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Carmakers and Suppliers Differ Widely on introduction of self-driving vehicles

The widely different timelines provided by Carmakers for the introduction of self-driving vehicles shows the uncertainties surrounding the technology

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Berlin, March 19, 2017: Carmakers and suppliers gave widely differing timelines Thursday for the introduction of self-driving vehicles, showing the uncertainties surrounding the technology as well as a split between cautious established players and bullish new entrants.

Chipmaker Nvidia, facing direct competition with the world’s top chipmaker after Intel’s $15 billion deal to buy Mobileye, an autonomous driving technology firm, this week, gave the most optimistic predictions.

Chief Executive Jens-Hsun Huang said carmakers may speed up their plans in the light of technological advances and that fully self-driving cars could be on the road by 2025.

“Because of deep learning, because of AI [artificial intelligence] computing, we’ve really supercharged our roadmap to autonomous vehicles,” he said in a keynote speech to the Bosch Connected World conference in Berlin.

Germany’s Bosch, however, the world’s biggest automotive supplier, gave a timetable as much as six years longer to get to the final stage before fully autonomous vehicles, and declined even to forecast when a totally self-driving car might take to the streets.

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Technology, liability among hurdles

Progress is fraught by issues including who is liable when a self-driving car has an accident, bringing down the costs of sensor technology and guarding against hacking.

“Of course, we still have to prove that an autonomous car does better in driving and has less accidents than a human being,” Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner told a news conference.

Nvidia has applied its market-leading expertise in high-end computer graphics to the intense visualization and simulation needs of autonomous cars, and has been working on artificial intelligence — teaching computers to learn to write their own software code — for a decade.

“No human could write enough code to capture the vast diversity and complexity that we do so easily, called driving,” Huang said.

Together with Bosch executives, Huang presented a prototype AI on-board computer that is expected to go into production by the beginning of the next decade. The computer will use Nvidia’s processing power to interpret data gathered by Bosch sensors.

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Degrees of autonomy

On the way to fully self-driving cars, levels of autonomy have been defined, with most cars on the road today at level two, and Tesla ready to switch from level four to five — full autonomy — as soon as it is permitted.

Level three means drivers can turn away in well-understood environments, such as highway driving, but must be ready to take back control, while level four means the automated system can control the vehicle in most environments.

Independent technology analyst Richard Windsor wrote this week that he doubted automakers would have autonomous vehicles leaving factories by a typical self-imposed deadline of 2020, mainly because the liability issue was unresolved.

“This is good news for the automotive industry, which is notoriously slow to adapt to and implement new technology as it will have more time to defend its position against the new entrants,” he wrote.

But Nvidia’s Huang said he expected to have chips available for level three automated driving by the end of this year and in customers’ cars on the road by the end of 2018, with level four chips following the same pattern a year later.

That is at least a year ahead of the plans of most carmakers that have an autonomous-driving strategy.

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BMW says market will decide

The head of autonomous driving at BMW told the conference the luxury carmaker was on its way to deliver a level three autonomous car in 2021, but could produce level four or five autonomous cars in the same year.

“We believe we have the chance to make level three, level four and level five doable,” he said. He told Reuters the decision on which levels to release would depend in part on the market, and that cars with more autonomy might first be produced in small batches for single fleets.

Bosch said it saw level three vehicles being released with its on-board computer at the end of the decade, and level four driving not before 2025.

Uber, Baidu and Google spin-off Waymo are testing self-driving taxis, while carmakers including Volvo, Audi and Ford expect to have level four cars on the road by 2020 or 2021.

Nvidia’s Huang predicted those plans would speed up: “In the near future, you’re going to see these schedules pull in.” (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)