Car Tech

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Self-driving test vehicles are already on the roads in several states, including California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, but the futuristic world of robot cars on every street hasn't materialised quite yet. People are still freaked out by the idea of getting in a car that doesn't have anyone behind the wheel -- and so companies in the autonomous vehicle business are launching their own charm offensives to convince consumers (and members of Congress) that their cars will make the world a safer place.

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Have you ever gazed up at the sweeping blue sky and thought, God, it's boring up there? It seems like Sebastian Thrun -- who launched Google's self-driving car program and is the CEO of the flying car startup Kitty Hawk -- sure has. On Tuesday, he shared his vision of a sky clogged with tons and tons of glorious soaring metal at TechCrunch Disrupt.

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One big question surrounding autonomous vehicles is whether or not human beings will actually want to use them at all. While fully autonomous taxis seem more plausible at first than commercially available, single-owner autonomous cars,Automotive News says that, according to a new survey, 55 per cent of respondents wouldn't be cool riding in a fully self-driving vehicle.

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I get emails about concepts and proposals and grand automotive schemes all the time. It's pretty rare that any of them actually come to fruition. But I was sent one that, while still very much non-existent, was charming and interesting enough that I want to show it to all of you. It's called NOBE (the website doesn't seem to work yet), it's Estonian, and just look at the damn thing.

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Take the religious following of air-cooled Porsche 911s, then reduce that to the community of folks who are evangelists for the four-cylinder 912, and you've got a group of seriously passionate people. Like most passionate people that I've met, they want to bring you into the fold and show you why whatever it is they love deserves attention.

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Image Cache: The Goodwood Revival, counterpart to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, is all about vintage cars, as its name describes. Held over the course of three days at the Goodwood Circuit instead of on Charles Gordon-Lennox, the 11th Duke of Richmond's driveway, the Revival brings the iconic race cars of the 1920s through the 1960s together and back to life. They aren't just sitting there all pretty, either. They are going toe-to-toe on the racetrack. It's like being yanked back in time.

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Video: Honda's first ever Australian brand commercial, which quietly launched a couple of weeks ago, is wonderful. It shows off the company's suite of technology -- from cars to robots to racing boats to the HondaJet -- and it does it in a way that makes me want them all.

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The morning commute across Manhattan on Thursday was a typical-as-of-late snarl of bottlenecks and delays, with debris of unknown origins causing an oppressive backup of the city's subway system. It was the latest in a string of examples of the deteriorating, century-old system, another sign of the significant level of investment that's needed to bring the subway up to 21st century standards and efficiency.

Though it was an otherwise unsurprising morning, I'm mentioning it because, several hundred miles away, as New Yorkers endured another annoying trek around town through a system of the past, a theoretical, futuristic solution to public transit woes in the U.S. -- the Hyperloop -- took another small-step toward coming to fruition. But, alluring as it is, the vacuum transit system remains a long-shot -- even with 10 possible routes now on the table.

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100,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cars in Australia are affected by the company's 'cheat software', the dual-mode switch that detected emissions testing conditions and changed vehicles' performance to create lower emissions. Two open class action lawsuits are underway, and a Federal Court judge has ordered the manufacturer to explain on the stand exactly why the software was installed.

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On Tuesday, US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao revealed the updated version of the guidelines for the testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles. The DOT secretary defended the guidelines, which opt for voluntary guidance rather than enforceable rules. Chao said that a third version is in progress and slated to be introduced in 2018.