Using Torc’s self-driving system, called Asimov, the partners will collect data from various urban safety cases they observe while driving. In addition to data collected by Torc during previous testing, the partners will collect data in Las Vegas this year and in additional cities in the near future. The experience and information gathered will help inform safety for the developing industry.
“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to dramatically reduce traffic fatalities on our roadways, most of which are caused by human error,” said Tim Condon, President & CEO of AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah. “By creating a blueprint for automakers to follow, we hope to build public trust in technology that could save and enrich millions of lives.”
“Autonomous technology will only bring a transportation revolution once it is safe enough and widely adopted,” said Torc Robotics CEO Michael Fleming. “We continue to refine our proven technology and are now working on helping to integrate self-driving cars into society.
The new program is part of AAA NCNU’s larger effort to study and test autonomous vehicles. In October, it announced a partnership with GoMentum Station, the largest testing facility for self-driving cars in the U.S. AAA NCNU also partnered with the City of Las Vegas to launch the nation’s first public self-driving shuttle in downtown Las Vegas.
Torc’s Asimov system is the product of 10 years of autonomous system experience following its third-place win in the historic 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. The Asimov system has been tested on public roads in more than 20 states, including a cross-country drive in July 2017. Torc recently released a list of Asimov capabilities and is testing consumer reactions this week with private demos at CES 2018.
“As one of the most experienced self-driving technology companies, we are excited to be pioneering self-driving safety standards for the 21st century with the country’s oldest auto safety organization,” Fleming said. “We believe that a partnership model is the best way to commercialize this technology.”
He emphasized that exposure to the technology with a trusted brand and frequent interaction are key to increasing confidence. According to a recent AAA survey, 75 percent of Americans confess to being skeptical of riding in and sharing the road with self-driving cars.
In addition to expanding its autonomous vehicle research in 2017, AAA NCNU launched the Bay Area’s first one-way car share service, GIG Car Share, in Oakland and Berkeley.
“From launching the public’s first self-driving shuttle, to launching a one-way car share in the Bay Area, we’re acknowledging that transportation habits are changing,” Condon said. “AAA is over a hundred years old, and we remain committed to continuously innovating in the area of traffic safety.”