Tip of the Week

Auto manufacturers, professional associations, suppliers, consumer advocacy groups and members of academia gathered last week at the MIT MediaLab for the annual New England Motor Press Association conference on advancing vehicle technologies.

The main takeaway? We’re still inevitably barreling toward some form of vehicular autonomy, but the days of taking a nap while our car drives us home are way off in the distance.

The technology we have today, known as “Level 2 automation,” is doing its job. While humans are still required to be in primary control of the vehicle, Level 2 automation provides help steering, breaking and accelerating. According to a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, GM vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking were involved in 43% fewer police-reported front-to-rear accidents and 64% fewer accidents that resulted in injury.

Due to these statistics, some at consumer advocacy groups began to wonder why these features were even optional at all. The answer is a bit complicated as the federal government has ceded control on the subject back to the industry leaders.

The top 20 car manufacturers, which account for 99% of production, have made a pact to make automatic emergency braking systems standard in all new vehicles by 2022. This, obviously, is good for the safety of consumers, but as of right now, the same plan is not in place for most other Level 2 automation technologies.

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Auto news

Volkswagen Group and Ford, in collaboration with autonomous vehicle partner Argo AI, are nearing a deal to create an alliance with the goal of creating an international powerhouse in the self-driving car space. Ford announced in February 2017 its plans to invest $1 billion over five years in Argo to create a self-driving car, and now it appears Volkswagen wants in on the deal. Volkswagen ended its partnership with its own self-driving car partner, Aurora, on June 11, clearing a lane for the Ford partnership. Argo, reportedly valued near $4 billion, already has self-driving cars in test markets, such as Pittsburgh and Miami.

A completed deal could be announced as early as July.

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Did you know

Apparently, alligators have a particular appetite for cars. According to WAFB9 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an 8-foot gator appeared on Louisiana Highway 1. Authorities came to remove the reptile, but it escaped, not before taking a bite out of the patrolman’s front bumper.

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