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Archive for the ‘Driverless Vehicles’ Category

Toyota Introducing New Automated Test Vehicle in Las Vegas

New vehicle based on fifth-gen Lexus LS flagship.

by on Jan.04, 2019

Toyota's new automated vehicle, the TRI-P4, is based off the Lexus LS sedan and debuts at CES.

Toyota has offered a glimpse of an automated driving test vehicle it plans to show off next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Toyota Research Institute plans to reveal the TRI-P4, which is based on the fifth-generation Lexus LS flagship sedan and which Toyota plans to use TRI’s development of the two-track Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system.

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“Our Chauffeur development is focused on full autonomy, where the human is essentially removed from the driving equation, either completely in all environments, or within a restricted driving domain,” said Ryan Eustice, senior vice president of automated driving at TRI.  (more…)

Tesla Pushing Midnight Sales to Clear Backlog of 3K Model 3s

Musk offers big incentives to Tesla employees to buy a new car.

by on Dec.31, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk is looking to sell Model 3s all the way til midnight to make sure buyers get the full $7,500 tax credit.

Two nights ago, Tesla boss Elon Musk sent out a tweet telling his millions of followers that there was 48 hours left to buy a new EV and still qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit from the U.S. government.

Nothing wrong for being a shill for your company and its products on social media, but it’s becoming more clear as to why he was so motivated to try to drum of up sales for a company that supposedly has a lengthy waiting list for new Model 3 sedans.

Happy New Year!

Tesla has more than 3,000 Model 3s left in inventory in the United States as of Sunday, according to website Electrek, which cited people familiar with the matter. (more…)

Senate Ignores Important Automotive Legislation

EV tax credit, autonomous vehicle testing bills on hold until 2019.

by on Dec.20, 2018

Michigan Senator Gary Peters is concerned by the delay of legislation that would set guidelines for testing autonomous vehicles.

The news out of Washington just got worse for automakers as two pieces of legislation they’d hoped would be passed by the end of the year won’t even be considered, putting off them off until 2019.

The two measures – one to accelerate the adoption of self-driving car technology and a second to extend the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles – were not attached to last funding bill for 2018, thus will not get approved in 2018.

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Sens. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) were pushing legislation that would allow exemptions to automakers for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. The goal was to homogenize the rules for all states, making it easier to get the testing complete in more states. (more…)

NHTSA Moves to Accelerate Autonomous Vehicle Petitions

Agency also seeks comment on vehicle communications technology.

by on Dec.18, 2018

GM plans to introduce a fully driverless version of the Bolt EV in 2019 for ride-sharing fleets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will no longer need to determine if a petition complete to issue summary for public comment, hoping to accelerate the process for getting autonomous vehicles on the road.

The agency cut the requirement wanting to improve “the efficiency and transparency of the process to focus on the safety review,” according to Reuters. Now the agency can zero in on the safety of a vehicle without a driver or steering wheel and brakes.

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Automakers currently meet nearly dozens of auto safety standards, often based on the assumption that a licensed driver would be able to control the vehicle using traditional human controls, Reuters noted. (more…)

Tesla Hustling to Build New Plant in China

New site will build only Model 3s at launch.

by on Dec.06, 2018

Tesla Inc. has reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build an assembly plant in China.

Tesla’s $2 billion Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, may begin construction sooner than observers expected as the EV maker is accepting bids from companies to build the plant that will theoretically build all of the batteries for the maker in China.

The company is accepting bids from construction companies wanting to build the plant, and in fact, much of the prep work is complete, according to Reuters. The new plant will be noteworthy for two reasons: it’s going to accelerate Tesla’s ability to sell vehicles in the country.

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Perhaps more importantly, it will be the first wholly foreign-owned facility in China — a concession the government made to get more electric vehicles into the country. (more…)

Chinese EV Maker Byton Unwraps 2nd Model at L.A. Auto Show

“We need a lot of funding,” CEO admits, outlining challenges ahead.

by on Dec.03, 2018

Byton CEO Carson Breitfield talks about the new K-Byte EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The global automotive market is in the midst of a revolution, something obvious to anyone attending this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. Not only are we seeing a push into new technologies like electrification and autonomy, but the established carmakers are being taken on by a variety of automotive upstarts.

To a list that already includes the likes of Tesla, Faraday Future and Rivian, add China-based Byton. The company helped anchor the first day of previews at the L.A. Auto Show by unveiling a prototype of what it says will be its second new model, the K-Byte. But Byton officials also acknowledged that they still face challenges in their road to production.

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The debut of the K-Byte follows Byton’s original prototype, the M-Byte, and targets a relatively mainstream buyer, at least by the standards of the electric vehicle market. According to Breitfeld, the sleek battery-sedan will come in at a starting price of around $45,000 when it comes to market. The target, at least, is to have it reach showrooms in China next year, followed by a late 2019 launch in the U.S., and a European roll-out in 2020. (more…)

GM Moves Ammann into CEO Role at GM Cruise

Move marks the second in six months for Ammann.

by on Nov.29, 2018

General Motors President Dan Ammann is now GM Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann.

General Motors President Dan Ammann is changing jobs again, now serving as the full time as the Chief Executive Officer of GM Cruise, GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

Ammann had worked closely with Cruise since GM acquired the self-driving vehicle start up back in 2016.

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The move marks the second time in six months that Ammann’s role within the company has been changed. In July, he shifted some of his responsibilities to Executive Vice President Mark Reuss to focus on the company’s development of autonomous vehicles.  (more…)

VW Reveals Commercial Version of All-Electric I.D. Buzz Microbus

Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Cargo “could” reach production by 2022.

by on Nov.27, 2018

Volkswagen continues pushing the evolution of its Microbus with the new I.D. Buzz Cargo.

In its push into electrification, Volkswagen plans to bring back a retro-futuristic version of its legendary Microbus, the all-electric I.D. Buzz. And, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, the German automaker will reveal a commercial version of the van it is calling the I.D. Buzz Cargo.

The commercial version will offer as much as 340 miles of battery range — which it says can be extended by the use of a solar roof. The I.D. Buzz Cargo also will feature full autonomous driving capabilities, according to a VW statement released ahead of the commercial van’s formal unveiling in L.A. on Wednesday.

Park Yourself Here!

“The Cargo could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022,” VW said. It did not confirm whether it plans to bring the commercial version of the I.D. Buzz to the U.S. market, as well, however. (more…)

Forget the Self-Driving Car! Bring on the Autonomous Hotel Room!

Autonomous Travel Suites put hotel rooms on wheels using an app.

by on Nov.21, 2018

Designed by Toronto architect Steven Lee, the Autonomous Travel Suite is a self-driving hotel room.

Americans are traveling U.S. roadways with greater frequency than ever, setting new records for miles traveled each of the last three years. Automakers, looking to make those safer miles, are furiously working to develop the first fully autonomous vehicle.

The idea of a fully autonomous car is appealing. Tell the vehicle where you want to go, and then get comfortable with a book, watch a movie or even take a nap. Set it and forget it, if you will.

Insight!

While that may seem like the next greatest thing, it’s not. That distinction belongs to the Autonomous Travel Suite (ATS). (more…)

Advanced Driving Systems Can Be Misleading and Don’t Always Work as Promised

Autopilot, ProPilot, Pilot Assist, names can confuse motorists expecting full autonomy.

by on Nov.16, 2018

This Model X crash reveals the short comings of Autopilot and, potentially, other similarly named advanced driver assistance systems.

Soon after Tesla first introduced its Autopilot system in October 2014, videos began popping up on YouTube showing owners doing things like jumping into the back seat while their cars cruised down the highway. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was shown in his Model S sedan, hands out of the window, rather than on the steering wheel.

After a couple high-visibility crashes, Tesla now takes pain to make sure its owners know Autopilot isn’t a fully autonomous system – at least not yet. But not everyone seems to be getting the message. And it’s not just Tesla. With Nissan adding ProPilot Assist to some new models and Volvo opting for Pilot Assist.

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The new car market is experiencing a flood of new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, that claim to help drivers stay in their lanes, brake automatically, and even change lanes by simply tapping the turn signal. But testing by AAA finds that many of these systems don’t work as promised – at least all the time. And, worse, the names manufacturers have chosen may lead to a false sense of security, some motorists believing these systems can but drive all but fully autonomously. (more…)