Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

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…)

“Coming Soon” – Mercedes Teases Next-Gen CLA

But market has changed radically since coupe-like model first appeared.

by on Dec.17, 2018

Mercedes has offered a tease of the second-generation CLA ahead of its debut at CES.

The original Mercedes-Benz CLA, in baseball terms, knocked it out of the park, the compact, coupe-like sedan not only generating a massive sales surge but drawing in the sort of hip young buyers that the German brand long had trouble reaching.

Americans are expected to buy about 22,000 CLA sedans this year, a sharp decline from the model’s 2015 peak, when Mercedes delivered about 30,000 of them. That said, considering the rapid shift from passenger cars to light trucks – including the similarly sized Mercedes GLA crossover – the CLA remains an essential part of the brand’s line-up.

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“We’re still bullish on sedans,” Dietmar Exler, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, told TheDetroitBureau.com during a Los Angeles Auto Show interview, and the German brand aims to prove that with the upcoming launch of the second-generation CLA.

(more…)

Tesla’s Musk Expresses Interest in Closing GM Plants

Exec expresses disdain for SEC, approvals.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Elon Musk expressed interest in buying one of the plants General Motors plans to close in the near future.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with General Motors — again.

Not, Musk doesn’t want to challenge GM CEO Mary Barra to appear on the television game show, but he did tell reporter Lesley Stahl on the CBS news show 60 Minutes he would be willing to buy one of the plants GM plans to shut down in the near future.

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“It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over,” he said during the interview. (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…)

Waymo Kicks Off Autonomous Taxi and Ride Sharing Service

Autonomous service starts in Phoenix.

by on Dec.05, 2018

This scene may become more common as Waymo One kicks off service in Arizona.

Self-driving ride-sharing service is here. Well, it’s in Arizona, technically, but the day that Uber, Lyft and others have waiting for has arrived with the debut of Waymo One, Waymo’s autonomous taxi and ride-sharing service.

The service operates in a 100-square-mile zone covering four Phoenix suburbs: Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The company has been testing its vehicles in the area since 2016, including offering free rides earlier this year to generate some goodwill for autonomous vehicles.

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“Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public,” John Krafcik, Waymo’s CEO wrote in a blog post. “Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully.” (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.

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“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.

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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…)

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