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Apple's decision to reportedly work on a vehicle makes sense, as the Silicon Valley company looks to jump into a market that has more than $1 trillion in yearly sales, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analysts.
In their "5 Reasons Why We Believe Apple May Indeed Be Looking to Build a Car," analysts Toni Sacconaghi and Max Warburton also noted that Apple isn't afraid to enter an established market - and can rely on its established business ties in China to help foster possible car manufacturing capabilities.
In addition, Apple has a large amount of financial resources it can invest, and even with a high luxury price tag, the auto industry is expected to see luxury models increase sales in upcoming years.
Automakers are pushing towards fully autonomous vehicles in the United States, Europe and Asia, but that may not be a welcome change for everyone. Auto insurance companies are expected to have to deal with self-driving vehicles over the next 10 years, though they will likely have more than 30 years to adjust to widespread autonomous adoption.
If vehicles become safer, the $200 billion auto insurance industry could end up losing billions - a realistic, yet frightening issue that insurance companies already must deal with. Higher-end vehicles have semi-autonomous features designed to keep drivers safe and reduce the chance of accidents.
Esurance, State Farm, and other auto insurance companies seem to be taking a cautious approach, waiting to see how autonomous vehicles develop before they hit the open road. It's possible policy rates could be calculated based on miles driven by humans or autonomously - but it's extremely difficult to pick hypothetical scenarios.
It wasn't too long ago when electric vehicles were seen as niche products for more affluent car buyers, but auto manufacturers want to make EV more affordable for everyone.
Price of batteries used in EVs has decreased, helping generate more sales, with a 14 percent annual drop from 2007 to 2014, according to a recent study. Manufacturers choose to keep the cost of lithium-ion battery production relatively secret, but mile ranges are increasing - which is another appealing aspect to drivers.
It looks like "events" are "moving quicker than expected in lithium-ion battery technology," though the price tags often could be misconstrued, according to Luis Munuera, energy analyst for the International Energy Agency, in a statement to the MIT Technology Review.
We keep hearing about electric vehicles, like the Model S from Tesla Motors, but what about electric bikes? They're a thing, and they've hit Indiegogo in a big way thanks to Wave and the "fastest and most affordable" electric bike ever with its eBike.
Wave is hoping to raise $70,000, with its eBike costing $499 right now, down from it $999 price when it hits stores in the near future. Wave's eBike is promising a top speed of up to 28mph, and a range of just over 26 miles in electric-only mode, from a single charge. The Wave weighs in at 50lbs, has a 750W motor, and a 12aH battery that can be charged in 3-5 hours.
Owners can ride it with its electric motor, or they can use the Wave like a normal bike, disabling the electric mode by twisting the throttle.
Japanese automaker Nissan can't wait to get its autonomous vehicle technology on Japanese highways, pledging self-driving vehicles by next year. Fully autonomous vehicles designed to navigate urban environments should be available by 2020, as Nissan and NASA continue their custom partnership.
Nissan self-driving vehicles should be able to avoid hazards and safely change lanes by 2018, and will have full autonomous capability by 2020.
"There will be a Nissan product in Japan, which will carry autonomous drive," said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, during the New York International Auto Show. "Obviously when you have this kind of technology, you want also the Japanese market to enjoy it as soon as possible."
Tesla Motors has been making some big waves in the industry lately, but how many cars did the electric vehicle maker ship in Q1? According to their first quarterly sales report: 10,030 vehicles were delivered to consumers over the three-month period.
The company has said that it will continue to provide more information in the future, three days after the end of each quarter. Tesla reported a new record for the company, with a 55% rise in sales for the quarter over the same period of 2014. We don't know how many of the AWD P85Ds, or the Model S cars the company sold, but a 55% jump in sales over the previous year is great to see from Tesla.
As more automakers begin to test autonomous vehicles, there is a strong demand for software that helps self-driving vehicles make decisions. It's a complicated issue to deal with, as test vehicles sometimes need more than 10 times the amount of software used in commercial aircraft and military fighter jets.
"Cars need much more software than aircraft. The environment in the air is easier, there are no obstacles and they are driven by professional pilots," said Eric Feron, professor of aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech, in a statement published by Reuters. "It is much more complicated on the ground."
German automakers are struggling because current laws restrict vehicle testing on public roads, which is important for data collection. There is concern that Google and US companies will be able to have an advantage in autonomous vehicle software development.
The Delphi Automotive autonomous vehicle successfully completed a trip from San Francisco to New York, marking the longest autonomous vehicle campaign. The vehicle used was a customized Audi SQ5 SUV, and was first unveiled during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
The vehicle uses six long-range radars, three vision-based cameras, four short-range radars, six lidars, and customized software algorithms working to help the vehicle navigate itself. Engineers hope to use data collected during the 3,500-mile journey to help refine its efforts, while setting future goals for autonomous technology.
"The car actually handled extremely well," said Wayne Cunningham, car tech editor of CNET, after getting the chance to drive the vehicle. "When it saw other cars around, it slowed down. It was following the lane lines too."
Automakers must find ways to cater to increasingly connected drivers and passengers, with Ford saying it is trying to accommodate fitness bands, smartwatches, and other wearables in new vehicles. As more Things connect to the Internet of Things (IoT), connectivity will be expected in newer vehicles that interest auto buyers.
"Now the car is becoming the ultimate technology product, and we are becoming more of an information company," said Mark Fields, CEO of Ford, in a statement to CIO Journal. It's true that vehicles are becoming rolling Internet and tech machines - needing to cater to increasingly connected drivers and passengers.
All collected data will be encrypted and shared when owners authorize it - so Ford Sync can inform drivers if blood glucose levels are dropping, or to share data with physicians. It seems like rather obscure data for a vehicle to monitor, but Ford wants to make health and wellness even more accessible to drivers.
Hyundai joins the list of automakers looking to create self-driving vehicles in the near future, hoping to put a vehicle on the road starting from 2020. Company officials publicly announced the plans during a public demonstration in Songdo, South Korea, saying its self-driving efforts will start "in phases."
Hyundai already has a "traffic jam assist system" that is able to detect and track other vehicles and the surrounding environment. It's a piece of the puzzle for Hyundai as the company looks for new opportunities to improve driver safety.
Google, Apple, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and other companies all have current autonomous vehicle plans in place.