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Uber Suspends Robocar Testing After Crash

The crash flipped the Uber car, a Volvo, onto its side

1 min read
uber robocar flips on side
Photo: Mark Beach/Fresco News/Reuters

Editor’s note: On Monday morning Uber announced that it had resumed testing of its self-driving cars in San Francisco and that it would resume testing in Pittsburgh and Tempe, Ariz., later in the day, according toBloomberg.

Uber has temporarily suspended the testing of its self-driving cars following the crash of one of them in Tempe, Ariz. The ride-hailing company had also been conducting experiments in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

"There was a person behind the wheel [of the Uber car]," Tempe police information officer Josie Montenegro told Bloomberg. "It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision." She added that the crash had apparently been caused by another vehicle’s failure to yield.

The crash was no mere fender-bender: The Uber car—a specially equipped Volvo—was left lying on its side. Contrast the evident violence of that accident with the record racked up by Waymo, the spinoff of the Google car project, which has had only a few minor scrapes during its years-long testing.

A month ago Waymo accused Uber of purloining aspects of its robocar technology, in part by hiring Waymo engineers, notably Anthony Levandowski. Waymo claims that Levandowski brought along gigabytes-worth of Waymo’s plans for lidar sensing systems.

NuTonomy, which is also investigating robocars for a ride-hailing service, yesterday told the Boston Herald that it would continue its testing in South Boston. NuTonomy has another such a program in Singapore.

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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