Aurora, the self-driving startup that already has relationships with a number of automakers, has just announced its newest collaboration, working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) on self-driving commercial vehicle platforms.

Aurora's partnership with FCA will "further expand the scope" of its Aurora Driver system "to offer a variety of solutions to strategic customers in logistics, transit, and other use cases," the company said in a blog post.

This is far from the first partnership for Aurora, as the startup announced collaborations with both Volkswagen and Hyundai in January 2018. Aurora also has a partnership with electric car startup BYTON.

In February, Aurora secured a $530 million investment from the likes of Amazon and Sequoia. The startup now claims it has integrated Aurora Driver into six different vehicle platforms, "from sedans, SUVs, and minivans, to a large commercial vehicle and a class 8 truck."

As for FCA, the carmaker has already sold tens of thousands of its Chrysler Pacificas to Waymo for self-driving tests. On this new deal, FCA CEO Mike Manley said,

"As part of FCA's autonomous vehicle strategy we will continue to work with strategic partners in this space to address the needs of consumers in a rapidly changing industry. Aurora brings a unique skillset combined with advanced and purposeful technology that complements and enhances our philosophy on self-driving."

Focusing on commercial vehicles with Aurora would add another dimension to the company's overarching autonomous strategy.

It's been a busy month or so for FCA, which pitched a 50-50 merger offer to France's Renault, only to withdraw it last week. The company also gave Tesla $2 billion for emission credits in Europe.

Renault's existing partnership with Nissan seemed to play a large role in the withdrawal of FCA's merger. The deal is not completely dead yet, but Nissan will have its say on whether it can be resuscitated, according to a new Reuters report.

 

Source: electrek

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  • A corrupted computer module in nearly 300,000 2019 Ram 1500 trucks means airbags and seatbelt pretensioners may not work in a crash.
  • The airbag warning light may or may not illuminate if the problem occurs.
  • Dealers will begin repairs in late July.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 295,981 Ram pickups in the United States because their airbags and seatbelt pretensioners may be deactivated in a crash, according to the company and filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The defect is in every Ram 1500 built through April 29, 2019, the date after which FCA updated software for the start of 2020 production. The problem lies in the occupant restraint controller, which is the main processing unit that decides whether or not to deploy the airbags and pretensioners in an accident. When the driver shuts off the truck, the controller may power off too soon during a “memory cleanup”not much different than how your home computer clears its memory during shutdownwhich can permanently corrupt the controller. When that happens, an airbag light can illuminate, all sorts of fault codes can generate, and at worst, the truck’s airbags and pretensioners won’t work.

 

 

 

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  • One-third of all people are highly susceptible to motion sickness, according to the National Institutes of Health.
  • It tends to get worse when that susceptible person is a passenger instead of a driver, which will be the case more often as self-driving cars and semi-autonomous driving features enter the mainstream.
  • Volkswagen is testing solutions to carsickness in self-driving cars that include features such as red and green LED lights and movable seats.

Forget the technical and safety challenges facing self-driving cars’ march toward the mainstream – good old-fashioned carsickness is coming up as a worthy consideration for automakers designing autonomous vehicles. Volkswagen has announced that it has set scientists in Wolfsburg, Germany, on the task of studying motion sickness in autonomous cars and developing anti-puke solutions (our term, not VW’s).

One set of Volkswagen’s tests uses large strips of LEDs inside a car that glow red or green in concert with the car’s slowing and acceleration to help occupants gain a sense of anticipation for a self-driving car’s moves. (Carsickness often is brought on by passengers’ not knowing or being able to predict the driver’s next moves, hence the proposed feedback loop’s value.) To combat illness relating to a mismatch in an occupant’s perception of a vehicle’s movement and the movement itself, another common source of carsickness, VW is playing around with the idea of movable seats. So far, the science fair going on in Wolfsburg hasn’t produced concrete solutions along the lines of, say, Citroën’s Willy Wonka-style anti-emetic glasses.

To evaluate these ideas, VW is running tests that place subjects in a self-driving car, rigs them up with skin-temperature and heart-rate sensors as shown above (as well as cameras that evaluate skin tone), and makes them ride through 20 minutes of stop-and-go movement behind a lead car. To mimic a future in which autonomous cars are so trustworthy that you could watch a movie while in command of one, the test also involves a tablet display mounted to the dashboard that plays a video of fish swimming (to negate emotional impact on the sensor array from a comedy or drama film). Unsurprisingly, without any countermeasures in place, the occupants often experience illness.

It might not seem newsworthy to announce that Volkswagen is considering ways to keep you from barfing in a self-driving car, rather than a real, production-ready solution to keep you from barfing in a self-driving car, but then again autonomous cars aren’t yet commercially available. Whenor ifthey do get there in this lifetime, you’ll likely appreciate the work Volkswagen and other automakers are putting into carsickness solutions.

Source: Car and Driver

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Matt Dyer, President & CEO, LeasePlan USA, will present at Global Fleet Conference 2019. His session, Realizing Sustainable Mobility in the Digital Era, will explore how technology will play a significant role in the transition to sustainable transportation – both locally and globally. From the evolution of EVs and other low-emission technologies across the world, to developing strategies to sustain a healthy fleet.

Check back on our blog after the event for a roundup article and for key takeaways set to influence the industry.

Until then, watch the video below to hear about LeasePlan’s commitment to fully digitizing the service experience for our customers, and ultimately becoming a digital services integrator.

 

 

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Carolyn Edwards, senior vice president, client success at LeasePlan USA will speak at the 2019 Australasian Fleet Conference & Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia on May 22-24, 2019. She will present two of the program’s key sessions; “The Changing Face of Fleet Management” and “Women in Fleet Management.”

Women in Fleet Management (WIFM), the initiative that she founded back in 2012, now has a reach of over 1,700 fleet professionals via its associated AFLA membership, LinkedIn discussion groups and industry receptions. WIFM offers a number of programs, including periodic webinars focused on personal and professional development topics, a dedicated speaker session held in conjunction with the AFLA Annual Corporate Fleet Conference and a year-round mentorship program.

“I’m very much looking forward to presenting at AfMA and I’m excited to introduce Women in Fleet Management to our counterparts in the Australasian fleet industry,” said Edwards. “Starting WIFM is definitely something I consider one of my greatest accomplishments and I’m grateful for the opportunity to further increase our diversity and strength as an organization.”

An industry veteran of more than 28 years, Edwards has helped deliver millions of dollars in cost savings to clients through her consultative approach. Originally from an OEM background, she is today widely regarded and appreciated as a fleet industry authority and is perfectly placed to provide expert insights and analysis. Edwards continued, “WIFM has gone from strength to strength since its inception, and I’m proud to have been a part of that journey. It has given me both the opportunity to create something valuable and to one day leave behind a lasting legacy that I know future leaders will build on.”

To find out more about Women in Fleet Management please click here.

To find out more about AfMA please click here.

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