Thanks Autopilot: Cops stop Tesla whose driver appears asleep and drunk

Thanks Autopilot: Cops stop Tesla whose driver appears asleep and drunk

Enlarge (credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Police in the Netherlands on Thursday arrested a Tesla driver who had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel while driving down the highway. A Dutch police agency reported the arrest on Instagram.

A 50-year-old man was spotted driving close to the car ahead of him on the A27 road. “When we came alongside, the driver appeared to have fallen asleep,” the police said.

Police signaled for the driver to pull over, but he didn’t seem to notice. Eventually, the officers managed to wake the driver up using a siren, the Instagram post says. Police administered a blood alcohol test and found the driver to be under the influence of alcohol. (The Instagram post cites a BAC level of 340ug /l, which—if my math is right—is a BAC of 0.34 percent in American units.)

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Source: Ars Technica

The 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, reviewed

I’ll admit to being a little trepidatious reviewing the Toyota Corolla Hatchback. I didn’t exactly gel with the new Camry, and the two cars share the same underpinnings. Not that Toyota needs my approval—as with the Camry, people will buy the Corolla regardless of what any journalist says about it.

Toyota wouldn’t be where it is today without this car, which is now in its twelfth generation. The company has sold at least 43 million Corollas, and the name may as well be a synonym for “people’s car” at this point; its sales surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle more than 20 years ago. The Camry might have been Toyota’s biggest US hit, but beyond these shores, in places where average salaries and parking spaces are much smaller, the Corolla has filled the niche of an affordable, reliable, dependable little car. And when the $23,140 Corolla Hatchback XSE arrived here for testing, it won some instant brownie points for having three pedals. Yes, Internet people, break out the party balloons: you can still get this one without an automatic transmission.

This latest Corolla is all new, derived from the Toyota Next Generation Architecture (TNGA). That’s the toolbox of assemblies and subcomponents that has also given us the aforementioned Camry, Avalon, RAV4, and the current Prius. The Corolla is a small car, measuring 169.9 inches (4,315mm) long, 69.9 inches (1,775mm) wide, and 57.1 inches (1,450mm) high. That actually makes it a tiny bit shorter (in both length and height) than the outgoing model, but the wheelbase is 1.5 inches (38mm) longer. This translates into some extra room for stuff in the back.

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Source: Ars Technica

Autopilot was active when a Tesla crashed into a truck, killing driver

Autopilot was active when a Tesla crashed into a truck, killing driver

Enlarge (credit: National Transportation Safety Board)

A Tesla Model 3 had Autopilot active in the seconds before it crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver, the National Transportation Safety Board reported on Thursday.

Jeremy Banner was driving his Model 3 on a divided four-lane highway in Palm Beach County, Florida. As the car approached a driveway, a semi truck pulled out in front of the car, making a left-hand turn from the driveway to the opposite travel lanes.

The Tesla was moving at 68mph (110km/h) and slid under the truck’s trailer. The trailer sheared off the top of the car, killing Banner. The vehicle continued down the road for another 1,600 feet (500m) before coming to a rest in the median.

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Source: Ars Technica

Silky-smooth with plenty of speed: Maserati Levante GTS review

When we last checked in with Maserati, the Italian luxury carmaker had unleashed the Levante on the North American car-buying public. Starting at around $75,000, the Levante is a striking, six-cylinder SUV that ticked all the boxes when it comes to riding in comfort and style. With corporate sibling Alfa Romeo and VW-owned Lamborghini building some ridiculously fast SUVs, the otherwise-impressive stats—424hp (316kW), a top speed of 164mph (264km/h), and a 0-60mph time of 5.0 seconds—on the V6 Levante S looked less so.

Enter the Levante GTS and Levante Trofeo. Both models swap out the six-cylinder engine for a V8. The Trofeo starts at $169,980. And with 590hp (440kW) at its disposal, it is capable of making zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 187mph (300km/h). Impressive, but that price tag definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. If you love fast and stylish Italian crossovers and are OK with spending, say $120,000 instead of $170,000 on one, keep reading. And if you’re thinking about the Porsche Cayenne, take note of the GTS and Trofeo’s price points—they’re almost identical to the Cayenne.

When I reviewed the Levante S last year, I called it a “stunner.” A year later, the Levante is still easily the most beautiful SUV or crossover on the market (which for some may be akin to calling someone the best-looking forward in a scrum). The Levante GTS has some subtle tweaks to the exterior to differentiate it from the V6 models, primarily to the rear bumper and front fascia. On the interior, the GTS has premium leather seats, Alcantara headliners, a tweaked gearshift lever, and an upgraded MTS+ infotainment system.

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Source: Ars Technica

Uber suffers disappointing stock market debut

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Enlarge / Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. (credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Uber’s long-anticipated debut on public stock markets failed to live up to expectations on Friday, with the company’s stock falling 7.6 percent during its first day of trading. As the closing bell rang, Uber’s stock was worth $41.57, valuing the entire firm at $76 billion.

Uber has suffered from steadily diminishing expectations in recent months. When Uber solicited proposals from banks to handle the massive stock offering, some banks reportedly estimated that the company could be worth as much as $120 billion. By the time Uber’s shares actually went on sale, the company’was seeking a more modest $82 billion. Now the company isn’t worth even that much.

Still, Uber raised $8.1 billion in the initial public offering, replenishing the company’s warchest. That’s important because Uber has yet to turn a profit. In fact, Uber reportedly lost more than $1 billion in each of the last three quarters.

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Source: Ars Technica

Japanese railway company starts testing 249mph bullet train speeds

The long nose of the Alfa-X.

Enlarge / JR East unveils to the media its new test bullet train “ALFA-X” in Rifu, Miyagi prefecture on May 9, 2019. (credit: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

This week, Japanese railway company JR East showed off its new Alfa-X, a high-speed bullet train that is designed to achieve a top speed of 400kph, or 249mph, which would make it the fastest commercial train in the world. In day-to-day operations, the train would shuttle passengers at 360kph, or roughly 224mph.

On Friday, JR East will begin testing the Alfa-X, without passengers, on its railways. According to Bloomberg, the 10-car train will make the trip “between the cities of Aomori and Sendai at night” for the next three years during a testing phase. JR East hopes to use the Alfa-X commercially by 2030. Japan News says the line will eventually be extended to Sapporo.

That long lead time suggests that there might be an opening for another high-speed bullet train option to overtake the Alfa-X Shinkansen train in speed for commercial railway service.

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Source: Ars Technica

VW’s record-breaking electric car takes on world’s scariest racetrack, Nürburgring

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Source: Ars Technica

Porsche, Fiat face multimillion-dollar payouts in separate diesel scandals

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Source: Ars Technica

Waymo expands Phoenix self-driving service by putting 10 cars on Lyft

Waymo expands Phoenix self-driving service by putting 10 cars on Lyft

Enlarge (credit: Waymo)

Alphabet’s Waymo announced on Tuesday that it was expanding its commercial self-driving car service by adding 10 vehicles to Lyft’s network in the Phoenix area “over the next few months.” The small scale of the expansion is the latest sign that Waymo is deploying its technology at a more leisurely pace than most people—both inside and outside the company—were expecting a year ago.

Waymo has long been seen as having a significant head start on self-driving technology. In 2018, the company aimed to capitalize on its early lead by launching a commercial self-driving service by year’s end. It arguably met that goal last December, but only under generous definitions of “commercial” and “self-driving.”

The new Waymo One service was not open to the general public—it was initially limited to a few hundred people who had previously participated in Waymo’s closed testing program. And after months of talking up fully driverless technology—including a TV commercial starring late-night host Jimmy Kimmel—every Waymo One vehicle had a driver behind the wheel.

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Source: Ars Technica

Android Auto gets a big UI revamp

Google I/O is going to kick off later today, but before the big show starts, Google has pushed out an early announcement: Android Auto is getting a new look. Google’s update won’t arrived until “This summer,” but we get screenshots today showing all the significant new additions.

Google says “The new interface is built to help you get on the road faster, show more useful information at a glance, and simplify common tasks while driving.” In previous versions of Android Auto, a system bar at the bottom of the screen housed five app icons: Maps, Contacts, Home, Music, and a “car” screen (which didn’t have much use). The new version removes the app shortcuts from the system bar’s navigation and instead turns it into a mini app bar. There’s a “Home” button” on the left, notification and voice buttons on the right, and a middle section that intelligently displays a tiny interface from either navigation or your media app. With the Map open, you’ll get music controls at the bottom. With the music open, you’ll see your next turn information.

 With most of the app navigation abilities removed from the system bar, Android Auto is switching to a tried-and-true app grid for app navigation. This grid of apps is now the new home screen, and the familiar list of notifications and suggestions (Android Auto’s old home screen) now live under the bell button.

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Source: Ars Technica

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