nutonomy

Self-driving cars: Nutonomy teams up with Peugeot; Uber in legal hot water

A fleet of Peugeot vehicles are to be equipped with self-driving technology from nuTonomy and tested in Singapore.

NuTonomy’s software, sensors and computing platforms will be installed in Peugeot 3008 models as part of plans to develop the technology needed for large fleets of autonomous cars, PSA and nuTonomy have said.

The latest PSA Group project seeks to work on “level 5” autonomous capable vehicles, which require no driver input and will allow both companies to study how an “on-demand autonomous vehicle mobility service” performs, they said.

The combination is the latest between technology and automotive companies after Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, last month unveiled an autonomous cars development partnership with supplier Robert Bosch, while BMW has announced an alliance with chip maker Intel and Israel’s Mobileye. 

Autonomous driving in urban areas requires a more radical approach to vehicle design, particularly for software and sensors, to help a car navigate inner city obstacles, said Anne Laliron, Head of the Business Lab at PSA Group.

“That is the reason we jump on the opportunity to work with nuTonomy,” he said.

PSA Group will use the project to learn about what components make sense, and which suppliers are available.

Following the initial phase of this partnership, the companies will consider expanding their on-road AV testing initiative to other major cities.

NuTonomy, a software company founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) academics and McKinsey management consultants was the first to begin on the road testing of driverless taxi services in Singapore last year. 

Uber facing court battle with Waymo over self-driving tech secrets

Uber will face a US judge on Wednesday to fight for the right to continue work on its self-driving car program.

The ride-services company is contesting a lawsuit by self-driving car unit and Google sister company Waymo.

Waymo has accused its former engineer and current Uber executive Anthony Levandowski of stealing technical secrets and using them to help Uber’s self-driving car development.

If it were proven that Levandowski and Uber conspired in taking the information, that could have dire consequences for Uber, say legal and ride-hailing industry experts. Uber’s $68bn valuation is propped up in part by investors’ belief it will be a dominant player in the emerging business of self-driving cars.

At issue on Wednesday is Waymo’s demand that US District Court Judge William Alsup in San Francisco issue an injunction barring Uber from using any of the technology that Waymo said was stolen. If Alsup issues a broadly worded order against Uber, it could all but shut down Uber’s self-driving car program while court proceedings continue.

Alsup is not expected to rule immediately on Wednesday, but he may intimate which way he is leaning. At a hearing last month, Alsup warned Uber that it may face an injunction, saying of the evidence amassed by Waymo: “I’ve never seen a record this strong in 42 years.”

Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has said that autonomous vehicles, though still in their infancy, are critical to the company’s long-term success and future growth.

In March, Uber suspended its autonomous car tests after one of its self-driving vehicles crashed into another car in Tempe, Arizona. 

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