Managing Automotive

News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Managing Automotive
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TRUCKING TO TAXIS: HOW WE'LL BECOME DRIVERLESS

Interstate trucking by 2020 will be first, followed by autonomous taxi service. About half the fleet of U.S. cars become essentially autonomous by 2030. This driverless pathway recently was described for WalletHub by Henry Lucas, Robert H. Smith Professor of Information Systems at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Lucas, who wrote the 2012 book The Search for Survival: Lessons From Disruptive Technologies, set the table with a checklist of the various levels of self-driving cars, as published by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the National Highway Safety Administration:

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Ford patents removable pedals, steering wheel in self-driving cars

The system is pretty straightforward -- instead of some convoluted folding, the pedals and steering wheel are simply removable. According to the patent, Ford envisions the system as something that could permit a steering wheel for development purposes or customer desire, but could otherwise be taken out. The wheel and pedals would connect to specific notches in the dashboard, with locking points to keep everything in place -- especially during a collision, should one occur.

[CNET]

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Fiat Chrysler joins BMW in race to make self-driving cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will cooperate with BMW to develop self-driving cars, the companies said, as traditional automakers look to defend their turf against cash-rich Silicon Valley giants eager to upend the industry. Autonomous vehicles are expected to transform the auto industry within the next decade. The new technology pits established carmakers, with their decades of experience and global supply chains, against the likes of Google and Apple, which have much greater financial resources as well as greater expertise in the software that will be crucial to the development of driverless vehicles.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Uber settles with FTC over 'God View' and some other privacy issues

Uber has agreed to settle accusations by America’s top consumer protection agency that the ride-hailing company failed to protect consumers’ sensitive data, a misstep that allowed employees to access rider and driver information and led to a data breach in 2014 that exposed thousands of drivers’ names and license numbers. The settlement with the Federal Trade Commission does not require Uber to pay to settle the allegations, the agency said. The San Francisco company is required to hire an outside firm to audit its privacy practices every two years for the next two decades, and violations of the settlement could lead to financial penalties.

[Los Angeles Times]

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Takata's Japanese parent gets temporary litigation shield

A Delaware bankruptcy judge gave Takata’s Japanese parent, which has petitioned for Chapter 15 recognition, temporary protection from collection efforts and lawsuits in the United States, with a larger fight over whether that shield should become permanent set for September. During a hearing in Wilmington, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan L. Shannon granted the provisional relief requested by Chapter 15 debtors Takata Corp. and affiliates Takata Kyushu Corp. and Takata Service Corp. that extends what are essentially the automatic stay powers in Chapter 11 to those entities. Under bankruptcy law, debtors who file under Chapter 11 are automatically protected from collection efforts and litigation unless approved by the bankruptcy court.

[Law360]

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Feds plan to take the wheel on self-driving cars

Congress’ consideration of first-of-its-kind legislation regulating how autonomous or self-driving cars are manufactured, tested and deployed in the U.S. indicates that the federal government will keep a tight rein on such automotive advancements while ensuring that states don’t overburden automakers with conflicting regulations of their own, experts say. In an effort to protect consumers and address the budding yet fast-evolving autonomous cars industry, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in late July passed a bill allowing automakers to each test up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards and barring states from imposing their own rules related to the design, manufacturing and performance of highly automated vehicles.

[Law360]

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GM blasts $1 billion deal between ignition switch plaintiffs, creditor trust

Plaintiffs suing General Motors Co (GM.N) over faulty ignition switches and other alleged vehicle defects have reached a $1 billion settlement requiring the automaker to turn over that amount of stock, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said in a court hearing. GM lawyer Richard Godfrey strongly criticized the agreement, telling U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan the Detroit-based company was given no say in the deal negotiated between the plaintiffs and a trust set up for creditors of “old GM,” which holds many liabilities predating the automaker's 2009 bankruptcy. Godfrey said the settlement was a result of collusion between the plaintiffs and the trust, and "a complete surrender and sellout using new GM's money."

[Reuters]

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Tesla boosts bond sale to $1.8 billion for Model 3

Debt investors proved no more immune to Elon Musk’s charms than their swooning counterparts in the stock market. Musk’s electric-car maker Tesla Inc. raised $1.8 billion in its debut bond sale, boosting the amount by $300 million to meet demand. The eight-year bonds were priced at a record-low yield of 5.3 percent -- a touch higher than initial talk of 5.25 percent. They’ll help fund the ambitious rollout of the Model 3, the linchpin of Musk’s plans to turn Tesla into a mass-market vehicle maker.  

[Bloomberg]

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Driverless-car outlook shifts as intel takes over Mobileye

About three years ago, the chip giant Intel seemed like a bystander in Silicon Valley’s race to develop self-driving cars. Even in microchips, its strength, Intel was scrambling to catch up to its rival Nvidia, whose superfast processors were attracting automakers because of their ability to fuse images from the cameras and radar sensors to detect obstacles. But Intel is betting that it can reshape the competitive landscape with its acquisition of Mobileye, which makes cameras, sensors and software that enable cars to detect what is ahead.

[New York Times]

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Toyota teams up with Mazda on electric vehicles, $1.6 billion US plant

Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. plan to spend $1.6 billion to jointly build auto manufacturing plant in the U.S. — a move that will create up to 4,000 jobs, both sides said. The plant will have an annual production capacity of about 300,000 vehicles, and will produce Toyota Corollas as well as a new Mazda crossover vehicle for the North American market. Toyota wouldn't say where the plant would be built, but because the new plant will build the Corolla, chances are it will be located near Toyota's current Corolla plant in Mississippi to be close to parts supply companies.

[Chicago Tribune]

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