Consumer Watchdog Slams Elon Musk, Demands Tesla Pull the Plug on Autopilot

America’s highest profile consumer advocacy group is calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for waiting a month to disclose the potential risk posed to owners by the company’s Autopilot technology.

In a letter to Musk, Consumer Watchdog demands that Tesla sideline its Autopilot system until it can be proven safe, criticizes the CEO for side-stepping blame in several crashes, and accuses him of putting the public at risk.

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Come Dance With Me: Fiat-Chrysler Makes Another Pitch for a Partner

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.

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Mercedes-Benz Recreates 'Maximum Overdrive' in Europe

If you’re planning to drive between the Netherlands and Germany tomorrow, just know that self-aware trucks will be out there.

Convoys of automated transport trucks will be plying the highways between Stuttgart and Rotterdam as part of the European Truck Platooning Challenge, an initiative created by the Netherlands to develop and showcase connected vehicle technology.

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TTAC News Round-up: Volkswagen's Plans Paltry Payout, Sergio Talks up Players, and a NASCAR Driver's Busted
Volkswagen shareholders are wondering if they’ll be receiving a lump of coal in their dividend stocking this year.That, Sergio is seeking a partner (but not those French guys), NASCAR’s Derek White is in trouble north of the border, GM seals the deal with a startup, and no Baby Buick for you … after the break!
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Piston Slap: Save Bacon or Save Face?

Isaac writes:

Recently my family was sitting around the table discussing how my youngest sister will obtain her driving permit in a month to begin the wonderful process of becoming a licensed driver. The interesting part of this conversation, and the part I hope you can offer some advice, is when we talked about safety. Are modern cars too safe for beginner drivers?

While many publications and parents say new drivers should be placed in the safest vehicle possible, I have struggled with this concept and can only wonder how safety equipment in car affects new drivers. Comparing the two vehicles that my parents are considering giving to my youngest sister, my older sister’s 2002 Saturn SC2 or my mom’s old 2008 Ford Taurus X, there is a big difference in the safety between these cars. My sister and I were given cars that lacked ABS, side or curtain airbags, ESP, and traction control. Not having features, like AB, taught my sister to be more attentive in slippery conditions.

While I will not argue against the safety these systems provide, nor their existence, I can only wonder if we are hindering the drivers of tomorrow. I wonder how modern features like blind spot monitoring, radar based cruise control, and backup cameras will affect new drivers. Personally, I like to think I am a better driver today because of the lack of safety features I had in my first couple of cars.

Any thoughts?

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TTAC News Round-up: Infamous GM Engineer Speaks, You Only Get One With Dinner, and Hydrogen's Hedged Bet

The man in the middle of GM’s faulty ignition switch has finally spoken, and the word “mistake” came up at least twice.

That, does anyone have the number for Google, GM and Honda may join forces, and take a cab … after the break!

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George Hotz and Our Self-Driving Future

Bloomberg published an interview with hacker-slash-inventor George Hotz earlier this week where it showcased his efforts in building autonomous car technology. While many readers might be quick to jump on his ideas as the first coming of affordable autonomous vehicles, we need take a step back and look at the details.

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  • Ravenuer 15 Overpriced Vehicles? I'd say they all are.
  • Ravenuer Bought a new 96 GXE. Paid $25002 for it. Hands down the best, most reliable car I ever owned! Put 300k on it with only minor repairs. Miss it.
  • Bfisch81 My friend's mom bought a fully loaded 96 and I remember really liking it. I still thought my granddad's 89 was cooler and sportier but the 96 felt more luxury which wasn't a bad thing in and of itself.
  • Art Vandelay Battery issues aside, I didn’t hate it. I’d have just been paying for range I didn’t need.
  • THX1136 Saying that because 'marked up' vehicles are selling means they are not over priced assumes the folks paying over MSRP know that they are paying more than the manufacturer price set for the vehicle and are happy to do so. I'm guessing in some instances it may be the buyer is ignorant of the situation - or buys with a 'I gotta have it now, I can't wait' attitude. As others have mentioned if one does the work to find a fair price, they don't have to pay an inflated price. Laziness enters into the equation too. But I would agree, generally, that if folks are paying an unreasonably high price they must be okay with that. If demand drops significantly, prices would moderate. Big if.