The NHTSA Report Exonerating Tesla Should Terrify the Auto Sector

24 Jan

NHTSA Report

Last week’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on Joshua Brown’s fatal Autopilot accident does a lot more than exonerate Tesla. It’s a stamp of approval for Tesla’s entire ecosystem and rollout strategy, from Autopilot to data gathering to wireless updates.

Legacy auto makers should be terrified.

As futurist Brad Templeton points out, NHTSA’s report is so favorable to Tesla, it’s hard to believe it was written by the same government agency whose letter to George Hotz compelled him to cancel the Comma One, the only other semi-autonomous driving technology to approach Tesla’s as of 2016.

NHTSA investigator Kareem Habib dismantles every argument critics and competitors have been firing at Tesla since Autopilot was released in October of 2015. The report is explicit: the Tesla crash rate declined 40% after Autopilot’s release. Tesla’s safety technologies are not defective. Tesla is clear about driver responsibility. Tesla provides clear engagement and disengagement alerts.

Tesla should hire Habib. So should Faraday. This guy knows his way around defending autonomy.

Any hopes the legacy automakers might have had that regulators would throttle or halt Tesla’s progress are now shattered. What appeared to be Tesla’s headlong rush toward autonomy is now a three year head start. Why? Because the old guard were so skeptical of self-driving cars—and so terrified of being the first one to have a fatality with a car even temporarily in control—that they ceded the first round of the autonomy wars to Tesla without a fight. Continue reading

Do You Love Your Kids? Branding, VW & The Forgotten Recaro Recall.

23 Sep

Alex Roy's LiveDriveRepeat - Recaro Recalls Baby Seats

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

These “American” Cars Will Be 35% More Expensive Under A Trump Presidency.

15 Sep

Alex Roy's LiveDriveRepeat - Trump Wants These Cars to Go Up 35% In Price If He's Elected...

Donald Trump is sick and tired of American car manufacturers exporting jobs, and doesn’t mind a little trade war. Here is a list of American cars whose prices Donald Trump suggested should go up 35% were he elected president, according to his speech in Raleigh, North Carolina last night. Trump was a little vague about details, but if we go by the NHTSA 70% standard, well, here you go: Continue reading