Uber To Unleash Fleet Of Driverless Cars In Pittsburgh For Free Rides

What Happened
Uber is set to unleash a fleet of self-driving cars to pick up passengers on the streets of Pittsburgh this month. In partnership with Volvo, the autonomous fleet will consist of specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles supervised by humans in the drivers’ seats. Starting later this month, Uber will match customers in downtown Pittsburgh to driverless cars at random, and the trips will be free for the time being.

Why Brands Should Care
This impending launch marks an important milestone in the development of driverless cars, as  no automotive or technology company has yet to bring autonomous cars so close to the mass consumer market. Recently, major automakers such as Ford and BMW have announced their plans for putting driverless cars on the road in the next five years. Volvo is also partnering with Uber on a $300M program to develop fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. All things considered, we may be not too far from riding in self-driving cars.

The development in autonomous cars is an important market trend that The Lab looks out for (and included in the 2020 section of our Outlook 2016) because of the incredible amount of media time it could free up. The average daily commute time in the States is currently about 50 minutes. When driverless cars are adopted by mainstream car-owners, it would make it possible for media owners and advertisers to visually connect with consumers on the go through in-car media such as digital video and video gaming.


Source: Bloomberg

From AI To Driverless Cars: Highlights From TED 2015

Aside from a certain Austin-based media fest last week, the annual TED 2015 conference also took place, spotlighting some of the most innovative ideas in Technology, Entertainment, and Design. There’s no need to go through all 12 sessions featured this year, because we’ve got all the relevant highlights right here.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence
Fei-Fei Li, director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and Vision Lab, has spent fifteen years working on a key component of machine learning—visual recognition. She presented one of the first computer vision models capable of generating a human-like sentence when it sees a picture for the first time.

Similarly, Oren Etzioni of the Allen Institute has worked in artificial intelligence for 20 years and is a firm believer in the fundamental difference between intelligence and autonomy.  “AI won’t exterminate us,” he claimed, but will instead empower us to tackle real problems and help humanity.

The Necessity of Driverless Cars
Every year, 1.2 million people are killed on roads, and Chris Urmson, Director of Self-Driving Cars at Google[x], firmly believes that self-driving cars are the right approach to eliminate car accidents. He demonstrated how Google’s driverless cars handles all types of situations, from a turning truck to jaywalkers, with simulations that break a road down to a series of lines, boxes, and dots.

The Beauty of Big Data
With the help of some elegant visualizations, data artist Manuel Lima explored how the changing visual language reflects and shapes our understanding of the world. From radial convergence to arc diagrams, he believes that “growing visual taxonomy” can help us analyze complex systems of knowledge, social ties, species and ecosystems.

The Internet of Moving Things
Shiva Shivakumar, founder of Urban Engines, proposed a new take on the Internet of Things—the Internet of Moving Things, namely the network of any device, app, or software that tracks movement throughout space. By aggregating and analyzing cloud data from this IoMT, he created interactive models that visualize patterns of movement within cities that could vastly improve urban planning and transportation.