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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

For Automakers, the Future is Global and Gasless

Foreign markets are top-of-mind for automakers, and neither the market nor the auto brands are being shy about it. Major international markets are announcing initiatives or full-out bans against gas and diesel engines, and automakers are willing to adapt to capture or maintain business in these cities or countries. Most recently, Paris officials announced a plan to ban gas-powered cars from the city by 2030 this month, following an announcement that diesel cars would be banned by 2024. China, India, Britain, and California have also announced similar intentions.

Survey Says: Consumers Ready to Buy in on Self-Driving Tech

Gotta love a good survey. According to Edmunds, consumers are ready to spend on early-stage automotive autonomy technology even if they’re still unsure about fully self-driving cars. Drivers highly value features like blind-spot detection and are ready to pay thousands of dollars extra for them. Active safety features are currently one of the most adopted forms of autonomous technology in use. Also gotta love a good safety breakthrough.

A Cartel, a Raid, and Investigations at BMW HQ

It seems like cartels are not just popular on Netflix these days. In documentary-worthy drama, EU authorities raided BMW headquarters to investigate an alleged cartel among German automakers. Rival Daimler reportedly blew the whistle on BMW after a Der Spiegel article and tip that Daimler, BMW, VW, and its Audi and Porsche offshoots conspired to fix diesel and auto technology prices over several decades.

Lyft Picks Up $1 Billion with Help from the Capital G

No need to spell it out if you can just use Alphabet. The Big G’s CapitalG investment fund helped Lyft raise $1 billion in new funds. With the latest boosts, Lyft says its valuation has increased from $7.5 billion to $11 billion. Talk about cashing in the Gs. If you’re thinking that we just shared another major Alphabet or Lyft partnership, you’re right. Lyft has a partnership with Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, but Alphabet has previously invested in Uber. Lyft also has a separate partnership with GM, and Waymo is now suing Uber.

The Cartel: Collusion Between Germany's Biggest Carmakers

The diesel scandal is not a failure on the part of individual companies, but rather the result of collusion among German automakers that lasted for years. Audi, BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen and Porsche coordinated their activities in more than a thousand meetings. The exposure of a cartel. To read the full article from Der Spiegel click here.

A Tale of Two Autonomies: Self-Driving Cars and City Sprawl

Self-driving technology isn’t just about the four wheels. In a new study by Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum, urban sprawl is a concern in how autonomous cars will change the composition of cities. With less painful commutes, workers may live farther away and stretch out urban centers. While there may be both more vehicles on the road and more long0distance commuters, traffic time and pollution are expected to diminish.

Autonomous Shuttles Make First Foray onto Detroit Streets

And they’re not products of the Detroit Three. Two self-driving electric shuttles, developed by Ann Arbor-based startup May Mobility, were the first commercial autonomous shuttles to ferry passengers within the city of Detroit. May Mobility partnered with one of the city’s biggest investors to expedite getting the shuttles on the street. The Polaris Gem E6 shuttles gave passengers a lift from 8-10pm on a low-traffic street, following a loop just under a mile long. The future is arriving.

Golden State Prepares for Golden Era of Driverless Cars

California is getting ready for a Flintstones-Jetsons-like change. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles recently published proposed rules to regulate self-driving cars once “everyday people” eventually use the technology. While most companies say autonomous cars for personal use are several years away, the rules also address testing requirements, rolling out prototypes without steering wheels or pedals, and more. The rules for public access were originally due more than two years ago, but technological developments and federal regulatory interest delayed California’s publication.

China Hastens the World Toward an Electric-Car Future

The biggest automakers in the world are being forced to follow Beijing’s lead as China takes steps to dominate in electric vehicles and technology. To read the story from the New York Times click here.

GM’s Self-Driving Party Levels Up with Strobe Lasers

While we don’t believe GM is getting into the nightclub industry, anything is possible. The automaker just announced the acquisition of Strobe, a startup that does actually make lasers. However, these are not paired with disco balls and electronic music. Instead, Strobe’s lidar, or laser-based imaging technology, uses a pulsed laser sensor to measure the distance between objects and instruct autonomous navigation systems. Acquiring Strobe is expected to dramatically reduce the cost of each lidar on GM’s self-driving cars and eventually lower the bottom line for the full car.