistic reasoning, and complex optimization” is interesting, albeit not a breakthrough. Most deep learning systems use non-probabilistic inference. They provide an output, say a category or a predicted value, without giving the level of uncertainty on the result. Probabilistic deep learning, on the other hand, also provides the reliability of its inferences, which can be very useful in critical applications such as driving.

“End-to-end trainable” machine learning models require no manual-engineered features. This means once you have developed the architecture and determined the loss and optimization functions, all you need to do is provide the machine learning model with training examples. Most deep learning models are end-to-end trainable. Some of the more complicated architectures require a combination of hand-engineered features and knowledge along with trainable components.

Finally, “interpretability” and “reasoning” are two of the key challenges of deep learning. Deep neural networks are composed of millions and billions of parameters. This makes it hard to troubleshoot them when something goes wrong (or find problems before something bad happens), which can be a real challenge in critical scenarios such as driving cars. On the other hand, the lack of reasoning power and causal understanding makes it very difficult for deep learning models to handle situations they haven’t seen before.

According to TechCrunch’s coverage of Waabi’s launch, Raquel Urtasan, the company’s CEO, described the AI system the company uses as a “family of algorithms.”

“When combined, the developer can trace back the decision process of the AI system and incorporate prior knowledge so they don’t have to teach the AI system everything from scratch,” TechCrunch wrote.

self-driving car simulation carla

Above: Simulation is an important component of training deep learning models for self-driving cars. (credit: CARLA)

Image Credit: Frontier Developments

The closed-loop simulation environment is a replacement for sending real cars on real roads. In an interview with The Verge, Urtasan said that Waabi can “test the entire system” in simulation. “We can train an entire system to learn in simulation, and we can produce the simulations with an incredible level of fidelity, such that we can really correlate what happens in simulation with what is happening in the real world.”

I’m a bit on the fence on the simulation component. Most self-driving car companies are using simulations as part of the training regime of their deep learning models. But creating simulation environments that are exact replications of the real world is virtually impossible, which is why self-driving car companies continue to use heavy road testing.

Waymo has at least 20 billion miles of simulated driving to go with its 20 million miles of real-road testing, which is a record in the industry. And I’m not sure how a startup with $83.5 million in funding can outmatch the talent, data, compute, and financial resources of a self-driving company with more than a decade of history and the backing of Alphabet, one of the wealthiest companies in the world.

More hints of the system can be found in the work that Urtasan, who is also a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, does in academic research. Urtasan’s name appears on many papers about autonomous driving. But one in particular, uploaded on the arXiv preprint server in January, is interesting.

Titled “MP3: A Unified Model to Map, Perceive, Predict and Plan,” the paper discusses an approach to self-driving that is very close to the description in Waabi’s launch press release.

MP3 self-driving neural networks probablistic deep learning

Above: MP3 is a deep learning model that uses probabilistic inference to create scenic representations and perform motion planning for self-driving cars.

The researchers describe MP3 as “an end-to-end approach to mapless driving that is interpretable, does not incur any information loss, and reasons about uncertainty in the intermediate representations.” In the paper researchers also discuss the use of “probabilistic spatial layers to model the static and dynamic parts of the environment.”

MP3 is end-to-end trainable and uses lidar input to create scene representations, predict future states, and plan trajectories. The machine learning model obviates the need for finely detailed mapping data that companies like Waymo use in their self-driving vehicles.

Raquel posted a video on her YouTube that provides a brief explanation of how MP3 works. It’s fascinating work, though many researchers will point out that it not so much of a breakthrough as a clever combination of existing techniques.

There’s also a sizeable gap between academic AI research and applied AI. It remains to be seen if MP3 or a variation of it is the model that Waabi is using and how it will perform in practical settings.

A more conservative approach to commercialization

Waabi’s first application will not be passenger cars that you can order with your Lyft or Uber app.

“The team will initially focus on deploying Waabi’s software in logistics, specifically long-haul trucking, an industry where self-driving technology stands to make the biggest and swiftest impact due to a chronic driver shortage and pervasive safety issues,” Waabi’s press release states.

What the release doesn’t mention, however, is that highway settings are an easier problem to solve because they are much more predictable than urban areas. This makes them less prone to edge cases (such as a pedestrian running in front of the car) and easier to simulate. Self-driving trucks can transport cargo between cities, while human drivers take care of delivery inside cities.

With Lyft and Uber failing to launch their own robo-taxi services, and with Waymo still away from turning One, its fully driverless ride-hailing service, into a scalable and profitable business, Waabi’s approach seems to be well thought.

With more complex applications still being beyond reach, we can expect self-driving technology to make inroads into more specialized settings such as trucking and industrial complexes and factories.

Waabi also doesn’t make any mention of a timeline in the press release. This also seems to reflect the failures of the self-driving car industry in the past few years. Top executives of automotive and self-driving car companies have constantly made bold statements and given deadlines about the delivery of fully driverless technology. None of those deadlines have been met.

Whether Waabi becomes independently successful or ends up joining the acquisition portfolio of one of the tech giants, its plan seems to be a reality check on the self-driving car industry. The industry needs companies that can develop and test new technologies without much fanfare, embrace change as they learn from their mistakes, make incremental improvements, and save their cash for a long race.

Ben Dickson is a software engineer and the founder of TechTalks. He writes about technology, business, and politics.

This story originally appeared on Bdtechtalks.com. Copyright 2021

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Tech News

Tesla Delivers New Model S Plaid Car to First Customers

Tesla held its Model S Plaid delivery event on Thursday, June 10.

The livestreamed gathering took place at Tesla’s manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrived on stage in typically modest fashion — by hurtling around the Fremont test track at 100-plus mph in the new all-electric Plaid. Speaking to a small but enthusiastic crowd, Musk then spent 25 minutes running through the car’s plethora of features, some of them shown below.

Tesla

The tri-motor, 1020-horsepower Model S Plaid sits at the top of the Model S range and comes with a serious boost to its performance specs, including a top speed of 200 mph and an astonishingly zippy 0-to-60 time of just 1.99 seconds. In a tweet earlier this week, Musk described the Model S Plaid as the “quickest production car ever made of any kind,” adding, “Has to be felt to be believed.”

The vehicle’s estimated range of 390 miles is the second best among all of Tesla’s electric cars, with only the Model S Long Range able to go further — 412 miles — on a single charge. Tesla had been expected to launch a Plaid+ model, too, featuring additional range, but Musk recently announced that the company had canceled the plan, claiming there was “no need” for it “as Plaid is just so good.” We’ll wait for customer feedback on that one.

The first deliveries of the Model S Plaid come nine months after Tesla started taking orders for the new vehicle, which, at just a shade over $130,000, is the company’s most expensive production vehicle to date. Musk told the crowd the automaker is ready to deliver the first 25 Model S Plaid cars now, increasing to several hundred vehicles a week “soon,” and thousands a week “probably in the next quarter.”

Musk added that the arrival of the Model S variant marked “something that’s quite important about the future of sustainable energy, which is that we have to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down.”

Editors’ Choice




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