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Tesla Motors has just taken the wraps off of its new OTA update that will end "range anxiety" but there's another update that is coming, which is even more exciting: "autopilot".
The new "autopilot" OTA update will be made available for the Model S in the next three to four months, something that will deliver a new automatic steering mode that will be exclusive to highways. It will not work on normal roads for the usual hazards such as pedestrians walking around, but on a highway where there's just cars, the new autopilot will kick in and "go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything".
It will require a $4250 "optional tech" package that Tesla offers Model S owners, too.
Elon Musk did promise an announcement later this week for the Model S, where we have a new OTA update that includes a "range assurance" application that will tell drivers when they're about to drive out of charging range. This new OTA software update will float out to Model S owners in around 10 days time.
The electric vehicle will keep a look at just how much battery you have left, where it will be always monitoring just how far you are away from the nearest charging station. The new software for the Model S will relive range anxiety as Musk teased earlier in the week, where the founder of Tesla said that the new update makes it "basically impossible" for Model S owners to run out of charge before finding a charging station.
Better yet, the new software is now "smart" enough to see if nearby charging stations are free to use, or filled up with other Model S owners charging up their electric vehicles. The new software is now also capable of planning trips for Model S owners so that they'll be automatically routed through Tesla's growing network of Superchargers. There are also some new features built into the new OTA software update, including Automatic Emergency Braking and Blind Spot Warning.
Google has an ambitious goal of autonomous vehicles being on the road by 2020, though some have wondered if such an aggressive timeframe is possible. Chris Urmson, director of the self-driving car project at Google, has an 11-year-old son - and doesn't want his son to have to take a driving test.
Automakers are rolling out semi-autonomous features into newer vehicles, trying to win over consumers slowly but surely. However, Google's offering is fully autonomous and doesn't have a steering wheel or traditional automobile controls. It could take a bit more time for the Silicon Valley tech giant to finalize its vehicle, while US laws will also need to catch up, though it appears autonomous vehicles could be here sooner rather than later.
Autonomous vehicle supporters hope self-driving cars are able to reduce injuries and deaths caused by auto accidents. "Some 1.2 million people are killed on the roads around the world each year," Urmson said. "That number is equivalent to a jet falling out of the sky every day."
GTC 2015 - NVIDIA has just announced the next generation of intelligence for self-driving cars with its new Tegra X1-powered Drive PX platform.
NVIDIA is selling the Drive PX self-driving car computing system in May for $10,000 to developers, but the intelligence side of it is incredible. Compared to Dave, which is DARPA's autonomous vehicle, and while it is smart, the new Drive PX platform is magnitudes smarter. Drive PX is available of 630 million connections per second in its 'brain' versus the 3.1 million of Dave, and capturing 184 connections per second, versus 12. This provides 116 billion connectors per second for the Tegra X1-powered side of things, versus 38 million on Dave.
Uber has teamed up with Chinese automaker BYD, or "Build Your Dream" to outfit a fleet of its Chicago drivers with electronic vehicles in the form of the BYD e6 EVs.
The company is hoping its drivers love the new cars, so much so that they either decide to buy their own, or lease them. You might be wondering why Uber decided to team up with BYD and not the US-based Tesla Motors, but BYD's e6s are larger than most competing electric vehicles. This is one of the reasons the e6 is used as a chauffer vehicle in London.
But, the e6 has a range of just 186 miles on a single charge, compared to the Tesla Motors Model S and its 265-mile range. BYD isn't standing still though, with the Chinese automaker planning to triple its EV battery production, something that it needs to do to begin to keep up with Tesla and its upcoming gigafactory. BYD has manufacturing plants in the US, but wants to add 6 gigawatt hours of global production per year, within the next three years.
Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to tease a new media event for March 19, where a new OTA software update will "end range anxiety" for the "entire Model S fleet".
Tesla press conf at 9am on Thurs. About to end range anxiety ... via OTA software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 15, 2015
Normally hardware upgrades have been the catalyst behind improved mileage, but an OTA software update is much more interesting. We could also see the official rollout of the "torque sleep" update, which will allow the P85D and 85D dual-motor vehicles save energy when you're foot isn't on the throttle.
Musk has said that all Model S cards will get the update, so we'll have to wait and see what is unveiled at 9am on Thursday morning.
Someone has snapped pictures of the totally gorgeous Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle, which is a driverless luxury vehicle. The company explains that it has "interdisciplinary team of experts from Mercedes-Benz has devised a future scenario that incorporates many different aspects of day-to-day mobility".
It looks like something out of a futuristic movie, but it is right-here-right-now technology. For those who don't know, the cabin of the car is absolutely beautiful, where it looks like it has been ripped right out of a science fiction movie or TV show. Mercedes-Benz explains the F 105 Luxury in Motion research car as "Sensual, flowing transitions and warm, organic materials such as open-pore walnut wood, which has been shaped to a three-dimensional veneer, and extremely soft ice-white nappa leather contrast with clearly-defined metal and glass surfaces with a cool and technical feel".
The Mercedes-Benz F 105 Luxury in Motion can travel up to 1100 kilometers (683.5 miles) to a single 'tank', which consists of an "electric hybrid system" that uses 200km on its battery, while 900km comes courtesy of the electricity of its fuel cell.
If you've ever driven the streets of "Grand Theft Auto: V" and the highways of Los Santos, you know what a difference the right customizations can make when it comes to the performance of your in-game car. "Grand Theft Auto V" has had plenty of drivers since it launched - Wired UK estimates that about two million players logged into "GTA:V Online" within the first 24 hours of launch. If you've ever wanted your real-life car to perform like your in-game ride, here's a few tips to make your car handle like the cars from GTA.
There's a lot of cars cruising Los Santos with many accessories, but you shouldn't worry about armor plates or tinted windows for your car, but a good exhaust instead. Exhaust isn't about shooting flames or making a lot of noise, but about instead about improving airflow to give extra power to your engine. Companies like MagnaFlow offer inexpensive catback exhaust kits that will improve your car's response. Whether you have a street, off-road or diesel vehicle, its systems are simple bolt-on affairs and can even be done at home with the right tools. The less mechanically inclined might need to visit their local auto shop. They can help you to choose the model that will help you get the most bang for your buck as well. If you plan to do it yourself, keep in mind that it is harder than just pressing a button on a controller; only do this sort of work on your car if you know what you are doing. If you don't, seek the help of a trusted mechanic.
Google and Apple hope to see their respective in-car mobile operating systems have a major impact in the connected car market. Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto go beyond just pairing smartphones to the infotainment system, hopefully designed to increase auto safety.
"Consumers have spoken," said John Maddox, assistant director at the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center, in a statement to the New York Times. "They expect to have coordination between their phone and their vehicle."
Both companies want to improve Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition functionality in connected cars. Automakers are creating working relationship with Google, Apple, and other Silicon Valley companies interested in developing in-car technology.
We've reported on Apple's car quite a few times, but things are becoming more real as the days flick over on the calendar. The New York Post is now reporting that Apple is offering some serious money and higher pay packages to secure car battery experts.
The New York Post has said that "Apple has been offering the best and the brightest in the car-battery field $250,000 signing bonuses plus salaries 60 percent higher than what they currently earn", something Tesla Motors CEO, founder and real-life Tony Stark, Elon Musk, said to Bloomberg Businessweek. Former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky is the boss of Apple's 'Project Titan', so there's some weight to the story, and to having Ford's former engineer working with Apple.
Marc Newson has also joined Apple, with The Post calling him "one of the more elegant engineers in the world" and is very close friends with Apple's design boss, Jony Ive. Zadesky on the other hand, has a huge 90 or so patents, and was the sole signatory on a 2010 business ocntract with a company called Liquidmetal. Liquidmetal is known for its Moldable Metal, or "Nanophosphate metal" which can be shaped like plastic. Apple, along with Liquidmetal, have filed 17 patents together, with 14 of those taking place in the last 12 months or so.