While the concept of mobility has often turned out to be a buzz phrase used by executives unsure of where to place hypothetical revenue streams and burgeoning technologies, it has simultaneously yielded a handful of enterprising business premises with the potential to stand on their own. Nuro, the American robotics company fielding pint-sized delivery drones, is among them and has made a case for itself by eliminating humans from the equation entirely and providing unique scenarios for its services.
The startup has been getting a smattering of positive attention since its formation in 2015 and recently raised $600 million during its latest funding round, bringing its valuation to an impressive $8.6 billion.
Following reports that Hyundai Motor Company managed to purchase American engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics from Japanese financial conglomerate SoftBank for a cool $921 million, we’ve learned that the South Korean automaker has also fallen into embracing on-demand features. The trend, which is sweeping through the automotive industry to our dismay, basically involves manufacturers hiding vehicle options behind a subscription paywall instead of just letting you purchase the options you wanted upfront.
That means tomorrow’s car shopper might find themselves buying a vehicle that’s already fully loaded from the factory only find themselves forced to unlock heated seats or an upgraded sound system via monthly payments. In our estimation, the whole concept is ludicrously wasteful, diminishes the private resale values of automobiles, and seems like the kind of corporate nonsense reserved for dystopian fiction novels.
This outlet has frequently made light of Ford’s more imaginative mobility projects, but they’ve spanned the gamut in terms of functionality. While dressing up college students to resemble a car seat in order to test the public’s perception of autonomous vehicles was certainly funny, it also provided some meaningful R&D insight. Meanwhile, Carr-E and the automaker’s lane-keeping bed were little more than comic distractions, outperforming many of today’s hottest stand-up entertainers in terms of laughs per minute.
However, Ford’s latest project deserves to be taken more seriously. It’s both far more useful than what we’ve grown accustomed to and holds far broader implications for society.
Honda wants to up its software game and encourage creative uses for ones and zeros at its new research and development center. With ASIMO — the company’s adorable robot mascot — almost old enough to smoke, Honda hasn’t developed a super-high-profile gizmo in nearly 17 years.
Recently, the company took a distinctive back-to-basics approach to address slipping quality, though CEO Takahiro Hachigo confessed that rekindling the R&D “spirit” would be the other half of building a better Honda Motor Co.
With those goals in mind, Tokyo’s Honda Innovation Lab opened its doors to the press on Tuesday as the company announced it will be forming a specific unit to focus on the development of software-laden technology for its next generation of vehicles.
Toyota will open a new artificial and robotics R&D company to be called Toyota Research Institute, Inc. (TRI) with an initial investment of $1 billion to open two locations in the United States, the automaker announced Friday.
TRI, which will make its headquarters in Palo Alto, California and establish another office in Cambridge, Massachusetts near MIT, will be led by Dr. Gill Pratt, a former academic in the field of engineering and program manager at DARPA.
“The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university,” said the automaker in a release.
Last week’s New York Auto Show saw Honda make a robot – and not a car – the centerpiece of its press conference. Even though it had a very important new product to introduce, Honda instead chose to have ASIMO do a song and dance number, and then promptly depart in the middle, due to (an admittedly adorable) case of “stage fright”.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Inside Looking Out Ford also was bankrupt with his first company that became The Standard of the World.
- 28-Cars-Later If only some kind of gasoline/electric... hybrid... existed.
- Wjtinfwb Cool cars that drover pretty well, thank to the Benz bits underneath. But that interior.... Chrysler must have sourced interior materials to Lego or Mattel. I spent a week in a rented 300 Touring of this vintage, very enjoyable car to drive but the interior would have made an old Isuzu i-Mark blush. No sale at any price.
- Wjtinfwb The airport I fly out of and frequently rent from when driving (VPS) has no facilities for charging an EV. It's just an open, unsecured lot that requires getting the agreement and keys from the counter in the terminal. I doubt Hertz would want to invest in the infrastructure needed to add Hi-speed EV charging stations in an open air, unsecured lot. Bigger airports like Atlanta or Baltimore have dedicated garage facilities for rentals, but the majority of secondary or tertiary markets airports are open air lots like mine in NW Florida. Plus, unless you're planning on only driving a few miles a day who wants to deal with finding an EV charge station that is working then standing around for hours while Hertz's car gets recharged. Rental EV's are The answer to the question no one asked.
- Sgeffe Haven’t had any urgent safety issues under recalls in my 28 years of driving Hondas, so in the event something comes out, I’ll usually see when the dealer might have time in the next month or so, then go from there.I’ve been fortunate in that my cars have had proper airbags, or have been traded or sold away before the recalls were issued for the vehicles.