In 2021, this Ford won’t have a steering wheel or pedals

Ford Fusion Hybrid self-driving test vehicle .
Image: Ford Motor Company

If you thought Google’s steering wheel-less Prototype automobiles were a vision of a far-off future, you’re in for a astound. That’s because Ford Motor Company announced Tuesday that in the year 2021, it will have a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing available not just to luxury customers but to everyone.

What’s more, the vehicle won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals: it will be fully autonomous.

Ford’s fully autonomous car will fall under Level 4 autonomy on the Society of Automotive Engineers( SAE) international standard for automated driving. For comparison, Tesla’s Autopilot and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot are Level 2 autonomy.

Generally, Level 4 has been defined by an autonomous car’s ability to drive itself in some environments, like on freeway onramps or during low-speed traffic jams. Instead, Ford is defining Level 4 a bit differently for its yet-unnamed 2021 vehicle autonomous vehicle.

The fully autonomous Ford will be able to handle all driving duties in a predetermined area an area that’s already been mapped with high-definition 3D technology.

The Ford won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals

That means you won’t be allowed to hail a ride from one of these cars and run anywhere merely in the areas the Ford has been programmed to run. However, where it does take you, it’ll be able to handle anything the world can throw at it. Or, at least, it better. Because you can’t intervene in the driving at all.

This leads us to the second part of Ford’s announcement: its further investment in four companies championing technologies key to fully automated driving.

Ford announced earlier Tuesday that it has invested in Velodyne, a light detecting and ranging( LiDAR) sensor producer based in Silicon Valley. LiDAR has long been seen as a key component in a fully autonomous vehicle. Ford also acquired SAIPS, an Israeli company working with AI and deep computer learn, which, too, will help its automobiles handle any situation they may encounter.

An exclusive licensing agreement has also been announced between Ford and Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC, which will help Ford’s autonomous cars identify objects on the road. Lastly, Ford has invested in Civil Maps, a Berkeley-based company pioneering 3D mapping tech the tech that will be the key to the vehicle’s Level 4 independence rating.

Ford Fusion Hybrid self-driving test vehicle.

Image: Ford Motor Company

Although five years seems far off, for Ford, it’s a blink of an eye. That’s OK because the carmaker has been working on autonomous driving for more than 10 years and it has a lot more to accomplish in the next five.

By the end of this year, for example, Ford will have the largest autonomous test vehicle fleet of any automaker. In fact, it will have around 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan.

In conjunction with that expansion of its autonomous driving fleet and its tech investments, Ford is also doubling the size of its Palo Alto campus.

Of course, since the promised vehicle is five years off, Ford has not chose what platform the fully autonomous auto will ride on. Nor has it determined whether it will be a sedan, hatchback or SUV. Moreover, Ford isn’t sure whether its fully autonomous vehicle is likely to be powered by a gasoline, hybrid or fully electric powertrain.

Intriguingly, those aren’t the only unknowns with this project. Ford isn’t sure how it will offer the ride-sharing vehicle to customers, be it through the FordPass app or with another ride-sharing platform. Clearly, there’s a lot of details to be worked out in the next half decade.

While the fully autonomous Ford will start off as a ride-share-only vehicle, as the costs of the technology comes down, it’s plausible that you might be able to buy one for yourself. The tech begs the issues to, though: Would you even require or want to own a self-driving automobile?

No matter, though, in just five years, you’ll probably be able to hail a ride in one whether you own it or not.

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Fabricating Catastrophe: General Motors Is Recollecting 16,000 Vehicles That Had An Old Woman Yelling In The Passenger Seat

Well, this is just about the last thing you want to hear from the company that build your car. If youve bought a vehicle from General Motor within the past year or two, youll definitely want to read this: The carmaker announced this week that it is recollecting over 16,000 vehicles that left the factory with an old woman call in the passenger seat.


The recall, which affects the model year 2015 Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Spark, came to the carmakers attention after drivers complained about a troubling holler noise emanating from the passenger side. After an investigation by the company, the source of the screaming was discovered to be an old woman sitting in the passenger seat. Apparently, GM needs to take a long look at its quality control, because with over 200 reported cases of a cry old woman, its got a serious problem on its hands.

We have recently become aware that a large number of late-model GM vehicles left the factory with an irate elderly woman in the passenger seat, read a statement from General Motor. We have identified and fixed the flaw in our manufacturing process, and we encourage drivers of affected models to bring their vehicles in for inspection as soon as is practicable. In the meantime, these automobiles should not be driven on the open road. Whether or not they cause an accident, they do have an old woman in the passenger seat, and she is yelling.

As part of the remember, GM has promised that it will remove the yelling old woman, or, in cases where that is not possible, replace the entire passenger seat free of charge. Company officials have also stated that while there is no threat in feeding the old woman, it does not appear to have any impact on the cry, and should not be used as a replacement for proper corrective maintenance.

If you feel like this is too little, too late, youre not alone. For months, drivers have had to deal with an old lady in their passenger seat interrupting their daily commute by yelling at full volume. One driver described the old woman in his car holler I need more postages throughout his entire trip-up to New Mexico.


Yet again, the consumer has to deal with problems that never should have happened in the first place. If you or anyone you know drives one of these cars, make sure to get it checked out. One thing is for sure: GM will have a lot of work to do mending client relations after this one.

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Chevrolet cuts 4G LTE data plan pricing for its vehicles in half

The 2015 GMC Canyon with an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio that’s standard on SLE and SLT and GMC IntelliLink infotainment system.
Image: General Motors

Chevrolet was the first automaker to add 4G LTE connectivity to every model in its lineup. And now, just in time for the Fourth of July, the American automaker is cutting its data plan pricing virtually in half.

The Wi-Fi hotspot generated from the vehicle’s 4G data connection can support up to seven devices at once. Chevrolet brags it has sold more than 2.1 million vehicles with LTE connectivity since June 2014.

The brand now offers four distinct data plans. At the low end, buyers can choose 1 gigabyte per month for $10 per month down from $20 per month. At the top end, customers can step up from 10 GB for 12 months plan to 20 GB, for the same price of $150.

Although 4G data acceptance has been successful, in fact a majority of the brand’s large SUV drivers use their in-vehicle hotspots, Chevy is keen to make the data plans more accessible and usage wider spread.

Personally, I wish every car had 4G LTE. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been riding shotgun in a friend’s car, trying to get some work done and wishing I had some Wi-Fi. Shoot, maybe I should just breakdown and buy a Chevy after all.

BONUS: Testing out the 2016 Chevy Cruze’s 4G LTE Wi-Fi

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Volkswagen I.D. electric car to have a 373 -mile range when it arrives in 2020

After it was discovered in September 2015 that Volkswagen doctored its cars’ diesel engines to give false reads in emissions tests a costly mistake known as the Dieselgate scandal the company had no choice but to thoroughly change its strategy.

And change it it did: The company simply unveiled its an all-new, fully electric car, the Volkswagen I.D.

The car was teased with a few promo pictures a few weeks ago, and the company presented a prototype at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday and exposed a few key facts. It’s a roughly Golf-sized hatchback with a 125 kW electric motor with zero emissions. It’s Volkswagen’s first automobile to be based on the company’s Modular Electric Drive( MEB) architecture, which should make better employ of space than the company’s current hybrid models. It will have an impressive, but currently quite vague range; Volkswagen says it’ll be “up to 600 kilometers”( 373 miles ).

It’s no wonder, however, that Volkswagen doesn’t are extremely exact numbers at this phase, as the I.D. is slated to hit the roads in 2020. Volkswagen has plans for the I.D. even further down the road: the company claims the car will be fully autonomous in “I.D. Pilot” mode in 2025.

As for the cost, Volkswagen says it will have a price on the level of today’s Golf Diesel with comparable power. That’s less than $30,000 in the U.S ., though we don’t know whether that’s before or after tax credit.

Although 2020 seems far away, there aren’t that many affordable electric cars with a 200+ mile scope around. In fact, I can only think of one, the recently announced Chevy Bolt, which expenses $37,450( before tax credit) and will arrive at Chevy dealership later this year. Tesla’s Model 3, which is expected to have a 215 -mile range and a $35,000 cost( before tax credit ), should start shipping in late 2017. Whether Volkswagen is able to back up its bold asserts about pricing and range is another matter; it certainly has time to work on the I.D ., but by then, it’s likely that Tesla, Chevrolet and others will already be depicting second or third iterations of their fully electric, affordable household cars.

In its press release from the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen also mentioned a automobile that’s far closer to production, a new generation of its e-Golf. It will have a 300 km( 186 miles) zero-emission range and gesture control when it launchings in November.

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Apple co-founder is flinging his Tesla for the Chevy Bolt EV

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Image: Chevrolet

If you think the Tesla Model S is the only EV good enough for tech royalty like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, you might want to reconsider your stance.

That’s because, in agreement with the Woz’s confirmed Facebook page, he’s planning to trade in his Model S for the forthcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The Woz famously bought a Model S after Elon Musk chided the Apple co-founder in an email for buying a gas-powered vehicle. And although the Woz made the passed over to pure electric with his $100,000 -plus Tesla, he’s not inevitably one for luxury.

In fact, the keen eyes at Electrek highlighted Woz’s explain for his plan to switch over to the mass-market Bolt EV from the decidedly upmarket Model S 😛 TAGEND

Knowing myself, it may replace the Tesla. A plenty of complaints about the Tesla that my wife and I have are solved in this vehicle. It’s not just some name where you have to take a side. The user conveniences are well thought out and the functionality is great. I tell everyone that the most valuable, useful auto of my life was the Prius that I drove for 10 years. I don’t need top-of-the-line luxury. We have a Tesla but there is no other EV choice that’s good for road trips. The Bolt will need some personal testing by Janet and myself to find out how it is on road journeys. Otherwise, it’s what we want. Extra features aren’t the big picture, or we’d have skipped the Tesla for a Mercedes.

This should prove a great instance for those waiting patiently( for who knows how long) for Tesla’s mass-market Model 3. Not only will Chevy’s Bolt EV have a 200 -plus mile range, it solves grievances owneds have with Teslas at least in agreement with the Woz.

So, if you want a great, affordable long-range EV and don’t want to suffer the unknown wait for the Model 3, Bolt EVs reached showrooms afterwards this year.

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Tesla Autopilot victim may have been watching ‘Harry Potter’ during crash

A 17 -inch touchscreen is featured in the Model S .
Image: Ann Hermes/ The Christian Science Monitor/ AP

Florida Highway Patrol received a portable DVD player inside the Tesla Model S that collided with a tractor trailer on Wednesday, according to reports. The driver was killed when both he and the Autopilot system failed to see the truck intersecting the highway.

The driver of the truck involved the accident, Frank Baressi, said a Harry Potter movie was still being shown in the DVD player, a Reuters report said.

Baressi could not assure the video playing, but rather could hear it playing as he approached the Model S, according to CNBC .

However, officials have yet to determine whether the driver, identified as Joshua Brown, was watching the video at the time of the crash.

Some have wondered whether the video was playing on the portable DVD player’s screen or on the car’s in-dash 17 -inch touchscreen. Tesla has said it’s not possible to watch a movie on its screen. However, a hacker was able to rig his Model ‘S screen to play videos.

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Gone in 100 Seconds: The Fastest-Selling Cars in America

We’ve got self-driving cars, space-age minivans, and electric dream cruisersbut we’re still buying the same vehicles, year after year.

The top 11 best-selling models in the U.S. this year collectively accounted for roughly one out of every four vehicles that rolled out of dealerships.

Call it the 100-second club: At least one of each of these 11 models was purchased at least every 100 seconds. Nissan’s Rogue just made the cut, at 98 seconds, while Ford’s Escape just missed it, at 101 seconds.

Here’s the full list.

  1. Ford F-150 (39.7 seconds)
  2. Chevrolet Silverado (55.6)
  3. Ram pickup (65.6)
  4. Toyota Camry (79.6)
  5. Toyota Corolla (81.9)
  6. Honda Civic (83.4)
  7. Honda CR-V (89.8)
  8. Toyota RAV4 (90.9)
  9. Honda Accord (91.5)
  10. Nissan Altima (97.9)
  11. Nissan Rogue (98)

Unit sales are often only distantly linked to profit, but the 100-second club underscores three somewhat surprising things about today’s auto business.

  1. Car consumers seem to be getting more conservative. From January through September, while the U.S. auto industry overall slowed a bit, sales of the top 11 models rose by 2.8 percent from the same period last year. Buyers are consolidating at the top.The car, once a source of passion and prestige, is becoming a more utilitarian commodity. Maybe someday, we’ll all be riding around in pods from Apple. Today, we’re increasingly driving Camrys and Ford pickups.
  2. The sedan isn’t quite dead yet. Five of the top 11 models are old-fashioned carsones that have four doors and don’t purport to climb boulder fields. Honda’s Civic even managed a 14 percent sales spike, compared with the first 10 months of last year. Meanwhile, only three SUVs have cracked the 100-second club1.
  3. A new car is still a sizable purchase for nearly all buyers, and they care less about getting their decisions absolutely right than they do about not getting them wrong. There’s safety in the herd of Hondas. Ford has only one model, the F-150, in the 100-second club. But it sits at the very top of the list, while three other Ford modelsthe Escape, Fusion, and Explorerhave come close to breaking through. Without pickup trucks, General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler would be missing. 

As consumers begin to tap the brakes on buying cars, it will be critical for auto makers to have models they can choose without much thought. The 100-second club is about to become more important than ever. 

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These Bugattis weren’t for sale. But a Saudi Prince bought them for$ 5 million.

Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo
Image: Bugatti

The new Bugatti Chiron isn’t even on sale yet. And the car that the ultra-luxury French brand used to tease it, the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, wasn’t ever intended for sale. Despite that, though, both the Chiron prototype and the one-of-one Vision were auctioned off to a Saudi prince for over$ 5 million.

Prince Badr bin Saud of Saudi Arabia posted two pictures taken by photographer GFWilliams to his Instagram account of the Bugatti prototypes, showing off his two new( presumably) prize possessions.

A photo posted by (@ b14 ) on Jul 30, 2016 at 7:58 am PDT

Since both sets of vehicles were built for show rather than marketing, it’s unclear if they run and drive. Sometimes, carmakers do get prototypes up and running. Other days, they don’t.

Regardless, the cars will make awesome additions to his collection.

A photo posted by (@ b14 ) on Aug 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm PDT

No matter your impressions about the buy, you can’t deny that owning both sets of stunning Bugattis demonstrates that it’s good to be the … prince?

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Nissan’s autonomous minivan will go on sale in Japan in August

Nissan said that the new Serena, scheduled to go on sale in Japan in late August, will come equipped with the company’s ProPILOT autonomous drive technology .
Image: Nissan

Nissan’s big pushing to offer 10 autonomous models in dealerships by 2020 are formally begun.

Nissan announced that it will sell its first car with autonomous tech onboard, the Serena minivan, to Japanese customers starting in August.

The Serena debuts the brand’s autonomous driving system called ProPILOT. It can drive autonomously in a single lane on the superhighway, controlling throttle, brake and steering. As Nissan sets it, this eases “driver workload in heavy freeway traffic and long commutes.”

This compares to semi-autonomous driving systems currently offered in the U.S ., which fall into the Level 2 range of independence like Mercedes’ Drive Pilot and Tesla Autopilot. That entails, unlike with the Tesla Autopilot system, drivers of the Nissan Serena can safely remove their hands from the steering wheel without endangering safety.

By comparison to the beta-tested Autopilot, which can be operated virtually willy nilly, ProPILOT’s operation is limited to a single lane on a freeway( detected by GPS) and to speeds between 30 kilometers per hour( 18 miles per hour) and 100 kph( 62 mph ).

In 2018, Nissan will unveil an even more robust version of ProPILOT that can automatically change lanes on freeways. Nissan says it will implement a system that can operate fully autonomously in urban environments by 2020.

Update 10:45 AM ET: We changed “self-driving” to “autonomous” to better clarify the ProPILOT system. Furthermore, we also removed a mention that the system would allow drivers to fully disengage from driving . Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments .

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