A Tesla autonomously rammed a Snohomish County, Washington sheriff’s deputy’s Ford Explorer SUV. As reported by Nexstar Media Wire, the incident occurred over the weekend.
The parked SUV sustained heavy damage. There were no injuries to the driver or the deputy. There was no word on the extent of the damages to the Tesla.
On Wednesday, General Motors announced plans to launch a version of Super Cruise on the 2022 GMC Sierra Denali modified to work with trailers. The hands-free driver assistance system (GM can’t call it “autonomous” because it technically isn’t) will stop being exclusive to Cadillac products and branch out into premium offerings from GMC and Chevrolet’s Bolt EV.
While unavailable until late in 2021, the next round of vehicles to be equipped with Super Cruise is supposed to see continued improvements to the system that allow for greater coverage. When the system originally launched on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it was only eligible for use on specific divided highways for safety reasons. The greater emphasis on avoiding accidents was appreciated but it made the system seem more like a flashy gimmick than something any serious person would use on the regular. But GM has taken great strides to make sure that didn’t remain the case — hence the new trailer capabilities and ever-widening operating area.
Hey, how bout that bitchin’ new Bronco- whoops! Sorry, got ahead of myself there. The check hasn’t even arrived yet!
In news unrelated to a Ford model Car and Driver wrote 13 stories about in the last 24 hours, a German court has smacked Tesla for misleading its citizens. The ruling, brought on by a complaint from an industry group, involves something that’s plagued the auto industry for years. Essentially, the overstating of a car’s autonomous driving abilities.
Thankfully, we’ve reached a point where even the Associated Press Stylebook is warning about inaccurate self-driving language use, but old habits die hard at Tesla. Germany didn’t like what it heard.
The cutting edge of new technology will be guided by new hands at Ford. On Thursday, the automaker announced changes to its executive lineup, including the departure of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC head Sherif Marakby and his replacement by vice president of strategy John Lawler.
Ford didn’t elaborate much on Marakby’s absence, stating that the exec, who formerly headed up Uber’s global vehicles programs, “has elected to take a personal leave from the company.”
It’s a long way from the company’s fledgling, Phoenix-area autonomous ride-hailing service, but Detroit has enough available space and local talent for Waymo to sign a lease.
On Tuesday, the self-driving tech company announced a deal to mate Chrysler Pacificas and Jaguar I-Paces with autonomous hardware in an abandoned assembly plant sitting in the heart of the domestic auto industry.
Even though GM is no longer serious about the Cruze, it appears to be very serious about Cruise. For those with short memories, Cruise Automation is The General’s unit that focuses on autonomous cars.
News has broken that current GM president Dan Ammann will take over as CEO of Cruise, pushing aside current CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, who’s booted down the ladder to Chief Technology Officer. All this is expected to take place on January 1st, 2019.
Building on a strategic partnership announced in August last year, Volvo has signed a framework agreement with Uber to sell “tens of thousands” of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.
While reading the report, it was important for this author to keep in mind the challenge in affixing an actual definition to the words autonomous driving. There have been shouty voices in various parts of the internet disputing the terms autonomous, Autopilot, and self-driving. There is merit to these arguments.
Nevertheless, Volvo is working with Uber to create technology that will allow vehicles to move about without a driver providing input 100 percent of the time.
A report released this week suggests that if self-driving cars become our new normal, it may mean you can jaywalk with impunity again. As if New Yorkers, Chicagoans, and residents of other major cities don’t do so already.
The National Association of City Transportation Officials, a non-profit with represents cities on issues related to transportation, put out a report this week suggesting cities should allow pedestrians to cross streets anywhere, instead of just crosswalks. The report also says self-driving cars would usually be limited to 20 mph and would be able to use pedestrian-detection technology to slow down or stop in order to avoid hitting folks crossing the road.
Waymo is suing over claims that a former employee stole the design for one of its LIDAR systems and brought it to a competitor. The alleged theft of Waymo’s intellectual property came to light after the company was accidentally privy to an email chain that described an Uber design for a LIDAR circuit board that looked very familiar.
So familiar, in fact, that the Google-backed Waymo filed a lawsuit on Thursday in a California federal court. The suit accuses former Google employee Anthony Levandowski of stealing its tech for the LIDAR sensor used by the Otto autonomous startup company. Unfortunately for Waymo, Uber paid $680 million for Otto last August and is currently using the potentially stolen designs.
The Toyota Motor Corporation is a little skeptical of the imminency of self-driving vehicles. It plans on continuing production of designs where human operators are saddled with the bulk of the driving responsibilities for years to come.
The automaker is openly dubious that tech-focused companies like Waymo and Tesla are sufficiently far enough along to hint at delivering self-driving cars. However, Toyota’s problem with handing the keys to a computer has as much to do with leaving companies open to litigation and criticism as it does with the technology simply not yet being ready.
North America expects millions of traffic accidents every year, but is much less willing to accept computer-controlled chaos at even a fraction of that scale.
Every now and then, a critical mass of clever, ambitious folks excited about a particularly good idea coalesces, often in a particular geographic region, and humanity gets lucky. The American colonies in the late 18th century and Detroit in the early 20th century are historical examples. Silicon Valley, starting in the 1980s, is probably our best contemporary example.
In recent years, those modern titans of technology have turned their futurist eyes towards personal transportation. Whether explicitly or in sotto voce tones, they’ve indicated that the traditional auto industry personified as “Detroit” was a dinosaur about to go extinct. Not knowing the auto industry metaphor of becoming an obsolete buggy whip manufacturer, the tech industry saw Detroit’s future as “making handsets” — i.e. low tech assemblers.
Tesla was going to show us the new electron driven future, Google was going to make cars that drove themselves, and the Apple of the tech world’s eye was going to do nothing less than completely reinvent the automobile, just as it had done with music players and telephones. The push towards self-driving, autonomous cars and trucks was only going to accelerate the ascendancy of Silicon Valley as the new Motor City.
Just because you’re good at one thing, however, doesn’t mean you’re good at another.
There are upsides to autonomous driving, but Volvo drivers are still made of flesh, with blood pumping though their veins.
Unlike that hazy group of people who lose their minds with excitement at the thought of always being a passenger in their own car, the Swedish automaker isn’t about to take away the act of driving from its customers.
Your vehicle’s technology is enslaving you, and Toyota wants to help you break free.
Today, Toyota has become the latest automaker to create a subsidiary tasked with generating new technology and innovation for its parent company.
Called Toyota Connected Inc., the venture is a collaboration with Microsoft that will serve as a data science and mobile technology hob for the world’s largest automaker. The plan is to use Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology to “humanize” the driving experience and make vehicles’ high-tech abilities less intrusive and more useful.
Nissan’s product pipeline has all the flow of a crusted-over faucet, and that’s not good for business.
That, automation is insidiously infiltrating cars all around you, Mercedes-Benz goes all in on AMG, Jaguar teases China with something special, and foreigners flee the Russian automotive landscape … after the break!