Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Space Industry and Business News .




CAR TECH
Really smart cars are ready to take the wheel
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) July 17, 2014


Google adds former Ford Motor Company chief to board
San Francisco (AFP) July 15, 2014 - Google on Tuesday announced that former Ford Motor Company chief Alan Mulally has joined it board of directors.

The auto and aviation industries veteran joined the Google board as the California technology firm continued to steer a self-driving car toward the market.

Mulally was appointed to the California technology titan's board on July 9, according to a blog post.

"Alan brings a wealth of proven business and technology leadership experience," Google chief Larry Page said in a prepared statement.

Mulally served as the chief of Ford from September of 2006 to June of this year. He was an executive at aircraft maker Boeing prior to working at Ford.

Mulally, who has university degrees in engineering and management, will serve on Google's audit committee.

"I am honored to serve on the board of a global iconic company that is dedicated to enhancing our lives," Mulally said in the blog post.

"I look forward to working together with the Google board and management team to continue to deliver their compelling vision."

Google in May unveiled plans to build its own self-driving car -- minus the steering wheel -- that it hoped to begin testing this year.

"They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal... because they don't need them. Our software and sensors do all the work," Google's Chris Urmson said in a blog post at the time.

Urmson, who directs the self-driving car project, said Google plans to build about 100 prototypes, "and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls."

He added, "If all goes well, we'd like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years."

For Google, the car marks a shift away from adapting vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport that needs only a stop-and-go function.

The blog post showed a photo of a prototype and an artist's rendering -- both rounded vehicles.

Previously, Google's autonomous auto ambitions were steered toward re-fitting Lexus and Honda cars to work as self-driving ones.

BMW to double number of models built in China
Frankfurt (AFP) July 16, 2014 - German top-of-the-range carmaker BMW said Wednesday it will increase the number of models it builds in China from three to six in the coming years to meet growing demand.

BMW currently produces three models in China, the BMW 5 Series sedan, the BMW 3 Series sedan and the BMW X1.

However, "we are strengthening our focus on meeting the needs and aspirations of our Chinese customers," said board member Friedrich Eichiner.

"This is why we are going to produce even more models specially tailored to the Chinese market. We are going to double our range of locally produced models in the future -- from three to six," Eichiner said.

The new models will include "a completely new entry model below the 3 Series" and a variant of the BMW X3 specifically developed for and produced in China.

Over the last five years, BMW has invested more than two billion euros ($2.7 billion) in its Chinese plants, "and we will continue to invest in China," Eichiner said.

It has two production sites in Dadong and Tiexi and "over the next two years, we are going to step up the capacity of the two plants from 300.000 units to a combined total of 400,000 units per year," he said.

BMW also plans to extend its joint venture with Chinese automaker Brilliance China Automotive until 2028.

According to a forecast by management consultant McKinsey, the Chinese market for private cars should grow by an annual average 8.0 percent until 2020 when overall sales would reach 22 million vehicles.

Why waste your time looking for a place to park when your car can do it for you? An idea that was pure science fiction only a few years ago is becoming reality thanks to automatic robot cars.

A car with no one on board drives into a car park at walking pace, lets a pedestrian pass, and then backs into a narrow parking space without the merest bump or scrape.

The technology that makes this possible has been developed by the Swedish car company Volvo and the French parts maker Valeo. It is still at the prototype stage but could be widely available within six years.

Some cars are already able to drive themselves in certain circumstances. The Mercedes CLS coupe brakes by itself when the driver fails to react to the risk of an accident. Some BMW models also warn drivers they are about to go over the white line and they can go onto automatic pilot in traffic jams.

"Lots of the technology is already out there," said Guillaume Devauchelle, director of R&D at Valeo. "But now we are at a turning point." Rapid progress in radar and detection camera technology now allows cars to "see" things going on around them. Onboard computers analyse road conditions and make the car react accordingly.

Which means that car makers believe that they will have models on the market capable of driving by themselves by 2020, and utterly autonomous robot cars by 2030.

This could radically cut mortality, said Franck Cazenave, marketing director at the parts maker Bosch, since "90 percent of accidents are caused by human error".

- Who to blame for an accident? -

There are other benefits too. As soon as cars begin to talk to one another, and with the computers running the road system, traffic will run more smoothly with huge savings on fuel.

According to Sebastien Amichi, an expert at consultants Roland Berger, after 2030 there could be "fleets of vehicles available 24/7 that will come to pick you up where ever you want, and do so with amazing efficiency".

These really smart cars will also make travel that much more comfortable, their supporters claim. "Drivers won't have to drive so they will have that time for themselves," says Cazenave. They will be able to read, surf the net, or even have a nap -- which is why not only car markers have been attracted by the possibilities this offers.

Google has been testing fully automatic Japanese cars for the last five years and is even making its own electric driverless cars that make us of its Internet and mapping expertise.

Even so, others in the industry such as Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan, argue that car-marking is an art not everyone could pull off.

And, of course, there is the prohibitive cost of the technology. The radar system alone on a Google car is said to cost 60,000 euros ($82,000), without counting existing auto-pilot technology that costs thousands of euros.

"What is still holding us up is the quality of the sensors and of artificial intelligence," Ford has admitted. And though everyone thinks that the next decade will see automatic robot cars driving on their own on motorways and in car parks, having them in the middle of urban traffic with pedestrians and cyclists, is another question. The big issue is who is to blame if there is an accident.

Before tackling this thorny question, governments will have to change road safety laws which demand that every driver "must be in control of their vehicle".

As for the drivers themselves, some will undoubtedly be happy to hand over the wheel. Others though will be reluctant to put their lives in the hands of a computer -- not to mention foreswearing for ever the pleasure of putting their foot to the floor.

.


Related Links
Car Technology at SpaceMart.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





CAR TECH
Musk donates $1 million for new Tesla museum
Washington (AFP) July 11, 2014
Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk has agreed to donate $1 million to help fund a new museum dedicated to inventor Nikolai Tesla. The organizer of a crowdfunding campaign for the new museum, Matthew Inman, made the announcement on his blog, weeks after publicly asking Musk for the donation for the center honoring the inventor who inspired the name for the electric car maker. "Earlier this we ... read more


CAR TECH
Researchers crush diamond with biggest laser in world

New UV laser capabilities being developed for Army

Virtual finger enables scientists to navigate and analyze complex 3D images

USAF orders ground approach radar for Saudi Arabia

CAR TECH
Third MUOS satellite heads for final checkout

Saab reports U.S. Army order for radio systems

Thales enhancing communications of EU peacekeepers

Exelis enhancing communications for NATO country

CAR TECH
First Launch of Proton After Crash Scheduled for September 28

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Flights Deemed Successful

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

45th Space Wing launches 6 second-generation ORBCOMM satellites

CAR TECH
Russian GLONASS to Boost Yield Capacity by 50 percent

US Refusal to Host GLONASS Base a Form of Competition with Russia

New device developed to defeat GPS jamming

EU selects CGI to support Galileo Commercial Service Initiative

CAR TECH
Typhoon fighter program a boon for British companies

Evidence mounts of MH17 missile strike, but proof elusive

NASA Turns Over New Air Traffic Management Tool To FAA

In air tragedy, lightning strikes twice for Malaysia

CAR TECH
Moore's Law Gets Boost With Fundamental Chemistry Finding

Technique simplifies the creation of high-tech crystals

Rice's silicon oxide memories catch manufacturers' eye

The World's First Photonic Router

CAR TECH
OCO-2 Data to Lead Scientists Forward into the Past

ADS and Esri Take Satellite Imagery Services to a Premium Level

NASA's Van Allen Probes Show How to Accelerate Electrons

Ten-Year Endeavor: NASA's Aura Tracks Pollutants

CAR TECH
Microplastics worse for crabs and other marine life than previously thought

New study links dredging to diseased corals

Italy cruise ship toxins threaten wildlife: activists

Straits of Mackinac 'worst possible place' for a Great Lakes oil spill




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.