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Cars

FCA, Aurora make moves to realize self-driving commercial vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Aurora announced on Monday that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for a deal to integrate Aurora’s self-driving system in FCA’s commercial vehicles. It’s still early days so understandably neither company provided a time frame. It also isn’t clear which of FCA’s commercial vehicles would be fitted with the system. Aurora calls its system the Aurora Driver. The system comprises the hardware, software and data services that help guide self-driving cars, and right now it’s being developed at Level 4 capability. This means it can…

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Daimler to bring self-driving trucks to the road with America’s Torc Robotics

The commercial vehicle arm of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler on Friday announced it acquired a majority stake in Torc Robotics, a company based in Blacksburg, Virginia, developing self-driving systems for multiple vehicle categories, ranging from SUVs to 300-ton mining trucks. The deal, which is still subject to approval, will see Torc move into the potentially lucrative goods transport sector by working with the local arm of Daimler Trucks and Buses, Daimler Trucks North America, to develop a Level 4 self-driving system for use on semi-trailer trucks sold in the United…

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Hot Wheels introduces Roborace self-driving race car model

Roborace has plans to take humans out of the cockpit in a futuristic machine-versus-machine race series, but before that happens, it’s putting its Robocars in the hands of people—quite literally. That’s because the latest Robocar is a 1:64 scale model in the form of a Hot Wheels toy. Hot Wheels and Roborace announced the new toy car on Tuesday, and it’s an exact depiction of the Robocar self-driving electric racer. The Robocar is still in development, with Roborace working with its DevBot prototype to hone the self-driving systems.  Roborace Hot…

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Honda and Hino join Toyota’s self-driving car company Monet

Honda and Japanese commercial vehicles brand Hino announced Thursday they are joining the mobility company Monet established by Toyota and Japanese investment firm SoftBank last October. Monet, whose name is a portmanteau of “mobility” and “network,” will initially offer a ride-hail service in Japan for several public agencies and partner companies. However, as early as 2020, the company will launch an autonomous delivery service based around Toyota’s e-Palette, a self-driving shuttle bus that was shown in concept form in early 2018. Honda and Hino each paid about $2.27 million for…

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Second Apple engineer accused of stealing self-driving car tech secrets for China

Following an accusation last July against an ex-Apple engineer, the FBI has arrested a second Apple employee after he allegedly tried to steal self-driving car technology secrets and leave the country. The employee is Jizhong Chen, and according to a CNBC report on Wednesday, the FBI arrested him one day before he was scheduled to leave for China. Apple reportedly began investigating Chen when another employee said he or she witnessed him taking photos in a secretive area. Chen then allowed Apple Global Security to search his laptop, where they…

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Apple drops 200 staff from Project Titan self-driving car skunkworks

Apple’s self-driving system atop a Lexus RX – Image via MacCallister Higgins Apple has let more than 200 employees go from its secretive Project Titan self-driving car operation. CNBC first reported on the move Thursday and an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the cuts in a statement to the news organization. The spokesperson said Apple will refocus on other projects and areas in 2019 and some groups were moved to other parts of the company. However, the company still believes “there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique…

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Cars

Rain reportedly confuses Waymo self-driving cars

Waymo self-driving car It appears precipitation is enough to require the human back-up driver to take control in a Waymo self-driving car. According to a report from The Verge, rain was one of a few factors that prevented Waymo’s self-driving car from carrying out its autonomous duties. The insight came from one of just a few people who Waymo has cleared to be a part of the Waymo One ride-hailing service. The company launched the service late last year in Arizona with a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica minivans. However, according…

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BMW and Daimler reportedly in talks over self-driving car partnership

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback and 2018 BMW i3 Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is already partnered with BMW Group in the area of mobility, with the two German auto giants last month having received regulatory approval to merge their various mobility divisions into a single joint-venture company. Now the two are reportedly in talks over partnering in the area of self-driving cars, which on the surface appears like a natural extension of the mobility merger deal. Citing sources at Daimler and BMW Group, Handelsblatt reported Monday that the two firms are…

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VW poaches Apple executive for self-driving car development

Volkswagen Group Sedric concept, 2017 Geneva auto show Volkswagen has successfully hired former Apple executive Alexander Hitzinger to help lead self-driving technology development. His larger role is direct responsibility for technical development for commercial vehicles, and he will also lead the company’s Mobility as a Service initiative, which imagines a future in which people will simply ride in cars rather than own them. Automotive News (subscription required) reported on Hitzinger’s hiring on Wednesday and noted the former Apple executive was part of the company’s Project Titan team. Project Titan was Apple’s self-driving electric-car…

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GM Cruise and DoorDash partner for self-driving food deliveries

GM Cruise Automation self-driving Bolt EV General Motors and its Cruise self-driving car division announced a new partnership with popular food delivery service DoorDash that will employ autonomous vehicles to deliver food this March. Both companies announced the new pilot program on Thursday days after former GM President Dan Ammann took over as CEO of Cruise. “Partnering with DoorDash will provide us with critical learnings as we further our mission to deliver technology that makes people’s lives better and more convenient,” he said in a statement. According to Automotive News…

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