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Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Negotiating Deal VW is a “Delicate Dance,” Says Ford CEO Hackett

First project could be announced before year-end.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett described the talks with Volkswagen as a "delicate dance."

A deal between Ford and Volkswagen focusing on joint efforts in the light commercial vehicle market could come together quickly, but in his first official acknowledgement that the two carmakers are exploring a wide range of additional options, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said those negotiations involve a “delicate dance.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Ford has opened up to the possibility of teaming up with erstwhile rivals on a variety of projects. And, in recent weeks, sources have indicated it is discussing deals that also could see them team up on everything from autonomous and electrified vehicles to joint production and marketing efforts in markets such as Europe and Latin America.

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“(VW CEO) Herbert (Diess) and I had a great discussion” about a possible alliance on commercial trucks, Hackett said in an interview with the Reuters news service, noting that things are “going better than we thought it would.” (more…)

2020 Kia Soul Teased Ahead of LA Auto Show Debut

New platform, new longer-range EV, more tech - but a familiar design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

Kia's quirky crossover will likely grow slightly larger when the gen-3 model hits the road.

The annual L.A. Auto Show is approaching fast and that means manufacturers are starting to drop hints about all the new models they’ll be debuting in the City of Angels later this month.

The latest to weigh in with a teaser image is Kia, which will pull the wraps off the 2020 Soul at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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Official details about the 2020 Kia Soul are sparse, the Korean carmaker noting only that “the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognizable design.”

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Ford Partnering With Walmart on Autonomous Deliveries

Initial pilot taking place in Miami.

by Michael Strong on Nov.14, 2018

Through the collaboration with Walmart and Postmates, Ford is exploring how self-driving vehicles can deliver many groceries and other goods.

Ford continues to grow its mobility business, announcing a new partnership with Walmart to use autonomous vehicle to make deliveries to Walmart customers.

The automaker will partner with San Francisco-based Postmates, a delivery service company, to develop the delivery service initially using vehicles driven by people to deliver goods. Those initial delivery runs will help develop the routing for autonomous vehicles.

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“Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them,” Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president for digital operations, said in a statement on Thursday. (more…)

Detroit Symphony Turns Lincoln Warning Buzzers into Sweet Music

Automaker wants to create a “symphonic landscape.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.05, 2018

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra made over 100 recordings before coming up with the right warning sounds for the new Lincoln Aviator.

Warning sounds are, by definition, designed to draw your attention, but sometimes they also can get on your nerves.

Ford has been trying to find the right balance with some recent products, looking for sounds that are distinctive yet easy on the ears. It’s going a step further with the new SUV its luxury brand will launch this coming year, turning to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to record 25 of the “non-critical, soft-warning chimes and hard-warning chimes that will be used in the new Lincoln Aviator.

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“Aviator represents the true vision of the Lincoln brand,” explains Lincoln design director David Woodhouse. “With a look this striking, we needed to have sounds that matched the beauty of this vehicle.”

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First Drive: Newer, More Affordable 2019 Acura ILX

In an age of SUVs, a sedan worth checking out.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec.

It was the first Japanese luxury brand but, in recent years, Acura has struggled to be more than dead last when it comes to potential buyers’ shopping lists.

That’s begun to change as Honda’s upscale brand has started rolling out some truly impressive updates to its line-up, including the 2019 Acura RDX considered one of the hot prospects for North American SUV of the Year. But the transformation doesn’t stop there, as Acura is demonstrating with the roll-out of its next-generation entry-level sedan.

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The 2019 Acura ILX not only gets a stylish remake and plenty of appealing safety, comfort and convenience technologies, it also boasts a surprising price cut, the base model coming in at just $26,895, including $995 in delivery fees. That’s a full $2,200 less than the outgoing ILX – and is actually the same price the luxury brand first asked for when the ILX was introduced in 2012. (more…)

Apple Files Patent Linked to AV Driving

Connector arms help share battery power.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.24, 2018

Apple applied for a patent on its "Peloton" system for autonomous vehicles. It would allow them to share battery output using a connector arm.

Apple has filed for a new patent for a suite of technology called “Peloton” which allows multiple self-driving cars to share battery capacity using a “connector arm,” according to trade publications that ferret out patent applications.

The connector arm is used when vehicles are driven autonomously in a line, like a train. Each arm is linked to each vehicle in the Peloton.

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The consensus around Apple’s future plans that it has backed off building its own vehicle but is thought to be working on an autonomous driving system that other manufacturers will implement. At least one analyst has predicted that Apple’s future autonomous vehicle system will make use of its own custom chips by 2023. (more…)

New Nissan Maxima Debuting at LA Auto Show

Subtle visual updates but lots more safety tech.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.23, 2018

the 2019 Maxima, Nissan's flagship sedan, gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2019.

While some automakers are leaning out their sedan lines – even abandoning them entirely, in the case of Ford – Nissan continues to bet big on four-door models, with two critical updates for the 2019 model-year.

While we’ve already seen and driven the Altima makeover, we’ll have to wait until next month and the Los Angeles Motor Show to get a first good look at the 2019 Nissan Maxima, the Japanese maker’s most sporty sedan offering.

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Actually, Nissan has given us a first peak at the new Maxima, and not in the usual form of a carefully lit and cropped teaser. The accompanying picture pretty much reveals all we’d need to know about the 2019 refresh short of any taillight and rear bumper revisions.

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Ford Expands Alliance with Mahindra Group

New deal comes on heels of partnership with VW.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.18, 2018

Ford and Mahindra officials, including Ford's Jim Farley, (l), celebrate the signing of their first alliance. The two sides added two new agreements.

(This story has been updated to more accurately represent partnership between Volkswagen and Ford.)

Just a day after rumors circulated about the state of its open-ended partnership with Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co. expanded its alliance with India’s Mahindra Group.

The two companies this week signed new agreements on sharing powertrains and connected car solutions to reinforce the progress made in the strategic alliance between the two companies, first announced in September 2017 and followed with five Memoranda of Understanding.

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“We are pleased with the progress our teams have made since we announced our strategic alliance with Mahindra Group a year ago,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets. (more…)

BMW Officially Pulls Wraps Off Flagship X7 SUV

“Hey, BMW.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.17, 2018

The new 2019 BMW X7 is ready to take on whatever Mother Nature sends its way.

BMW has been dropping plenty of big hints in recent months as it prepared to launch an all-new flagship. And now, we’re finally getting a look at the production version of the 2019 X7.

As the name might suggest, you can think of the big ute as the SUV counterpoint to the Bavarian brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. And it reflects the massive shift in the global luxury market as highline buyers by the millions switch from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, mirroring what’s happened in mainstream segments.

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The 2019 BMW X7 is more than just a stretched version of the familiar X5. It’s not only nine inches longer but loaded with the sort of luxury features you’d expect on a 7-Series – or the also-new 8-Series. It also introduces BMWs new voice assistant infotainment system which, like Amazon’s Alexa, is always listening for its wake words, “Hey, BMW.” (more…)

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by Michael Strong on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)