Cruise, the self-driving startup acquired by GM last year, is already operating a completely autonomous ride hailing service in San Francisco for its employees. Some employees are using the service in lieu of owning a vehicle with 10 percent of the company’s San Francisco employees enrolled in the system. Others are on a waitlist. The service is available between 16 and 24 hours per day depending on availability of the R&D fleet that Cruise operates in SF. The cars themselves are modified Chevrolet Bolt EVs equipped with sensors and self-driving computers and software, and each also has a safety driver in place behind the wheel for testing and as required by law.
Mazda announced a major gas engine technological breakthrough The company stated they would sell cars from 2019 with a newly developed gasoline compression ignition engine, which eliminates the need for spark plugs. They are estimating fuel efficiency would increase by 30%, which would be similar to diesel engine fuel economy.
Spark plugs would still be necessary for cold temperature starts. Mazda feels the internal combustion engine is still important and are continuing their work with Toyota to develop electric vehicles and build an assembly plant.Diesel takes another hit in Europe. European emissions standards were tightened to match US standards, so many cities are considering banning older diesel vehicles which don’t meet the emissions requirements. VW, Mercedes, Opel, Fiat have joined other manufacturers to launch buyback and trade-in incentives to get the vehicles off the roads.
General Motors Co. is recalling 800,000 full size pickups worldwide due to a potential problem with the trucks electric power steering. 690,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 trucks in the U.S., are affected. The recall impacts 2014 model year vehicles. The trucks could suffer a temporary loss of the power steering, particularly during low-speed turns, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Dealers will reflash the software in the truck to resolve the problem.