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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Monetizing the Drive: Buying a Car and Selling the Data

Truly nothing is ad-free anymore. The surge in software and sensors in new vehicles and the ever-growing role of AI technology means new profits are within reach for automakers through data use. If consumers opt in for data-driven services – such as maps for finding charging stations, discounts on car insurance, coupons at gas stations – they’ll also opt-in to sharing their valuable driving data with third parties. Big Brother, meet Big Auto.

VW Wants to Think Different with EVs

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, VW is not shy about its regard for the company behind iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Volkswagen is looking for inspiration from a likely design source, Apple. Just as the tech company definitively distinguished itself from competitors such as Samsung and Sony, Volkswagen wants to distill down a new design concept and company priorities that will set it apart in the age of electric vehicles.

GM Debuts Still-Developing In-Car App

While the Marketplace is open, GM is still getting vendors. In December, GM rolled out “Marketplace” to over 2 million GM drivers with an initial pack of features for ordering food, reserving hotel rooms and restaurant tables, and locating gas stations from your GM vehicle. While still in its early stages, Marketplace promises to become a useful feature for customers. Dunkin’ Donuts, Shell, Exxon, and TGI Fridays are all currently onboard.

Take Me For a Test Drive: Auto Dealers and Hand Controls – How Much Accommodation is Too Much Accommodation?

In Karczewski v. DCH Mission Valley, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the district court’s dismissal of an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III claim regarding the availability of temporary hand controls in vehicles for test drives. This was one of many related cases by the same law firm against local car dealers for lack of available hand controls. Those cases include Karczewski v. K Motors, Inc., 14-cv-2701, Karczewski v. DCH Mission Valley, LLC, 14-cv-2639, Karczewski v.

VCs Have Spotted a New Prodigy in Automotive Retail

And they're not the only ones taking note of the standout platform. Prodigy, an Alchemist Accelerator automotive sales company, recently announced that it has closed a $5.4 million seed funding round. Prodigy is providing an effective, white label online sales platform that will allow licensed new motor vehicle franchisees to sell and finance inventory from start to finish online, allowing dealers to bring the future to the present on their own branded websites.

In-Dash Nav Systems Look to Outsmart Phone Apps

The future, according to carmakers, does not include using your built-in navigation system as a stand for your smartphone and its Google Maps app. These systems, though currently less smart and far more clunky than their app counterparts, are expected to record more data, learn your preferences, update over the air, and help develop autonomous vehicles. Future map and other products will connect to the cloud and will be easily updated and upgraded, and data will be collected from a vehicle’s cameras and sensors as well as neighboring vehicles.

Top-of-the-Line Tech Hits Automaker Bottom Line

The future looks bright, but today’s quarterly earnings are expected to be flat. Daimler recently announced that their profit growth would not hit quarterly earnings forecasts due to spending on new technologies like electric cars and autonomous vehicles. The announcement flagged the issue of profitability across the industry, with both investments and exchange rate challenges presented as marquee issues.

Self-Driving Car Crash Lawsuits Are Officially Up and Running

Drivers, start your litigation. GM is understood to be the first autonomous car maker sued over an accident allegedly caused by a self-driving car. The case addresses an incident involving a motorcyclist and the execution of a lane change that occurred in San Francisco in December while a Cruise Automation 2016 Chevrolet Bolt was in self-driving mode. There are already conflicting accounts of the incident, which was reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the San Francisco Police Department at the time of the accident.

Senate Looks to Push Right Buttons to Drive Autonomous Bill Forward

Unfortunately, legislation isn’t self-driving – at least not yet. The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune, is still exploring strategies to pass legislation that would enable automakers to put thousands of self-driving cars on the roads. Despite significant support for the bill, Senate leaders have attempted to reach unanimous consent from their colleagues, and are considering changes to win full support. Opposition to the bill centers on auto safety concerns in the autonomous era.

CSI: Tesla Autopilot Crash Scene Investigation

CSI, NTSB, NHTSA, AV START: we have the acronyms and we’re ready to use them. Both the NTSB and NHTSA are sending investigators to analyze a crash involving a fire truck and a Tesla that apparently was engaged in Autopilot mode. The news of the incident and investigation is making headlines as the Senate works to move federal legislation forward that would allow automakers to roll out thousands of self-driving cars to US roads. This is the NTSB’s second investigation of an incident involving Tesla’s Autopilot.