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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Innovating Automakers Look to Avoid Tech’s Turbulent IP Past

For those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, as Santayana optimistically said. Automakers making bold new strides into tech territory are also vividly remembering the smartphone wars and other court battles that have dominated Silicon Valley. The cases cost hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees, a price car manufacturers are hoping to avoid in their bottom line. Instead, these competitors are forming industry groups to navigate or jointly acquire patents and license technology in addition to sharing technology or using non-patented technology.

Lyft’s Self-Driving Cars Say ‘Sup to Beantown

Hopefully they won’t cause any gahkablahkas. Boston city officials signed off on the Lyft/nuTonomy pilot program, which will be limited to the Seaport District’s startup hub, in October, and the cars are now up and running. Backup drivers will be present, and the trial is expected to capture insights on how autonomous vehicles could complement the city’s public transit systems. If you were still wondering, a gahkablahka is a Bostonian term for traffic tie-up, fusing the words “gawker” and “blocker” as only they can.

Leader of the Pack: G.M. Unveils Its Driverless Cars, Aiming to Move Ahead of the Competition

Previously reluctant to show the autonomous vehicles it is developing, General Motors now wants to signal its progress in getting them to market. For more than a year, General Motors has tantalized investors with plans to build its future around self-driving cars. It has regularly announced big investments and progress reports, but the company has kept its prototype vehicles largely under wraps — until now. G.M.

Tesla Powers Up Down Under

Oi! That new battery’s got a bit of a Musk about it. Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, is now also home to the world’s biggest battery for wind and solar energy. Tesla, looking to show its dual capabilities as an automotive company and as an energy company, completed the US football field-sized project ahead of schedule, following Elon Musk’s bold promises to bring the technology to South Australia several months ago via Twitter. The battery is capable of powering 30,000 homes and is hoped to be a solution for a blackout-prone region that otherwise favors fossil fuels.

AI Researchers Scramble to Comprehend Their Creation

Did none of these developers read a cautionary tale called Frankenstein in school? The artificial intelligence boom is upon us, but researchers across numerous disciplines are scrambling to fully comprehend AI’s abilities and anticipated impacts across the economy. Recent and ongoing research suggest that while AI is further behind than the public perceives it to be, it will likely do more in more places than we expect, causing a larger and faster evolution than similarly powerful technologies and innovations have in the past.

Tesla Confessional: Employees Flag Production Flaws

Quality and quantity is not an easy task. According to nine current and former Tesla employees, the first pit stop for most new Teslas is the repair shop. The employees cited internal tracking figures that noted more than 90 percent of Model S and Model X vehicles as having defects after manufacturing. With production inefficiency being a major concern with the Model 3, the alleged time and money wasted in repairs point to issues with basic manufacturing. Highly efficient automakers, like Toyota, hold an average of about 10% of cars needing post-manufacturing fixes.

Meetings at the C.F.P.B. today are going to be awkward

Both Leandra English, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s deputy director, and Mick Mulvaney, the White House’s pick for interim head, have shown up for work. The deputy director of the financial consumer watchdog, Leandra English has sued President Trump over who will lead the agency on an interim basis. But for now, both Ms. English and Mick Mulvaney, whom the White House has picked as acting director, have shown up for work, according to CNN.

Increased Popularity of SUVs Sparks Conflict Between Car Companies and Dealers

Automotive practice group chair Aaron Jacoby recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about how as the year draws to a close, new car sales for 2017 have been marked by demand for SUVs rising to unprecedented heights, while interest in traditional passenger cars has plummeted. The article also discusses how the shifting sales picture has created headaches at the retail level too. Many dealers have had to expand their physical footprint to accommodate new SUV models, while also saving room for the less-popular sedans.

Uber one step closer to its self-driving ride-hailing network once the technology is production-ready

Uber has announced a new deal with Volvo. Under the agreement, Uber plans to purchase as many as 24,000 self-driving Volvos once the technology is production-ready, putting the vehicles into its extensive ride-hailing network. “Everything we’re doing right now is about building autonomous vehicles at scale,” Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of automotive alliances, said in an interview. “We don’t know exactly how an autonomous world will look. But we know that we want to be the platform that’s at the center of it, from a ride-sharing standpoint.”

Tesla flying car? Elon Musk teases 'special upgrade' of Roadster supercar

Want to take your Tesla for a joyride ... through the air? In a tease that would be utterly ludicrous if it had come from practically anyone else, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted Sunday that a "special upgrade" of the company's new Roadster supercar may be capable of briefly flying. The first units of the Tesla Roadster, which Musk revealed Thursday at an event in California, are supposed to arrive in 2020 at a price of $250,000. He had already promised that the car would be the fastest production car of all time, featuring a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour.