Ford will boost electric vehicle spending to $11B and offer 40 electrified models by 2022

 Ford Motor will boost its investment in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022, said chairman Bill Ford at the Detroit Auto Show today. This is a huge increase from the $4.5 billion by 2020 the automaker announced in December 2015 that it planned to invest. Read More

Why experts believe cheaper, better lidar is right around the corner

On November 3, 2007, six vehicles made history by successfully navigating a simulated urban environment—and complying with California traffic laws—without a driver behind the wheel. Five of the six were sporting a revolutionary new type of lidar sensor that had recently been introduced by an audio equipment maker called Velodyne.

A decade later, Velodyne’s lidar continues to be a crucial technology for self-driving cars. Lidar costs are coming down but are still fairly expensive. Velodyne and a swarm of startups are trying to change that.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into lidar technology. We’ll explain how the technology works and the challenges technologists face as they try to build lidar sensors that meet the demanding requirements for commercial self-driving cars.

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Ford recruits Alibaba to help break into China’s electric vehicle industry

 Ford has put a lot of focus on China’s electric vehicle market — with a local joint venture expected to lead to 15 electric or hybrid models on sale in the country by 2025 — and today the automotive giant announced a tie-in with Alibaba to fulfill its ambitious goals.
The scope of alliance is fairly broad and vague at this point, but a large chunk of  the”strategic… Read More

Ford will launch a new brand of electric cars just for China

Ford and Chinese automaker Zotye will partner up on a new line of electric vehicles, we learned Wednesday. The pair is creating a joint venture—Zotye Ford Automobile Company—that they say will offer “a range of stylish and affordable electric vehicles for consumers in China.” It’s a 50/50 partnership, with the pair investing roughly $756 million (RMB 5 billion). The as-yet unnamed brand will get its own dedicated R&D center, and a new factory in Zhejiang Province will build the EVs for domestic consumption.

The Chinese market is especially coveted by Western automakers, which see lots of untapped potential—and the chance to make lots of money. It’s a particularly important market for EVs; even though only 1.5 percent of Chinese vehicle sales are electric, in 2016 that figure accounted for 40 percent of global EV sales. And that’s only going to grow as the country plans to phase out the internal combustion engine in the coming decades.

But tapping that market requires compromises on the part of foreign car companies. China levies a hefty 25 percent import duty on imported vehicles, so cars need to be built locally to remain competitive on price.

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Waymo has a big lead in driverless cars—but here’s how it could lose it

Waymo has long had a sizable lead in self-driving technology, and recent reports indicate that Larry Page, CEO of Waymo parent company Alphabet, is determined not to let it slip away. According to The Information’s Amir Efrati, Waymo CEO John Krafcik is under pressure to launch a commercial service in the Phoenix metro area as soon as this fall.

But at a Monday event with reporters at Waymo’s Castle testing grounds in California’s Central Valley, Krafcik was non-committal about the company’s launch plans. In fact, he cast doubt on whether a driverless taxi service would even be Waymo’s first product, as almost everyone has assumed it would be.

“We’ll have to see,” Krafcik said, noting that the company was also working on self-driving truck technology. “We’re also considering working directly with cities.”

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Crunch Report | Amazon’s New High-End Echo

Amazon reveals its high-end Echo, MIT’s CSAIL developed a robot that can wear different exoskeletons, Ford and Lyft tie the knot and Delta gives people free messaging on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage on flights. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Lyft adds Ford to its ever-growing list of partners

On Wednesday morning, Ford revealed that it is the latest OEM to partner with Lyft as it prepares to put self-driving cars on the roads in a few short years. In a post on Medium, Ford’s VP of Autonomous Vehicles and Electrification Sherif Marakby explained that the Blue Oval chose the Pink Mustache to help build out the infrastructure that will connect customers with its autonomous transport service once it’s ready.

Building out a successful ride-hailing service isn’t that simple. All the backend stuff has to work properly—matching drivers and riders and so on—but there’s the not-insignificant matter of persuading people to sign up, to trust you enough to use your service and to tell their friends.

That poses a potential problem for the legion of car companies and tech firms who plan to put self-driving mobility pods on our roads in just a few short years; their competencies lie in designing the AI platforms or building the autonomous vehicles.

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Ford becomes the latest automotive giant to work with Lyft on self-driving cars

 Unlike Uber and China’s Didi, Lyft isn’t developing its own self-driving cars. But the U.S. company sure is signing up major names to help it bridge the gap. This week it announced Ford as its latest autonomous car partner. Ford joins big names Jaguar, GM and Alphabet’s Waymo as well startups Nutonomy and as Lyft allies. Recently recognized as top of the industry when… Read More