Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

Despite Problems, Musk Promises Tesla Profit in Second Half of 2018

Stock up, but not everyone convinced.

by on Apr.13, 2018

CEO Elon Musk shown exiting the back seat of a Model 3 at its debut. Musk still needs to dig out of trouble caused by Model 3 delays.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Tesla, the battery-electric automaker again missing production targets, being accused of improperly firing nearly 1,000 factory workers and being scolded by federal safety regulators for its role in investigating a fatal crash involving its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

But that has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of CEO Elon Musk. After earlier this week suggesting Model 3 production isn’t delayed but in a “time shift,” the South African-born exec on Friday tweeted a promise that Tesla will be both profitable and produce positive cash flow by the second half of this year.

Promises, Promises!

Musk’s latest tweet came in response to a harsh Twitter post by British news magazine The Economist, which warned Tesla would need to raise more cash this year. “The Economist used to be boring,” Musk responded, “but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.”

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Mueller Out, Diess In at VW – And More Shake-Ups Likely

Automaker restructuring into three groups and may be readying spin-off of truck group.

by on Apr.12, 2018

New VW CEO Herbert Diess unveiled two EVs, including the Buzz microbus, at CEO.

Matthias Mueller, the executive often given credit with steering Volkswagen Group through the worst crisis in its post-War history, has been pushed aside, replaced as CEO by Herbert Diess, the head of the flagship VW brand.

The elevation of Diess comes at a time when Volkswagen is charting a path that calls for greater sales and profits, lower costs, and a decreasing dependence on the diesels that had been a foundation, albeit a troubled one, for the company. Diess will also oversee a restructuring that will reform the parent company into three groups and could lead to the eventually spin-off of its truck and bus division.

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Shaking Things Up!

The 64-year-old Mueller was elevated to CEO in 2015, following revelations that VW had rigged its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. He “has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group,” the automakers said in a statement, work that included dealing with angry regulators, shareholders and owners and negotiating settlements, fines and buybacks that ultimately are expected to cost VW about $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

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Uber CEO Says Autonomous Testing Done Until NTSB Investigation Complete

Company reached a settlement with victim's family.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company wouldn't resume testing its self-driving cars until the NTSB was complete.

Uber is tackling one issue at a time after one of its autonomous test vehicle collided with and killed a pedestrian outside of Phoenix last month, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

He said right now the company is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the event.

Industry News!

“Right now our total effort is helping them out and we’ll figure out what we do afterward,” he said, adding that self-driving cars “ultimately will make the world much, much safer.” (more…)

Tesla Recalling Half of All Cars It Has Ever Built

Latest setback affects half of all vehicles company has ever built.

by on Mar.30, 2018

Tesla's Model S has now faced three recalls.

Tesla has announced that it is recalling 123,000 Model S sedans, almost half of all the vehicles it has produced since going into business.

The move, signaled by a letter sent to customers Thursday, was triggered by problems with steering bolts that could cause the failure of the power steering system on vehicles built prior to April 2016.

Breaking News!

This is at least the third instance in which Tesla had to recall a sizable share of its products due to a safety-related problem. Service actions have become more commonplace in recent years as manufacturers have come under pressure to quickly address safety problems. But the new Tesla move is significant both for its size and due to the fact that the automaker has been experiencing a series of setbacks, including the loss of roughly a third of its value in the stock market in recent weeks.

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Volvo Supplier Says Uber Disconnected Tech That Would’ve Saved Pedestrian

Aptiv claims Uber disconnected collision-mitigation system standard in Volvo ute.

by on Mar.27, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

Uber disconnected the safety system already installed in the Volvo XC90 that would have prevented the fatal crash in Arizona March 18, to test its own system with catastrophic results, according to a supplier for Volvo’s system.

Aptiv Plc told Bloomberg News that it wants to make sure there is no confusion about what safety systems were in place during the collision earlier this month. Aptiv, which works with Mobileye, to produce Volvo’s collision mitigation system says it doesn’t want its equipment or reputation to be impacted by the incident.

Pushing the Envelope!

“We don’t want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case,” Zach Peterson, a spokesman for Aptiv told Bloomberg. The Volvo XC90’s standard advanced driver-assistance system “has nothing to do” with the Uber test vehicle’s autonomous driving system, he said. (more…)

Waymo Putting 20k Jaguar I-Pace EVs into New Driverless Ride-Share Service

Moving from “R&D to deployment,” despite cloud form fatal Uber crash.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Waymo and Jaguar are partnering to produce 20,000 I-Pace SUVs for next few years.

Despite a cloud created by this month’s fatal crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle prototype, Waymo today announced it will be full speed ahead as it launches what is expected to become a nationwide driverless ride-sharing service.

During a New York news conference, Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed the Google spinoff will begin adding as many as 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace SUVs to its fleet, the battery-electric vehicles joining thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans Waymo had already committed to purchase.

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Waymo has spent nearly a decade developing what many experts call the most sophisticated self-driving technology on the road, but Krafcik said his company has now “shifted our focus from research and development to operations and deployment.” (more…)

Governor Suspends Uber Autonomous Testing in Arizona

Move follows fatal crash and questions about service’s self-driving technology.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of Uber's autonomous testing program.

In the wake of a fatal crash earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has suspended the permit allowing ride-sharing service Uber to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

The move comes as state and public regulators try to find out why a Volvo SUV modified by Uber to drive with only a backup “operator” slammed into a 49-year-old pedestrian crossing a four-lane road on the evening of March 18 without even slowing or trying to swerve out of the way. The incident has raised broader concerns about autonomous technology – but also questions Arizona’s relatively laissez faire approach to testing such vehicles on public roads.

News You Can Trust!

“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey announced. (more…)

Waymo’s Krafcik Joins Industry Chorus Questioning Uber’s Techonology

Concerns about faulty tech growing inside and out of industry.

by on Mar.26, 2018

Waymo CEO John Krafcik told a crowd at NADA that its autonomous vehicle would have not hit Elaine Herzberg.

A self-driving Uber’s fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona is inviting scrutiny and criticism of the company’s technological capabilities from safety advocates, industry experts and the company’s direct competition: Waymo.

“We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one,” said Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik last weekend.

News Now!

On March 18, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was struck by Uber’s Volvo XC90 as she walked her bicycle across a four-lane boulevard. The vehicle never attempted to stop or move to avoid her. The vehicle’s safety driver, Rafaela Vasquez, 44, was looking down at the time and didn’t see Herzberg until it was too late to act. (more…)

Nissan Aims to Add 8 New EVs, Boost Electrified Vehicle Sales to 1 Mil Annually

Japanese maker also planning 20 autonomous models.

by on Mar.23, 2018

One of the new EVs will be based on the Nissan IMx concept that debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

Already the world’s largest seller of battery-electric vehicles, Nissan is targeting sales of 1 million electrified models by 2022, a five-year, six-fold increase, officials said Friday at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama.

The second-largest of Japan’s automakers also plans to add 20 new autonomous models by 2022, while having all of its vehicles, both under the Nissan and Infiniti brands, equipped with connected car technology.

Plug In - For Free!

“The heart of our strategy in terms of electrification is battery EVs and e-Power technology,” Nissan Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein told reporters during a media briefing. E-Power is the company’s term for vehicles using gasoline engines to extend range.

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Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” (more…)

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