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autonomous cars

Traffic lights
Thomas Hawk / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan is competing with other states to become a leader in the nation when it comes to autonomous cars. Google is opening a development center in Novi. The University of Michigan has M-City, the Mobility Transformation Center.

And the governor recently signed laws to make Michigan more friendly to the development of driverless cars.

Kirk Steudle is the Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). He said that these recent developments have established the state as a leader in the transition to autonomous vehicles.

Jeremy Korzeniewski / Autoblog.com

The Consumer Electronics Show, an annual display of the world's most fantastical gadgets, starts tomorrow in Las Vegas.

Traditionally, the show has been devoted to gizmos that belong in your house or your hand: video game systems, televisions, home appliances, cell phones, and so on. Michigan’s largest manufacturing and engineering firms – the auto-makers and their suppliers – haven’t had much to contribute.

But with the growing role of technology in the automotive industry, particularly as it relates to mobility, Michigan companies are taking a bigger role at the CES.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The hottest topic in the auto industry in 2016?  It's no contest, says Michelle Krebs of Autotrader. 

Self-driving or autonomous cars captured most of the biggest headlines, from a deadly accident involving a semi-autonomous Tesla car, to General Motors' announcement last week that it would test self-driving Chevy Bolts on metro Detroit roads in 2017.

Krebs says some of the buzz is just that - buzz.  But she has been impressed by the pace of developments, with Google, Uber, GM, and others all in some stage of testing autonomous vehicles on public roadways.

General Motors

General Motors' CEO Mary Barra announced Thursday that the automaker will be testing autonomous vehicles on the streets of Detroit soon.

Self-driving Chevy Bolts are already being tested in California and Arizona.  The Bolt is GM's new long-range electric car.

Michigan's bad weather makes it ideal for the next place to test how safe and reliable self-driving cars can be, said Barra – on a day when the high temperature reached 16 degrees.

"This will be our main location for cold weather, as well as winter driving conditions," she said.

Governor Rick Snyder signing the bill that will allow for autonomous vehicles to be driven on public roads.
Ryan Burklow / Executive Office of Gov. Rick Snyder

Self-driving cars are officially hitting roads in the near future.

Governor Rick Snyder signed a new law that allows autonomous vehicles to begin testing on public roads.

According to state officials, Michigan becomes the first state to make detailed regulations for autonomous car research and development by signing this law.

This law defines how self-driving cars can be used on public roads, including testing the vehicles, ride-sharing services and eventually commercial use by the public.

Ford autonomous test vehicle
Ford Motor Company

 

In the race to develop self-driving technology, Michigan and Silicon Valley are not the only games in town.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is just back from Pittsburgh, where he got to take a look at what they’re working on down in Steel City.

The evolution from Motor City to Mobility City

Nov 16, 2016
Dave Pinter / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For the last century, almost since the day Henry Ford’s first assembly line started rolling in 1913, Detroit has been known as the Motor City. It was a regional point of pride that cars made in Michigan could be found zipping down roadways in every U.S. state and across the globe.

That image has been battered in recent decades as factories have been shuttered and work forces trimmed. But today a new vision is emerging, one in which Detroit specializes not only in building cars, but in all things transportation. That includes new technologies like autonomous vehicles, but it also means connecting those technologies to services like public transportation and bike shares.

In short: everything that moves people, goods, or information from point A to point B. Call it the “Mobility City.”

Self-driving vehicle from Ford
Ford Motor Company

More cars without human drivers could soon be on the road, pending the governor's signature.

Self-driving cars are in Michigan's future now that the state house of representatives has approved autonomous vehicle legislation.

Brandt Iden is on the House Communications and Technology Committee.

He says the safety of these vehicles provides opportunity for auto makers.

"As more companies realize the safety of these vehicles and having them on the road," Iden says, "they're obviously going to up production."

Ford autonomous test vehicle
Ford Motor Company

The Next Idea

Start talking about Willow Run and chances are pretty good that images of Rosie The Riveters building B-24 bombers in World War II come to mind.

But there are big plans being cooked up to transform the old factory grounds near Ypsilanti into a highly advanced proving ground for autonomous and connected vehicles.

Pete Bigelow spells it all out in his story for Car and Driver.

flickr user Ken Lund / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Driverless cars are on the horizon. That much is clear.

We’ve heard from businesses, engineers and politicians about how autonomous vehicles could change day-to-day life for all of us.

How might driverless cars affect the lives of people with disabilities?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting millions of dollars from the federal government to help reclaim former auto plant sites.

Buick City and Chevy in the Hole were once major auto production centers in Flint. Now, the two empty industrial sites are slowly being reclaimed.

The $2.5 million grant will help with building a new automotive research center in Flint. Kettering University is developing part of the old Chevy in the Hole site for research into new mobility technology.

Ford autonomous test vehicle
Ford Motor Company

Picture the starting line at a foot race. In one lane, you've got the auto companies and the supply side. In the other lane, Silicon Valley heavyweights and enterprising start-ups. At the finish line: who gets the big momentum and the money.

The future of the mobility business is ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles which could be a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide industry. So there is a lot on the line. 

Ford autonomous test vehicle
Ford Motor Company

Last week the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx made the rounds through the news outlets, excitedly talking about new guidelines for autonomous cars.

But Foxx admitted there's a lot not covered in the guidelines because there's a lot the auto industry and the government have yet to figure out.

NPR’s Sonari Glinton joined us today to talk about the secretary’s comments, and the ongoing push toward autonomous vehicles.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Michigan's ban on straight-ticket voting keeps moving up the judicial ladder.

In the latest edition of The Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at the state's latest move to reinstate the ban and whether voters will have the option in November.

Ford Motor Company

This is a very busy weekend on Michigan highways.  

But in the future, many of the vehicles on the road won’t have a person behind the wheel.

The state senate is expected act quickly on a package of bills to loosen rules governing autonomous vehicles.

Kirk Steudle is the head of the Michigan Department of Transportation.  

He believes autonomous cars will eventually reduce fatalities on Michigan roads.

Steudle wants automakers to have more leeway to test driverless cars in Michigan.

Ford Motor Company's self-driving vehicle
Ford Motor Company

Michigan is edging closer to clearing the road for driverless cars.

A state Senate committee approved a package of four bills that loosen existing rules for autonomous vehicles. The state created rules for driverless cars just a few years ago. But evolving technology has apparently made those rules “obsolete.”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford announced this week it's joining forces with four tech companies and doubling its staff in Silicon Valley. 

Their goal is to put a fully self-driving - that means no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedals - on the road by 2021.

In his Detroit News column todayDaniel Howes  wrote that Ford's move is a sign that, "your father's auto industry is gone and it's not coming back."

Ford Autonomous Test Vehicle
flickr user Steve Jurvetson / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A century ago, Henry Ford changed the auto industry with the moving assembly line. 

Now Ford Motor Company has set an ambitious goal of developing a fully autonomous vehicle for mass production by 2021.

That's autonomous as in self-driving, with no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedals. 

To make that happen, Ford has announced it's joining forces with four tech companies and plans to double its staff in Silicon Valley. 

Road to self-driving cars depends on people

Jul 16, 2016

The talk of the auto industry this year isn’t about Detroit’s record profits. Rather, it’s about racing to field vehicles that drive themselves.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The road to self-driving cars isn’t just about technology.

FLICKR USER AUTOMOBILE ITALIA https://flic.kr/p/AsE6u3

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes has been reviewing the landscape of automobiles, high-tech, and next-generation mobility and finds Fiat Chrysler’s top guy Sergio Marchionne is lagging.

Sen. Gary Peters joined Cynthia Canty in the studio for today's "Stateside"
Mercedes Mejia

There are some important issues that seem to be mired in Republican resistance on Capitol Hill, federal aid for Flint, and hearings on a new Justice for the United States Supreme Court among them.

Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., joined Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside to talk about the latest developments and what it might take to get these efforts running through the Senate.

Toyota to open third research facility at U of M

Apr 7, 2016
University of Michigan

Toyota announced Thursday it will open a third research facility at the University of Michigan. 

Researchers will continue their work on driverless cars, but will now also explore other developments. The new facility will also work on artificial intelligence and in-home mobility aids for senior citizens.

Toyota is spending $1 billion on the new venture. 

user: mariordo / Wikimedia Commons

Federal safety regulators have told Google the computer in their self-driving car can be considered the driver - in lieu of a human.

One analyst says that decision is a "launching pad" for the technology.

Rebecca Lindland of Kelley Blue Book says many regulations were written long before the self-driving car was a twinkle in Google founder Larry Page's eye. So recognizing the computer as the driver helps to make the technology feasible.

Volvo

Usually, the biggest buzz at the North American International Auto Show surrounds a vehicle.

This year, you could argue the big buzz was about a trend: The race toward self-driving, or autonomous, vehicles.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that President Obama would seek $3.9 billion in the next federal budget to encourage the development of autonomous vehicles, which Foxx says show the potential to save thousands of lives.

Semi-autonomous vehicles are already on the road, with more to come.

MARIORDO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Autonomous vehicles promise to dramatically reduce congestion in large cities and save thousands of lives, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

That's why the Obama administration will ask Congress to budget $3.9 billion over the next ten years to help spur the development of the technologies that enable cars to drive themselves.

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company just can't seem to get investors to believe.

The company likely had its most profitable year ever in 2015.

On Tuesday, Ford announced a special dividend supplement of a billion dollars. 

And its stock fell. 

At the 2016 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ford CEO Mark Fields said he is not discouraged, despite the company's persistently low stock price on average.

Self-driving vehicle from Ford
Ford Motor Company

Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles navigate using technologies to detect lane markers to stay on course.

But what happens when those lane markers are covered with snow?

Engineers with the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company say their new research shows it's possible for a self-driving car to get around using highly detailed 3D maps of everything that surrounds the vehicle.

MARIORDO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

New research finds a surprising number of drivers around the world are open to trying a self-driving car.

Nearly 60% of respondents said they would be willing to travel in a fully self-driving car, according to a survey conducted jointly  by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group.

The number was slightly lower in the U.S. at 52%.

University of Michigan

"MCity" is the 32-acre replica suburb designed to let researchers test self-driving cars in real-world conditions, safely away from pedestrians and other vehicles.

Its recent opening in Ann Arbor is a clear sign that Michigan intends to be a leader in developing self-driving cars.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/raidokaldma/12617680335
Raido / Flickr.com

Fiat Chrysler says it has a software remedy available to customers, after two hacking experts took remote control of a Jeep Cherokee using the Internet.

Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek used the Jeep's UConnect system to gain access to the moving vehicle, which was being operated by WIRED's Andy Greenberg.

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