Transportation


Audi A8: An evolution in luxury and tech

Engadget

Driving the Audi A8 along the gorgeous Northern California coastline near Big Sur is a joy. But no matter how wonderful the car may be, it had the opportunity to be better. Instead, Audi originally announced that Traffic Jam Pilot, its level-three autonomous feature, was coming to the luxury sedan. Alas, the company had to scrap those plans. The world wasn't ready for a car that drives itself for a short period of time in select situations.


Shaken by hype, self-driving leaders adopt new strategy: Shutting up

Washington Post

Three former executives at Google, Tesla and Uber who once raced to be the first to develop self-driving cars have adopted a new strategy: Slow down. At their new company Aurora Innovation, which is developing self-driving technology for carmakers including Volkswagen and Hyundai, the rules are simple: No flashy launches, mind-blowing timelines or hyper-choreographed performances on closed tracks. "No demo candy," said Chris Urmson, a co-founder and former head of Google's self-driving car team. Aurora's long-game technique reflects a new phase for the hyped promise of computer-piloted supercars: a more subdued, more pragmatic way of addressing the tough realities of the most complicated robotic system ever built. In the wake of several high-profile crashes that dented public enthusiasm in autonomous cars, Aurora's executives are urging their own industry to face a reality check, saying lofty promises risk confusing passengers and dooming the technology before it can truly take off.


Drivers Wildly Overestimate What 'Semi-Autonomous' Cars Can Do

WIRED

Cars are getting smarter and more capable. They're even starting to drive themselves, a little. They're all for putting better tech on the road, but automakers are selling systems like Tesla's Autopilot, or Nissan's Pro Pilot Assist, with the implied promise that they'll make driving easier and safer, and a new study is the latest to say that may not always be the case. More worryingly, drivers think these systems are far more capable than they really are. Euro NCAP, an independent European car safety assessment group (similar to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US,) has just released the results of its first round of tests of 10 new cars with driver assistance technologies.


Honda's N-Box and other minicars prove to be a hit with Japan's elderly drivers

The Japan Times

When Honda Motor Co. launched the latest version of its N-Box a year ago, it promoted features on the pint-sized minicar such as error-detecting pedals, automatic emergency braking and moveable seats, part of a push to market the vehicle to young families. But a drastically different demographic has made the N-Box the country's best-selling passenger vehicle: roughly half the owners of the most recent model are 50 or older. Automakers had hoped high-tech options would attract younger buyers to kei cars (minicars) even as the number of Japanese drivers under 30 has slid nearly 40 percent since 2001. Instead, with a price tag starting around ¥850,000 and low ownership taxes, minicars have gained a more loyal following among the rapidly growing population of elderly Japanese, many of whom are on fixed incomes. "After their children are grown and leave home, more people are looking to downsize from larger family cars to more compact ones," said Kiminori Murano, managing director at Tortoise, a dealership specializing in minicars in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture.


AI in action: Autonomous vehicles - IBM IT Infrastructure Blog

#artificialintelligence

October 11, 2018 Written by: Douglas O'Flaherty Autonomous vehicles will transform our daily lives and our communities. What seemed like science fiction a decade ago is now visible as test vehicles gather data, tune sensors and develop the artificial intelligence (AI) to make cars self-driving and safer. Every major auto company, their suppliers and startups across the globe are using the latest technology in an arms race to the future where cars drive themselves. It isn't enough for the vehicle to navigate itself. It must also be prepared for the unexpected.


GM, Honda to collaborate to deliver self-driving cars for 'global deployment'

USATODAY

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. GM Cruise, the automaker's self-driving subsidiary, is developing an electric self-driving taxi based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. It expects to launch its service at scale in 2019. DETROIT -- General Motors is partnering with Honda to speed up the deployment of self-driving cars to major cities in 2019. Honda will contribute about $2 billion over 12 years to the partnership and will finance a $750 million equity investment in Cruise, GM's self-driving car company.


Daimler names new CEO to lead push into electric, autonomous vehicles

#artificialintelligence

Daimler said Wednesday that Dieter Zetsche is stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by a long-serving executive who has most recently been leading the automaker's research and development efforts, including its push into electric vehicles. The company has proposed that Zetsche, who was CEO of Daimler for 12 years, become chairman of the supervisory board in 2021 when Manfred Bischoff leaves. The move must be approved by shareholders at the company's next meeting. The company's structure requires a two-year "cooling off" period before Zetsche can be elected as the board's chairman. Daimler has picked Ola Källenius to head up Mercedes-Benz vehicles and Daimler.


Mercedes A-Class First Drive: Top-level tech comes to an entry-level car

Engadget

"How old is Maury Povich?" The automaker's MBUX infotainment system which makes its debut in the A-Class thinks for a few moments and then informs me that the day-time talk show host and collector of human DNA is 79 years old. It's a silly joke, yet it shows that Mercedes-Benz is investing in one of the more important features of new cars: How we interact with them. With MBUX, drivers and passengers aren't limited to random questions, they can also control aspects of the vehicle, including navigation and climate controls. All of this happens with natural language.


How 5G connectivity and new technology could pave the way for self-driving cars

#artificialintelligence

How much safer, smoother, and more efficient could driving be if cars could communicate with traffic lights while approaching an intersection, get alerted to jaywalking pedestrians, or talk to each other while roaring down the highway at 65 miles per hour? A peer-to-peer wireless technology called C-V2X can warn vehicles about obstacles that cameras and radars might not catch, connecting them to their surroundings in a way that could eventually help them drive themselves. Most of the demos involve people driving cars and trucks outfitted with special C-V2X chipsets and modems. The vehicles send and receive wireless signals 10 times per second and display certain types of information--such as warnings about oncoming pedestrians, storms, and accidents--as pop-up alerts on drivers' windshields or dashboards. The most recent C-V2X demonstration, which took place in Colorado on August 14, also connected participating vehicles to traffic lights, so drivers knew exactly when the lights would change colors.


Renault's EZ-PRO is a workspace, coffee truck and rolling post office

Engadget

Renault, one of Europe's major automakers, is trying to help us imagine a world with fewer cars. Earlier this year, it unveiled the EZ-GO concept, a sort of anti-Uber autonomous ride-sharing vehicle for the masses. Now, it has taken the wraps off EZ-PRO, a last-mile autonomous electric delivery vehicle system that can double as a coffee truck, portable office and postal outlet on wheels. The EZ-GO was one of the most interesting concepts we've seen this year, so how does the EZ-PRO stack up? At the company's TechnoCentre near Paris, we get a closer look at Renault's multitasking, multipurpose self-driving solution.