• Earlier this month, Mazda revealed the updated 2017 3 and 6. Now, Mazda has announced pricing for the 2017 Mazda that will be hitting dealers next month.
    The 2017 Mazda6 will have a base price of $22,780 (includes a $835 destination charge) for Sport with a manual transmission. Compared to the 2016 model, the 2017 6 is about $450 more. If you want an automatic, you'll have to pony up $23,830. Standard equipment includes Mazda's G-Vectoring Control that alters power deliver when turning to improve handling; 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start, backup camera, 7-inch screen with the MazdaConnect infotainment system, and Bluetooth.
    The midlevel Touring trim kicks off at $25,030 for the manual and $26,080 for the automatic. Touring models add 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, six-way power driver seat, dual-zone climate control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Mazda's Smart City Braking system.
    Finishing off the Mazda6 lineup is the Grand Touring that starts at $31,530 and includes leather upholstery, full color head-up display, eight-way power driver seat, six-way power passenger seat, navigation, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and traffic sign recognition.
    Source: Mazda
    Press Release is on Page 2

    2017 Mazda6 Adds Athleticism and Ambience to Award-Winning Midsize Family Sedan
    Standard with New G-Vectoring Control, Mazda6 Starts from an MSRP[1] of $21,945 IRVINE, Calif. (August 23, 2016) – From its upscale interior to its seductive KODO—Soul of Motion design to its driving dynamics that constantly prove more fun than any midsize sedan has a right to be—earning it accolades throughout world—Mazda6 has shown time and time again that it’s a family sedan without compromise.
    For 2017, that sedan has been thoroughly updated with the introduction of Mazda’s exclusive—and standard—G-Vectoring Control vehicle dynamics technology and added sound absorption refinement, among many other upgrades. Yet, those improvements come starting with an MSRP1 of just $21,945.
    The entry point to the 2017 Mazda6 range is the Sport trim level, which comes equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, electronic parking brake, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, push-button starter, 17-inch alloy wheels, a backup camera and the MAZDA CONNECTTM infotainment, which is newly standard on the Mazda6 Sport equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. MAZDA CONNECTTM integrates Bluetooth hands-free phone pairing and audio streaming, USB pairing and diagnostic controls into a 7.0-inch full-color display that works in conjunction with a Commander control knob, voice commands and a touchscreen. Mazda6’s SKYACTIV-DRIVE six-speed automatic transmission is a $1,050 standalone option on Sport and Touring trim levels.
    Upgrading to Mazda6 Touring trim yields 19-inch alloy wheels, leatherette seating surfaces, Blind Spot Monitoring System (BSM), Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry, dual-zone climate control, rear vents and a six-way power driver’s seat. Smart City Brake Support, automatic on/off headlights and rain-sensing wipers also come newly standard for 2017. Among the mid-tier Mazda6 Touring’s available features are an 11-speaker BOSE Premium audio system, power moonroof, and SiriusXM satellite radio as well as further upgrades like full-LED headlights with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), an auto-dimming interior mirror and heated front seats, among other features.
    Mazda6 Grand Touring sits atop the range, elevating equipment and refinement beyond many pricier entry-luxury vehicles. Standard for the 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring are navigation, perforated leather-trimmed seats, a newly upgraded, full-color Active Driving Display head-up unit, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a six-way power passenger seat, alarm, paddle shifters, LED foglights and lighted signature grille, dark alloy wheels, rear lip spoiler, Mazda Radar Cruise Control and Smart City Brake Support.
    The 2017 Mazda6 Grand Touring’s new standard features also include Lane Keep Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, High Beam Control and memory seat that’s integrated to work with the height of the Active Driving Display.
    The 2017 Mazda6 stretches beyond where previous models have topped out with the new Premium Package, which includes i-ELOOP regenerative braking with active grille shutters; rear outboard seat heaters; heated steering wheel; Nappa leather seating surfaces, available in almond or black with contrast piping; LED accent lighting around the shifter, a black headliner; a hand-finished, “chidori”-stitch, leather-wrapped steering wheel and new brightwork throughout the interior.
    As with CX-9 and the 2017 MX-5 Miata RF, Machine Gray Metallic will be featured as a new premium paint color, joining Soul Red Metallic and Snowflake White Pearl Mica across the Mazda6 range.
    All 2017 Mazda6 models come equipped with a SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter engine and feature added sound insulation improvements throughout their interiors and door sealing. Additionally, Grand Touring models have laminated front side windows for further sound insulation.
    MSRP[1] for all 2017 Mazda6 trim levels is as follows:
    Mazda6 Sport 6MT - $21,945 Mazda6 Sport 6AT - $22,995 Mazda6 Touring 6MT - $24,195 Mazda6 Touring 6AT - $25,245 Touring BOSE/Moonroof/Satellite Radio Package (6AT only) - $1,325 Touring Premium Package - $1,425 (Requires Touring BOSE/Moonroof/Satellite Radio Package) Mazda6 Grand Touring - $30,695 Grand Touring Premium Package - $2,500 [1] MSRP does not include $835 for destination and delivery ($880 in Alaska) or additional taxes or fees. 
    Premium Paint Colors:
    Machine Gray Metallic (late availability) - $300 Soul Red Metallic - $300 Snowflake White Pearl Mica - $200 The 2017 Mazda6 goes on sale nationwide this September.
    If there was one vehicle that was the talk during Monterey Car Week, it would have to be the Cadillac Escala concept. Unlike other concepts that Cadillac has shown during this time, various ideas will appear on future Cadillac models.
    "There's a lot of stuff that's being captured here. All of that won't necessarily find itself coming out in one car; it will be spread through the portfolio," said Johan de Nysschen, Cadillac's president to Automotive News.
    One of the key items that will be spread around is the Escala's design. Compared to Cadillac's sharp and angular design language, the design on Escala is a complete departure with curves and smooth edges. de Nysschen said production models with this look will arrive in 2019. Automotive News speculates that the next-generation CTS (soon to be renamed CT5) will be the first model to sport the look.
    The twin-turbo 4.2L V8 is another part that will be appearing in future Cadillac models. One vehicle that might get it is the current CT6 sedan. When asked, de Nysschen wouldn't give an answer, only saying the brand is considering it for future models.
    But what about the Escala itself? If we go back to our original story on Friday, we pulled a quote from the press release made by de Nysschen saying the following,
    “Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance. Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
    Would it take the place of the long-rumored CT8 or sit beside it? No one is quite sure. But de Nysschen did reveal one important detail about the CT8 project. The model is on hold, not canceled as some reports have said earlier in the year. The reason comes down consumers going toward crossovers and SUVs at a quick rate.
    "These are precisely the things that we are just saying: "Let's step back a moment and see whether it's just an energy/price thing, or is it a more sustained shake-up?'"
    de Nysschen said the brand is looking at various options at the moment such as merging the CT6 and CT8 into one vehicle like the Escala, using a new crossover as the flagship, or doing some combination of the two.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    Tesla is trying to stay in the spotlight while they continue working on the Model 3 and also enticing people into one of their vehicles. Their solution to both problems is introducing a new two-year lease option.
    Electrek reports that Tesla sent out an email announcing the new offer which states the lease deal starts at $593 per month and only is only available for those placing orders til September 12th. 
    "A 2-year lease option is one of our most popular requests. We listened and are launching a limited time test of a 2-year lease on Model S and Model X. Starting at only $593/month, our new 2-year lease program was designed just for you to drive electric today, and is available on all Model S and X orders placed by September 12th," Tesla said in their email.
    The two-year timeframe is perfect for someone who is on the waiting list for a Model 3, but who wants to drive a Tesla model right now. There is a catch for those hoping to get the $593 per month deal. Electrek ran the numbers and found that you would need to put a $6,000 down payment on the base 60 kWh Model S.
    Source: Electrek
    Kia had an interesting powertrain concept on the floor of the 2014 Paris Motor Show. Revealed in the Optima T-Hybrid, the powertrain paired a 1.7L turbodiesel four-cylinder with a 48v electric supercharger. This worked in conjunction with a 48V starter/generator that turned it into a mild hybrid. Kia said this powertrain would cut emissions and fuel consumption for any vehicle by 15 to 20 percent. Since showing this powertrain, Kia has been hard at work on this project
    But then the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal hit and it has caused many automakers, Kia included, to rethink projects involving diesel engines. Speaking with Autocar, Hyundai-Kia's performance development boss Albert Biermann said it's becoming harder to justifying the costs to develop next-generation diesel engines in light of the Volkswagen mess and stricter emission standards.
    “The research project is still going on, but the cost of electric motors and batteries in a hybrid is already significant. The question is whether it is really necessary to throw in a more expensive diesel engine.”
    If Kia decides to scrap the diesel part of this powertrain, their efforts will not go to waste. Biermann said this system could be re-engineered for a gas engine.
    Source: Autocar
    When Ford announced they would be building only 500 GTs over the course of two years, we thought they would they would likely build more due to high demand. Sure enough, with over 6,000 applications received, Ford is adding two more years of production for the GT. 
    The third year of production will only be for those who are on the waiting list for the GT, and the fourth year will be open to everyone. What isn't known is how many additional GTs will be built.
    “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors.We want to keep Ford GT exclusive, but at the same time we know how vital this customer is to our brand,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance.
    Source: Ford
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Ford Performance will offer the all-new Ford GT for two additional production years, bringing the production commitment of the carbon fiber supercar to a total of four years Potential customers who already applied to purchase Ford GT will only need to update their request when the next application window reopens in early 2018 Additional production supports Ford Performance decision to race Ford GT in both IMSA and World Endurance Championship (WEC) series for four years PEBBLE BEACH, Calif., Aug. 19, 2016 – Applicants and fans of the Ford GT can rejoice as Ford Performance is adding two more years of production for the all-new carbon fiber supercar. The announcement comes on the heels of letters sent to potential customers notifying them of their application status to purchase the car.
    The additional production supports the recent decision by Ford Performance to race Ford GT in both IMSA and World Endurance Championship (WEC) series events for four years.
    “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors,” says Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We want to keep Ford GT exclusive, but at the same time we know how vital this customer is to our brand.”
    Year three of production will support applicants who were placed on the wait list; previously deferred applicants and those who missed the initial application window will be served by production year four. The application process for fourth-year production will reopen in early 2018. Those who already applied to own the car will only need to update their request.
    “Ford GT has racing in its blood,” says Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, product development, and chief technical officer. “The road car and race car will live on, side-by-side, for the next four years – providing ample opportunity to test and prove innovative new technologies both on and off the track.”
    The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has become an auto show of sorts in the past few years with luxury automakers showing off concepts and new models. Cadillac has used the event to show off various concepts such as the Ciel and Elmiraj. Last night, they revealed the Escala concept.
    “Escala is a concept with two clear objectives. First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac.
    Escala (Spanish for scale) provides a preview as to Cadillac's future in terms of design and a possible idea to a long-rumored flagship. The overall profile reminds us of the Audi A7 with a coupe-like roofline and liftback. The front end features a new grille design and slimmed down chrome surround. Flanking either side of the grille are slim headlights with organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology.
    Size-wise, the Escala is 6.5 inches longer, 2.7 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches in the rear; and rides on a 4.5 inch longer wheelbase when compared to the CT6.
    The Escala's interior is a feast for the eyes. Cadillac describes it as having a “dual personality”. The front is focused on technology with three curved OLED screens that consolidate the instrument cluster and center stack into one unit. The back is focused on comfort with seating for two and a panaromic sunroof.
    Under the hood lies a brand new 4.2L twin-turbo V8 with cylinder deactivation. No power figures are given, but we expect to see this engine in the CT6 in the near future.
    Could we see the Escala as a production model? We'll let de Nysschen answer this.
    “Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance. Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
    Source: Cadillac

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Cadillac Unveils Escala Concept, Previewing Future Design Direction
    Concept showcases future design and technical systems in development Flagship Sedan is a concept for a more expressive, expansive companion to the recently launched CT6 Dual-Theme interior includes Curved OLED displays, next-gen connectivity designs, ingenious details


    The Escala Concept debuts in California tonight, introducing the next evolution of Cadillac design and previewing the craftsmanship and technology being developed for many future models. Following a series of private previews, Escala will be displayed this weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
    The Escala Concept previews the design and technical ideas driving the next phase of Cadillac’s ongoing expansion.
    “Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Global Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.”
    Cadillac has released a new slate of models bristling with expressive design and exhilarating performance, driver’s cars taking Cadillac into a new chapter of its storied 114-year history.
    “Escala is a concept car, but one based upon the unrelenting rise of our product substance,” de Nysschen said. “Depending on the development of market segment for large luxury sedans, Escala is a potential addition to our existing product plan.”
    Escala — Spanish for “scale”— is a concept for a larger, more elite and expressive companion to the recently launched 2016 Cadillac CT6, the brand’s remarkable new range-topping prestige sedan. Escala is also the third in a series of concepts Cadillac has debuted at Pebble Beach in recent years, following the Ciel convertible (2011) and Elmiraj coupe (2013).
    Escala is designed to be both a driver’s car and an indulgent flagship sedan. The large 4-door sedan features an expansive liftback design emphasizing the car’s considerable scale and versatility. At 210.5 inches in overall length, Escala is roughly 6 inches longer than today’s CT6.
    Escala features a new and evolved face of Cadillac design that will begin appearing on production models soon. This includes a new expression of Cadillac’s vertical lighting, a brand signature since 1948. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting elements are thinner and set deep within the fascia, creating a sinister look, day and night.
    The concept’s details invite closer inspection, including a three-dimensional precision pattern in the grille design and 22-inch wheels with two layers of spokes.
    “This concept shares how Cadillac will bring forward a new experience that is uniquely American, and unmistakably Cadillac,” says Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Global Design. “Escala is an expressive symbol of reward and an exhilarating driving experience. On the interior, we pushed further. It’s about precision and ingenuity in craftsmanship, and the artistic integration of technology.”
    Escala features a “dual personality” interior crafted with distinctly different zones: The front is about intensely focused modern technology, while the rear delivers relaxation.
    “My brief to the designers was to create a car you desperately want to drive, and also one in which you want to be driven,” Smith said. “So rather than a single design, this interior consists of two themes. It was an opportunity for our designers to break the rules a little bit, exactly what Cadillac should do from time to time.”
    An array of three curved OLED screens is a prominent feature in the front of the cabin. The very thin, curved displays are layered in front of the driver, with the back sides wrapped in hand-stitched leather embossed with the Cadillac script. The array of screens consolidate the traditional “cluster” of driving gauges with the “center stack” into one integrated unit.
    Escala includes new designs for connectivity and control, providing a prototype for the user experience in development for future production models. The system features a central control module that enables the driver to execute tactile commands across the spectrum of connectivity functions, in addition to voice and gesture control technology. Inside the controller sits a new edition of Cadillac’s “flying Goddess” icon, a nod to the brand’s illustrious heritage.
    Like all Cadillac models today, the interior is assembled using hand cut-and-sewn techniques. However, Escala presents several new and unique touches, blending overt luxury with covert technology. Escala makes broad use of hand-tailored fabric on the door trim and seating areas. Inspired by suiting material used by Cadillac’s partners in the fashion industry, the fabric provides a new level of hand-applied craftsmanship and color, unique in today’s auto interior landscape.
    The Escala Concept utilizes Cadillac’s new RWD-centric large luxury car architecture, featuring one of the world’s most advanced body structures, which debuted on the new CT6. The mixed-material construction enables unprecedented agility and efficiency.
    Escala uses a new 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, a prototype of a new system in development for future Cadillac models. The advanced engine utilizes Active Fuel Management technology, enabling fuel-saving 4-cylinder operation.
    The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been a source of wonder - will they put into production or not? For the longest time, Hyundai's U.S. office say they wanted to do it, but it was the home office that had to make the final call. It seems we have a final decision.
    “We have made the decision. We have not made the announcement,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America to Motor Trend.
    That decision is a yes.
    Zuchowski said they are busy at work on a production version. The Santa Cruz's design went in for a review earlier this month and they are close to finalizing it. The production model is expected to use the same platform as the Tucson and could use either a gas or diesel engine. Hyundai is working on a new four-cylinder diesel for the Genesis brand in Europe. Zuchowski said the diesel is possible for both the Santa Cruze and Santa Fe.
    But can Hyundai succeed with a car-based pickup? Subaru failed with the Baja from mid-2000s, while Honda is giving it another try with the second-generation Ridgeline. Zuchowski believes they can if they execute it and price it right.
    Motor Trend says to expect the Santa Cruz in 2018 as a 2019 model.
    Source: Motor Trend
    If there was one vehicle that surprised everyone at the New York Auto Show this year, it would have to be the introduction of the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. Everyone figured Mazda would offer a hardtop option for the Miata, but not as a sharp looking fastback. Today, Mazda has announced plans to offer a Launch Edition of the Miata RF.
    The vehicle that rolled into the New York Auto Show came with a Machine Grey exterior, black roof panel. and an interior finished in Auburn nappa leather. That is how the 1,000 MX-5 Miata RF Launch Edition models will come finished. The only choice a buyer gets to make is what transmission - automatic or manual?
    Now not everyone will be able to order an MX-5 Miata RF Edition at the beginning. Mazda will be sending out invitations to their "most loyal customers" via email. They'll have a set amount time to place an order before Mazda opens the order books to the general public.
    “Rarely does any automaker have a vehicle that garners the sort of loyalty and enthusiasm MX-5 generates—something we don’t take lightly. MX-5 RF is the next chapter of this storied model line, and we can’t think of a better way to give back than to first offer this bespoke Launch Edition to those who have stuck with us, believing in our mission to deliver the best-driving vehicles on the road,” said said Robert Davis, senior VP of U.S. Operations for Mazda North American Operations in a statement.
    When Mazda plans on opening the order books and pricing will be announced at a later date.
    Source: Mazda
    Pic Credit: Newspress USA
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Mazda Announces MX-5 Miata RF Launch Edition
    Mazda’s Most Loyal Customers to Have First Access to Pre-Order


    IRVINE, Calif. (August 18, 2016) – Revolutionary and breathtaking to look at, yet simple and elegant in concept, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF made its debut at this year’s New York International Auto Show with rousing acclaim. MX-5 RF was introduced with a color combination that will be exclusive to MX-5 RF versus the MX-5 soft top: Machine Gray Metallic paint color, Auburn Nappa leather interior trim with a hand-painted black roof panel, based on the Grand Touring trim level.
    Now, the show car is set to become the MX-5 RF Launch Edition, limited to 1,000 vehicles in the U.S. and destined for Mazda’s most loyal customers.
    Initially, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) will open up the preorders to a select group of customers who will be notified via email and will have a specific window of time to preorder the MX-5 RF Launch Edition before ordering opens to the general public*. Customers who opt to purchase an MX-5 RF Launch Edition will have but one option available—SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission—with each vehicle being made to order.
    “MX-5 has enjoyed 27 years of being the world’s best-selling roadster, being named 2016 World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year and receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of other accolades,” said Robert Davis, senior VP, U.S. Operations, MNAO. “Rarely does any automaker have a vehicle that garners the sort of loyalty and enthusiasm MX-5 generates—something we don’t take lightly. MX-5 RF is the next chapter of this storied model line, and we can’t think of a better way to give back than to first offer this bespoke Launch Edition to those who have stuck with us, believing in our mission to deliver the best-driving vehicles on the road.”
    Outside of the exclusive color combination, MX-5 RF Launch Edition customers will receive a custom-designed, numbered 42mm Tourneau watch to complement their cars.
    For those who may miss out on purchasing an MX-5 RF Launch Edition, other retractable fastback models will be available with many of the same colors and interior combinations—just not the Machine Gray Metallic exterior color on the Grand Touring trim level with the black roof, Auburn Nappa leather interior and badging. While the 2017 MX-5 RF Launch Edition is based on the Grand Touring trim level, other MX-5 RF models are expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships in the first quarter of 2017 in either Grand Touring or Club trim levels.
    Specific timing for MX-5 RF Launch Edition ordering, as well as pricing, will be announced in the coming weeks.
    Automakers have a number of projects that never see the light of day. But sometimes, a shelved project will be revealed and cause many to wonder 'what if?'
    News.com.au reports a new book out next month says Holden was working on a top secret electric supercar that would have been faster than Bugatti Veyron. But this project was canned in 2008 as the global financial crisis began to take hold. The new book - Holden: Our Car - says Holden did the design and engineering work before presenting it to executives in Detroit.
    Images from a video touting GM's global design showed a Holden supercar with gullwing doors and profile similar to McLaren 570S. According to sources, the vehicle would pay homage to the The images made their way onto the web before being pulled down. Power would come from two electric motors and be paired with all-wheel drive system. The 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) time would have been 2.3 seconds.
    Holden is said to have produced a full-size concept in 2008 and presented it to a GM management conference in Florida a year later. The plan was to sell the vehicle globally as a Cadillac, Chevrolet, Holden, and Opel. Before the plug was pulled, Holden was talking with suppliers about batteries and other components.
    To this day, Holden has denied that such a car existed.
    Source: News.com.au
    Collaborations between automakers and tech companies are becoming commonplace as self-driving vehicles and a sharing economy are starting to enter the limelight. Doing either one of these alone is difficult and it appears one automaker is realizing this.
    Bloomberg reports that Hyundai is in talks with Google about a possible partnership. Hyundai Motor President Jeong Jin Haeng said in an interview the two companies share some "common areas that may require cooperation". One of those common areas is autonomous technologies. Both Hyundai and Kia are lagging far behind when it comes to this. It doesn't hurt that former Hyundai USA CEO, John Krafcik heads up Google's autonomous vehicle program.
    “Hyundai is lagging behind the competition to develop autonomous vehicles. It’s not a choice but a critical prerequisite for Hyundai to cooperate with IT companies, such as Google, to survive in the near future,” said Ko Tae Bong, senior auto analyst at Hi Investment & Securities Co.
    Source: Bloomberg
    Ford is making a big push in autonomous vehicles by announcing plans to put a fully autonomous car into production by 2021. But you will not be able to buy one. Instead, Ford will be building these vehicles for ride-sharing services.
    “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago. We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles," said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO in a statement yesterday.
    Ford says the vehicles will feature autonomous technology that is classified by the SAE as 'level 4' - a vehicle will perform all critical driving functions and monitor the road during a trip. The company expects their first autonomous vehicles to not have a steering wheel or pedals.
    To make this goal, Ford will be increasing their autonomous vehicle test fleet to 30 vehicles by the end of the year. Next year will see the company tripling that amount to 90 vehicles. Ford also announced a number of collaborations and investments into various companies that include,
    Velodyne: Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors SAIPS: Computer vision and machine learning company to help with artificial intelligence and enhancing computer vision Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC: Machine vision company specializing in object recognition Civil Maps: Develops high-resolution 3D maps
    Source: Ford
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    Press Release is on Page 2

    Ford announces intention to deliver high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing in 2021 Ford investing in or collaborating with four startups on autonomous vehicle development Company also doubling Silicon Valley team and more than doubling Palo Alto campus
    PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016 – Ford today announces its intent to have a high-volume, fully autonomous SAE level 4-capable vehicle in commercial operation in 2021 in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing service.

    To get there, the company is investing in or collaborating with four startups to enhance its autonomous vehicle development, doubling its Silicon Valley team and more than doubling its Palo Alto campus.
    “The next decade will be defined by automation of the automobile, and we see autonomous vehicles as having as significant an impact on society as Ford’s moving assembly line did 100 years ago,” said Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO. “We’re dedicated to putting on the road an autonomous vehicle that can improve safety and solve social and environmental challenges for millions of people – not just those who can afford luxury vehicles.”
    Autonomous vehicles in 2021 are part of Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in autonomous vehicles, as well as in connectivity, mobility, the customer experience, and data and analytics.
    Driving autonomous vehicle leadership
    Building on more than a decade of autonomous vehicle research and development, Ford’s first fully autonomous vehicle will be a Society of Automotive Engineers-rated level 4-capable vehicle without a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. It is being specifically designed for commercial mobility services, such as ride sharing and ride hailing, and will be available in high volumes.
    “Ford has been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Global Product Development, and chief technical officer. “We have a strategic advantage because of our ability to combine the software and sensing technology with the sophisticated engineering necessary to manufacture high-quality vehicles. That is what it takes to make autonomous vehicles a reality for millions of people around the world.”
    This year, Ford will triple its autonomous vehicle test fleet to be the largest test fleet of any automaker – bringing the number to about 30 self-driving Fusion Hybrid sedans on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan, with plans to triple it again next year.
    Ford was the first automaker to begin testing its vehicles at Mcity, University of Michigan’s simulated urban environment, the first automaker to publicly demonstrate autonomous vehicle operation in the snow and the first automaker to test its autonomous research vehicles at night, in complete darkness, as part of LiDAR sensor development.
    To deliver an autonomous vehicle in 2021, Ford is announcing four key investments and collaborations that are expanding its strong research in advanced algorithms, 3D mapping, LiDAR, and radar and camera sensors:
    Velodyne: Ford has invested in Velodyne, the Silicon Valley-based leader in light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors. The aim is to quickly mass-produce a more affordable automotive LiDAR sensor. Ford has a longstanding relationship with Velodyne, and was among the first to use LiDAR for both high-resolution mapping and autonomous driving beginning more than 10 years ago SAIPS: Ford has acquired the Israel-based computer vision and machine learning company to further strengthen its expertise in artificial intelligence and enhance computer vision. SAIPS has developed algorithmic solutions in image and video processing, deep learning, signal processing and classification. This expertise will help Ford autonomous vehicles learn and adapt to the surroundings of their environment Nirenberg Neuroscience LLC: Ford has an exclusive licensing agreement with Nirenberg Neuroscience, a machine vision company founded by neuroscientist Dr. Sheila Nirenberg, who cracked the neural code the eye uses to transmit visual information to the brain. This has led to a powerful machine vision platform for performing navigation, object recognition, facial recognition and other functions, with many potential applications. For example, it is already being applied by Dr. Nirenberg to develop a device for restoring sight to patients with degenerative diseases of the retina. Ford’s partnership with Nirenberg Neuroscience will help bring humanlike intelligence to the machine learning modules of its autonomous vehicle virtual driver system Civil Maps: Ford has invested in Berkeley, California-based Civil Maps to further develop high-resolution 3D mapping capabilities. Civil Maps has pioneered an innovative 3D mapping technique that is scalable and more efficient than existing processes. This provides Ford another way to develop high-resolution 3D maps of autonomous vehicle environments
    Silicon Valley expansion
    Ford also is expanding its Silicon Valley operations, creating a dedicated campus in Palo Alto.

    Adding two new buildings and 150,000 square feet of work and lab space adjacent to the current Research and Innovation Center, the expanded campus grows the company’s local footprint and supports plans to double the size of the Palo Alto team by the end of 2017.
    “Our presence in Silicon Valley has been integral to accelerating our learning and deliverables driving Ford Smart Mobility,” said Ken Washington, Ford vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “Our goal was to become a member of the community. Today, we are actively working with more than 40 startups, and have developed a strong collaboration with many incubators, allowing us to accelerate development of technologies and services.”
    Since the new Ford Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto opened in January 2015, the facility has rapidly grown to be one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in the region. Today, it is home to more than 130 researchers, engineers and scientists, who are increasing Ford’s collaboration with the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
    Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto’s multi-disciplinary research and innovation facility is the newest of nearly a dozen of Ford’s global research, innovation, IT and engineering centers. The expanded Palo Alto campus opens in mid-2017.