Google Plans Expanded Launch of Waze Car-Sharing Service

Google aims to take on Uber and Lyft more directly with the expansion of its carpool service on the Waze navigation app. Instead of riders hailing cars, the Waze service relies on drivers to pick up people heading in the same direction. The price is much lower than Uber because riders pay up to 54 cents a mile, the IRS’ reimbursement rate for business travel. Google plans to bring the Waze car-sharing service to several cities in the U.S. and Latin America over the next several months. Continue reading Google Plans Expanded Launch of Waze Car-Sharing Service

AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

AIG executive vice president/chief executive of commercial Rob Schimek described some of the data contained in the company’s 2017 global survey on data sharing. AIG’s first report, in collaboration with CEA (now CTA), was published in 2015, followed by a 2016 report on case studies of large companies. The 2017 report, says Schimek, which includes a foreword by Mike Abbott of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, looks at data sharing innovation, technology and risk. “We’ve seen the benefits outweigh the costs and risks,” said Schimek. Continue reading AIG Report on Global Data Sharing: Benefits Outweigh Risks

Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Alphabet just spun off its research lab X’s autonomous vehicle project into a separate company named Waymo, to be led by chief executive John Krafcik. The move means the company believes its driverless car technology is nearing readiness for commercialization, due to advancements in sensor technology and breakthroughs in machine learning. Although Alphabet was an early leader in this field, the company has struggled to build a business around the technology, as Tesla, Uber and GM have moved forward. Alphabet is working with Fiat Chrysler on a ride-sharing service to launch next year. Continue reading Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

To further its efforts in autonomous cars, Uber acquired AI startup Geometric Intelligence and appointed its leads, Gary Marcus and Zoubin Ghahramani as co-directors of its new in-house AI research division. In addition to Marcus and Ghahramani, that company’s entire 15-person staff will also become part of Uber. Since Uber inked that deal, its value now approaches $70 billion. The new team’s first task is to tackle the data from millions of Uber rides, to further development of the computers that run self-driving vehicles. Continue reading Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

As Apple reportedly scales back its automotive plans, South Korean smartphone competitor Samsung is pushing into the emerging market with its $8 billion acquisition of luxury audio and connected car leader Harman. Auto connectivity has been a “strategic priority” for Samsung, and the transaction will provide the company with infotainment, telematics, security and safety solutions by Harman that are currently found in 30 million vehicles. Samsung also recently expressed interest in paying more than $3 billion for Fiat Chrysler’s Magneti Marelli autoparts business. Continue reading Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Until now, people risked a lawsuit if they reverse-engineered their cars, PCs or even insulin pumps. Now, there’s an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects those who want to hack a device they own, without fearing that the manufacturer of that device will sue them. More specifically, the exemption covers security research on consumer devices, and digital repair of vehicles. The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office enacted the exemption in October 2015, but implementation was delayed for a year. Continue reading Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

After cutting 12,000 jobs in April, Intel has focused on the Internet of Things and data centers, which accounted for 40 percent of the company’s revenue last year. Now, Intel has introduced two new Atom processors: the E3900 for connected devices and wearables, and the A3900 for smart auto apps. The new processors are versatile and will serve a variety of industries, with the E3900 as the IoT “workhorse,” featuring “fog computing,” the ability to determine what processes to perform itself and which to send to the data center. Continue reading Intel Develops New Chips for Internet of Things, Automobiles

Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued permits to French auto company Valeo North America and the privately held Wheego Electric Cars to test a single autonomous vehicle with up to four operators on public roads. Another company receiving a permit was Cruise Automation, which was then acquired by General Motors for $1 billion. So far, Alphabet’s Google has driven 2 million miles in autonomous vehicles on public roads. Permits are a marker of which companies are moving forward in the new field. Continue reading Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

Federal Policy on Self-Driving Cars Focuses on Safety Issues

The newly released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy reveals that the Obama administration is largely taking a hands-off approach to the technologies used to create autonomous vehicles, instead zeroing in on safety. In fact, the majority of the 116-page policy addresses safety issues, with the goal of preventing accidents such as the recent fatal crash of a Tesla vehicle on autopilot. The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets — including Alphabet, Ford Motor Company, Uber, Lyft and Volvo — gave the policy a thumbs-up. Continue reading Federal Policy on Self-Driving Cars Focuses on Safety Issues

Automotive Tech Innovations More Prevalent in New Vehicles

Auto manufacturers are paying special attention to their vehicles’ technology interfaces, from touchscreens in the dashboard to smartphone apps. App developers are also focusing on cars, using voice recognition to offer music streaming and hands-off text messaging. Not all is smooth sailing, however. Government regulators are concerned that technology might become a distraction, and thieves are learning to hack systems to steal cars. Consumer complaints about in-car technology can also hurt a vehicle’s quality ratings. Continue reading Automotive Tech Innovations More Prevalent in New Vehicles

Drivetribe: Fox Invests in Digital Platform for Auto Enthusiasts

21st Century Fox just invested $6.5 million in the London-based Drivetribe, a new digital media platform for car fans. This comes two weeks after early Facebook investor Jim Breyer and venture capital fund Atomico, led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, invested $5.5 million. Entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt, former “Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and the show’s former executive producer Andy Wilman are the creators behind Drivetribe, which launches in November. Continue reading Drivetribe: Fox Invests in Digital Platform for Auto Enthusiasts

Audi Announces Next-Generation V2I Connected Car Features

Later this year, Audi will roll out the first feature of its new vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) service in select 2017 models. The company’s new traffic light information system will notify drivers of the remaining wait time at red lights. It represents the first time an individual vehicle will access real-time infrastructure information. The platform is a practical, yet significant, first step for connected cars as they begin to integrate into the existing municipal infrastructure with an eye toward the dawn of “smart cities.” Continue reading Audi Announces Next-Generation V2I Connected Car Features

Amazon Promotes Integration of Alexa in Multiple IoT Devices

With the successful release of the Echo, Amazon now has more extensive plans for the intelligent assistant that powers the smart speaker. Via Alexa Voice Service-enabled voice commands, Echo plays music, turns the lights on or off and sets thermostats. Now, Amazon plans to use Alexa to power an array of devices in the home. Being a player in the Internet of Things is a goal of many other large technology companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft, as well as numerous startups. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Integration of Alexa in Multiple IoT Devices

Uber Inks Deal with Chinese Rival Didi, Focuses on Mapping

After two years of spending big to succeed in China, Uber has thrown in the towel and made a deal with rival Didi Chuxing. As a result, for a 20 percent stake, Uber China will become part of the larger Chinese company, which is valued at $35 billion. Prior to the deal, Didi was valued at $28 billion. Uber purportedly spent more than $2 billion in China. Meanwhile, Uber is using some of the $13.5 billion raised recently from investors to double-down on its global mapping project, with a $500 million investment. Continue reading Uber Inks Deal with Chinese Rival Didi, Focuses on Mapping

Regulators and Insurers Examine Risks of Automated Vehicles

Spurred by the May 7 fatal crash involving an autonomous Tesla Motors vehicle in Florida, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering requiring approval of technologies involved in self-driving cars, something not covered by current motor safety rules. That lack of relevant regulations means the government has no authority over automated car technologies being introduced on U.S. roads and highways. The NHTSA can only intervene in potential safety issues after an incident has occurred. Continue reading Regulators and Insurers Examine Risks of Automated Vehicles