By on April 14, 2016

Tango dancing

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2016

2016 Toyota RAV4

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!

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By on March 17, 2016

2016 BMW i8 Hybrid Exterior-006

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 8, 2016

Lexus Google car

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.

(Read More…)

By on February 25, 2016

Volvo Autonomous Drive, Image: Volvo Cars

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?

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By on January 6, 2016

Autodesk VRED Professional 2016 SP1

Started in New York City in 1967 as an offshoot of the Chicago Music Show, the Consumer Electronics Show has grown to capture the interest and intrigue of automakers. Las Vegas now has two auto shows.

That, Volkswagen’s unending stream of German-accented apologies, why Ford might not be hitching itself to Google and how you can become an automotive journalist* … after the break!

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By on January 4, 2016

General Motors President Dan Ammann (center) with Lyft Inc. co-f

General Motors announced Monday that it would invest $500 million in ride-sharing service Lyft to help boost the automaker’s business in car-sharing companies and perhaps rental cars.

The automaker announced that the investment — roughly half of Lyft’s latest round of fundraising — would buy the automaker seat on the ride-sharing company’s board of directors. Lyft, which is based in San Francisco, is valued around $4.5 billion, which is significantly less than the $62 billion valuation for rival Uber, according to the New York Times.

GM said the companies would partner on rentals for the car-sharing company, connectivity and autonomous technology.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

By on September 14, 2015

John Krafcik With A Hyundai Sonata, MotorWeek Host John Davis, And The 2012 MotorWeek Award For Awesomeness

Former Hyundai America CEO and TrueCar president John Krafcik has been hired by Google to head the California tech giant’s autonomous vehicle program.

Per Automotive News, Krafcik will begin his new work as the program’s director in late September, while current director and former Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Chris Urmson will remain aboard to lead technical development.

(Read More…)

By on June 4, 2015

google-self-driving-car

Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing.

(Read More…)

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