By on July 14, 2016

MY16_Accord_Sedan_sensing_4

One of the first things any child learns in the modern technological era is that there are tools for which the true purpose is explicitly stated and tools for which the true purpose is hidden behind some obfuscating official language, legal fiction, or disingenuous disclaimer. Examples of the former: shovels, over-and-under trapshooting shotguns, noise-canceling headphones. Examples of the latter: BitTorrent, “professional” lock-picking kits on Massdrop, the Hitachi Magic Wand.

With the simultaneous democratization of tech and increased frequency of tech-related legislation, more and more things are falling into the category of “used for purposes other than intended, or in a manner other than suggested.” Nobody ever lets the FAA know that they’re going to be flying a Phantom drone over a motocross track, nobody ever deletes their MP3s when they sell their CDs back to Half Price Books, and nobody ever takes the Yoshimura pipe off their GSX-R1000 when they leave Willow Springs and ride back home.

From the moment that the Tesla “Autopilot” feature was introduced, with its copious disclaimers and strident request that the owner keep his hands on the wheel and continue to act just like he was driving the thing himself, the whole world has treated Autopilot like it was Napster. Oh, sure, I’m just going to keep looking ahead with my hands on the wheel, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. The near-universal assumption, one I’ve seen echoed by dozens of Tesla owners, is that Autopilot is, in fact, a functioning autopilot system and all the disclaimers are just there to keep the lawyers happy.

What if that’s not the case at all?

(Read More…)

By on June 9, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

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…)

By on May 6, 2016

marchionne

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne can see a beautiful future with partner Google, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea, you know.

Speaking in Windsor, Ontario, where Chrysler Pacifica minivan production recently kicked off, Marchionne called FCA’s Google fling the “first phase” of their relationship, but admits to wanting to keep his options open, Automotive News reports. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2016

1940 Nash

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…)

By on May 3, 2016

Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

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…)

By on April 27, 2016

Volvo-self-driving-car

Like it or not, autonomous vehicles are coming in one form or another.

Many new cars on the market already have features that help a driver stay in the driving lane, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, or reduce the severity of a collision. Much like the original stability control, these features may frustrate enthusiasts but they help keep the masses safer and might reduce accidents.

Each year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New England Motor Press Association hold a conference that focuses on various future trends and technologies. This year’s topic is The Intersection of Technology and Design, with a panel discussion exploring trends and challenges as autonomous technology meets the natural aesthetic appeal of the automobile.

(Read More…)

By on April 12, 2016

traffic

Apparently, it’s Technology Tuesday here at TTAC, so we can bring you news of a device that will kick your deeply held fears to the curb.

Vehicle hacking has been an issue ever since a Jeep Cherokee had its steering, transmission and brakes commandeered last summer, and an Israeli firm is now offering protection against keyboard warriors, according to CNBC (via Business Insider).

(Read More…)

By on March 21, 2016

2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Uber wants to eliminate drivers from its operation, but the ride-hailing service reportedly just purchased an armada’s worth of Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans that don’t yet have fully autonomous capability.

On Friday, Reuters reported that sources at both companies told the German publication Manager Magazin that an order had been made by Uber for “at least” 100,000 S-Class vehicles.

The shelf price for that volume of Benz’s would be in the neighbourhood of $10 billion. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

Willow Run Factory

An abandoned Michigan manufacturing facility that once cranked out bombers, guns, cars and transmissions could soon be advancing our driverless future.

A nonprofit organization has been created to oversee the transition of the former General Motors Willow Run manufacturing plant property near Ypsilanti, Michigan, into a national self-driving and connected vehicle testing site, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.

The sprawling property is mostly a flat expanse of tarmac, the perfect site for recreating a laundry list of city driving conditions that could confuse an autonomous vehicle’s brain: highway merging, ramps, bridges, elevation changes, high-speed maneuvering, complex intersections and even tunnels. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2016

Mercedes Benz; C-Klasse

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is getting cold feet about opening a factory in Russia, and thinks it might just skip a little bit west.

That, two Porsche executives avoid the Big House, the NHTSA wants autonomous rules post-haste, Volkswagen seeks a quick way out of trouble, and Aston Martin wants an F1-inspired moonshot … after the break!

(Read More…)

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