Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

GM Escapes $1B Stock Payout in Ignition Case

Judge says trust acted in bad faith.

by on Jan.19, 2018

GM ultimately admitted delaying a necessary recall which eventually involved millions of vehicles.

General Motors just avoided a $1 billion bill, as a New York bankruptcy judge threw out a settlement agreement that would have forced GM to pay $1 billion in stock to owners of cars with defective ignition switches.

The case is part of the automaker’s recall of 2.6 million small cars equipped with faulty ignition switches that resulted in the deaths of 124 people. The vast majority of the cars were produced before GM’s bankruptcy in 2009.

Subscribe Now!

The automaker’s bad assets were lumped together and considered “old GM,” technically called Motors Liquidation. Wilmington Trust, the M&T Bank Corp. unit that oversees the bankruptcy claims filed against the “old GM” trust, struck the deal to resolve hundreds of personal-injury cases and a class-action suit over millions of vehicles that allegedly lost value due to a series of 2014 recalls. (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.”

Stay Plugged In!

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…)

NHTSA Calls Up Next Round Vehicles with Takata Airbags

New set includes 3.3 million airbags.

by on Jan.18, 2018

Now 21 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

The next round of vehicles needing to have faulty Takata airbags repaired have been released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is now overseeing the repair process.

The current set includes models from 14 different automakers that are being recalled. The automakers in this round include: Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Daimler Vans, Toyota, Tesla, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Subaru, Jaguar-Land Rover, McLaren and Volkswagen.

Safety News!

Toyota, Ford and Honda released some of their models last week. (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.

Auto Show News!

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, TheDetroitBureau.com 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…)

Convince Public Autonomous Cars Are Good Chao Tells Automakers

Transportation Secretary says DOT's role is safety.

by on Jan.14, 2018

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao shows the latest finding from the department on automated driving. (Photo credit: Brendan Strong)

The Trump Administration will not be in the business of “picking winners and losers” when it comes to automotive technology, particularly automated or self-driving systems, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao told a crowd in Detroit.

During a visit to the North American International Auto Show’s AutoMobiliD exposition, Chao repeatedly said the department’s top priority was safety. However, she was also just as clear about how much her agency would be involved in the process.

News Now!

“We are not going to be top down,” she said. “We’re not going to be command and control. We are tech neutral and the technological advances we see are very exciting. Our preeminence as a nation, as far as technology, is something we should strive to preserve.” (more…)

Ford Orders 2,900 Rangers With Takata Airbags Parked

Automaker will fix trucks in owners' driveways, tow them to dealerships.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Owners of certain 2006 Ford Rangers are being told to park their trucks immediately as part of a recall to repair faulty Takata airbags.

The 21st victim of exploding Takata airbags is causing Ford to warn owners of about 2,900 Ranger pickup trucks to park them immediately.

The victim, Steve Mollohan of Hedgesville, West Virginia, was killed July 1, when the airbag exploded in his 2006 Ford Ranger. Ford received notification of the fatality in mid-December and conducted an inspection of the truck on Dec. 27.

Safety News!

After looking into the incident, it was determined the inflator for the airbag was made on the same day as one that caused the death of a South Carolina man in 2015. This prompted the automaker to issue an urgent new recall in the U.S. and Canada for Rangers made on that day. (more…)

GM Asks Feds to OK 2019 Launch of Driverless Robo-Cabs

Automaker aims to put as many as 2,500 on the road annually during test program.

by on Jan.12, 2018

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV - sans steering wheel and pedals - for the robo-cab test program.

General Motors wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019, a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

Company officials said they would roll out as many as 25 vehicles annually under the pilot project, if given approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM ultimately hopes to provide the vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Lyft – in which it is a major investor – as well as its own service, Maven.

Breaking News!

Unlike the autonomous prototypes GM and many competitors are currently testing, the vehicles would be completely driverless and not even be equipped with pedals or a steering wheel. That is something the automaker’s President Dan Ammann called “a major milestone, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”

(more…)

Traditional Automakers Could Be Left Out in the Cold By the Rise of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

Ride-sharing services could turn car manufacturing into a low-profit commodity business, says new study.

by on Jan.11, 2018

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

A century of growth seems likely to come to a screeching halt for the global auto industry, and that spells potentially serious trouble for major automakers, according to a new study – though the report also anticipates big opportunities for ride-sharing services.

It is widely expected that the auto industry will go through more radical changes in the coming decade or so than it has since Henry Ford fired up his first moving assembly line. Among other things, the report by the Boston Consulting Group, or BCG, anticipates that electrified vehicles will soon become commonplace, while millions of motorists in the U.S. and abroad will switch from owning a car to relying on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.

http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/about/subscribe

The Future is Now!

So, while global auto sales will continue to grow to around 108 million annually, “We will (then) reach a plateau around 2029 or 2030,” forecast Thomas Dauner, the head of the auto practice at BCG. “An industry that has been growing over the past century will stop.”

(more…)

Honda’s New Robots Enhance Human Capabilities

New models look less like humans, but offer new abilities.

by on Jan.11, 2018

Honda's 3E-A18 robot displays simple and easy-to-understand facial expressions and can be touched, even hugged, by humans.

Forget BB8, R2D2 and C3PO. Honda’s new 3E robots are there to help you get your work done and, if you’re feeling a little blue, to give you a hug.

The Japanese automaker has spent nearly four decades developing humanoid robots like the bipedal ASIMO which can walk, talk and even pour a cup of coffee. But Honda is also working on more practical robot designs dedicated to specific tasks, like the 3E-D18, which can be put to use at a construction site, for fighting fires or on search-and-rescue missions.

Industry News!

“We have entered an era when robotics will become increasingly visible and essential in our everyday lives and have the ability to unlock human potential,” said Yoshiyuki Matsumoto, president & CEO of Honda R&D. But, “Honda views robotics not as something in conflict with people, but as an opportunity to expand their potential.” (more…)