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Archive for the ‘Waymo’ Category

Three Quarters of Americans “Too Afraid to Ride” in Self-Driving Vehicles

As more problems reported, acceptance declines, finds new AAA study.

by on May.23, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

They’re expected to flood our roads by the millions over the next decade, and Congress is currently working on legislation that would expand testing on public roads – but a new AAA study reveals that the American public is, if anything, growing more concerned about the safety of autonomous and fully driverless vehicles.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. drivers would be “afraid” to ride in one today, up from 63% when the AAA last polled American motorists in late 2017. The decline in confidence appears to follow an array of incidents involving prototype autonomous vehicles, including the first-known fatal crash near Phoenix when a hands-free SUV being tested by Uber slammed into a pedestrian.

Safety First!

“Despite their potential to make our roads safer in the long run, consumers have high expectations for safety,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Our results show that any incident involving an autonomous vehicle is likely to shake consumer trust, which is a critical component to the widespread acceptance of autonomous vehicles.”

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Apple’s Mysterious Autonomous Vehicle Program is Rapidly Expanding

Records show permits for more than 55 self-driving cars.

by on May.16, 2018

CEO Tim Cook has finally begun to offer some hints as to Apple's self-driving car program.

While Apple has yet to say much about its long-rumored car program, some intriguing information has come out thanks to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV revealing that the tech giant now has permits to test up to 55 self-driving vehicles in the state.

That would actually give Apple the ability to test even more vehicles than Waymo, the Google spinoff that has been far more open about its own autonomous ambitions – though less than General Motors, its San Francisco-based Cruise Automotive now holding permits for 104 test vehicles.

News You Can Trust!

And the DMV report does not cover other states where Apple might be testing, notably Nevada and Arizona, the two Southwest states that have positioned themselves as particularly friendly to autonomous vehicle researchers. Waymo, for example, is known to be running large fleet tests that may run into the hundreds of vehicles in Arizona, including both autonomous models requiring human backup “operators” and the first of its completely driverless prototypes. (more…)

NY Auto Show’s Dozen Best

Our favorites from an extensive assortment of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

by on Apr.02, 2018

The turnstiles are spinning at the Javits Convention Center and for good reason. The 2018 New York International Auto Show is winning raves as the year’s most significant North American event, with dozens of significant debuts.

This year’s NAIAS covered plenty of ground: from long-range electric vehicles to high-powered performance cars – even some high-performance electric vehicles. Followers of automotive design will have plenty to talk about, too. The show underscores all the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, even on the retail side, as more manufacturers announce new subscription programs.

Auto Show News!

Whether you’re heading down to the show or simply trying to check out from a distance the most significant, intriguing and unusual cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts on display, here’s a handy guide to our dozen favorites.

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Waymo Putting 20k Jaguar I-Pace EVs into New Driverless Ride-Share Service

Moving from “R&D to deployment,” despite cloud form fatal Uber crash.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Waymo and Jaguar are partnering to produce 20,000 I-Pace SUVs for next few years.

Despite a cloud created by this month’s fatal crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle prototype, Waymo today announced it will be full speed ahead as it launches what is expected to become a nationwide driverless ride-sharing service.

During a New York news conference, Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed the Google spinoff will begin adding as many as 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace SUVs to its fleet, the battery-electric vehicles joining thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans Waymo had already committed to purchase.

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Waymo has spent nearly a decade developing what many experts call the most sophisticated self-driving technology on the road, but Krafcik said his company has now “shifted our focus from research and development to operations and deployment.” (more…)

Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” (more…)

California Okays Testing of Completely Driverless Vehicles

“Lives will be at stake,” warns consumer group.

by on Feb.27, 2018

Waymo is already testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and will soon add fully driverless ones.

Barely a week after Arizona regulators authorized Waymo to begin a drive-sharing service that will depend on completely driverless vehicles, California has given the green light to companies like the Google spinoff to begin operating driverless vehicles on its roads, as well.

But, for the moment at least, the Golden State is only authorizing companies like Google, Uber and General Motors to simply test vehicles that have no backup drivers onboard. It is not clear if or when it will allow them to begin commercial operation.

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Proponents say such tests are critical to prove the technology can operate safely and seamlessly on the same roads as human drivers, but not everyone is convinced the time is right. “It will be just like playing a video game, except lives will be at stake, said John Simpson, director of California-based non-profit group Consumer Watchdog. (more…)

Geely Buys 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 Billion

Chinese company now Daimler's largest shareholder.

by on Feb.23, 2018

Geely Chairman Li Khufu purchased 9.7% of Daimler AG for $9.2 billion.

Li Shufu, Geely’s chairman and majority owner, continues to sample different flavors from the automotive industry buffet, spending $9.2 billion for a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG.

The purchase, which was revealed in a regulatory filing, makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which holds 6.8%. Nearly 71% of Daimler shares are held by institutional holders, like Shufu.

The Last Word!

“We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential,” a Daimler spokesperson told Reuters. “Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking.” (more…)

Waymo Buying “Thousands” of Chrysler Minivans for New Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

Project will target “multiple U.S. cities.”

by on Jan.30, 2018

Waymo has been testing its ride-sharing program in Phoenix but plans to launch in other markets as it goes fully driverless.

Waymo plans to buy “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be used as Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off sets up a driverless ride-hailing service in “multiple U.S. cities,” Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Tuesday.

The announcement marks a significant step forward for both companies. While considered a leader in the field, it had not been clear how Waymo was planning to commercialize its development of self-driving vehicle technology. For its part, FCA has been reluctant to invest in autonomous vehicle research but could now make a big leap by expanding its nascent alliance with Waymo.

Tech News!

“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”

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