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Toyota Will “Pause” Testing of Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads

Hyundai adding “caution” to its program; Boston mayor wants autonomous tests halted in city.

by on Mar.20, 2018

In light to Uber's autonomous vehicle killing a pedestrian, other companies are revisiting their testing plans and procedures.

Reaction has been quick in the wake of a fatal Phoenix crash involving a prototype autonomous vehicle operated by ride-sharing service Uber, at least one major automaker saying it will temporarily “pause” testing of its own self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Though police in the suburb of Tempe say preliminary evidence indicates the Uber-modified Volvo SUV was not at fault in the death of a pedestrian Sunday night, the incident has raised flags that could slow the race to put self-driving technology on the road.

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While Toyota issued a statement noting that it “cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” the automaker added in a statement that, “Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads.” (more…)

Japan Going All In on Fuel Cells

Country plans to have 800,000 fuel cell vehicles on roads by 2030.

by on Mar.08, 2018

Toyota's Yoshikazu Tanaka, the chief engineer of the Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, confirmed Toyota's commitment to fuel cell vehicles.

Japan is gearing up to put 800,000 vehicles powered with fuel cells on the road by 2030.

Japanese experts from business and academia outlined Japan’s fuel-cell push at the “Coping with Change: Global Warming and Decarbonization,” an international symposium organized by Venice International University and Alcantara, the Milan-based maker of luxury fabric used for automotive interiors. Japan’s fuel cell push has the support of the Japanese government.

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Yasuhiro Daisho, senior research professor at Waseda University and an emeritus researcher for Japan’s Next Generation Vehicles Research Council, offered a broad overview of the goals set out by Japanese industry and Japanese government. (more…)

Expert Calls for More Action to Head Off Climate Change

"I am more worried than I was a decade ago."

by on Mar.02, 2018

Lord Nicholas Stern, who wrote a report on the negative impact climate change has on the economy, says he's more concerned than ever.

The ultimate impact of climate change to the global economy has increased during the last decade, but technological advances in sectors such as the auto industry offer some hope for the future.

Lord Nicolas Stern told a conference on “Coping with Change: Global Warming and Decarbonization” sponsored by Venice International University and Alcantara, a supplier of high-tech fabric used in luxury automobiles that time to address the impact of climate change is growing short.

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“I am more worried than I was a decade ago,” said Stern, a professor of economics and government and chair of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. (more…)

California Wants 5 Mil Zero-Emissions Vehicles on Road by 2030

Governor outlines $2.5 bil ZEV plan.

by on Jan.29, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to see 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030.

California wants to see at least 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on state roads by 2030 and Governor Jerry Brown has outlined a $2.5 billion plan to hit that target.

The program would echo steps being put in place by several other countries that either already have or are, at least, considering moves to entirely ban use of the internal combustion engine. And it would run counter to steps being considered by the Trump Administration that may roll back the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

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On Friday, Brown signed an executive order “to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California.” (more…)

Safety Groups Join Forces, Push for Traffic Safety Reforms

Groups rallying around 16 optimal laws that should be in place across U.S.

by on Jan.22, 2018 President and Founder Janette Fennell pushed for the changes outlined in the report.

Rhode Island and South Dakota are the best and worst states, respectively, for driver safety in the U.S., according to a new report out by Advocates for Highway Safety.

The group’s annual report, the 2018 Roadmap for Highway Safety, gives each state a ranking based on what the safety advocacy group considers 16 fundamental traffic safety laws to ensure roadway safety. Rhode Island employs 13 of the 16 while South Dakota just two.

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“Advocates has spent decades fighting for vehicle safety technology and we too believe driverless cars have the potential to one day make our roads a dramatically safer place,” said Advocates’ President Cathy Chase, during a press conference earlier today. (more…)

NYC Could Join List of Cities With Congestion Charge for Drivers

Even Uber drivers would have to pay fees in Midtown, Downtown.

by on Jan.22, 2018

New York City may become the first U.S. city to charge a congestion fee, similar to those charged in London or Singapore.

After facing years of delays New York City seems set to become the first American metropolis to enact a congestion charge on drivers passing through its crowded Midtown and Downtown streets.

The proposal, issued by the “Fix NYC” task force would hit drivers of passenger vehicles with a congestion charge of $11.52, if enacted, while trucks would pay $25.34. Even taxis and ride-share vehicles would have to pay between $2 and $4 a ride. If approved by state officials, New York would join cities like London, Milan, Stockholm and Singapore that have been using congestion charges to try to reduce central city gridlock.

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The measure is backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and some lawmakers who opposed similar proposals in the past now appear to be ready to sign on. “Though I have been a critic of congestion pricing in the past and still remain skeptical, the plan released today … offers a wide variety of innovative suggestions,” said Democratic Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (more…)

Government Panel Wants Lower Drunk Driving Threshold

Drunk driving deaths “entirely preventable.”

by on Jan.19, 2018

There is a movement underway to lower the legal blood-alcohol content limit for drunk driving to 0.05.

You might have to skip that extra beer or third glass of wine, at least if you’re planning to then get behind the wheel of a car. A new government report recommends states significantly lower the level of alcohol in the blood that would be considered driving under the influence of alcohol.

In recent decades, a crackdown on drunk driving has had a significant impact, but an estimated 10,000 people a year still die in alcohol-related accidents and the figure has begun creeping back up, warned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The worst part, a panel added, is that those deaths are “entirely preventable.”

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In the U.S., all states now count a blood alcohol level of 0.08% as driving under the influence. By comparison, the figure has dropped to 0.05% in much of Europe and as little as 0.02% in Norway and Sweden. The National Academies panel wants to see all U.S. states drop to 0.05%, the same figure went into effect in Utah Dec. 30. (more…)

Safety Titan Claybrook Wants to Rein in Autonomous Vehicles

Former NHTSA leader says self-driving cars have too many shortcomings.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Joan Claybrook (left) during a panel discussion in Detroit said she doesn't trust autonomous vehicles and they should be tightly regulated.

Self-driving cars are not yet roadworthy and could pose a lethal threat to motorists unless they are carefully regulated said Joan Claybrook, the former chief of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and longtime critic of the auto industry’s safety record.

“The excitement around autonomous cars is very interesting, we have had massive problems with failures in the auto industry with airbags and with the GM ignition switch and they have killed people,” Claybrook said during a panel discussion on Autonomous Vehicles and regulation held as part of Automobili-D sponsored by Politico and held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.

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In addition, for a long time to come what NHTSA has deemed as Level 3 autonomous vehicles that can cruise on auto pilot under certain circumstances but require driver intervention in an emergency situation, will mix with conventional vehicles on streets and highways. (more…)

Live From Detroit!

Are Sedans a Dying Breed?

by on Jan.15, 2018

The 2018 North American International Auto Show is making big news this week and revealing some of the significant trends reshaping the auto industry.

Of course, is still combing the show floor to bring stories and analysis so keeping checking the site often for additional must-know news and the latest updates. (more…)