Archive for the ‘Semi-autonomous Driving’ Category

Daimler Spending $500M on Automated Truck Development

Company looking to push to Level 4 with big rigs.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Daimler AG is investing more than $500 million into the development of automated big rigs.

Daimler AG plans to invest $570 million and create 200 jobs at its truck-oriented technical center in Portland, Oregon, to expedite the development automated driving for heavy-duty commercial trucks.

“As a leader of our industry, we’ve been pioneering automated trucking,” said Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses

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“In 2015, our Freightliner Inspiration Truck got the first road license ever for an automated commercial vehicle. Now we take automated trucking to the next level: we’re ready to launch the first partially automated new Freightliner Cascadia in 2019 – and next, we tackle highly automated trucks,” Daum said. (more…)

Toyota Wants to Share Potentially Breakthrough Safety Technology

Guardian system designed to catch, correct mistakes made by human drivers.

by on Jan.08, 2019

Toyota's tech chief Gil Pratt is talking with other automakers about using the company's Guardian technology.

While tires may blow out and steering systems might fail, drivers are responsible for at least 90% of all motor vehicle accidents, according to federal data. But what if a vehicle can be equipped with a digital safety system that is constantly watching what the human driver does, ready to step in to correct a potentially dangerous mistake?

That’s the idea behind the Guardian technology Toyota aims to have ready for production by early in the coming decade. Unlike autonomous, or even semi-autonomous driving systems, Guardian isn’t meant to replace the driver but simply wait on vigilant standby, ready to step in and reduce the risk of a crash.

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Toyota is so confident about the strategy it has been meeting with competitors to see if they might be interested in using Guardian on their own vehicles, Gil Pratt, head of the Toyota Research Institute, announced during an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (more…)

Senate Ignores Important Automotive Legislation

EV tax credit, autonomous vehicle testing bills on hold until 2019.

by on Dec.20, 2018

Michigan Senator Gary Peters is concerned by the delay of legislation that would set guidelines for testing autonomous vehicles.

The news out of Washington just got worse for automakers as two pieces of legislation they’d hoped would be passed by the end of the year won’t even be considered, putting off them off until 2019.

The two measures – one to accelerate the adoption of self-driving car technology and a second to extend the $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles – were not attached to last funding bill for 2018, thus will not get approved in 2018.

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Sens. John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan) were pushing legislation that would allow exemptions to automakers for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. The goal was to homogenize the rules for all states, making it easier to get the testing complete in more states. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Kia Sorento SUV

Practical, yet stylish and laden with technology.

by on Dec.14, 2018

The 2019 Kia Sorento offers practicality, but with plenty of upgrades.

Practical is usually the word associated with sport-utility vehicles and that practicality makes them appealing to a wide cross section of consumers.

The Kia Sorento certainly is practical, but in a segment crowded with a lot of very good vehicles it is also stylish, loaded with features and comes with an interior that looks as if it might belong in a more traditional luxury vehicle.

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The up-level version of Sorento that I drove carried a sticker price of $48,020, which includes the $990 transportation charge so it can hardly be considered inexpensive. (more…)

Negotiating Deal VW is a “Delicate Dance,” Says Ford CEO Hackett

First project could be announced before year-end.

by on Nov.15, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett described the talks with Volkswagen as a "delicate dance."

A deal between Ford and Volkswagen focusing on joint efforts in the light commercial vehicle market could come together quickly, but in his first official acknowledgement that the two carmakers are exploring a wide range of additional options, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said those negotiations involve a “delicate dance.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Ford has opened up to the possibility of teaming up with erstwhile rivals on a variety of projects. And, in recent weeks, sources have indicated it is discussing deals that also could see them team up on everything from autonomous and electrified vehicles to joint production and marketing efforts in markets such as Europe and Latin America.

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“(VW CEO) Herbert (Diess) and I had a great discussion” about a possible alliance on commercial trucks, Hackett said in an interview with the Reuters news service, noting that things are “going better than we thought it would.” (more…)

Ford Partnering With Walmart on Autonomous Deliveries

Initial pilot taking place in Miami.

by on Nov.14, 2018

Through the collaboration with Walmart and Postmates, Ford is exploring how self-driving vehicles can deliver many groceries and other goods.

Ford continues to grow its mobility business, announcing a new partnership with Walmart to use autonomous vehicle to make deliveries to Walmart customers.

The automaker will partner with San Francisco-based Postmates, a delivery service company, to develop the delivery service initially using vehicles driven by people to deliver goods. Those initial delivery runs will help develop the routing for autonomous vehicles.

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“Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president for digital operations, said in a statement on Thursday. (more…)

Ford, VW Discussions Now Far More Wide-Ranging Than Originally Planned

by on Nov.02, 2018

Ford and VW initially wanted to discuss cooperation on light commercial vehicles.

Talks between Ford and Volkswagen are covering far more territory than originally planned, when the two signed a memorandum of understanding in June that initially focused on joint development of commercial vehicles.

While Ford officials have told TheDetroitBureau.com there is no thought to an exchange of equity, virtually everything else seems at least open for discussion, with a number of key ventures being considered. According to various U.S. and European sources, these include joint development of a small pickup, cooperation on electrified and autonomous vehicles and possibly even collaboration on sales and marketing in trouble-spot markets, such as Europe and Latin America.

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Several reports have suggested that a major announcement could be in the offing, and a source close to the talks told TheDetroitBureau that “There could be an update by the end of the year.” But that person stressed that not all the discussions underway are likely to be resolved immediately, and could be spread out over months, even years – even “if everything (being negotiated) comes true.”

(more…)

Tesla Cars Will Add Auto-Park Feature, Musk Tweets

Vehicles will be able to go hunting for a spot without a driver.

by on Nov.01, 2018

All Tesla Model 3 sedans and newer Models S and X will be able to download the software.

Tired of circling around a parking lot looking for an open spot, perhaps missing a meeting while you wait? Or perhaps you want to don’t want to have to traipse back in snow or rain?

Tesla plans to solve those problems with a series of update that CEO Elon Musk said will start rolling out within six weeks for owners of recently built versions of its products. Upgrading the existing version of Tesla’s “Summon” auto-park feature, it will let a driver get out of their vehicle and then send it off to find a valid parking spot all on its own.

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Noting it will simply require an over-the-air software upgrade,” Musk tweeted on Halloween eve that the new feature “will work on all cars made in past 2 years.”

(more…)

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…)