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Archive for the ‘Autonomous Cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Will BMW be the First Brand to Offer Level 5 Autonomy?

Just of nine months ago, Mobileye landed a deal with BMW to assist in developing Autonomous technology or future BMW cars. Just weeks later, Tesla and Mobileye cut the cord on their partnership. But, all is good in the world of autonomy as Tesla has soldiered on and BMW now claims that it will deliver Level 5 autonomy – in other words, a fully autonomous car – by 2021. Word was given to a panel discussion in Berlin by Elmar Frickenstein, BMW’s Senior Vice President of Autonomous Driving.

“We are on the way to deliver a car in 2021 with Level 3, 4, and Level 5 Autonomy.” But, he also went on to explain that the vehicle, which has yet to be announced, will have different levels of autonomy depending on where it is used. So, much like Tesla’s autopilot, it could offer full autonomous drive on the highway while still requiring human intervention within city areas or areas that haven’t been adequately mapped.

As things sit right now, Level 3 Autonomy still requires a human driver in place in case intervention is needed, but it’s theoretically hands-off when in operation. Level 4 will still require a human inside the vehicle at most times but will be hands-off and mind-off, meaning a car ride will be more about leisure or work than anything. Finally, Level 5 won’t require any human at all and is the endgame for autonomous technology as we know it now. Cars will be able to drive and function all on their own, which means the car can drop you off at work and return home to the wife. Or, it could take the kids to school on Friday while you enjoy sleeping in on your day off. It’s undoubtedly the future of cars at this point, and right now automakers are locked in a race to see who can get there first.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon You Won't Believe Which Autonomous Car is the Fastest in the World

Five years ago, the thought of seeing autonomous cars on the road seemed like a far-fetched reality. These days, autonomous cars are touted as the future of the auto industry, and one car that prides itself on being able to drive by itself has set the performance benchmark for all the rest of the autonomous driving world to challenge. The Nio EP9 may not be a household name yet, but it recently made a strong case for itself at the Circuit of the Americas when it lapped the 3.4-mile circuit in 2:40.33, doing so while achieving a top speed of 160 mph and setting the record for the fastest self-driving car around the track.

Just as important (maybe even more so) is the 2:11.30 lap time it posted with a driver behind the wheel of the car with a top speed of 170 mph. All the same, the lap time is the fastest lap time around the famed circuit for a production car. The EP9’s achievement is a big milestone in it of itself, especially when you consider that the Aston Martin Vantage V8 racer that won a pole position in the GT-class car during the 2016 Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas managed to post its fastest lap of 2:04.61. Let it be said then: the EP9’s lap time with a driver behind the wheel is only seven seconds off the pace of track’s GT-class lap record. That’s impressive in any language.

Granted, the EP9’s record lap time might still ring hollow for some skeptics who believe that more autonomous cars should post their own lap times around COTA to “validate” Nio’s fastest lap around the track claims. But that’s neither Nio’s nor the EP9’s issue. All it can control is the lap time it posts; if somebody wants to put the EP9’s lap time in its proper place, that’s on them to make it happen.

Either way, there’s no denying that the Nio EP9 is a potent piece of autonomous driving machinery. The startup company says that its pride and joy is powered by four electric motors that combine to produce a staggering 1,341 horsepower. That allows the car to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in 7.1 seconds. Top speed is reportedly begged at 195 mph to go with a 265-mile range.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Airbus Has A Different Approach In Tackling The Issue Of Autonomous Mobility

Aviation company Airbus is known largely for its airplanes – the Airbus A380, in particular, is the world’s largest passenger aircraft – so there must be a really good reason why the company can be excused for finding its way into an automotive website like ours. Well, the reason is valid, if not a little exciting depending on how much ambition Airbus really has.

See, the concept images you see here are more than just imaginative prototypes from an artist with far too much free time on his hands. These images actually come from Airbus and it’s part of the company’s newly formed Urban Air Mobility division that’s looking into different concepts that are catered towards imagining what an actual autonomous flying car could turn into. Don’t laugh. The aviation company is dead serious about it, so says its own CEO Tom Enders, who let his plans be known at the DLD digital tech conference in Munich.

“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” Enders said, before adding that all things considered, Airbus could have a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of 2017. Yup. That’s this year. A flying autonomous car has the chance to go for an experimental flight if Airbus really works at it.

“We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously,” Enders added. “With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads.”

Well then.

Hard as it is to imagine a world where Jetsonian-like technology is actually becoming a real thing, or is in the process of becoming a real thing depending on how far technological developments go, a sliver of hope can peer through that seemingly daunting task if companies like Airbus really make an effort in making the most of these new technologies.

That said, even with all this talk and the apparent “seriousness” by which Airbus is tackling these opportunities, there are a litany of hurdles that need to be cleared before such a technology can, quite literally, lift off.

It’s still nice to see that a company like Airbus is seriously looking into it. Let’s see how this one goes.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Semi-Autonomous Technology Helped Save Lives in Berlin Terrorist Attack

Terrorist attacks are becoming more and more common, with terrorists resorting to all kinds of different techniques to inflict pain and death on innocent people that don’t see it coming. If it wasn’t apparent before, it became painfully apparent back in July of 2016 when some nutcase decided it would be a great idea to drive a truck into the crowds that were celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. But the truck attacks didn’t stop there, as it happened yet again just months later in Berlin, Germany. The attack on Nice, France saw 85 people dead and more than 400 injured while the attack in Berlin saw a much lower death and injury count to the tune of just 12 dead and 56 injured. So, what was the difference?

According to German new outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung, the truck used in the attack may have had semi-autonomous technology that helped to bring the truck to a stop. An independent investigative company known as “City” has gone on record saying that the truck was, in fact, equipped with an advanced emergency braking (AEB) system as part of its collision mitigation system – a required technology on heavy vehicles after the European Union mandated such equipment on new vehicles back in 2012. With this AEB system in place, the truck came to a stop automatically in less than 265 feet after the initial collision was detected – ultimately saving a lot of lives.

So, while some of us may hate the idea of autonomous technology and are hesitant to trust it, the terror attack in Berlin just goes to show how beneficial this technology can be. The attack in Berlin could have been just as bad, if not worse, than the attack in Nice. If anything, you can bet the folks in the crowd that night are surely thankful for semi-autonomous technology.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon All Eyes On Bavaria As BMW Promises iNext Autonomous Vehicle By 2021

The auto industry is just like any major business segment in that it’s made up of “followers” and “movers and shakers.” Followers are those who prefer that the industry chart a definitive course before getting on board with whatever new evolution arrives. By contrast, movers are shakers are those who define the industry moving forward. They are those who plot the course of business and are usually ahead of everybody else. BMW qualifies in the “movers and shakers” category, in large part because it has never been afraid to stake its name in the pursuit of development.

The German automaker is doing it again with the announcement that it’s iNext autonomous vehicle has been scheduled for a release in 2021. As many of you know, BMW’s iNext project has been talked about in the past, often in vague terms. Not much is known about the car at this point other than it’s going to be autonomous and that it’s going to be the first of a wave of autonomous vehicles that BMW plans to build in the future. The latest development here is the timetable, something that Bimmer has been coy about. But now it’s official out; the iNext is now scheduled for release in 2021, or one year after BMW goes full-on electric with its core lineup.

With the long-term goal now established, getting there now becomes the tricky part. BMW says that it’s well equipped to hit its target, thanks in large part to its new research and development campus in Munich that will serve as ground zero for its electric, connectivity, and autonomous projects. Once the campus is running on full volume, it will employ more than 2,000 people, a large swath of whom will join the 600 employees that BMW already has in its ranks, most of whom are already working on the company’s automated driving software.

Not much is known about the iNext project, but it has been reported that a lot of BMW’s future technologies could be used by the car, including the HoloActive Touch system that the German automaker is introducing at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Cross your fingers then that the technology’s debut goes on as planned.

In the meantime, we can at least expect BMW to create a new work structure among its employees with the goal of combining specific expertise in certain areas of development, which in turn could create a more efficient response and collaboration among these teams.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Uber: The Rebels of the Self-Driving Car World

Change is inevitable, and while we may not like certain changes, we eventually get used to them and adapt accordingly. One prime example of this is self-driving cars. Right now, we’re at a turning point where self-driving cars are being tested and we, as a society, and learning more about them every day. As the years go on, they’ll get better, and will ultimately be accepted. But, some companies seem to think they can usher in a new evolution of driving without complying with certain mandates. Tesla has been under fire for some time about its process of introducing autonomy but has ultimately complied with regulations. Uber, on the other hand, seems to think that it’s beyond governmental regulation and gives the California DMV and Mayor Ed Lee, a big “F You” when it was told to cease and desist the testing of its self-driving Volvo XC90s.

Like any other company testing higher levels of autonomy on California roadways, Uber has been asked to obtain the proper permits before it can legally test its self-driving vehicles. Uber has failed to do that thus far, and it doesn’t look like it will anytime in the near future. In a recent statement, Uber said, “we respectfully disagree with the California Department of Motor Vehicles legal interpretation of today’s autonomous regulations, in particular, that Uber needs a testing permit to operate its self-driving cars in San Francisco.”

To put things simply, Uber’s argument is that since there is someone behind the wheel to take control that the car is not fully autonomous and is similar to Tesla’s autopilot technology. Of course, Uber’s autonomous XC90s don’t have this requirement, so its reasoning doesn’t exactly hold water. And, if you know the California government, you know it feels the same way. For now, the government is threatening legal action and Uber is promptly giving them the bird at every turn. And, there’s the case of the XC90 that ran a red light last week. Uber blames the person behind the wheel and has suspended them, but that seems to justify California’s request to get the necessary permits. Obviously, these XC90s can drive without the driver paying attention – otherwise, that video of the XC90 running a red light wouldn’t exist – and it also proves that Uber’s self-driving technology is far from ready to take on the roads by themselves.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

PostHeaderIcon Be on the Lookout for Autonomous Cars gone Rogue in Michigan

Proving that it takes its long and rich ties to the automotive industry seriously, the state of Michigan has become the most lenient and supportive state in the U.S. to test autonomous vehicle technology. Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed four separate bills, each supporting specific elements of developing autonomous driving technology, including allowing automakers and tech companies involved in the development of the tech to operate self-driving cars on the state’s public roads, even without a human driver inside the cars. In addition, the legislation also gives Michigan the distinction of becoming the first state in the U.S. to allow companies to begin testing self-driving cars that have no steering wheel or pedals.

The signing of the legislature took place at the Automotive Hall of Fame Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s an appropriate place to do it, largely because of the significance of the event in shaping the future of the auto industry. Governor Snyder himself seemed to understand the magnitude of signing the legislation, calling it an important moment for the state to once again “lead the way in transforming the auto industry.”

“We are becoming the mobility industry, shaped around technology that makes us more aware and safer as we’re driving,” the governor added. “By recognizing that and aligning our state’s policies as new technology is developed, we will continue as the leader the rest of the world sees as its biggest competition.”

The four legislations are formally referred to as “SB 995, SB 996, SB 997, and SB 998.” Each legislation specifically outlines regulations that allows auto and tech companies to freely test their vehicles across the state while also being allowed to operate self-driving ride-sharing services.

SB 995 (now called PA 332 of 2016), for instance, now allows operations of autonomous vehicles on Michigan roads, a major step up from previous regulations wherein only testing of these vehicles by auto companies was allowed. The legislation also allows “automated vehicle platoons,” a testing method by which vehicles travel together at electronically coordinated speeds. Swedish automaker Volvo has already done testing of this sort all the back in 2012, referring to it as a semi-autonomous road train technology.

Other items featured in the legislation include allowing on-demand, autonomous ride-sharing services and the creation of the Michigan Council of Future Mobility, a new arm under the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Apple May Not Be Done With Autonomous Driving Technology Just Yet

Previous reports of Apple washing its hands clean of autonomous driving technology may have been unfounded. The California-based tech giant made that emphatically clear in a five-page letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration where it confirmed what has become an open secret to a lot of people within the auto industry. It’s working on being a significant part towards the development and adoption of autonomous driving technology.

Without diving into the specifics of what exactly it’s doing, Apple nevertheless made it clear that it is “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation” and that it’s looking forward to what this study evolves to, particularly with regards to the “potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”

The letter, signed by Apple’s director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, answers a lot of questions pertaining to the company’s involvement in autonomous driving technology. It’s been reported numerous times that the company was looking into possible entrance points into the industry, even creating a project – codenamed Project Titan – to specifically work on the enterprise.

Much has been made about the company’s interest in autonomous driving technology. Recent headlines, including a partnership with Magna International to help develop the Apple Car, all pointed to significant levels of activity within the company that were geared towards advancing its goals. But the tables were turned in October 2016 when a Bloomberg report indicated that development was not advancing to the pace Apple’s big wigs intended it to and that those still involved in the project have until the end of 2017 to prove its feasibility, or risk having the project scrapped altogether.

To be fair, Apple’s letter to the NHTSA made no mention of this timetable as the company opted to instead point out its position on a wide range of topics related to the segment, most specifically the NHTSA’s “Federal Automated Vehicles Policy,” a rough guideline that the agency describes as a “starting point that provides initial guidance.”

The policy itself is not ironclad, as the NHTSA intends to have it viewed for public consumption with the intention of fostering discussions and suggestions on how to best shape the policy when the time comes that it becomes binding.

The Apple letter pretty much dives into the company’s own suggestions for the NHTSA’s policy. In doing so though, it finally let the cat out of the bag. It may – or may not – be developing an autonomous car of its own, but it’s definitely fully invested in being a part of the autonomous driving tech industry moving forward.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Are Automakers Force Feeding Us Subliminal Messaging in Regards to Autonomous Vehicles?

With fully-autonomous cars on the horizon, automakers and regulatory boards everywhere are pushing the envelope as hard as possible. We keep hearing about how great, safe, and time-saving a world full of autonomous vehicles will be, but do you honestly hear anyone you know saying something like “I can’t wait for self-driving cars” or “I’m so ready to give put my life in the hands of some complex computer algorithms?” No, you probably don’t, and some studies even show that a majority of people aren’t ready to give up the steering wheel. But, autonomous cars are still being pushed on us anyway, with new vehicles including semi-autonomous features like automatic braking and adaptive cruise control built in without the user option to disable.

Then there’s Tesla who’s practically heading off the self-driving idea and allowing its customers to put their life and that of others in risk to help build awareness that the technology is safe. Still, there are lots of people who enjoy driving, and will do their best to not give up the wheel, myself included. So, what’s the best way to build trust in something new with the masses quickly and efficiently? Easy, force them to use the features (think emergency braking) then subliminally convince them to trust those systems via tacky and annoying commercials.

There are quite a few out there, but I’m just going to highlight two because they are perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Let’s dive in.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Has No Plans To Develop Full Autonomous Driving Cars

The looming possibility of autonomous driving technology taking over the auto industry has put the onus on automakers to get it on the bandwagon or risk getting left behind. Most mainstream companies have taken the lure and have begun developing their own versions of the tech. But there are some brands that have resisted going down the same road for one reason or another. Porsche counts itself in this group as no less than the automaker’s own CEO, Oliver Blume, made it clear that the German company isn’t considering a full self-driving sports car or SUV anytime soon.

Speaking with Autocar, Oliver Blume was direct with his words, vowing that Porsche would not compromise its own performance DNA in pursuit of a technology that essentially takes away the thrill of driving a Porsche from the driver. At most, Blume is willing to consider using certain features of autonomous driving and combining it with “the classic Porsche genes” on future Porsche models.

The idea, according to Porsche’s number one, is to add certain autonomous driving features like traffic driving or self-parking into future Porsche models. These would allow drivers to spend less idle time inside their cars and let the vehicles perform these tasks for them. But as far as driving the cars on the open road, the German automaker is very clear in its stance that only a driver should be able to do it because enjoying the sheer performance of Porsche sports cars is exactly what owning a Porsche is all about. At the end of the day, Blume wants drivers and owners to still have a “real” Porsche in their hands.

On the flip side, Porsche is fully embracing electrification and is already gearing up for the development of the Mission-E. Previous reports have indicated that Porsche is even looking into building the Mission-E to be more than just one car, but a family of models that will all share the common characteristic of being electric cars.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Plans for an Apple Car are Dead; Self Driving Platform to Take its Place

Apple’s “Project Titan” has been one of Apples best kept, but widely speculated secrets. The project started by in 2014 with the mission to take on the automotive industry with an Apple Car. Primary competition would, of course, been Tesla and its wild Model S and Model X electric cars. Since the word spread, Journalists everywhere have speculated about what it will look like, what features it will have, and just when we would actually be able to lay eyes on this unicorn of a car. We even made a rendering of it not that long ago, but new reports are suggesting that Apple has canned the idea of building its own car altogether in favor of building an autonomous drive system instead.

That’s the word, according to Bloomberg who quotes unnamed sources that are “familiar with the project.” Out of a team that was once about 1,000 members strong, hundreds of members have been reassigned or terminated altogether. And, Apple is now focused on building a system that will allow it to partner with other manufacturers or ultimately build its own car someday in the future. On the other hand, Bloomberg reports that sources have indicated that Apple has been hiring new employees to help with the new focus.

Apparently, the team now has a deadline of late next year to prove that it can develop a feasible, self-driving system and must decide on a final direction. If not, the project could be scrapped altogether. All of this comes to light after months of uncertainty, strategy disagreements, and leadership problems within the project’s team. One of Bloomberg’s sources has even said that the project displayed “an incredible failure of leadership” until Bob Mansfield stepped in and gave the project a whole new direction. So, as much as you would like to see an iCar rolling down the street, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Says its Future Autonomous Cars will Prioritize Life of Passengers over Pedestrians

Have you ever heard of the “Trolley Problem?” Well, basically, it’s a Philosophical question that asks you to imagine that you’re riding on a runaway trolley. Up ahead there are five workers on the track. You can’t stop the trolley, but you can use the track interchange up ahead to divert the trolley onto a different track. The moral dilemma, however, is that there is one lonely worker on the second track. So, do you divert the trolley and kill one worker, or do you stay on the same track and kill five? It’s a tough question because either way there is death, but it’s up to you to choose how much. This question goes all the way back to the Mid-1960s, but with self-driving cars a hop, skip, and a jump away from becoming a reality, that question has become excessively relevant again: Should a self-driving car prioritize passengers or pedestrians in the event of an unavoidable accident? So far Manufacturers have avoided the question like the black plague for obvious controversial reasons, but Mercedes, on the other hand, has recently given an answer to this question, and you might not like it.

Speaking to Car and Driver at the Paris Auto Show, Mercedes’ Manager of Driver Assistance Systems and Active Safety – Christoph von Hugo – said that future autonomous cars from Mercedes (level 4 and level 5) will prioritize its passengers over pedestrians on the road, saying, “If you know you can save at least one person, at least save that one. Save the one in the car. If all you know for sure is that one death can be prevented, then that’s your first priority.”

I don’t need to tell you why manufacturers have constantly avoided this question – the controversy is out of this world regardless of your answer. Either way, it’s bad PR for your company as life is lost. But, what Hugo is saying is that no matter the circumstances – even if it’s a single mother pushing a three-seat stroller with infant triplets crosses into your path – your 2027 Mercedes S-Class will nail that woman and her three children so that you can live. That’s pretty ballsy, even for a brand like Mercedes.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Isn't Happy About California's New Autonomous Car Testing Rules

Toyota has issued a warning that California’s new self-driving guidelines could become a major roadblock in the race to widespread implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. This past Tuesday, Hilary Cain, director of technology and innovation policy at Toyota Motor North America, went before a Capitol Hill forum and criticized the Golden State’s recent adoption of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 15-point self-driving checklist, raising concerns that the move could stifle technology development.

Late last month, California revealed a new proposal that would incorporate the NHTSA’s latest checklist as a replacement for third-party safety testing. The proposal also relaxed other guidelines and would allow the testing of autonomous vehicles without a human driver or steering wheel, given the vehicle came equipped with two-way communication and complied with the NHTSA checklist. A public hearing on the proposal will be held later this month.

While in Washington, Cain argued that under California’s new guidelines, the NHTSA’s voluntary checklist would become mandatory, and could halt innovation.

“If we don’t do what’s being asked of us voluntarily by the NHTSA, we cannot test an automated system in the state of California,” Cain said, according to Reuters. “That is preposterous and that means testing that is happening today could be halted and that means testing that is about to be started could be delayed.”

Cain went on to criticize the NHTSA checklist as being unclear and potentially problematic. “The problem is there is going to be accountability and there is going to be enforcement. We need to go through this with a fine tooth comb.”

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Volkswagen Patents Autonomous Driving Technology With Manual Control Options

The recent rise of autonomous driving technology has provided automakers the chance to conjure up new and exciting self-driving technologies in order to make first impressions in the burgeoning segment. Some companies have hunkered down to develop software systems while others have gotten into partnerships to accelerate their own development of the tech. Then there’s Volkswagen, which recently took the first step in developing a technology that allows drivers to configure a car’s automatic drive setup without having to disengage the self-driving mode altogether.

The German automaker filed the patent application in Germany with the main feature being a touch-sensitive control situated at the top of the gear shifter knob. The driver can use the control to manipulate certain automatic drive settings that the car will abide by. For instance, in times where the system detects a situation that needs input from the driver, it presents multiple options on how the driver would want to proceed. These could include speeding up to pass a slow-moving vehicle ahead or queueing behind the vehicle and remaining in the lane. The system recognizes when an option has been chosen through specific hand gestures. Taking from the same example, a driver could swipe horizontally to signal the system to pass the vehicle ahead or swipe vertically if he wants to remain in the same lane.

The patent also details other unique features about the technology, including a ring of lights around the touch screen device that changes hues depending on the urgency of making a decision. A blue hue, for example, could mean that there’s still ample time to make a decision on what the autonomous technology should do and a red hue could mean that a decision has to be made as soon as possible lest the system disengages its self-driving capabilities. There’s also a separate feature located on the gear shifter knob itself, which appears to suggest a feature that allows a driver to disengage the self-driving feature by pressing a button on top of the knob.

The technology isn’t expected to be included in Volkswagen models anytime soon. Since it’s still in the application phase, VW has yet to get a patent over the technology and even if it does receive the green light from the European Patent Office, there’s no telling how quickly the German automaker can develop the technology for actual production use. That said, the patent does highlight the steps VW is making to get ahead of the autonomous driving technology curb.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together

4G hotspots in cars haven’t really been around that long, but it has already had a major impact on our daily commutes. It allows all of the semi-autonomous cars out there to communicate, and it has become the basis for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication that has helped to shape our future autonomous car network. Cars like the Tesla Model S can receive OTA updates, while kids can watch Netflix, and your creepy uncle can watch porn in the back seat during family road trips. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had 4G very long, but 5G mobile networks are on the horizon, and it’s a pretty big deal. Not only for those of us who are stuck to our cell phones 24/7, but for our cars as well. And that’s exactly why Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, along with various tech companies, have formed the “5G Automotive Association.”

In partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, the aforementioned luxury automakers believe 5G networks will open the door for better support in C-V2X communications and connected mobility solutions. As such, these tech and automotive companies are looking to work together by defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements, and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more; and running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large-scale pilots and trial deployments.

Alfons Pfaller, the Head of Infotainment Development for Audi AG, said, “Connected cars will shape the future of individual mobility, and next generation mobile networks will take car to X connectivity to a new level. The key to success is in cross-industry collaboration. This is why we set up the 5G Automotive Association where experts from all relevant fields are teaming up.” And Sajjad Khan, the Director of Digital Vehicle and Mobility for Daimler AG, said, “The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity.”

So what does all this mean to you? Keep reading to find out.

PostHeaderIcon Leaked Ordering Guide Shows BMW 5-Series is going Semi-Autonomous

We already know quite a bit about the next-gen BMW 5 Series. We’ve seen it testing on public roads a couple of times, one of which revealed the basics of the car’s M Sport Package. We also know that is should be somewhat lighter than the current model and should make its official debut at the Paris Auto Show at the send of September. Now, Bimmer Post has come across a leaked ordering guide for the 2017 BMW 5 Series, with three distinctive driver assistance packages.

The entry level package, RPO code ZDA includes a head-up display, park distance control, rearview camera, and a parking assistant. Then there’s RPO code ZBD that BMW is calling the Driver Assistance Plus Package. This includes active driving assistant, parking assistant plus, blind spot detection, daytime pedestrian protection, frontal collision warning with city collision mitigation, speed limit information, and surround view camera.

Then there’s the top-of-the-line package that’s being called Driver Assistance Plus II and brings true semi-autonomous features to the table. It includes automatic cruise control with stop and go, active lane keeping assistant with side collision avoidance, traffic jam assist, and active lane change. The ordering guide you can see here also exposes three different sets of wheels with or without run-flat tires, a large handful of metallic exterior paint options, various leather options, and M Sport Package, and a Luxury Package, among other things. This is a big move for the 5 Series, but don’t expect them to come cheap.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

PostHeaderIcon Ford CEO Wants To Sell Driverless Cars By 2025

Count Ford in as one of the many automakers pushing to develop autonomous driving technology but while others are developing their own tech for their own specific purposes, the Blue Oval is shooting for the stars with plans to start selling cars equipped with the technology to the public by 2025.

That bold proclamation came from no less than CEO Mark Fields, who made the plans known in a speech at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s not the first time that Fields has addressed the issue of mobility; he’s also made it a priority to introduce robot taxis and sell them to ride sharing services by 2021.

Given the changing landscape of the auto industry, it’s not uncommon for a company to start reevaluating its place in the industry, especially when a revolutionary technology like autonomous driving is on the cusp of redefining the business altogether. Fields believes that there’s a place for Ford to stake a big piece of that pie if the company can achieve its intended timetable.

That’s not to say that the automaker will be rushing the development and Fields himself stopped short of making any over-the-top promises until he gives a more detailed forecast of the company’s autonomous future. A meeting with investors is scheduled for Wednesday, September 13, and that’s where the CEO will pull the curtain on the company’s plans moving forward.

That said, the goal to sell self-driving cars by 2025 is a real thing and Mark Fields wants everybody to know that when it comes out with its technology, it’s going to be “accessible to millions.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Is Apple Getting Cold Feet Over Autonomous Driving Technology?

Tech giant Apple may be coming off of a high with the introduction of the iPhone 7, but not everything appears to be on the up-and-up over there at 1 Infinite Loop. According to a report by The New York Times, Apple is reevaluating its plans to develop autonomous driving cars just as some of its rivals – Google and Uber among them – are doubling down on their own efforts to develop their versions of the technology.

The report mentioned that Apple has already laid off “dozens of employees” in the wake of struggles to gain any significant ground on Project Titan, the code name for the company’s autonomous driving initiative. The layoffs are reportedly tied into a reboot of the whole project and come two months after Apple executive Bob Mansfield took the reigns for the project. Apparently, Mansfield pushed to change the whole objective of Project Titan in an attempt to distance itself on designing and producing an actual Apple Car and instead focus on developing technologies that can be used on autonomous driving vehicles, including batteries, sensors, and actual software.

There hasn’t been any confirmation or denial on Apple’s side on whether this shift in focus played a role in the layoffs, but for what it’s worth, the tech company isn’t abandoning its development altogether. For one, it’s already invested heavily in the space as it already has a number of self-driving cars that are in the middle of testing. Second, Apple’s already two years into the project and has assembled an impressive team made up of some of the brightest minds in both battery technology and the automobile industry – at least those who survived the layoff.

It’s highly unlikely that the company will pull the plug entirely on what it has accomplished so far, but it is disconcerting to hear that the company that’s known for its innovations isn’t gaining as much ground on autonomous driving technology.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Michigan Legislation To Allow Public Testing Of Autonomous Driving Vehicles

Michigan could be the first state in the entire United States to allow driverless cars to test on public roads after the state senate unanimously passed a proposal that would legalize the act. The measure still needs the approval of the state’s House of Representatives before reaching the desk of state governor Rick Snyder, who himself has already stated his intent in signing the legislation.

The proposal could be a huge development in turning Michigan into the center of autonomous vehicle studies, testing, research & development, and ultimately, manufacturing. Granted, seven states, including Michigan, have already allowed automakers to test hands-free vehicles on the condition that a licensed operator is along for the ride in the event of emergencies. The other states with similar guidelines include California, Florida, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah.

The new legislation allows Michigan to take things on another level as it effectively takes away the “licensed operator” condition out of the equation, essentially making it easier for parties invested in autonomous driving technology to test their driverless vehicles in the state. The legislation is especially more important for companies like Ford and Google, both of which have announced plans to completely circumvent the driver-assistance technology that’s currently being used by automakers like Tesla. Having a state that allows testing for autonomous vehicles without any drivers in it would be a huge step in accelerating the development plans for the technology.

It’s still unclear when Michigan’s House of Representatives will convene to discuss and act on the legislation, but with the approval of the state’s senate and the support of the governor Snyder, there’s a good chance that the House will act similarly on the legislation.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Volvo Partners with Autoliv to Develop Autonomous Driving Software

Autoliv, a global automotive safety systems provider based out of Sweden, is partnering with Volvo in a joint venture to make autonomous driving software. The two companies hope to make driving safer through the implementation of new self-driving features, eventually pushing towards a future where full autonomy is the norm.

Currently, the new company is looking to set up shop in Gothenburg, Sweden, employing 200 workers pulled from both Autoliv and Volvo. The unnamed joint venture plans on eventually expanding to 600 employees, with operations commencing sometime early next year.

By joining forces, Autoliv and Volvo hope to create advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) systems, both of which will be incorporated into various Volvo products. Autoliv also expects to sell the ADAS and AD products to other automakers, with revenues shared between the two companies.

“This new company is a recognition of the fact that autonomous driving is the next step to transform road safety,” said Jan Carlson, chairman, president and chief executive at Autoliv.

For now, the plan is to get the ADAS products up and running by 2019, while the AD systems will see a release in 2021.

“By combining our know how and resources we will create a world leader in AD software development,” said Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive at Volvo. “This means we can introduce this exciting technology to our customers faster.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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