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AV 4.0 Is Out – All Talk, No Action

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, DOT secretary Elaine Chao unveiled the Trump Administration’s AV 4.0, entitled “Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies.”

AV 4.0 is different from the prior three AV iterations, which were generally confined to the DOT’s jurisdiction. AV 4.0 was a joint project between the DOT and the White House’s National Science and Technology Counsel, and encompasses the AV-related activities of 38 federal agencies and commissions (including some interesting ones such as the USPS and NASA), and seeks to place those disparate activities within an overarching federal playbook, which are grouped into 10 policy principles under 3 “core interest” areas. Most of the 56 pages in AV 4.0 is nothing more than a regurgitation of the activities of the 38 federal agencies that have participated in AVs. (more…)

California Authorizes Light-Duty Delivery AVs – Robots Will Soon Be Delivering Your Pizza

California recently allowed the testing and commercial use of light-duty delivery AVs on the state’s public roads, provided the company has a permit from the California DMV. Under the new regulations, companies with that permit (which become available for approval in January 2020) can operate delivery AVs weighing less than 10,001 pounds. Qualifying vehicles include autonomous passenger cars, midsized pickup trucks and cargo vans carrying goods such as pizza or groceries. Delivery AVs will be required to comply with the same application requirements currently in place for testing and deployment of autonomous passenger vehicles. Depending on the permit, companies can test their autonomous delivery service with or without a safety driver. Companies must apply for a deployment (commercial use) permit with the DMV to charge a delivery fee. (more…)

Sprechen Sie “JV”?

In yet another joint venture, Mercedes-Benz and Tier 1 supplier Bosch have developed a joint project to develop AVs. The two companies recently launched trials of automated, highly-instrumented, S-Class vehicles in San Jose, California. Monitored by a safety driver, these vehicles travel between West San Jose and downtown, along San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard. The trials aren’t open to the public, but are instead only open to a “select group of users.” They will use an app developed by Daimler Mobility AG to book a journey by the automated S-Class vehicles from a defined pick-up point to their destination. Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have been working together on autonomous solutions for over two years, with the goal of launching Level 4/5 production-ready vehicles that can be integrated into different vehicle types and models. (more…)

Just in Time for Christmas, Self-Driving Truck Delivers Butter from California to Pennsylvania

Land O’Lakes recently enlisted Plus.ai, a three-year-old Cupertino, California-based startup, to haul a truckload of butter from California to Pennsylvania. Onboard the semi-truck was a safety driver who was ready to take over driving duties in case the truck encountered a situation it couldn’t handle, along with a safety engineer who was aboard for observation purposes. (more…)

VW Charting Independent Course to Putting AVs on the Market by the Mid-2020s

Volkswagen recently announced the creation of a subsidiary called Volkswagen Autonomy (VWAT) to focus on making “market-ready” autonomous vehicles. We’ve previously blogged about OEMs collaborating in the AV space, such as the tie-up between Ford and VW, but it appears that with VWAT, VW is looking to chart an independent course towards producing AVs with a goal of having them on the market by the middle of the next decade. (more…)