News Roundup: Congress Set to Weigh 14 Driverless Vehicle Bills, Univ. of Michigan to Get Two Self-Driving Shuttles, and More

Jennifer van der Kleut

A roundup of new headlines to come out of the driverless, connected-car industry this week:

Congress to weigh 14 driverless vehicle bills next week

The federal government is racing to address emerging mobility technology. Their efforts are being led by a series of 14 driverless vehicle bills that will hit the House floor next week. Some of the bills may be swooped up into a larger package the House will be considering. The bills address a number of issues, including whether autonomous vehicles should have to obtain approval for their technology before going to market, establishing guidelines for the sharing of data, and allowing some test vehicles to be exempt from traditional automobile standards. Read more from The Hill.


Tesla’s VP of Autopilot, a former Apple engineer, abruptly leaves

A mere six months after joining Elon Musk’s team, former Apple engineer of 12 years, Chris Lattner, has left his position at Tesla Motors as vice president of autopilot software. Lattner announced his departure on Twitter, saying it “turns out Tesla isn’t a good fit for me after all.” He added that he was eager to hear about interesting open roles for “a seasoned engineering leader,” and that his resume was easy to find online. Shortly after, Tesla announced that Lattner’s role was being filled by two people evenly — existing Tesla Autopilot hardware chief Jim Keller, and a new hire, Andrej Karpathy, who reportedly has a PhD from Stanford University in “computer vision.” Read more from The Register.


Two driverless shuttles to debut on Univ. of Michigan campus

Mcity, the University of Michigan’s public-private partnership for mobility research including driverless vehicles, will launch a driverless shuttle service on the school’s North Campus this fall. The two shuttles were manufactured by Navya, and are fully automated. Each shuttle can seat up to 15 passengers. “This first-ever automated shuttle service on campus is a critical research project that will help us understand the challenges and opportunities presented by this type of mobility service and how people interact with it,” Huei Peng, director of Mcity and a professor of mechanical engineering at U-M, said in a statement. The shuttles have been being tested since December. Read more from The Detroit Free Press.


Image: Still from Univ. of Michigan YouTube video