In addition to the exciting videos posted by users of Waymo One and beta testers of Tesla’s Full Self Driving, which have been posted in series over the past few days to the delight of those interested, the other self-drive technology start-ups are also not to be missed. A series of longer videos with several perspectives in different regions and cities have been released in the last weeks, some of them with intensive comments by the start-up founders. Here is a selection of them.
Voyage is a Palo Alto-based robotaxi start-up that currently operates in two regions, two self-contained retirement villages, one in San Jose, California and the other in Florida. Both happen to be called The Villages, but have nothing to do with each other. Both villages have a strictly enforced speed limit of 25 miles per hour (40km/h), relatively little traffic (except for the occasional turkey) and beautiful roads.
Cruise Automation was acquired by General Motors a few years ago for the sum of almost one billion dollars and has since been testing primarily in San Francisco. The city is relatively challenging because it is very hilly, traffic is demanding, road marking is poor and the tense parking situation leads to frequent double parking. Add to that fog, distracted pedestrians and other freaks, and we have a perfect test site for an autonomous car company.
By the way, the vehicles are all based on the Chevrolet Bolt, an electric car. GM Cruise has about 170 of them in test use. The company has also just received a driverless test license and plans to start testing without safety drivers in San Francisco this year.
In this video, Kyle Vogt, co-founder of GM Cruise, comments on a compressed 75-minute trip through San Francisco and discusses interesting events.
Just recently acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion, Zoox, based in Foster City, just south of San Francisco, is known for the massive sensor arrays on its black SUVs and the sounds they emit. The vehicles mainly drive in San Francisco, which, as with GM Cruise, leads to interesting scenarios. Zoox has also received a driverless test license, but has not yet announced when the tests will start without a safety driver.
Here is a video that shows a compressed one-hour drive through San Francisco. The commentators in this video are James Philbin, Zoox Sr. Director of Perception & Prediction, and Sarah Tariq, Director of Computer Vision, who point out and discuss several challenges during the ride.
Finally, a short but impressive video of the Chinese start-up Pony.ai, which is also based in Fremont, not far from the Tesla factory, and tests vehicles on public roads. In the video we see several situations in very different traffic scenarios, including Beijing and Guangzhou in China, as well as Fremont and Irvine in California.
This article was also published in German.