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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

VCs Have Spotted a New Prodigy in Automotive Retail

And they're not the only ones taking note of the standout platform. Prodigy, an Alchemist Accelerator automotive sales company, recently announced that it has closed a $5.4 million seed funding round. Prodigy is providing an effective, white label online sales platform that will allow licensed new motor vehicle franchisees to sell and finance inventory from start to finish online, allowing dealers to bring the future to the present on their own branded websites.

In-Dash Nav Systems Look to Outsmart Phone Apps

The future, according to carmakers, does not include using your built-in navigation system as a stand for your smartphone and its Google Maps app. These systems, though currently less smart and far more clunky than their app counterparts, are expected to record more data, learn your preferences, update over the air, and help develop autonomous vehicles. Future map and other products will connect to the cloud and will be easily updated and upgraded, and data will be collected from a vehicle’s cameras and sensors as well as neighboring vehicles.

Top-of-the-Line Tech Hits Automaker Bottom Line

The future looks bright, but today’s quarterly earnings are expected to be flat. Daimler recently announced that their profit growth would not hit quarterly earnings forecasts due to spending on new technologies like electric cars and autonomous vehicles. The announcement flagged the issue of profitability across the industry, with both investments and exchange rate challenges presented as marquee issues.

Self-Driving Car Crash Lawsuits Are Officially Up and Running

Drivers, start your litigation. GM is understood to be the first autonomous car maker sued over an accident allegedly caused by a self-driving car. The case addresses an incident involving a motorcyclist and the execution of a lane change that occurred in San Francisco in December while a Cruise Automation 2016 Chevrolet Bolt was in self-driving mode. There are already conflicting accounts of the incident, which was reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the San Francisco Police Department at the time of the accident.

Senate Looks to Push Right Buttons to Drive Autonomous Bill Forward

Unfortunately, legislation isn’t self-driving – at least not yet. The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune, is still exploring strategies to pass legislation that would enable automakers to put thousands of self-driving cars on the roads. Despite significant support for the bill, Senate leaders have attempted to reach unanimous consent from their colleagues, and are considering changes to win full support. Opposition to the bill centers on auto safety concerns in the autonomous era.

CSI: Tesla Autopilot Crash Scene Investigation

CSI, NTSB, NHTSA, AV START: we have the acronyms and we’re ready to use them. Both the NTSB and NHTSA are sending investigators to analyze a crash involving a fire truck and a Tesla that apparently was engaged in Autopilot mode. The news of the incident and investigation is making headlines as the Senate works to move federal legislation forward that would allow automakers to roll out thousands of self-driving cars to US roads. This is the NTSB’s second investigation of an incident involving Tesla’s Autopilot.

Autonomous Cars: If You Build Sell It, Will They Come?

Self-driving cars apparently have a solid reputation management team. According to a new AAA study, the amount of US drivers who are fearful of autonomous vehicles is on a significant decline. A 63 percent majority of drivers are still fearful of the new vehicles, but that is a notable drop from 78 percent last year. The quick decline is positive news for autonomous technology companies as they race to bring self-driving cars to market.

Who's On First? GM Sets 2019 Driverless Debut Date

The automaker is up to bat against federal approval. General Motors recently submitted a federal safety proposal to put the first market-ready, self-driving car on public roads in 2019. The car, which would have no steering wheel or gas pedal, must be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Current regulations assume the need for a human driver, and convincing NHTSA that GM's Cruise AV matches can match the safety levels of a human-driven car will be no small feat. If GM wins federal approval, it would also need to pioneer approvals in most states.

DOT Calls for Comment Cards on Automated Vehicle Policy

This is one survey request you might want to open. This week, the US Department of Transportation published several notices for public comment involving automated cars, trucks, buses, and light rail.

Renault-Nissan Stirs the Startup Tech Pot with $1 Billion to Bid

Automakers have tasted tech and they are ready for their next course. The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance recently announced a new venture capital fund, named Alliance Ventures, that will be dedicated to startup technology investment. The automakers hope to accelerate development of technologies they currently do not have, including cutting-edge batteries and autonomous cars. The company will commit $200 million annually over five years with teams in Silicon Valley, Paris, Japan, and China to sniff out the latest promising ventures. So, what’s cooking, good looking tech startups?