The Driverless Commute, presented by Dentons: Volvo’s crystal (lidar) ball; how AVs will change urban demographics, how we shop and commercial real estate; and Waymo’s paid service launches

Welcome again to The Driverless Commute, presented by the global law firm Dentons, a weekly digest clocking the most important technical, legal and regulatory developments shaping the path to full autonomy.

1. Mind reading

Does that pedestrian’s creeping foot means he intends to cross off-signal? What about that cyclist’s fleeting hand wave?

Training autonomous vehicles to anticipate the movements of erratic pedestrians and cyclists remains among the most vexing challenges for self-driving engineers, but Volvo says that new advancements it’s made in lidar imaging—a critical, if unsung, technology that enables self-driving cars to perceive the world around them—amount to a robotic crystal ball.

At last week’s AutoMobility LA show, Volvo, whose booth contained no sheet metal but instead paeans to its evolving technology stack, said it can now track minor hand and leg movements at a distance of 250 meters (820 feet). At 75 mph (a rate far higher than allowed on city streets, we should note), that would provide a window of seven seconds to detect, interpret and respond to any possible dangers down course.

Advancements in predictive abilities aren’t merely novel system upgrades. 

The Driverless Commute, a subscription-based service, is provided by Dentons’ global Autonomous Vehicles team. If you believe a colleague or associate would benefit from this service, please share this link so they may subscribe.

2. This week in “How AVs Will Change Everything”

Urbanists have long regarded the car as a uniquely destructive agent of change, encouraging suburban sprawl at the expense of urban livability. On this, there is broad agreement. Even Henry Ford once said, “We shall solve the city problem by leaving the city.”

It’s plainly true that cars have transformed the modern American city, both large and small, and have played a central role in shaping the country’s social and economic divides as well. But how might the advent of automotive autonomy alter that landscape?

3. The Auto(nomous) Bahn

4. Know everything AV, all the time

Our best-in-industry intelligence service, The Console, marries machine learning algorithms with human analysis to create comprehensive, real-time advisories on everything autonomy.

The Console monitors, digests and packages everything of consequence to your business: television and radio chatter, social media scoops, legislative and regulatory activity, legal filings, acquisitions and white papers.

A service of Dentons’ 3D Global Affairs, which yokes traditional legal capabilities to government affairs, corporate competitive analysis and strategic communications, The Console mines the public record to populate an easy-to-navigate platform. Click here to request a no-obligation demonstration of the service with James and Eric.

Click here to speak with our experts and attorneys across the world to learn more about any of the items contained in this newsletter.

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Eric Tanenblatt

About Eric Tanenblatt

Eric Tanenblatt is the Global Chair of Public Policy and Regulation of Dentons, the world's largest law firm. He also leads the firm's US Public Policy Practice, leveraging his three decades of experience at the very highest levels of the federal and state governments.

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James Richardson

About James Richardson

James Richardson is a strategic communications counselor with 15 years’ experience advising presidential candidates, Global Fortune 500 executives, national nonprofits, and sovereign governments on strategic communications and reputation management. He helps lead Dentons’ 3D Global Affairs practice.

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