The future of transport: Obama admin proposes investing $4 billion in automated car industry

The President’s FY17 budget proposal would provide nearly $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multi-state framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.
— Department of Transport statement
  • The Obama administration has proposed proving $4 billion in funding over ten years to further the development of automated vehicles. 

  • The U.S transport department said the investment would be used 'to accelerate the development and adoption of safe vehicle automation through real-world pilot projects'. *

November 6th, 2016

Toyota to invest $1 billion in AI research and development

  • The Japanese automaker will establish a research division known as Toyota Research Institute, headquartered in Silicon Valley with an additional base near MIT in Massachusetts. The institute will focus on researching technology related to artificial intelligence and robotics. 

  • Dr. Gill Pratt, Toyota's executive technical advisor, will be the chief executive of the new operation. Dr. Pratt said that goals of the project included decreasing the likelihood of a car being involved in a crash and making driving more accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. 
  • Akio Toyoda, Toyota's president, echoed this sentiment saying that his work planning for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games illustrated to him the benefits automated cars could bring to people. 

Toyota retail sales

*forecast (Nov 15)

October 15th, 2015

Tesla sends out over the air driverless software update 

The electric car maker began sending a software update to 60,000 of its vehicles overnight.

  • Since last October, Tesla has been fitting its Model S cars with the tools that would allow the Elon Musk led firm to activate self driving technology in the Model S when the software was ready.

  • Dubbed 'Tesla Autopilot', the company claims the new features will relieve drivers of the 'most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects' of road travel. 

  • Comparing the system to the autopilot used on planes, Tesla said the driver would still be responsible for, and still in control of, their vehicle. 

  • Jalopnik's Michael Ballaban, who test drove a Model S using the software, wrote 'even if it’s just the holy grail of cruise control, its execution is almost perfect'. 

  • One of the features of Tesla Autopilot, described by Ballaban as 'creepy', is its ability to change lanes by itself. This feature is thought to be an industry first. 

Tesla Autopilot: What can it do? 

  1. Steer within a lane.
  2. Change lanes.

  3. Manage speed.

  4. Steer.

  5. Brake.

  6. Scan, search and identify a parking space.

  7. Parallel park. 

Tesla delivered 208 Model X vehicles in the fourth quarter

  • Tesla, the electronic automaker, said it delivered 17,400 cars in the three months to December, just within its forecasts. 

  • 17,192 of the deliveries were for Tesla's Model S saloon vehicle - only 208 of the new Model X SUV's were delivered out of 507 produced with the rest to be delivered early this year. *

  • For the whole of 2015, total deliveries were 50,580 - the first time the company has surpassed the 50,000 mark in a year but at the lower end of expectations. 

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