The automated Audi TTS completes the Pikes Peak hill climb.
The driverless Audi made the 12.42-mile ascent in 27 minutes. That's not a world-shattering time, by any means -- but again, no driver. The fastest climbs, in more powerful cars and with a driver, push the 10-minute mark; experts estimate a skilled driver in a car similar to the automated version would run the course in about 17 minutes.
The project was put together by Audi, Stanford University, the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto, Calif., and Oracle. The goal of the project was to "develop a technology that would enhance a driver's abilities, much as computerized systems of passenger jetliners assist skilled pilots," according to the press release.
Check out a video of this incredible feat of technology after the jump.
By Greg Kable
The convertible is a clear evolution of the outgoing model, carrying fresh exterior styling first revealed on the four-door BMW Gran Coupe at the Beijing motor show in April, a roomier four-seat interior and an advanced, multilayered cloth roof developed in partnership with German-based roofing specialist Edscha.
The automatic structure, which retains the characteristic buttresses that extend back over the trunk lid, is claimed to open in just 19 seconds and close in 24 seconds at the push of a console-mounted button. Stowed in a dedicated compartment behind the rear bulkhead, it is covered by a plastic tonneau cover when down to preserve the car's elegant new lines. As with the outgoing model, a separate glass rear screen, mounted vertically, can be opened separately from the cloth hood.
2011 Nissan Murano Cross Cabriolet is $46,390 of absurdity.
By Luca Ciferri, Automotive News
Canadian-Austrian parts supplier Magna International Inc. is weighing a proposal to buy Italian design specialist Pininfarina S.p.A., three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Automotive News Europe.
Earlier this month, Pininfarina's quarterly earnings report disclosed that the company could be sold as soon as Dec. 31. But Magna and Pininfarina declined to comment on the likelihood of a sale.
Magna wants to strengthen its position as a global supplier of design, engineering and contract manufacturing, one source said. Pininfarina's design expertise and engineering know-how would augment the range of services offered by Magna subsidiary Magna Steyr, which engineers complete vehicles and builds cars for several automakers at its assembly plant in Graz, Austria.
Nissan's Murano Cross Cabriolet Convertible
I was initially into the Murano convertible, based on the early press pics. The extended wheel arches gave it a dune-buggy feel, and some of the pictures made the vehicle look downright attractive.
In the flesh -- er, sheet metal -- not so much. And I'm absolutely baffled why Nissan chose a baby-blue color with green undertones, which did nothing to add to the appeal. Still, I wholeheartedly applaud Nissan -- it's a cool experiment, and bold. That makes this ugly duckling a success in my book, and I'm convinced that the concept of a crossover convertible works. Well, at least on paper. Maybe Land Rover can chop the top off its sexy Evoque and see what happens?
By Hans Greimel, Automotive News
A video crew has been roaming the halls at Tesla Motors Inc. interviewing executives and documenting how the electric car startup does business.
Don't look for the production on the Discovery Channel. It's for internal use only--at Toyota.
At President Akio Toyoda's bequest, the video will be shown to his Japanese employees in a bid to motivate them to rekindle the entrepreneurial spirit he says they lost long ago.
“A lot of these people at Tesla are only in their 20s or 30s and have so much responsibility,” said one Toyota official familiar with the project. “It's totally different from us.”
The motivational video is just one outgrowth of the May tie-up that saw Toyota investing $50 million in the California-based electric car manufacturer. But it highlights how Toyoda hopes the world's biggest carmaker can learn from one its smallest, as the ossified giant struggles to lift profits, differentiate its product and recover from its worst ever quality crisis.
It's a start, but not much else.
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing co-branded bikes -- at least not yet. They're being vaguely general about the whole thing so far.
Luckily, the accessories are pretty good.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5
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