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Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

Tesla Model 3 Not Faring Well in Media Spotlight

Consumer Reports, Edmunds point out problems with new sedan.

by on May.21, 2018

Tesla's Model 3 isn't getting the rave reviews from some media outlets the company would like.

Tesla’s Model 3 is slowly working its way on to the driveways of the tens of thousands of folks who ordered one — including Consumer Reports and Edmunds, and the results are not what the EV maker had hoped.

Consumer Reports said it “found plenty to like about the luxury compact sedan (which starts at $35,000 but goes all the way up to $78,000), including record-setting range as well as exhilarating acceleration and handling that could make it a healthy competitor to performance-oriented cars such as BMW’s 3 Series and the Audi A4.”

EV News!

However, it quickly pointed a few flaws in the new model, primarily long stopping distances in the magazine’s emergency braking test and difficult-to-use controls, that prevented it from earning a recommendation. (more…)

Tesla Model S Was in Autopilot at Time of Crash

Driver repeatedly took hands off the wheel.

by on May.17, 2018

The NTSB is investigating a third crash involving a Tesla vehicle using Autopilot at the time of the collision.

A Tesla Model S sedan that crashed into the back of a fire truck in Utah last week was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode, the battery-electric automaker has confirmed, though the company has also tried to shift blame to the 28-year-old driver by noting that she repeatedly took her hands off the wheel and admitted being distracted immediately before the crash occurred.

The incident is the latest in a series of accidents involving Tesla vehicles in the U.S. and abroad and could raise new concerns about the safety of the automaker’s products – especially those using Autopilot which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hailed as a potentially life-saving feature.

Safety News!

The latest crash occurred when a Model S slammed into a parked fire truck at around 60 mph. The female driver suffered a broken foot. She subsequently told authorities that she was driving in Autopilot mode. Tesla engineers on Wednesday accessed the vehicle’s black box and confirmed that statement, though they also revealed that the driver had taken her hands off the wheel for as much as 80 seconds immediately prior to the crash. (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…)

Uber Rival Didi Chuxing Ready to Test Autonomous Vehicles in California

China-based ride-sharing company making inroads in the U.S.

by on May.15, 2018

Uber's autonomous vehicle testing has been suspended, but rival Didi Chuxing is now testing AVs in California.

Uber has scaled back its autonomous vehicle program after one of its self-driving vehicles killed a pedestrian in Arizona in March.

But one of its major rivals for ride-sharing dollars around the world appears to be charging ahead.

Pushing the Envelope!

Didi Chuxing, the China-based ride-hailing service that bought Uber’s business in China last year, obtained a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. Didi is the latest to join the growing list of companies developing self-driving vehicles in the state but perhaps one of the most significant because of the company’s huge presence in China, the world’s largest ride-sharing market, and its potential global reach. (more…)

NTSB Opens 2nd Tesla Investigation After Florida Crash Kills 2 Teens

Batteries catch fire after high-speed impact.

by on May.10, 2018

The National Transportation Safety Board launched a second investigation into a Tesla crash. This time a Model S burst into flames after spinning into a wall.

Even as federal investigators probe the cause of a fatal March crash in California, the National Transportation Safety Board is sending another team off to Florida to look into a fiery crash that killed two Ft. Lauderdale teenagers and seriously injured a third this week.

While the California probe focuses on the Tesla Autopilot system in use at the time of the crash, the new investigation aims to find out why the battery pack in the Model S sedan the teens were riding in burst into flames after the vehicle spun out of control into a wall.

Safety News!

“NTSB has a long history of investigating emerging transportation technologies, such as lithium-ion battery fires in commercial aviation, as well as a fire involving the lithium-ion battery in a Chevrolet Volt in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” noted NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt in a statement. (more…)

Toyota Earnings Jump, Despite Rising U.S. Incentives

Record R&D spending could hurt operating profit.

by on May.09, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is not only pushing for automotive sales growth, but leading the company into the emerging mobility sector.

Toyota saw earnings jump 21% between January and March, the final quarter of its fiscal year, despite having to sharply ramp up incentives in a slowing U.S. automotive market.

The automaker reported a profit of 480.8 billion yen, or $4.4 billion, up from 398 billion yen the year before. Toyota’s sales also rose 2% to 7.58 trillion yen, or $69 billion. For the full fiscal year, it earned 2.49 trillion yen, or $23 billion, a 36% increase, with sales rising 6%, to 29.38 trillion yen, or $268 billion.

Beyond the Numbers!

The strong performance helped highlight the cost-cutting efforts initiated by CEO and President Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder declaring, “We’ve become a leaner, trimmer company … and in the past year we’ve developed our remaining fat into muscle, so that we’re in a strong position to be more competitive.”

(more…)

War and Peace: The Two Stories of a Driver’s Daily Commute

Study shows commuters want a calm trek, but don't aways get it.

by on May.07, 2018

Drivers across the country view time spent commuting to and from work as "me time."

It seems that increasingly daily commuters climb into their cars, trucks or utility vehicles with one of two mindsets: War or peace.

A new survey by Cars.com shows that the average commuter is on the road 22 minutes and the vast majority, 79%, are looking to make their drive time more relaxed and focused on them.

Pushing the Envelope!

“With the vast majority of commuters traveling by car, it’s important to have a vehicle that’s not only safe and reliable but comfortable too,” said Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief of Cars.com.  (more…)

Production Version of Kia Niro EV Breaks Cover

Timing of U.S. launch unclear.

by on May.04, 2018

The long-range version of the Kia Niro EV will get 236 miles out of a 64 kWh battery pack.

We got a first look at the concept version of Kia’s all-electric Niro model during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The Korean carmaker has now pulled the wraps off the production model during the Fifth International Electric Vehicle Expo in Seoul.

A quick glance suggests the version that will be rolling into showrooms is a bit more conservative than the CES show car, with relatively conventional lights and bumpers. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Niro EV and earlier versions of the crossover can be seen in the textured, albeit solid, grille – which actually bears more than a passing likeness to the snout on the all-electric Hyundai Kona that debuted at the New York International Auto Show barely a month ago.

Product News!

Kia is being sparse when it comes to offering details about the Niro EV, though it did indicate the battery-electric vehicle will be offered with a choice of two different batteries – at least in some markets – the more powerful, 64 kWh pack will provide enough energy to travel an estimated 236 miles between charges, the 39.2 kWh pack reducing range to around 149 miles.

(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.

News You Can Trust!

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…)

Toyota Readying Its Own Autonomous Car Testing Site

New site allows TRI to conduct more "dangerous" testing.

by on May.03, 2018

The Toyota Research Institute plans to build an autonomous vehicle test site within the MITRP.

Toyota is looking to take its autonomous vehicle testing to a new level – a more dangerous one – without putting the public at risk so it’s going to construct a new closed-course testing facility near Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) filed construction permits this week to transform an approximately 60-acre site at Michigan Technical Resource Park (MITRP) in Ottawa Lake into a facility that takes testing to the edge.

News You Can Trust!

Expected to be operational this October, the new site will be used exclusively by TRI to safely replicate demanding “edge case” driving scenarios, too dangerous to perform on public roads. (more…)