News items direct from Driverless Transportation

BYD Company Leads D20 to New High For 2nd Week in a Row

Sixteen price gainers out of the 20 Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) stocks, largely led by BYD Company, ensured this week was a positive one for the D20.

The index jumped 1.7 percent to end the week at 244.4, outpacing the Dow, which rose 0.4 percent, and the S&P 500, which inched up 0.1 percent.

BYD led the D20 for the second week in a row, continuing to ride the rumor wave that the Chinese government is considering phasing out fossil-fuel-based vehicles in some markets in favor of electric vehicles like those that BYD designs and manufacturers.

BYD’s ADR (BYDDY) price jumped 22 percent this week. It has soared 47 percent in value over the past two weeks, moving from $12 per share to $17.60.

Delphi (DLPH) has announced that it will be using Blackberry’s (BBRY) QNX system as the basis for its driverless technology platform. These two D20 companies are working towards a 2019 availability date and will integrate Blackberry’s QNX OS into Delphi’s Centralized Sensing and Location Planning (CSLP).

QNX’s reputation for security was one of the primary reasons Delphi selected it for its driverless operating system.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Baidu, the Chinese search and AI giant, has announced that it has put together a $1.5-billion fund that will focus on driverless technology.

It also announced an upgraded version of its free Apollo driverless operating system, which includes new features like obstacle perception, planning, cloud simulation, high-definition (HD) maps and end-to-end deep learning in this version, numbered 1.5. Who will be Baidu’s first investment?

 

Autonomous Truck Debuts on Roadways in Colorado (With Video)

Jennifer van der Kleut

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in partnership with Kratos Defense and Security Solutions Inc., Royal Truck and Equipment and Colas Ltd., has officially launched the first autonomous truck designed to follow behind road workers and protect them from traffic.

They are calling the vehicle the Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle (AIPV), also known as the Autonomous Truck Mounted Attenuator (ATMA).

Officials in Colorado said there have been, over the past four years, an average of seven crashes per year in which a passing motorist has hit a CDOT truck, putting the driver in danger.

“This is a dangerously high number when you consider that in some instances, a CDOT employee is sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle that was hit. By using self-driving technology, we’re able to take the driver out of harm’s way while still effectively shielding roadside workers,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director, in an official statement. “Our partnership with Kratos proves that technology can take transportation safety to a new level and forever improve the way we work.”

Nationwide, according to the Federal Highway Administration, there was a crash every 5.4 minutes, 70 crash-related injuries every day, and 12 crash-related fatalities every week, in work zones in 2015, making this technology “a potentially game-changing solution for improving safety and efficiency in the work zone.”

Kratos originally developed the technology for the U.S. Army, and recently leveraged it for non-military use. Prototypes were tested on the roadways in August.

CDOT posted the following video on YouTube, showing off the truck in action.

D20 Rockets to New High As BYD, 4 Other Stocks Gain More Than 10 Percent

The Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) exploded skyward, up 14.15 points to a new all-time high of 240.33 this week, led by Chinese automaker BYD.

Eighteen price gainers blitzed two price losers to push the D20 up 6.3 percent, the third-largest positive move ever for the D20. Five D20 stocks had price increases of more than 10 percent.

With the Chinese Government considering a ban on vehicles that use gas, Chinese electric vehicles maker BYD (BYDDY) saw its stock price leap a whopping D20 20.3 percent to close at $14.43 — the largest jump for any stock in a single week in D20 history.

The other four 10-percent-plus price gainers were D20 newcomer Autoliv (ALV) at 14 percent, Japanese-based Renesas Electronics (TYO:6723) at 12.7 percent, Tesla (TLSA) at 10.6 percent, and NVIDIA (NVDA) at 10 percent.

Neither the Dow nor the S&P 500 could hold a candle to the D20’s explosive rise. The Dow gained 2.2 percent to close at 22268.34 while the S&P 500 added 1.6 percent to rise just above 2500 and end the week at 2500.23.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Samsung’s first investment from its new Automotive Innovation Fund was a €75 million investment in TTTech. Among other products, TTTech designs and manufactures advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). In the past, TTTech has partnered with Audi, a division of Volkswagen (VLKPY) and Renesas Electronics Corp. (TYO:6723), both members of the D20.

Driverless vehicle start-up Zoox is searching for additional investments. Menlo Park-based Zoox raised money from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Lux Capital and others based on a $1.5-billion valuation. Rumors are that Japan’s Softbank is interested in investing. Zoox has been very secretive about product plans and strategies.

News Roundup: GM and Cruise Automation Announce ‘Mass-Production-Ready’ Autonomous Car, Renault Teases a Driverless Electric Car That Can Power Your Home, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

GM and Cruise Automation announce ‘mass-production-ready’ self-driving car

Cruise Automation and its parent company, General Motors, which acquired the startup last year, announced this week that their latest self-driving car is ready for mass production. Kyle Vogt, CEO of the San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, said that their latest model has “full redundancy” throughout the autonomous system, so that it’s ready mechanically, and from a sensor and software perspective, to “fail operationally and be safe.” The vehicle itself will be based on GM’s Chevrolet Bolt, and will be manufactured at the company’s plant in Orion, Michigan. GM and Cruise are currently getting everything in place at the plant to be prepared to roll out hundreds of thousands of vehicles per year that, from the outside, look like a normal Chevy Bolt, but on the inside, feature a sophisticated system capable of full automation with no help needed from a human driver. Read more from TechCrunch.

 

Renault Symbioz is a driverless car that doubles as an extra room in your connected house

Renault’s latest autonomous concept car is much more than that. The “Symbioz” is a sleek, ultra-modern, autonomous vehicle whose seats can rotate to face each other and form a comfortable lounge of sorts. In addition, Renault has designed a smart home that pairs with the car. The car can pull into an open space in the house and become an extension of the room. Both doors can open outward in opposite directions so the car morphs into a pod or smaller room within the room, with the rotating seats providing extra seating. In addition, as an electric car that stores energy in the floor of the vehicle, the car can also serve as a backup power source for the home, providing power in an electrical outage, or supplementing with extra power during peak hours of power usage. Read more and see photos from Car and Driver.

 

Driverless bus taking passengers around site of 2012 London Olympics

Navya is debuting a self-driving bus in London this week, taking as many as 14 passengers at a time on a loop around the park that was the site of the 2012 Olympics. Though the buses are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour, they will be capped at just 5 miles per hour while operating around Olympic Park. The entire loop around the park takes 12 minutes. Alistair Gordon, CEO of Keolis, the company that is supplying the buses, said the ride is proving to be very smooth and feels like “gliding.” “You’d never know there was no driver in the vehicle,” he told V3. So far, passengers are telling news outlets that they have enjoyed the ride and found it to be “the perfect way to try out an autonomous vehicle” at a slow speed in an environment they found much safer than being on the open road. Read more from V3.

Image: The interior of a Renault Symbioz car, inside a Renault Symbioz smart home. Credit: Renault

NVIDIA Loss Leads to D20 Drop

Even though price gainers outnumbered price losers 11 to nine, a 4-percent drop by NVIDIA (NVDA) led to an overall drop for the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) this week.

The D20 stepped back from an all-time high after three consecutive weeks of gains by losing 0.2 percent of its value, closing at 226.18. The Dow and S&P 500 followed suit by losing ground as well. The Dow lost 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 gave back 0.6 percent to close at 2461.43.

NVIDIA’s 4-percent share price drop was the primary reason the D20 lost ground this week.  Now at 23.7 percent of the D20’s total value due to its 560-percent rise over the past 18 months, NVIDIA lost $6.77 per share and closed at $163.69 this week.  Even small movements in NVIDIA’s share price seem to move the D20 value considerably.

Daimler AG (DDAIF), the parent of Mercedes-Benz, was the D20’s price percentage gain leader this week. Its share price jumped 6.1 percent as rumors swirled that it is considering a structural organization change that would separate its truck and bus unit.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

LiDAR maker Innoviz has secured a $65-million Series B investment, led by D20 components Delphi Automotive (DLPH) and Magna International (MGA). The money will reportedly be used to prepare for large-scale production planned for 2019.  Innoviz’s LiDAR designs use solid-state components and no moving parts, which should make their systems less costly and more reliable than current systems on the market from companies like Velodyne.

Lyft and Drive.ai have teamed up for a pilot of self-driving cars in San Francisco. Founded in 2015, Drive.ai is a Bay Area-based developer of artificial intelligence software for driverless vehicles that uses deep learning algorithms.

News Roundup: U.S. Federal Government Passes Self Drive Act, Startup Uses CCTV Footage to Improve Driverless AI Systems, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

A look at some of the biggest headlines to come out of the driverless, connected-vehicle world this past week:

U.S. Houses passes Self Drive Act with bipartisan support

There’s a lot of division in American politics these days, but there appears to be one area where both sides of the aisle can come together–and that is the importance of advancing autonomous vehicles. The federal government on Wednesday passed a bill that takes safety regulations and guidelines of non-commercial, driverless vehicles out of individual states’ hands and makes it a federal issue. The bill blocks states from regulating “the design, construction, or performance” of automated vehicles, arguing that too many individual states have been passing contradictory laws that, together, are hindering the technology’s progress and prevent vehicles from traveling over state lines. The bill does allow technology and vehicle companies to seek exemption from federal safety standards for up to tens of thousands of vehicles at a time, provided that “safety is not downgraded.” For example, if Google’s Waymo doesn’t want to put steering wheels in their self-driving cars (as they have been known not to do), they can apply for an exemption if they can prove it does not diminish the car’s safety. The Self Drive Act does not apply to commercial trucks bigger than 10,000 pounds, or vehicles meant to carry more than 10 passengers or hazardous materials. The trucking industry is a sensitive area for the federal government as it relates so much to the economy, particularly when job losses for human drivers are considered. Read more about the Self Drive Act from the Washington Post.

 

FiveAI using CCTV footage to study intersections to improve driverless car software

UK-based startup FiveAI is using the City of London’s existing CCTV footage of certain intersections and street junctions to study car and driver behavior to create better simulations for improving self-driving car software. In particular, FiveAI’s engineers want to study how human drivers, cyclists and pedestrians react differently to traffic lights from country to country. For example, in one country, cyclists may tend to obey all traffic lights as though they were driving a car, such as by stopping at a red light or observing a stop sign, but in another country where cyclists are more bold, they may breeze right through a similar intersection. Engineers say that by studying this behavior, they can better train artificial intelligence (AI) systems to better predict human behavior in different situations. That encompasses one of the company’s two main focuses currently–prediction. The other focus is perception. FiveAI is working to train AI systems to better sense how far away an object or obstacle is, and overall to create a “dynamic model of the world around it,” to help build a more detailed navigational map of the world. Read more about FiveAI from WIRED.

 

Honolulu to begin testing driverless rail cars

Honolulu rail officials have partnered with Ansaldo Hawaii Joint Venture to build driverless rail cars. Testing of the rail cars was set to begin this week in a short circuit loop on a section of elevated railway in Wapiahu. A human operator will be on board during the testing. In addition, lawmakers approved a bill that would increase the city’s hotel tax by one percentage point to raise another $2.4 billion for the project. The governor is expected to sign the bill. Read more from the Business Journal.

D20 Hits New High With Volvo AB as it Welcomes Autoliv to the Index

It was a banner week for the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20), which hit a new all-time high thanks to gainers like Volvo AB, while also welcoming a new stock into the mix.

This week the D20 welcomed Autoliv (NYSE:ALV) to the index. Autoliv replaces Mobileye (MBLY), which announced its purchase by Intel (INTC) on March 13, 2017 and completed the transaction in August.

Autoliv has 2016 revenues of $10 billion from the sale of passive and active automotive safety systems including components and systems required for driverless operation.  Autoliv (ALV) marked its debut in the D20 by adding 3 percent to its value as its stock price jumped from $106.07 to $109.27 a share.

The D20 overall ended the week at a new all-time high by rising 2.1 percent and closing at 226.56. Its third consecutive “up” week also beat the Dow, which managed a 0.8-percent gain, and the S&P 500, which climbed 1.4 percent to close at 2476.55.

D20’s leading price percentage gainer was the Swedish truck and heavy equipment manufacturer, Volvo AB (STO:VOLV-B). Its price jumped 6.7 percent to close at 145.60 SEK on news that its cost-cutting efforts and construction equipment sales growth drove a 58 percent surge in its first quarter earnings.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Grab, Uber’s main rival in Southeast Asia, has announced that it has taken an investment from Toyota for an undisclosed amount. The investment comes from Toyota Tsusho, Toyota’s general trading company. There is a second element to the transaction in which Grab will share driving pattern data for 100 Toyota cars in Grab’s fleet that is collected by Toyota’s driving recorder, Translog. The large international automotive brands all seem to be buying into the ride-sharing industry. First, General Motors invested in Lyft. Volvo and Daimler Benz have partnered with Uber, and before Toyota’s investment, Honda had also invested in Grab.

Ford and Domino’s Team Up to Autonomously Deliver Pizza, Uber Promises Self-Driving Taxis in Toronto By the End of the Year, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

Ford and Domino’s team up to deliver pizzas in autonomous cars (sort of)

Ann Arbor, Michigan residents have a chance to get their pizza delivered in a driverless car–sort of. Domino’s teamed up with Ford Motor Co. for a special pilot program to test people’s reactions to receiving their pizza from a robot. However, though the car is fully capable of driving itself, a Ford engineer will still be behind the wheel, just in case. Customers who order pizza in Ann Arbor will be notified when their pizza has arrived and will have to go outside to meet the car and remove their pizza from a warming oven slot in the outside of the car. Both Ford and Domino’s want to gauge people’s reactions to the technology as well as to having to walk outside to get their pizza themselves, rather than have a delivery employee ring their doorbell. Ford said this is the first step toward many autonomous plans they hope to realize in the future, including robot taxis and delivering groceries via self-driving cars. Read more from Bloomberg News.

 

Tesla releases Autopilot update

Earlier this month, Tesla Motors released a new update to the Autopilot software, namely the “2017.32” update, to all vehicles equipped with the second-generation hardware. The sole new feature introduced was Automatic High Beams, which automatically switch back to low beams when oncoming traffic is detected. Other than that, the only changes with the update were general improvements to the Autopilot software. Founder and CEO Elon Musk famously announced in October that a new update would make all cars worldwide fully capable of driving themselves, but it appears that update is still coming. Reports have detailed clashes between Musk and his engineers over the announcement, claiming they were not told the announcement was coming and were unsure of the technology’s safety and reliability, particularly after a July 2016 crash in which a driver utilizing Autopilot was killed in a crash. It remains to be seen when Musk’s promise of a fully autonomous Tesla will come to fruition. Read more from Elektrek here and here, and read more from Inc. Magazine here.

 

Uber promises self-driving taxis in Toronto by the end of the year

Seemingly bouncing back from a hiatus following a crash involving one of their self-driving test cars in March, Uber is getting self-driving cars back on the roads of Toronto. The rollout is starting small with only two vehicles doing mapping and data gathering on the University of Toronto campus to improve efficiency and accuracy, but Uber promises the vehicles will be fully operational and able to pick up passengers by the end of this year. Read more and see a video from Complex Canada.

15 Gainers Help D20 Rise, Autoliv Replaces Mobileye

Fifteen price gainers ensured the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) would rise for the second straight week, while we prepare for Autoliv to join the index.

The D20 added 2.53 points to close at 221.82 for a 1.2-percent gain. It doubled up the Dow, which gained 0.6 percent to finish the week at 21,812.67, and also beat the S&P 500, which rose 0.7 percent.

Leading price percentage gainers Blackberry (BBRY) and Magna International (MGA) each added 3.6 percent to their stock prices this week.

With Intel completing its acquisition of Mobileye (MBLY) soon, the D20 will be deciding upon a new stock to replace it in the index.

Mobileye was a pure play in the driverless field, as its only products were driverless or assisted driving systems. One consideration was to replace it with Intel (INTC), who is buying Mobileye. But this would make the D20 act more like the big indexes, as Intel is a member of both the Dow and S&P500.

Another thought was to replace them with another auto manufacturer like Toyota (NYSE:TM), but with six car companies already, the D20 is over-represented with automobile manufacturers.

In the end, we at DriverlessTransportation.com decided AutoLiv will replace Mobileye in the D20.

Autoliv is a global firm headquartered in Sweden and traded on the NYSE. There is large enough volume of trades to make their stock active enough to add to the D20. Their products are automotive safety-related. They have two divisions–passive safety, which manufactures airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels, and active safety, which designs and delivers collision avoidance, radar and vision systems.

Autoliv recently formed a joint venture with Volvo called Zenuity to sell driverless cars based on NVIDIA’s Drive PX platform.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Cubic Telecom, a Dublin, Ireland startup, announced that is has raised $46.5 million in a Series C venture round to increase the size of its engineering team. Cubic’s software solution enables car manufacturers to build cars with common “connected” hardware and be able to sell them in countries with different “connected” protocols and service providers. Audi and Qualcomm were investors in this round.

News Roundup: Waymo Gives Driverless Cars Ears As Well As Eyes, Russia Debuts Autonomous Grain Harvesters, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

A roundup of headlines to come out of the driverless and connected-car industries over the past week:

New self-driving technology by Google’s Waymo gives cars ears as well as eyes

Company representatives from Waymo say new technology they have developed checks off yet another box in the efficiency of driverless cars — being able to sense sound as well as physical objects in the car’s surroundings. Up until now, cars like those developed by Waymo have featured a series of cameras and Lidar and radar sensors to help visually detect obstacles in the car’s way, such as pedestrians, animals, changes in road conditions and the like; but then there’s the matter of sound. For example, human drivers usually hear disturbances like sirens from emergency vehicles or the screeching of tires that can signal a collision may be about to happen, before they see it. Waymo engineers said they felt being able to “hear” obstacles is almost as important as being able to see or sense them, so they have designed a stereoscopic microphone that can pick up sound from twice as far away as their previous cameras and sensors, and can also detect in which direction the sound is coming from, to help pinpoint the source. Test cars featuring the new microphone technology have already been deployed in Chandler, Arizona, and are already showing promise. The cars are already collecting a vast database of sounds from a variety of sources to help future vehicles recognize sounds even faster. Read more from WIRED magazine.

 

Autonomous trucks designed to protect road workers debut in Colorado

According to reports, being a road worker is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. Countless workers are injured or lose their lives every year as they are hit by vehicles in passing traffic while they perform maintenance or repair work on the side of the road. In Colorado last week, autonomous trucks debuted that are designed to follow behind road workers and act as a barrier to protect them. Typically, these types of trucks are driven by other workers, but even that proves dangerous as the trucks are often hit by cars, injuring or killing the drivers. The autonomous trucks now being tested in Colorado are electronically “tethered” to another truck in front of them, and are programmed to immediately pull over if that electronic tether is broken or disconnects. The trucks and their underlying technology were developed by Pennsylvania-based Royal Truck & Equipment, in partnership with Colas UK out of Britain. Read more and see video footage from KGWN-TV.

 

Autonomous grain harvesters debut in Russia

Russia has debuted what is believed to be the world’s first autonomous grain harvester. The machine was designed by Cognitive Technologies and drives itself through a field, pulling up grain–a task that used to be controlled by a human driver/operator. The debut of the machine, called the Rostselmash RSM 181 Torum, took place in Rostov in southeastern Russia. Company spokesperson Andrey Zuev said the machine took five years to develop and is much lower cost than other types of driverless vehicles to build and operate, mostly due to the fact that it only requires a single video camera to detect obstacles and seek out grain to harvest. The machine’s single video camera can sense all five types of obstacles needed to do its job – grain (even as short as 30cm), edges and rows, sloping ground, parts of the machine that are in the path of the camera, and all other objects such as other machines, trees, non-grain plants and more. Cognitive Technologies expects its Rostselmash autonomous grain harvester to be ready for mass production by 2023-24. Read more from Grain Central.

Image: Autonomous trucks follow and protect road workers in Colorado / Credit: CBS