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Nissan Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura understands the growing fascination with infotainment and connected functionality in new vehicles.
Trying to find ways to include that technology in a safe and efficient manner, however, is a struggle that the Nissan design team battles frequently. When discussing the topic of infotainment systems, Nakamura had this to say:
"These are one way to simplify, but we are not sure how much, because these are distracting," Nakamura said during the 24 Hours of Le Mans. "Touchscreen is optimal for this kind of design, but a touchscreen is not always the best solution for the car. With the touchscreen you have to touch. You have to look at it. In a car you cannot look at it like this. You have to drive!"
Ford will be showing off a special Halo 5-themed pickup truck at E3 2015 this year, with the Ford F-150 Halo Sandcat being splashed with a green paintjob, as well as a United Nations Space Command (UNSC) logo.
The Halo 5-themed pickup truck was made from the design of Halo's Warthog vehicles, with Galpin Auto Sports tweaking the standard Lariat SuperCrew 4x4 with an offroad package, and a 3.5-liter engine. Not only that, but the entire look of the car has been changed, with Xbox One consoles in the backseat for passengers to get their game on.
Men seem to like the idea of autonomous vehicles more than women, with 37 percent of men saying they are concerned about safety. The survey, conducted by Nerdwallet, found that 55 percent of women noted they had safety concerns.
However, it looks like some auto insurance companies are jumping onboard with autonomous vehicles, such as State Farm. At least 9 out of 10 fatal car accidents stem from driver error - an issue that autonomous vehicles could greatly reduce.
"It's a can of worms," said Amy Danise, insurance editor of Nerdwallet, in a statement published by MoneyWatch. "It can benefit some drivers and not others. It's like usage-based insurance on steroids. If you're a driver who brakes hard, drives a lot and drives at night, you should not be on user-based insurance."
We're expected to see more autonomous vehicles on the roads, and more than 1 in 4 Americans would be okay with limitations placed on human driving.
I'm surprised by the national poll, though am reminded about poor driving habits every time I watch drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Google is pushing for commercialization of autonomous driving within five years, and computer systems could replace humans behind the wheel.
However, it's apparent that most people still want to be able to drive their own vehicles - and let other drivers make their own choices.
The Google self-driving car project recently reached a major milestone, topping 1 million miles driven - interacting with 200,000 stop signs, 600,000 traffic lights, and seeing 180 million vehicles on the road. More Google self-driving vehicles are hitting the road this summer, as Google looks to accelerate autonomous vehicle technology.
In 2009, Larry Page challenged the team to reach 100,000 miles on public roads, a figure that was significantly higher than any other self-driving platform at the time. In addition, 10 sets of 100 interesting miles should be driven, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street in San Francisco, and other famous Bay Area landmarks.
"We met those early goals, but it was hard to imagine we'd ever cruise the boulevards of Mountain View, California, as smoothly as we do today," according to the Google autonomous vehicle research team. We're taking this million mile milestone as further proof that fully self-driving vehicles will become a reality, and we're looking forward to finding out where the next million miles will take us."
There could be more than 10 million self-driving vehicles on the road by 2020, with significant breakthroughs expected starting in 2019, according to a new report from Business Insider Intelligence.
In its recent report, the company outlines growth of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles, as driverless technology continues to accelerate. Companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Ford, Toyota, and others are investing more money and research time into autonomous vehicles, though most interested drivers will have to likely wait until 2025 - if not later - for prices to drop.
The idea that autonomous cars are no longer something from a science fiction story is impressive, though the realization that it's just a few years away could scare drivers. However, automakers and technology companies plan to continue market the booming technology to skeptical drivers.
The Ford Sync 3 system will first roll out to the 2016 Escape and Fiesta models, which will be available later this summer. Ford first worked with Microsoft to unveil Sync in 2007, but Sync 3 was made by QNX.
Sync 3 features better voice recognition, a responsive touch-screen interface and a significantly faster response time than previous models. This is Ford's biggest effort to give auto buyers the chance to use connected technology, and all Ford vehicles will receive the Sync 3 system by the end of next year.
"Sync always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," said Mark LaNeve, VP of Ford Marketing and Sales, in a public statement. "Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use - like a smartphone. Sync 3 delivers on that request."
Ford CEO Mark Fields recently spoke regarding his desire to see the automaker support wearables, smartphones, and other connected tech in vehicles. Embracing technology helped the once-struggling automaker turn around a few years ago, and Ford wants to make sure it doesn't shy away from emerging technologies.
During a recent visit to Ford's new Palo Alto research center, Fields mentioned the "intersection between cars and wearables" that only seems to be accelerating:
" Yeah. Absolutely," Fields said during a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "A lot of the research that we're doing down here is working with companies on wearables and sensors and things of that nature and what would that mean for cars. And is there is an experience on that that makes sense to integrate into our cars?"
Many drivers are still unsure if they want to travel in an autonomous vehicle, but a growing number of auto industry leaders and lawmakers are discussing autonomous driver safety. They promote autonomous vehicles as a safer alternative than humans behind the wheel, removing human error that contributes to auto-related incidents.
"As strange as it might seem to an outside observer; they are safer, a driverless car is less likely to have an accident than a drive one," said Warren Truss, Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, in a statement to Fairfax Media. "If something is about to go wrong, they stop dead. Human error is very significant in accidents, it is rare for there not be some human element."
It could be only a matter of time before an autonomous vehicle actually causes an accident, especially in a dynamic environment such as an urban driving environment, but will it still be safer than human drivers? It looks like it'll be up to automakers to convince drivers about self-driving vehicles, which could be on our roads sooner than we expect.
Members from the House of Energy and Commerce Committee want answers related to possible cybersecurity risks from larger numbers of connected vehicles hitting the road. There will be 250,000 connected vehicles on the road by 2020, according to the Gartner research group.
In a letter that was submitted to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), along with 17 automakers, committee members want additional information about connected vehicle security.
"Connected cars and advancements in vehicle technology present a tremendous opportunity for economic innovation, consumer convenience, and public health and safety," said the group. "These benefits, however, depend on consumer confidence in the safety and reliability of these technologies."