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Autonomous vehicle development receives a monumental amount of press these days, but there are overlying issues that must be addressed. One such issue is motion sickness, though it's a phenomenon that hasn't received a lot of widespread coverage.
Viewing video and reading are expected to cause motion sickness among some autonomous vehicle passengers. To make matters worse, 37 percent of US adult passengers in fully autonomous vehicles are expected to engage in activities "that increase the frequency and severity of motion sickness."
"Motion sickness is expected to be more of an issue in self-driving vehicles than in conventional vehicles," according to the "Motion Sickness in Self-Driving Vehicles" report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
American drivers aren't fully onboard with autonomous vehicles that can drive themselves on public roads and highways, though it looks like it could be a reality sooner than many of us think. BMW, Audi, Hyundai, Ford, Mercedes, Honda, Tesla, Lexus, and other car makers are at various stages of research, with testing across the world underway.
Automakers are embracing technology while developing self-driving vehicles, pledging they can be safer than human drivers. However, drivers are worried about safety, privacy, cybersecurity, and other problems that must be addressed sooner rather than later.
"The rise of the machine is really happening," said Thilo Koslowski, VP of automotive practice at the Gartner research group, in a statement published by Bloomberg. "But a lot of consumers lack trust in the technology. That is the biggest issue facing these smart machines."
Tesla has teased the availability of its upcoming Model 3, the more mainstream electric vehicle from the company, for release sometime in March 2016. Company CEO Elon Musk and real life Tony Stark said during his call with Tesla investors: "We are hoping to show the Model 3 in March of next year".
Production of the Model 3 vehicle will start in mid to late 2017, with "late 2017" being "more realistic" according to Musk. The price of the mainstream electric vehicle should be around $35,000 with around 200 miles per charge from the Model 3. The Model 3 will find a home below the Model S and Model X vehicles, with much higher ranges and high-end features.
Tesla Motors' Model 3 will be around 20% smaller than the Model S, with a considerable amount of faith behind the project as this will be Tesla's real shot at making electric vehicles enter the mainstream market.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn't seem too worried if Apple wants to make a play in the automotive market, believing his company will have even more employees to try to poach.
Apple reportedly is working on Project Titan, a likely autonomous vehicle project keeping "hundreds of employees" busy, according to CEO Tim Cook. The Silicon Valley computer giant is reportedly dishing out $250,000 signing bonuses and extremely lucrative salaries, specifically looking for car battery experts.
If true, this means Tesla has more skilled engineers in the San Francisco Bay Area to choose from in the future:
There has been a significant amount of attention centered on autonomous vehicles, but it looks like there is something else to look forward to: self-driving tractor-trailers. Nevada state authorities certified the Inspiration 18-wheeler for public road testing, where they will be tested in "less complicated" traffic environments.
Developing a fully autonomous truck can help make the road safer, according to supporters, because the computer won't get fatigued - and help reduce costs for companies. A human driver will be in the cab of the vehicle to drive the vehicle to handle tricky driving conditions, poor weather, or in case of an emergency.
"You're talking about a series of different technologies; crash avoidance, blindsight, camera technology," said David Sierro, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, in a statement to The Guardian. "Rather than being a single autonomous [device] it's a series of technologies they're developing. They're building it in an incremental way."
Navigation company TomTom wants to prepare for autonomous vehicles, trying to evolve into the top provider of technology to help self-driving cars get around.
TomTom was best known for its personal navigation devices, but struggled to keep up with Garmin and cheap competitors cutting into the market. To make matters even worse, smartphones with data plans exploded onto the market, hurting TomTom's financial outlook even more.
Google, which is developing its own autonomous vehicle, also has big ambitions in helping carmakers navigate self-driving vehicles. Expect additional partnerships to be forged in an effort to find new solutions to compete with Google - even if no one is entirely sure what will happen.
If you've been waiting for the price on a Model S to drop, you might be waiting for a while, but if you wanted to grab a second hand electric vehicle from Tesla Motors, you can now buy one online.
Tesla has opened up an online pre-owned store where you can buy a used Model S electric car at a much cheaper price, but for the time being, it's limited to just a few cities in the United States and Canada. The cars still include a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty to ensure that you don't just buy a car that will break down in a few months time.
The 'entry' model Model S can be had for around $59,000 which isn't too bad at all.
Just a week after Tesla Motors' Twitter page was hacked, the electric vehicle maker wants to have hackers attempt to hack their cars, something the company will be asking hackers to do at the Defcon convention later this year in Las Vegas, according to anonymous sources of Forbes.
Having hackers try to break into a Tesla vehicle has benefits for the company, as it will make Tesla aware of any security holes in their vehicles and software, and they'll have their picking of hiring anyone who is capable of hacking into their vehicles, and having them instead plug the security holes they discovered.
With a concentrated effort on making vehicles and the world around them smarter and smarter, electric and autonomous vehicle makers are going to need increasingly stronger and near invincible security on their cars. This means we're going to see a huge focus on digital security on cars at both Defcon and BlackHat 2015, both taking place in Vegas later this year.
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.