Archive for the ‘Autonomous Driving’ Category

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)

Power Study Finds “Total Lack of Trust” in Autonomous Vehicle Technology

More than four in ten say they “would never ride” in self-driving vehicle.

by on Oct.09, 2018

Looks like its going to take Waymo rides, er, way more rides in Waymo's autonomous minivan to change opinions.

Even as automakers rush to bring autonomous and completely self-driving vehicles to market, perhaps as soon as the end of the decade, there’s a deep distrust of the technology, with more than four out of 10 Americans saying they “would never ride in a fully automated vehicle.

The lack of trust runs deep, according to Robert Lajdziak a researcher with J.D. Power and Associates, which conducted the new study in partnership with the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, or NAMIC. Significantly, just as federal regulators have announced plans to ease restrictions on testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, those surveyed by Power and NAMIC questioned whether the government – as well as automakers and tech companies – can properly ensure the safety of the public.

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The new study likely reflects the fact that “people’s opinions have been swayed” by recent incidents involving semi- and fully autonomous vehicles, including a fatal Uber crash earlier this year in Tempe, Arizona, said Lajdziak, in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com ahead of the release of the new study. (more…)

EZ-Ultimo: A Design Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, Could Enjoy

Autonomous ride-sharing concept would target only the most elite customers.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Renault designers must have been given the freedom to indulge themselves with the EZ-Ultimo concept shown in Paris.

Only the French could have gone to market with vehicles like the DS9 and the 2CV – the deux chevaux, as it was better known. And only the French could have rolled out some of the wild and crazy concepts that populated this year’s Paris Motor Show.

As the media days wrap up, the public will be treated to the retro-futuristic Peugeot e-Legend concept, as well as the DS E-Tense, an electric supercar. But easily one of the most talked-about cars at an otherwise light Paris show was also one of the strangest, Renault’s EZ-Ultimo, which has alternately been compared to the Batmobile and “a rolling palace.”

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But the best way to think about this fully driverless prototype is the marriage of a personal jet and a ride-share vehicle – one that is completely autonomous. (more…)

Honda Partnering with GM in Race to Develop Self-Driving Cars

Japanese maker will invest $2.75 billion, including stake in GM’s Cruise Automation unit.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Cruise, GM and Honda will join forces to fund and develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of uses.

Honda Motor Co. will invest about $2.75 billion to enter into a partnership with General Motors aimed at developing self-driving vehicles.

That will include a $750 million investment in Cruise Automation, GM’s San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle subsidiary that was expected to launch its first product sometime next year. Together, the two carmakers plant “to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment,” according to a joint statement released Wednesday.

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The announcement marks the second major collaboration between GM and Honda, the two announcing in January 2017 plans to work together to develop an advanced hydrogen fuel-cell system that would be produced at a facility in suburban Detroit already assembling battery packs for use in vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. (more…)

Future of Alliance with Nissan/Renault the Big Question as Zetsche Prepares to End Role as Daimler CEO

Zetche and Nissan/Renault’s Ghosn insist there is more to come during Paris new conference.

by on Oct.03, 2018

Zetsche and Ghosn first met when the German exec was working at Freightliner and the Brazilian-born Ghosn worked for Michelin.

Since launching the first in a broad series of joint ventures nine years ago, Daimler AG and the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance have generated what they claim to be billions of dollars in “synergies” that have allowed them to expand their product lines and grow into new markets.

But in recent months, the future of that partnership has come under question. The last major new project was announced three years ago. And now, with Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche planning to relinquish the CEO title next year, that has raised new questions about whether his successor, Ola Kallenius, would keep the alliance going.

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“Without the chemistry between us, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” said Zetsche, during a joint news conference with Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi Alliance chief Carlos Ghosn. But considering the results the partnership has generated, “I don’t see from my perspective why the momentum in this relationship should change.”

(more…)

Live from Paris!

Mercedes, BMW leading a smaller-than-usual show.

by on Oct.01, 2018

Media days are winding down at the Mondial de l’Automobile, or for non-French speakers, the Paris Motor Show. We’re continuing to scour the show looking for breaking news and back-room stories, bringing you news on the latest models and changing perspectives. So be certain to check back often at TheDetroitBureau.com.

Here is the latest news:

(more…)

Is Ford Semi Committed? Maker Reveals EV Concept Truck

Level 4 autonomy and a slew of tech is packed into the concept.

by on Sep.28, 2018

Ford's F-Vision concept debuted at the IAA show in Germany. For now, it's just a concept officials claim.

Does Tesla have another competitor in the battery-electric semi truck arena? Maybe.

Ford Motor Co. took the wraps off an electric semi truck concept called the F-Vision at the IAA Commercial Vehicles expo in Hannover, Germany. The company’s vision is similar in many ways to Tesla’s offering with a high level of autonomy and a sleek exterior design.

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However, it would appear that Elon Musk and the gang in Palo Alto can breathe easier – at least about this anyway – as Ford says the new F-Vision is only a concept. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW X5

A crossover by any other name: a worthy successor to mark the X5's 20th anniversary.

by on Sep.27, 2018

BMW will offer three versions of the 2019 X5, including a plug-in hybrid to come later in the year.

Few new models have done more to redefine a brand – indeed, to help transform the auto business overall – like the BMW X5. But there were plenty of doubters when the Bavarian automaker first announced plans to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up back in the late 1990s.

Even BMW seemed to have some doubts, deciding to call the new line a “Sport-Activity Vehicle,” rather than an SUV. But those concerns were quickly forgotten, demand for the midsize ute taking off from almost the moment the first X5 rolled out of BMW’s then-new assembly plant in Spartanburg South Carolina in 1999. The first generation alone generated more than 600,000 sales and, with production of the third-gen X5 now winding down, that’s jumped to more than 2.1 million.

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These days, BMW offers a full range of Sport-Activity Vehicles, from the little X1 all the way up to the new X7 set to launch next year as a crossover alternative to the brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. But much like the 5-Series sedan, the X5 remains a lynchpin of that line-up, meant to combine both the utility of a crossover and the performance of a classic BMW sedan.

(more…)

Most Drivers Don’t Know How to Use the Latest Safety Tech

Drivers overestimate capabilities, underestimate problems, using ADAS technology.

by on Sep.26, 2018

Consumers are demanding new collision avoidance technologies, but often don't know how they work.

If you’ve bought a new car during the last several years, chances are it is equipped with any number of advanced safety systems, such as blind-spot monitoring to forward collision warning, perhaps even technology capable of letting you do a limited amount of hands-free driving.

The odds also suggest you don’t fully understand how those advanced driver assistance systems actually work and may be making some potentially dangerous mistakes, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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“A substantial proportion of respondents demonstrated what we believe was a concerning lack of awareness of some of the key limitations of the technologies,” said AAA senior researcher Brian Tefft. (more…)

Tesla Losing Top Executives as Uncertainty Sets In

Four top leaders have departed in last month.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Four of Tesla's top executives have departed the company during the last four to six weeks.

Tesla’s been hit by wave after wave of difficult news, situations and investigations, apparently causing some executives to rethink the viability of the company.

Liam O’Connor, Tesla’s vice president of global supply management, is the latest of a group of executives to depart the company. He joined Tesla in 2015 after a four-year run with Apple, Bloomberg reports an unnamed insider said O’Connor is leaving the company within the next several weeks.

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His departure marks at least the fourth executive to leave California-based EV maker within the last month. Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance and operation; Gabrielle Toledano, human resources chief; and Dave Morton, chief accounting officer, have also put in their notices. In all, more than 40 executives have reportedly left Tesla in 2018 alone, the news service reports. (more…)

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