By on November 15, 2015

Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle at Mcity

It’s not quite “Vanilla Sky,” but Ford is testing its autonomous vehicle tech at the University of Michigan’s Mcity, a 32-acre fake city with weirdly placed fire hydrants and fake hipster bookstores, and no one around.

The automaker announced Friday that its Fusion Hybrid was managing the testing grounds’ lanes, turns, roads, intersections, lights, without one artificial bumper bent or curbed wheel — allegedly.

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By on November 13, 2015


On Thursday, Google’s autonomous car development team reported that Mountain View, California police pulled over the robot car for traveling too slowly. No ticket was issued.

According to the team’s Google Plus page, officers pulled over the car because they “want to know more about the project.” According to Mountain View police, the officer wanted reminded the car’s human passengers that impeding traffic is against the law. Tomato, potato.

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By on November 12, 2015

Nissan IDS Concept

Nissan may soon be the next guest to arrive with its own take on semi- and fully autonomous driving, but the Leaf won’t be the one to carry the torch.

Though Nissan’s Intelligent Driving autonomous concept from this year’s Tokyo Auto Show resembles a future-forward Leaf, and while the automaker is using Leafs to test its form of semi- and fully autonomous driving, Green Car Reports says the first version of Nissan’s Piloted Driving will appear in a luxury model when the rollout begins next year in Japan.

For markets such as China and the United States, an Infiniti may be the first to bring the tech over to each country’s respective shores.

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By on November 6, 2015

East Palo Alto, CA - September 4, 2015:  Toyota announces $50 million in funding partnership with MIT and Stanford University for artificial intelligence research collaboration September 4, 2015 in East Palo Alto, California.   (Photo by Beck Diefenbach)

Toyota will open a new artificial and robotics R&D company to be called Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) with an initial investment of $1 billion to open two locations in the United States, the automaker announced Friday.

TRI, which will make its headquarters in Palo Alto, California and establish another office in Cambridge, Massachusetts near MIT, will be led by Dr. Gill Pratt, a former academic in the field of engineering and program manager at DARPA.

“The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university,” said the automaker in a release.

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By on October 27, 2015

Bob Lutz  Picture courtesy

In wonderful Bob Lutz fashion, the former General Motors head told entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley that making cars is hard.

“I think, like so many Silicon Valley techies, that they believe they are smarter than the world’s automobile business, and that they will do it better,” Lutz told The Associated Press. “No way.”

His argument, in a Readers Digest version: Cars are more dangerous than Walkmen and when you make things that can explode it costs money so beat it, nerds.

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By on October 23, 2015


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said Thursday that in the future, self-driving cars may be forced into the moral quandary between saving its driver or saving the public in massive, horrific crashes.

We already know that.

What researchers are now looking at is whether people would be interested in buying cars that would knowingly sacrifice their drivers in order to serve the greater good.

(In our best Richard Dawson voice) “Survey says … “
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By on October 23, 2015

The future vision of car intelligence and electrification

“The future vision of car intelligence and electrification.”

That was the entire press release provided by Nissan along with the above photo. That’s it. That’s all.

So, let the wild speculation begin. Is this the next-generation Nissan Leaf? Or is it a life orb that will ship us off to fight to the death in some futuristic panopticon? Who knows?!?! It could be at least one of those things.

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By on October 23, 2015

Tesla Model S Center Stage

Tesla could start building cars in China within two years, which could help the automaker jumpstart sales there and increase volume for the small automaker, Reuters reported.

Tesla chief Elon Musk said the car company could cut costs on cars for sale there by one-third. Normally, foreign automakers are required to partner with domestic companies before building cars in China. For example, General Motors has partnered with SAIC Motor since 1998, who also partners with Volkswagen.

Musk said Tesla is already partnering with Baidu, China’s largest search engine, to provide GPS data.

Wait. Tesla is already partnering with China’s largest search engine company? That sounds, um, interesting.

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By on October 21, 2015

Cadillac President de Nysschen poses with the Cadillac ATS-V during the model's world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles

Speaking Wednesday at the 10th annual J.D Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, Cadillac CEO Johan de Nysschen didn’t mince words regarding Silicon Valley’s infatuation with fully autonomous driving.

The luxury brand chief, while standing before an image of Google’s autonomous prototype, said: “Many autonomous car (prototypes) emphasize sheer functionality. It would be a mind-numbing experience going from point A to B. My goodness, you might as well take the bus.”

De Nysschen said Cadillac’s upcoming Super Cruise strikes a balance between fully autonomous driving and driving yourself.

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By on October 21, 2015


I think we can all take a moment to appreciate the fine, fine work that Stanford researchers have put into making a 1981 Delorean do its own donuts in a parking lot on “Back to the Future” day Wednesday. Bravo.

But the car, dubbed MARTY (Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw control), is more than just epic clickbait for a made-up, 1980s-movie holiday. The car is display for autonomous vehicle control that can go beyond a car’s “safety limits” to exploit physics.

Or, you know, the way you disable stability control to do the same donuts in a nearby parking lot.

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