Autonomous & Self-Driving Vehicle News: San Francisco, Mercedes-Benz, Boomi & Appen

In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are San Francisco, Mercedes-Benz, Boomi and Appen.

Less is Better than More Autonomous Rides in San Francisco

The city of San Francisco whats to slow-down the launch of more autonomous services because stating that expansion “is unreasonable,” because stopped driverless vehicles block traffic and  emergency responders.

“A series of limited deployments with incremental expansions — rather than unlimited authorizations — offer the best path toward public confidence in driving automation and industry success in San Francisco and beyond,” stated a letter by San Francisco Transportation authorities.

MB Level 3 in USA –Nevada First State

Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first automotive company to bring SAE Level 31 conditionally automated driving to the U.S., with Nevada being the first state to confirm the compliance of the system with state regulations. This significant milestone sets the ground-breaking Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system apart as the first and only SAE Level 3 system in a standard-production vehicle authorized for use on U.S. public freeways. Complying with the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A for Autonomous Vehicles, DRIVE PILOT will allow the driver to hand over the dynamic driving task to the vehicle under certain conditions. Mercedes-Benz has the ambition to continue to expand to California later this year with the certification documents already filed with state authorities. DRIVE PILOT will be available in the U.S. market as an option for model year 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan models, with the first cars delivered to customers in the second half of 2023.

“In the modern world, time is one of the most precious commodities, and giving back time to our customers is a core element in our strategy to build the world’s most desirable cars. Our DRIVE PILOT takes a major step forward in achieving that, and places us at the very forefront of innovation in the crucially important field of automated driving. DRIVE PILOT demonstrates once more that our pioneering spirit is part of our DNA. Certification in Nevada marks the start of its international rollout and, with it, the dawning of a new era.”

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Development and Procurement.

On suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density, DRIVE PILOT can offer to take over the dynamic driving task, up to the speed of 40 mph. The control buttons needed for this are located in the steering wheel rim, on the left and right above the thumb recesses. Once conditions are suitable, the system indicates availability on the control buttons. When the driver activates DRIVE PILOT, the system controls the speed and distance, and effortlessly guides the vehicle within its lane. The route profile, events occurring on the route and traffic signs are correspondingly taken into consideration. The system also reacts to unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers.

“An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning. It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the U.S. market.”

Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA.

LiDAR sensor and redundant systems

The top priority for Mercedes-Benz when introducing such a system is safety, which includes high demands on operational reliability. DRIVE PILOT builds on the surround sensors of the Driving Assistance Package and comprises additional sensors that Mercedes-Benz considers indispensable for safe conditionally automated driving. These include LiDAR, as well as a camera in the rear window and microphones for detecting emergency vehicles, as well as a road wetness sensor in the wheel well. A vehicle equipped with the optional DRIVE PILOT system also has redundant steering and braking actuators and a redundant on-board electrical system, so that it remains maneuverable even if one of these systems fails and a safe handover to the driver can be ensured.

If the driver fails to take back control even after increasingly urgent prompting and expiration of the takeover time (e.g., due to a severe health problem), the system brakes the vehicle to a standstill in a controlled manner while engaging the hazard warning lights. Once the vehicle has come to a standstill, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated and the doors are unlocked to make the interior accessible for first responders.

High-precision positioning system

The exact location of a Mercedes-Benz equipped with DRIVE PILOT is determined using a high-precision positioning system that is much more powerful than conventional GPS systems. In addition to the anonymized data collected by LiDAR, camera, radar and ultrasound sensors, a digital HD map provides a three-dimensional image of the road and the surroundings with information on road geometry, route characteristics, traffic signs and special traffic events (e.g. accidents or road works). This is made available and updated via a backend connection.

This high-precision map differs from maps for navigation devices by, among other things, its higher accuracy in the centimeter rather than meter range and its detailed junction and route model. The map data is stored in backend data centers and updated constantly. Each vehicle also stores an image of this map information on board, constantly compares it with the backend data and updates the local dataset as required. All of this enables stable and accurate positioning through a representation of the surroundings that is independent of factors such as shadows or dirty sensors.

A powerful chipset inside the central control unit provides the necessary sophisticated software functions for conditionally automated driving while important algorithms are calculated redundantly within the framework of a modern security architecture.

Conditionally automated driving on suitable freeway sections

During the conditionally automated journey, DRIVE PILOT allows the driver to take their mind off the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities2. When DRIVE PILOT is active, applications can be enabled on the vehicle’s integrated central display that are otherwise blocked while driving.

Initially introduced in Germany in May 2022, the highly sophisticated Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system was the first SAE Level 3 system in the world to meet the demanding legal requirements of UN-R157. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) first granted system approval based on the regulation UN-R157, paving the way for offering DRIVE PILOT internationally3, where legislation allows.

Geekplus Picks Boomi

Boomi™, the intelligent connectivity and automation leader, today announced that Geekplus Co., Ltd. (Geekplus), which has held the top market share in Japan for four consecutive years in automated guided vehicles (AGV), has selected the Boomi AtomSphere™ Platform to automate its next generation smart logistics platform.

Geekplus was established in Japan in 2017 as a joint venture between Beijing Geekplus Technology Company Limited, a unicorn company with the world’s largest market share in autonomous mobile robots (AMR), and Japanese capital. The company contributes to improving the corporate value of logistics companies by providing services such as sales, installation, 24/7/365 maintenance, and productivity improvement consulting.

With customers in retail, apparel, pharmaceuticals, automotive, lithium batteries, photovoltaics, electronics, and more in thousands of locations worldwide, and approximately a hundred in Japan, Geekplus wanted to expand and generate new revenue streams to lead the company into its next phase of growth. Leveraging its strengths in the supply chain industry, the company is working to build a smart logistics platform in-house for its network of shippers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers. Faced with the complexity of various data formats and the introduction of technologies such as internet of things (IoT), Geekplus needed a tool to simplify and streamline the integration of all its applications and data.///

Appen Releases AI Report

Appen, the world leader in data for the AI lifecycle, announced the release of its State of AI Automotive Report. The report offers specific insights into how the transportation and automotive industries are leveraging artificial intelligence to improve driver and passenger experience, safety, and comfort.

Appen’s research further underscores the important role AI – and the data powering these AI models – will play in the future of the automotive industry. According to survey respondents, some of the most important benefits AI will have on automotive experience include:

  • Crash prevention
  • Emissions reduction
  • Fewer impaired driving incidents
  • Improved traffic conditions
  • Customized comfort

“At Appen, we work with companies across a number of industries to power the deployment of safe, accurate, and comprehensive AI models around the world,” said Armughan Ahmad, CEO of Appen. “Our latest State of AI report indicates that AI has tremendous potential to make the automotive experience safer, more innovative, and more enjoyable than ever before.”

In addition to the benefits of AI, Appen’s findings also noted optimism about the future of autonomous vehicles. While almost 80% of respondents indicated that they currently feel safe with autonomous vehicles on the road, those surveyed also indicated their confidence in a number of AI applications. According to the report:

  • 89% of AI practitioners indicated that they agree or strongly agree that autonomous vehicles are the future of the industry
  • 87% of AI practitioners agree or strongly agree that autonomous vehicles will reduce the number of impaired driving incidents
  • 82% of AI practitioners agree or strongly agree that autonomous driving will relieve traffic congestion in the future

“As we look to the future of the automotive industry, we’ll see two primary themes come to the forefront: safety and experience. Those include for drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians and all others sharing the road.” added Sujatha Sagiraju, Chief Product Officer at Appen. “We’re at a pivotal moment in transportation and AI is leading the charge. With high-quality and inclusive data, those futuristic concepts are right around the corner.”

While data is the lifeblood of any effective AI deployment, Appen’s research also uncovered the importance of human oversight to ensure accurate and safe rollout of AI across the transportation space. In fact, 97% of respondents noted that human-in-the-loop evaluation is important for accurate model performance, which allows for more collaboration and oversight to improve the effectiveness of AI and machine learning models.

Appen’s research was conducted in partnership with The Harris Poll, which surveyed over 500 respondents from around the globe. To see the full State of AI Report from August, visit 2022 State of AI Report.

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