More Apple Car hints and more Takata recalls (AutoComplete, Ep. 20)Where there's smoke there's fire? The latest on Apple Car, Takata recalls and Dieselgate, too.
[MUSIC] Welcome to Auto Complete everybody, it's the Road Show's weekly podcast about everything at the intersection of cars and technology. I'm Brian Cooley, Road Show Editor at Large, joined by our Editor in Chief, hair doctor Tim Stevens, and we are talking today about the latest things going on on Road Show before we dig into the news. And we have an interview with one of the most interesting guys in autonomy, George Hotz, coming up. One of the most interesting guys in technology, and a pretty interesting guy all around. Yeah, he was the first guy to jailbreak the iPhone way back in the day, and now he's trying to break into autonomous cars. He wants to put a system on the market by the end of the year That will allow you to basically take any car and make it autonomous, any car with electric power steering anyway. And basically automated braking systems. We went down to Las Vegas this week and we were able to take a test ride in one of those prototype cars. Emmy went down there to interview with George which went pretty interestingly and get a ride in his car. [LAUGH] [INAUDIBLE] And yeah, the whole thing's online for you to check out. I definitely encourage that you do. And he's looking to hit something like $1000 price point for this future drop-in kit. I mean that's, this is not a guy to be trifled with. You know, he's got the credibility, but that price point's amazing. Yeah, it's a pretty interesting concept. And he's got a fair bit of funding going behind him as well. The system, again, is called [UNKNOWN] .AI And he said that he wants to have it on Amazon by the end of the year. And he said it'll be no more difficult to assemble than a piece of IKEA furniture, which may or may not be an easy thing to do. [LAUGH] Depending on your interpretation of statement. But if anyway, he says again, it should be easy to plug into any car. No soldering required, no Though Acura required no books. So how about. The prototype did have duct tape. So, I'm curious to see if duct tape is part of the package. Of course! You've got to have duct tape. Come on. It wouldn't be a prototype without duct tape. Yeah, the Ikea part, that just scared away, half the market right there. Yeah, I think so. That still leaves a few hundred thousand. All right, and we've also got some fresh new reviews. A couple supercars popped up this week. Always good to have some of those tasty beasts in there. McLaren 570 GT Which we took for a spin. Alex Goy and the Carfection guys hit that one in Spain, found that it's doing that thing that a lot of super cars are doing lately, which is high performance, but also livability hence the GT in the name. And don't forget we've recently had a look at the Aventador SV as part of the recent On Cars episode. That goes the other way. That is an event That makes no apologies. It's just simply fast and hard and sharp. So we got some bookends there in the super card world for you. Let's dive into our weekly look at what the hell is Apple doing in cars. A piece that came out from Reuters, some original digging that they did Suggest more strongly than ever that they are indeed considering building a car because of some recent insider interviews, as well as LinkedIn job posting that go toward people that are very good at building car charging infrastructure. I guess I'm still skeptical Tim, that Apple wants to get into the car business, but I've got the feeling I'm getting proven more wrong by the day. Yeah I'm still there with you. I'm still a little skeptical, but ultimately this is definitely one of those cases you know where there's smoke, is there fire? And there is a whole lot of smoke that's rolling around. But we've definitely seen now as part of this report, and earlier that Apple has been having a lot of battery engineers, particularly in the automotive space. And even in the wireless space as well, wireless battery charging for example, if you are going to have a EV, the ability to charge a thing is obviously a very important thing, and Tesla's had pretty good success in building their business on top of super chargers, making it easy for you to quickly recharge their cars. No other auto manufacturers really wading in that water at all. And that could be a bit of a differentiator for Apple if they want to go that way, particularly if they make wireless charging standard. That'd be a pretty interesting thing. Yeah, and so much of their magic over the years has been taking something that's already doable but kinda crunchy and making it easy and very digestible and palatable to the masses. The iPhone was far from the first smartphone. But Man, they made it all fit together and made it clear. It presented itself well. And I can see them doing something like that, gain the charging right first is actually kind of a smart strategy. Electric car, that's almost a detail. It's about getting that big pain point done, which is faster, more convenient, less plug-centric charging. So I got to say, I was reading that one going rot row, I wonder if they are gonna make a car [LAUGH]. Yeah, it's been, of course the question becomes how much are they gonna charge for it, or is it gonna be built on a car show in kind of a car me, is it gonna be something you buy for yourself, or will there be more for models and man it's a whole lot of questions. And where are they gonna build the thing too? Are they gonna partner with something like Magnastire or are they gonna do it themselves. Thousand So many questions, we'll find out. Yeah, so many damn questions. But it's a fascinating one to follow. So we're standing on top of that for you and giving you our relatively informed opinion each week as we find out more. [LAUGH] As informed as we can be. [UNKNOWN] can be. Sorry, I got a cat tail in the way. Let me get that out the way, okay that's better. Everyone's investing in a car sharing service. Everyone who's a car maker. Seems. We had GM Lyft, we had VW with Get out of Israel. And then this week, Toyota some, get out of there. Toyota had some kind of an unspecified large investment in the big boy, into Uber. So everyone's in the pool now, it seems, in terms of the ride sharing guys with a car-making partner. Right and don't forget Apple with [UNKNOWN] as well. [CROSSTALK] A lot going on in this market and a lot of people have been shying away from investing in Uber because it is so huge right now, valuations in the tens of billions of dollars at this point. You'd have to dump a lot of cash into Uber to get any kind of meaningful partnership and we have no idea how much How much Toyota spent or how much ownership in Uber they got out of the deal but they did crack the door open for an interesting partnership where if you are an Uber driver you can put your earnings directly towards the lease of a Toyota car so that may make people a little bit more e Eager to do Toyota as they're doing an Uber. But I think nine times out of ten, I get picked up in a Prius whenever I'm doing an Uber. So they certainly weren't lacking in that regard anyway. But there should be some good information sharing going on and Toyota should learn a lot from this deal, I think. That interesting, yeah, I've gotta say I see an enormous number of Toyota family Uber cars out there already. So that one plank of a car maker doing this, which is to say we have a new base here to sell cars into the driver base. Maybe it's of the least interesting to them, as suppose to getting inside, a ring side seat at how is the car sharing and or ride sharing appetite developing out there among consumers. It's just amazing though. I want to predict that a year ago if you'd say hey, every major car share out there including DD like you mentioned, is gonna have a huge investment from a car maker. I guess I would have been a little surprise by that but here we are and they're all being taken seriously. By big car maker money. So that's an interesting moment for the history of car sharing and ride sharing. Right, I think every manufacturer does not wanna get caught in being late in this game, and if anything, they're now being very speculative in jumping in. But it's gonna push that economy and that market in a big, big way, and it should mean a good [UNKNOWN] options for consumers. You know was interesting now is the dance card was basically full. I mean there's no other TNC that I can think of that is out there. These are the big four, so that's it. Anyone else is kind of out in the cold now or looking to get scraps. A little less encouraging news from Toyota, they've added a whole lot more vehicles to the [LAUGH], the endlessly growing Takata update. Just a quick note here, another 1.6 million cars There's a long list of the models. Just to give you some of the most popular ones. 06 to 11 Yaris, 09 to 11 Corolla and Matrix, 10 to 11 Forerunner. 11 Sienna, big family car there. And 08 to 11 Scion XB. The key to note here is, not every car In those model years, is on the list. It is going to be VIN specific, they apparently didn't put the same part in every vehicle. So again, as usual you can go to your Toyota owner portal, or you can go to SaferCar.gov. In either case you've got to run your VIN to find out if your car is in there, but just another array of cars, we want you to know about it in case you're driving one of those so you know that you've got to get an airbag fixed that they probably can't fix for about a year until they get a part in. From the badly backlogged world of manufacturing. The Prius is turning out to be the one bright light in the world of scams, scandals, and ripoffs in the automotive industry. It actually Is doing better than its MPG. The most recent model, the ugliest car ever made since the Aztek, I said that, I'll take the hit for it, Antuan saw 59 in his testing for roadshow. And Consumer Reports just came out. So they saw 52 in their somewhat different cycle. And both of those beyond the EPA promise. So here's a car that continues to show part of the reason why Prius Does so damn well against every other car in it's class. Right, and we still havent' seen the Prius Prime in the rodeo, which would be the plugin Prius. And that should do significantly better than that even so I'm really looking forward to seeing what they can do with the bigger battery pack in there, but it's really really impressive to see what Toyota's done. And if anything, they kind of need to get everybody past the look of the car. I think we'll be seeing a refresh of that car. In the very, very near future. Yeah, what happened there? I mean, how did that look like that? They only say that it looks like it does because of aerodynamics. But ultimately, the Bentley Bentayga has the same aerodynamics as the new Prius does, and that looks a hell of a lot better than the new Prius. So you You can have form and function and bring them together in a meaningful way. The Prius prime is a big step forward, so they bring that look across the Prius range, that will at least be some progress. Yeah. Let's hope this is just a really quick two year midcycle refresh. Because it just Wow, that face and that rump were just like wow, what were you guys doing? I get the overall volume, I know that's kinda the idea, but ooooof, some of the little details, not pretty. We told you last week about how a lot of the folks who own some of the mid-sized General Motors crossovers, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, they had a goof in the MPG rating at General Motors, but they wanted to get it fixed quickly. Now they have a report out now that they're apparently just about to announce, in fact by the time you see this show it may have already announced, Either a choice for owners of those cars of a debit card between 450 and 900 depending on which vehicle you've got, or the offer of a free extended warranty for 48 months, or 60,000 which ever comes first. One of those or the other will be your choice to pick according to a Reuters report. As compensation for the fact that your vehicle gets 1522 instead of the stated on the window sticker 1724. So just a heads up they look like they've got that lined up to quickly move it out of the headlines, and latest update on diesel gate coming out of Night Circuit court here in San Francisco Tim, is that it's on track according to the judge Briar to have an announced. Resolution program for the car owners by June 21 when, at that point, they will lay out what they'll buy back, what they'll pay, what they'll fix if you want to keep your car. That'll be a big one. That'll be a big shoe dropping. Right, we've been waiting I think forever, we've heard rumors and speculation about everything from big rebates to buy backs to fixes, more calorie converters, software updates. So, we're really waiting to see exactly what's going to happen. But, as you mentioned, the judge did say that they're making significant progress, and she's coming to a resolution that we are getting closer and closer. You know we missed many dates getting here, but it sounds like this may be the date when we actually find out what's actually going to happen. It will still be months and maybe years before Whatever fix is applied to all these cars, but to actually know what's going to happen will definitely make things a lot easier for a lot of people out there. So, if you owned one of these cars, one of these turbo-diesels, and they offered a fix, and you'd have the concern, okay, what's the car gonna be like afterwards? Yeah. What do you think you'd do? I mean, there's no way to test-drive your own car Please six. It's not that kind of a thing. How do you think people can or should approach the offer to do a mechanical fix on their vehicle? Well I'm hoping that we get the opportunity to actually do some updates on our own and maybe do a test of one of these cars. We're certainly gonna be pushing Volkswagen to get one of these cars in to be able to see exactly what it's like before and after but I'm guessing there will be no shortage in coverage in terms of Dino results and throttle-response tests and that kind of thing, to give people a little bit more information on exactly what they can expect before-and-after this kind of fix. So if you are owning one of these cars, I think you should take your time, don't rush out and get the first fix out there, wait and see what the reaction is, wait and see how it is, and we'll see how things go forward. Mm. But yeah, you can absolutely Expect with throttle response to be deadened somewhat. Engine output may be deadened somewhat. And your fuel economy may go down a bit too, depending upon what kind of fix you're putting in place. Okay, so we'll be on top of that, folks. And if we can possibly get you the head-to-head comparison you know we'll do it, so you have some idea what we think it's like. So you don't have to go out there and do a Hail Mary and hope your car comes back in a way that you actually still like driving. Exactly. Yeah, so we're going to come back in just a moment. We're going to find out why is self parking so hard, and we're also going to figure out why are Tesla drivers going to push the envelope so much as well. You Tesla people, you're just very special. All that and more when Auto Complete returns. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC] Okay, back to Road Show, it's our 20th episode by the way, kind of a little Milestone of sorts. I hate that podcasts usually obsess on their episode number, but this one's an important one, this is number 20. So thank you for watching us for [UNKNOWN] these many episodes now as we do our May 26th show here. Brian Cooley, Tim Stevens, continuing on with the news this week. Tesla apparently had to make self-parking harder. What did they do here in terms of telling your car to go park and/or summon itself? It's a pretty minor tweak basically. If you are enabling this auto park functionality before you get out of the car basically you can hit the park button twice and the car will automatically park itself, you can then get out of the car. What Tesla did was they put a change in so now not only do you have to enable this parking functionality But you have to specifically tell the car which direction you want it to park in before you get out of the car. So it's basically one more tab on the touchscreen before you get out. It's not a really big deal, doesn't really change anything if you're enabling these systems from outside of the car, but Tesla wanted to make it a little bit more, basically give the driver a little bit more opportunity to say exactly where they want the car to go Making it a little bit more difficult to accidentally head the car going in the wrong direction and hopefully preventing more crazy YouTube videos. We'll see. [LAUGH] Right, this comes from the guy who says his car, he told it self-park and it went the wrong way and into the underside of a semi-trailer as I recall. Right. And the truck was lifted to the point where the parking sensors of the Tesla didn't detect it, so it backed right into it and that was an unfortunately situation. So this in theory will basically put the onus back on the driver. It should be on a little bit harder on the driver to make it a little bit more difficult for them to have the car park itself in the wrong way. Because of course, even if the car's Corking itself. You're still the one who told it to do so. So you are still in control one way or another. That's right. That's still the responsibility here, folks. I mean any car that's got a self anything, parking, driving, as we're about to learn, remember you're still in all interpretations of regulation law and responsibility. You're still completely responsible for what your vehicle does. It may change one day but right now it hasn't yet. Fascinating video that we have here showed up and went all around the Internet this week. About some guy in Silicon Valley apparently sleeping in his navy blue Tesla Model S in freeway traffic. Now, no one is entirely sure if it was. And if it was a gag or not. I mean, when you see your head down like that and you're in the driver's, you can't be playing possum and have your eyes slightly open and be watching the traffic and just trying to spook people. But, I got to tell you, it looks pretty wild. There's this guy who looks like he's out cold in his S, cruising down the freeway. And this kind of thing is gonna give self-driving a lot of black eyes in the public perception, early days. It definitely is as we're in these early days as you mentioned these cars are not fully autonomous. The expectations, of course, of the drivers paying attention. I'm pretty skeptical of this one because if you are not reacting, if the car detects that you are not paying attention it'll starts beeping at you. And it gets pretty darn insistent if you don't react immediately and start putting your hands on the wheel and actually Start driving the car basically. I have a hard time imagining anybody could sleep through that kind of beeping. But then again I had some college roommates who you'd be punching them in the face before they'd get out of bed in the morning to get to class. So you never know. But I'm I'm definitely a bit skeptical of this [UNKNOWN]. Yes, well take it all with a grain of salt, Gate's has seen that video, we just rolled it to you there. It's maybe maybe a little bit of playing around on YouTube, but I don't know. Sure looked good, [LAUGH] let's take a look at software complaints. JD Power is one of the organizations that takes a look every year at complaints around vehicles. Especially around the idea of what is the reliability or dependability which is often hard to use as opposed to what those words actually tell you. The new leaders, in terms of the most complaints around the software issues are Smart, I didn't know they had any software in their cars, Isuzu, I didn't know they still sold cars in the US, maybe this is a global study, it must be. Tesla, Volvo, and JLR, Jag Land Rover, are all in there. Now many of those cars, those last three in particular, have all done really ambitious updates of their systems lately, which I guess is kind of that software, right? New ambitious platforms are buggy. Absolutely, and Tesla of course has probably the most integrated infotainment system of all, with everything going through that big touchscreen effectively in the Model S. So if you aren't a fan of touchscreens and virtual buttons, then I could definitely see how that call would inspire people to make some complaints. But I really liked how bottom of the list, basically the fewest complaints Or against Subaru which makes a lot of sense because Subaru has really [UNKNOWN] in their cars anyways, so I guess one way of not getting on this shameful list is by not putting any snot on your car at all and you're free and clear. Yup, there's no problem there whatsoever. And this comes by the way in a backdrop of what's gonna be a big year for software complaints according to the official tallies. Kind of like there's been a big couple of years for recalls. We're looking to trend At an unusually high number. Obviously, as you'd imagine, as cars become more software-oriented, this becomes the new place where consumers feel pain. There aren't a lot of cars that don't start anymore, or have engines that blow up. This is the new center of where hassles are starting to move in terms of owning cars. An interesting story coming out of the University of Michigan. The Transportation Research Institute there, where we follow really interesting stuff. From researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, their latest work. Taking a look at general drivers, not those that have a high-tech car right now or not, found that 39% of them would only trust a partial self-driving car. You go higher than that, 46% would say I don't what any kind of self driver car. and then bracketing on the low end, only 16% say right now they would want a fully self driving car assuming such a kind of thing were available. I guess is the only thing surprising in this at this point in history? No, I don't think so. We're still very early days and people aren't aware of what the technology is and ultimately they're probably the only thing they are hearing about is reports of Google cars crashing and now seeing videos of Teslas crashing on Highway 2. So, they're really not getting really the full story of where autonomous cars are, what research is going into them, and ultimately the state of the industry. So, it's not really surprising that people right now wouldn't trust these systems, and I think a lot of people simply don't know how advanced they are. When I had the Model X about a month back, I actually took a lot of people for rides in that thing, and People had no idea there were cars on the road that you could really put on the highway that you could speed up and slow down and stay within its lane and go around corners. That sort of thing is still a bit of a mystery to a lot of people so I think it's a lot about awareness and you know, certainly as time goes on people will become more aware of these cars and once people experience these cars, I think they're gonna want it. Yeah, that's something. I really think this is going to be one of those where you've got to be in a vehicle, or tester of a vehicle that actually has it, and then all of a sudden it feels like magic. And it's real life changing stuff. I get into this discussion a lot with people who say, alright, wait a minute, I've I don't know that I want to have these cars out there that are encouraging people to nod off, nap, or be distracted. Because they can do some self-driving. But on the other hand, don't you want those cars out there when people are going to nod off and get distracted anyway. Not because the self driving car encouraged them to. And had the self driving car there. That can catch them and bail them out of a really bad accident. Right, any kind of safety blanket will make a huge impact in terms of lives saved on highways and reducing collisions and that kind of thing. And definitely, the more that I get people into these cars, experience these things, people have their minds changed pretty quickly. But I think the exception will probably be Emmy Hall. If you looked at her face In the video where she's driving with George Hassan, who's AI car. I think she's a little bit unconvinced in that case. But by large, I think most people see this technology. They definitely want it in their next car. Check out Emmy's piece. It's fresh at road show at the Theroadshow.com. And that's it for this week everybody. Thank you so much, those are all the headlines of the intersection of cars and technology. We're back at you again in a week. And of course just stay on top of things every day, every hour as they happen over at theroadshow.com. Follow us, like us, all of that and we will see you in a week. Thanks a lot. [MUSIC]