BMW revamps “i” electric car division to focus on self-driving tech

June 5th, 2016 § Comments Off on BMW revamps “i” electric car division to focus on self-driving tech § permalink

MUNICH, June 2 (Reuters) – BMW has transformed its “i” division into a development centre for self-driving cars, a board member told Reuters, a major strategic shift for the unit previously focused on making a family of lightweight electric vehicles.

While Tesla’s Model 3 will hit showrooms in 2017, and as rivals Porsche and Audi are working on all-electric cars for release by 2019, the German carmaker appears to have put such cars on the back burner. Its next fully-electric car is not due until 2021.
The company has changed tack after its only fully battery-powered car, the i3, failed to gain traction with the public, with only 25,000 sales last year. By contrast, Tesla has already received more than 370,000 orders for its Model 3.
Now, rather than seeking to match the likes of Tesla and Porsche with a new zero-emissions sports limousine for release within the next two years, its main focus will be on developing an electric car with the next generation of technology: autonomous driving.
In an interview at the company’s headquarters in Munich, BMW board member Klaus Froehlich, who is in charge of development, said he had relaunched the i division in April as a unit devoted to producing cars that drive themselves.
“It is now in ramp-up stage. We call it Project i Next.”
The revamp also follows at least four high-profile staff defections from the division this year. Dirk Abendroth, manager of BMW’s “i” powertrain group, Henrik Wenders, vice president product management BMW “i”, and Carsten Breitfeld, vice president engineering, head of the i8 vehicle programme, were poached by a Chinese electric vehicle startup.
As part of its autonomous driving push, BMW is hiring experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is also integrating the functions of existing computer driven assistance systems like cruise control, emergency braking, lane-keeping support and automatic parking.
With a fully autonomous vehicle, BMW could launch a ride-hailing business without having to pay drivers, Froehlich said, giving carmakers a competitive edge over new ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft which are eroding car sales by making part-time use as convenient as ownership.
Earlier this month Toyota Motor Corp said it would invest in Uber, and Volkswagen announced a $300 million investment in Gett, a smaller ride-sharing company.
BMW too may partner with a ride-hailing firm, particularly in markets like China, but the Bavarian carmaker’s strategy on potential partnerships with companies in this space is still being worked on, Froehlich said.
Sales of highly autonomous vehicles – ones where permanent active input from the driver is not required – are not expected to gain traction until 2020, but could then rise to around 9 million a year by 2025, according to analysts at Exane BNP Paribas.
China, the world’s largest car market, is likely to be the market where autonomous cars will first emerge on a large scale, Froehlich said.
“China is extremely fast implementing technology. Last year more electric cars were sold in China than in all the other global markets combined,” he added.
BMW is also considering expanding in the area of reserving parking spaces and electric car charging stations over mobile phones, a market which is still fragmented within countries. The carmaker has already invested in ParkNow and Parkmobile, two digital parking and payment services.
“We want to actively participate in a consolidation process,” Froehlich said. (Reporting by Edward Taylor and Irene Preisinger; Editing by Pravin Chark)

Porsche starts development of electric sports car and Tesla rival Mission E

February 9th, 2016 § Comments Off on Porsche starts development of electric sports car and Tesla rival Mission E § permalink

Development of Porsche’s first electric car has now started, as the company transforms its Mission E concept into a zero-emissions sports car of the future. The production version is expected to go on sale in 2020.
Revealed in September 2015, the Mission E is a four-seat sports car powered by two electric motors producing over 600 horsepower. The car, to offer a sportier alternative to the electric Tesla Model S, is said to have a maximum range of 330 miles, more than the Model S currently achieves, and sprints to 60mph in 3.5 seconds.
In December 2015 it was announced that the Mission E would become a production car, and now it has been given its own internal codename. Known at Porsche as J1, the car will now enter the long and complex development process, reports Autocar.

Although sharing the same design language as the Porsche 911 and four-seat Panamera, the Mission E will sit on a bespoke platform with a chassis designed to accommodate a lithium ion battery pack, plus front and rear electric motors.

It isn’t yet known if the platform could be used for a variety of vehicles, such as an SUV, but if Porsche’s first electric car is a success then we would expect a range of different vehicles sharing common components to be developed. This platform is not thought to be related to that being developed by parent company Volkswagen for its range of upcoming electric vehicles, including the Budd-E concept shown off at CES in January.

While electric cars are certainly on Porsche’s roadmap, autonomous vehicles are not. Chief executive Oliver Blume said in early February that his customers want to drive their cars themselves, not be driven by an ‘iPhone for the road’.

Faraday Future offers a glimpse of its autonomous electric car: Concept Reveal at CES2016 ! 1 day to go!

January 3rd, 2016 § Comments Off on Faraday Future offers a glimpse of its autonomous electric car: Concept Reveal at CES2016 ! 1 day to go! § permalink


Faraday Future is set to make its big reveal at CES. The company says we’ll see it “unveil a concept inspired by our design and engineering vision.” So it sounds like the actual car is pretty far from completion, though we’re still excited to see what it has come up with.

A longer video released by the California startup last week teased an electric vehicle with self-driving capabilities. The company has also hinted at an alternative ownership model where you only get the car when you actually need it, though again we’re still fuzzy on the actual details. Hopefully we’ll learn more next week.

“What it’s like riding in a million-dollar autonomous Nissan” (yes, it is self driving)

November 7th, 2015 § Comments Off on “What it’s like riding in a million-dollar autonomous Nissan” (yes, it is self driving) § permalink

Here’s the ironic thing about today’s autonomous car development programs: The latest prototypes actually require that the person behind the wheel concentrate more, not less.

from cNet Post

That’s because while self-driving vehicles like this Nissan Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 prototype can do a remarkable job negotiating roads on their own most of the time, a drive of any length and complexity almost always carries with it the specter of an occasional flub or near miss. By contrast, were a human behind the wheel, most of these situations would have never escalated to the point where a need for a momentary swerve or panic braking resulted.

Here’s the ironic thing about today’s autonomous car development programs: The latest prototypes actually require that the person behind the wheel concentrate more, not less.

 That’s because while self-driving vehicles like this Nissan Leaf Piloted Drive 1.0 prototype can do a remarkable job negotiating roads on their own most of the time, a drive of any length and complexity almost always carries with it the specter of an occasional flub or near miss. By contrast, were a human behind the wheel, most of these situations would have never escalated to the point where a need for a momentary swerve or panic braking resulted.

That may sound discouraging, but it’s not meant to. The radical progress that has been made on autonomous vehicles in just the last couple of years suggests that such incidents will be nothing but a brief transitional hiccup for the technology, a blip on its evolutionary timeline. In fact, my 40-plus minute Nissan test drive in unrestricted, live Tokyo traffic was nothing short of hugely impressive.

 Even with the current state-of-the-art tech’s momentary autonomous foibles, it’s easy to see the promise such vehicles have for greatly decreasing accident rates and traffic congestion, not to mention for restoring autonomy to the world’s elderly and infirm. Autonomous technology isn’t just a game-changer for personal transportation, it’s poised to usher in a whole new game.

On my drive, Nissan’s all-electric hatchback prototype executed a complex drive route including merging, along with left and right turns. It negotiated dense traffic including busses, commercial trucks and pedestrians, all with minimal intervention. It was truly fascinating to have a front-row seat while the car moved itself nearly seamlessly through dense traffic.

Were it not for the logos slathered on the sides of our Leaf, our fellow motorists would likely have never suspected that this was anything other than an ordinary human-piloted car. That’s a remarkable achievement. Just a couple of years ago, a car with half of this vehicle’s capabilities would’ve had the outward appearance of a science project.

In part, this dramatic progress has been made possible because the Leaf’s complex network of cutting-edge cameras, sonar hardware and lidar sensors (remote-sensing technology which uses lasers and radars to measure distances) have been miniaturized and innocuously mounted to its bodywork. Up until now, these sensors have been large and ungainly, incorporating an attention-grabbing, aerodynamics-spoiling spinning element that needed to be mounted on a vehicle’s highest point (the roof) for a 360-degree view.

This Nissan makes use of groundbreaking pre-production flash lidar sensors from Santa Barbara’s Advanced Scientific Concepts Inc. which are exponentially smaller than rooftop sensors and contain no moving parts. I bet you didn’t notice them subtly flush-mounted on the car’s front doors and in the bumpers in the pictures above. In all, this car has no fewer than a dozen cameras, four lidar scanners and five radar sensors attached to its panels. I bet you didn’t notice those, either.

Two years ago, a previous-generation system utilized just five cameras and employed comparatively bulky and primitive laser sensors. In the case of this Leaf, which is one of three such million-dollar prototypes, this network of sensors is acted upon by a trunk full of wires and silicon chippery. This hardware figures to be much easier to miniaturize than the sensor arrays themselves, and Nissan expects to downscale the associated componentry to the size of a laptop by the time it introduces a production system by 2020.

At the wheel keeping tabs on the prototype’s systems during my test ride was Tetsuya Iijima, Nissan’s general manager of its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous engineering department. Iijima has been working on ADAS and self-driving technology at Nissan for a remarkable 18 years — he spearheaded the development of the company’s first intelligent cruise control, which he proudly notes was among the very first systems in production over a dozen years ago (concurrently entering the market with a similar technology from Mercedes-Benz).

During our drive, Iijima constantly scanned a trio of screens, including a 10-inch center-stack display that looked production ready (the current Leaf features a 7-inch unit) and a 12-inch screen in place of traditional analogue gauges. There’s also a third, temporary-mounted tablet screen mounted just ahead of the round gear selector displaying additional information, and a head-up display. The in-cluster display is the one Iijima spent the most time looking at. It shows a radar image of the traffic ahead highlighting objects the sensors detect with either red or green boxes depending on their relevance. These objects can include other vehicles, traffic lights or pedestrians.
The vast majority of our test loop was uneventful in the best possible way — the Leaf accelerated, braked and negotiated turned with alacrity under almost all circumstances. It signaled nearly every time it changed lanes, and it even functioned perfectly in a long tunnel with a substantial bend in the middle and a fair amount of traffic.

After noting our smooth progress, I asked Iijima whether the instant-on torque of electric motors and the lack of a multi-speed transmission makes developing an autonomous EV easier than a traditional internal-combustion vehicle, and his face lit up as he nodded.
Given that there are occasions where Piloted Drive may require human intervention, the person in the driver’s seat needs to continue to pay attention to his or her surroundings. Even when this technology is perfected and autonomous drive becomes at least as safe as human piloting, Iijima says it will be important for drivers to remain awake and maintain situational awareness. To that end, he says, “We may need something to keep the driver involved in the driving task.” That could take the form of vehicle occupant monitoring, something this car doesn’t do (but Nissan is working on), or it could even take the form of something like an interactive game. This, too, may be a temporary need. In its just-revealed IDS Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan envisions a future where the steering wheel actually folds away when not in use, and where the seats shift toward each other to encourage conversation.

As it turns out, fast-approaching cars or an oblivious pedestrian at a crosswalk seems easier for the Piloted Drive to react to than a nearby vehicle whose speed closely matches that of our car — it’s hard for the sensors to determine relative speed in such scenarios.

To illustrate the point, while queuing in slow-moving traffic, our Leaf attempted to merge into the rear end of a commercial truck, coming within inches of wiping off its own front end in what would’ve been a sickeningly expensive slow-motion accident. Only Iijima’s override with the brake pedal saved our car’s skin. Piloted Drive also had trouble detecting a merging Nissan X-Trail under similar circumstances. In that situation, Iijima was able to use the steering wheel as a momentary override, at which point the car immediately retook control seamlessly and uneventfully. Piloted Drive won’t disable itself fully in the latter circumstance, it will only turn off when the driver manually activates the brake pedal or hits an emergency kill switch — integrating momentary manual steering or accelerator inputs seem easy.
Interestingly, while Piloted Drive won’t call out lane-change maneuvers or bends in the road, when it comes time for a significant directional change (as when turning on to another road at a four-way stop), the system will call out its maneuver over the speakers, just like a normal navigation system. Iijima says that’s so that vehicle occupants aren’t taken by surprise. IIjima believes that voice support like this could be a transitional step until people get used to the sensation of traveling in autonomous cars.

The auto industry’s pace of development of autonomous technology has been nothing short of thrilling, and much of the basic “blocking and tackling” work is nearing production readiness. But there’s still lot of scenarios for which it will be very tough to program. For instance, while Nissan’s Piloted Drive can account for a pedestrian in a roadway, it can’t detect that the individual is actually a policeman, urging the vehicle’s driver to proceed with a wave of his hand.

Weather remains a challenge, too — Iijima says sun glare and heavy rain isn’t a problem, but admits fog and snow are more difficult. Will an autonomous car’s exterior sensors need to be heated and self-cleaning in order to work in inclement weather, or will the technology simply shut off when sensors get dirty or packed with snow, the way today’s intelligent cruise-control systems warn check out?

Nissan promises a full-autonomy system like this will be in production by 2020 and Iijima says it will have a “common-sense” price, but admits it will be initially offered on a high-end model. By that time, less capable self-driving systems will also be available on more mainstream Nissans, which will likely be hardware similar to the semi-autonomous tech currently offered on luxury cars like the Tesla Model S or Nissan’s own Infiniti Q50.

In the face of such impressive technology, I couldn’t help but ask Iijima if he thinks manual driving has a long-term future, especially if self-driving cars ultimately prove to be significantly safer, as most experts believe. Iijima pointed to the continued presence of motorcycles in a world where four-wheeled cars are infinitely less dangerous and suggested that “(driving) will become kind of a sport,” in other words, a source of entertainment. Many experts agree, pointing to how some people enjoy horseback riding even though the sun has long since set on using equines as primary transportation.

Me? I’m not so sure. I welcome autonomous technology, especially for boring freeway transits, megacity stoplight-to-stoplight slogs, and for drivers who can’t be bothered to look up from their mobile phones. But I suspect that over the long haul, if human beings are causing a disproportionate amount of accidents versus their computerized counterparts, manual driving will be taken off the table, at least on public roads. Whether that reality manifests itself legislatively or merely practically — likely taking the form of prohibitively high insurance rates — I’m not so sure.

Either way, while the road to autonomy isn’t fully mapped out, it’s clear we’re well on the way to a self-driving future. And thanks to engineers like Nissan’s Iijima, that future is coming up in the rearview mirror far quicker than you might imagine.

Next Nissan Leaf previewed by IDS Concept in Tokyo

October 29th, 2015 § Comments Off on Next Nissan Leaf previewed by IDS Concept in Tokyo § permalink

The Nissan IDS Concept, a four-seat hatchback that hints strongly at the styling of the next-generation Leaf, has been revealed at the Tokyo motor show.
It has two different cabin configurations depending on whether the driver selects the conventional manual driving mode, or the ‘piloted’ mode built in via its on-board artificial intelligence.

Nissan IDS Concept Nissan IDS Concept Nissan IDS Concept

“It’s like relaxing in a living room,” says design director Mitsunori Morita, who defines the trust-based communication that needs to exist between driver and autonomous-driving car with the phrase “Together, we ride”. Even in manual mode the intelligent drive system is poised to assist if needed, providing greater control in braking and cornering.

The IDS Concept has a low roof height (1380mm) to reduce frontal area and improve aerodynamics, and runs on thin, big-diameter, aerodynamically designed wheels with 175 section tyres to minimise both air and rolling resistance. Its carbonfibre body makes it unusually light for a battery car.

Nissan’s engineers say they have improved all aspects of IDS Concept’s electric powertrain: motors, batteries and inverters. The combination of aerodynamics, lightness and a new, high-capacity 60kWh battery will allow the IDS Concept to “drive long distances”, according to Nissan.

The IDS concept, and the Leaf it will morph into, will pioneer Nissan Intelligent Drive, according to Nissan’s boss Carlos Ghosn. It will be switchable between Pilot and Manual modes, and Pilot does everything, seeing traffic and connecting to other connected cars. Manual gives you control but maintains the surveillance of the Pilot technology in the background for safety.

Nissan plans to roll out self-driving technology across ‘multiple vehicles’ by 2020, and the IDS gives a look at how this could work. It is capable of imitating the driver’s own driving style while in autonomous mode, reflecting cornering, braking and accelerating styles.

While it is in Manual mode, it monitors the road and aims to assist the driver if evasive action is necessary.

In Piloted mode, the car aims to make the atmosphere more relaxed in the cabin. The steering wheel recedes into the centre of the instrument panel and a flat screen comes out. All the seats turn slightly towards one another, too, to make conversation that bit easier.

For the concept, designers have used a series of lights, including a silver side body line called the Intention Indicator, to signal the car’s intentions to nearby pedestrians or cyclists. When a pedestrian is near, the strip turns red to indicate the car’s awareness. Another display, which faces outward from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as ‘After you’ to pedestrians. It’s all part of their determination, say Nissan, to achieve zero emissions and zero fatalities to help create ‘a sustainable, car-based society’.

As well as showing off the future of technology, insiders also suggest the Tokyo car’s styling points to the next generation of Leaf, which is due by 2017. Nissan is considering expanding the Leaf sub-brand to include more models and body styles, according to the firm’s executive vice-president Trevor Mann – but the core of the range is still expected to be a five-door hatchback.

The IDS concept will not turn into the new Leaf completely, but many of its shapes and concepts will be used – the window lines, low roof, the aerodynamic approach, skinny tyres and low-drag wheels, and the careful design of underbody. We won’t see pillarless doors or some of the radical, clearance-limiting stuff along body sides, though.

Volkswagen To Roll Out More Electric and Plug-In Cars By 2020

September 30th, 2015 § Comments Off on Volkswagen To Roll Out More Electric and Plug-In Cars By 2020 § permalink

Looking ahead, Volkswagen wants its cars to be able to function as smartphones on wheels — sending and receiving data as they drive.

The German manufacturer plans on joining the self-driving car market, but in the more immediate sense, it will roll out 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids – spanning compacts to luxury sedans – according to Bloomberg.

“We are in the process of reinventing Europe’s largest automaker,” said VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn prior to this week’s Frankfurt International Motor Show, as reported by Bloomberg. “By 2020, we will have transformed all of our new cars into smartphones on wheels.”

Winterkorn added: “At a time of major social and technological upheaval, people expect new answers, new solutions and new directions from us. The Porsche Mission E and the Audi e-tron quattro concept are nothing less than a quantum leap for our industry.”

With each of the aforementioned electric vehicles boasting a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles), Winterkorn said VW’s Tiguan GTE model exemplifies their “determination to systematically take the plug-in hybrid to further classes and segments.”

To that end, Volkswagen showed off its concept technology for charging electric cars in “V-Charge” in Frankfurt.

“We have the right cars. Now what is needed is the right framework for this key technology to really catch on,” Winterkorn stated.

VW certainly needs the boost, considering that Bloomberg is reporting that the manufacturer’s deliveries in the United States are declining and have also slowed in China, its largest market.

In addition to its vow to roll out with 20 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020, Volkswagen was recently one of the automakers that gained approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous cars on the steets of California.

Apple hires Tesla’s top self driving engineer for rival electric car project

August 23rd, 2015 § Comments Off on Apple hires Tesla’s top self driving engineer for rival electric car project § permalink

  • LinkedIn profile for Jamie Carlson shows he has left Tesla for Apple
  • He worked of firm’s self driving car software 
  • Apple believed to be searching for location to test autonomous vehicles

Apple has hired a senior engineer from Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla, according to a LinkedIn posting, as part of Apple’s effort to build a team of experts in automated driving.

A LinkedIn profile for Jamie Carlson shows that he has left Tesla and moved to Apple.

At least six others with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have joined Apple, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Attempts to reach all seven people were unsuccessful and Apple declined to comment.

Sources have said that Apple is developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it is unclear if the iPhone maker is designing a vehicle that could drive itself.

Since January, Apple has hired Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research.

In August, Apple hired Xianqiao Tong, an engineer who developed computer vision software for driver assistance systems at microchip maker Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O).

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple hired Paul Furgale, former deputy director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, earlier this year.

So-called advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, handle tasks such as keeping a vehicle in a lane or driving by itself in stop-and-go traffic, and they are considered the building blocks for self-driving cars.

According to Carlson’s LinkedIn profile, he joined Apple in August in an unnamed position in a special projects group.

Through July, Carlson was an engineer on Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving car program, and before that he worked on automotive vision systems for Michigan-based supplier Gentex Corp.

Other Apple hires since September 2014 with similar experience have worked at automakers BMW , Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co, automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive, Robert B.

Among those hired last fall were Sanjai Massey, an engineer with experience in developing connected and automated vehicles at Ford and several suppliers; Stefan Weber, a former Bosch engineer with experience in video-based driver assistance systems, and Lech Szumilas, a former Delphi research scientist with expertise in computer vision and object detection.

Tesla and Apple have long been involved in what many have called a ‘poaching war’ when it comes to self-driving cars. Although, Tesla CEO Elon Musk

has poached 5 times as many employees from Apple as Apple has from Tesla. Musk also commented that he ‘hopes’ Apple will enter the car market.

Eye-catching, sleek, incorporating Apple‘s trademark sleek design, these are what the world’s graphic designers believe an iCar could look like.

Refuelling rumours the tech giant’s next big project is to bring a self-driving car to market, documents obtained by the Guardian say the company is searching for a location to test the autonomous vehicles to rival designs already manufactured by Google.

In May, engineers met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco, in a bid to set up a high-security site.

In a correspondence obtained by the newspaper through a public records request, Apple engineer Frank Fearon wrote: ‘We would … like to get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how we would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it].’

The company did not confirm whether this was the case while others involved in the deal would not shed further light on the details.

‘We don’t know. They haven’t said what they want to test. It could be an iPhone,’ joked Jack Hall, program manager for connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles at GoMentum Station, which is operated by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

The agency is promoting a portion of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station as an ideal testing facility for carmakers and tech companies working on automotive technology.

‘It’s got all the infrastructure of a city,’ Hall said of the facility. ‘There are buildings, streets and intersections, but no people.’

The 5,000-acre site has 20 miles of paved roads, including overpasses, tunnels and railroad crossings, according to the agency’s website, which calls it ‘the largest secure test facility in the world.’ Another 7,600 acres of the former navy base is now used as a shipping terminal by the U.S. Army.

GoMentum Station already has an agreement with Honda, which plans to test automated vehicle systems there.

Hall said his agency hopes to partner with other companies for testing self-driving cars and ‘connected vehicles’ — cars that use the Internet and local networks to exchange a variety of information with other devices and vehicles.

Apple has ‘shown interest’ in the facility but has not reached any agreement for testing there, Hall said. Company representatives have not actually visited yet, he said.

The Guardian also quoted another official at the transportation authority who said Apple insisted on a non-disclosure agreement which barred him from saying any more.

A number of automakers and tech companies, including Google, are working on new designs for autonomous and electric-powered vehicles.

In February, The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources who said Apple is working on designs for an electric vehicle to be sold under the Apple brand.

Analysts say Apple has the financial wherewithal and ambition to pursue such a project, although some believe it’s more likely interested in developing software for use in cars made by other companies.

Other evidence of Apple’s interest in cars has surfaced in recent months, including a lawsuit in which a Massachusetts startup working on electric car batteries accused Apple of poaching some of its engineers. The lawsuit has since been settled.

How you like Them Apples: Apple Poaches Fiat Chrysler Exec for Electric Car Dream

July 21st, 2015 § Comments Off on How you like Them Apples: Apple Poaches Fiat Chrysler Exec for Electric Car Dream § permalink

It’d all gone a bit quiet for a little while there when it comes to Apple’s electric car. With apparently 200 staff working on a self-driving electric minivan codenamed project “Titan“, Apple can now push that number up to 201. It’s just acquired the skills of Fiat Chrysler executive Doug Betts.

The manager for Fiat Chrysler’s global quality efforts from 2007 through 2014, Betts (whose role has yet to be divulged) is expected to work to ensure the myriad traditional car, green energy and connected tech elements that will make up the Apple car come together as a meaningful, drivable whole. Hopefully in a better state than the unreliable recent batches of Chryslers and Fiats.

As well as going on a poaching spree of Tesla talent, Apple’s also recently nabbed Paul Furgale, the deputy director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Autonomous Systems Lab, adding futher fuel to the autonomous driving fire. With Apple not expected to reveal any car plans until 2020, the long game now seems to have its major players. [WSJ]

Elon Musk’s announcement on Model D. AWD, 0-62 IN 3.2S! Autonomous driving.

October 10th, 2014 § Comments Off on Elon Musk’s announcement on Model D. AWD, 0-62 IN 3.2S! Autonomous driving. § permalink

Tesla’ announcement of all-wheel-drive versions of its Model S electric car will manage a slight increase in range of about 10 miles on a charge vs. the rear-drive models — for a maximum of275 miles — because of efficiencies designed into the new system.

CEO Elon Musk called his system “a huge improvement” that he claims is “taking the technology to the next level.”


» Read the rest of this entry «

Japan: Nissan paints picture of future lifestyle with electric vehicles

October 4th, 2013 § Comments Off on Japan: Nissan paints picture of future lifestyle with electric vehicles § permalink

As urbanization of the planet increases, more people will be living in cities, thus automobile makers will have to tackle issues such as traffic jams and accidents in these dense living conditions.

Also, people’s lifestyles will continue to evolve and become diverse, and thus cars will also need to bring more convenience to drivers, such as by incorporating the latest technology.

Electric vehicles that give off no emissions while able to avoid traffic jams and accidents through autonomous driving capabilities will offer solutions to urban issues in the future, as the percentage of the world’s people living in urban areas is estimated to increase to 60 percent in 2030. » Read the rest of this entry «

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