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Back in February, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled hoverboards unsafe due to fire safety concerns, with mass recalls expected to follow. That day has now come: the same organization has issued recalls that affect over half a million of the boards/self-balancing scooters, all of which are made in China. Swagway is among the brands included.
"We are urging consumers to act quickly. We've concluded pretty definitively that these are not safe products the way they were designed," said CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye. "This is a huge recall. It's the recall we've all been waiting for to address this product that as soon as it came on the market presented a pretty significant fire hazard, and continues to present a fall hazard."
Intel has just announced it is partnering with BMW and Mobileeye, a machine-vision technology company, on developing autonomous driving technology. The autonomous technology will be detailed to the press on Friday.
Mobileeye is a company that supplies high-end cameras, software and other required components that are required in driver assistance systems, with clients like BMW and Tesla. Mobileeye has also talked about its partnerships with Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors on developing new mapping technology that's capable of taking in crowd-sourced real-time data from automakers' fleet of vehicles.
Intel has wanted an edge in the autonomous car market, so a deal the magnitude of this with BMW and Mobileeye is a big splash, but we'll only see the fruits of this labor in 2020 or beyond.
Tesla Motors is eyeing off China as its new production hub, with the company signing a non-binding agreement with Jinqiao Group, which is a Chinese government-owned company.
Jinqiao Group will be constructing the production plant for Tesla, where it will be built-in Shanghai. Tesla has reportedly signed a $9 billion on the deal after company CEO Elon Musk teasing six months ago that Tesla would choose China as a production facility site by the middle of 2016.
According to Bloomberg's report, both companies will invest $4.5 billion into the production plant, making it a much larger investment than Walt Disney Co.'s Shanghai-based theme park, which cost them $5.5 billion. How will Tesla benefit with a production plant in China? The electric car maker is paying 25% import tax it pays for each and every electric vehicle is ships to the country.
Uber just continues to expand into new markets, with the company pushing its on-demand delivery service out of beta and into the real-world. UberRush is a new on-demand courier program that is open for any company that wants it, but it's limited to just three cities right now: San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.
With Uber opening up the UberRush API to developers, it's the first step the company has taken towards expanding its courier service. Companies can easily add the UberRush service to their apps, with just a few lines of code. There have been a few companies that have been using UberRush when it was in beta, with Nordstorm and 1800flowers both taking good use of it, but Uber has said that there are more partnerships on the way. These new partnerships include Dryv, a Chicago-based dry cleaning service, and Up Sonder, a company that rents on-demand drones to aerial photographers.
If UberRush is a success in SF, Chicago and NY, we can expect the company to expand the on-demand delivery service into other towns, cities, and countries. I can't wait for that, as it's going to make me lazier than ever... thanks, Uber.
Autonomous cars are really becoming a thing, but they're not mainstream, yet. According to analyst organization IHS Automotive, there will be more driverless cars on the market than they had estimated. IHS Automotive increase its expectation of driverless and self-driving cars across the world, from 11.8 million on its last estimate in January 2014, to a huge 21 million by 2035 - an increase of nearly 100%.
IHS says that because of the increased R&D into autonomous technology, it has doubled its previous estimates, now stating that around 21 million driverless cars will be sold worldwide by 2035. The analyst firm says that the US will lead the world with autonomous car deployment, with thousands of cars on the roads by 2020. IHS expects the number to expand to 4.5 million self-driving cars in the US by 2035.
Most would think Japan would lead with autonomous cars, and don't worry - they're not far behind. IHS expects that Japan will "ramp up industry coordination and investment ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020". China is actually expected to be the volume leader for autonomous technology, with IHS estimating that over 5.7 million cars in China will have some form of autonomous technology built into their cars by 2035.
Back in March, GM added Android Auto to select new vehicle models, and now Hyundai owners are receiving it too, in addition to Apple's CarPlay.
Select 2015, 2016, and 2017 models can benefit from the technology (some version of the Sonata, Santa Fe, Genesis, Elantra GT, and Tucson, with Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, Veloster, and Azera on the way). It's free of charge and you don't have to go the dealer, either. Visit MyHyundai.com to do it yourself; if you prefer to let someone else handle it, the dealer option will be available for a fee as of June.
Be warned: the download takes as long as 3 hour and 40 minutes.
Uber is hopping on the self-driving car...train? Anyway, its first vehicle will be driving on the streets on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the coming weeks, and while it kind of looks like it might shoot missiles at any moment, the company assures it's just collecting mapping data and testing self-driving capabilities.
The Advanced Technologies Center run by Uber is located in Pittsburgh and was chosen for its engineering talent and research facilities, so it's only logical for it to serve as its testing ground. Meanwhile, city mayor William Peduto sounds awfully proud to be apart of it.
"From the first steel mills to the laboratories at Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh has a long history of innovation," he says. "Now we're taking another step forward, this time as home to Uber's Advanced Technologies Center, where some of the world's leading innovators are helping to shape the future of transportation. We're excited that Uber has chosen the Steel City as they explore new technologies that can improve people's lives - through increased road safety, less congestion, and more efficient and smarter cities."
If you live in Phoenix, are in need of work, and getting paid to brush your teeth and read the paper sound good to you, Google is hiring people to test out its self-driving cars.
The company has posted ads for anyone interested in pulling six to eight-hour shifts five days a week for about $20 an hour. At the end of your shift, employees will need to provide "concise written and oral feedback to the engineering team" on their experiences. Clean licenses are required, as there's a small chance those chosen will need to take the wheel under certain driving conditions. Unexpectedly, a BS/BA degree are required as well.
Google says it chose Phoenix as its latest test bed because the city encourages research and development and the extreme climate gives the company data it couldn't obtain in most other areas.
Driverless cars give rise to a variety of concerns for drivers and industry members alike. The latest: sex behind the behind the wheel, which has at least one expert on edge.
"I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars," states Barrie Kirk of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence. And while that sounds like a great thing, he points out the potentially dangerous side, saying, "That's one of several things people will do which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, 'Take over."'
Videos are already online showing those in Tesla driverless vehicles engaged in activities like reading a newspaper or brushing their teeth, so sex isn't much of a stretch.
Some of the biggest automotive companies in the world have joined forces for the issues surrounding self-driving cars, with Ford, Google, Uber, Lyft, and Volvo joining together to form the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.
What's that? The Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets is a lobbying group that will fight with the federal government about autonomous driving. With the government not really having a handle on self-driving cars just yet, the coalition is being led by David Strickland. Strickland is the former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Strickland will act as the group's counsel and spokesperson, so in a way, he'll be lobbying his former agency. His previous employer has been tasked by the Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to work out the rules for self-driving cars, by early this summer.
Strickland said in a statement: "Self-driving vehicle technology will make America's roadways safer and less congested. The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards, and the Coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles".