It may not be quite like the Jetsons, but for over a million dollars you too can soon fly around in a car. A Slovakian company called AeroMobil unveiled its version of a flying car, a light-framed plane whose wings can fold back, like an insect, and is boosted by a hybrid engine and rear propeller. It will be available to preorder as soon as this year but is not for everyone: besides the big price tag — between 1.2 million and 1.5 million euros ($1.3 million-$1.6 million) — you’d need a pilot’s license to use it in the air.
The “Project Portal” venture assigned to Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American research team was so hush-hush that even suppliers on the project were kept in the dark.
Since September, a tiny cadre of specialists has toiled at a secret technical center in southeast Michigan and then at Toyota’s test track in the desert outside Phoenix to build and refine technology that could transform more than 100 years of trucking technology used to move goods globally.
The experiment — powering an 80,000-pound Class 8 truck-and-trailer combo using Toyota’s cutting-edge clean-tech hydrogen fuel cell system — was successful enough to warrant a second phase. The company is now live-testing a short-haul, zero-emission drayage truck shuttling shipping containers between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and various freight depots up to 70 miles away.
Tesla's Autopilot partial self-driving system is flawed, causing cars to steer erratically when it is engaged, and the electric automaker hasn't been timely in delivering promised safety features, a lawsuit filed alleges. "Autopilot capabilities that consumers paid $5,000 extra to obtain are anything but 'safer' and 'stress-free'," alleges the lawsuit on behalf of three Tesla owners. "Many owners report the Autopilot is essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous."
General Motors said that Venezuelan authorities had illegally seized its plant in the industrial hub of Valencia and vowed to "take all legal actions" to defend its rights. The seizure comes amid a deepening economic crisis in leftist-led Venezuela that has already roiled many U.S. companies. "In addition, other assets of the company, such as vehicles, have been illegally taken from its facilities," the company said in a statement.
Tesla is issuing a voluntary recall for Model S and Model X vehicles made between February 2016 and October 2016, for a potential manufacturing issue in which the parking brake, once engaged, might experience a fractured internal gear that results in it being stuck in the ‘on’ position. Tesla stresses that this recall is being done only because the carmaker typically exercises an abundance of caution in these cases, and that only a small number of vehicles will likely ever exhibit the issue, and that even when they do, the resulting problems don’t present a safety risk to either drivers or passengers. The problem came to light because Tesla found customers were getting alerts that said their parking brake needs service, or that the brake could not be disengaged, not in huge numbers but with noteworthy frequency.
Traditional automakers are building a greater presence in California to compete with tech companies that are so far leading the pack.
General Motors Co. will shutter some U.S. plants for a combined total of 10 weeks of production time in the second half of the year, a move that will help balance swelling inventory levels. GM’s inventory levels have ballooned to 926,170 vehicles or 98 days’ supply at the end of March, up from 900,681 or 91 days’ supply at the end of February. “Our inventory’s high because we’re going to take 10 weeks out in the back end of the year as we’re modifying our plants particularly in pickup trucks,” GM North America President Alan Batey said at the reveal of the 2018 Buick Enclave in conjunction with the New York Auto Show. “To be able to cadence that, we have needed to build inventory up a little bit right now because in the back end of the year we’re going to lose 10 weeks of production.”
A California federal judge ruled Uber Technologies Inc. cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment on behalf of Anthony Levandowski, who allegedly stole trade secrets from Waymo LLC and used them to start Uber’s self-driving car division, he announced he would file a Ninth Circuit appeal as an intervenor. Levandowski’s appeal itself wasn’t immediately available, but he filed a notice with the district court. It followed an order from U.S. District Judge William Alsup, ruling Levandowski couldn’t use his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself to prevent discovery in a case in which he isn’t named as a defendant.
A California appeals court said the state’s low-carbon fuel standards regulations relied on a baseline level of nitrogen oxide emissions that is too low, and it ordered the Air Resources Board to revise its calculations, although it left the program intact during the revision process. California’s LCFS program is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of cleaner low-carbon fuels, and one of the issues related to the project is its effects on biodiesel consumption and the potential for related increase in nitrogen oxide, or NOx, emissions. The CARB first adopted the regulations in 2009, but after an appeals panel previously found that several aspects violated the California Environmental Quality Act, the board revised them and readopted them in 2015.
Ford Motor Co., which sells more police vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, says it will offer a police pursuit version of the hybrid Fusion midsize sedan, in response to requests from cities nationwide. The new car, with its 2-Liter four-cylinder engine and 1.4 kilowatt lithium-ion battery, is expected to get 38 miles per gallon of gas in combined city-highway driving. That's 20 mpg more than Ford's current police car, the Taurus police interceptor.
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