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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

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.

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.

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.

Autonomous Cars: If You Build Sell It, Will They Come?

Self-driving cars apparently have a solid reputation management team. According to a new AAA study, the amount of US drivers who are fearful of autonomous vehicles is on a significant decline. A 63 percent majority of drivers are still fearful of the new vehicles, but that is a notable drop from 78 percent last year. The quick decline is positive news for autonomous technology companies as they race to bring self-driving cars to market.

Who's On First? GM Sets 2019 Driverless Debut Date

The automaker is up to bat against federal approval. General Motors recently submitted a federal safety proposal to put the first market-ready, self-driving car on public roads in 2019. The car, which would have no steering wheel or gas pedal, must be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Current regulations assume the need for a human driver, and convincing NHTSA that GM's Cruise AV matches can match the safety levels of a human-driven car will be no small feat. If GM wins federal approval, it would also need to pioneer approvals in most states.

DOT Calls for Comment Cards on Automated Vehicle Policy

This is one survey request you might want to open. This week, the US Department of Transportation published several notices for public comment involving automated cars, trucks, buses, and light rail.

Car Sales Head Down New, Uncertain Road

As 2017 came to a close, so did the auto industry’s sales streak. Manufacturers reported a decline in domestic new-vehicle sales, breaking seven straight years of growth in the car sales industry. The decline in the American market is expected to continue in 2018, and may force carmakers to trim production and find new ways to entice customers. To read the article from the New York Times, click here.

Machine Learning Tech Levels Playing Field in Autonomous Competition

Neural networks driving autonomous vehicles—a giant leap for self-driving cars and a big question for regulators. Machine learning technology at Aurora Innovation is being taught how to mimic decisions made by human drivers, allowing the year-old startup to rapidly build and improve autonomous vehicles. The tech is also allowing the fledgling company to compete with the biggest players from the automotive and technology industries, nabbing partnerships with Volkswagen Group and Hyundai.

Toyota Showcases Third Gen Autonomous Test Rig

And the third time seems to have charmed critics. Toyota Research Institute has released details about Platform 3.0, which is built on a Lexus LS 600hl hybrid luxury sedan, and will officially debut the autonomous research vehicle at CES 2018. Platform 3.0 presents a sleeker, more consumer-friendly design that hides several unattractive elements of the previous model. The hardware also received an upgrade that is expected to enhance both performance and production.

Startup Aurora Restarts VW Engineering Reputation

Moving on and moving up. Volkswagen AG and Hyundai Motor Co. have both announced partnerships with Aurora Innovation, a self-driving startup with a focus on machine learning led by ex-Googler Chris Urmson. The industry particularly noted the Aurora-VW partnership as the company works to leave diesel and Dieselgate behind and move toward battery-powered, self-driving cars. Through this partnership, VW is expected to speed up the process of developing a driverless ride-sharing vehicle fleet in cities.