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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

In Age of Autonomous Vehicles, Talking Cars Reassure Drivers

Oh the humanity! According to the results of a recent psychological study on possible human reactions to autonomous cars, the subjects were four times as likely to trust a self-driving car with a human name and voice. Enter Iris, who gave the study, and the future of mindless driving machines, a genuine human voice. As noted by researcher Nicholas Epley, the voice allowed riders to infer the presence of a mind controlling the car, rather than code and sensors, and to relax physiologically. Herbie (and Alexa and Siri), looks like you’ve got competition.

Follow the Money to Find In-House, External Fraud

Automotive practice group chair Aaron Jacoby recently spoke with Automotive News about how fraud is becoming more sophisticated, organized, and difficult to track for dealerships and lenders. Aaron talked about how he believes one of the most efficient ways for a dealership to find an in-house fraudster is to follow the money. “The first step is to inspect general revenue cash flow from finance and insurance.

Musk, Maria, and the Model 3 Delay Big Rig Debut

Change of plans, Tesla followers – the Semi ain’t ready. Rather than releasing the Tesla Semi in late October, Elon Musk is rescheduling the unveiling to mid-November in an effort to allocate more resources to Model 3 production and battery crews to benefit Puerto Rico. The Model 3 is “deep in production hell” according to Musk, and as the company aims to become more of a mass market producer, it has struggled to churn out enough Model 3s to meet the enthusiastic demand.

Uber’s New Bootcamp Isn’t for Drivers

So if they’re phasing out drivers, is the car going to give us a passenger rating? A behind-the-scenes look at Uber’s autonomous vehicle training facility in Pittsburgh reveals a lineup of Ford Fusions and Volvo XC90s learning how to respond to different driving situations and dangers. The studious cars, with a safety driver ready to take over if needed, practice over varying physical conditions, traffic patterns, and rogue obstacles throughout the course. They’re still working on their ratings.

Prospective Buyers Find Electric Car Charge Times ‘Traumatic’

Take time to stop and smell the gas emission-less roses. While manufacturers are installing more charging points across the US and technological improvements are making the process faster, “charging time trauma” is the new top reason why car buyers avoid electric cars. “Range anxiety,” it appears, has moved to second place. While right now it may sound simpler to swing by your local gas station for a few minutes rather than waiting hours for a charge, several companies are taking major steps to invest in speeding up the process and bringing electric cars to the mainstream.

Dashboard Tech Smorgasbord Distracts Drivers

We can go back to the car phone and the 8-track, just leave the GPS please. A new study by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the latest high-tech driver dashboards are doing everything but allowing for safe driving. Drivers of the latest vehicles are taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for “dangerously long periods of time” according to the study. Options range from allowing drivers to use social media, email, and text while driving to manning touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, displays on windshields and mirrors, and 3D images.

Senate Gives the Wheel to 80,000 Self-Driving Cars

Cue the masses! Autonomous car development, sales, and safety is officially in the car makers’ hands after the Senate greenlights legislation authorizing 80,000 safety standard exempt, self-driving cars to be sold per year within three years. In the future, the committee may set timelines for data collection and data-driven safety standards based off this trial period. The bill allows for driverless technologies to further develop before imposing regulations that could potentially stagnate the industry.

Time To Call My Uber Meeting

The license plate ends in ‘IPO’ and arrives in 2019. Uber’s board of directors recently voted on major internal changes that will eventually lead to the company going public. The reshuffling of power and other changes allowed the ride sharing company to move forward on a stock sale to Japan’s SoftBank, which is expected to total $1-1.25 billion as an investment of Uber’s current $67.5 billion valuation, though the transaction is still in its earliest stages. Settling in for a long ride.

It’s Game On for GM in the Self-Driving Car Race

What’s your ETA? While GM won’t say when their Cruise Automation’s software will be ready for commercial use, it’s apparently making ‘rapid progress’ and keeping investors happy. GM’s decision to take their testing to the high-traffic streets of San Francisco is said to play a major role in accelerating development. To read the story from Reuters, click here.

Ford, GM Decide to Go with the Electric Flow

The future looks bright after some international and domestic market pressure. With GM leading the Detroit pack and Ford following soon after, these two auto giants are headed toward an all-electric future- eventually. The move follows indications that major markets such as China and California hope to ban gasoline-powered cars as well as electric-focused actions by Volkswagen, Daimler, Volvo, and of course, Tesla.