Self Driving Uber Kills Woman in Arizona

A self-driving Uber struck a pedestrian walking outside of a crosswalk on Sunday, March 18th in Tempe, Arizona. This is the first reported fatal crash from an autonomous vehicle and pedestrian. Through a tweet, Uber responded to the crash.

Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We’re fully cooperating with @TempePolice and local authorities as they investigate this incident.— Uber Comms (@Uber_Comms) March 19, 2018

Uber first began testing autonomous cars in California in 2016, but at the time the vehicles were very unsafe. They were often running red lights which caused quite a bit of uproar between state regulators and San Francisco based company, Uber. Since then, the company has been testing their self-driving cars in a few states. They did however suspend the vehicles in Arizona last year due to an accident.

The victim of the accident, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking outside of a crosswalk with her bicycle around 10 p.m. on Sunday when the accident occurred. The vehicle, a 2017 Volvo SUV was driving at about 40 mph and most likely didn’t even slow down as it approached Elaine. The operator of the Uber, 44 year old Rafael Vasquez has been cooperative and showed no signs of impairment at the time of the accident.

The self driving cars are meant to detect pedestrians, bicycles, and other vehicles to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, this was not the first fatal crash of a self driving car, only the first involving a pedestrian. Tesla Motors had an accident
in 2016 involving a Model S driving full speed under the trailer of an 18-wheeler semi truck, killing the car’s operator.

Unfortunately, it seems this technology is not ready for use yet, as there have been many incidents with “self-driving” cars. This accident may cause an uproar for reform of the technology and laws surrounding it. Above all else, more testing needs to be done before this tech is readily available to everyone. Some worry the advancements were released too soon without enough regulations.

If perfected, self driving vehicles are easily going to be a part of the future. However, to get there, we need to ensure these vehicles are doing what they are essentially made for- to be better drivers than humans. Striking pedestrians and stopping in the middle of highways is not helping the case of the companies who want to hurry the expansion of this technology. Are we ready to embrace self-driving cars, or do we need to slow down the rush of technology to ensure they are completely safe?

Self-Driving Cars and Delivery are Teaming up For a New Experience

Now more than ever, it’s become easier for people to get things delivered right to their doorstep. No longer do people have to go grocery shopping, hit up the mall, or even venture to a restaurant for food. It seems that society is loving the luxury of having things delivered right to their doorstep. This industry doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, in fact, it continues to grow. More and more of these “on demand” services are popping up, especially when it comes to food delivery.

Postmates is a relatively new app and website which allows you to order from popular restaurants throughout their city. Someone then picks up the order and delivers it right to your doorstep. You don’t ever have to leave your house. Postmates is trying to compete with other big-name delivery services like UberEats and GrubHub. Sometimes, they struggle. It seems, however, that help is on the way for them.

According to TechCrunch, Postmates is now partnering with Ford to test out a self-driving delivery service. It’s great news for both companies. This delivery service will help Postmates make a name for itself, get deliveries out quicker and easier, and more. There is even talk that brick-and-mortar restaurant locations could benefit from this service too. The platform is set to be launched later this year.

This program will allow Postmates and Ford integrate together to see how everything from user interface to customer experience will play out. The ultimate goal is that a pristine on-demand delivery service stems from this. This won’t be the last partnership between the two. If all goes off without a hitch, there will be more to come. So is this the future of delivery and technology? It definitely seems so. With more self-driving cars being tested it was only a matter of time until the delivery services got in on this. There are still a lot of questions floating around this partnership and many who order delivery wonder how things will change for them. Will there be a price increase? A longer or shorter wait time? It will be interesting to see. In the meantime, Ford will continue to own and operate its own fleet of self-driving vehicles but they will continue these partnerships to see how they can better serve society.

Intel Acquires Itseez to Boost Its Push into the Self-Driving Vehicle Industry

Intel Corporation has taken a big step toward evolution by acquiring Itseez, a computer vision firm focused on manufacturing embedded and specialized hardware.

The acquisition announced earlier this week was to further the company’s effort to battle the Internet of Things (IOT) market segments including video and automotive where the ability to electronically understand and perceive images paves way for innovation.

According to Vice President of Intel, the company intends to build a portfolio for the automotive segment by adding to its already existing capabilities including over-the-air software management and functional safety. Given that the self-driving automotive could deliver more than $507 billion in annual profits according to Morgan Stanley estimates, then the market demand is absolutely clear.

CNET reports that even the other technology automakers are turning their attention toward this new technology that powers self-driving cars. For instance, Mobileye Company focused on manufacturing vision-based collision avoidance camera has amalgamated with GM, BMW and Volkswagen. This is an implication of how worth the industry will be in the next one decade.

The acquisition of Itseez will also open computer vision applications in areas of surveillance and digital security as well as industrial inspection. And according to Vice President of Intel, it is Itseez that will contribute toward creating computer standard initiatives including OpenVX and OpenCV.

Together, both Intel and Itseez will set up their input toward these standard bodies to define a technology bridge that will propel much more quickly to OpenVX-based products.