Fiat Chrysler, in partnership with Chinese-based AutoX, wants to launch robo-taxis in China later this year, according to an announcement. The automobile maker, one of the "Big Three" in Detroit, has been casting a wide net for autonomous vehicle tech, and wants to keep pace with rivals in Detroit. Hong Kong's AutoX said it plans to integrate self-driving vehicle tech into a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans -- the same vehicle that Waymo, Alphabet's subsidiary known for its work on autonomous vehicles, has often chosen to use. The two companies said they plan to offer up the self-driving cars this year in numerous Chinese cities, including Shenzhen and Shanghai, later in 2020. AutoX -- a lesser-known startup than others in the field -- was founded in 2016 by Jianxiong Xiao, a former Princeton professor who specializes in 3D learning, computer vision and robotics.
SHANGHAI--A Chinese man whose son was killed while driving a Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -0.82 % vehicle applied to a local Beijing court to investigate whether the car's Autopilot driving system was engaged. In January, 23-year-old Gao Yaning died in a crash in the northeastern province of Hebei while driving a Tesla Model S. Six months later his father, Gao Jubin, filed a lawsuit accusing Tesla of exaggerating Autopilot's capabilities. At a court hearing Tuesday, he asked for an independent investigation of the cause of the crash. "The family insists the investigation should be done by a third party, rather than Tesla," said Cui Qiuna, a lawyer for the Gao family. The court will study the family's request.
Ecommerce giant Alibaba wants to make the process of purchasing a new vehicle as easy as buying a can of Coke, launching an "auto vending machine" to target the largest new car market in the world. The Super Test-Drive Center in Guangzhou was launched earlier this year by Alibaba's Tmall and the Ford Motor Group with the goal to "dramatically" improve the car shopping experience for Chinese consumers. Discussing the initiative with ZDNet at Alibaba's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival in Shanghai on Sunday, company representatives said that the initiative isn't limited to Ford vehicles, and that the likes of Volvo and BMW will soon be on board. To test-drive a car, Alibaba app users will need to have over 700 points on Alibaba's credit-scoring system, Zhima Credit, and be an accredited Alibaba Super Member. Customers can browse and select models they want to test-drive via the app catalogue, and after having their eligibility confirmed, the customer is required to take a photo using the app to allow for biometric authentication.
Outside of Beijing and Shanghai, many Chinese city dwellers don't own cars, but the country's growing middle class has its sights set on individual ownership. That's a business opportunity for automakers, who already see China as a huge market, and it's why Volkswagen just announced Jetta, a new brand aimed at China's younger customers. The brand is named after one of VW's most popular vehicles, and it will begin by selling one sedan and two SUVs later this year. The goal is to target "entry-level mobility," or first-time car buyers, who according to VW, account for a third of the Chinese market and are currently served mostly by local brands. Though VW's sales in China were down about two percent last year, China is still VW's largest single market, and there's room to grow.
Uber has reaffirmed its flying cars ambitions by hiring former Nasa engineer Mark Moore. Moore has 30 years of experience at Nasa, and becomes the director of engineering for aviation at Uber Elevate. "I can't think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real," said Moore, who published a white paper on vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (VTOL) back in 2010. The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session A man looks at an exhibit entitled'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo.