I am spending most of today “in the field,” at The Villages, San Jose, where Voyage is preparing to launch a driverless robotaxi service for senior citizens.
This is my first trip to The Villages, and my first time riding in a Voyage vehicle. I love it!
I’ve been fine-tuning the brake control parameters for our 3rd-generation vehicles, largely from home (everyone works from home right now), using data collected in the field by our operations team. Today was an opportunity to ride along in the vehicle itself and see how well the brakes perform.
Riding in the vehicle is…
My work with pyplot continues. I spent some time today working with 3D plots. matplotlib (the parent library of pyplot) does a great job making 3D plots with very little code, but it doesn’t quite go far enough to make it trivial.
In my particular case, I had a big collection of 3 dimensional data points. These were actually motion control points related to acceleration, velocity, and brake, but you could just as easily imagine these as lidar points with x, y, and z coordinates.
In a perfect world, I’d pass these points to pyplot and get a 3D plot.
PIX is an under-the-radar electric, autonomous vehicle manufacturer in the “small” city of Guiyang, China. I put “small” in quotes because Guiyang, while small relative to other Chinese metropolises, has a population of 4,000,000 people, which would make it the second-largest city in the United States!
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Guiyang and work with PIX on a self-driving car bootcamp that they jointly hosted with Udacity. Students from all over China flew in and spent a week building…
My latest Forbes.com article features a discussion with Yariv Bash, CEO of the Israeli drone delivery company Flytrex, about aerial technology, drone regulation, business models, and a “future of instant gratification.”
“Flytrex’s model is to utilize existing in-store fulfillment processes and then complete delivery with a drone. Store associates can prepare a drone delivery order for pick-up, just like any other type of pick-up order. Then a Flytrex team member will take the order from the store to a drone outside the store.
The drone will fly the order to the customer’s house, hover, and lower the package to the customer on a wire.”
Several years ago, the company was the first to offer self-driving rideshares, with a safety operator, to the general public, in partnership with Lyft. Lots people have used Lyft to fetch a self-driving robotaxi up and down the Las Vegas Strip. In most cases, however, the human safety operator took over driving responsibility in the most complex environments, such as hotel drop-off lanes.
Motional’s move to full driverless testing has been a step removed from the Lyft pilot, although both take place…
Cruise, which is emerging San Francisco’s hometown self-driving car company, just announced plans “to build one of the largest electric vehicle charging stations in North America” in a formerly industrial, now gentrifying area of the city known as Dogpatch.
This makes a lot of sense, given Cruise’s commitment to a 100% electric fleet, and its commitment to developing, testing, and launching its service in San Francisco.
There has long been some question as to whether robotaxis will journey far away from the city limits for charging and parking during off-hours. Initially, that may not make sense, since it would entail…
This surprised me a bit when I first go to Voyage, because most of my core motion control work is in C++, wherease pyplot is (perhaps obviously) a Python library.
But it turns out that switching over to Python for visualization can make a lot of sense, because much of the time our C++ code generates flat text log data. This data can be read just as easily (easier, really) by Python as C++. …
Ed Garsten just published a good Forbes.com article on the only topic (bizarrely) over which I have ever really seen self-driving car engineers get really angry at each other: DSRC (“mesh”) versus cellular networks for vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
“Score a big one for C-V2X which had previously won over Ford, which said in 2019 it would start installing the technology in its vehicles during calendar year 2022. But in Europe, Volkswagen AG, the world’s largest automaker, is already building DSRC-equipped vehicles setting the tone for the rest of the continent. In China, the world’s biggest automotive market, automakers have sided with C-V2X.
I am always amazed at how passionate engineers in this space are about this question. Still unsettled!
I liked this post on Twitter today:
Then I tried to track down the story, to learn the details, and found…nothing?
First I noticed that that tweet itself doesn’t link to a news story. That’s unusual, but maybe that’s more common in China. I’m not sure.
Then I searched Google (Baidu probably would be more helpful, but I don’t read or write Chinese) and found very little. SF Express does seem to be a Chinese logistics company, akin to Fedex or UPS in the US. …
Last year at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference, one of the premier academic conferences in the field, a team of researchers from Princeton and Ulm published a technique they developed to ricochet (“relay”) radar off of surfaces and around corners. This is a neat paper, and I have connections to both universities, so I saw this in a bunch of different places.
The research focuses on non-line-of-sight (NLOS) detection — detecting objects and agents that are hidden (“occluded”). People have been trying to do this for a while, with varying levels of success. There are videos on…