Monday Autonomous Vehicle Round-Up

Herd of cattle at a lakeside by Conrad Bühlmayer
  • Argo AI built a self-driving test facility at the Munich airport. These types of test facilities are still necessary for alpha testing, but they’re a lot less important in the US than they were a few years ago.
  • More information on GM’s project to extract lithium from the Salton Sea. The most recent Autonocast episode explores China’s dominance of the battery supply chain.
  • Elon Musk is catching a lot of flack for tweeting, “Didn’t expect [generalized self-driving] to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.” I think every single automotive company (and me!) that predicted self-driving cars by 2020 could write some version of that tweet. I guess the difference is Tesla actually sold Full Self-Driving packages, so they’re on the hook.
  • Autonomous underwater robots will greatly accelerate the discovery of the more than three million lost shipwrecks around the world, according to the discoverer of The Titanic. “New chapters of human history are to be read.”
  • UL, a major standards publisher, joins the World Economic Forum’s Safe Drive Initiative. Creating the definitive set of self-driving standards remains a big opportunity.
  • Ken Washington leaves the CTO post at Ford for a VP role at Amazon. Ken was VP of advanced engineering and research while I was at Ford. I briefly met him a couple times, including when he visited Udacity. Great hire for Amazon.

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