Ford Motor Company intends to invest $1 billion into tech startup Argo AI over the next five years, giving the Blue Oval a majority stake in the company as it continues to reach for the goal of producing a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.
The Pittsburgh-based Argo will help the Detroit automaker develop a “virtual driver system” for its proposed commercial ride-sharing fleets before moving on to retail vehicles. Ford even went so far as to suggest that the software it develops with Argo could be licensed to other companies.
While still officially an automaker, the Blue Oval really is going all in on its new identity as a mobility company and it isn’t afraid to remind everyone of all of the important work it feels that it is doing. (Read More…)
The former director of Tesla’s Autopilot program has choice words for his former employer.
Sterling Anderson is being sued by Tesla for stealing confidential information, which he allegedly put to use at a new autonomous vehicle start-up. According to Bloomberg, the electric automaker isn’t happy about his attempts to hire away Tesla employees, either.
In his response to the suit, Anderson doesn’t have very nice things to say about Tesla. (Read More…)
Industry watchdogs are becoming increasingly concerned that salespeople are misrepresenting new vehicles’ semi-autonomous features to customers. Considering that most salespeople work on commission, consumers are used to hearing that prices are non-negotiable or that they will get a “great deal” on their trade-in. Dealer fibbing is par for the course.
However, claiming a car’s safety capabilities are more robust than they actually are — either due to greed or ignorance — can cost both parties more than a few extra bucks. (Read More…)
Some California tuners are in hot water with Ford after bringing a custom Mustang to SEMA that intentionally looks like the blue oval’s flagship supercar.
That, Michigan’s historic Willow Run factory may be paving the way for the automotive future, Volkswagen is being sued by yet another state, and VW’s chairman is getting back up on the hook as German prosecutors place him back under the microscope… after the break!
Yesterday, after a brief delay and weeks of teasing, Tesla Motors said it will equip all of its new vehicles with the hardware needed for fully autonomous driving. Starting yesterday, the technology comes standard on every model, including the upcoming Model 3 sedan.
But that doesn’t mean you can use it anytime soon. (Read More…)
George Hotz burst into the autonomous driving space last year with promises of a sub-$1,000 driver assistance package. It could be added to any car, he said, and proved it by showcasing his prototype system on his Acura ILX. When I spoke to Hotz in December, his system had promise, but I was skeptical.
Since that interview, Hotz further refined his system, released data collection apps, and picked up $3.1 million in funding. These updates culminated in a splashy announcement at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last week, where Hotz announced he’d ship his Comma One semi-autonomous driving add-on by the end of the year — at a price of $999*.
Hotz kept many of the promises he made last year, but he’s made vast changes between then and now. I dug into the Comma One’s hardware and software specs, and signed up for his Dash data collection app, to see what all the excitement was about.
Apple’s self-driving car project seems to have reached the point in a TV show where new actors take on old roles and the script flies out the window.
According to the New York Times, the tech giant’s Project Titan has been hit with a slew of layoffs, leaving several areas of the project boarded up and in the dark.
Is the shadowy Apple car, once the dream of nerds everywhere, powering down? (Read More…)
We’re told the future will bring us a blissful, autonomous driving experience that allows us to enjoy the scenery as we read our tablets and enjoy a Venti Macchiato, free of the burden of driving decisions and liability.
Now, for the less happy stuff: who should your safety-minded car kill if it’s forced to make an autonomous Sophie’s Choice-style decision — an occupant or a pedestrian?
A study published in the journal Science tackled that question, with researchers posing various scenarios to 1,900 participants via an online survey. The results show our sense of moral duty is matched by our sense of self-preservation. (Read More…)
General Motors Canada announced today, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, that it will bolster engineering and software development efforts in Canada with a 700-job strong hiring initiative.
The work in question will focus on autonomous driving software and controls, connected vehicle tech, active safety and vehicle dynamics technology. (Read More…)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne could be on the cusp of a new (corporate) romance.
The automaker is talking with ride-sharing megaprovider Uber about join forces on a self-driving vehicle venture, according to Automotive News. Sources close to the matter say those talks are in the early phase, but a agreement could be announced before the end of the year. (Read More…)
He doesn’t have any firm numbers, but Barrie Kirk has a feeling.
The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence executive director just knows that once humans no longer have to pump the brakes and jerk the wheel of their autonomous vehicles, their ingrained habits will give way to exploits of a carnal nature.
Yes, some people are predicting fleets of rolling bedrooms coursing their way through commuter traffic. Don’t tell Helen Lovejoy. (Read More…)
Don’t expect ride sharing.
It seems, some days, that everyone and their sister is working on autonomous vehicles, but a NATO security expert just confirmed that even ISIS is getting in on the technology, Britain’s Express newspaper reports.
Not interested in giving drivers a chance to stretch out while returning emails, Islamic State militants are instead planning a much more sinister (and very predictable) use for their self-driving cars. (Read More…)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chairman John Elkann, like the company’s sweatered CEO, is making come-hither eyes in the hopes of luring a suitor.
FCA needs a partner to turn its lofty debt pile into capital, so Elkann wants other automakers to know just how thrilled he’d be if they helped FCA save $10 billion a year, he told shareholders of the investment company controlling FCA (via Bloomberg).
The problem, he lamented, is that other automakers are all wrapped up in trying to develop autonomous technology, often with outsider help. Like a wallflower with a heart of gold, FCA feels ignored despite having a lot to offer.
Toyotas will soon be screeching to a halt everywhere and that should make its rivals jealous.
That, BMW unleashes the robots on the workers, eccentric automaker picks a place with funny-sounding names, General Motors isn’t falling out of love with China, and Mercedes-Maybach to get a rival … after the break!
BMW Group is laying out its game plan for the future, and it includes a lot of new electric vehicles.
Beyond the marketing buzzwords, there’s much similarity between BMW’s plan, released yesterday, and those of so many other automakers: building high-tech convenience and connectivity into their vehicles, diversifying their electric offerings, developing autonomous driving technology, and making the customer feel extra special.
The immediate effect on BMW’s rolling stock will be an expanded “i” range of all-electric or plug-in hybrid models, starting with a convertible version of the i8 and a longer-ranged version of the i3 by the end of this year.