Report: Ford, Google joining to build self-driving cars

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New Year to Bring New Car Tech.

Jack Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said advanced infotainment systems are major selling points for automakers. “I think it’s a differentiator for people.

For an individual who’s on the brink of buying a new car, if one of the vehicles they’re looking at has it and one doesn’t, I’d be reluctant to buy that car,” Nerad said, noting how many consumers are tied to their mobile devices. GM is rolling out both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across its four brands, including Chevrolet, which will get the smartphone-like software in at least a dozen 2016 models. Although it hasn’t adopted CarPlay or Android Auto, Ford (F) recently sent out a software update for its Sync 3 platform that added Apple’s Siri Eyes Free service, which connects to iPhones. In recent years, companies have tried new strategies such as adding turbochargers to four-cylinder engines, combining the fuel savings of a smaller engine with greater horsepower.

Ford partnered with Getaround to launch a test program called Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing that allows car owners to connect with users online who are looking for a ride. Ford is testing a similar service in London, too. “I think we will see more consumer demand for alternative ownership in 2016,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner Car-sharing has certainly grabbed Detroit’s attention.

In a post on LinkedIn (LNKD), GM CEO Mary Barra said the nation’s top seller of cars and trucks will launch a car-sharing program in 2016. “Customers in crowded cities may be re-evaluating vehicle ownership, but they still want to go places,” Barra wrote. “We’re testing shared mobility programs around the world that use smartphone apps — based on our 20 years of connectivity expertise with OnStar — to connect communities of customers with transportation, and we’re getting ready to launch our citywide car sharing programs in the U.S. next year. As an example, Nerad noted that new cars are equipped with lane-keeping technology, as opposed to just warning lights when a car begins to drift out of its lane. The company’s creation, called Super Cruise, will enable the CT6 to virtually drive itself on highways. “A lot of these technologies are being democratized,” he said. “Consumers will start to see more self-driving capabilities in the cars they can buy.” Koslowski mentioned automated parking as one feature that is spreading to more cars.

Koslowski believes car makers will bring more self-driving technology directly to consumers in the coming year, many of whom are uncomfortable with the idea of an autonomous vehicle. A survey conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute earlier this year found that 43.8% of drivers do not want any self-driving capabilities. It’s about exposing consumers to this technology, which is an important next step,” Koslowski said. “That will be a big focus for automotive and technology companies in 2016.” Ford has joined the group of automakers approved by California to test self-driving cars on public roads.

Meanwhile, Google will reportedly turn its driverless car unit into a separate Alphabet company, a sign that the Silicon Valley icon may be ramping up its research.

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