Tauranga testing driverless cars

It’s been a bumpy road to perfecting driverless cars but they appear to be here to stay despite the fact that driverless cars still crash, as seen recently with the Tesla speeding fatality in California.

Driverless Tesla on autopilot

The technology’s developing almost monthly though and real life road testing is widespread in Europe, the US and Australia – and now Tauranga! According to New Zealand’s foremost authority on the wider automotive industry, Company Vehicle magazine, Volvo will start testing a driverless car in Tauranga on November 18th this year. Volvo have always been ahead of technological and car safety developments and have made some bold claims this year. This includes the objective that no person will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo after 2020 – only four years away! We will be watching the Tauranga trials with interest, and wish them more success than Tesla has had recently.

See Company Vehicle’s full coverage at http://companyvehicle.co.nz/view/article/autonomous-vehicle-nz.

4 Responses

  1. Robert
    | Reply

    Bring it on Tauranga. Driverless car technology is really accelerating – haha! There way ahead of us in Europe and France is testing of driverless buses now. Its a shuttle bus called ARMA for 15 passengers and does about 40km top speed totally battery operated. No crashes yet but its a bit cheaty because it only runs about 2ks along a straight road with no intersections.

    Driverless crashes will be a major problem. There have been plenty of car accident claims with the driverless cars already and its going to get messier. Insurance companies will have to change the way they do car insurance business and claims when theres “no one” to blame. They say there won’t be any crashes but thats not possible but probably not many. The panelbeating trade will be toast before long anyway thats for sure, the way insurance companies dominate the industry you’d think there trying to drive them out of business on purpose. Maybe the plan is to buy them all up, the same as whats happened in Aussie. Anyway technologys still got a long way to go before there are NO crashes. Just ask Tesla! That looks like the Tesla fatality picture from California? Hopefully no such probs in Tauranga – good luck with the testing!

  2. Villi
    | Reply

    woooo scary Tauranga! Less car accidents would be good but you cant replace professional drivers and the work we do.
    The click through is not working Crash but I got to the news story pasting the address up the top. Good information but I think I prefer to stay our of Tauranga when this is happening!

  3. JJ Smith
    | Reply

    So much news about self-driving cars – is anyone asking if this really is a good idea, why this technology is even necessary, and who’s making all the money? They still crash and they still need insurance claims and panelbeaters to fix them. Last year Google’s driverless car provided one more stick for traditional car drivers to beat modern cars with. The world-famous Google street view car crashed into a bus, in the middle of a busy street, which resulted in some broken glass, and thankfully, no broken bones. The incident put the reliability of the car’s system and driving algorithms into question, as an independent investigation concluded that Google’s car was at fault.

    It is common knowledge that the self-driving cars of the 21st century are a relative novelty that require constant maintenance, tech updates and additions to their code, in order to keep improving their adaptability to different situations and driving conditions. This has prompted a blogger by the name of John Thuma to write an open letter to Tesla Motors (and Google), imploring them to release the code for their driverless car’s computer system, in order for people (outside contributors) to speed up the evolutionary process of the car’s AI.

    This would mean that individuals would be allowed to make suggestions and input their own edited code into the programs that, as Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and chief executive, has stated, need constant tweaking. Musk has also stated in the past that even though the system is reliable, drivers should keep their hands on the wheel at all times, meaning that unforeseen circumstances might result in a terrible crash if the computer is left on its own devices.

    Thuma has a few suggestions for the developers of the driverless system. He encourages these companies to educate the public in why driverless cars are an important step forward in the evolution of road travel. Drivers must be educated “about the dangers of driving and why it’s in our self-interest to let automation rule the road.” Secondly, even though he recognizes that Google and Tesla’s intellectual power, reach and economic capacity is quite impressive, these two companies alone cannot create a driverless society if they are the only ones working in this field.

    He warns about the potential impact driverless cars will have on our society as a whole. If done right, and if it truly becomes mainstream, driverless cars will completely change our culture, the way we build roads, understand cars etc. In other words, it will completely transform the automotive market and flip it on its head, which is why, a careful approach is the way to go, but not without the input of the more broad group of engineers, programmers and drivers.

    The most important thing in this case is probably the safety factor. Monetizing technology is very important in a capitalist society, but when developing this kind of technology, ultimately, the safety of the people is the only thing that really, truly matters. The ball is in your court, Tesla. And Google. And Apple.

  4. Dave J
    | Reply

    There’s another side to this driverless car hype – no one’s interested! I saw a very good article today that presented the other side of the story so in the interests of balanced information sharing here it is:

    ONE THIRD OF MOTORISTS SEE NO ADVANTAGE OF DRIVERLESS CARS
    Many drivers are scared or see no benefit in using automated or driverless vehicles, a new survey has revealed.
    As part of a Vision Zero campaign, Continental Tyres spoke with 2,000 motorists about their the positives and negatives of the new technology.
    The survey revealed that 44% were more scared of autonomous vehicles due to the lack of personal control, despite potential benefits. It was also revealed that 37% thought that drivers were becoming too lazy on technology, and while 36% were worried about potential security risks like hacking.
    Continental Tyres safety expert Mark Griffiths said that motorists were less interested in technological advancements and just wanted “real-world benefits”.
    “Drivers have to contend with immediate real world issues like congestion, the cost of motoring and environmental impact, and in some instances technologies being developed now are not being identified as a solution for those issues – yet they absolutely are,” he said.
    “Future advances will transform motoring and technology businesses like ours need to explain how present challenges will be reduced or eliminated – like congestion, costs and environmental impact.”
    The survey found over half of road users think the biggest priority for automotive and technology companies to focus on was improved road safety. A further 50% found it important to produce more economical vehicles, while 47% said having less traffic on the road was most important.

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