Items tagged with Automobiles

Tesla Motors is sitting on cloud nine this morning after posting third quarter earnings that beat out Wall Street estimates and sent its stock price up. Specifically, Tesla reported net income of $22 million, or 14 cents per share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2016, marking the first time the company has posted a profit since the first quarter of 2013. Just a year ago, Tesla posted a loss of nearly $230 million, or $1.78 per share. However, the car maker was able to more than double revenue from then to now, collecting $2.3 billion in the Q3 along with a positive free cash flow of $176 million. The impressive jump in numbers was due to a whopping 114 percent increase in car deliveries... Read more...
Mobile chip maker Qualcomm has inked a definitive agreement to purchase NXP Semiconductors in a deal valued at around $47 billion. The board of directors of both companies gave unanimous approval for the acquisition, which will see Qualcomm buy all of NXP's stock at $110 per share, an 11.5 percent premium over NXP's closing price on Wednesday. Should the deal receive regulatory approval, Qualcomm will be in position to become a major player in the fast growing connected car market. NXP is a leading chip maker in the automotive industry with mixed-signal semiconductor solutions for in-vehicle infotainment, networking, and safety systems. The company's products are found in 14 of the top 15 infotainment... Read more...
One thing that Google and automakers such as General Motors and Volkswagen can all agree on is that California's proposed rules on self-driving cars, while perhaps penned with good intentions, would hamper efforts to develop and test potentially life saving autonomous vehicle technologies. They could also lead to skewed reports regarding the safety of self-driving cars. For example, one of the rules (PDF) California proposed is that police wouldn't need a warrant or subpoena to extract any self-driving data within 24 hours. That one was one of many rules Google and automakers with vested interested in autonomous vehicles questioned and ultimately opposed, as the data would typically only be collected... Read more...
Luxury automaker Maserati has avoided the whole electric vehicle (EV) craze that's been driving product design at its competitors, but not anymore. The mandate from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is to build a Maserati EV as quickly as possible, so that's what engineering boss Roberto Fedeli is now focusing on, though he won't have anything ready before 2019. "I think that we could show something before 2020. Maybe 2019," Fedeli told Car and Driver during an interview at the Paris auto show. "We are working to be ready with something that we can show during the next couple of years."Fedeli is well aware that Maserati will be last to market with an EV model, but he isn't concerned... Read more...
Forget about flying cars, the next big thing in automotive design is autonomous technology. There's been a considerable amount of innovation and advances in self-driving vehicle technology over the past several years, but while that may have companies such as Google and Tesla super excited, new research from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) suggests that Americans aren't yet comfortable giving up control of their cars to a computer and a bunch of sensors. KBB commissioned the national study to better understand how consumers view autonomous vehicles. Market research firm Vital Findings conducted the survey, which included 2,200 residents of the United States with a wide age range from 12-64 years old.... Read more...
Google's been lucky in that it's avoided any major collisions involving its fleet of self-driving cars up to this point, though that changed heading into the weekend when an autonomous Lexus RX sustained significant damage from a commercial delivery van plowing into the passenger side of the vehicle. Initial reports suggest Google's self-driving technology was not at fault. The accident occurred in Mountain View as the Lexus RX was traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. While going through an intersection, a commercial van traveling westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and smashed into the autonomous vehicle. Cell phone footage taken from the passenger of the Lexus RX shows the car hoisted... Read more...
Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer has an ambitious vision of the future. In his mind, there will come a day when most of the ride-hailing service is run by self-driving cars rather than flesh and blood drivers. Oh, and that day is coming sooner than you think—how does five years strike you? That's the bold prediction Zimmer made in a recent blog post, but it wasn't the only one. Zimmer also predicted that private car ownership would "all but end" by 2025 in major U.S. cities, noting that millennials don't celebrate cars as symbols of freedom and identity the way that previous generations did and still do. To the average millennial, owning a car is an expensive burden, one that costs the... Read more...
Tesla is in the process of upgrading its Autopilot system to better 'see' the world surrounding world and discern from potentially dangerous objects that need to be avoided and those that don't require braking. Several of the changes that will ultimately lead to a smarter Autopilot system have been introduced in version 8 of its software. Version 8 contains dozens of small refinements, though the most significant upgrade is that of more advanced signal processing that taps the onboard radar to create a picture of the outside world. This represents a major change in strategy for Tesla and its Autopilot function. "The radar was added to all Tesla vehicles in October 2014 as part of the Autopilot... Read more...
Artificially intelligent systems are becoming increasingly capable as companies like Amazon build in new functionality and team with partners for creative uses of these technologies. Case in point, Hyundai is the first automaker to launch an Alexa skill, allowing remote voice commands to control connected cars as part of its Geneses Connected Services. Hyundai's Genesis Connected Services links the Alexa service built into Amazon Echo, Tap, Echo Dot, and Fire TV with the Genesis G80 and G90 luxury sedans. The benefit for G80 and G90 owners is that they can bark out remote car commands from inside their home. It's not an arbitrary feature—whereas key fobs with remote start functionality let you... Read more...
Self-driving cars might be the future of transportation, but for Uber, the time to pounce is now. Uber's ultimate goal is to replace the ride service's more than 1 million flesh and blood drivers with autonomous vehicles, and it wants to do it as soon as possible. While it seems premature to think about such a thing, Uber's going to let customers in downtown Pittsburgh virtually thumb rides from self-driving cars using their smartphones. Some riders who request rides will be picked up in specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles. The autonomous vehicles will sport an array of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers to navigate the roadways and avoid accidents with... Read more...
Tesla Motors is working feverishly to finish constructing its $5 billion, 3,200 acre "Gigafactory" located outside Sparks, Nevada (near Reno). It's already semi-operational with 1,000 construction workers toiling away seven days a week in two shifts. The factory, which is two years ahead of schedule, will help meet what's anticipated to be high demand for lithium-ion batteries for Tesla's not-yet-released Model 3 sedan. "We have to be ready with cell and pack production well ahead of vehicle production," JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer and co-founder, told The Wall Street Journal during a walk-through of the factory. "We’re accelerating our construction plans and accelerating our... Read more...
You're not supposed to know this but Apple is not-so-secretly working on an autonomous, electric vehicle project codenamed Project Titan. While Apple wants to keep its efforts on the down low, inside sources frequently spill the beans on the company's progress, and what they're saying now is that Apple's brought in Bob Mansfield, a former top executive, to lead the project.Mansfield's been involved with several hardware releases at Apple. He joined the company in 1999 and led  the development of products such as the MacBook Air and iMac before leaving the executive team in 2013. He had actually wanted to retire a year earlier but Tim Cook talked him out it, getting nine more months of service... Read more...
Yet another agency is looking into a fatal crash involving a 2015 Tesla Model S. The latest to don its detective cap is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is investigating whether Tesla ran afoul of securities regulations by not telling investors of the crash involving the company's self-driving car technology. The accident occurred in early May and took the life of Joshua Brown, the owner of the Model S that struck an 18-wheeler when the tractor trailer crossed in front of him on a divided highway. At the time of the accident, the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged. Unfortunately the sensors that detect the surroundings of the Model S failed to detect the 18-wheeler,... Read more...
Tesla Motors could use a bit of positive publicity to offset the recent scrutiny over its autonomous vehicle technology. What better way to do that than to hint at something awesome (and super secret) through social media? Tesla co-founder and product architect Elon Musk attempted to do just that by referencing a "Tesla masterplan" on Twitter."Working on top secret Telsa masterplan, part two. Hoping to publish later this week," Musk tweeted out over the weekend. His tweet elicited a bevy of guesses and humorous responses on Twitter, some of the former being a flying car and an Iron Man suit. As for the latter, one witty individual responded, "No spoilers please. I am a season behind on Elon Musk."The... Read more...
Following the first fatal accident involving Tesla's autonomous vehicle technology, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending a team of five investigators to Florida next week to investigate the crash and the circumstances that allowed the accident to occur. That's in addition to a probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS). Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety advocacy group in Washington, told Bloomberg that NTSB's probe is "very significant," adding that "the NTSB only investigates crashes with broader implications." Indeed, the NTSB has been skeptical of autonomous vehicles and has warned of the technology's downsides while... Read more...
It's not as though the LaFerrari is need of added sex appeal, it's already a sweet looking Italian ride that any auto buff will instantly fall in lust with. Be that as it may, Ferrari found a way to make it even sexier by removing its top, turning this exotic beauty into a convertible for drivers who find exhilaration in drop-top driving.Ferrari plans to debut its limited edition topless supercar at the Paris International Motor Show in October. In the meantime, Ferrari shared a few photos of the new open-top LaFerrari, which will feature the same engine as the original LaFerrari—a 6.3-liter V12 paired with a 120 kW electric motor pulling 950 horses and 664 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed... Read more...
Students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts took to the fast lane and developed an electric vehicle that's capable of going 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 1.513 seconds. Here in the U.S. where we stubbornly shun the metric system, that's roughly equivalent to a 0 to 60 miles per hour measurement (62.1371 MPH to be exact). More importantly, the students can celebrate setting a world record in acceleration for an electric car. Hitting 100 km/h in just 1.513 seconds took just 30 meters of track at the Dübendorf air base near Zurich. Previously the world record sat at 1.779 seconds, which was achieved by a team assembled at the University of Stuffgart. Talk about... Read more...
Do you get nervous and start sweating bullets when you have to make a left-hand turn at a busy intersection with no stop light? The scenario is a little more common in big and busy cities like Los Angeles, and to make commutes a little less stressful for drivers, Waze created a new routing feature that bypasses intersections altogether when possible. The feature is rolling out first to to L.A., one of the busier and more crowded places in the U.S. to drive, particularly during rush hour. To identify the intersections that are most troublesome to drivers, Waze said it worked closely with the local map editor and employee community. "They shared lists of what they perceived to be the most difficult... Read more...
Tesla might be the first name you think of when the topic of electric vehicles comes up, but being popular doesn't always guarantee victory. Case in point, German automaker BMW beat Tesla by winning a contract to supply the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) with a flee of electric cars for its community outreach program and other police business.The LAPD will lease 100 of BMW's all-electric i3 vehicles, which effectively doubles the number of electric cars that are collectively in use by different departments in the city. None of these are used for patrol or for hot pursuit—those activities still rely on good old fashioned gasoline powered vehicles.Tesla had a shot at winning the contract... Read more...
Part of being a safe driver is knowing when to use a car horn and to what degree. It's a skill that's lost on many drivers, who instead use the horn as an outlet for their frustration at other motorists rather than a warning signal that something bad is about to happen. Google's determined to teach its fleet of autonomous vehicles the correct way to use the horn. Like so many other aspects of Google's self-driving cars, horn use relies on an algorithm. This is something Google developed slowly over time—at first, the horn would only be played inside the vehicle so that test drivers could offer feedback. This allowed Google to fine tune its horn honking algorithm without confusing other drivers.... Read more...
Few things will force a smile the way a throaty V8 engine will when revving it even just in neutral, but the downside to muscle cars and sporty vehicles such as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is gas mileage. Best case scenario is twenty-something miles per gallon. Compare that to Toyota's 2016 model Prius, which goes farther on a gallon of gas than any vehicle Consumer Reports has ever tested.The new model Prius averaged 52 MPG during testing, besting the record held by Honda Insight's 51 MPG set all the way back in 2000 when a gallon of gas ran in the neighborhood of $1.50. A year prior, gas prices averaged $1.14 per gallon, according to AAA. Given that gas prices continued... Read more...
Not all jobs at Google entail crunching code or having familiarity with APIs. If you have a clean driving history, excellent written and verbal communication skills, can type at least 40 words per minute, and a BS or BA degree, you could end up working for Google in a position on one of its self-driving car teams (and no, not the San Andreas team). The gig pays $20 per hour to test Google's autonomous vehicles. It entails driving (or riding) in an autonomous Lexus for six to eight hours per day as it roams the city streets of Arizona. However, you wouldn't be able to just kick your legs up and take an extended nap—you'd have to monitor the software systems, take notes, and compete daily reports.... Read more...
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