Today's Top News: Ex-Uber CEO Pleads Ignorance, Driverless Grocery Deliveries, Missing a 'Trillion-Dollar Opportunity'
All the Driverless news you need to know from the past 24 hours, bundled together in a tightly written package, about Uber, London delivery services, capital investments, and kangaroos.
In the latest court filing in Waymo v. Uber, ex-Uber CEO and company founder Travis Kalanick says he was unaware that former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski had stolen documents and data from then Google and now Waymo prior to the lawsuit. The statement runs counter to Waymo's filing last week in a San Francisco federal court, in which the company claims Kalanick knew that Levandowski was in the possession of stolen documents while employed at the troubled ride-sharing firm.
According to Waymo, Uber is depending on illegally gotten knowhow from Waymo to develop its driverless fleet, especially for the implementation of LiDAR (light-detection and ranging sensors).
UK-based online grocer Ocado has begun testing home deliveries in London with driverless vans robotics systems maker Oxbotica has designed. The CargoPod vans have begun making last-mile deliveries for grocery orders weighing up to 256 pounds to over one hundred customers, Oxbotica says. The EV's low-noise level and zero-emissions are a good fit for residential-delivery environments.
Carmakers are passing up a "trillion-dollar opportunity" if they follow Waymo's lead and develop vehicles for fleet services instead of adding the tech to existing car models, says Shahin Farshchi, an IEEE Member and a partner at Lux Capital, which has invested in driverless ride-share startup Zoox and Aeva, a sensor supplier startup. Writing for IEEE Spectrum, Farshchi notes how almost 95 million cars were made last year worldwide, all of which could have been potentially equipped with self-drive tech.
I hope the tech industry and VC firms will focus less on the holy grail of cars with no steering wheels and more on enabling millions and millions of regular cars to drive more autonomously, reliably, and safely in the near future. Attention entrepreneurs: Don't pass up this trillion-dollar opportunity!
The reported difficulties inherent in teaching driverless cars to avoid kangaroos have caught the attention of readers worldwide. Kangaroos are a "big problem," Express.be FR reports, echoing intensive media coverage around the world of the "issue." Is there something especially difficult for self-taught artificial intelligence to process visual data from kangaroos from other moving objects that might hop and bounce? Not at all, obviously. The attention has more to do with the psychology of humans and what interests them, who by definition, do not possess the abilities to pilot cars as well as machines are expected to.