Ep 89: Japan to allow cell phone use on L3 cars; proposal for new AV levels; Waymo sells its lidar kit

Today: Japan is laying the foundation to prepare for Level 3+ autonomous vehicles in 2020 by letting drivers-not-driving to use their cell phones. Meanwhile, a new proposal for the various levels of autonomy — currently SAE’s five levels — imagines a rather binary solution, i.e., a car either is or isn’t autonomous. And, Waymo starts selling its adorably named “Laser Bear Honeycomb” lidar to third parties.

Japan to allow cell phone use in L3 cars

In preparation for the upcoming wave of Level 3 cars (but see below), Japan is trying to rewrite laws to allow for cell phone use… because why not?

New automation level definitions?

Going forward, a new proposal — which I think is unnecessarily complex despite its attempt to simplify — suggests, essentially, a binary definition of autonomy, in which a car is either simply ADAS capable — and thus not truly driverless — or it is in fact fully driverless.

Waymo to sell its lidar kit

Waymo is said to start selling its adorably named laser bear honeycomb lidar kit to third parties, but not for ride hailing services, obviously.

ALSO: My full 19-minute review of the Tesla Model 3 with Enhanced Autopilot is now live!


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