Carrobot joins the aftermarket HUD fray

Carrobot If you want to add a head-up display (HUD) to your car, you’ve certainly got choices. In addition to Navdy and its Chinese clone Roav, Carrobot launched in October to bring its eye-level interface to cars that don’t have the tech built in. Carrobot distinguishes itself from its competitors, most notably Navdy and Exploride, by having full voice control for all functions as well as… Read More

Vehicle security device Ernest launches today

Ernest app interface Ernest is a bit difficult to describe. It’s a device, it’s two devices, it’s an app, and according to its founder, Arturs Pumpurs, it’s a kind of virtual butler. The system secures your vehicle, tells you where it is, and controls your garage door or, if you have one, gate. The Kickstarter campaign starts October 28 and runs through December 7. The project began as a… Read More

Carvana raises a $160M Series C to expand its online dealership and car vending machines nationwide

Nashville Vending Machine 1 The used car industry is an interesting business. The market is huge – 45 million used cars are bought each year in the U.S. But the biggest player, CarMax, only controls about 2% of the market – but is still valued at about $12 billion by Wall Street. So that makes the market not only ripe for disruption, but also extremely lucrative. Carvana is a used car dealer that thinks… Read More

Tesla misses Q2 earnings, delivers 14,402 vehicles

tesla-earnings Tesla news has been dominating Silicon Valley over the last few weeks and today’s earnings report released after the close of the market hasn’t shaken fundamental views about the company. The energy company born out of an automobile company reported non-GAAP Q2 revenue of $1.56 billion up from last year’s Q2 revenue of $1.2 billion. The company came close but ultimately… Read More

Wype will come clean your car where it sits

Jeep Grand Cherokee Recently, I wrote about Wyper, the Tinder of car shopping. That prompted Andy Kim, cofounder of Wype, to contact me. His business is one letter off from Wyper, after all, so in the interest of disamibguation, here’s the scoop on the car detailing company that is more like Uber than Tinder in the app comparison game. Wype is based in Southern California, where cars are shiny and water… Read More

Google self-driving car boss to automakers: ‘We hope to work with many of you guys’


Detroit (by Joseph White for Reuters) — Alphabet Inc’s Google wants to form more partnerships with established automakers and suppliers this year to accelerate its work on self-driving cars, the head of the Google project said on Tuesday.

John Krafcik, the newly hired president of the Google self-driving car project, did not mention any automakers by name. However, appearing at a media conference at the Detroit auto show, Krafcik surveyed a room packed with hundreds of auto industry executives and said: “We hope to work with many of you guys.”

Google officials have said previously the internet search company does not want to build vehicles, but instead supply the software and mapping to allow a car to safely navigate busy streets and highways.

“No one goes this alone,” Krafcik said. “We are going to be partnering more and more and more.” He said he hopes to form more alliances this year.

Google has worked with automotive suppliers and contract manufacturers to build a small fleet of prototype self-driving cars – small, light pod-cars that look nothing like the sport utility vehicles and pickups on display at the Detroit show.

Google, major global automakers and several auto technology companies such as Delphi Automotive, Continental AG, and Mobileye NV are jockeying to define and lead development of vehicles that use machine vision, sophisticated maps, and artificial intelligence to take over for error-prone human drivers.

Krafcik said he believed partially automating the operation of a car, requiring drivers to take command under certain conditions, can create safety problems, a key point on which Google and most automakers differ.

The car “has to shoulder the whole burden,” he said.

Most automakers, including General Motors, Tesla, Daimler AG, and Nissan are pushing to get cars on the road that allow hands-free driving under certain conditions, but require the driver to take over in more complex situations such as city driving.

(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Bill Rigby)

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Baidu says it’s developed China’s first fully autonomous self-driving car


Chinese Internet search giant Baidu announced on Thursday that its self-driving car has “successfully completed rigorous, fully-autonomous tests… under a variety of environmental conditions.”

Following the test, Baidu is claiming to be “the first in China to have demonstrated full autonomy under mixed road conditions.”

Baidu started working on the technology back in 2013, and says it aims to map the majority of China’s roads with its own 3D mapping system within 10 years. That’s no small feat considering the size of the country.

Tech giants including Google and Apple are known to be working on their own (self-driving) car technology, and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk took to Twitter last month to say he was looking for “hardcore” software engineers to beef up the company’s self-driving car software.

road test photo 1

“The road tests were carried out under complex road conditions, and the Baidu vehicle — a modified BMW 3 Series — completed the tests by executing a comprehensive set of driving actions and accurately responding to the driving environment,” Baidu said.

It added that the car speed peaked at 100 km per hour during the test runs.

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The vehicle managed to make right and left turns (as well as U-turns), decelerate when detecting vehicles ahead, change lanes, pass other cars, merge into traffic from on-ramps, and exit from off-ramps.

While the technology is clearly starting to progress in leaps and bounds, I expect that China — like every other country — will take a good few years to mull over self-driving car regulations before they become road-legal and available to the public at large.

For now, a cool step forward for Baidu and China.

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