Posts tagged lead

How autonomous vehicles could lead to more jobs in Detroit

Detroit skyline at sunset

As autonomous vehicles make their way out of the pages of science fiction and onto the highways of the real world, the question remains exactly what type of impact this emerging technology will have on the workforce in Detroit.

In the city of Detroit, a city known for being the backbone of America’s auto industry, over 25% of its households do not own an automobile. To make matters worse, its public transportation system is described as one of the worst in the country. This makes going to and from work difficult, if not impossible for many of that city’s citizens.

Ready access to reliable transportation is essential to maintaining employment. If you live in the suburbs or just outside of the regular routes of the city’s bus lines, this is problematic.

Autonomous vehicles open the doors to more people in more areas gaining access to easy transportation. Commercial services like Uber are already testing autonomous vehicles in US markets with hopes to expand their efforts to additional markets as the results of these tests come in.

Detroit benefitting from other cities’ initiatives

From a municipal standpoint, some US cities are making plans for their own autonomous public transportation that can pick citizens up at specific addresses, eliminating the need for them to travel to designated locations such as bus stops. Autonomous cars don’t require drivers that are limited by eight-hour workdays and the needs to take breaks.

For the citizens of Detroit, a city with more available jobs in its suburbs than inside city limits for workers with a high school level of education, and not enough available jobs for its high number of unemployed citizens, having reliable transportation that extends beyond the central Detroit area and into these employment centers is critical.

Detroit is a perfect spot for companies to create a proof of concept for their low-cost autonomous vehicle services. By offering inexpensive, reliable transportation to its citizens and enabling them to access employment centers on the outskirts of the city, the results would not only be a great boon to the local economy, but a perfect public relations win for the technology as it gains the trust of drivers and passengers alike.

The post How autonomous vehicles could lead to more jobs in Detroit appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Report: Amazon grows lead as product search engine of choice

94 percent of consumer-survey respondents said they planned to shop on Amazon this holiday season.

The post Report: Amazon grows lead as product search engine of choice appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Columbus’ smart city win may lead to autonomous trucks


The Department of Transportation declared Columbus, Ohio the winner of the Smart Cities Challenge earlier this year. Now, city leaders plan to spend some of the $50 million reward on an autonomous “truck platoon” capable of driving in urban areas.

Columbus Region Logistics Council backed the project, which will test the autonomous trucks at Ohio State University before bringing them onto public roads, before moving to Alum Creek Drive.

See Also: Verizon buying spree continues with logistics firm Fleetmatics

It is one of a number of public-private partnerships that Columbus is embarking on as part of the Smart City challenge.

City leaders will work with the private sector to build a smartphone app connected to the trucks, which lets them commandeer the vehicle and provide the most efficient route. At the start, a driver will be stationed inside the truck, and the vehicles can only drive on certain roads.

Columbus sees multiple routes

From there, Columbus hopes to build fully driverless trucks that are able to drive on multiple routes without trouble. That could reduce the cost for the logistics industry, while also improving productivity, since self-driving systems don’t need to sleep.

It is one of the first public-private autonomous partnerships, in San Francisco and Michigan almost all self-driving tests are conducted by automotive or tech firms spending their own income.

Most of the talk on self-driving fails to mention the trucking industry, but manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, its parent Daimler, and startup Otto are already building fully driverless big rigs that may hit the market before consumer vehicles.

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Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda lead the autonomous car race


Automakers have spent the majority of 2016 announcing their plans for self-driving and the future of automation, but while some just begin to prototype systems, others are soaring ahead of the pack.

Research and advisory firm Lux Research has charted the 12 major automakers on business execution and technical value, and noted if the company has a positive or negative view on the advent of self-driving.


Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes Benz are ahead right now, as you can see in the graph above. Tesla and BMW aren’t far behind, but the report claims that the two companies have a “wait and see” attitude to self-driving, rather than actively pushing for its arrival. The attitude is based on investments, partnerships, and demonstrated capability.

Daimler Trucks and Hyundai are the other two automakers in the top right on technical value and business execution. German automaker Audi has a decent technical value rating, but lacks the investment or business execution its German rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have achieved.

The two major automakers in the U.S.—General Motors and Ford—have similarly poor outlooks. The two companies are lower than all European rivals on technical value and business execution, apart from Renault-Nissan, which is far behind the group.

Self-driving car R&D market is white hot

General Motors has started spending heavily in the self-driving market, investing $500 million in a partnership with ridesharing app Lyft and purchasing Cruise Automation for $1 billion in March. Ford, on the other hand, may be looking to partner with Google to fix some of its self-driving shortcomings.

See Also: Can taxi drivers still have a place in a driverless world?

The PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler are both not on graph, despite both working on self-driving or partnering with tech companies. PSA Group, which controls Peugeot and Citroen, is currently the only firm allowed to test self-driving cars in France. Fiat Chrysler recently partnered with Google, providing them with 100 vans, and may have plans to create similar partnerships with Uber and Amazon.

While it is worrying to see companies like Renault-Nissan and Audi not invest in self-driving as much as rivals, we are still three years away from any concrete legislation that allows driverless cars on the road. That is enough time for any automaker to change their attitude towards self-driving.

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