Michigan takes the lead in the race to support driverless cars on public roads

Google Self-Driving Car
The state of Michigan is not idling along in neutral, waiting for the rest of the country to get it together with autonomous cars. Technology companies, carmakers, ride-share companies, and insurance companies are all sure that driverless cars are coming and that the tech will be a good thing. Federal regulatory agencies want rules to protect the public. The same public, however, so far has mixed feelings about driverless cars, with the majority saying they would be afraid to ride in one. But Michigan is pushing forward.

With growing connections between Silicon Valley and Detroit arising as car, tech, and ride-share companies join forces, the powers that be in Michigan intend to accommodate the trend. A package of bipartisan bills is being pushed forward that would allow both the sale and operation of self-driving vehicles in the state, according to the Associated Press.

One of the laws enables driver-free cars. Another bill sets up a highway speed test track at a vacant GM plant. Other legislation would allow convoys of driverless trucks to travel the highways and enable car companies such as General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler to establish and run networks of driverless on-demand cars.

Michigan is the automobile industry’s capital and is making a statement with the proposed legislation. Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle has a sense of urgency. “It’s coming. It’s coming fast,”  said Steudle “The technology is at a point where it will be incorporated into something that is mass-produced.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation, economic development leadership, both political parties, and the governor are all in favor of staying in the lead in what is increasingly referred to as the “mobility” industry. The bills’ main sponsor, Republican Senator Mike Kowall, said, “We’re working with the industry and MDOT so that once these vehicles are on the road you can rest assured that they are safe. I see the autonomous vehicles being tested on the road every day. It’s weird. But it’s what’s going to move the auto industry into the 24th and 25th century.”

Not everyone is gung-ho about the new legislation. Some see it as coming too soon at the expense of public safety in order to achieve short-term economic benefit. Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a California-based advocacy group concerned about safety and privacy said, “It’s foolhardy to rush into this without a plan just because it seems to be a way to stimulate jobs.”

Senator Kowall expects the bills to go committee this summer.

Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

From cars to computers: How data is transforming F1 racing

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…
Cars

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.