By on June 1, 2016

Boston Dynamics Robots, Image Source: Boston Dynamics YouTube Video

Toyota isn’t looking to buy just Google’s legged-robot R&D firm Boston Dynamics. The automaker also has its eye on another company under the Alphabet X nee Google X umbrella.

That, Volkswagen wants its own “Gigafactory”, and ACEA releases its 2016-2017 Automobile Industry Pocket Guide for your to nerd out on … after the break.

Toyota thinks four legs are better than two

According to Nikkei’s Asian Review, Toyota isn’t satisfied with just one of Google’s robotics companies. The automaker is looking to buy Schaft, a Japanese-based subsidiary of Google, to add to its Toyota Research Institute (TRI).

The Japanese automaker believes robotics will be a key driver of its future growth. With the two companies — Boston Dynamics of the U.S. and Schaft, set up by a graduate of the University of Tokyo — Toyota’s fledgling robotics division would get a huge boost.

The initial $1 billion budgeted for TRI over the next five years will fund the purchases, Nikkei reports, and there’s a chance the deal may still not go through.

The biggest take away from this development? One of Schaft’s creations has driven a vehicle, albeit a side-by-side, in a DARPA robotics challenge.

Volkswagen wants you to forget about all that diesel stuff and look into the future

As part of its plan to sell 1 million electrified vehicles by 2025, Volkswagen is planning to shell out as much as $11 billion dollars to build a battery factory in Germany.

According to Automotive News, Volkswagen has made no decisions yet on the factory, though it’s rumored location is Salzgitter, about 35 miles south of Volkswagen’s HQ in Wolfsburg.

And yet it’s been almost 10 months since the emissions scandal broke and there still isn’t a fix.

ACEA Pocket Guide is your European automotive market crib sheet

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has released its annual Automotive Industry Pocket Guide, and it’s full of fantastic information for those who don’t closely follow the European market.

Want to know the percentage of Europe’s contribution to global production? It’s in there — 20 percent, or 18.4 million units.

Want to know the average amount of CO2/km emitted by a vehicle in Europe? It’s in there — 119.6 grams.

What about the total number of vehicles in use in the European Union? It’s in there — 291.1 million vehicles.

Give it a look.

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6 Comments on “News Round-up: What Has Four Legs and Might Replace Your Cab Driver?...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Gotta love the way automakers are pissing away tens of billions on companies for purported autonomous vehicles or “robotic” drivers when neither the infrastructure nor technology is ready for widespread usage in any meaningful way, and won’t be for at least two decades (and probably three to four decades).

    That’s some awfully expensive R&D, but the braintrust at these automakers probably tell themselves “[H]ey, if we can borrow money at 1.6% interest on bonds we sell, thanks to Yellen, Draghi & Kuroda, why not?”

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Agree. I don’t think autonomous vehicles are realistic without a massive upgrade to our infrastructure (newer, smoother, standardized road surfaces with definitive visual cues to go with more powerful GPS processing, etc.). And we all know how willing our government is to spend massive amounts of money on infrastructure.

  • avatar

    Q: “Where am I?”
    J: “You’re in a Johnnycab.”
    Q: “How did I get in here?”
    J: “I’m sorry. Would you please rephrase the question?”
    Q: “How did I get in this taxi?”
    J: “The door opened, you got in. Hell of a day, isn’t it?”

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