Wednesday 12 December 2018

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Cork Independent

Motors

Google gets permission to test driverless Jaguars

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:41pm

Google’s autonomous car division has been given a licence by the authorities of the state of California to test its vehicles with no safety driver on board.

Up until now, Google’s on-road testing of its self-driving car technology had to be done with a human driver in the front seat, who was there to monitor the systems and take control in an emergency if needed.

According to The Verge, Waymo (as Google’s robot car division is known) will restrict the testing of these vehicles to areas near to its HQ, around Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto as those are the roads it currently knows best, and has the best-quality data for.

“Our vehicles can safely handle fog and light rain, and testing in those conditions is included in our permit,” said a spokesperson for Waymo. “We will gradually begin driverless testing on city streets in a limited territory and, over time, expand the area that we drive in as we gain confidence and experience to expand.”

The company hasn’t yet confirmed when these entirely human-free tests will start taking place, but it has said that it will inform local residents when they do.

Some of the cars being used will include Jaguar’s electric I-Pace, and Jaguar itself (in spite of its current financial travails) claims that it has made a breakthrough on one aspect of autonomous driving — motion sickness.

According to Jaguar, 70 per cent of people suffer from motion sickness and yet “little has been known about the causes and how to mitigate them”.

The car maker has carried out a series of tests, including 24,000km of test driving, to try and divine the secrets of motion sickness, and the sort of vehicle movements that cause it.

That data is now being turned into an algorithm which can monitor a passenger’s reactions to movements and their so-called ‘wellness’ and adjust the car’s driving style accordingly.

It will be included in automated and autonomous driving software, and Jaguar claims that it can reduce the effects of motion sickness by as much as 60 per cent.

“As we move towards an autonomous future where occupants will have more time to either work, read or relax on longer journeys, it’s important we develop vehicles that can adapt to reduce the effects of motion sickness in a way that’s tailored to each passenger,” stated Jaguar’s Wellness Technology Researcher Spencer Salter.

Jaguar claims that its biometric sensors can actually detect when someone is becoming car sick even before they know themselves.

“This cutting-edge research has created a solution that, with its solid scientific foundation, can make travelling enjoyable, regardless of your susceptibility to motion sickness. As a parent of young children, who are most susceptible to car sickness, I am particularly excited by the benefits this research can have in making long journeys comfortable and stress-free for families,” explained Dr. Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief medical officer.

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