Autonomous cars are a chance to reinvent the steering wheel. Because the vehicles themselves do all the driving, cars are no longer bound by such basic conventions as “keep a human facing forward at all times” and “don't try to climb over boulders like a spider." Okay, it's more than just the relationship between the car and driver that's changing in that one.
First the good news from Volkswagen this week. The company debuted the T-Prime Concept GTE, a plug-in hybrid SUV, at Auto China 2016. The bad news: the New York Times reports that a PowerPoint presentation created in 2006 at Volkswagen detailed how to cheat on US emissions tests with its TDI diesel engines.
It's rare that we get extended footage of autonomous cars driving in a a series of situations. Nvidia, the technology company that makes graphics cards and computers for autonomous car development, published a paper detailing a new system of deep learning that teaches itself how to drive with "minimum training data from humans." The paper also included video footage, of which we are pleased to present the highlights.
Every parachute is a promise between humanity and the laws of physics. Make the parachute right, and the falling object glides gently to Earth, cloth and rope gently guiding a path down from the sky to the ground. Mess up, and gravity will punish that failure, sometimes to the tune of $200,000, as is the case with these U.S. Army Humvees, which crashed to the ground over Germany during a training mission last week in Hohenfels, Germany.