BUKIT LANJAN: EVs, solar-powered cars, driverless cars … ohh! Malaysia is so far behind in technology and use

Malaysia wants to remain with this technology? If not, why isn’t the governments moving to lay the foundation to help prepare Malaysians for the motoring future?
Milestones in the German automotive industry
It all started exactly 125 years ago with a three-wheeled cart powered by a petrol engine. The history of the motor car in Germany is as varied as the makes and models that originated there.  For more … http://www.germany.travel/en/specials/home-of-the-car/history/history.html

BUKIT LANJAN: EVs, solar-powered cars, driverless cars … ohh! Malaysia is so far behind in technology and use
It is so sad that Malaysia is only talking about striving to achieve developed nation status but in the global car technology industry and use, Malaysians are left far, far behind.

What developed nation status is Malaysia talking about?

“We are bombarded with international news on the lightning-speed evolution of the car technology and industry. Yet, there are no signs of the federal government making any effort to help prepare Malaysians for the global changes,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.

Just look at these news headlines:

Ø It’s no use honking. The robot at the wheel can’t hear you

Ø Totally driverless cars could be on California roads by June 2018

Ø Netherlands wins its seventh world solar car challenge in Australia

Ø New battery promises 0–320km of range in six minutes

Ø GM to buy sensor-tech firm Strobe to boost self-driving car push

Ø Renault plans China growth, more electric vehicles

“Need I even say more after reading the above headlines and content? Has Malaysia even started to prepare for the future of motoring?” he asked.

Updated: Mon, Jan 11 2010. 09 26 PM IST
The Auto Expo turned a corner in its 10th edition, when the world’s largest auto maker, Toyota Motor, undertook a global launch of the first small car from its stable. It also underlined the evolution of the Indian automobile market, which moved away from playing catch-up with global launches to setting the trend. The Auto Expo in the Capital, which took a while to get into cruise mode as a biennial event, is today a far cry from being the showcase of functional, utilitarian two- and four-wheeled contraptions whose sole purpose was to get you from point A to point B. Today, it is as much about mobility as it is about style, and there’s a car to suit every pocket. For more … http://www.livemint.com/Companies/KG45snrASglzr4fPjSxjSJ/India8217s-auto-evolution.html 
Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan, said both the state and federal governments, particularly the Transport Ministry, “better start preparing and laying the ground work for the future of motoring”.

“Failing to do so is akin to leaving Malaysia to become a ‘stone-age’ motoring society,” he added.

For keen motoring enthusiasts, here are the six latest stories on the global motoring industry and technology compiled for your easy reading pleasure. All stories were posted by The Star Online:

"It’s no use honking. The robot at the wheel can’t hear you

Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017
11:30 AM MYT

Waymo’s now-retired “Firefly” autonomous vehicle prototypes were rear-ended twice at the same intersection in Mountain View, California, in separate instances less than a month apart in 2016. — Zuma Press/TNS 
As auto accidents go, it wasn’t much: twelve minutes before noon on a cool June day, a Chevrolet Bolt was rear ended as it crawled from a stop light in downtown San Francisco.

What made this fender bender noteworthy was the Bolt’s driver: a computer.

In California, where companies like Cruise Automation Inc and Waymo LLC are ramping up testing of self-driving cars, human drivers keep running into them in low-speed fender benders. The run-ins highlight an emerging culture clash between humans who often treat traffic laws as guidelines and autonomous cars that refuse to roll through a stop sign or exceed the speed limit.

”They don’t drive like people. They drive like robots,” said Mike Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner Inc who specialises in advanced automotive technologies. “They’re odd and that’s why they get hit.”

What they’ve found is that while the public may most fear a marauding vehicle without a driver behind the wheel, the reality is that the vehicles are overly cautious. They creep out from stop signs after coming to a complete stop and mostly obey the letter of the law – unlike humans.

Smoothing out that interaction is one of the most important tasks ahead for developers of the technology, says Karl Iagnemma, chief executive officer of self-driving software developer NuTonomy Inc.

”If the cars drive in a way that’s really distinct from the way that every other motorist on the road is driving, there will be in the worst case accidents and in the best case frustration,” he said. “What that’s going to lead to is a lower likelihood that the public is going to accept the technology.”

Sensors embedded in autonomous cars allow them to “see” the world with far more precision than humans, but the cars struggle to translate visual cues on the road into predictions about what might happen next, Iagnemma said. They also struggle to handle new scenarios they haven’t encountered before.

California is the only state that specifically requires reports when an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident. The records show vehicles in autonomous mode have been rear-ended 13 times in the state since the beginning of 2016, out of 31 collisions involving self-driving cars in total, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The collisions also almost always occur at intersections rather than in free-flowing traffic. A Cruise autonomous vehicle was rear-ended last month, for example, while braking to avoid a vehicle drifting into its lane from the right as traffic advanced from a green light.

Waymo’s now-retired “Firefly” autonomous vehicle prototypes were rear-ended twice at the same intersection in Mountain View, California, in separate instances less than a month apart in 2016. In both cases, the Waymos were preparing to make a right hand turn before they stopped to yield for oncoming traffic and got hit from behind.

Another time a vehicle was rear-ended by a cyclist after it braked to avoid another car. And a truck racing to pass a slow-moving self-driving vehicle before a stop sign clipped it as it scooted back to the right.

The state’s crash reports don’t assign blame and provide only terse summaries of the incidents, but a few themes are common. They’re almost always low-speed fender benders with no injuries. The Bolt, for example, was traveling at less than one mile per hour when it was rear-ended. While they represent a minuscule share of crashes in the state, autonomous vehicles are also a very small share of the vehicles on the road.

”You put a car on the road which may be driving by the letter of the law, but compared to the surrounding road users, it’s acting very conservatively,” Iagnemma said. “This can lead to situations where the autonomous car is a bit of a fish out of water.”

A spokeswoman for Cruise, which was acquired by General Motors Co last year, said the crash reports speak for themselves.

The company’s chief executive officer Kyle Vogt said in a September blog post that the company’s third-generation autonomous Chevrolet Bolts are “designed to emulate human driving behaviour but with the human mistakes omitted.”

More natural

San Francisco’s streets are chaotic, but that’s helping Cruise program its cars to learn how to react to those challenges, Vogt said in a separate blog post.

”People put junk in the street. They park everywhere. People don’t obey crosswalks,” Vogt wrote. “Our vehicles must be assertive, nimble, and sometimes a bit creative.”

Waymo, Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit, has tried to refine how its vehicles act so that they are more natural. For example, the developer altered its software dictating how the cars handled turns to be more comfortable for passengers, says Duke University robotics professor Missy Cummings.

”They were cutting the corners really close, closer than humans would,” she said. “We typically take wider turns.”

Waymo is also using simulations to try to teach its cars to inch forward at flashing yellow lights. Dmitri Dolgov, Waymo’s technology chief, wrote in a December 2016 blog post that the companies were getting better at navigating the nonverbal dance of interacting with others on the road.

Ford Motor Co went so far as to put a vehicle on the road along with a driver masked to resemble the car’s seat. The experiment, conducted in cooperation with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, was designed to assess how driverless cars could communicate with other roadway users, using light signals to replace the eye contact and other signals that humans use to navigate city streets.

”Humans violate the rules in a safe and principled way, and the reality is that autonomous vehicles in the future may have to do the same thing if they don’t want to be the source of bottlenecks,” Iagnemma said.

A warm, clear climate and hands-off approach to regulations has recently made Phoenix, Arizona a hotbed of testing. Waymo began offering rides in a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to the public there in April.

Sergeant Alan Pfohl, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department, says the testing is going smoothly thus far.

The only crash he’s aware of is one last March in which an Uber Technologies Inc self-driving Volvo SUV was toppled after being hit by another vehicle that failed to yield. No injuries were reported.

”Technology can always fail, but so can humans,” Pfohl said. — Bloomberg

Totally driverless cars could be on California roads by June 2018

Friday, 13 Oct 2017
10:30 AM MYT

by russ mitchell

SAN FRANCISCO: Driverless cars – with nobody behind the wheel – could be on California roads and highways by June 2018.

That doesn't mean you'll be able to buy a completely driverless car next year, or even hail a ride in one. The technology is still being developed. The driverless cars that may begin appearing next year will be test vehicles. They'll be allowed to pick up passengers, but only if the passengers don't have to pay.

The timeline was revealed Wednesday, when the state Department of Motor Vehicles proposed a new set of streamlined regulations along with a 15-day public comment period.

The regulations are expected to be set by the end of the year and approved by the DMV early next year. The department had not previously set a date, approximate or otherwise, for the deployment of fully autonomous cars. The go date could be sooner than June, depending on how fast the rules are approved, the DMV said.

"Vehicle safety is the wheelhouse of the federal government," said Brian Soublet, head attorney at the DMV. "We continue to require that a manufacturer ... certify that the vehicle will operate safely."

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told automakers and tech companies last month that they could voluntarily submit driverless testing assessments to the federal government, but that they didn't have to. For now, existing federal safety standards for motor vehicles remain in place, regardless of whether a human is driving the car.

John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said Wednesday that California is ceding too much authority to the Trump administration.

"The new California DMV proposal wrongly relies on the federal government, when there are absolutely no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards applying specifically to autonomous vehicle technology," he said in a statement.

"Under the Trump administration approach, automakers can glance at the (federal) policy and say, 'That's nice,' and then do whatever they want as they use our roads as private laboratories and threaten highway safety," Simpson said.

California's new regulations would require that manufacturers testing driverless cars on public state roads certify that they're meeting federal standards and that any public paperwork shared with federal regulators on driverless testing also is passed to the DMV.

The rules would scale back existing regulations that require municipalities to approve vehicle testing. Under the new rules, testers would simply be required to inform cities, towns and counties when and where the vehicles will be tested.

Currently, 285 self-driving cars are being tested on California roadways by 42 permit holders, most of them auto manufacturers or technology companies, according to the DMV. State-approved human drivers are required to sit behind the wheel of those cars.

Congress is considering legislation that would loosen federal requirements on driverless-car testing.

The Senate version of the proposed law would not allow large driverless trucks. The new California regulations wouldn't either. — Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

Netherlands wins its seventh world solar car challenge in Australia

Friday, 13 Oct 2017
10:00 AM MYT
by james regan

The Nuon Solar Team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, entering the lightest car in the field, reached the finish line in 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds. — Reuters 
SYDNEY: The Netherlands claimed a seventh World Solar Challenge title on Thursday after its solar-powered car drove the length of Australia in a little over 37 hours.

The challenge began on Oct 8 with 42 cars powered only by the sun racing from Australia's tropical north to its southern shores, a gruelling 3,000 km (1,864 mile) endurance test through the outback.

The Nuon Solar Team from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, entering the lightest car in the field, reached the finish line in 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds, according to race organisers.

The United States came in second, organisers said.

The race starts in the northern city of Darwin and ends in the southern city of Adelaide, with cars typically reaching speeds of 90 kph to 100 kph (55 mph to 62 mph).

Organisers said the biennial event had attracted one of the widest fields ever, with teams from more than 40 countries. — Reuters

New battery promises 0–320km of range in six minutes

Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017
11:00 AM MYT
The new battery could revolutionise the electric car market.— AFP Relaxnews 
A new prototype battery from Toshiba could make recharging an electric car as quick and simple as filling the gas tank.

Toshiba has been building and developing lithium-ion batteries for automotive use since 2008, and, for its latest-generation cell, which it hopes to take from prototype to production reality before the end of 2019, it has developed a new anode using titanium niobium oxide. By going with this material, rather than graphite as is the norm, the new battery's storage capacity is doubled. And more importantly, it is less likely to start breaking down as a result of constant re-charging.

"We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation [battery]," said Dr Osamu Hori, Director of corporate research & development centre at Toshiba Corporation. "Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV."

Indeed, Toshiba claims that after six minutes of ultra-rapid charging, this particular battery, if fitted in a compact car, would be sufficient to add 320km of range. What's more, the new materials ensure that it operates at a safe temperature and in lifecycle testing retains 90% of its initial capacity after 5,000 charges and discharges.

The same will be true of the new battery pack; it will only offer this remarkable surge in range when connected to a suitable ultra-rapid charger

"We will continue to improve the battery's performance and aim to put [it] into practical application in fiscal year 2019," said Dr Hori. — AFP Relaxnews

GM to buy sensor-tech firm Strobe to boost self-driving car push

Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017
11:00 AM MYT
by nick carey
GM and its US rival Ford Motor Co have both publicly stated that they aim to have fully self-driving cars on sale by 2021. — Reuters 
DETROIT: Number one US automaker General Motors Co said on Monday it would buy Strobe Inc, which uses Lidar technology to helpself-driving cars identify objects at a distance, to boost its push into the market for self-driving vehicles

Lidar is one of the major sensor technologies used in autonomous vehicles. There is fierce competition between large automakers to bring autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles to market first.

Fully self-driving vehicles are expected to hit the market in a limited form by around 2020. GM and its US rival Ford Motor Co have both publicly stated that they aim to have fully self-driving cars on sale by 2021.

"Strobe's Lidar technology will significantly improve the cost and capabilities of our vehicles so that we can more quickly accomplish our mission to deploy driverless vehicles atscale," Kyle Vogt, chief executive of GM's Cruise Automation unit, said in a statement. – The Star Online

Renault plans China growth, more electric vehicles

Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017
10:00 AM MYT

French automaker Renault, a leader in electric vehicles, announced Friday plans to launch five new emissions-free models by 2022 and make a major push into China.

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said he aimed for annual sales of five million vehicles by 2022 – a 44% increase on the 3.47 million units sold in 2016 – and revenues of over €70bil (RM347.4bil).

Renault, which is in an alliance with Japan's Nissan and Mitsubishi, wants to reduce its dependence on the European market, which accounted for over half of its sales last year.

Presenting the company's five-year strategic plan, Ghosn said he aimed to double sales outside of Europe, with a particular focus on China.

image: https://bcp.crwdcntrl.net/5/c=5593/b=44289793

Key to its growth is its range of electric and low-cost cars.

From three currently, Renault aims to increase its range of emissions-free, battery-powered vehicles to eight in total by 2022.

"Yesterday we were pioneers (in electric cars), today we are world leaders," Ghosn said, referring to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, adding that his goal was now to make clean-car technology profitable.

Renault, which posted profits of ‎€3.54bil (RM17.5bil) last year, also plans to expand its highly successful low-cost Dacia range, he said.

But Ghosn also acknowledged that financial analysts may need some persuading before Renault's stock market performance matches its ambitions.

"It is obvious that the market is hesitating towards Renault," he said.

He said Renault's market capitalisation did not reflect its "core business" as an industry-wide emissions scandal had taken its toll and acknowledged that there is also uncertainty about the French state's plans for its 19.7% stake in his company.

France's previous government upped the state-held stake in Renault by 4.7% to its current level in 2015, and has since been waiting for the right time to bring it back down to 15%.

"One of our shareholders saying that they will sell 4.7% puts a certain pressure on the share price," Ghosn said. — AFP Relaxnews"



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