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Archive for the ‘Autonomous Cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon How Will Folks Really Use Autonomous Driving Technology?

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece about the huge number of autonomous concepts that made the rounds at the Frankfurt Motor Show this year, and indeed, one quick glance at the list of debuts will reveal an anticipated mass migration to self-driving vehicles sometime in the near future. The experts agree that this technology will bring with it myriad benefits, not the least of which is an increase in safety, as computerized drivers take over for distracted, intoxicated, or otherwise inept humans. Efficiency should also see a nice bump, as instantaneous reaction time and car-to-car connectivity will allow autonomous cars to run more closely together and at higher speeds. Which gets us thinking – what will folks do when they no longer need to drive?

Here’s our take on the situation, composed in list form for your reading enjoyment. Of course, we wanna know – did we leave something out? Tell us in the comments.

Continue reading to learn more about how folks will really use autonomous driving technology.

PostHeaderIcon Frankfurt Was All About Electric And Autonomous Cars, But The Future Isn’t Here Yet

It seems like with every auto show cycle, excitement over electric power and autonomous capabilities grows just a little bit more. This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show is proof positive of that – between new concepts from Audi, Mercedes, Renault, Honda, BMW, and Jaguar, among others, you’d be forgiven for thinking our battery-powered, robo-driven future is all but confirmed at this point. Of course, this raises a number of questions: how long till we get there? Will I still be able to drive my own car? Will internal combustion completely bite the dust?

Well, I’m here to put things in perspective – while many of these major automakers are adamant that self-driving, electron-powered passenger vehicles are just over the proverbial horizon, it’s likely the changes will be relatively gradual. So don’t worry – it’s not like Dieter Zetsche is gonna snap his fingers and in an instant turn your Camaro into something resembling the EQA Concept.

First up, let’s talk about electric power. EV producers still have a ways to go before battery-powered vehicles overtake gas-powered vehicles in terms of convenience (and convenience is essentially why we all have cars anyway, right?). After all, long charge times and range anxiety are still very much a thing, and although both are seeing significant improvements as of late, the ICE still has a significant advantage. What’s more, unless the U.S. follows in the footsteps of China and Europe and decides to ban new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles in the next few decades, stateside consumers will likely continue to enjoy explodey juice options long into the foreseeable future, even as the rest of the world goes electric.

The same goes for autonomous vehicles. Once again, we see self-driving tech making huge strides in the past few years, but large-scale adoption is still many decades away. Making it all work in a lab is one thing, making it work in the real world is quite another, especially with unpredictable factors like human drivers out there to challenge the algorithms.

Don’t get me wrong – the self-driving EV’s are indeed coming, and with them, all the benefits (environmental, safety, etc.) you’d expect. They’re just not quite ready yet.

PostHeaderIcon The Elaine Concept Puts Audi’s Autonomous Ambitions On Display

As the race to full autonomy continues to heat up, Audi has been making moves. Between a variety of futuristic self-driving concepts and real-life demonstrations, the Four Ring brand has been busy in the push for robo car tech. Audi’s latest bid in this space is the Elaine concept vehicle, which recently debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show promising a host of interesting features. As you might expect, the Elaine looks beyond the standard list of autonomous features present in the current crop of production luxury vehicles and imagines what’s possible in the future. As such, the Elaine promises not only uninterrupted self-driving capabilities, but also fully autonomous parking, AI-assisted navigation and comfort settings, self-directed car washing, and even driver health recommendations. What’s more, Audi says all these features could very well find their way onto its production vehicles in the years to come.

Inevitably, there will be many of you out there who feel a bit of anxiety over the prospect of a self-driving Audi. Fear not, because this thing still comes with a steering wheel and pedals, and the autonomous features will only kick in when you want them to – that is, during boring stuff like commuting and traffic jams. The rest of it looks like a helpful way to enjoy your ride, and Audi even contends that “drivers should be more relaxed when they get out of the car than when they got in.” Intrigued? Read on for the details.

Continue reading the learn more about the Audi Elaine Concept.

PostHeaderIcon The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid

When the W222, sixth-gen Mercedes S-Class came to the market in 2013, it sat in a niche that was completely void of any real competition. But, after just a few years that changed, with long-time rival BMW introducing the new 7 Series and GM’s luxury division, Cadillac, introducing the full-size CT6 to the market. The S-Class was already competitive enough to hold its own in the full-size luxury segment and was even praised for its superior ride quality, seemingly effortless acceleration, and all of that fancy tech that brought it one step closer to being a true-to-life spaceship on wheels. With the new E-Class coming before this mid-cycle update, Merc had a lot of new tech on its hands, and you certainly can’t have a lesser model sporting better features, so this was the icing on the cake and triggered Mercedes to revamp the S-Class in time for 2018. Now that we’re approaching the holiday season and the new year, Mercedes saw fit to introduce the newest member of the S-Class family: The S 560 e – a plug-in hybrid that promises to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model.

So, now that we’re looking at the facelifted S-Class hybrid, it’s important to note that it also comes with a new name. Previously known as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid, the 2018 model will now go by the nomenclature of S560 e Plug-in Hybrid. Highlights of the facelifted model include an increase in system output of more than 50 horsepower, increased all-electric range thanks to a revised battery, relocated electric components, and increased luggage room in the rear. An ECO assist feature will help you drive more efficiently, while pre-entry climate control will have the temperature just right before you even sit down inside the vehicle. I guess that’s pretty commendable and right in line with what you should expect for a car of this stature. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what kind of improvements the revised hybrid brings to the market. Something tells me, you might want to consider trading in that old plug-in for a new one, but we’ll see.

PostHeaderIcon Audi Looks To Our Autonomous EV Future With Aicon Concept

Auto show season is ramping up, with the Frankfurt Motor Show kicking things off with its bi-annual look at the latest and greatest in the world of passenger cars. Per tradition, the big makes are bringing out the concepts to wow crowds and offer a glimpse at possible features for upcoming production models. Obviously, all-electric powertrains and self-driving capability are hot topics these days, and Audi is hitting both with its latest Aicon design study. Offering high-end “door-to-door” transportation, Audi frames the Aicon as “… an all-rounder well prepared for its primary task: to offer a maximum of comfort, communications technology and freedom for its occupants during a long journey.” That means lots of space inside, with no inputs required from the any of the humans on board. Just sit down, sit back, and relax as the Aicon whisks you off to your destination of choice.

The four-door looks the part, and its possible we’ll see some of its styling elements carried over into future production models. The Aicon is also big, rocking exterior dimensions that include a length of nearly 18 feet, a width of nearly 7 feet wide, and a height of nearly 5 feet, plus a 11.4-foot wheelbase. That makes the Aicon nearly 10 inches longer than the current A8, while the 26-inch wheels enhance the sense of bigness as well. But there’s a whole lot more to this thing than just its size, so read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Aicon Concept.

PostHeaderIcon The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

Last night Nissan finally unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf, and it’s a massive improvement over the old car. The biggest news for EV fans will be the new 150-mile range. That’s nearly double what the original Leaf launched with. It’s even easier on your wallet with a starting price under $30,000, making it nearly $700 cheaper than the current model. But the best improvement is the all-new electric motor. The old car made a useable, but unimpressive 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. But the new 2018 car makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and that is more amazing than you realize.

Let us put those power numbers into perspective. The Volkswagen 2.0L TDI engine, the best “performance” fuel-economy engine on the market before the Dieselgate scandal destroyed everything, produces 150 horsepower and 238 pounds of twist.

Nissan just made a viable alternative to scorned TDI buyers.

True, the TDI had some other advantages like a massive 600+ mile range before needing to be refueled, but on a pure day-to-day performance perspective, the new Leaf might work. If you bought a TDI to make your daily commute, and you still want something that is good for the environment while providing the same level of thrust, maybe you should call your Nissan Dealer.

Yes, we do know that other alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have even more power and performance, but those cars also have much higher price tags. We aren’t sure about you, but we feel like people buying $26k Volkswagen’s might not be able to afford the $38,000 asking price of a Bolt.

But what do you guys think? Is the new Nissan Leaf good enough to be a real competitor in the market now? And if you are a former TDI owner, please let us now, and be sure to give us your thoughts on this new car.

PostHeaderIcon Think the Note 7 Fiasco was a Disaster? Just Wait Until Samsung Puts Autonomous Cars on the Road!

No company is immune to building an Edsel, but one of the most prominent failures in world history has to be the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. I mean, this phone was responsible for causing some people severe burns, it destroyed a number of vehicles, and was even banned from airplanes because they could suddenly catch fire or, for the most part, blow up. For what could have been a pretty serious tragedy for a prominent technology company, Samsung came out of that shit storm smelling like a rose. In fact, fans of the brand have been quite forgiving and, as such, Samsung has been said to be offering Note 7 owners a pretty significant discount to help keep them all happy. But, that’s not why I’m talking to you today. Instead, I’m here to tell you that Samsung has just received approval and a permit from California to put self-driving cars on the road. Yes, you read that right – the company that brought you the explosive Note 7 could soon put autonomous cars on the road.

Of course, there’s really nothing to freak out about quite yet. The company may have failed miserably with the Note 7, but some of you are driving around with Samsung battery technology in your vehicles right now. Yup, that’s right. Samsung SDI, a division of Samsung, supplies batteries for electric cars and has joined other tech companies like LG and Panasonic in venturing toward automotive products instead of the usual electronics that consume nearly every second of our lives. Unlike other big tech brands out there though, Samsung actually has a history with the automotive world, as it did have its own vehicle division back in the 1990s. But, thanks to the Asian financial crisis, no cars were ever produced and it was sold off to Renault by the turn of the millennium. After the acquisition, there were a total of a total of three cars produced – the Samsung SM 3, SM 5, and SM 7. If you live in the right part of the world, you might recognize the name Renault-Samsung Motors. The brand is basically the equivalent of what Opel was to GM as it sells rebadged Renaults and Nissans in certain models.

With that said, Samsung hasn’t released any information as to what it will have on the road in California or how soon it will manage to get a self-driving car on the road. But, you can bet they are coming at some point. Recently, the company was given permission to do the same thing on the streets of South Korea and has been using various but modified Hyundai models as test mules for its self-driving software and technology. So, there could eventually be a handful of Hyundai’s with Samsung technology cruising around Los Angeles, or who knows, maybe Samsung will eventually design its own car and try the market again. Considering most of you probably don’t even remember that Samsung had a car division, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one, but you never know. With that in mind, let’s just hope that when these self-driving cars hit the streets of L.A., they aren’t as explosive as the Note 7 – the last thing we need is a bunch of autonomous cars rolling around and blowing up at random. This country has enough problems for now. But, what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments section below!

PostHeaderIcon Elon Pushes the U.N. to Avoid a Terminator-Style Armageddon

Ten years ago, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence were more the hopes and dreams of overzealous rich kids and geeks, but fast forward to today, and we’re so close to embracing this futuristic technology that we could be just setting ourselves up for annihilation. Not that long ago, I brought you a story about autonomous fighter jets that could not only fly by themselves but complete their own missions – even identifying and dispatching threats along the way, all without the input of a human pilot. Ultimately, this technology will lead to entire swarms of unmanned fighter jets all under the control of one central but manned fighting machine. This technology has already been put into use and even completed a successful test run in April of 2017 – mark it in the history books; Skynet is born. Okay, so it’s not really called “Skynet” (we hope not anyway,) but you get the idea. Autonomous killing machines could be bad news.

This was the entire basis for the 1984 movie “Terminator” and the handful of follow-up movies that came after it. In short, autonomous machines became self-aware and began to extinguish the worlds biggest threat – humans. Now, AI is taking off like crazy, making its own language (human language just wasn’t good enough), creating its own songs, and even learning to walk all on its own in simulations. With the way humans naturally move to use every piece of technology as a weapon against ourselves, autonomous flying jets and AI police officers are just the tip of the iceberg. And it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we were all dumb enough to put our entire arsenal of deadly weapons under the control of a computer algorithm. It’s a real threat folks, with some of the best minds in the world warning against it – including men Like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. Now, Elon Musk has formed a coalition along with Alphabet’s Mustafa Suleyman to push the United Nations to put a ban on autonomous weapons systems.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

PostHeaderIcon First Tesla Model 3’s Handed Over In Live Streaming Party

We’ve been waiting and waiting for Tesla to finally begin deliveries of the new Model 3, and now, the wait is over. The first 30 Model 3’s destined for private owners just got handed over to their beaming owners in a live stream broadcast on Tesla’s website. Attending the event were swarms of the automaker’s designers and engineers, with quick back and forth tosses that provided a look inside the Tesla assembly line in Fremont, CA, as well as the newly erected “Gigafactory” in Nevada. The event also provided some hard specs on the new 3, plus a look at the final exterior design and the interior.

The Model 3 is a hugely important vehicle, both for Tesla and EV fans in general. Framed as the California-based automaker’s first entry-level, mass-market, affordable vehicle, the 3 promises sexy styling, long range, peppy performance, and zero local emissions, all for around $35,000 before incentives. We’ve got the lowdown on everything that was revealed during the stream, plus lots of new pics to sort through, so read on.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model 3 Handover Party Kicks Off at 8:45 PM PST Tonight!

The Tesla Model 3 is hands-down the most anticipated model of the year, promising to bring an affordable EV to the masses. It’s been a long time coming, but today is the day that the handover party kicks off and Tesla will hand over the keys to the first 30 models to roll off of the line. It’s obviously a very small first step, considering the hundreds of thousands of reservations, but it’s only a matter of time before Tesla really ramps up production. The party kicks off at 8:45 PM PST tonight and will be live streamed right on Tesla’s homepage.

The Model 3, which will finally be completely revealed later tonight, is basically a smaller, more basic version of the Model S, and has a set starting price of $35,000. As far as the exterior goes, it’s rather bland, just like the interior which is about as spartan as they come. It will be void of an instrument cluster, speedometer, or a conventional dashboard. Initial customers of the new baby EV will also be limited as far as options go, with the only choices to make being exterior color and wheel choice. As far as tonight’s event goes, there’s no word as to who the first 30 customers are, but we know the first model is going Elon Musk himself, as Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis gifted his place in the queue to the big guy. As far as the other 29 models, they will go to Tesla employees or current owners of other Tesla EVs. We’ll be sure to embed the live steam to this video as soon as we have it, but until then, keep reading to learn a little more about the Model 3.

PostHeaderIcon The Cars in Blade Runner 2049 Range From Weird To Awesome

If you’re like those people who have a soft spot in their hearts for the neo-noir classic Blade Runner, then you’re probably counting down the days to October 7, 2017, when the long-awaited sequel – seriously, it’s been 35 years! – of the cult movie hits cinemas. It’s called Blade Runner 2049, and as you might expect, it takes place in the year 2049. I’m pretty sure that producers had to adjust the date for the movie considering the setting for the original Blade Runner movie took place in 2019. That’d be 18 months from now.

In any event, I’m not here to talk about the movie itself but the vehicles that are in the movie, or at least those that we spotted in the trailers. Since this is a movie set in the future, there’s plenty of high-tech flying vehicles in it, not to mention some spiffy-looking rides that still feature some of today’s styling cues. Who knew that scissor doors would still be in vogue 32 years from now, right? Better yet, it does look like the Lamborghini Aventador has aged well, hasn’t it? It’s apparently become so iconic that the cars of 2049 still use it as inspiration for their designs. There’s plenty more where that came from, too, since the latest Blade Runner 2049 trailer doesn’t seem to run out of “Jetsonian” rides.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Nissan Leaf to Get Magical “E-Pedal”

The debut of the second-gen, 2018 Nissan Leaf is just a couple short months away, so it should come as no surprise that Nissan is teasing its resident EV as much as it can. So far, we’ve seen a shot of the headlight, the grille, and a video that shows how the brand’s new ProPilot, semi-autonomous driving system works. And, based on spy shots we’ve seen, the next-gen leaf is going to be quite attractive in comparison to the current model. Now, Nissan has released yet another teaser, and dropped another bombshell on us – it’s known as E-Pedal, and it’s set to revolutionize your driving experience… or make you hate the future of driving even more.

Designed as a single-pedal system, the e-pedal automatically controls braking and acceleration based on foot position. So, when accelerating, it acts just like your normal, everyday accelerator pedal, but what it does beyond that is something else. See, when you begin to lift your foot off, the car will automatically begin to slow down, which one would assume has a greater braking effect than the usual coasting you get in most cars. If you take your foot completely off of the pedal in operation, the car will automatically stop itself, with the big selling point being that it will even stop and hold on a hill, all based on the input of your foot on a single pedal. You have to admit that it sounds pretty promising, and it’s another step toward fully autonomous cars, but will people actually make use of it and trust it? Well, that remains to be seen. Keep reading to see a short video and to learn more about the upcoming 2018 Nissan Leaf.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Will Build “2 or 3” New Gigafactories In The U.S.

Out in the Nevada desert, near the city of Sparks, Tesla is busy building something called Gigafactory 1. Occupying some 24 million square feet and soaking up roughly $5 billion in investments, this mammoth facility is destined to create the lithium-ion power cells used to motivate Tesla’s various EV models. It is, without a doubt, a truly massive undertaking, tasked with mass-producing the components needed to transform the way the world consumes its energy. But Tesla isn’t one to rest on its laurels, and the latest news is that there are now a few more Gigafactories coming down the pipeline.

Tesla CEO and possible inter-dimensional renegade, Elon Musk, confirmed as much recently at the National Governors Association, according to a recent report from our friends over at elektrek. Details on the exact where and when these factories will be built are still forthcoming, but you can rest assured the states will be clamoring to get those Tesla manufacturing jobs within their borders. Further gigafactory construction is expected overseas, including in Europe and Asia. In addition to churning out batteries, the new factories are also expected to have a hand in creating the Tesla powertrains and final vehicle construction.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon The Next-Gen Nissan Leaf Will Handle Those Frustrating Traffic Jams On its Own

Between failed attempts to troll Tesla, and the range anxiety associated with electric cars, the Nissan Leaf really doesn’t receive the credit it deserves. I mean, don’t get me wrong; it is kind of ugly and looks like the bug-eyed bastard child that would result from a Lotus banging an early Honda Civic hatchback, but that’s ok. In the end, the Nissan Leaf has become the world’s best-selling, highway-capable electric car, with more than a quarter-million examples sold in the time it’s been on the market. So, despite all the negativity it gets, it really is an iconic car. And, that icon is about to go through a generational shift that will bring it up to speed and ready to compete with cars like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt. As of now, we have almost no idea of what it will look like outside of a teaser image of the headlight that Nissan released a few months ago, but Nissan has just announced that it will be one of the first models to get its new ProPilot driver-assist feature.

Details are scant as of this writing, and Nissan has yet to even announce a rough timeframe for the next-gen Leaf’s arrival, but if you want an idea of how the ProPilot system works, you can look back to the Piloted Drive 1.0 Concept from 2015, which pretty much handled autonomous driving in heavy highway traffic. That’s pretty much what the next-gen Leaf will be able to accomplish as well. It should function similarly to that of Tesla’s AutoPilot, GM’s SuperCruise, and Audi’s traffic-jam assist feature. The question is whether or not you’ll feel like you’re being driven by a “skilled driver” as Nissan described it when debuting that aforementioned concept. Well, let’s take a look at the short video Nissan released and see what it has to say today.


PostHeaderIcon If Self-Driving Cars Are Scary, how do you Feel About Autonomous Fighter Jets?

It wasn’t long ago that we heard about F-16 fighter jets functioning as drones to serve as realistic targets to help fine tune new weapons integrated into the F-35 fighter jet. But, that just wasn’t enough for old Uncle Sam, and now Lockheed Martin has announced that an F-16 drone as not only successfully flown in formation with a manned F-35 but planned and executed an air-to-ground assault and then returned to formation once its mission was complete. What’s really crazy, however, is that the F-16 drone also identified an air threat, engaged in combat, and then proceeded to complete its original mission.

That’s right! Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force has teamed up and can now modify an F-16 fighter jet to not only fly on its own but engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat all on its own. It can assess threats as they come and deal with them accordingly all on its own. Reportedly, the drone makes use of Lockheed’s advanced collision avoidance system to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft in formation. Captain Andrew Petry of the Air Force Research Lab said, “We’ve not only shown how an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle can perform its mission when things go as planned but also how it will react and adapt to unforeseen obstacles along the way.”

This is a big deal in more ways than one, so keep reading to learn more.


PostHeaderIcon If Self-Driving Cars Are Scary, how do you Feel About Autonomous Fighter Jets?

It wasn’t long ago that we heard about F-16 fighter jets functioning as drones to serve as realistic targets to help fine tune new weapons integrated into the F-35 fighter jet. But, that just wasn’t enough for old Uncle Sam, and now Lockheed Martin has announced that an F-16 drone as not only successfully flown in formation with a manned F-35 but planned and executed an air-to-ground assault and then returned to formation once its mission was complete. What’s really crazy, however, is that the F-16 drone also identified an air threat, engaged in combat, and then proceeded to complete its original mission.

That’s right! Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force has teamed up and can now modify an F-16 fighter jet to not only fly on its own but engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat all on its own. It can assess threats as they come and deal with them accordingly all on its own. Reportedly, the drone makes use of Lockheed’s advanced collision avoidance system to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft in formation. Captain Andrew Petry of the Air Force Research Lab said, “We’ve not only shown how an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle can perform its mission when things go as planned but also how it will react and adapt to unforeseen obstacles along the way.”

This is a big deal in more ways than one, so keep reading to learn more.


PostHeaderIcon And We Thought Drones Were Limited to Flying!

Drones have been a small staple in our existence for the past few years. What started out as an expensive (depending on your perspective) toy for the rich and shameless, can now be had by anyone with $20 in the bank and a desire to drive household pets absolutely crazy. But, the definition of “drone” is set to change in the future with the introduction of the StreetDrone One. SteetDrone is an organization led by Mike Potts and Mark Preston, the latter of which has done extensive work in Formula E and has even worked with McLaren. These two men look to “accelerate and democratize the development of self-driving, electric vehicles.”

Self-driving cars are coming, no doubt, but the problem with autonomous technology and even electric cars is that development and testing are expensive – leaving development and testing of these new technologies in the hands of the large, wealthy automakers. But, that’s not the way dreams come true, is it? Hell, brands like Apple, HP, and even Google all started in someone’s garage, but with the insane cost of development and testing, there’s no chance a “little guy” could ever develop a true autonomous system without an excessive amount of money. StreetDrone One looks to change all of that by providing an affordable test bed that allows you to implement your own self-driving software and test it in the real world. Ultimately, it will bring autonomous development to the masses instead of leaving it in the hands of large automakers.

What we’re talking about here is a car, based on the Renault Twizy, that comes ready for programming so coders like you can see just how well your autonomous programming works without relying on computer simulation.

keep reading to learn more


PostHeaderIcon Tesla's Semi to Debut in September, but Will it Live Up to the Hype?

Leave it to Elon Musk to drop a bombshell just as we’re all getting ready for the weekend. The always provocative Tesla CEO took to Twitter last Friday, April 14, to announce plans to introduce the automaker’s first venture into the world of semi-trucks this coming September. The news itself isn’t groundbreaking since Musk already laid out what the company’s intentions were back in July 2016 as part of its “Master Plan, Part Deux” mission. But, until late last week, those plans were of the vague persuasion, devoid of any specific timetable.

Well, the timetable has arrived…and it’s literally five months from now.

Not one to be caught saying too much in the way of juicy details, Musk kept the announcement short and sweet, opting only to say that the “team has done an amazing job,” presumably in the development of the semi-truck and that the vehicle itself is “seriously next level.” Those statements aren’t much to go by at this point, but the mere hint that we’re closer to seeing the actual vehicle – even if it’s a prototype – so soon after its announcement is pretty indicative of the company’s intentions in staking its name into the electric semi truck arena.

At this point, the waiting game now begins on more details surrounding the semi-truck. If Musk’s past comments about the development are anything to go by, expect the Tesla Semi – or whatever name it ends up getting – to “deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Hands-Free, Semi-Autonomous Driving from… Cadillac??

Self-driving cars are coming. There’s no way around it, and come 2018, you’ll be able to get a Cadillac that lets you go truly hands-free. This new technology is being called “Super Cruise” and uses lidar map data along with onboard radar sensors, cameras, and GPS to navigate most limited-access highways in the U.S. and Canada. When activated on a road that is determined to be safe for use, drivers of the 2018 Cadillac CT6 Prestige will be able to take their hands off of the wheel, and the car will navigate the highway on its own – just like Tesla does. But, there’s a twist.

See, while Tesla’s AutoPilot system uses steering wheel feedback to determine if the driver is paying attention, GM took another big step towards the big-brother mindset. You won’t need to keep your hands on the wheel because the car will keep tabs on you via a small camera built into the top of the steering wheel. To be more specific, the camera system, which uses infrared light, will monitor the driver’s head position to determine when the driver is looking while the system is activated. This is what makes Super Cruise “more technologically advanced” than other systems currently available.

Should the system determine that the driver isn’t paying attention, it will issue a mild prompt to tell the driver to pay attention. If that doesn’t work, there are other visual alerts (light bar on the steering wheel and instrument cluster) and tactile alerts from the driver’s seat. If that doesn’t get your eyes back on the road, the CT6 will bring the car to a controlled stop and even contact OnStar so that it can alert first responders, if necessary.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Lexus' Lane Valet is the Autonomous Tech We Really Need

So now that April 1st has come and gone, and the world has managed to separate fact from fiction, I want to talk about one April Fool’s joke that shouldn’t be a joke at all: Lexus’ Lane Valet. Obviously, it was a complete joke that was set into motion a bit early, but how many times have you found yourself raging behind the wheel because some inconsiderate, self-righteous, pole smoker in a BMW, Mercedes, or even a Lexus is cruising down the left lane at five mph below the speed limit? Or, how about mom and pop lost on a Sunday drive? Personally, it happens to me all of the time, and it pisses me off. After all, I’m important and have important stuff to do.

Of course, we don’t have anything like Lane Valet, so my method of combatting the situation is to wait for a clearing, zip around the prick who thinks he owns the left lane, and flip the bird out the moonroof on my way through as I proceed on my mission to break the speed limit and get to my destination 1.3 minutes sooner than I would if I had abided by the law. But, that isn’t the point. The point is, get the hell out of the way. I’m sure a lot of you important folks feel the same way.

So, with that said, I say that this technology needs to become a real thing in the near future. It will be perfect for that period of time that falls between the mass introduction of connected cars and when we’re outlawed from driving ourselves anyway. Hell, I would have used the technology three times this morning on my way to the office, so why not? Anyway, check out the video and let me know what you think.


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