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We don't need fully self-driving cars to save lives

USATODAY

Automakers showed the car tech that will make driving easier, safer and more personalized at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Some of it may already be sitting in your driveway. Tech companies such as Nvidia are working on advanced driver assistance systems for self-driving cars. While one piece like that may be an interesting read, you'd probably find it hard to care about too much futuristic information. Yet, when it comes to automobiles, all we seem to hear about these days is their autonomous future.


With Nuro self-driving R1, your delivery just shows up — in a toaster on wheels with no driver

USATODAY

This futuristic self-driving van could change the way you get deliveries. The Nuro R1 is the tech startup's first autonomous delivery van, designed to shuttle a range of products to a consumer's curb. SAN FRANCISCO -- Self-driving cars can wait. What the world needs right now, says one Silicon Valley start-up, are small autonomous vans dedicated to delivering all the stuff we order online or at local shops. That's the mission of Nuro, a tech company that on Tuesday announced it will launch its electric-powered vehicle, the R1, later this year.


Here's how Elon Musk could get tens of billions from new Tesla compensation plan

USATODAY

Elon Musk has spent $72 million on homes in California. His most recent mansion was more than $24 million. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk presents the new Roadster electric sports vehicle to the media on Nov. 16, 2017 at the electric car maker's Los Angeles design center. Tesla has installed a new compensation plan for CEO Elon Musk that would reward him handsomely if he can build the electric vehicle automaker into "one of the most valuable companies in the world." The plan -- delivered with Tesla's characteristic rhetorical flair for bucking corporate conventions -- would provide tens of billions in compensation to Musk if the company achieves its financial goals.


Car hacking remains a very real threat as autos become ever more loaded with tech

USATODAY

Should you be worried about a car being hacked? USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham and Chris Woodyard break it down. Model cars run in a city miniature at the Elektrobit booth to show how software for highly automated driving works during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Automakers and suppliers are making progress in protecting vehicles from cyber attacks, but the car-hacking threat is still real and could get increasingly serious in the future when driverless vehicles begin talking to each other. A worst-case scenario would be hackers infiltrating a vehicle through a minor device, such as an infotainment system, then wreaking havoc by taking control of the vehicle's door locks, brakes, engine or even semi-autonomous driving features.


10 products from CES 2018 I would buy today

USATODAY

Now available in new colors and with Dell Mobile Connect, which lets you wirelessly tether a smartphone, the Dell XPS 13 is the smallest and most powerful 13-inch laptop in the world. LAS VEGAS--What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas -- at least hopefully not for a bunch of the products showcased here last week. Some of the technology that debuts at CES, the annual consumer electronics show, turns out to be "vaporware," that is, it will never make a commercial debut for one reason or another. But the following ten products should have a chance vying for space in your home or driveway. Beginning this summer, Lenovo's VR headset doesn't require a connection to a device, like a smartphone, laptop, or game console.


GM takes steering wheel, pedals out of Chevy Bolt, asks feds to allow testing

USATODAY

GM's Cruise AV is designed to operate with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or other manual controls. General Motors asked the government Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, to approve test fleets of the latest iteration of its autonomous Chevy Bolt, which has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal. DETROIT -- Look Ma, no hands and no feet. But first, what does Uncle Sam say? General Motors (GM) has asked the government to approve test fleets of the latest iteration of its autonomous Chevy Bolt, which has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal.


Next step in driverless cars: Boot the driver

USATODAY

Toyota took the wraps off a new self-driving transportation concept at CES, and it can be anything from a pizza delivery van to a camper for your next vacation. LAS VEGAS – Auto and tech companies are racing to get human drivers completely out of their self-driving cars, perhaps as soon as this year. Numerous companies have been testing small fleets of autonomous vehicles on highways and city streets, yet, to date, nearly all of these vehicles have had test drivers or engineers inside, ready to take over should the unexpected happen. One of the hottest discussion topics at this week's CES conference -- formerly called the Consumer Electronics Show -- is when companies expect to boot their so-called safety drivers out of their autonomous vehicles. A Toyota executive explained how the Japanese automaker is aiming to demonstrate a true self-driving vehicle -- one without a human babysitter -- in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.


Ford lays out grand vision for a self-driving car future

USATODAY

Jennifer Jolly's coolest gadgets from CES you'll actually see in your home this year. Ford CEO James Hackett smiles while getting ready for an interview next to a self-driving delivery vehicle at CES International (Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP) LAS VEGAS -- Ford CEO Jim Hackett offered an ambitious vision for the automaker's self-driving vehicle business strategy Tuesday, depicting a future that will be as much as about networks of cars and traffic signals as any particular models. Ford will build these networked systems, he said, as well as the vehicles on the streets of this "City of Tomorrow." "The car and the system will be talking to each other," Hackett said at the CES tech trade show going on here. "The car obviously is going to learn to drive itself, but the city's transportation grid will mutate around what the cars need."


CES 2018: Toyota adds Amazon's Alexa to vehicles

USATODAY

Jennifer Jolly's coolest gadgets from CES you'll actually see in your home this year. Japanese automaker Toyota will integrate Amazon's Alexa voice assistant into some of its cars as the auto industry increasingly adopts the tech world's hottest offerings to improve the vehicle experience. The deal reflects a partnership between two of the world's largest companies, each of which can stake a claim to having revolutionized their industries. Toyota, whose efficient manufacturing techniques transformed the auto industry, is turning to Alexa to bolster its voice-recognition capability. Many automakers have struggled with voice recognition software for years, causing a clunky or ineffective user experience.


Elon Musk: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch will be before end of January

USATODAY

Fully assembled on the Launchpad. SpaceX's three-core, 27-engine Falcon Heavy launch vehicle sits on pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in December 2017. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, that the demonstration flight will happen before the end of January 2018. MELBOURNE, Fla. -- SpaceX's much-vaunted Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will roar off a historic Kennedy Space Center pad on its demonstration flight before the end of this month, CEO Elon Musk said Thursday. Pad 39A, which once played host to Apollo and space shuttle missions, is expected to see the three-core vehicle lift off on a premiere flight that will test one of the company's most technically challenging undertakings to date.