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Autonomous & Self Driving Vehicle News: lus, Wayve, NHSTA, AVIA, Nullmax & Sony Semi

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In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are Plus, Wayve, NHSTA, AVIA, Nullmax and Sony Semi.

PlusVision AI Perception

Plus, a global leader of autonomous driving software solutions, announced  the launch of PlusVision, AI perception software designed to be used in advanced safety systems, ADAS applications, and higher levels of autonomy. PlusVision utilizes the latest advancements in deep neural networks, including transformer-based models, to provide cutting-edge perception capabilities. The software is compatible with all vehicle types and supports a diverse range of hardware and compute platforms. Vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 automotive suppliers can license PlusVision modules to build next-gen products.

“In the shift toward software-defined vehicles, software is getting more complex and needs to be decoupled from hardware in order to accelerate development efforts and feature updates over the air. We developed PlusVision as a flexible software solution with a future-proof architecture that can adapt to the evolving autonomy needs from SAE Level 0 to Level 4,” said Shawn Kerrigan, COO and Co-Founder at Plus. “OEMs and Tier 1s can integrate PlusVision with their own automated driving platform, combining PlusVision’s leading-edge perception capabilities with the product customization they desire.”

PlusVision comprises AI software modules that deliver a high performance unified perception layer suitable for centralized compute and multi-sensor ADAS systems. PlusVision modules are capable of fusing together data produced by cameras and other sensors, such as radars and lidars, to generate a unified output.

PlusVision powers a wide array of automated driving applications including high performance automatic emergency braking (AEB), GSR-compliant features, parking assist, and next-gen ADAS L2+ to fully autonomous L4 products. It has been field tested with real-world deployments through collaborations with top global fleets, OEMs, Tier 1s, and infrastructure providers across the U.S., Europe, and Australia.

PlusVision combines Plus’s L4 perception capabilities with an extensive and diverse data set to create the most advanced driving perception system available on the market. It has accumulated millions of miles of driving experience across three continents.

PlusVision offers exceptional flexibility, automatically adapting to various compute platforms, sensor specifications and vehicle configurations. It delivers detailed outputs that facilitate the integration and fine-tuning of custom driving policies. This enables OEMs and Tier 1s to develop autonomy solutions across different trim levels with a single, unified perception layer.

Wayve Intros LINGO-2

Wayve, the leading developer of Embodied AI for assisted and automated driving, unveils LINGO-2, their closed-loop driving model that links vision, language, and action to help explain and determine driving behavior. LINGO-2 opens up a new dimension of control and customization for an autonomous driving experience. LINGO-2 is the first vision-language-action model (VLAM) to be tested on public roads.

VLAMs hold significant promise for advancing AI explainability. Wayve has been at the forefront of applying large language models to autonomous driving and released its LINGO-1 research model, an open-loop driving commentator, in September 2023. Announced today, LINGO-2 is a closed-loop driving model that deeply links language with driving to provide visibility into the AI model’s understanding of a driving scene.

Wayve’s AI driving models learn to drive off data and experience, without hand-coded rules or HD-Maps. LINGO-2 combines a Wayve vision model with an auto-regressive language model (traditionally used to predict the next words in sentences)  to predict a driving path and provide commentary on its driving decisions. Tested in Wayve’s neural simulator, Ghost Gym, and on public roads, LINGO-2 gives a strong initial signal of what can be achieved by aligning linguistic explanations and decision-making. This integration opens up a new level of AI explainability and human-machine interaction that can build confidence and trust in the technology and create a more collaborative driving experience.

Alex Kendall, CEO and Co-founder at Wayve:

“LINGO-2 is shaping the future of human-vehicle interaction. The Embodied AI we are building will not only automate driving but also create innovative experiences where the driver can interact with the vehicle to gain more confidence and trust in our assisted and autonomous driving systems.”

Jamie Shotton, Chief Scientist at Wayve:

“Language offers a tool for us to interact with robots, understand their decisions, train them faster, and control and customize their outputs. At Wayve, we are driven to keep pushing the boundaries of Science in service of building safe and trustworthy autonomous systems that can meet the needs of everyone, everywhere.”

For more information on LINGO-2, please check out Wayve’s blog.

Markey & Blumenthal Urge NHSTA Action for AVs

Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)  led their colleagues in a letter to Sophie Shulman, the Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urging the agency to take more proactive and aggressive action to address the safety concerns of partially automated and fully automated driving systems. This letter is the latest in the Senators’ ongoing efforts to push auto manufacturers and regulating agencies to take seriously the dangers of partially automated and automated driving systems.

These driving systems, which are becoming increasingly common, present a long list of safety concerns at a time when roadway deaths are already too high. After several high-profile crashes involving both partially automated and automated driving systems, NHTSA has initiated several investigations, but has not taken further proactive steps to make these systems safe enough for U.S. roads.

Cosigners in the Senate include Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

In their letter, the senators wrote, “We cannot allow partially automated driving systems and automated driving systems to accelerate the road safety crisis. NHTSA must take firm control of the wheel and steer manufacturers towards prioritizing safety.”

The senators continued, “Public roads are not a sandbox for manufacturers or operators to play in, and regulatory agencies like NHTSA should be highly cautious about providing lax pathways onto the road for dangerous vehicles.”

Specifically, the letter urges NHTSA to consider several policy actions that would make autonomous vehicles safer, including:

·         Restrict driving systems to the roads they are designed for – partially automated and automated driving systems are designed only for certain road environments, but some manufacturers allow these systems to be engaged anywhere.

·         Investigate confusing marketing that misleads drivers – partially automated driving systems are sometimes marketed as automated driving systems, leading to dangerous situations where drivers misunderstand the driving system’s capability.

·         Explore requiring more robust data collection – vehicle manufactures are required to provide crash data to NHTSA for certain crashes, but this data is often incomplete and insufficient to inform potential regulatory safety actions.

·         Consider proactive standards to make autonomous vehicles safer – outside of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that every vehicle must comply with, there is no additional safety standard partially automated and automated driving systems must meet to ensure the vehicles are safe enough for public roads.

·         Regulate remote assistance operators – Many automated driving systems rely on remote assistance operators to monitor the driving system, but there are no standards governing the credentials, location, or responsibilities of these operators.

·         Exercise significant caution before exempting autonomous vehicles from existing safety standards – some reports indicate NHTSA is considering a pilot program to allow more vehicles equipped with automated driving systems on the road.

In August 2021, Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), calling for it to launch an investigation into Tesla’s advertising of driving automation systems. In February 2022, Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent a letter to Tesla Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk following numerous reports of dangerous braking flaws in Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems and amid several federal safety investigations, voicing serious concerns with the implementation of the company’s technology. In June 2022, the two lawmakers issued a joint statement applauding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for upgrading its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system from a preliminary evaluation to an engineering analysis after identifying additional crashes at first responder sites. In December 2023, the senators sent a letter to Tesla calling on the agency to recall all vehicle components with known safety risks.

CA Local AV Bill Passed

California Senate Bill 915 (SB 915), a Teamsters-supported bill that will allow the state’s local governments to regulate autonomous vehicles (AVs), passed overwhelmingly on April 17 in the State Senate Local Government Committee.

“The Teamsters commend the Senators on the Local Government Committee who supported this bill to protect public safety and good union jobs,” said Chris Griswold, Teamsters International Vice President At-Large and President of Teamsters Joint Council 42“Right now, local communities have zero control over the dangerous autonomous vehicles on their roads. SB 915 will help fix this broken system and keep our communities safe by giving municipalities a voice in the deployment of AVs.”

SB 915 was first introduced in January by State Senator Dave Cortese (D – San Jose). Under SB 915, municipalities can opt out of allowing AVs on their roads, but if they choose to allow AVs, the bill gives local governments the power to create a regulatory roadmap, outline the number of AVs allowed on public roads, and implement standards on data transparency requirements, ADA accessibility, safety and health inspections and more. The San Francisco City Council, Oakland City Council, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors all passed resolutions in favor of SB 915 earlier this year.

Growing support for AV regulation comes amid ongoing AV safety incidents. This year alone, robotaxis in California came within seconds of colliding with children and crashed into a cyclist. In February, Waymo announced a recall of its robotaxi software in response to two of its robotaxis crashing into the same truck minutes apart in Phoenix, Ariz., in December 2023.

“Under current California law, state agencies are the only regulatory bodies with any regulatory authority over AV operations. Instead of supporting common sense regulation, the agencies support Big Tech,” said Peter Finn, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “This isn’t just dangerous, it’s widely unpopular and concerning to voters. The Teamsters are calling on all elected leaders to join the Senate Committee, protect Californians, and pass SB 915.”

new study from the American Automobile Association shows more than 91 percent of U.S. drivers have expressed either fear or uncertainty about fully self-driving vehicles. Despite this, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the Department of Motor Vehicles have refused to implement significant AV safety measures. Instead, the CPUC approved the expansion of Waymo robotaxis in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this year.

“Until California implements responsible guardrails for AVs, Big Tech will influence the deployment of autonomous vehicles on our roads more than voters. This puts pedestrians, first responders, and the general public in danger,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division Director. “The Teamsters applaud the Senate Local Government Committee for ensuring residents throughout the state get to have a say regarding whether they want AVs rolling through their neighborhoods.”

SB 915 is part of the CARS legislative package on autonomous vehicles the Teamsters are advocating for in Sacramento to protect good jobs and public safety. The other two Teamsters-supported bills in the CARS legislative package, Assembly Bill 2286 and AB 3061, passed out of the Assembly Transportation Committee with overwhelming support on Monday and will head to the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee for a vote on April 23.

The California Assembly Transportation Committee on April 15, passed two Teamsters-supported bills, Assembly Bill 2286 (AB 2286) and Assembly Bill 3061 (AB 3061), that would regulate autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the state. AB 2286 and AB 3061 are part of the CARS legislative package on autonomous vehicles that the Teamsters are advocating for to protect good jobs and public safety, alongside Senate Bill 915, which would require AV companies to secure local approvals prior to starting operations.

“The Teamsters applaud the elected leaders on the Assembly Transportation Committee who supported these bills to protect California’s streets and hold autonomous vehicle companies accountable,” said Chris Griswold, Teamsters International Vice President At-Large and President of Teamsters Joint Council 42. “From robotaxis to autonomous big rigs, AVs should not be operating on our roads without a human driver behind the wheel. We cannot trust AV companies to be transparent about their internal operations.”

AB 2286, formerly Assembly Bill 316, requires a trained human operator behind the wheel of self-driving trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, which will preserve hundreds of thousands of good-paying trucking jobs and keep California roads safe. AB 316 was first introduced by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-4) in January 2023 and received overwhelming bipartisan support in the legislature, with more than 90 percent of California lawmakers voting in favor of the legislation.

AB 3061, introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-17), would require AV companies to publicly report any vehicle collisions, traffic violations, disengagements, assaults, or harassment involving their vehicles to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The bill is critical to ensuring public transparency and accountability, especially as AV companies fail to publicly report major incidents on California roads. The California DMV has not tracked at-fault data for collisions involving AVs for several years.

As self-driving trucks are deployed to America’s highways, robotaxis have been reported to run over pedestrians, block first responders from their jobs, come within seconds of colliding with children, and cause traffic pile-ups. These AV safety incidents have driven widespread safety concerns among the California public. A new report from the American Automobile Association shows that over 91 percent of drivers expressed fear or uncertainty about driving alongside AVs.

“The Teamsters are standing up to Big Tech and AV companies who only care about their profits, not about working people or public safety,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Teamsters Western Region International Vice President and Director of the Teamsters Motion Picture and Theatrical Trade Division. “Californians, and the people we elect to public office, have been sounding the alarm for over a year about the dangers of autonomous trucks and cars. It’s past time we get a say on how this unproven technology will impact our lives and our jobs.”

AVIA Sate of AV Report

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry Association (AVIA) announced its first-ever State of AV report, sharing new data and highlighting key insights from AV developers providing the widest variety of perspectives on autonomous advancements to date.

For the report, AVIA conducted a survey of its membership for an update on industry data and trends. Notably, the data reveals that AVs have driven nearly 70 million miles on public U.S. roads – equivalent to 293 round trips to the moon, or driving across Route 66 over 29,000 times. As the unified voice of the AV industry, this statistic applies exclusively to autonomous vehicles, which perform the entire driving task.

“From trucks to robotaxis to zero-occupancy delivery vehicles, we’re seeing a 59% increase in autonomous miles driven since we last reported this figure nine months ago, which is proof of the industry’s growth and success. And this number is growing every day,” said CEO Jeff Farrah. “We’re at an exciting and awe-inspiring moment for the AV industry: autonomous vehicles are revolutionizing the way people and goods move, making our roads safer, and creating new accessibility and economic opportunities for Americans across the country.”

AVIA also asked CEOs of our member companies about their top priorities and potential obstacles for the future:

  • Unanimously, CEOs characterized commercial partnership interest in the AV industry as “positive” or “very positive.”

  • When asked about the biggest challenges facing their company, the most cited answer was “public policy challenges,” expressing a need for clarity of the rules governing AVs.

  • Those surveyed agreed that policymakers need to increase their engagement with the AV industry.

  • When asked about the “single most impactful” action for policymakers, top priorities from member CEOs included rules of the road from federal agencies, clear laws and regulations in the states, and federal legislation to encourage AV deployment.

Below are additional highlights from the survey findings:

  • Top states for planned AV expansion include: Texas, New York, Arizona, Georgia, California, Illinois, Florida, New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina

  • States with the best regulatory environments for AVs: Texas, Florida, Arizona

The State of AV report sheds light on the work behind AVs and those working to deploy the technology’s benefits. It also profiles the exciting safety, accessibility, and economic opportunities that AVs are already delivering to Americans.

Read the full report here.

Nullmax is at the forefront of developing innovative solutions for autonomous driving. With a commitment to safety, efficiency, and performance, Nullmax’s technologies are designed to meet the diverse needs of OEMs and end users alike.

The MaxDrive is the world’s first 8 TOPS solution capable of full-scene driving and parking. This autonomous driving solution is powered by a single TDA4 chip and utilizes front-view and fisheye cameras to achieve a range of ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) functions, including Highway NOP (Navigate on Pilot), and Home-Zone Parking

This delivery to a top Chinese automaker signifies a strong endorsement of Nullmax’s autonomous driving technology, showcasing the maturity of Nullmax’s Products and its leading position in commercial advancement.

Sony Semi in the Anyverse

Anyverse, a leading provider of synthetic data solutions, is proud to announce a technical collaboration with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (Sony), integrating Sony’s Image Sensor Models into Anyverse’s synthetic data platform. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in advancing the development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), autonomous driving, and other autonomous technologies.

Integrating Sony’s Image Sensor Models into Anyverse’s platform will revolutionize perception system design and validation cycles, allowing developers to evaluate sensor configurations and increase model performance before implementation. Leveraging Anyverse’s hyperspectral rendering technology, the collaboration ensures the generation of highly accurate synthetic data and physically-based sensor simulation, now enhanced by Sony’s Image Sensor Models.

“The collaboration with Sony Semiconductor Solutions represents a tremendous leap forward in addressing one of the most critical challenges in dataset creation – the perception domain gap,” said Víctor González, CEO at Anyverse. “By bridging this gap through the combination of high-fidelity data and physical sensor simulation, we empower developers to create deep learning models that can effectively handle a wide spectrum of real-world scenarios.”

The perception domain gap refers to the variance between the characteristics of the sensors utilized in data acquisition and those deployed in production systems. This variance can significantly impact the performance of deep learning models, hindering their ability to interpret data accurately. With Anyverse’s platform enriched by Sony’s Image Sensor Models, developers can now mitigate this challenge, ensuring seamless integration of new data into production systems.

This collaboration reduces the industry’s reliance on real-world data collection, streamlining go-to-market timelines and minimizing costs associated with physical testing. Developers no longer need to deploy sensors on numerous vehicles/devices for testing purposes; instead, they can access high-quality data and sensor models through Anyverse’s platform, expediting the system’s evaluation process or expanding the perception model’s coverage.

“The collaboration between Anyverse and Sony Semiconductor Solutions will provide an automotive-grade end-to-end spectral simulation pipeline to the ADAS perception system developers,” said Tomoki Seita, General Manager, Automotive Business Division, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation. “Sony has prepared Image Sensor Models based on the internal architecture of the image sensors used in camera systems to achieve automotive-grade fidelity.”

Through this technical collaboration, Anyverse and Sony reaffirm their commitment to driving innovation in autonomous systems and shaping the future of advanced perception.