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Tag Archives: self-driving car

How Self-Driving Cars Can Aid The Elderly

Nearly 16 million adults over the age of 65 live in areas with poor access to public transportation. This has prompted many of our senior citizens to ask how will I go to my doctor’s appointments or even the grocery store? The elderly face the question of whether or not they can safely operate a motor vehicle from point A to Point B. Some of the senior citizens point to the self-driving car, which could greatly relinquish those driving fears.

If you receive a summons for a speeding violation, or any other moving violation in NY State, an experienced traffic ticket attorney can help. Call us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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Self-Driving Uber Crash

Although Uber, and many have demonstrated the capabilities of self-driving cars, a crash earlier this month has demonstrated the negatives of fully autonomous cars. The car accident took place in Tempe, Arizona, and the Tempe Police Department later proved that the Uber car was not at fault for the accident. However, Uber temporarily shut down its self-driving cars in San Francisco and Pittsburgh as a precautionary measure.

If you receive a summons for a speeding violation, or any other moving violation in NY State, an experienced traffic ticket attorney can help. Call us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.
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The Race to Road Map Making

Various automakers and technology companies are competing with one another to road map the precise location of every street marking (stop sign, double yellow line, etc.) on every road across the United States. Creating a correct digital map is a vital part of creating self-driving cars. One company called Waymo, has mapped out Austin Texas, Kirkland, Washington, and Mountain View California so far. Obtaining a full three-dimensional road map of the entire United States is a difficult task, but automakers are determined to put self-driving cars on the road.

If you receive a summons for a cellphone, spill back, speed, or any other moving violation, an experienced traffic ticket attorney can help. Call us at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.
Photo via Visualhunt

GM Invests $500 Million on Lyft while Planning Self-Driving Car Network

–General Motors Co. will invest $500 million in Lyft Inc., giving the hailing startup a valuation of $5.5 billion and a major ally in the global battle against Uber Technologies Inc.–

The investment, part of a $1 billion financing round for Lyft, is the biggest move by an automaker to date when it comes to grappling with the meteoric rise of the ride-hailing industry.

GM and Lyft said they will work together to develop a network of self-driving cars that riders can call up on-demand, a vision of the future shared by the likes of Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. More immediately, America’s largest automaker will offer Lyft drivers vehicles for short-term rent through various hubs in U.S. cities, the companies said in separate statements on Monday.

GM President Dan Ammann, who is joining Lyft’s board as part of the deal, expects the automotive industry to “change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50 and we obviously want to make sure we’re at the forefront of that change.”

Global Alliance

Ammann called the investment an “alliance” with Lyft. Rather than stay neutral in the battle between Uber and Lyft, GM invested because of the “level of integration and cooperation that will be required, particularly for the longer term nature of this,” he said in a phone interview.

Uber’s Kalanick, whose company has been investing aggressively in self-driving cars, has said that it could take between 5 and 15 years before such vehicles are meaningfully deployed around the country.

GM is open to working with some of Lyft’s international partners, which include Didi Kuaidi in China, Ola in India and GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, Ammann said.

“We certainly see an opportunity to work together through those relationships,” Ammann said. “The U.S. is our home market and it continues to be our largest market and we think this is the right place to begin the journey.”

The partnership is a blow for Uber, which has fought to overwhelm Lyft, its only substantial U.S. competitor. Sidecar, another American rival, announced in December that it would shut its network.

Uber has raised more than $10 billion in financing and is spending aggressively to grow. Its last round of financing valued the company at $62.5 billion.

Doubling Financing

Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with its own ride-sharing initiatives: the company last year started offering a network of shared cars in London to tap the growing market for on-demand driving. Fontinalis Partners LLC, the venture firm funded by Ford family heir Bill Ford, has previously invested in Lyft.

Lyft’s latest financing round nearly doubles the three-year-old startup’s total financing. Since 2013, Lyft has raised more than $2 billion, the company said. Bloomberg previously reported that Lyft had filed to raise $1 billion as part of this financing round. Its latest $5.5 billion valuation is post-money, meaning it includes the value from raising its latest $1 billion.

Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. invested $100 million as part of the round and existing investors Janus Capital Management, Rakuten Inc., Didi Kuaidi and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. also participated, according to the statement.

Lyft lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg. It said in November it has gained share in key markets such as San Francisco, and has a gross revenue “run rate” of $1 billion. Lyft has said it’s operating in more than 190 cities.

Article Originally Featured on Bloomberg Business

*Photo Credit: “LYFT” By: Alfredo Mendez

New York Traffic Ticket Lawyer: Police Stop Google Self Driving Car

New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: No ticket, no driver. 

How autonomous can self-driving cars be?

Police in the Northern California city of Mountain View saw something unusual on the road Thursday: A car was moving too slowly, causing a traffic backlog.

So they pulled over the vehicle and peered inside.

It was a self-driving car.

Google’s autonomous vehicle project, which has logged 1.2 million miles, was nearly handed its first traffic ticket Thursday when police officers stopped one of the cars because it was going 24 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone.

“The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic,” a police statement said.

Under the California Vehicle Code, the cars are permitted to operate on streets that have limit of 35 miles per hour or slower, police said.

So no ticket was issued. The car technically had no driver, but there are usually two operators in the Google cars capable of taking over if needed, and that was the case this time, the police official in charge of the traffic team, Sergeant Saul Jaeger, said in a telephone interview.

The Google vehicle was allowed to go on its way, with the understanding that if the operators noticed that traffic was stacking up, they needed to pull over and let it flow by, just as if someone had engine trouble and was inching down the road.

“Just like anybody,” Jaeger said.

Google’s autonomous test cars are programmed to follow the letter of the law. But as The New York Times reported in September, researchers in the fledgling field of autonomous vehicles say that one of the biggest challenges facing automated cars is blending them into a world in which human drivers don’t behave by the book. Since 2009, Google cars have been in 16 crashes, mostly fender-benders, and in every single case, the company says, a human was at fault.

Google, responding to Thursday’s episode, said its vehicles had never been issued a ticket. “We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 miles per hour for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project.”

Zandr Milewski photographed the car that was stopped in Mountain View, which happens to be the home of the headquarters of Google’s parent, Alphabet, from a nearby office building, The San Jose Mercury News reported. He was working on a project in a conference room when a colleague told him what was happening outside.

“We all immediately dropped what we were doing to go look,” Milewski told The Mercury News. “It’s not something you see every day.”

Article Originally Posted on The New York Times

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New Safety Details Regarding Self-Driving Cars

California state officials have recently released information detailing six accidents involving self-driving car prototypes. The accidents were not serious enough to result in any injuries to the drivers however. It is important to note that California law mandates that a person is still present in the driver’s seat of a self-driving car while the cars are out on the streets. These laws aim to prevent such accidents which result from distracted driving or texting while driving, which lead to traffic tickets with hefty fines. The Associated Press (AP) successfully argued that the California DMV was improperly withholding information about self-driving car accidents that was previously confidential. Interestingly, 8 different companies have permission to test 82 self-driving cars in California, but Google has been testing the most with over 1.8 million miles tested in total. Google was responsible for 5 out of the 6 total crashes, while Delphi was responsible for the one other crash. In addition, Google has become more open about releasing information about collisions and Google officials claim to be proud of their safety record. Google has been testing its self-driving cars since 2009, but it was only until September of 2014 that the California DMV officially permitted the testing of self-driving cars. Will self-driving cars ever be allowed to test in the complex traffic of New York City?

New Safety Details regarding Self-Driving Cars

California state officials have recently released information detailing six accidents involving self-driving car prototypes. The accidents were not serious enough to result in any injuries to the drivers however. It is important to note that California law mandates that a person is still present in the driver’s seat of a self-driving car while the cars are out on the streets. These laws aim to prevent such accidents which result from distracted driving or texting while driving, which lead to traffic tickets with hefty fines. The Associated Press (AP) successfully argued that the California DMV was improperly withholding information about self-driving car accidents that was previously confidential. Interestingly, 8 different companies have permission to test 82 self-driving cars in California, but Google has been testing the most with over 1.8 million miles tested in total. Google was responsible for 5 out of the 6 total crashes, while Delphi was responsible for the one other crash. In addition, Google has become more open about releasing information about collisions and Google officials claim to be proud of their safety record. Google has been testing its self-driving cars since 2009, but it was only until September of 2014 that the California DMV officially permitted the testing of self-driving cars. Will self-driving cars ever be allowed to test in the complex traffic of New York City?

Self-Driving Cars Involved in 4 Traffic Accidents – Kind Of

Since September, 4 out of California’s 50 self-driving cars have been involved in traffic accidents – however, two of the accidents occurred while the person behind the wheel was driving. All of the accidents were minor and occurred at speeds of less than 10 miles per hour. Accidents involving self-driving cars are required by law to be reported to the California DMV, which could not release details about the accidents, such as who was at fault, due to confidentiality issues. However, sources within Google and Delphi, the companies rolling out this new technology, reported that the self-driving cars were not at fault in any of the accidents. Delphi went a step further and described the accident involving their car, stating that the self-driving car was stopped while waiting to make a left hand turn when it was broadsided by another vehicle. Once again though, this car was not in self-driving mode.

Safety statistics involving self-driving cars are extremely important as they can make or break public and political perceptions of the technology. As such, all incidents involving self-driving cars are heavily scrutinized, as evidenced by this report: it’s stated numerous times that 4 self-driving vehicles were involved in traffic accidents, even though 2 of them were being driven by regular people – in essence, those 2 were traffic accidents just like any other.

Are these traffic accidents a sign of things to come with self-driving cars? And who should get a traffic ticket if / when it’s determined that a self-driving car was at fault in an accident?

Self-Driving Semi Trucks are a Reality

Truck drivers may be a thing of the past. Daimler Trucks’ self-driving semi-trucks have been making test runs on state highways in Nevada with drivers serving as “logistics engineers” – meaning they are make sure everything runs smoothly while the truck drives itself. But while other companies like Google have focused on self-driving cars, we are much more likely to see self-driving trucks in the near future due to the simple fact that the types of roads trucks travel – interstates – are not filled with red lights, intersections, or numerous turns, which means the truck’s guidance systems don’t have as much to worry about. Groups are split as to whether this will be a good or bad thing for the industry – while the trucks will put less stress on drivers, there is also the danger that it will lower the demand for trucker jobs.

Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to self-driving trucks? And do you think self-driving vehicles are inevitable?

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Self-Driving Car on its Way to New York City

On Sunday, auto technology company Delphi launched its self-driving car on a cross-country trip from the Golden Gate Bridge to midtown Manhattan. The trip will last 8 days and will culminate with the car’s presentation at the New York Auto Show.

The car, even though it is driving itself, is has carrying several passengers, including someone behind the driver’s seat at all times in order to comply with state laws. The passengers rotate in and out of the driver’s seat during the 8 hours spent on the road every day, while an engineer monitors the car’s data. The person in the driver seat is there to take over if necessary to avoid collisions, but the car is loaded with software and sensors in order to let it make “human-like decisions such as exiting and entering highway traffic, navigating city streets, or parking.”

Self-driving cars were always seen as a thing of the future, but apparently that future is much closer than we imagined. It’s possible that a self-driving car can eliminate problems like DWI or certain traffic accidents, as well as reduce the amount of traffic in cities and interstates that is caused by driver error. But there are always risks that come with automation – if there is an equipment malfunction, the person in the driver’s seat must be aware enough to take control of the car to avoid a serious situation.

What are your thoughts on the self-driving car? Is it a dream come true? Or are there unforeseen circumstances of putting too much responsibility on technology, especially when it comes to something as serious as driving?