Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘google autonomous’

Ford Takes Lead in Race for Autonomous Vehicles

Waymo faces challenges bringing tech to market, cautions new study.

by on Apr.03, 2017

Ford's latest-gen autonomous Fusion prototype recently began testing in several locations.

In the race to put autonomous vehicles on the road, it’s not always those who were quick out of the gate who are taking the lead, finds a new study.

Ford Motor Co., which initially took a slow and cautious approach to self-driving technology, is now in the lead, according to Navigant Research, a firm that closely follows the development of high-tech automotive hardware and software.

Breaking News!

Like “many traditional OEMs,” said the Navigant study released today, Ford was “skeptical about the commercial prospects for automated driving,” but it has shifted its efforts into high gear since Mark Fields became CEO in mid-2014, and has since been making aggressive moves “through a combination of strategic investments and development of supporting business models.”

(more…)

Waymo to Unveil Autonomous Chrysler Pacifica at NAIAS

Division leader Krafcik tweets news about appearance.

by on Dec.21, 2016

A Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, modified for Waymo, shown driving autonomously.

Waymo, the newly renamed Google autonomous vehicle division, will pull the wraps off its latest self-driving vehicle prototype, a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, during the opening day of the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Monday confirmed it had delivered 100 of its Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans to Waymo, which will now have them modified to run autonomously. When they go into operation early next year they will more than double the size of the Google spinoff’s test fleet.

Tech Talk!

“As we get fully self-driving cars ready for the road, we’ll need more types of vehicles to refine and test our advanced driving software,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a tweet.

(more…)

FCA Delivers Google’s 100 Autonomous Minivans

Project will push autonomous testing into tougher environments.

by on Dec.19, 2016

A Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, modified for Waymo, shown driving autonomously.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has finished building 100 minivans that will be used as part of the latest test program by Waymo, the newly renamed autonomous vehicle unit of Google.

Produced at FCA’s assembly plant in Windsor, Ontario, the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids still must be retrofitted with the sensors and control systems needed to let them operate hands-free. They are expected to go into operation early in 2017, joining the numerous other vehicles Waymo is testing, including bubble like “Google Cars” produced by Detroit’s Rousch Engineering.

Subscribe Now!

“The Pacifica Hybrid will be a great addition to our fully self-driving test fleet. Fiat Chrysler’s product development and manufacturing teams have been agile partners, enabling us to go from program kickoff to full vehicle assembly in just six months,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement announcing the latest milestone.

(more…)

Apple May Back Away from Auto Manufacturing

Tech firm reportedly shifts focus to driverless tech systems it could license to auto industry.

by on Sep.12, 2016

“We've always viewed that people love surprises," Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Washington Post.

It has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Silicon Valley – but while Apple has been widely reported to be working on a high-tech automobile program, dubbed Project Titan, new indications are that the iPhone-maker may be backing off from that effort.

The new reports suggest that Apple has fired “dozen of employees” involved in the automotive project, a sharp reversal from the aggressive hiring program that had been in places for the past year. Apple had hired a number of industry veterans from conventional automakers, as well as high-tech auto firm Tesla Motors.

Tech News!

But rather than abandon Project Titan entirely, reports in The New York Times and other media sources indicate Apple is now looking to provide high-tech, autonomous – or even driverless – technology to existing automakers, rather than trying to build cars on its own. Such an effort could put it directly in competition with another tech giant, Google.

(more…)

Most American Motorists Wary of Self-Driving Cars

Concerns grow even as autonomous vehicles come closer to production.

by on May.23, 2016

An autonomous Ford Fusion prototype recently began testing on public roads in California.

Every week brings a flurry of new reports about the coming wave of autonomous vehicles, but a new study finds that only a small minority of American motorists actually want to buy a self-driving vehicle.

Motorists are a bit more open to semi-autonomous technologies that still require a driver to keep their hands on the wheel, but nearly half said they wanted no self-driving technologies at all, according to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI. And more than a third said they would be “very concerned about riding in a completely self-driving vehicle.”

Stay on Top!

The results of the UMTRI could raise some serious concerns among industry planners. Global automakers are spending billions of dollars to develop self-driving vehicles, with the first semi-autonomous products just starting to come to market. Several makers have announced plans to have fully autonomous models on the road by 2020.

(more…)

Google, Fiat Chrysler Confirm Autonomous Vehicle Alliance

Deal will focus on new Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

by on May.03, 2016

A self-driving Pacifica is one step closer to reality with today's announcement from FCA and Google.

Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are about to put things on autopilot, the two companies teaming up on a program aimed at bringing self-driving vehicles to market in the near future.

The two have confirmed an alliance, rumored for more than a week, that will see Google acquire 100 of FCA’s new Chrysler Pacifica minivans. They will help the tech giant more than double its current fleet of autonomous vehicle prototypes, the two firms announced late Tuesday. That could eventually see Google technology used in FCA’s production vehicles, though no formal plans for that move have yet been locked down.

Breaking News!

“This announcement is a recognition of the fact we found a sharing of the minds with Google,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, his counterpart at Google, autonomous vehicle chief John Krafcik saying the Silicon Valley firm saw the Detroit maker as “nimble and experienced.” (more…)

FCA, Google Could Announce Autonomous Deal Today

First step: self-driving Pacifica minivan.

by on May.03, 2016

Chrysler wants to reposition the Pacifica as more than a minivan; autonomous tech could help.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google could announce a joint venture as early as today, according to reports out of Milan.

The non-exclusive project would see FCA use the tech firm’s autonomous vehicle technology in several dozen prototypes based off the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service. But several observers caution that a deal might take longer than expected, and note how a reported Ford-Google alliance failed to materialize, as many had expected, last January.

News Now!

It would mark the first official alliance for Google, which has said it prefers to find partners to use its autonomous vehicle technology, rather than going into the car business itself. Meanwhile, FCA would suddenly move to the head of the class, rather than lagging at the back of the self-driving pack.

(more…)

Fiat-Chrysler Reportedly Talking Autonomous Car Deal with Google

But prior rumors of Google-Ford deal failed to materialize.

by on Apr.29, 2016

Google is already testing its bubble-shaped prototype in California, Texas and Nevada.

Two partners in search of mates? Both Google and Fiat Chrysler have been open in their need to form alliances, and the two companies just might be ready to team up.

According to several online reports, they’re in advanced talks that could lead to Fiat Chrysler putting Google’s self-driving vehicle technology into production. The Silicon Valley firm is already testing its autonomous car software with a fleet of prototypes, but Google officials have repeatedly said they want to find a partner within the auto industry, rather than setting up their own manufacturing operation.

Tech Talk!

The talks have reportedly been underway for several months, according to the Wall Street Journal, while a separate online report on autoextremist claims negotiations are in late stages and could see Google’s autonomous technology used on a variety of different Fiat-Chrysler products.

(more…)

Congress to Probe Autonomous Vehicle Progress

Questions likely to focus on recent Google crash.

by on Mar.09, 2016

Google's autonomous vehicle director Chris Urmson will be among those testifying.

With the first semi-autonomous vehicles already rolling across the nation’s highways, Congress wants to learn where the technology is heading, and will hold hearings next week.

Among those set to testify is Chris Urmson, the second-in-command for Google’s self-driving car program. He will be joined by other industry officials from General Motors, auto supplier Delphi and Lyft, the nation’s second-largest ride-sharing service.

Subscribe Now!

The committee says it hopes to learn more about “advancements in autonomous vehicle technology and its anticipated benefits for Americans.”

(more…)

Latest Google Crash Could Set Back Autonomous Project

Effort to humanize autonomous tech could be a factor.

by on Mar.02, 2016

The latest accident involved a Google-modified Lexus.

There have been more than a dozen crashes involving Google’s autonomous vehicles since testing began on public roads in 2014, but for the first time, a collision has been blamed directly on one of the self-driving vehicles and it could prove a setback for the technology many had hoped would soon revolutionize the automotive world.

An investigation is still underway involving the February 14th incident, though Google has posted a blog note saying “We clearly bear some responsibility.” It occurred when a stopped autonomous prototype attempted to nudge into traffic striking a public transit bus moving at about 15 mph on a road near Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Beyond the Headlines!

Ironically, the crash may have been at least partly the result of efforts to make Google’s autonomous vehicles think more like human drivers. A number of earlier crashes were blamed on drivers trying to do things like race through a yellow light while Google car prototypes strictly obeyed the law, jamming on the brakes the moment the lights turned yellow.

(more…)