Archive for the ‘Driverless Vehicles’ Category

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…)

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.

Business News!

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.

Park Yourself Here!

“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.

Insight!

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…)

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.

Insight!

“(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.

Business News!

“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…)

Daimler, Bosch Partner as Latest to Offer Self-Driving Ride-Sharing Service

Pilot set to launch in San Jose in late 2019.

by on Nov.09, 2018

Daimler and Bosch will led pilot users ride in comfort, in modified Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans.

Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, has announced plans to launch an autonomous ride-sharing pilot program in San Jose, California starting late next year.

The carmaker, along with one of its lead technology suppliers, becomes the latest to enter a space that is expected to account for a significant share of the miles Americans clock on the roads each year by the end of the next decade. Waymo, the Google spin-off, is set to transition its own pilot program to a commercial venture this year, while General Motors is looking to launch a similar service.

The Last Word!

“The pilot project is an opportunity to explore how autonomous vehicles can help us better meet future transportation needs,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

(more…)

Uber Aiming to Relaunch Autonomous Testing on Public Roads

After fatal crash, ride-sharing service plans to redouble steps to ensure safety.

by on Nov.05, 2018

In the wake of a fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona, Uber suspended all of its autonomous vehicle testing. Now it wants to resume in Pittsburgh.

Uber plans to relaunch the autonomous vehicle testing program it suspended following a fatal crash in Arizona last March, but it has advised regulators in Pennsylvania that it will take additional steps to ensure the safety of its vehicles.

The San Francisco-based ride-sharing service has been betting heavily on fully driverless technology, hoping it will lower costs to the point where many Americans won’t even feel the need to own a private vehicle anymore. But that effort was put on hold after a modified Volvo struck and killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a road in a Phoenix suburb.

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It was initially unclear why the Volvo hit the 49-year-old Herzberg, as its system spotted her six seconds before impact. It was subsequently revealed during a police investigation that the backup driver charged with taking control in an emergency was actually streaming the TV show, “The Voice,” rather than watching the road. She failed to intervene when the car’s brakes weren’t automatically applied because of improper modifications made to the vehicle. (more…)