Simanaitis Says

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CATCHING UP WITH AUTOMOTIVE NEWS PART 2

YESTERDAY IN Part 1, I gleaned Automotive News tidbits of one sort or another. This continues today in Part 2 with crystal ball views of our automotive future clear out to 2025, and opinions (including mine) about autonomous Ferraris and public testing of experimental automotive technology.

What’s Coming? The October 11, 2021, issue of Automotive News has a “Future Product Pipeline” supplement stretching from this year through 2025 for automakers extending alphabetically from Acura (e.g., a coming 2024 EV crossover) to Volvo (e.g., a 2023 S90 redesign). Others include a Maserati MC20 in 2021 and a Ford Electric Explorer in 2023.

Is Your Electrical Receptacle Ready? Automotive News, October 4, 2021, has a 3 1/2-page feature on “Charging Forward,” subtitled “EVs and plug-in hybrids dominate some 5-year plans.”

Here are some (relatively) new names on the list: Bollinger (boxy SUV, pickup), BrightDrop (GM’s commercial EV unit), Cruise Origin (GM/Honda self-driver), Faraday (still afloat after fresh $1 billion), Fisker Ocean (built in Austria), Genesis (China to here…), Karma (ex-Fisker, now EV), Lordstown Endurance (recycled GM facility), Lucid (its Air Dream Edition is EPA-rated at 520 miles), Polestar (Geely/Volvo EV), Ram ProMaster (large van, Ram truck division of Stellantis né Chrysler), and Rivian (Amazon already ordered 100,000 of its delivery vans).

Ya can’t tell ya EVs widdouta program… or an Automotive News.

Tesla Cybertruck. One I’m waiting to see (though not particularly lusting for) is the Tesla Cybertruck. Automotive News notes, “The wedge-shaped pickup has been delayed to late 2022, with volume production not coming until late 2023. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the ramp-up will be complicated by the amount of new technology coming to the pickup. Crucially the delay means Ford will beat the Cybertruck to market with its electric F-150.” 

Tesla Cybertruck

No problem, I predict, what with the EV F-150s conventional shape.

Ferrari Self-Driver?? Automotive News, October 4, 2021, carries a headline, “Musk, Elkann: Self-driving Ferraris Not Right.”  We all know this first guy; and John Elkann is the CEO of Stellantis.

Each spoke at Italian Tech Week. Automotive News cites Bloomberg: Both auto execs are “bullish about nuclear power and agree that solar energy is the best long-term solution.” 

Neither thinks much of autonomous Ferraris: “The essence of having a Ferrari,” Elkann said, “is to drive it.” 

“While cars replaced horses,” Automotive News writes, “there are still occasions that people use the animals for transportation. ‘It’s on the logo,’ Musk said of Ferrari, eliciting applause.” 

I concur. It’s bad enough that exotic cars have computer shifting. I know, I know; so do Hammi and the other guys. (What’s “double-clutching,” Grandpa?)

My Street a Proving Ground?? A brief item in Automotive News, autonews.com, October 4, 2021, disturbs me: “Cruise and Waymo Win Permits for Commercial AV Service in California.” Automotive News writes, “The permits allow the companies to charge money and receive compensation from operating autonomous vehicles, though only in designated portions of the Bay Area.”

The National Law Review, May 5, 2021, published “The Dangers of Driverless Cars.” It observed, “While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated six levels of autonomy to driver-assisted technology, most consumers are unaware of the distinction. With the current lack of industry standards and legislation, automakers tend to blur the line in their marketing.”

Image from “AAAS Looks at Autonomous Cars.

The article continued, “Despite claims to the contrary, self-driving cars currently have a higher rate of accidents than human-driven cars, but the injuries are less severe. On average, there are 9.1 self-driving car accidents per million miles driven, while the same rate is 4.1 crashes per million miles for regular vehicles.”

This suggests to me that automotive proving grounds are the best venues for development, not public streets and roads. With AVs occasionally mistaking parked fire trucks for the right-of-way, I’m less than enthusiastic about mixing this technology with the rest of us.

 Am I being a Luddite or what? ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021

4 comments on “CATCHING UP WITH AUTOMOTIVE NEWS PART 2

  1. Eustaquio Silveira
    October 25, 2021

    Level Zero forever!!!

  2. Jack Albrecht
    October 28, 2021

    IMHO you’re not a Luddite, you’re being reasonable. You can’t turn on autonomous driving if you’re in bad conditions. So if you consider that the self-driving accidents are all on really good roads in really good weather the ACTUAL rate is probably 10x higher than for humans, since most accidents happen under less than ideal conditions.

    Tesla keeps pushing back the date when their fully autonomous cars will be released. Musk himself has said he underestimated how difficult it would be. I’m not alone in saying Musk is a marketing guru, not an engineering guru, and definitely not an AI programming guru.

    I work with AI and big data in predicting equipment faults for several (many?) years now. This is super-cool, state-of-the-art technology and saves LOTS of money (time), but it is orders of magnitude easier than solving autonomous driving problems in real-time.

    • simanaitissays
      October 28, 2021

      Thanks for this analysis, Jack. I trust other readers will appreciate your cred.

      • Jack Albrecht
        October 28, 2021

        Thanks. AI learning is really cool, but it should be understood that it is not “better” than a human in processing, it is just WAY better at remembering and can run 24/7 focused on one problem (i.e. cheap).

        The issue is that every single situation must be learned and then processed to decide if it is normal or anomalous. If a situation is anomalous, then it must be decided how to respond. How things are decided is a subject for another day.

        Then you layer situations. Over and over and over and every combination of situations will have conflicts that need resolution.

        Note: The definition of a “situation” is outside the scope of an internet comment and is left as an exercise for the student.

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