Autocars Sabra

Smart Mobility in the Startup Nation

By | Automotive | No Comments

From the Sussita to Billion-Dollar Megadeals

You do not need to be intimately vested in the automotive industry to have heard about megadeals involving Israeli automotive technology startups.

On June 11, 2013, Google completed the acquisition of navigation software company Waze for a reported $1.3 billion. As part of the deal, each of Waze’s 100 employees was to receive an average of about $1.2 million, which is the largest payout to employees in the history of Israeli high tech.

On March 13, 2017, Intel announced a mammoth $15.3 billion deal to acquire Mobileye, a provider of vision technology used in vehicle active safety applications and autonomous driving. The deal price was a 34% premium over where Mobileye’s shares were trading at the time of the deal. Intel also announced it was moving its automotive R&D unit to Israel. Read More

Philosopher Illuminated by the Light of the Moon and the Setting Sun

Ethical and Societal Implications of Automated Vehicles

By | Automotive | No Comments

(The following is the transcript of my opening remarks at the Ethical and Societal Implications of Automated Vehicles Panel at the Autonomous Vehicle Symposium.)

Whenever we discuss autonomous vehicles: what are the desired behavioral models?  how can we design them to make the right decisions?  we place the car at the center of the problem definition: can it avoid crashing?  can it be programmed to make “ethical” decisions?  what if it doesn’t follow “ethics” rules?  what happens when two autonomous cars on a collision-course obey conflicting decision rules?

The recent incidents involving Tesla’s cars operating semi-autonomously in Autopilot mode led to renewed interest and, not surprisingly, concerns about the technology. Tesla’s public response was to explain the technical reasons the car failed to detect and avoid a fatal collision; again, putting the car at the center of the argument.
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Michelangelo's 'David'

Tesla: The Public as Crash Test Dummies

By | Automotive, Telematics | 3 Comments

The recent fatal collision involving a Tesla car while in Autopilot self-driving mode, followed by another major crash a week later, and multiple less dramatic rear-end collisions, are calling attention not only to the state of autonomous-driving technology itself but also to the public perception and trust in self-driving cars.

Developing autonomous driving capabilities that are safe under most conditions is proving to be as difficult and time consuming as some have predicted. Most manufacturers are taking a conventional path, adding driver-assistance features gradually and building toward full or near-full autonomy that they expect to mature by the end of this decade. But Tesla, famous for its willingness to challenge the status quo and take business and technology risks, has chosen a much faster, if riskier, route.
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The Persistence of Memory

Tesla Missed Forecast. Are you Surprised?

By | Automotive, Manufacturing, Strategy | No Comments

Tesla Missed Q2 Forecast

Tesla Motors delivered 14,370 vehicles in the second quarter, missing its forecast of 17,000 units “due to the extreme production ramp in Q2 and the high mix of customer-ordered vehicles still on trucks and ships at the end of the quarter, Tesla Q2 deliveries were lower than anticipated at 14,370 vehicles, consisting of 9,745 Model S and 4,625 Model X.”

This should not come as a surprise. One of Tesla’s biggest—albeit least discussed—challenges is its struggling manufacturing supply chain.
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Why Do Software Bugs Continue to Plague Products?

By | Automotive, PLM, Strategy | 4 Comments

Pesky Software Problems Plague Many Products

It seems not a day goes by without reading about yet another software bug that inflicted a catastrophic (or, at times, just ridiculous) malfunction on an everyday product.

In these conversations about software quality problems, the auto industry is often singled out. Indeed, consumer complaints about vehicle software systems have been growing steadily over the past several years, and numerous automakers, including Volvo, Nissan, and Volkswagen, have  initiated large  recall campaigns to remedy software defects. Even Tesla, that usually gets immediate praises for almost everything it does, isn’t immune from releasing faulty software controlled systems (although Tesla does a superior job in fixing software defects via over-the-air updates).

But not only cars suffer from software malaise. General Electric’s refrigerators, too, require software updates to remedy errors that hamper the appliance’s most basic operations, and Samsung’s connected fridge allows hackers to steal a consumer’s Gmail login information.
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