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Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

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A handful of select media outlets, including TheDetroitBureau.com, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

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Mercedes’ Future Comes Alive With Vision Urbanetic

New vehicle is Mercedes' glimpse into future mobility.

by on Sep.10, 2018

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Vision Urbanetic concept. Shown here as a people mover, it's the company's take on future mobility.

Mercedes-Benz looked into the future to find ways to move people and things efficiently and quietly around cities and developed the Vision Urbanetic concept, which uses an electric powertrain and configurable bodies to do exactly that.

The result is a self-driving, electrically powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for people moving or goods transport. As a ride-sharing vehicle, Vision Urbanetic can accommodate up to 12 passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to ten EPAL pallets.

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The interior cargo space is about 12.5 feet long while the entire vehicle is nearly 17 feet long. The vehicle can be incorporated into an IT infrastructure that analyzes in real time the supply and demand within a defined area.  (more…)

Woman Injured in Model S Autopilot Crash Sues Tesla

Owner blames Autopilot but was looking at cellphone when crash occurred.

by on Sep.10, 2018

The driver of the Tesla involved in this March crash in Utah suffered a broken foot and other injuries

A Utah woman who was injured in the crash of a Tesla Model S in May has filed a lawsuit against the automaker alleging negligence and claiming that the vehicle’s Autopilot system should have prevented the crash – even though she admitted to police that she was looking at her cellphone when the battery-sedan ran into the back of a fire truck.

Heather Lommatzsch broke her foot in a crash, which occurred about the same time as several other high-profile incidents involving Tesla vehicles using the automaker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot technology. That included one in California in which a motorist was killed when his vehicle hit the center barrier on a freeway and ultimately caught fire.

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The lawsuit comes at a particularly awkward time for Tesla, the automaker watching its share price plunge by nearly a third since shortly after CEO Elon Musk announced his interest in taking the company private. That project has since been abandoned and both Musk and Tesla now face an investigation by the SEC. Tesla also faces a number of lawsuits and Autopilot is under investigations by federal regulators following several of those recent crashes.

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Why Fly? Self-Driving Volvo 360c Offers Alternative for Long-Distance Travel

Autonomous, electric, the concept will let travelers do “what they want to do.”

by on Sep.05, 2018

The Volvo 360c Concept is designed to let an owner travel in Business Jet-style comfort.

Flying is glamorous, or so the airlines would have you believe, but ask anyone who has had to deal with security lines, crowded cabins and inevitable delays and you’ll get an entirely different picture.

That’s where something like the Volvo 360c might offer a pleasant alternative. While the industry has focused on using driverless vehicles to replace conventional taxicabs, the self-driving concept from Volvo has long-distance travelers in mind. Billed as “the future of autonomous travel,” the 360c is designed to skip the lines and deliver the sort of experience you might expect flying on a private jet.

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“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars, adding that “The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry.”

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FCA Upgrades Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Vehicle Testing

Late to the game, FCA races to make up lost time with $30 mil project.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $30 million to upgrade its sprawling Chelsea Proving Grounds, an hour west of Detroit to expand its ability to develop and test both autonomous vehicles advanced driver assist system technologies.

The automaker has been slow to embrace self-driving vehicle technology, though it has been able to leapfrog some of its competitors with an expanding tie-up with Waymo, the self-driving spin-off of Google. The new project will allow FCA to test technology from Waymo and other potential partners, as well as systems it may develop in-house.

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“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” said Mike Manley, who took over as FCA’s CEO just two months ago. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”

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Apple’s Autonomous Vehicle Involved in California Crash

Self-driving Lexus ute was rear-ended.

by on Sep.04, 2018

An Apple autonomous test vehicle, a Lexus RX450h, was rear-ended near San Francisco.

A unicorn got into a car accident in, not surprisingly, California. To be more accurate, one of Apple’s autonomous vehicles was involved in a collision in the Golden State.

The tech behemoth, which has said very little about its automotive plans in recent years, applied for and received a permit to test autonomous vehicles last year, but offered no insight into what its plans were at that time.

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According to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, an Apple self-driving car, a Lexus SUV, was rear-ended by a 2016 Nissan Leaf near San Francisco. It marked the first actual confirmation that the company was testing on California’s roads. (more…)

Toyota Investing $500 Mil in Uber, Will Aid in Autonomous Vehicle Efforts

Move could help ride-sharing service in anticipated IPO plan.

by on Aug.28, 2018

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO and Toyota EVP Shigeki Tomoyama shake over their new alliance.

Toyota confirmed  reports it will invest $500 million in Uber and partner with the nation’s largest ride-sharing service on the development of the autonomous and fully driverless vehicles Uber believes will slash its costs and make it a viable alternative to personal vehicle ownership.

The announcement comes barely a week after Uber wrapped up its search for a new chief financial officer, something that, along with the new Toyota alliance, could help move closer to a widely anticipated IPO. The Japanese maker’s investment puts a value of $72 million on Uber.

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“This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company. “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.”

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Loss of Control, Viruses Top Hurdles for Autonomous Vehicles

Ford charging ahead with AVs by trying to establish trust.

by on Aug.21, 2018

Ford says consumers need to believe they can trust AVs, and that will take time and energy.

A new study found that losing control of the vehicle and the threat of computer virus are the two most important reservations or fears consumers have about autonomous vehicles.

The study done by the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology also found that AVs have yet to break through as status symbols. The study found that improving social status among peers is the least important incentive to adopting AVs. In addition, fewer than 5% of respondents indicated their households are willing to pay an additional $20,000 to add automation and greater connectivity to their vehicle.

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One very interesting finding was that the feeling of losing control was more important than safety concerns for people. In addition, the threat of computer virus penetrating the vehicles was considered an important barrier to adoption. (more…)

Musk Laments “Excruciating” Toll He’s Faced at Tesla

But no plans to give up post as CEO.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that he feels like this has been the toughest year of his life.

Forget the amusement park. Anyone who wants to ride a roller-coaster might be better off purchasing Tesla stock. But no one has faced more ups-and-downs during the last year than the automaker’s co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.

Even as Tesla appears to be resolving its production problems and seems poised to deliver a long-promised profit, the automaker and its CEO are facing a probe by the SEC, lawsuits filed by several short-sellers, additional investigations by the NLRB, NHTSA and the NTSB, and allegations of safety and quality problems by several self-styled whistleblowers.

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No wonder, “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk said in an interview newly published by the New York Times. “It was excruciating.” (more…)

Ford’s Autonomic Inks Deal in China With Alibaba Cloud

New deal boosts autonomous vehicle business potential

by on Aug.17, 2018

Liu Fei, director of Automobile Division, Alibaba Cloud (left) and Gavin Sherry, CEO and co-founder of Autonomic, after signing the deal.

Ford Motor Co. has taken another step toward bolstering its sinking operations in China with a new partnership to put autonomous vehicle technology into the Chinese market.

Autonomic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility LLC and the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s leading Internet-oriented companies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring to China the Transportation Mobility Cloud – a transportation and mobility solution for connected vehicles developed by Autonomic.

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“The TMC is positioned to help automakers succeed and meet growing demand for connected vehicles and mobility services in China,” said Gavin Sherry, co-founder and CEO of Autonomic. (more…)