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Consumers Demanding New Safety and Autonomous Driving Features

Google takes the lead in autonomous driving.

by on Nov.12, 2015

A new Google car negotiates traffic.

While traditional attributes, like good fuel economy, remain important to American auto shoppers, the focus is shifting. Buyers are putting more and more emphasis on high-tech safety features and looking forward to a wave of new autonomous technologies coming to market in the near future, according to a new study.

Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and General Motors all have announced plans to begin rolling out semi-autonomous features, starting in 2016, and Tesla just began remotely updating its Model S sedans to use its AutoPilot system, which permits hands-free driving on well-marked, limited-access highways. But a second study says it’s a new entrant to the automotive world, tech giant Google, that has taken the lead in self-driving technology.

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“No other company has as much relevant technology to advance autonomous driving software,” says Egil Juliussen, PhD., senior research director at IHS Automotive and author of one of the new reports. “Google is in a unique position to provide the software and map infrastructure to allow mobility services to anyone — via fleets of driverless cars — within a decade or less.”

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Mandating New Safety Technology Could Save $900 Bil

Active safety innovations could save 33,000 lives annually, report claims.

by on Sep.30, 2015

A full conversion to autonomous driving technology could eliminate 90% of traffic fatalities, according to a new report.

New active safety technologies could reduce road accidents in the United States by more than one third, saving thousands of lives and billions in societal costs for medical care, vehicle repairs and lost productivity, according to a new study released this week by the Boston Consulting Group.

The study said available systems like automatic braking and lane control assistance technology could reduce the number of accidents by 28%. In addition, wider use of the new technologies could pave the way for fully autonomous vehicles and lead to a 90% reduction in fatal accidents over time.

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“Because the vast majority of crashes in the United States are caused by driver error, the lack of adoption of these technologies within the vehicle fleet in the United States is a significant missed opportunity,” said BCG’s Xavier Mosquet, who co-authored the report funded by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. (more…)

GM Launches New Active Safety Test Center

Crash-avoidance tech becoming better, cheaper, more common.

by on Jul.24, 2015

A Chevrolet Malibu with a pedestrian braking system stops short of hitting a "child" during a test.

As the big Chevrolet sedan races down the asphalt the driver seemingly misses the young boy who steps out on to the pavement. But his car doesn’t. An artificial vision system not only spots the pedestrian but slams on the brakes, stopping just a few feet before what might have been a deadly impact.

In fact, the demonstration run out at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan used a pint-sized dummy rather than risking an actual child, but it provided a clear look at a new technology that the maker plans to begin offering in 2016 on several models, including the new Chevy Malibu.

The Last Word!

Front Pedestrian Braking is, in fact, one of 22 different crash-avoidance technologies GM says it will offer through its four North American brands next year. And It promises more will follow, some already under development at a 52-acre Active Safety Test Area carved out of the suburban Detroit engineering complex.

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Automakers Wrestling with Qualcomm for Wireless Space

Tech company wants use of "auto" only bandwidth.

by on Jul.08, 2015

Automakers are asking the FCC to deny a request by Qualcomm for space on the wireless spectrum dedicated to automakers.

In a preview of the car wars of the future, an alliance of automakers is asking the Federal Communications Commission to reject a proposal from Qualcomm, Inc. allowing certain unlicensed wireless devices to operate in the portion of the wireless spectrum that has been set aside for vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems.

The automakers, speaking through Crash Avoidance Metrics Partners (CAMP) of Farmington Hills, Michigan, said the change would cause harmful interference with the soon-to-be-released V2V vehicle safety technology. Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, VW, Audi and Volvo Truck all participate in CAMP.

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In a letter to the FCC, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the automakers asked the FCC not to allow the change. The dispute illustrates the growing competition between automakers and tech companies over the control of key systems in future vehicles. (more…)

Safety Features Resonate with American Motorists in New Tech Choice Study

US car shoppers uninterested in fuel-saving features.

by on Apr.22, 2015

Consumers are demanding new collision avoidance technologies, according to new Power study.

Today’s new cars are likely to feature more digital technology than you’ll find in the typical home or office – including infotainment systems that can tap into the apps on an Apple or Google smartphone.

But forget about Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. What consumers want most are safety-related technologies such as blind spot detection and forward-collision mitigation – which account for seven of the Top 10 technologies car buyers say they want most, according to the first J.D. Power U.S. Tech Choice Study. Among the Top Five picks, self-healing paint was the only non-safety-related technology.

Your Tech Choice!

“Collision protection ranked above average,” said study director Kristin Kolodge, with “the vast majority” of the more than 5,000 U.S. motorists who participated in the Tech Choice Study. Significantly, she said this was not limited to any narrow segment of buyer. “There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations.”

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MIT Names V2V Communication Top 10 Breakthrough Technology

Ability to ease congestion, cut traffic deaths cited.

by on Feb.26, 2015

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that make driving safer were named as a breakthrough technology by MIT.

MIT Technology Review named Vehicle-to-vehicle communication, a much-discussed idea in the auto industry, one of the 10 Breakthrough Technologies for 2015.

Each year, MIT and Technology identify technologies from the past year that solve difficult problems or create powerful new ways of using technology to make the world better.

We Keep You Plugged In!

The V2V communications technology allows vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and is considered by advocates as a solution to reducing the slow traffic on increasingly crowded roads and freeways and to cutting traffic injuries and fatalities. (more…)

American Motorists Want Self-Driving Cars, Says New Study

Desire to give up control drops when kids involved.

by on Jul.29, 2014

CEO Carlos Ghosn outlines Nissan autonomous vehicle plans during a Tokyo news conference.

Americans haven’t necessarily fallen out of love with the automobile. They just don’t enjoy the art of driving as much anymore, and a growing number of Americans seem ready to hand over command to autonomous vehicles.

A new study finds that fully three-quarters of licensed U.S. motorists would be very likely to consider, if not buy, self-driving vehicles. And if offered lower insurance rates, the figure jumps to a whopping 86%, found website Insurance.com.

News You Can Trust!

“People are aware that they already drive cars controlled partly by computers,” said Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups. “Now they see features like collision avoidance on new models and hear about Google cars hitting the roads in a couple of years. An autonomous car is not science fiction anymore.” (more…)

Nissan Won’t Wait for 2020 to Begin Rolling Out Autonomous Technologies, Says Ghosn

New study forecasts annual sales of 95 mil self-driving cars by 2035.

by on Jul.17, 2014

A prototype Nissan Leaf autonomous vehicle negotiates traffic at a simulated urban intersection.

Betting on huge demand from motorists in the world’s increasingly crowded mega-cities, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has laid out an aggressive timetable for bringing the maker’s autonomous vehicles to market.

Even before the first of those self-driving cars goes on sale in 2020, said Ghosn, Nissan will launch new technologies, such as automated lane controls and highway traffic management systems that will begin to supplement the driver behind the wheel.

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We're Not on Autopilot!

Nissan is aiming to take the lead in the development of autonomous technologies but is likely to face a battle as other automakers enter the field – as well as tech giant Google which will begin launching field tests this year of a new prototype self-driving vehicle it has developed. The race could find a willing public, according to a new study by Navigant Research forecasting annual sales of autonomous vehicles could reach 95 million by 2035.

“By the end of 2016, Nissan will make available the next two technologies under its autonomous drive strategy,” said Mr. Ghosn.

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Self-Driving Vehicles Face Plenty of Obstacles

Even mainstream vehicles are becoming more autonomous.

by on Jun.03, 2014

A production version of Google's autonomous vehicle prototype could be on the road by 2020 - maybe.

Google has announced plans to build 100 autonomous vehicles, with a goal of getting the technology into production by 2020, about the same time Nissan hopes to have its own self-driving cars on the road.

But not everyone is so upbeat, and some experts caution it could take another two decades before such vehicles can overcome the cultural and technical challenges that loom ahead for autonomous motoring.

Beyond the Headlines!

Art Wheaton, an automotive industry expert and senior lecturer at Cornell University, said the announcement by Google for their autonomous vehicle may be “a trend for the near future,” but he cautioned that “I highly doubt individual car owners will give up their freedom to drive anywhere, anytime for the Google car.”

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IIHS Names America’s Safest Cars

Unexpected absences as the list shrinks from 130 vehicles to just 39.

by on Dec.19, 2013

The number of vehicles that qualified for this year's picks fell by more than 75%.

The old adage that “safety doesn’t sell” certainly doesn’t apply today.  It has become just as critical a factor in the buying decision for most American motorists as fuel economy.

So, there could be a lot of attention paid to the latest list of America’s safest cars, at least according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A total of 22 vehicles made the trade group’s most prestigious list, those given a Top Safety Pick+ rating, while another 17 got the still significant Top Safety Pick imprimatur.

There were a number of surprises delivered by the IIHS, however, including the absence of the new Toyota Corolla from the list. Only four products from the Japanese maker – and not a single one of its Lexus models – made this year’s safest cars list.  Indeed, while there were a whopping 130 different models that made the cut for 2013, only a total of 39 are on the list this year.

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A Safe Bet!

On the other hand, there were eight models built by Honda and its luxury Acura brand, more than any other manufacturer.

“We’ve made it more difficult for manufacturers this year,” says Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS, which has been awarding Top Safety Picks since 2006, adding the Top Safety Pick+ category in 2012.

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