Should driverless cars make life-or-death decisions?

As Wallach, Lin and other ethicists wrestle with the philosophical complexities, Gerdes is conducting real-world experiments. This summer on a racetrack in northern California, he’ll test automated vehicles programmed to follow ethical rules to make split-second decisions, such as when it’s appropriate to disobey traffic laws and cross a double yellow line to make room for bicyclists or cars that are double-parked.

Gerdes is also working with Toyota to find ways for an autonomous car to quickly hand back control to a human driver. Even such a handoff is fraught with peril, he says, especially as cars do more and driving skills degrade.

Ultimately, the problem with giving an an autonomous automobile the power to make consequential decisions is that, like the robots of science fiction, a self-driving car still lacks empathy and the ability to comprehend nuance.

“There’s no sensor that’s yet been designed,” Gerdes says, “that’s as good as the human eye and the human brain.”


I used the human eye illustration in the past, emphasizing that 40% of the central nervous system connections join the eye to the brain, double most other senses. Eyes are critical to driving and brains are even more so. The sensors we can develop and camera technology will only make them better, but not replace them. There is plenty of room for innovation and business in ADAS even if we don’t get a car to fully drive itself in complex environments.

Automakers Tackle the Massive Security Challenges of Connected Vehicles

Automakers are developing one of the largest public key infrastructure security systems ever conceived, the heart of an effort to protect a new generation of networked vehicles that is expected to hit the mass market by the early 2020s.


This is a problem the automakers and NHTSA + DOT + DOD funding has been investing in for over a decade. The security concerns over “connected cars” that do more than entertainment is obvious. For the solution we are now focused on PKI, which is not absolutely secure, but the best we have. One issue is the need for connectivity to the internet 12 times an hour to get a new security key, among others that have been published. If these problems can be solved, the Connected Vehicle (implies the safety focus) will generate billions in revenue for the US economy, thus the continued push.

HERE Issues Open Source Specs to Share Road Data From Car Sensors

HERE published yesterday an interface specification that defines how sensor data gathered by vehicles on the road can be sent to the cloud to update maps on the fly. The specification has been published under a Creative Commons license. With a growing number of sensors in car and the connectivity…


Engineers love specs, open or not. This is a great move by HERE to raise the bar of delivery so all cars can benefit. It will help them build long term relationships with many OEMs as well as move more innovation in the otherwise closed automotive space.

GM plans to use Cisco tech to test compatibility of Wi-Fi and vehicle-to-vehicle systems in 5.9 GHz band

General Motors expects to begin testing new technology from Cisco Systems to share spectrum between vehicle-to-vehicle  and Wi-Fi systems, a GM executive told U.S. lawmakers. 


I like this approach of working the tech and auto industry together to find a solution to the wasted spectrum in 5.9Ghz that has been waiting for a real implementation lead. Perhaps GM will play this role as they testify to US Congress today. I look forward the reduction in political gridlock and a move to bring in the technology solutions.

Behold the Perfect Solution for Passing Big Rigs

Can’t see whether another car is coming? Just check the TV.


This is a fantastic idea, and a great way to sell lots of LCD monitors in a safety setting. I wonder how many truckers will implement and both confuse and entertain the drivers behind them. Reminds me of the transparent Bond car with a fully LED projection paint job (

The V12 Vanquish rose to fame after being featured as the officialJames Bond car in Die Another Day, the twentieth James Bond film. In the film, the Vanquish has the usual Bond film embellishments, including adaptive camouflage which rendered the vehicle virtually invisible.

Local Motors: Building a community, and cars, in the cloud – Thoughts On Cloud

A new kind of car manufacturer relies on the cloud to keep its virtual community of designers in sync If you’ve heard of Local Motors, it may be because of an audacious stunt the company pulled at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January, using a giant 3-D printer to print a car called …


Local Motors may never have a large production line, but they can certainly teach some lessons that are no less significant than Tesla has. The auto industry is starting to understand how leveraging the community is better than leveraging the suppliers.

The news from Ford which aligns nicely is a testament to this kind of innovative thinking.

Connected Cars: Circling The Wagons – Joe Barkai

The connected cars space continues to mature, driven by non-traditional product and service companies. OEMs should take heed or miss the opportunity!


I can’t figure out who is inside the wagons, or the inner circle. Is it the OEMs or the customers? In the car business the OEMs often leverage the customers into buying bundles of features they might otherwise not want, whereas CE buyers pick and choose more. When these things really open up I’m not sure the OEMs will be prepared for that complex feature assortment, or will finally settle on just a few that “just work”.

BlackBerry’s Software Growth Takes Hold as Smartphone Sales Fall

“The results showed that Chief Executive Officer John Chen is moving the company closer to his goal of doubling yearly software revenue to $500 million by March 2016. Software revenue soared 153 percent to $137 million last quarter. Still, the company has a long way to go before businesses like security-focused software make up for the slump in smartphone sales. BlackBerry, which sold just 1.1 million devices last quarter, has partnered with manufacturers to cut costs and try to turn the shrinking handset unit back to profit.”


Looks like BB is doing what they said they would, improve performance through software. With such a strong legacy in security tech and reliability, their software is a great fit for not only infotainment systems in cars, but safety systems that improve driving. This is the growth area for software and BB may be the one to capture a large share.

Video: Nokia HERE confirms Jaguar XJ is using its guidance

“Jaguar’s new flagship XJ is the second vehicle in the Jaguar family, following the XF, to pack in the latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment technology, powered by HERE.

As the first brand to fully incorporate HERE Auto, Jaguar is leading the way with the most advanced guidance system on the market – taking full advantage of being deeply embedded within vehicles and offering a mobile and web companion application for when drivers step out of their cars.”


Many would think Google Maps would overtake the embedded navigation by now, but this collaboration shows there is still a lot of innovation options. I like the deep personalization and “Approach Mode” with parking integration. This system delivers a great experience and uses Linux as its OS and blends Open Source with commercial code elegantly.