Heading into December, there is big news in the car tech world. California is ready for driverless car to make it to the road alone; while in Orlando Florida, ride-share drivers have a place to park and wait for their next fare. Meanwhile, Tesla is partnering with Apple to bring Siri to their car app, while Uber is partnering with Volvo to prepare a fleet of autonomous cars to pickup fares in the near future. Here is what is happening:
The California DMV is making it official next years: driverless car tests will be a go. So far, 43 companies—which include Apple, Uber, and General Motors—are able to test driverless vehicles as long as a living and breathing person is riding to act as a backup in case something happens to the vehicle. Regardless of the green light by California’s DMV, there are still roadblocks to be navigated by the driverless car as state regulations will collide with rules from the federal government and local jurisdictions.
Ride-share drivers have a new friend at the Orlando Airport where a special parking lot has openned for drivers seeking fares. The lot works on a first in, first out manner. Drivers arriving at the lot are assigned a number in terms of their arrival ahead of other drivers and wait their turn to slip into the stream of arrival traffic to pick up inbound passenger fares. The lot offers drivers the opportunity to avoid driving around listlessly while wasting and waring their vehicle, which allows drivers the opportunity to maximize their profits by minimizing expenses.
Connect Cars are rolling into the UK soon. Under the banner of UK Autodrive, a consortium between Ford, Land Rover, and TATA Motors has announced trials of in Coventry on November 17th. The trials will focus on driverless vehicles that can share data and information instantly with other vehicles and city infrastructure. Among the features being tested include signals transmitted by the emergency services—ambulance, fire truck, or police car—to nearby motorist alerting them when and where to pull to the side of the road.
Tesla is marrying Apple’s Siri virtual assistant to their own app to take their vision of the connected car to the next level. Their app is used to remotely monitor and control a Tesla vehicle. Once installed on an owner’s phone, the app can unlock and drive your Tesla, use GPS telemetry to locate the vehicle when parked, and much more. With the new Siri update, owners can now Siri activation voice commands to use the app’s functionality.
Uber announced a new partnership with Volvo to purchase as many as 24,000 driverless Volvos once they are ready for the road. The partnership actually extends a deal Uber made with Volvo two years ago. Uber has been working with third-parties to develop the technology to make autonomous vehicles happen and applying their developments in Volvo XC90 vehicles. In a statement, Volvo said that together with Uber the project is receiving $300 million of funding from both companies. Uber is planning to own and operate fleets of Volvos along with other driverless vehicles.