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Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

US Postal Service Using Autonomous Trucks to Haul Mail

USPS partners with TuSimple to deliver mail.

by on May.22, 2019

The United States Postal Service is partnering with TuSimple, using the company's autonomous trucks to haul mail across three states in a two-week trial.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds — however, poor lane markers might be problematic for the United States Post Office’s latest “courier.”

The USPS entered into an agreement with TuSimple to use the San Diego-based company’s autonomous trucks on a two-week trial to deliver mail between postal centers in the southwest United States.

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The self-driving trucks, which will have a safety driver behind the wheel and an engineer in the passenger seat, will haul mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas. The program is designed to see if autonomous technology could improve delivery times and lower costs.  (more…)

Tesla Takes Another Slap as Consumer Reports Faults Latest Autopilot Update

Latest update called “far less competent than a human driver.”

by on May.22, 2019

Consumer Reports criticized the performance of Tesla's latest version of Autopilot.

It has been a tough few weeks for Tesla, the California electric carmaker watching its stock plummet in the wake of a sales slowdown, mounting losses and a report from the National Transportation Safety Board blaming the company’s Autopilot system for a fatal crash last March. Now, Consumer Reports is adding to Tesla’s grief.

CEO Elon Musk has spotlighted Autopilot as one of Tesla’s crown jewels, boasting about its increasingly hands-free capabilities, the latest being the ability to change lanes automatically. But the non-profit publication isn’t convinced, warning in a news release that “the latest version … is far less competent than a human driver.”

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“The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed it’s the other way around,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing. “It’s incredibly nearsighted. It doesn’t appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can’t anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it.” (more…)

General Motors Debuts New Digital Brain for Future Vehicles

New architecture allows for future connected car tech.

by on May.21, 2019

GM's new digital vehicle platform can process 4.5 terabytes per hour and will debut on the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan.

General Motors is pushing to remain a leader in autonomous technology with new vehicles and mobility services; however, it’s latest development may be the most critical to ensure it remains at the front of the pack.

The company unveiled its new all-new digital platform architecture, designed with the needs of future, such as connected cars, autonomous electric vehicles and other technologies, in mind. Until now, GM has been loading up its previous gen architecture with new tech, despite the fact it is more than 20 years old and comes with limitations.

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The new architecture, which will underpin the 2020 Cadillac CT5 sedan and its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving feature, should be available across nearly all GM product lines by 2023, the company says. (more…)

Tesla Stock Getting Hammered as NTSB Investigates, Investors Fret

Musk tells employees that cash burn rate is high.

by on May.20, 2019

Tesla's Elon Musk has ordered employees to rein in spending on virtually everything.

Just a few days after safety regulators revealed that Tesla’s Autopilot system was engaged during a fatal crash of a Model 3, Tesla’s stock has fallen 11% – including nearly 4% today – to the low $200 range.

Adding to the concerns of stock and bond investors in the California-based EV maker, CEO Elon Musk revealed the company’s first-quarter cash burn rate has put it in a precarious position.

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He told employees last Thursday he would increase cost-cutting and that $2.7 billion in capital the company recent raised would give Tesla just 10 months to break even at the rate it burned cash in the first quarter. (more…)

General Motors, Unifor Ink Deal for Oshawa Plant

New agreement saves 300 jobs at facility.

by on May.10, 2019

Workers at GM's plant in Oshawa, Ontario, staged a sit-down strike after the company rejected plans to keep the plant open.

General Motors Canada and Unifor have announced a plan to convert elements of the Oshawa Assembly plant into an arts-making operation, saving some 300 manufacturing jobs, and vehicle test center for autonomous and advanced vehicles.

The “Transformation Agreement” between GM and Unifor, the union representing Canadian autoworkers, apparently will end the sometime bitter dispute that began in November 2018 when GM announced plans to shutter the Oshawa plant permanently, ending more than 100 years of car making on the site just outside Toronto.

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The dispute about Oshawa led a brief sit-down strike inside the factory earlier this year and Unifor attacking GM for abandoning Canada through a series of ads including one that ran on the highly rated Canadian telecast of the Super Bowl. GM countered the brief strike and the ads with lawsuits. (more…)

GM’s Cruise Unit Gets Additional $1.15B in New Funding

T. Rowe Price leads new round of funding.

by on May.07, 2019

GM's Cruise self-driving car unit received a new round of funding: $1.15 billion led by T. Rowe Price.

Producing self-driving vehicles requires a lot of money and, perhaps, even more faith. It would seem investors have both when it comes to this part of the automotive industry as General Motors’ Cruise outfit has secured $1.15 billion in new equity.

Cruise officials revealed Tuesday that T. Rowe Price and a group of existing investors put down $1.15 billion in new equity, pushing the self-driving vehicle unit’s value to $19 billion.

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As a result, GM’s shares jumped as much as 2.1% to $38.89 in morning trading on the heels of the announcement. The new funding includes GM, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor Co Ltd., and should provide Cruise the cash it needs to launch vehicles by the end of 2019. (more…)

BMW Earnings Hit Big by Anti-Trust Probe

No plans to purchase stake in rival Daimler, says CEO.

by on May.07, 2019

BMW's earnings fell despite a global increase in sales.

BMW earnings tumbled 75% for the first quarter, its automotive earnings plunging into the red, due to a $1.6 billion set-aside to cover fines resulting from a European antitrust probe, as well as higher investments in autonomous and electrified vehicles.

BMW actually saw an increase in vehicle deliveries during the first quarter of the year, but revenues slipped 1% to 22.5 billion euros, or $25.1 billion. Meanwhile, the anticipated antitrust fine and other factors drove group earnings down to 561 million euros, or $627 million.

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Separately, the Bavarian automaker’s CEO Harald Kruger said he “can rule out” the possibility of taking even a small stake in its German rival Daimler, despite the two companies announcing a series of recent joint ventures, including one designed to share self-driving vehicle development efforts.

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Product Launches Hammer FCA’s Q1 Earnings

But Ram pickup sales provide a cushion.

by on May.03, 2019

CEO Mike Manley needs to prove he can maintain the pace set by his former boss, Sergio Marchionne.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported profits dropped 41% in the first quarter as a slump in sales in key markets cut the company’s revenues by 5 percent.

The automaker attributed the decline to the normal production challenges related to an array of new product launches in North America, as well as pricing pressure in China and South America.

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FCA CEO Mike Manley, however, reaffirmed the company’s guidance for the full year. “We expect earnings to grow in the following quarters,” he said as FCA completes the launch of the new Jeep Gladiator and the Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck.

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Drivers Warming to Arrival of Autonomous Vehicles

Good news for automakers investing billions into new technology.

by on Apr.30, 2019

Waymo's autonomous ride service, Waymo One, is already in service.

Automakers are investing billions of dollars into the research and development of autonomous vehicles with some already offering limited amounts of self-driving capability. However, is this what automobile owners really want?

There is new evidence they’re quickly warming to the idea of a self-driving vehicle.

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According to a survey of 1,146 automobile owners published by online car marketplace CarGurus, they’re both more enthusiastic and less worried about driverless cars than a year ago, and close to a third think they’ll own a self-driving car within the next decade. (more…)

Strong Sales of Pricey Pickups Help GM Beat Earnings Estimate

But sliding U.S. market share worries investors.

by on Apr.30, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra shown in March announcing a major investment in battery-car production.

Cost-cutting and pricey pickups. That was the formula for General Motors as it managed to beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations for the first quarter of 2019 with adjusted earnings of $1.41 a share, 30 cents better than the consensus forecast.

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy investors who have been driving down GM shares in morning trading, the market appearing to react to weak sales and the automaker’s home market share decline from 16.9% during the fourth quarter of 2018 to 15.6% during the most recent three-month period.

Earnings News!

“GM’s first-quarter operating results were in line with expectations we shared in January,” CEO and Chairman Mary Barra said during a conference call with analysts and the media Tuesday morning. “My confidence in the year ahead remains strong, driven by our all-new full-size truck launch and our ongoing business transformation.”

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