Ankita Tripathi

Mercedes or Tesla? Who is going to mark beginning of Electric trucks?

When the rivalry is making marks on the roads, a week after Tesla announced its blue print of Electric car, Mercedes Benz made its mark for initiation of Electric trucks too, so who is going to be the winner here?

Later this week, Tesla announced its making of driver-less electric trucks that are soon going to hit the road. But while Tesla could grab all eyeballs with this announcement, Daimler(Parent company of Mercedes Benz) revealed one of the electric trucks they are planning to soon launch. In one of the Trade shows Daimler exhibited their light duty electric truck called as “eCanter” posing a competition to Tesla. Daimler is already ahead of its announcement and has tested the truck on roads of Portugal and Germany for about 37,000 miles.

The truck will also be appended with Tablet facility through which you can keep a track when do you need to re-charge the truck and how much battery life is left. Using batteries for electric cars is used keeping global environmental issues in perspective. Not only this but by virtual monitoring, you will also get to know the expected time when the ride will be completed, the weight carried on and if the truck can make it to the destination without recharging en-route. The truck will be equipped with 3 modes: Agile, Eco and auto. We always have auto mode turned on, turning to Eco mode ensures driver stays on target range and agile is for switching to power mode. It will also come with infotainment display to display truck driver’s route and information about the route, distance and speed. According to Mercedes, they are planning to replace the side mirrors with cameras and install display on the left side of the steering wheel.

Creating more buzz, Daimler is expected to mark their beginning exactly when Tesla has announced their mass production of trucks on road. They are planning to role out first sets of trucks in New York, Lisbon and Tokyo by the end of the year 2019. They know it is not a matter of present, but it is all about future and if you fail to execute soon, you will be in loss in the market shares. Now, this is something that needs all the attention as to who is going to make it big in the market?

Electric trucks

Daimler’s eCanter has supposedly tested to travel 100 km when its battery is fully charged while also carrying a cargo with weight of 2-3 tonnes. The battery can be easily charged within an hour if a DC charger of high power is used. Though it is difficult as there are limited batteries that can propel a large vehicle with load to ride for constant hours. They believe this will improve in the future, as battery tech is also improving over the years and can find better and quicker options to get the trucks charged.

Under estimating Elon’s power apparently, head of Daimler’s Truck Asia Mr. Marc quoted that this is one whole big process that is not only about building a consumer good but is more about dealership, maintaining infrastructure and manage maintenance. This is not Elon’s cup of tea alone, so they are least worried about Tesla’s similar launch.

We have all known the power of Elon Musk, that when he plans something he won’t let it go just that simply. We can expect great results from Tesla’s initiation too of Driver-less trucks by the year 2019.

Renault-Nissan to launch Share Driver-less cars

With every company making its mark in launching the driver-less cars in a perfect manner, Renault with its alliance Nissan have stepped one block ahead. They know by analyzing the market that business is going great for the shared car services, recently. In fact, according to reports by Goldman Sachs, the percentage of people using share rides is going to increase 8 times till the year 2030 from its current size.

So, Nissan wouldn’t want to miss even a single chance when other companies are making their mark in the market by launching driver-less cars. They know doing the market analysis that it is not about staying in business for only buying and selling car, that’s why Nissan has stepped ahead and has prepared for launching themselves into providing car riding services also. The Japanese and French people in the company are constantly working on the concept on which service providers like Uber and Lyft work. They want people to plan their journey and make a booking via their services. This will be a big change in the market scenario for Nissan as it is taking a huge step forward.

As per their Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services Division’s head Mr. Redzic, the alliance would begin to take the driver-less cars on road based on their own concept of electric cars soon but not before the year 2020. For making this big and giving a boost start they have shook hands with some small groups of auto makers. Though, the competition is not falling anywhere as BMW AG is also all set to launch the same concept and Uber likely to have these services, already, is preparing for driver-less cars by acquiring Otto.

Redzic was also worried about the launch as the laws still don’t allow driver-less cars to ride on roads. This may portray various issues for the companies laying down their hands with the concept. The guidelines need to change, laws need to be remade in order to allow driver-less cars to take rides on the street.

With the upcoming concept, it is still not very much clear that how is this going to work or make a mark in the long run. How will the cars know when to stop and take up a ride or dive themselves through traffic! But it will be interesting to see the vision various automobile companies are carrying. This surely ensures a big change in the way cars are going to be in near future!

Waymo into Self Driving trucks

Waymo has been considered as the Godfather of Self Driving cars. Since 2009, Waymo is being developed in the Google labs with software and sensors and is here to make a big change in the transportation industry. Already in the progress for launching their driver-less cars, Waymo has now marked their footprints in driver-less trucks.

First images of Waymo’s driver-less truck is out by Jalopnik. They have trucks equipped with radars, lidar and ultrasonic radars. According to Waymo they want to explore new context of driver-less trucks. Owing to the large percentage of accidents that happen yearly due to truck mishaps, Waymo wants that transportation of people and things from one spot to another is done rather carefully and securely.

waymo driverless truck

According to reports, the number of truck drivers has been constantly declining. By the year 2024 it can get decrease to a mere number of 1,75,000 drivers! Waymo has even clearly mentioned that automated trucks are not here to replace truck drivers but only to optimize the way they are used. They plan to handle the monotonous long routes by the automated technology in the driver-less trucks and use human expertise on surface streets where a single mistake can lead to haphazard results.

Waymo has been tackling out their detailing on one of the private trucks in California lately. Major questions like where to manage the sensors on 53-foot trailers, or how to apply brakes and accelerators to limit the speed in a truck, all such scenarios have been answered and tested out by them. The process has been long initiated and Waymo is therefore planning to role out trial ride on the roads of Arizona later this year. Waymo has always been in the business for carrying out fully automated driver-less cars. But with automated trucks that is not the case. The size of truck determines that it is not possible without human intervention to drive through narrow streets, initially. This will be a good challenge for Waymo to develop something like this.

This is taking a huge turn but Uber and Tesla are all ready to take their foot out which actually compelled Waymo to take this step!

It will be interesting to see where does Waymo land with its driver-less trucks!

When will Driver-less cars become a reality? Know All about them!

Autonomous cars

Driver-less cars means cars driven without a driver. The reality check has been done by various automobile companies and by 2018 we can see driver-less cars on road but fully autonomous cars will still be a vision to watch in next 10 years.

Cars without brake pedals, gas or void of any controls is also going to happen but will take a major amount of time. To understand about driver-less cars in deep, we have sorted it for you here:

So, automated driving has levels to be explained set by Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE). Let’s take a walk through all the levels:

  1. SAE Level 0: This in fact is not at all considered under the factor of self driving. You as a human have all the controls of the car. You are the one handling the steering wheel, the brakes and the clutch. The car doesn’t drive or move by itself. The car can only provide you with some warnings by the system like blind spot detection, lane-departure or forward collision warning. So, we can term it as “No Self Driving” level.
  2. SAE Level 1: A little involvement by the system is what level 1 includes. This is a combination of human efforts and system recognition. The system accesses accelerator and steering of the car but not simultaneously. The factors that are handled are adaptive cruise control, keeping the lane or centering the lane assistance, automatic brake for emergency vehicles and anti-lock braking systems. Though all the other dynamic controls have to be handled by human only, few aspects are handled by the system. We can term this as “Limited Assistance”.
  3. SAE Level 2: More than level 1 is what we have access to when we come to level 2. This is probably the level that most of the cars have currently including BMW, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. With this, the car takes control of the steering and brakes together. It assists to change the lane or to center the car in the lane. Lane-keep assist helps the car to come back to the lane when you drift from the lane accidentally or not. At highways, the car will continue to move on its own for seconds or few minutes until your hand is lightly on the steering wheel. No hard access to steering otherwise that may turn up the wheels.
    These factors influence the working of a car on the road, you can refrain yourself from the trouble of not looking at your cellphone while driving or doing any other activity while in the car. Everything is taken care by the system.
    But what is not taken care is other cars changing lanes or coming to your lane or merging from some other lane. The car will not prompt and if adaptive cruise brake is focusing on a car meters ahead of it then probably it won’t focus to closer car and thus fail in making decision.
    The car will also be not able to take sharp turns on mountains or hills and even hard braking. The car won’t be able to apply hard brakes by itself. If summarized, human existence and assistance is still required. So, can’t be termed as completely autonomous.
  4. SAE Level 3: This level can be termed as the beginning of autonomous driving because there are still few conditions involved. This can handle various situations like taking sharp turns or drive on local roads. But a situation arises where the car can no more handle the traffic scenario or any other difficulty then it would need a human to take over within a span of 15 seconds or whatever is recorded.
    This level is kind of very useless and therefore major companies like Tesla and Ford have thought of skipping this level.
  5. SAE Level 4: Terming it as “Almost Autonomous”, level 4 does everything by itself without any human help. It can handle situations when it senses a car coming by slowing down, if the car breaks down it can call for help with telematics.
    If this can do everything why do we need level 5? Well, it is difficult on level 4 for the car to venture out on unmapped areas or drive when the vision for cameras and LIDAR is blocked. Though human can take over the control to dive into unmapped areas but this should be already planned.
  6. SAE Level 5: Everything that a human does, will be expected out of a car if it is on level 5! This means diving through storms, snow, taking steep turns or even driving on roads with worn-out pavement marking, everything will be made possible by a fully autonomous car. No human assistance will be needed in such cars, and probably there will be no driver seat !

When is each company going to launch?

With so many automobile companies taking interest in the autonomous car making, the first ones to launch by 2018, will be Tesla, Audi and GM. According to GM’s CEO Mary Barra “The company expect[s] to be the first high-volume [read: other than Tesla] auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles.”

As per Elon Musk, Tesla’s autonomous car will be on roads and can drive from LA to New York by 2018.

According to Audi’s CEO, Audi A8 Sedan Level-3 equipped will be on roads by 2018 and expects to launch the fully autonomous version of it by the year 2020.

In fact, as per Ford’s CEO they are not even planning to launch level-3 car but will jump to level-4 and come with their autonomous car by 2021. Toyota, Google all plan to launch by 2020. Renault-Nissan will join the league by 2025. BMW in collaboration with Intel is eyeing on the launch by 2021.

What are the issues that are faced?

Issues have a never ending list, as this is going to change the era of driving cars! Not an easy pill to digest by the people and so it would surely take time to adapt and run according to plans. The prime factor that will be a roadblock is managing with the traffic rules and thus it will be required to make special laws for autonomous cars. Everyone expects a single line of similar rules to be worked in the whole US.

Insurance planning will be another hurdle. It will be difficult to manage the price for insurance and also who will be held responsible in case any accident happens.

The cars may cost higher bucks than the normal ones as it is well equipped with all facilities and tools. Cutting down car cost will be a major issue faced by the automobile companies.

Though there are people who will be benefited too. Driving through heavy traffic roads, you can enjoy your own leisure time, no worries about accidents or injuries, long rides can be enjoyed with ease, drink and drive won’t be an issue anymore, people with disabilities will have an upper hand and so many other riding issues are tackled down. It won’t be an impossible dream to catch anymore. There will be instances when we will thank technology! And may be instances when we will feel sorry for it but either way humans are in benefit!

With more such factors, We really look forward to driver-less cars making their way in the near future.

Disruption in Hotel and Airline Businesses due to Autonomous Cars?

Driver-less cars

Our travel plans are well organized before hand and for the ease of our transfer from one source to another destination we have the facility to fly via flights and reach quickly and easily. But is it really that time effective?

Suppose, traveling from my place to my client location takes 1 hour via flight and 8 hours via car. That 1 hour via flight is not exactly 1 hour, it contributes to 1 hour of reaching to the airport, 1 hour of security check ins, 1 hour of waiting and then 1 hour of journey contributing almost 4 hours. Wouldn’t it be easy with autonomous cars, to drive down to the destination with no pain of driving, hassle free journey and a comfortable ride?

Yes! and that is actually going to be a reality which can surely pose a major danger on the domestic flight business and rental hotel businesses. Autonomous cars are planned to be equipped with comfortable passenger seats almost like sofas, where passengers can relax and do their work or simply watch movies while traveling. The same 4 hours of flight journey can be cut down to night travel and reach to the destination for your next meeting in the morning! Business class travelers who will be regular flyers can take up the option of traveling in autonomous cars, relaxing in the car and enjoying their feast.

This also cuts out the possibility of waiting in a motel or taking a room to just grab on your early morning flight. Though some people will still prefer traveling for an hour and getting those extra hours chopped off. So, the domestic flight business is not going to be completely shut down but surely will get affected. Though it is somewhere in near future almost 20 years from now when we can see this happening in a full fledged form.

20 years is a big leap but who knows this can turn the entire travel system!

Ethical Decision making for Driver-less Autonomous cars

Ethical Decision for autonomous vehicles

Who will decide that whether striking a lamp post off its root is not a big deal but to a human being it is? Who will teach an autonomous car the ethical value of life?

With similar questions, the inventors of autonomous cars have been dozed off here and there. Explanations have been asked as to how will a car decide on the spot which decision is good to make while in a dilemma? According to reports, the autonomous cars have been trained ethically to make decisions on road just like a human would do.

According to few researchers from the University of Osnabruck in Germany, teaching a driver-less car to be ethically equipped using algorithms is not a tedious task. How will this work?

During one research plan, people were made to experience virtual reality simulations in intense traffic scenarios. How did humans react while seeing an animal, a person or an inanimate object is how priority was assigned to each. These priorities are then set as values to a machine and therefore autonomous cars can make a human decision while on roads.

But there are situations when even a human is confused as to apply brakes or rather get hurt. Situations like what to do if a dog suddenly comes in front of your vehicle, do you keep moving or you take a sudden turn causing an accident by hurting someone else? Who is responsible for taking such decisions and if something happens whom will we blame?

According to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology :“The algorithms that control [autonomous vehicles] will need to embed moral principles guiding their decisions in situations of unavoidable harm,” In cases where the car has to make a decision on whether to take a sudden turn and hurt the pedestrians or harm the passengers, then the decision should be don’t harm the pedestrians if that means hurting its own passengers. The law makers have to face the obligations of making laws for such situations.

The cars are well equipped with sensors, LIDAR and cameras to inspect the conditions and thus take a decision. Autonomous cars visualize the road conditions, depend on speed of the object that comes in the way. The cars shouldn’t only be ethically able but also fast enough to calculate the dangerous aspects and apply the results.

This doesn’t end the problem here, but one more aspect comes into picture and that is what if the controls are hacked by some anonymous person. He takes over the board and accesses it for his own good. This may lead to yet another difficulty in maintaining road safety.

What can possibly be done?

This situation is no piece of cake. Whether driven by a human or an electric car, the decision making power can fail at times. The cars can be only equipped with making the most optimized decision without breaking the law and also affecting minimum damage both on ground levels and human life.

If ethically cars are programmed, our risk of getting into complex situations and depending on the car will be minimized big time!! Let’s see what all comes forth as the solution!


Driver-less cars to affect the petrol pumps and fuel stations!

With the advancement of autonomous cars, many things at the surface level need to be changed and many sectors will get affected too. Autonomous cars are surely here to change how the world travels! This is no easy way, but that is how everything will take a turn. Normally, cars that we drive are petrol/diesel efficient. For re-fueling of cars, we stop by at nearest petrol pump or fuel station to fill in gas or petrol. But what about when autonomous cars will take over?

The reports have been covered and as Shell’s Head of Business development Mr. Stuart Blyde quotes “I think there’s going to be this different animal of what a station will be in the future and how it serves people”.

According to the surveys carried out and interviews by various automobile industries there will be an absolute ban on petrol pumps and fuel stations by 2040 in France. And according to Volvo this will happen as soon as in 2019. Then we will not encounter petrol/fuel stations but instead electrical charging stations. Electric cars, tested from all brands have a maximum range of running of 200 miles. But if a person wishes to travel more than that, charging is needed and these stations will be helpful.

But it isn’t as simple as it sounds. A lot of infrastructure needs to be changed. Now the stations will face a difference digitally and in energy aspects, but the stations have to provide a bigger base of either providing products, food or customer activities. Charging of cars will require a lot of time. People will need activities or stores to pass their time until the car gets charged. A lot needs to be brought up to support electric cars.

“I was stuck in one of the stations when my car prompted that I need to charge it. But whichever station I would go I wouldn’t find the exact charging point that would charge my car. This was during one of the tests that we were carrying out. Some were out of service or some didn’t have the facility.” said by one of the automobile company’s official. These problems have to be taken care of. There are various charging providers or brands that use different sockets and connections. Ford and Sullivan, termed as the Industry Analysts have provided reports that maximum charging will be carried out at homes, almost 75% of it and Chris, carbon commentator has quoted the same figure to be 90%. People who plan for faster charging and not long range charging are reportedly more.

But still stations will be needed, for people traveling more than the maximum charging range. There are so many chances when we can see fleet of autonomous cars traveling just by the use of a smartphones owned by companies like Uber and Amazon and we are mere travelers. Companies like Shell already provided the facility of paying for the petrol bills by their smartphones. Now, with the commencement of electric cars we need to improve our stations too, make them more advanced. Like if cars under Uber, have to be charged then they can choose a time where the probability of a ride is least like 4-5 am. No parking slots required, just keep moving. When a car is driver-less and has no one inside to assist with driving then the same should be adapted for charging stations. A system should be made where induction charging is provided, cars come and start getting charged.

Electric Car Charging

According to Blyde, the system won’t require a lot of charging points but only optimization. Keep a track of which car gets charged up in what time, and line up the next upcoming car. In this way you are optimizing the process without gaining a lot of space for setting up charging stations.

This will be one hell of technology that will be needed to come into the picture. Will it be easy? No, surely. Setting up an entire infrastructure for automatic charging slots and optimizing the slots by applying algorithmic calculations needs time and expertise. Probably, with the introduction of induction charging, we won’t even need big stores or activities to engage customers, the cars will be able to charge themselves.

This is the future of cars, so it will be interesting to see when crossing a street we would find a charging station instead of a petrol pump. Can’t wait to see the future!!



Renault easy on Toll booths for autonomous cars

Renault for autonomous cars

Over these few months with the advancement of technology in autonomous cars, we have been witnessing major changes with respect to their behavior in different situations. Building an autonomous car is in itself a big deal, from managing the in style of the car to equipping it with cameras and LIDARs, everything is done well with collaboration. No automobile company can do the task of building up an autonomous car by themselves and thus it required a lot of collaboration with tech companies as well.

Now, on road situations are typical than this. By far everyone noticed that almost all situations are covered, but Renault came up with the concept of managing the Toll booths with autonomous cars. This was a bigger question now how to pay toll when you are inside an autonomous car?While dealing with situations like how to spot a pedestrian or how to avoid accidental situations, the companies overlooked the fact that how will an autonomous car stop and pay for toll when all it was built was for humans to handle.

To solve the nitty-gritty aspects of this problem, Renault recently collaborated with a French Road toll operator Sanef that manages around 1700 km of road in France. This is being tested in A13 freeway in Normandy since 2016 and is expected to pack up by 2018.

As per Renault’s Mathew “Maximizing safety for drivers, passengers and others with autonomous cars requires several stakeholders in both government and the private sector working together, each bringing unique expertise.”

How will this work?

Well, reportedly, the system will use a short range Wi-Fi connection that will automatically sensor an upcoming toll booth and indicate the car about its presence, 1 km in advance. Using sensors and HD map solutions, the car then will automatically slow down its speed and will follow the toll lane of automated cars. This modification in cars is not tough to embrace and requires very less amount of trouble to make changes in the design part.

What are the issues still?

The major issue that follows is the fact that Sanef’s toll system in France is only specific to Renault vehicles with this collaboration. In US itself, there are various kind of toll systems, EZ pass being the largest system managed in sixteen North East and north central states.

How can we curb this issue then?

Either one way we can make a single standardized toll system that works the same all over. Like suppose EZ pass system is adapted as the toll system for every country then paying toll and traveling for autonomous cars will be easy and quick.

Secondly, auto license plate recognition can be done. This is done by scanning the license plate number with the help of sensors and cameras to capture the license plate number. The ones found at wrong situations will be billed by the Turnpike authority or any in such case.

Looking at various situations, it is not going to be an easy ride for the autonomous cars. We have been living in a world where doing cashless payments is also not so full fledged now. Then giving over the control of your car to a robotic technologies will be hard to grasp. Apart form humans, there will be conditions and situations which are still under observation as to how to cope up with them. If, this is the future then we need to collaborate and look out for it!


Watch: Audi Summit 2017 Live Now

Audi Summit 2017 is happening live right now at Barcelona. Audi has some of the most exciting line ups for launching today. The A8, Audi AI and a few others we hope. Previously seen as a tease from the Spider Man Homecoming commercial and from the movie itself, Audi A8, where Happy hogan is seen showing off a portion of it’s capability in the movie.

Audi has been at the forefront of innovation when many other manufacturers have been hesitant to change over the years. We’re more keen on seeing what Audi has to offer.

This is a developing story, please follow the video to get the updates.


AUDI to launch Autonomous Driving in A8: Audi AI

Automaker Audi has always stood out as a leader when it comes to adopting newer technologies. At a time when other companies have realised this and are entering into the league,  Audi was the first one to quickly seize the first advantage to acquire a license and take a test drive on the streets of New York. Audi has also acquired license to test on California and Nevada’s road.

New York police has already tested all the routes on which the car will make its ride happen and Department of Motor Vehicles has also given green signal to make its testing happen. There will be 2 drivers, one on driver’s seat and one on the back seat to assure car’s system. Even with Audi’s great deal to have autonomous cars on road, still it will be available by the year 2021 fully on road. Audi is taking help of NVIDIA for directing it with artificial intelligence.

AUDI is all set to launch its new Audi 8 and with this grand launch, it is also set to bring its Audi AI in picture. The big summit opens up on 11th of July, i.e. Today. Though it is for the launch of Audi A8 but its focus will be to launch Audi AI as its next prospect plan! Audi plans to reveal to the people that it is also in the run of making driver-less cars a reality for the public with the help of artificial intelligence. The summit is supposedly taking place in Barcelona, the smart city!

Recommended: Watch Audi Summit 2017 Live NOW 

Audi launching Autonomous Intelligent Driving!

This is not only about Audi, but for the whole Volkswagen group that includes- Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and many more. CEO of Volkswagen group Stadler said “We see potential for highly automated driving also in the city, where traffic is highly complex; this is the ultimate test for us,”. He saw the potential future and believes this is going to increase in perspective of automated Taxis as well. Audi is planning to launch Level-3 automated driving in its new launch of Audi cars. The car can therefore launch up to 35 miles per hour in traffic.
For Audi this began way in past, in year 2005 when they collaborated with Stanford University for the DARPA’s Grand Challenge organised for automated vehicles. Their collaborated team was a winner being successful in driving 150 miles fastest.

Many automobile companies have been grabbing opportunities to collaborate with various other automakers or tech companies to make the product of autonomous vehicles a reality!

For similar cases, Intel has bought 15% shares of their business. Automakers like Audi, BMW and Daimler bought Nokia unit for $2.9 billion avoiding any virtual affect of Apple or Google for location database and making global maps.

According to Rupert Stadler, CEO of Volkswagen group “Artificial Intelligence will be undoubtedly one of the greatest forces of change ever experienced by mankind.”

Check here:

Audi has also launched its surface in the making of big project of building autonomous cars!! Let us the see the future and response from today’s event!