Showing posts with label Self-Driving. Show all posts

Apple’s self-driving test vehicle had a rear-end collision during the road test. Fortunately, no casualties were caused, reports California Vehicle Authority (Via MacRumors). It indicates that the Apple's self-driving car was rear-ended by a Nissan Leaf when it entered the Lawrence Highway in the Bay Area.

Furthermore,  it states that Apple's vehicle was driving at less than 1 mph, while the Nissan car was at the speed of was 15 mph. The Lawrence Expressway is a multi-lane highway in the Silicon Valley from south to north, which is very congested, so it requires decent driving skills.

Apple has formed a fleet of driverless test vehicles in California. As the tests increase, which obviously means the chances of accidents rises. Even if the self-driving technology is solid, no one can guarantee that it will not be hit by other vehicles.

It seems lately that Apple's efforts on self-driving Project Titan have increased. For instance, Apple has hired at least 46 staff from Tesla in eight months, including Doug Field, former vice president of hardware for Mac. It's believed that Apple would launch its own self-driving car or software in 2022 at earliest.

According to documents submitted to the Northern District of California, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation accused Apple's former employee Xiaolang Zhang of stealing trade secrets this week. (Via MacRumors)

Apple hired Zhang in December 2015 for the Titan Project, who is responsible for developing the hardware and software used in self-driving cars. Zhang was assigned to Apple's computing team to design and test boards to analyze sensor data. As a result, he has access to a secure and confidential internal database containing the trade secrets and intellectual property rights of the project that was last stolen.

In April of this year, Zhang returned to China on the grounds of maternity leave, and then told the supervisor to leave and join the startup XMotors, a Chinses startup focused on self-driving. Apple's new product security team then intervened in the survey, not only checking the history of its network activities, but also analyzing the Apple devices that were handed in when they left.

They found that before Zhang left the company, his online activities grew exponentially compared to his first two years at the compaany. Through Apple's surveillance video, Zhang came to Apple on April 28th (Saturday) night to enter the self-driving software and hardware lab, which accorded time and data download, and carry a box of hardware products when leaving.

After the digital forensic investigation team found that at least 60% of the data downloaded by Zhang were delivered to his wife's laptop was "highly problematic," Apple handed over all of the evidence to the FBI. The FBI describes this information in court documents as "largely technical in nature, including engineering schematics, technical reference manuals, and technical reports"

At the end of June this year, he accepted the FBI's inquiry and admitted to stealing confidential information, and then was arrested on July 7 when he tried to return to China. Due to the theft of Apple's trade secrets, Zhang will be face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

In the past few months, Apple has continued testing its self-driving cars. According to a report by The New York Times, the company has already reached an agreement with Volkswagen that will use their T6 Transporter vans to transform itself into self-driving shuttle bus for employees.

The report said that Apple had sought cooperation with BMW and Mercedes to develop fully electric self-driving cars, but the negotiations apparently broke down as the Cupertino tech-giant wanted to control the data and design.

[...] According to five people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

But on-again, off-again talks with those companies have ended after each rebuffed Apple’s requirements to hand over control of the data and design, some of the people said.

The details of the deal is unclear, but the report explained that the breakdown of the negotiations with Mercedes-Benz and BMW represented Apple’s hard work on the self-driving car development, as the scope of research is also shrinking. However, we do know that its research efforts has changed from vehicle manufacturing to autonomous software.

Image Credit RocketNews
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