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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Arent Fox Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby speaks at National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention

On Friday, March 23, Automotive Group chair Aaron Jacoby spoke on the floor of the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) annual convention, the industry’s largest annual convention. His presentation, titled “Disruptive Influences in the Car Industry,” discussed how these influences such as online sales, direct to consumer sales, and autonomous vehicles affect automotive manufacturing, distribution and retail delivery of vehicles.

Waymo Doubles Down on Driverless Commitment with 20,000 Jaguars

From mini-vans to Jaguars? We see you, Waymo. Alphabet’s autonomous technology company is charging ahead with its driverless ride-hailing program, investing in up to 20,000 luxury, all-electric Jaguar compact SUVs despite recent competitor setbacks. The Jaguar I-Paces, which are expected to compete against Tesla’s previously uncontested all-electric luxury cars, will join Waymo’s commercial fleet in 2020. Waymo’s purchase would help it handle 1 million rides per day in addition to the capacity they already have through “thousands” of hybrid Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

You've Got Mail: Democrats Pen Concerns on Landmark Autonomous Car Bill

Political letters: an underappreciated variation on political memos. Five Democratic US Senators released a letter on March 14 that urged changes to the Senate autonomous vehicles bill. The bill, which would fast-track the development and deployment of self-driving cars, raised concerns that "the bill indefinitely preempts state and local safety regulations even if federal safety standards are never developed," according to the letter by Senators Feinstein, Blumenthal, Gillibrand, Udall, and Markey.

Lyft Signs for Magna Car(as)

Ah, the barons of self-driving cars, and their Great Charter. Magna International, a Canadian auto-parts supplier, has partnered with Lyft to supply the ride-sharing service with kits to turn regular vehicles into self-driving cars. The kits will include camera, radar, and lidar systems. Overall, the company is investing $200 million in Lyft and the co-development of self-driving cars in an example of auto industry diversification as vehicle sales are expected to drop in the ridesharing and self-driving economy. Critical question- do these autonomous car kits come with an Allen wrench?

Das Auto Standards Go to China

Germany is exporting both autonomous vehicles and the laws to govern them. A leading German law professor who focuses on automated driving has been invited to present and hold meetings about Germany's latest self-driving car legislation. According to the professor, China often adopts German criminal and civil law. The new German law will allow road tests with drivers removing their hands from the wheel and taking their eyes off the road.

Humans Not Required: California Clears Fully Self-Driving Cars

Ah, California driving – coastal highways, slow traffic, and human-less cars. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has announced that autonomous cars without a human driver in the vehicle can be tested on public roads as soon as April 2. The regulations only apply to cars, and companies involved will need to meet numerous criteria for safety, car communications, and testing notifications before sending their vehicles on the roads solo.

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.

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.

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.

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.