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GM Revamps Responsibilities for Ammann, Reuss

Ammann focusing on autonomous vehicles, Reuss leads products, Cadillac

by on Jun.21, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).

Two of General Motors top executives are getting new responsibilities with GM President Dan Ammann focusing on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles and Executive Vice President Mark Reuss taking on oversight of Cadillac and GM’s product portfolio planning.

Ammann will now be able to focus his efforts on the company’s ever-growing collection of autonomous vehicle subsidiaries, such as GM Cruise, as well as the deployment of these vehicles through a variety of outlets, such as Lyft.

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In the meantime, Reuss will bear down on the company’s global enterprises, product development as well as Cadillac. The luxury brand’s oversight comes a critical time as the company parted ways with Johann de Nysschen and replaced him with long-time GM executive Steve Carlisle. (more…)

FCA Maps Out a Self-Driving Strategy

Automaker teams up with Waymo, BMW and Aptiv, but carves out its own path.

by on Jun.01, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

While there are a growing number of autonomous vehicle prototypes on the road these days, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made headlines when they announced, earlier this week, plans to direct as many as 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans into the self-driving ride-sharing service the Google spin-off will launch later this year.

By some estimates, 20% or more of the miles Americans clock on the road will be in driverless vehicles operated by ride-sharing services like Waymo, Uber and Lyft by the end of the coming decade. Millions of motorists may opt to give up their personal vehicles and switch to those services. Millions more are expected to own their own autonomous vehicles.

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Until recently considered a laggard in the self-driving field, FCA has jumped in big, relying on partnerships with not only Waymo, but BMW and mega-supplier Aptiv. And that approach will not only help it to make up for lost time but give FCA several alternative paths to follow.

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Waymo Set to Purchase 62k Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Minivans for Autonomous Ride-Share Service

Announcement follows news of a major investment in GM Cruise self-driving car program.

by on May.31, 2018

An early version of a Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan roams the streets of Phoenix.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo will radically accelerate their alliance, FCA announcing it will supply as many as 62,000 more Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google.

FCA previously committed to providing several thousand of the plug-in people-movers. Waymo has also committed to purchasing up to 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace battery-electric SUVs, and CEO John Krafcik has told TheDetroitBureau.com that it expects to add still other models for use in the planned self-driving ride-share service that is currently in pilot testing in Phoenix. Commercial service will launch in that city later this year, Krafcik announced in March, and will eventually expand to “other” cities across the U.S.

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The FCA-Waymo announcement comes just hours after General Motors revealed that Japanese venture capital fund SoftBank is investing $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings, the carmaker’s autonomous vehicle unit. That news quickly sent shares of GM surging by 10% in early Thursday morning trading.

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Uber Posts Positive Q1 Earnings After Tough 2017

Shuttering of Arizona ops stings as Waymo, Lyft take off.

by on May.24, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made an impact on the company in the short time he's been there.

After nearly a year of problems and attempts to rectify them, including the addition of a new CEO, Uber Technologies’ first quarter results reveal some of the positive impact of changes implemented across the ride-sharing company.

Uber reported net income of $2.5 billion on gross bookings of $11.29 billion, an increase of 55% compared with the year-ago period. The company’s net revenue grew 67% to $2.5 billion.

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Much of the company’s positive results can be attributed to the changes implemented by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and two significant transactions: the sale of GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and a joint venture with Yandex N.V. (more…)

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.

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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…)

Aptiv Starts Self-Driving Experiment in Las Vegas

Company looking to build on 400 rides given at CES.

by on May.04, 2018

Aptiv is partnering with Lyft to test a fleet of self-driving cars in Las Vegas.

Aptiv, the company created by Delphi Technologies to focus on new mobility market, smart vehicle architectures and connected cars to connected cities, has launched a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas as part of the Lyft network.

The vehicles will operate on Aptiv’s fully integrated autonomous driving platform in 30 specially equipped BMWs.

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The autonomous cars will be made available starting this week to the public in partnership with Lyft. On an opt-in basis, passengers will have the ability to hail a self-driving vehicle equipped with Aptiv technology to and from high-demand locations. including the crowded Las Vegas strip. (more…)

More Than 100 Uber Drivers Accused of Sex Crimes

CNN found problem not limited to Uber, Lyft has issues too.

by on May.01, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is looking to make riders feel safer.

For much of the eight years of its existence, Uber has billed itself as a safe alternative for drivers who can’t, don’t want to or shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

How safe is Uber is really in question now that it has been revealed by CNN that 103 Uber riders have accused drivers of sexually assault or abuse in the last four years. Some of the cases that have been successfully prosecuted have seen drivers go to jail for 80 years.

The result of the one trial and other actions are of little solace to the victims. (more…)

Magna, Lyft Pairing Up to Develop Self-Driving Technology

Magna takes $200 million equity stake in Lyft.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Lyft and Magna are partnering up to develop self-driving vehicle technologies.

Magna is purchasing a $200 million equity stake in ride-sharing behemoth Lyft as part of a multi-year plan to develop a self-driving vehicle platform together.

The collaboration calls for the two companies to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems. The establishment of this partnership subject to regulatory approval. This partnership positions Magna and Lyft to enable the development and manufacturing of self-driving systems at scale.

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In addition to self-driving vehicles that will be deployed on Lyft’s own ride-sharing network in the coming years, Magna can deploy the technologies across a wide range of uses to benefit the entire global mobility ecosystem. (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…)

Uber Settles With Waymo for $245 Million

Company says it "regrets" the issue; promises to use only Uber technology.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to rehabilitate the company's image.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to knock down the roadblocks to the ride-sharing company’s progress as the company settled a long-running dispute with rival Waymo over trade secrets.

The company paid $245 million of its own stock to Waymo, the spinoff of Google’s autonomous vehicle business, and an agreement to not use any Waymo-based technology in its development of self-driving vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

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The settlement came as the two sides were about to begin a fifth day in court over the dispute, which has been costing Uber time and money as it looks to rehabilitate its reputation on multiple fronts. (more…)