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Posts Tagged ‘autonomous vehicle’

Waymo Buying “Thousands” of Chrysler Minivans for New Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

Project will target “multiple U.S. cities.”

by on Jan.30, 2018

Waymo has been testing its ride-sharing program in Phoenix but plans to launch in other markets as it goes fully driverless.

Waymo plans to buy “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be used as Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off sets up a driverless ride-hailing service in “multiple U.S. cities,” Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Tuesday.

The announcement marks a significant step forward for both companies. While considered a leader in the field, it had not been clear how Waymo was planning to commercialize its development of self-driving vehicle technology. For its part, FCA has been reluctant to invest in autonomous vehicle research but could now make a big leap by expanding its nascent alliance with Waymo.

Tech News!

“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”


2 Fed Safety Teams Head to California Tesla Crash Probe

Was drive using Autopilot when Model S crashed into fire truck?

by on Jan.25, 2018

An LA TV station caught the aftermath of a crash involving a Tesla Model S and a firetruck.

Two separate teams of federal safety investigators have been dispatched to California to examine what happened when a Tesla Model S crashed into a firetruck on a suburban Los Angeles freeway on Monday, the agencies aiming to find out if the incident happened while the battery sedan was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

This marks the second time both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have examined a Tesla crash to see if the maker’s self-driving technology may have malfunctioned.

News Now!

In the first case, 40-year-old Joshua Brown was killed in a Florida crash in May 2009 when his Model S failed to stop when a semi-truck turned in front of it. The former Navy SEAL was ruled at least partially at fault for failing to take evasive action, but the NTSB also determined that flaws in the design of the Tesla Autopilot system contributed to the crash.


Henrik Fisker Officially Reveals Autonomous EMotion EV

Danish designer reveals plans for a “menu of mobility” that will later include affordable electrics and driverless shuttles.

by on Jan.12, 2018

The gull-winged Fisker EMotion makes its official debut at the Consumer Electronics Show.

After months of teasers, Henrik has finally pulled the wraps off his latest project, the autonomous EMotion battery-eletric vehicle making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The second attempt by the Danish designer to launch his own battery-car company, the EMotion is a stunning, gull-winged sports sedan that reportedly will offer a range of up to 400 miles, even while delivering blistering performance – top speed 161 mph – thanks to a new generation of solid-state batteries.

The Last Word!

The EMotion isn’t due to market until sometime late in 2019. But in an interview with, Fisker revealed that he is already working on future products as part of a “menu of mobility” that will include a much more affordable Tesla Model 3 fighter and even a driverless shuttle along the lines of the Toyota e-Palette concept that also debuted at CES.


GM Asks Feds to OK 2019 Launch of Driverless Robo-Cabs

Automaker aims to put as many as 2,500 on the road annually during test program.

by on Jan.12, 2018

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV - sans steering wheel and pedals - for the robo-cab test program.

General Motors wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019, a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

Company officials said they would roll out as many as 25 vehicles annually under the pilot project, if given approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM ultimately hopes to provide the vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Lyft – in which it is a major investor – as well as its own service, Maven.

Breaking News!

Unlike the autonomous prototypes GM and many competitors are currently testing, the vehicles would be completely driverless and not even be equipped with pedals or a steering wheel. That is something the automaker’s President Dan Ammann called “a major milestone, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”


Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Creates $1 Bil Venture Fund

“We can’t everything ourselves,” says Ghosn.

by on Jan.10, 2018

The new fund is expected to invest about $200 million annually in new technology and services.

The Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance will invest around $1 billion over the next five years to help it fund start-ups and other small tech companies that can help it bring to market electrified, connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, Alliance CEO Carlos Ghosn announced Tuesday.

The corporate venture capital, or CVC, fund is intended not only to give the Franco-Japanese alliance access to potentially breakthrough technology but to help it make decisions more quickly than is normally the case for a big corporation, Ghosn said during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Tech News!

“We can do everything ourselves,” explained the Brazilian-born executive. “We have to get access to people who think about things in different ways.”


Nissan to Demonstrate Brain-to-Vehicle Technology at CES

System can anticipate what a driver is going to do.

by on Jan.03, 2018

A volunteer uses the Nissan B2V technology to test how it works will driving on a simulator.

I think, therefore I drive? So, classical philosopher Rene Descartes might have opined after checking out the new Brain-to-Vehicle technology that Nissan Motor Co. will unveil at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Anyone who has driven a relatively recent-vintage vehicle has probably experienced the benefits – and occasional snags – of voice control. But Nissan’s system is designed to decode what a driver is thinking and use that to help control how a vehicle steers, accelerates or brakes. In an emergency, for example, it could allow a car to begin slowing down as much as a half-second before the driver’s foot actually hits the brake pedal.

Brain Power!

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” helping motorists relax more while driving, while also improving vehicle safety, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan.


Waymo Set to Challenge Michigan Winter

Operating on snowy, icy roads the big challenge for autonomous tech.

by on Oct.26, 2017

Winter weather creates challenges for humans, and it can overwhelm autonomous vehicles.

There are already hundreds of autonomous prototypes cruising the nation’s roadways, and that number could soon climb into the thousands, thanks to a bill rapidly moving through Congress. But, for now, the vast majority of those vehicles are operating in warm weather climes like Phoenix and Silicon Valley.

The real challenge will be finding ways to make autonomous and fully driverless cars and trucks function in cold weather environments, experts stress, where things like lane markers may be obscured by road and ice.

Tech News!

So, Waymo, the Google spinoff generally considered one of the leaders in self-driving technology, says it will begin testing in Michigan over the winter using some of its newest models, specially modified versions of the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid.


U.S. House to Vote on Broad Autonomous Vehicle Bill

Measure would make it easier for industry to test self-driving vehicles on public roads – but critics want more oversight.

by on Aug.31, 2017

Waymo recently launched a pilot ride-sharing program in Phoenix using autonomous Chrysler minivans.

Federal lawmakers could take a big step closer to enabling widespread testing of autonomous and even fully driverless vehicles when the U.S. House of Representatives votes next week on a bill that would greatly expand the auto industry’s ability to test such vehicles on public roads.

The measure, which was approved unanimously by a House panel in July would essential usurp the patchwork of state regulations that has slowly begun falling into place, and it would allow prototype vehicles to sidestep some of the current federal safety regulations that apply to conventional cars, trucks and crossovers.

Breaking News!

“Self-driving vehicles stand to make our transportation system safer and more efficient,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, said in a statement. “Advancing this technology to road-ready requires government policy that encourages continued testing and development.”


Ford Patent Shows How Autonomous Car’s Steering Wheel, Pedals Could Fold Away

Design would allow manual driving or completely driverless operation.

by on Aug.18, 2017

A patent application illustration shows how Ford would hide the controls in driverless mode.

Autonomous vehicles, we’re regularly told, are just around the corner, and fully driverless vehicles will soon follow. Ford, for one, has said it hopes to remove the driver from the picture entirely by 2021.

Now, a patent granted Ford this month reveals that the self-driving cars Ford is working on could give an owner the option to choose which mode it will operate in. Push a button and the steering wheel and pedals fold up and out of sight. Push again and they reappear, allowing manual driving.

Stay in the Loop!

That option may be essential, at least initially, as autonomous vehicle experts warn that coming up with a vehicle that can operate without a driver on all roads and under all conditions, may take years to develop, despite the optimistic prognostications of automakers like Ford, Daimler, Nissan and tech companies such as Google spin-off Waymo.


First Look: (Almost) Autonomous 2018 Audi A8

Lots of tech -- lots of money.

by on Jul.11, 2017

The new Audi A8 is wider, longer and has a more well-planted appearance.

Not enough sleep last night? You might be tempted to close your eyes and let the new Audi A8 take over driving duties.

After a much-ballyhooed, but ultimately limited, preview in the latest Spider-Man reboot, Audi has finally pulled the costume, er, covers off its 2018 remake of the flagship sedan. And while the styling gets a relatively evolutionary makeover, the new Audi A8 attempts to leapfrog the competition when it comes to cutting edge technology.

Product News!

The new sedan features an array of lasers, a roadway scanner, more than 40 different driver assistance functions – including the ability to operate completely hands-free in traffic, at speeds up to 37 mph – and 400 different functions built into its MMI, or multimedia interface. Oh, and let’s not forget the backseat foot massager.