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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous cars’

Trump Administration Reviewing Autonomous Car Rules

Secretary Chao pushes makers to educate drivers about benefits.

by on Feb.28, 2017

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao believes automakers need to do more to educate the public about autonomous vehicles.

The Trump administration wants to take another look at the rules the Obama administration recommended for the conduct of on-road experiments and research on self-driving cars, which call for manufacturers to share some of the data.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said over the weekend that she would be re-evaluating the Obama administration’s rules for self-driving cars. The automotive and technology industries need to do a better job educating the public about the safety features of automated driving, she said during a speech to the National Governors Association.

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Chao said she wanted to “issue a challenge to Silicon Valley, Detroit and all other auto industry hubs to step up and help educate a skeptical public about the benefits of automated technologies,” according to the website Politico. (more…)

Waymo Casts Wide Net for Potential Users

Krafcik outlines company's plans.

by on Jan.10, 2017

Chrysler and Waymo have limited their partnership to 100 of the modified minivans.

Waymo plans to target multiple segments with self-driving technology once it is ready for the road, Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik said during a talk at the annual Automotive News World Congress.

“The first point to keep in mind is we’re not making a car,” Krafcik said. “We’re working on making a better driver, he said.

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Better and safer “drivers” are the key to reducing the staggering number of road fatalities, which are estimated at 1.5 million annually, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. (more…)

Autonomous Cars, Battery Vehicles and Record Sales: a Look at 2016’s Top Auto Stories

Industry at “an inflection point.”

by on Dec.29, 2016

Ford's next-generation autonomous Fusion prototype. Self-driving cars were a hot story in 2016.

Barring an unexpected, December surprise, 2016 will go out like a lion for the U.S. auto industry, automakers collectively racking up their third consecutive year of record sales. That’s an all the more massive achievement considering the decade began with the worst downturn the U.S. car market had suffered since the Great Depression.

What’s ahead for the industry is far from certain, demand showing signs of losing momentum in recent months. But what’s clear is that 2016 will not only go down in the record book from a sales perspective but that the year could be seen as marking a series of major transitions – “an inflection point,” in the words of John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google’s recently renamed autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

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What was once the stuff of science fiction began shifting into everyday reality this past year, with hundreds of self-driving vehicle prototypes taking to public roads across the country – some even being used as part of ride-sharing pilot programs in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

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Ford, GM Betting Big on the Future with Major Moves into Autonomous Vehicles, Mobility Services

Detroit makers hope to lead radical transformation of the auto industry.

by on Mar.11, 2016

General Motors President Dan Ammann (right) with Cruise Automation co-founders Kyle Vogt (center) and Daniel Kan (left).

General Motors CEO Mary Barra recently suggested the level of change in the auto industry over the next five years will be greater than it has been over the last half-century – and major announcements by both GM and cross-town rival Ford appear to back that up.

The larger of the two makers has acquired Cruise Automation, a California-based start-up focusing on the development of autonomous vehicles. The smaller carmaker, meanwhile, says it is creating a new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, to focus on a wide range of mobility services, including not only autonomous vehicles but alternatives such as ride- and car-sharing.

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“Our plan is to quickly become part of the growing transportation services market, which already accounts for $5.4 trillion in annual revenue,” noted Ford CEO Mark Fields in a prepared statement. In a series of stump speeches in recent months, Fields noted that traditional automakers, such as Ford, currently get little to none of that revenue. (more…)

LA Auto Show Shifts Gears but Maintains High-Tech Focus

Autonomous, connected-car tech vie for attention with green machines.

by on Nov.20, 2015

The L.A. Auto Show carved out a niche on the circuit as the showcase event for green technologies. However, that's changing to all auto technologies.

When it lifted the covers off its new Clarity Fuel-Cell Vehicle this week, Honda carried on a long-running L.A. Auto Show tradition of focusing on green automotive technology.

But where hybrids, plug-ins, battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles have dominated the annual Tinseltown event for much of the last two decades, environmentally friendly vehicles have had to share the stage this year. The 2015 show, in fact, opened with a day-long symposium on connected car technology, and much of the buzz during the media preview surrounded autonomous vehicles.

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The L.A. Auto Show “has evolved from a single technology – environmental technology – to a broader range of technologies,” said American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel. (more…)

SAE Panel Lays Out Framework for Arrival of Autonomous Vehicles

Executives cite connectivity, more players as key to growth.

by on Apr.23, 2015

Tesla's Model S will be one of the first examples of vehicles using autonomous vehicle technology on the road this summer.

Pandora’s Box is now officially open.

The emergence of self-driving vehicles as a major force in the automotive industry was underscored this week during the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit, where the topic of self-driving easily eclipsed fuel-efficiency as the major topic of discussion.

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Seval Oz, chief executive officer of Intelligent Transportation Systems at Continental AG, said two of the factors that are driving the autonomous car revolution are exponential growth of wireless connectivity in cars and the demand by other companies for the attention of drivers and passengers, who spend upwards of two hours in a vehicle during the daily commute. (more…)

Self-Driving Ride Sharing Fleets May Cut Car Ownership by Half

Autonomous cars make second car unnecessary.

by on Feb.09, 2015

Google's driverless car could ultimately cause a decline in car ownership in the U.S.

The growing levels of comfort of driverless cars and the rise of ride-sharing programs could combine to cut private car ownership nearly in half, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan.

If Google’s fleet of self-driving vehicles became part of a growing number of Uber and Lyft drivers, or even supplanted them, the need for a second car is blunted, the researchers said, especially if a “return-to- home” mode is involved allowing the ride share vehicle to act as a form of shared family or household vehicle.

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According to Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, the most recent U.S. National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) data shows a general lack of trip overlap between drivers within a majority of households, opening up the possibility for a significant reduction in average vehicle ownership per household based on vehicle sharing. (more…)

Google May Be Readying Challenge to Uber and Lyft

Google car autonomous test fleet could be prototype of nationwide ride-share service.

by on Feb.05, 2015

Uber's enjoying a successful run in the ride-sharing market, but a new foe may be on the horizon: Google.

Millions of Americans have begun turning to ride-sharing programs such as Uber and Lyft, not only as an alternative to traditional taxis but for some customers as a substitute for even owning a car.

Ride-share leader Uber has attracted not only a lot of new customers but, with an estimated valuation of $40 billion, it has drawn in plenty of big investors, including Google which has poured in more than $258 million in cash. But those erstwhile allies could soon by going head-to-head.

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“Google is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project,” reports Bloomberg. (more…)

Rinspeed Budii Aims to “Redefine Relationship Between Man and Machine”

"Trans-urban concept car" designed to learn as it drives.

by on Dec.10, 2014

The Rinspeed Budii appears to be an autonomous take on the new BMW i3 electric vehicles.

With the first autonomous vehicles likely heading to showrooms within the next decade, there’s little doubt life on the road will begin to change.  But exactly how? That’s a question garnering a lot of attention these days.  If our cars can handle the morning commute on their own, what will we be doing during our morning commute?

One thing seems certain, self-driving vehicles will “redefine the relationship between man and machine,” suggests Frank Rinderknecht.

Your Auto Show Source!

He’s better known as the visionary behind Rinspeed, a Swiss consulting firm that offers its take on the automobiles of the future with a series of concept vehicles that regularly appear at the annual Geneva Motor Show.

And the upcoming show will feature Rinspeed’s new Budii, which the firm calls a “trans-urban concept car.”

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Motorists Like Concept but Still Wary of Autonomous Vehicles

Less than a third of U.S. drivers want to own a self-driving car.

by on Dec.03, 2014

Less than one in three drivers are interested in owning a self-driving vehicle, but of those who want one, they're will to pay an extra $4,000.

The vast majority of American motorists are aware that a new generation of autonomous vehicles will soon take to the highways. While they like the idea of being able to lay back and relax, less than one in three drivers say they actually would want to own a self-driving car.

Those that would want to buy one would be willing to pay as much as a $4,000 premium, according to a new study by AutoPacific, Inc.

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“Consumers are divided on autonomous driving, just as they are on many other issues facing society,” explained George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “For some, this technology can’t come soon enough. Others appear to dread it.” (more…)