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Autonomous Vehicles Drive Demand for Puncture-Resistant Tires

Solid, airless tires preceded today’s pneumatic tires but were replaced by radial tires for better ride comfort. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, interest in airless tires is resuming. Today’s cars spend the majority of their days idle. Autonomous vehicles will spend most of their days in motion (and hopefully without a driver to check on the tires) and thus the necessity for a breakdown-proof tire becomes a priority. Michelin pioneered the technology in 2005 on a wheelchair, and they were commercially launched in 2012, but in limited-use cases such as lawnmowers and golf carts, and construction machinery, all of which have higher puncture risks. (more…)

Lexus to Launch All-Electric Vehicle in 2020 with Autonomous Highway Driving, Issues Remain

Lexus announced its first-ever all-electric vehicle recently at the Tokyo Motor Show. Toyota (Lexus’s parent company) has made no secret about investing in AVs, but has been slower than some of its competitors. We recently blogged about Toyota’s tie-up with Subaru to collaborate on AVs. With the forthcoming Level 2 autonomous vehicle, and in light of recent notable accidents involving AVs, Lexus is continuing its deliberate thought process on launching AVs. The new vehicle will be able to operate on highways, from entrance ramps to off ramps, with traffic merging capabilities, according to Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama. (more…)

First OEM Level 2 Autonomous Trucks Are Being Deployed

Firm client Covenant Transportation has recently added Level 2 autonomous trucks. The Freightliner Cascadia has electronic steering, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot warning, pedestrian warning, collision avoidance, intelligent high beams and active brake assist. The “Detroit Assurance” system in the truck collects, shares and validates safety-related information by tracking up to 40 objects simultaneously up to 660 feet away and reporting information about six vehicles in the truck’s path – their distance, velocity, width, lateral offset, type and confidence level – while the Video Radar Decision Unit (VRDU) refreshes the speed, distance, and time calculations 200 times per second. (more…)

Another Alliance Forms in the AV Space

At the ADAS & Autonomous Vehicles USA conference in Detroit on September 25, I spoke about some previously unusual alliances being formed in the car industry to tackle AVs, such as those between Ford and VW, Mercedes and BMW, and several heavy truck manufacturers. And now, we have another one. On September 27, 2019, Japanese carmakers Toyota and Subaru announced a “new business and capital alliance” to develop what they are calling “CASE” (connected, autonomous/automated, shared, and electric) vehicles. The two companies had previously announced a joint venture to develop battery electric vehicles using Subaru’s all-wheel drive technology (which is on all Subaru vehicles) and Toyota’s vehicle electrification technologies. (more…)