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Archive for the ‘Driverless Vehicles’ Category

Las Vegas Ponders Bet on Musk’s High-Speed Tunnel

Mile-long tunnel would ferry riders using high-volume cars.

by Michael Strong on Mar.07, 2019

Instead of cars, the Las Vegas version of Elon Musk's high-speed underground tunnels would use high-volume passenger cars, like a subway or train.

Sin City looks like it’s ready to indulge Elon Musk and his plans to build an underground high-speed transport system to ferry 1 million tourists back and forth across the city, starting January 2021, if approved.

Through the Boring Co., Musk will build the system, which is similar to what he’s proposed for Los Angeles, at a cost of $35 million to $55 million. The plan has already drawn the support of Las Vegas’ tourism agency.

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“It’s really innovative. I think it will be an attraction in and of itself, frankly,” Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told The Associated Press. (more…)

Lyft IPO Depends on an Autonomous Future

Driverless vehicles would eliminate its biggest expense.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Mar.04, 2019

Lyft continues to grow, but to accelerate that, the company is looking to raise big money through an IPO.

Running in the red every single quarter is normally not a good formula for success, though Tesla has shown that deficits aren’t necessarily verboten with investors. So, despite losing more than $2 billion during  the last two years alone, Lyft is preparing to go public.

The federal paperwork it filed last week is loaded with cautionary notes, and it appears to be asking potential investors to keep their eye on one development that could transform Lyft – as well as competitors like Uber and Waymo – into a cash cow: the arrival of driverless vehicle.

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“We have incurred net losses each year since our inception and we may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future,” the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (more…)

BMW, Daimler Announce Another Alliance Focused on Autonomous Driving

Joint venture revealed days after deal to combine mobility services operations.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.28, 2019

A pair of fully autonomous concepts from BMW and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand.

Just days after they announced plans to combine their mobility services operations, BMW and Daimler AG now say they will team up on the development of self-driving vehicles.

The move is meant to help them share costs and speed to market a technology many expect will radically transform the auto industry over the coming decades. Autonomous vehicles also could anchor some of the new ride- and car-sharing services the German automakers plan to roll out under their earlier joint venture – and help them fend off upstart rivals such as Waymo, Uber and Tesla.

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“Initially, the focus will be on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features,” the automakers said in a statement announcing the autonomous driving partnership.

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BMW, Daimler Launching New Ride-Sharing Service, Other Mobility Ventures

New partners open door to other participants.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Feb.22, 2019

BMW Chief Harald Krueger, left, and Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche are all smiles after announcing plans to merge mobility operations.

Nearly a year after announcing plans to combine their ambitious mobility services operations, Mercedes’ parent Daimler and erstwhile rival BMW have announced an array of new joint venture projects that will include car and ride-sharing operations that could challenge upstarts like Uber, Lyft and China’s Didi Chuxing.

The two luxury automakers plan to invest a combined 1 billion euros, or about $1.1 billion, to expand the five projects BMW CEO Harald Krueger and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche outlined at a news conference Friday, which also include parking and electric vehicle charging. The two newly minted partners also opened the door to cooperation with other automotive manufacturers.

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“These five services will merge ever more closely to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously,” said BMW Chief Executive Harald Krueger. (more…)

Musk Says Tesla to Have Driverless Car Ready This Year

CEO says regulators will determine when vehicle's can be self-driving.

by Michael Strong on Feb.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company's vehicles would be able to be run without a driver by the end of this year.

Elon Musk continues to push the narrative that Tesla Inc. will have vehicles ready to operate without a driver by the end of this year.

Tesla’s CEO made the claim during the company’s recent earnings call and repeated it on a podcast hosted by two executives at ARK Invest, which is an investor in Tesla.

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“I think we will be feature complete – full self-driving – this year,” Musk said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.” (more…)

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Partnering With Google

Move marks beginning of post-Ghosn era.

by Joseph Szczesny on Feb.18, 2019

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making plans with Waymo to find ways to exploit the ever-changing mobility world.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which is preparing to hang together in the post-Ghosn era, plans to join Google’s camp for developing autonomous taxis and other services using self-driving vehicles.

The automakers intend to work with Waymo, a Google spinoff that is among the leaders in technology for self-driving cars. The companies are in the final phase of talks, and plan to announce the arrangement as early as spring, according to a Japanese news service.

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The partnership would unite a car alliance whose global sales totaled 10.8 million automobiles in 2018 with a developer whose self-driving vehicles have traveled more than 10 million miles on U.S. public roads as of October. Waymo has forged similar deals with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Jaguar Land Rover, but the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance boasts greater scale. (more…)

Sweden Approves Volvo JV for Autonomous Car Testing

Zenuity ready to put software to real-world test.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.30, 2019

Zenuity, a Volvo Cars joint venture with Veoneer, received approval from the Swedish government to begin autonomous testing on public roads.

A Volvo Cars joint venture has gotten approval to test its software in self-driving cars on Swedish highways at speeds of up to 80 kilometers or 60 miles per hour.

Zenuity, a joint venture between Volvo and Swedish tech company Veoneer, developed software for Level 4 autonomous driving that will be tested in a Volvo car by trained drivers with their hands off the steering wheel. The venture is striving to keep up with rivals in the U.S. and China in the development self-driving vehicles.

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Volvo’s self-driving effort was side-swiped last year when one of its sport utility vehicles, which was being used as a test-bed for Uber’s self-driving venture, was involved in an accident that killed an Arizona pedestrian. A post-accident investigation showed that the advanced-driver assistance features on the Volvo test vehicle had been disabled. (more…)

Waymo to Build Self-Driving Cars in Michigan

Company in the market for a used auto plant.

by Michael Strong on Jan.22, 2019

Waymo is moving east to Michigan to build Level 4 autonomous vehicles in metro Detroit.

More and more automakers looking to develop their autonomous vehicles are finding their way to Michigan, and now add Waymo to the list. The Google spinoff plans to produce robot cars at a to-be-determined location in southeast Michigan.

The company has been testing its self-driving vehicles largely in the southwest, and had planned to find a cold weather state (i.e. a state with snow) to continue testing. However, this plant will be the first-ever site to churn out Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

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“Waymo will first identify a facility in Southeast Michigan and, over the next few years, aim to create hundreds of local jobs in the community,” the company said in a statement. “We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars.”  (more…)

Ford, VW Announce 1st in Promised Series of Joint Ventures

Carmakers will focus first on midsize pickups, light commercial vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

Confirming months of rumors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced Tuesday that they will launch the first of what they suggested will be a series of joint ventures, focusing initially on midsize pickups and light commercial vehicles.

Moving forward, they anticipate adding projects that will pair their costly efforts on electrified and autonomous vehicles, while Herbert Diess, the CEO of VW, said during a joint teleconference that the new partners could work together on “other” products in the future.

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Alliances are becoming more commonplace in an industry where changing consumer tastes and emerging technologies are stretching thin the budgets of even the most well-funded manufacturers, said Diess, who added that, “In such an environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” (more…)

Nissan Hopes To Electrify With Debut of IMs Concept

Detroit show car hints at expanded line-up of battery-electric vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Nissan's IMs concept hits the Detroit Auto Show just after the company rolled out its longest-range Leaf ever.

Barely a week after unveiling the latest – and first truly long-range – version of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle, Nissan is offering a glimpse at where it is “imagining” its future in the form of the all-electric IMs “elevated sports sedan.”

The concept vehicle debuting at the North American International Auto Show pushes the envelope when it comes to three key trends: the shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. It also features a pure BEV drivetrain, a technology Nissan promises will dominate its line-up moving forward. The show car also adds autonomous driving capabilities. Add them together and, Nissan suggests, its future models will feature a distinctly different approach to design, as well.

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“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president for design at Nissan. “The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.” (more…)