A new reality check on self-driving cars – Axios

Some carmakers and tech companies say they’re preparing to deliver self-driving cars to consumers within just a few years, a fresh promise that makes it seem like 2016 again. But beware the hype.

Why it matters: Your car might be capable of driving itself in the not-too-distant future, but only under certain conditions, like favorable weather or within certain geographic limits. And the timetable is squishy at best.

  • Safety experts fear that the companies’ pronouncements could build unrealistic expectations or — worse — prompt consumers to leave too much of the driving to their automobiles.

Driving the news: Up until now, the industry has been working mostly on robotaxis and self-driving trucks for commercial service. But at the annual Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, three companies teased plans for when your own car might be able to drive itself.

What to watch: Details for each are sparse, but experts say the automated highway driving system Volvo described this week, Ride Pilot, is likely what we can expect from others as well.

  • Ride Pilot will go beyond current driver-assistance systems like GM’s SuperCruise or even Tesla’s (mislabeled) “full self-driving” (FSD) beta technology, which require drivers to pay attention.
  • That means drivers will be able to relax, read a book or work while the car handles the driving on certain stretches of highway.
  • Volvo, and not the human driver, will be responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle when the system is engaged.

Volvo says it plans to introduce Ride Pilot in California “once it has been verified as safe for use.” The carmaker has applied for an autonomous test permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and will begin testing there in mid-2022.

  • The hardware and software (from Luminar and Zenseact) will come standard on Volvo’s next-generation electric SUV, launching in 2023, but Ride Pilot won’t be functional initially.
  • “We’re not going to turn it on until we know that it’s safe,” Odgard Andersson, CEO of Zenseact, tells Axios.

The bottom line: Customers should expect to pay a premium for an automated driving subscription, based on the escalating price of Tesla’s FSD system, which promises full self-driving capability — some day.

  • “There’s a clear market for it,” Mike Ramsey, transportation and mobility analyst at Gartner, tells Axios.
  • “If Tesla is shaking people down for $10,000, and now $12,000, for a feature that only sort of works, clearly other companies can do it too.”


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NASCAR’s Symmetrical Next Gen Cars Are Getting Skewed In Practice – Jalopnik

NASCAR’s newest Next Gen cars may be designed to make these vehicles as symmetrical as possible, but some teams have already found a way around the rules. During this week’s test session at Daytona International Speedway, some cars have been running some fairly excessive skew — and right now, it could very well be totally legal.

Basically, skew refers to the angled nature of the NASCAR Cup Series car. The front end looks like it’s pointing in a different direction than the car is actually going, which gives the whole thing a sort of crab-walk look. The rear axle is mounted on a skew when compared to the whole chassis. For…….


Is Norway the future of cars? – Kathimerini English Edition

The speed by which electric vehicles have taken over Norway has stunned even the cars’ enthusiasts. [Asya Demidova/The New York Times]

Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8% of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids.

For years, Norway has been the world leader in shifting away from traditional cars, thanks to government benefits that made electric vehicles far more affordable and offered extras like letting electric car owners skip some fees for parking and toll roads.

Still, electric car enthusiasts are stunne…….