Long thought to be less interested than previous generations in vehicle ownership and driving, most millennials actually like driving, according to a new survey from Hagerty. Survey results show that 81 per cent of participating millennial drivers say they like, love or are passionate about driving. This compares with 78 per cent of Gen X-ers and 79 per cent of baby boomers.
The survey was commissioned in response to the rapid rise of autonomous vehicle technology. Fifty-seven per cent of all respondents - including 64 per cent of millennials - believe a movement will be needed to preserve the driving experience when autonomous cars are the norm.
"Full autonomy is going to save lives, make commuting easier and unclog cities," said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. "But these survey results also indicate that people, including millennials, are always going to want to drive themselves when they want to. It's clear people don't want to lose the joy, freedom and control that comes with having their hands on the wheel."
Findings have prompted Hagerty to launch an initiative called "Why Driving Matters" to organize and amplify the voices of car lovers when it comes to future driving laws.
"One of our goals will be to work with policymakers so that years or even decades from now, when the bulk of cars are fully autonomous, the act of driving is protected," said Hagerty.
While electric and autonomous vehicles remain in development, Germany is pushing the envelope when it comes to futuristic tech: exploring the possibility of flying cars.
The German government signed a letter of intent with Audi and Airbus SE executives to "test air taxis" in and around Audi's hometown of Ingolstadt.
The Urban Air Mobility project was announced by Audi interim CEO Bram Schot, Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini, Mayor of Ingolstadt Dr. Christian Lösel, and other representatives.
"We welcome the involvement of the city of Ingolstadt and support the development of the region as a test field for air taxis," said Schot.
The trial is intended to counter clogged city roads and "unlock new growth potential" for Germany's high-tech industry, the government's press office said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
"We would like to use our know-how to improve urban life, and aim to develop new mobility concepts for cities and people's various needs with the Urban Air Mobility project," said Schot.
While flying cars may seem far off in the future, they could become a reality sooner than you think. At the Geneva Motor Show in March earlier this year, Audi, subsidiary Italdesign, and plane-maker Airbus SE unveiled their mobility concept: Pop.Up Next, an "an all-electric, fully automated concept for horizontal and vertical mobility."
Volocopter GmbH, a German startup backed by both Intel Corp. and Daimler, has built a "drone-like electric helicopter" that can ferry passengers across the city sky - and has already completed test flights. Volocopter GmbH hopes to offer the first commercial trips in the next three to five years.
"Flying taxis aren't a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility," said Scheuer. "They're a huge opportunity for companies and young startups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully."
Hyundai's next-generation NEXO fuel cell vehicle made its Canadian debut in Vancouver, B.C., during a ride-and-drive event that included the attendance of municipal and provincial government officials, according to the company's news release.
"Hyundai is the first automotive manufacturer to bring two generations of fuel cell vehicles to the Canadian market - first with the Tucson fuel cell, and now the all-new NEXO," said Don Romano, President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada. "The launch of NEXO reinforces Hyundai Motor Group's plan to bring 18 eco-friendly vehicles to global markets by 2025 to help pave the way for a greener future."
Elected officials were offered the chance to drive Hyundai's NEXO car and experience what it's like to sit behind the wheel of a fuel cell-powered vehicle. The carmaker also provided officials with information on how the technology can help contribute to a cleaner environment, as vehicles equipped with this feature run on hydrogen rather than gasoline.
"When Hydrogen and Oxygen are combined from the atmosphere into the fuel cell stack, electricity is produced via an electrochemical reaction," said Hyundai Auto Canada. "The only by-products of this process are water vapour and power, resulting in vehicles that yield zero-emissions."
Hyundai Auto Canada participated in the ride-and-drive event in collaboration with The Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) Coalition of automakers.
German auto supplier Bosch is developing smart-city technology that connects vehicles with infrastructure to provide safety alerts.
Robert Bosch GmbH demonstrated the system at the intersection of Jefferson and Griswold in Detroit on Tuesday as part of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America's annual meeting at Cobo Center.
A camera installed at the intersection monitored a section of sidewalk and the crosswalk at the intersection, waiting for pedestrians, bicyclists, even animals to enter the monitored area and warn the approaching F-150 equipped with Bosch's V2X "box."
V2X is the industry term for "vehicle to everything" communication technology, a next step in automotive safety systems in which a car can communicate with everything from infrastructure to the smart phone in a pedestrian's pocket.
Bosch's V2X technology "listens" while the advanced driver-assist system "watches," said Philip Ventimiglia, a Bosch product manager.
The V2X "box," as Ventimiglia calls it, is equipped with Dedicated Short Range Communications, or DSRC. It's essentially a one-way communication system that listens to signals being transmitted by sensors and cameras installed in surrounding infrastructure.
"The advantage of V2X technology is the vehicle can hear things farther away and it can hear things when the vehicle doesn't have the line of sight," he said. "When it comes to the vehicle cameras and radars, if there's an object in their way, then they can't offer that information to the driver. The important advantage here is when the infrastructure is in the game, it can typically see around those other trucks and cars and still communicate that information that's important to the driver."
The V2X DSRC system then works in line with an ADAS or autonomous system to best map out the vehicle's path.
When a Bosch employee wandered into the view of the camera, mounted on a traffic light pole above Jefferson Avenue, a signal appeared on the F-150's infotainment system. The infotainment system also displayed traffic lights ahead and directional signs like a no-left-turn sign along Jefferson.
The camera mounted at Jefferson was built by the supplier's Building Technology division, which develops security cameras and systems for buildings. It's already used in some roadway infrastructure cases, like traffic monitoring on highways.
But the camera at Jefferson and Griswold this week takes that traffic monitoring a step further. The system can detect and classify objects to alert the driver to potential hazards.
Bosch's cross-industry divisions are working together to put the supplier at the center of the movement into "smart cities," urban areas that will be able to support autonomous vehicles.
"Bosch is going cross-domain, cross-divisional to learn from different divisions and take those technologies and bring them into or augment and improve technologies that are already existing," said Frank Sgambati, Bosch's director of business development for smart cities in North America. "We're working with cities, municipalities and departments of transportation to be able to take the existing infrastructure to improve and offer more smart and intelligent solutions."
Sgambati worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to get the camera at Jefferson and Griswold installed for this week's demo. It's a relationship he said he'd like to build upon, though wouldn't say whether Bosch is working with MDOT or Detroit on smart city applications.
His division of Bosch is working with "several cities" on these tech applications, he said, including a smart mobility corridor in Columbus, Ohio, and a smart community in San Francisco.
Porsche is now using augmented reality glasses to repair cars
Porsche prides itself on its high-tech sports cars. But now it's bringing that passion for the cutting edge to its service departments.
The German automaker announced Tuesday that it is supplying its 189 U.S. dealerships with augmented-reality glasses that can help mechanics solve issues that arise on today's increasingly complex automobiles.
With the AR glasses on, a service technician can conference in a Porsche specialist located at the company's U.S. headquarters in Atlanta and be talked through a repair job - the technician can stream live video of the problem area, while the remote support worker can post helpful repair tips in the worker's peripheral vision.
"By solving issues fast, our dealer partners can get their customers back into cars with less disruption," Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Kellmer said in a statement.
Called Tech Look Live, the new feature connects Porsche dealerships with dedicated repair technicians at headquarters. Tech Look Live can also be used by the company's roving Field Technical Managers who may be executing repairs on the road.
Porsche says today's cars - now considered rolling computers often with complicated propulsion systems that combine gasoline and battery powered engines - prompted the decision to use AR glasses to help mechanics. The company is working on its first all-electric Tesla competitor, the Mission E sedan.
In addition, Porsche is also trying to win back to its dealership repair centers customers of older cars who currently might service their vehicles with independent mechanics. The infrequent nature of dealership repairs on Porsches that are decades old makes Tech Look Live valuable to a new car mechanic perhaps seeing an older component for the first time.
Porsche says 70% of all the cars made during the company's 70-year history are still on the road. Fixing such older cars at dealerships would represent a significant new source of revenue.
The glasses mechanics will use are ODG R-7 smartglasses, made by San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group. Unlike virtual-reality glasses such as Oculus Rift, which block out the real world, augmented-reality glasses such as the R-7s allow wearers to see the real world while other images can be overlaid in the periphery.
Most industry experts expect AR glasses to be a much bigger market than gamer-focused VR, but neither tech application has taken off as was previously predicted. Part of the reason for VR's slow adoption is the lack of non-gamer applications, as well as the sometimes disconcerting nature of blocking out real-world inputs.
Augmented reality also still lacks populist use cases. But it has slowly gained popularity in business enterprise cases where workers need to keep their hands free to perform a task. Workers on remote oil wells, surgeons and, now, mechanics are good use-cases for AR glasses.
Another big factor in keeping AR in its infancy is price. Glasses such as the R-7 cost in excess of $2,000 a pair.
Porsche's technicians won't be using R-7s for every repair. In fact, the company estimates that of the several hundred repairs each dealership handles every month, only a few particularly complex or unusual repairs will warrant the AR assist.
Porsche dealers began signing up for R-7 glasses last month, and 75 outlets are expected to receive the specs this year with the rest coming on board in 2019.