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. Sharing is caring
The University of California, Berkeley, released this week a self-driving car data set that’s some 800 times larger than anything made public previously.
The digital library, dubbed BDD100K, is comprised of more than 100,000 forty-second-long video sequences recorded by autonomous vehicles. The clips shows how the cars perceived obstacles in their path.
The effort’s hope is that crowdsourcing the data will help engineers to better train self-driving systems, which learn by doing (or downloading).
For perspective on the data set’s size, Baidu released a library in March that contained more than 143,000 images as well as 4 video sequences, while the new Berkeley set contains 120 million images and 100,000 recordings.
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Because drive-through chapels are just too old-fashioned, neon-drenched Las Vegas, NV, hopes to make history later this month with the first wedding performed inside an autonomous vehicle.
The Nevada branch of the motor club AAA is hosting an essay contest that asks would-be brides and grooms to make the case, in 400 words or less, why they deserve to get hitched aboard a driverless shuttle.
The ceremony, such as it is, is set for June 30 in the parking lot of Container Park, an entertainment district constructed out of repurposed shipping containers. Classy.
Once the “I-do’s” are swapped, the shuttle will perform two autonomous circuits of the Freemont East neighborhood in which Container Park is situated.
Laugh if you like, but stunts of this sort are helping to normalize autonomous technology (if not to cheapen weddings), so hopefully what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
4. Eyeing A-PAC
Israeli lidar maker Innoviz Technologies said this week it had negotiated a partnership with leading Beijing-based auto parts maker HiRain to supply laser-based sensors to Chinese automakers and technology firms.
Three-year-old Innoviz earlier inked a deal with Magna International, a Canadian automotive supplier, to sell lidar arrays to BMW.
Israel has emerged as a leading contender in the global autonomous race, leveraging its defense expertise—like technology to steer tanks and guide and intercept missiles—to deploy self-driving cars at a startling pace. Other players include Mobileye, which was acquired for $15 billion earlier this year by US chip maker Intel; Israeli radar systems maker Arbe Robotics; V2X firm Outtalks; Israeli AI and visual perception firm Cortica; US collision prevention app maker Nexar; and Israeli semiconductor maker Valens.
5. The Caddy that drives itself
Cadillac’s entire 2020 lineup will include its semi-autonomous driving system, parent company General Motors announced this week.
Cadillac’s advanced driver assistance system Super Cruise, which goes hands-free on interstates with detailed mapping and GPS systems, is currently available only as option on its CT6 luxury sedan.
Its’ two-year plan would put the company in league with electric car maker Tesla, whose Autopilot feature is the most recognized of the advanced driver assistance systems currently on the market.
The move represents the latest chapter in GM’s efforts to revive its flagship luxury brand, and signals the company’s intention to begin pushing autonomous technology to its sister brands, including Chevrolet, GMC and Buick, within the next five years.