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.
You’ve probably heard the news: An autonomous Google-Lexus brushed a city bus at about 2 miles-per-hour. There’s been plenty of discussion on the incident, some of it oddly hysterical, but most of it has centered on the idea of the future capabilities of autonomous traffic to operate in traffic as it exists today. In other words, from everything I’ve read, the Google automotive team, and everybody else working on the autonomous-car problem, assumes that their cars will have to deal with the same conditions that you and I might face if we were behind the wheel of that automobile.
If that is truly the case, then autonomous vehicles are in for a rougher ride than anybody yet suspects, because they won’t have to deal with the same conditions that human drivers do. Their reality will be much, much worse.
Autonomous vehicles and shared mobility are invoked in our contemporary discourse as an inevitable fate. There is an unsettling undercurrent rippling around a not altogether desirable future for the automobile as we know it. I am not anti-progress, anti-technology, or otherwise prone to romanticizing yesteryear. I welcome the convenience and safety of new technologies and look forward to the day I can work during my freeway commute. However, the pleasure and freedom I occasionally indulge — “shifting and drifting” in the words of Canadian rock band Rush — appears increasingly at risk.
How many years are left before we’re no longer able to sit at the left front corner of our cars, row through the gears, and take ourselves on whatever path of discovery we please.
How many self-driven years remain?