Finland’s Driverless Sensible 4 Survives Extreme Temperatures

Finland’s Sensible 4 passed testing in extreme weather conditions. Freezing rain can affect the hardware, and their recent test in June 2022 proved that the cars, and self-driving software, and underlying hardware were not affected by the freezing conditions or the rain. Sensible 4 can also remember which part of the street to park on alternate-side parking days, and it knows how to adjust to snow and snow plowing tracks on the road.

Sensible 4 will have a great future in Finland, where it snows almost every day in winter.

Self-Driving Cars Will Change Parking, Forever!

Parking in cities, as we know it, will change quickly, thanks to driverless cars. Imagine if these autonomous cars drop people off at a crowded city street or at a theater, then drive to a less crowded area to park, and later drive back to pick up their passengers. What will people do in New York, London, or Paris when they no longer have to look for parking places before theater or dinner?

Decreasing the number of cars parked on city streets could help reduce traffic. However, industry analysts are still debating what will happen to retailers and home prices if we no longer need to build an underground parking lot.

Will Ford Have a Self-Driving Car?

Ford does not have an autonomous vehicle yet but is working on it.

Ford is offering driver-assist systems (ADAS) in 2021 and 2022. The Ford driver assist is not an auto-pilot. Ford’s long-term plan is to produce driverless vehicles that focus on safety. Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 program differs from Tesla’s Autopilot in that it uses a driver-facing camera to ensure the driver keeps their eyes on the road at all times. Tesla’s Autopilot uses sensors to detect if a hand is on the wheel. Tesla’s system has been fooled by simple weights, but drivers will find it hard to fool Ford’s camera,

Intel Announces 2022 IPO for its Self-Driving Car, Mobileye

On March 7, 2022, Intel’s Mobileye announced that it started preparing for an initial public offering of its self-driving car, Mobileye. Intel did not disclose the price range o number of shares in the IPO, which is under review by the SEC. Mobileye is sold today at several dealers across the country, including a few in the Bay Area. Intel and Mobileye sell the AI-driven self-driving software and controls to other car companies. The software can retrofit vehicle fleets to help them prevent collisions by using computer vision and AI-based alert systems.

Intel bought Israel’s Mobileye in 2017 for over $15 billion. Today, Mobileye’s CEO Amnon Shashua, is also Intel Senior Vice President and Professor of Computer Science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Professor Shashua is also well versed in finance because he opened Israel’s first digital bank in 2020. Thanks to Intel’s leadership, and Shashua’s expertise in finance and computer science, the upcoming 2022 Mobileye IPO will have a valuation at about $50 billion, which definitely beats inflation.

Tesla Pays Penalty for Violating the Clean Air Act

This week Tesla admitted that it violated the federal Clean Air Act while mixing the car coating chemicals and managing the storage tanks in its Fremont, CA facility. The EPA announced that Tesla will pay $ 275,000 in penalties. To avoid future penalties, Tesla will follow EPA standards that minimize hazardous pollutants leaking from its storage tanks and from mixing chemicals used to make its car coatings. Per the EPA Toxic Pollutants Registry, car coatings include these hazardous chemicals: formaldehyde, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, and xylene. Tesla’s car coatings seem to have been the main cause of this penalty. However, if the penalty was $275 M instead of $275,000, Tesla might consider outsourcing mixing the car coatings to another company down the road in Fremont.

Ferrari’s Digital Transformation with Snapdragon/Qualcomm

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon logo made its debut on Ferrari’s single-seater F1-175 racing model on February 17, 2022. Earlier in February, both companies announced their partnership to bring a high-tech driving experience through the Snapdragon Digital Chassis which will connect Ferrari to the 5G technology. Ferrari’s new CEO Benedetto Vigna said that working with the Snapdragon processor will accelerate Ferrari’s digital transformation and transformation to cleaner mobility. We wonder how fast the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) would have to be to match the digitally enabled Ferrari’s speed. Not a car for everyone. And everyone couldn’t afford it.

Electric Truck Brands Are Surprisingly Numerous

More people drive cars than trucks, but there are a lot of new truck manufacturers. Why is that? Here are some possible reasons:

  • There are more small businesses than in the past
  • It is stylish to drive a pickup
  • Men like the macho aura
  • Trucks don’t require the fancy trim that cars do

2022 Tesla, Mercedes Benz Start Marketing Level 2 Self-Driving Cars

In the United States, only Level 2 semi-automated cars are approved so far. Tesla and Mercedes now offer full Level 2 semi-automated cars with driver assist. Tesla’s price does not include the Level 2 option; however, if customers want cars with semi-automated features, Tesla offers the option to add full level-2 driver-assist software for an additional $12,900.  Mercedes Benz has the Level-2 features built into their S-Class and EQS; if customers do not want the Level 2 features, they would have to either custom build their car, or choose different models. Mercedes recently received permission to use Level 3 self-driving software in Germany. Level 3 may be approved in the United States by 2023;  perhaps that is the reason why Tesla did not have new models in 2022 so that they can introduce new cars with Level 3 in 2023. More automakers plan to deliver hands-free driver-assist technology as part of their Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)  offerings and the global ADAS market is expected to reach $74.9 billion by 2030.

This week we inquired at Tesla if purchasing Level 2 autonomous cars was appropriate for teenagers; they advised us that their $12,900 self-driving software is probably more than a teenager could handle. If the older and younger demographics do not have the patience for Level 2, we are not sure who will have the patience for Levels 3 – 6.

First Steps for Driverless Vehicles

For at least the last two decades people (almost always male) have been tinkering with a wide variety of designs of self-driving cars that they have been dreaming of starting at least two decades earlier. Tinkering continues to be a very challenging pursuit. Finally, in early 2020 there was a modest step forward, in the form of an autonomous grocery delivery vehicle from a low-profile company named Nuro that met the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But it will take a lot of time before there will be vehicles with performance and creature comforts similar to cars driven by human beings. Perhaps those vehicles will initially be permitted only on freeways or well-defined streets and roads.

MINI Cooper S. Owner’s Manual

We love our MINI Cooper S. But we don’t love their documentation. The main OWNER’S MANUAL was bad enough. And it took us many months just to get the supplement to its OWNER’S MANUAL, NAVIGATION, ENTERTAINMENT, COMMUNICATION. (Finally, a kind woman at the Santa Clara CA MINI dealer got a copy and sent it to me.) We shouldn’t have waited because it was useless. A few minutes with our wife, who has had experience with navigation displays with two different cars were very helpful. Shame on MINI Cooper!