By on January 5, 2016

Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle at Mcity

It certainly sounds like Ford is close to selling a self-driving Fusion real soon.

That, Matthias Müller finally comes to the U.S. to ask “You mad, bro?” Nissan has no love for Takata, and business is hot south of the border … after the break!

Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle at Mcity

Ford is bumping up its autonomous herd

Ford will add 20 more cars to its autonomous fleets in Michigan, California and Arizona this year to test its next-generation sensors, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars, which will be Fusion Hybrid models equipped with LiDAR sensors from Velodyne, will be the automaker’s third-generation of autonomous vehicles. According to Ford, the second-generation autonomous Fusion vehicles achieved SAE’s Level 4 automation, which means they could drive without human interaction and were highly automated.

Ford said the new generation of sensors are smaller, more compact and can be fitted on side-view mirrors. There are fewer sensors, too, from four down to two sensors per car.


Nissan has not plans to bail out Takata

Nissan joined Honda in saying it has no plans to bail out embattled auto supplier Takata, whose faulty airbags have led to the company losing millions to fines and recalls, Reuters reported (via Automotive News).

“Nothing has been decided. There’s not much we can do at the moment,” Nissan COO Hiroto Saikawa told Reuters.

Takata was fined $70 million by regulators in the U.S., but that fine could grow substantially if the parts supplier can’t complete its recall on time. Many automakers including Honda, who owned part of Takata, have backed away from the supplier since the scandal and fine.

Matthias Müller

Volkswagen execs coming to smooth things over

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller and brand chief Herbert Diess will meet with U.S. officials to discuss the automaker’s cheating scandal and apparent schism with regulators, Bloomberg reported (via Automotive News).

Diess, who’s already in Las Vegas for the automaker’s presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show, will also appear at the North American International Auto Show. Müller will travel to the U.S. next week, although his schedule is unclear.

On Monday, authorities in the U.S. filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against VW for its cheating diesel cars and signaled that regulators may be at an impasse with the automaker on how to fix those cars. Officials in Germany have already approved a fix for diesel cars there, which would apply to cars in other countries as well.


Nvidia’s first computer for self-driving cars going into a Volvo

Computer-chip manufacturer Nvidia announced Monday that it has a lunchbox-sized supercomputer for self-driving cars, and that its first application would be Volvo cars, Reuters reported.

Nvidia said its Drive PX 2, which is geared for automotive applications, could process 24 trillion operations per second, or had the computing power of 150 Mac laptops, according to Reuters.

Automakers and computer-makers have turned their attentions to computers in cars as a fast-growing source of revenue.

Last OG Volkswagen Type I Beetle Ever Produced Circa 2003 Mexico

Mexico’s car business is hot, hot, hot

The car business is good business in Mexico, according to Bloomberg.

The domestic auto sector grew almost 20 percent and demand is climbing thanks to low inflation, cheap credit and more domestic cars. For brands like Volkswagen, who have long built cars in Mexico, that’s helping balance sagging sales in other parts of the world.

“For generations, families at one time or another have owned a Volkswagen and have a first impression of the brand,” Guillermo Rosales, director of that Mexico’s car dealer association, told Bloomberg. “They say, ‘It’s never conked out on me, it’s a car I can trust.’ The scandal doesn’t have the same impact it’s had in other markets.”

Other automakers such as Mazda and Honda are reducing exports from that country and selling more cars to buyers in Mexico, according to the report.

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21 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Ford’s Self-driving Herd Gets Bigger, Takata’s All Alone, VW Sends The Cavalry...”

  • avatar

    Of course Nissan and Honda aren’t going to help Takata, it would make zero sense to do so. There are other airbag suppliers, ones which don’t lie and cheat their way through everything in a VW-like fashion. In addition, Takata cost them a lot of money and bad PR with their dangerous airbags.

  • avatar

    “or had the computing power of 150 Mac laptops”

    To help with conversion here, that equals roughly 73 laptops of non-Apple origin.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque

      Only until the first service pack get released, then the math works the other way.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, for a bit.

        Then your HD burns up, and the Apple Wizard says “Yo fault, buy a new one.”


        • 0 avatar

          I had my iPhone 6 bend within a month and a half of buying it, even had a case. So I go to try and get Apple to replace it and they wouldn’t have anything to do with it, I flat out got into an argument with the jerk at the store blaming me for bending it. I still don’t know how the heck it got bent. Regardless 2 stores refused to replace it and just suggested I buy a new phone at discounted price, so I just kept my bent phone. Fast forward 11 months after originally buying the phone and my screen started going bad, leaving lines and being hard to see. I take it to Apple and they say they’ll send it off to be fixed, then I see the guy notice the bend (uh-oh) I figure he’s going to blame it on me as the last guy did. Nope, hands me a new phone and sends my on my way.

          Don’t know what to take from that story, but there it is.

          • 0 avatar

            Sounds like they have poor Wizard training for their partially-educated millennials working in stores.

            Did you try to bend it back? Haha.

          • 0 avatar

            Everyone I showed it to would always try to bend it back, I just started sitting on it opposite to the bend in my back pocket. But it stayed bent. You could sit it on the screen on a flat table and rock it back and forth.
            I always thought about just getting some tools and trying to forcefully bend it back but so long as it was working I figured I would leave it be.

        • 0 avatar

          Misty morning, clouds in the sky
          Without warning, a wizard walks by
          Casting his shadow, weaving his spell
          Funny clothes, tinkling bell

          Never talking
          Just keeps walking
          Spreading his magic

    • 0 avatar

      Or, about 64 laptops running Linux.

  • avatar

    Donald Trump may have bad timing as The WallTM may be torn down by “illegals” headed back to Mexico.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Have municipalities thought about how autonomous cars will affect public transportation?

    My thinking is that eventually cars will be able to go off by themselves so you can go into the city, pull up to you destination, get out, and send the car off to find parking. Then when you are ready you can summon your car to come pick you up.

    If that does indeed become reality it will mean fewer reasons to take the subway or a bus. Much of the times I take the DC Metro is to avoid having to find parking. If I can let my car worry about it, I wouldn’t even consider public transit. And if there’s one thing the DC Metro can’t handle, it’s lower ridership.
    Plus it could lead to higher car ownership among people who live in the city if parking is not a hardship. You could even train the car to know the local parking regulations and it could move itself as needed.

    This would all lead to a strain on the cab industry, ride sharing, and parking. Not to mention lower revenue from red light and speed cameras.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t live in the DC area, but I’m guessing based on your comment that parking is at a premium and difficult to find.

      So……you’re thinking that more people owning cars in the District will make parking easier? Who will be building all of the extra parking spaces that will make parking in the future so easy? I’m not following your logic.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        I’m actually saying the opposite. Parking will be more difficult. However for those with autonomous cars, if the cars can drive and park themselves, they can park farther from the destination and it won’t be a burden like it would be if you had to walk to and from the car. So if you are in one part of the city and plan to be there for a while, the car could conceivably park several miles away if need be.

        You would probably be able to pay for parking in a lot via your phone so if it finds one you just indicate that you allow it to park in a pay area. And I suppose in theory the car could also just constantly circle until you are ready.

        But for those who live and work in the city, eventually there would not be enough spots for the cars to find parking. I don’t know what would happen then. Probably tighter and tighter restrictions on who can park where. But then you run the risk of forcing people to avoid the city… or take public transport.

        Clearly I have not thought this all the way through. I hope someone has.

  • avatar

    I’m not keen to share the road with robot cars .


  • avatar

    I’m gonna do my own News Round-Up bit.

    Images of the new E-Class were leaked early, before the Detroit Auto Show, by a German website. They took the images down quickly, but not before some other sites got hold of them and published ’em.

    Thoughts: They made the E look just like the S, which is of course flattering for the E, but undesirable for buyers of the S. To my mind, they’ve always looked pretty distinct in previous iterations. That has now gone away. It’s rather bland looking in general, since it cannot convey the sheer scale/presence of the S with the E’s reduced size.

    Furthermore, the interior is a complete mess of brougham gauche. What’s with the piano black trim with chromed strips? It’s like a Studebaker in there – some gilded Golden Hawk amalgamation. The piano trim, metal speakers, two-tone leather, quilting. Good grief, Mercedes larger than C are supposed to have some level of taste and dignity.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not a news roundup, that’s a scoop! Men in trench coats, speaking with German accents, will be at your door shortly.

      I dunno, it looks like a cross between a 1998 J30 and a 2005 Kia Amanti.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t mind the styling so much but if that ‘piano black’ material is the same cheap shite as is in the C-Class then it won’t be as nice when your sitting in it, rather than just looking at a photograph. Same plastic as a Renault center console.

      I think Mercedes definitely caters to its…uh…of non-European-origin demographic. I don’t think I could ever lay down serious money for one if I have an Audi dealership anywhere nearby.

  • avatar

    Has anybody seen this article which lists some of the 2016 model vehicles that still use Takata airbags?
    According to the article, only three manufacturers have honestly admitted which of their current models are still being sold with Takata airbags. What about the rest of them? For what reason would they hide the truth? Are there other journalists (besides the one who wrote the referenced article) digging into this? It might be interesting to learn more about exactly which new models contain Takata airbags.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hey, that was an excellent article – thanks for sharing it.

      The ‘interim replacements’ strategy is an interesting one. I can imagine a car receiving the interim fix (OEM airbag), only to be traded and never fixed with a permanent airbag repair because everyone loses track of it.

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