By on July 21, 2015

Doug Betts

Doug Betts, former senior vice president at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of quality, quietly began work at Apple this month, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Betts, who led the effort to turnaround Chrysler’s quality rankings beginning in 2009, left the car company last year one day after Consumer Reports ranked the car company near the bottom of its quality survey.

Betts’ LinkedIn page confirms the appointment at Apple, but the famously secret computer company won’t say whether he’s working on an automotive-related project — or perhaps, janitorial duty.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2015

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Three people were injured when a car rear-ended Google’s self-driving Lexus on July 1 in Mountain View, California, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. It’s the 15th crash for the self-driving car and the first with injuries.

Three people had “minor whiplash” Google’s Director of Driverless Cars Chris Urmson wrote and the driver of the car that rear-ended the Lexus appeared to be at fault.

“Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road,” he wrote.

The robots will not look kindly on our inattention.

(Read More…)

By on July 13, 2015

E Class

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class can basically drive itself. But if you prefer to pilot the car yourself, and you happen to get into a crash, the 2017 E-Class will pump static into the cabin to save your ears.

As Wired reports, the new E-Class will be equipped with what Mercedes-Benz is calling “PRE-SAFE Sound” to play a 85-db noise to coax the ear into protecting itself.

(Read More…)

By on July 13, 2015

google-self-driving-car

Google showed off its autonomous car in California on Saturday and the Washington Post has pictures of what the interior of the self-driving car looks like.

The pictures, which were taken at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, show the prototype’s basic layout and a screen to relay pictures from the side-view mirrors.

There is no steering wheel, nor discernible accelerator or brake in the prototype, but thankfully there are cupholders.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2015

google-self-driving-car

Google’s autonomous cars have made it to the Lone Star state for testing, The Detroit News is reporting.

A self-driving Lexus 450h prototype was recently dispatched to Austin, Texas for testing on that city’s streets. The cars are used to map roadways and signs for future autonomous vehicles to use. Google said the car has begun to drive itself after testing in Texas it will be sending another Lexus to Austin soon.

The search-engine giant likely selected the Texas capital because a free-range Lexus fit in very well with that city’s culture.

“We also want to learn how different communities perceive and interact with self-driving vehicles, and that can vary in different parts of the country,” an official with Google told The Detroit News.

(Read More…)

By on January 8, 2015

the-jetsons-car_100322637_l

“Mm, 2000. When I was a kid, we thought 2000 was gonna be like The Jetsons or somin’. It ain’t even The Jeffersons!”-Chris Rock

Most major auto shows, barring the Geneva Auto Salon, having some substantial connection to the automotive world in some way. Detroit. New York. Los Angeles. Shanghai. Tokyo. Paris. Frankfurt. So how did Las Vegas end up with two car shows?

It used to be that the SEMA show was the only place you could catch an automotive exec pawing at a young woman one minute, introducing her as “my niece” the next. But now that the Consumer Electronics Show has morphed into a de facto auto show, you can see that twice in a row, as well as disgraced Gawker editors awkwardly trying to pick up booth babes.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2014

Google-Car-645x364

While TTAC‘s Mike Smitka published an essay urging readers to reign in their expectations regarding autonomous cars, a new report by MIT’s Technology Review pours even more cold water on the utopian fantasies of those waiting for the day when humans are no longer in control of the automobile.

(Read More…)

By on July 9, 2014

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In the absence of While You Were Sleeping, I’d like to open up the floor to discussion on this spectacular piece from Jalopnik‘s Damon Lavrinc, titled Google Co-Founder ​Sergey Brin Doesn’t Understand Us And Never Will.

(Read More…)

By on May 30, 2014

google-self-driving-car1

Writing in the National Post, Matt Gurney discusses a darker side of autonomous cars, one that many people (especially this writer, who is not exactly familiar with the rational, linear type of operation that is involved with coding)

In a recent interview with PopSci, Patrick Lin, an associate philosophy professor and director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at California Polytechnic State University, proposed a hypothetical scenario that sums up the problem. You’re driving along in your robo-car, and your tire blows out. The computer in control rapidly concludes that your car is moving too quickly and has too much momentum to come to a safe stop, and there is traffic ahead. Since an accident is inevitable, the computer shifts from collision avoidance to collision mitigation, and concludes that the least destructive outcome is to steer your car to a catastrophic outcome — over a cliff, into a tree — and thus avoid a collision with another vehicle.

The raw numbers favour such an outcome. Loss of life and property is minimized — an objectively desirable outcome. But the downside is this: Your car just wrote you off and killed you to save someone else.

(Read More…)

By on May 1, 2014

 

1939 GM Futurama-07-1

It’s safe to assume that when the doors to the New York World’s Fair flew open 75 years ago to the day, the American public had few expectations about the future of autonomous personal transport. To be fair, they weren’t exactly sold on the whole highway thing yet either. Sure, several New Deal agencies like the WPA and CCC had successfully modernized countless local roads and a handful of major throughways, but the ubiquitous twists of freeway that would come to define the modern North American landscape were two decades and a word war away.

That said, autonomy and highways go hand in hand.

(Read More…)

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