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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Crashes Cool Senate Autonomous Vehicle Push

Conditions are icy, and we're not talking about the road. Recent autonomous technology incidents involving Uber and Tesla have hit the breaks on the AV START Act's progress in Congress. Prior to the Uber accident, five senators had already publicly expressed concerns about the measure, and now the ongoing NHTSA and NTSB investigations as well as the approaching campaign season may further halt the bill. Read the full Detroit News article.

Time to Budget or Bust Say Auto Dealers

A few pennies saved could be a net profit earned. Dealerships are making savvy moves to combat the pressures of narrowing margins, rising insurance costs, higher wages, and an expected downturn for the personal vehicle. The main areas for cost-cutting include advertising, personnel, and inventory. Read the full Automotive News analysis.

Communication Is Key, According to Toyota's Talking Cars

Feeling chatty? Your car might soon be conversing too. Toyota recently announced plans to roll out vehicles that can communicate by short-range wireless technology in the US in 2021. The move comes as the US Department of Transportation considers adopting a proposal that would require all future vehicles to come standard with this technology. Vehicle-to-vehicle communications are expected to significantly reduce the amount of accidents on the road each year.

Navya Charts Newest Course on Campus

Only this course runs on self-driving technology, not a syllabus. Two self-driving, electric shuttle buses are expected to join University of Michigan's bus service fleet this spring. The 15-seat, Navya-designed shuttles will run on a short course on the university's North Campus with safety drivers on board and are open for use by anyone with a university bus pass. Read the full Detroit Free Press article.

Good News From The Supremes

On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Hector Navarro, finding that Service Advisors at auto dealerships are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime pay requirement. That means that, under the FLSA, automotive dealerships need not pay their Service Advisors time-and-one-half for hours worked beyond forty hours in a workweek.

California Dreaming: Another EV Startup Makes Its Debut

Good luck, you’re gonna need it. SF Motors is the newest kid on the EV block, but they may already have an edge over other startups. SF Motors has already procured two manufacturing plants in the US and china, and packs some serious financial backing from an established auto parts and vehicle maker in China. Not to mention, the backer is family friendly- it’s run by the SF Motors founder’s father. Its batteries are also backed by an auto legacy with technology developed by Martin Eberhard, Tesla’s founder.

VR Hits the Roadshow

The now-quaint arcade car driving simulator has reemerged with fully immersive VR technology. In the competitive expo landscape, VR stands out for its ability to create hard-to-replicate experiences. From seat vibrations to wind in your face, every detail is accounted for to blur the line between the vision and reality. Look for the New York International Auto Show to be one for the books.  

Two’s Company for Ride-Sharing’s Realities

Shared competition is double competition against the likes of Uber and Didi. Two of Germany’s leading automakers, Daimler and BMW, have teamed up to bring the heat in the competitive ride-hailing, car-sharing, and electric vehicle segments of automotive technology. The joint venture includes car-sharing brands Car2Go and Drive Now, ride-hailing, parking, and charging services in a 50-50 percent stake split.

Arent Fox Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby speaks at National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention

On Friday, March 23, Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby spoke on the floor of the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) annual convention, the industry’s largest annual convention. His presentation, titled “Disruptive Influences in the Car Industry,” discussed how these influences such as online sales, direct to consumer sales, and autonomous vehicles affect automotive manufacturing, distribution and retail delivery of vehicles.

Your Next-Gen Boombox May Be Your Car

Speaking of boomboxes, anyone still have cassette tapes lying around? A new sound system technology invites drivers to get in and feel the music as the car itself becomes the speaker. Continental, a German auto-components supplier, has developed what they’re calling Ac2ated Sound- a system that leverages parts of the car’s interior as speaker components. Transducers implanted in the car’s interior help turn the rear window into a subwoofer; the floor, windshield, dashboard, and seat frames into the midrange, and posts between the windshield and doors become the tweeters.