Digging Into Self-Driving Cars

NEMPA MIT panelists John Leonard, Gil Pratt, Timothy Anness, Mary Gustanski, and Michelle Finamore.

Panelists John Leonard, Gil Pratt, Timothy Anness, Mary Gustanski, and Michelle Finamore.

People are funny. We’ve complained about having to waste time sitting uncomfortably in traffic for decades now. But when the phrase “self-driving car” and the idea of traveling in a car without having to dedicate full attention to it started becoming unavoidable in auto news, drivers of all sorts cried foul, calling the idea bad for reasons ranging from practical and real to theoretical and imagined.

Too far along to abandon the self-driving idea, automakers experimented with new language; disruptor Elon Musk demonstrated his wisdom with words by naming Tesla’s system Autopilot, after an established technology that’s already trusted and relatively understood, at least conceptually. Another important differentiator for Tesla is the fact that Autopilot promises partial rather than full autonomy, a critical difference that came up repeatedly at the recent New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conference on The Intersection of Technology and Design.

Continue reading >>>

The Intersection of Technology and Design Isn’t Boring

Toyota's FCV Plus concept

Toyota’s FCV Plus concept

On May 26, the New England Motor Press Association, of which some of us here at CarGurus are members, will host a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the theme Technology Intersecting Design. It may sound like a boring topic, but as you’ll see, it’s a compelling one.

The NEMPA conference will include prominent industry figures like Timothy Anness, head of advance design, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – North America; Mary Gustanski, vice president of engineering, Delphi; Michelle Tolini Finamore, curator of fashion arts at the (Boston) Museum of Fine Arts; Dr. Gill Pratt – CEO, Toyota Research Institute; and John J. Leonard, professor of mechanical and ocean engineering at MIT.

Continue reading >>>

NHTSA Administrator Talks Autonomous Driving

MIT Transportation Event

Remember all the recall-related headlines of the past two years? Those manufacturer errors account for only about 2% of deaths on the road. Conversely, 94% of lives lost in motor-vehicle accidents are due to human error. These are startling numbers, which lead to sobering realizations. Back in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed to study our highways and roads in an effort to minimize the risks associated with driving. As technology has advanced, this administration’s scope and responsibilities have advanced as well. Dr. Mark Rosekind, the current NHTSA Administrator, spoke with Bryan Reimer, of the New England University Transportation Center and MIT’s AgeLab, regarding the NHTSA’s role in the current and future state of autonomous driving technology.

Continue reading >>>