Winter is coming for car manufacturers. An Autonomous Winter, without end. If you’ve seen what Tesla is doing with Autopilot, and all they plan to do with it, you’ve already seen the future. Now it’s up to automakers to figure out what they want to be in this new world as quickly as possible.
Check out my new piece on the future of Autonomous Cars over at Jalopnik…
Anyone who has bothered to ask me already knows the answer. The two greatest automotive journalists who’ve ever lived are L.J.K. Setright and Jack Baruth. Setright, alas, is no longer with us, but left us as his magnum opus the dense and brilliant Drive On, which is a must-read for anyone who claims to know anything about car culture. Baruth has yet to bless us with a book, but in the meantime he’s got a voluminous back catalogue at TTAC and now Road & Track. I could go on and on about why I look forward to his columns, but his work really speaks for itself. Continue reading
Lost in the storm of VW news, the FCA confession and the Ford Windstar recall is even bigger news re: the future of the car sector: Google’s Sergey Brin said that they’re now open(!) to self-driving cars that can be driven manually. This is a complete reversal of Google’s previous position on Autonomous cars, and the ramifications are enormous.
The last time Google took an official position on this was earlier this year, when they unveiled a prototype lacking a steering wheel and gas or brake pedals. Continue reading
Will widows of Fast & Furious fans sue Paul Walker’s estate? There. I put it out there. I’d like to make this a spoof but I can’t. This morning’s announcement that Paul Walker’s daughter has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche has pushed me over the edge. The comments are universal in their condemnation: The lawsuit is frivolous. Roger Rodas was driving. She should be suing his estate. Let me take this one step further. Continue reading
I can’t remember how many times a friend has bragged to me about their brand new SUV. Especially annoying are those who brag about having bought the “special edition,” usually named after a long-dead explorer who probably froze to death, or some guy who invented a piece of clothing too expensive for explorers. That’s the funny thing about explorers, and people who risk their lives in general. They don’t care about brands or special editions. They only care about what works. Continue reading
All this VW talk has completely clouded the fact that recalls happen all the time. Unless you’re the original owner of anything you buy, it’s unlikely you’ll receive the traditional snail mail notification that might save your life. In this case, your child’s. Maybe, if the recall is big enough, you might even hear about it in the news. Trust me. If you’re the company doing the recalling, it’s best if no one other than current owners of your product finds out. Sooooo, Recaro – yes, that Recaro – really lucked out last week.
The spirit of Nostradamus must have shone upon Recaro, because they announced their recall of 173,000 child safety seats on September 15th, to very little fanfare. The VW Scandal broke on the 18th, and what little coverage Recaro got over the weekend was swamped by VW’s public collapse on the 21st.
Let’s go deeper, because I’m really upset about this. Let’s talk about branding. Continue reading
What is the VW story and why does it matter? So many non-car friends have e-mailed and called asking what’s happening, I’ve decided to simplify it. I mean, really simplify it, by inaugurating “The Only VW Story You Need to Read As Of Today.” To wit: Continue reading
Apple met with the California DMV this past August to discuss self-driving car regulations, according to Slashgear, “lending further weight to rumors the company is developing an autonomous vehicle.”
Wait. Apple JUST met with the California DMV this past August to discuss self-driving car regulations? JUST this past August?
The Slashgear story is not the story. Continue reading
The following is excerpted from my Jalopnik piece: “How Science Fiction Failed Us: The Real Future of Autonomous Cars.”
The Autonomotive Singularity is the idea that human input is the weakest link in the transportation chain, manifested to its logical end. It is Uber meets Skynet. It is the sun around which every digital automotive “advancement” currently orbits. Continue reading
Elon Musk believes in it. So does Uber’s Travis Kalanick. The Autonomotive Singularity is inevitable. It is the enemy of enthusiast car culture as it stands, but only as we know it. If we come to understand it, it might just be the best thing ever for car enthusiasts. Might. If you truly love driving, you need to understand the Autonomotive Singularity, and that means you have to stop ignoring it and accept it. Continue reading