Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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68 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 GROUND DRIVERLESS CARS Companies are lining up partners, making investments and scrambling for advantage as the automotive industry adopts and adapts to autonomous vehicle technology. Detroit is gaining ground on the early start by Silicon Valley entities, with hundreds of millions invested in technology, companies and facilities by Kevin Dennehy Photo courtesy of Kevin Dennehy. A lready seen as the biggest transportation disruption since the advent of the mass-produced passenger car, autonomous vehicles are going from visionary concept to reality. Some companies and research universities have been involved in testing and developing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years, starting with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge in the California desert. Other compa- nies are new to the field, or have partnered with established players. It remains to be seen which member of the nascent industry will win the testing and development race and eventually roll out an autonomous vehicle commercially. Some experts say Detroit, with its more than 100 years of expe- rience building cars, is leading the way—a view bolstered by Ford Motor Company's choice this year of Jim Hackett, who ran the com- pany's autonomous driving unit, to be its new CEO. The case for Detroit's leadership was strengthened further by General Motors' spring announcement that it will spend $14 million on a new autonomous vehicle research and de- velopment facility, to be opened by the end of the year, for Cruise Automation in San Francisco. The company said the investment will allow Cruise, which GM bought last year for $581 million, to double the size of the research and development space its devotes to self-driving technologies. The company also invested $500 million in Lyft, which will compete with ride- sharing giant Uber with its own self-driving car efforts. Interesting Lyft and Ford just an- nounced a deal to deploy autonomous vehicles. Besides Detroit, the other centers of gravity continue to be Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh, where there are dozens of technology compa- nies and car company technical centers to help develop the industry. AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES WILL BE WILD RIDE

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