Top 5: Future of Transportation
We bring you the top five Future of Transportation stories from this week including Audi's piloted tech, the end of Apple's Car and a bit of Tesla drama.Here's our top five Future of Transportation stories from this week. Audi working on new technologies for piloted driving - testing them in a Digital Motorway Test Bed. On the A9 between Nuremberg and Munich, Audi is testing solutions aimed at delivering enhanced safety and convenience in piloted driving in real traffic conditions. On several sections of the motorway, transmitters and sensors connect cars with their surroundings as well as with other vehicles. Audi is involved in six projects here. Three of them focus on structural measures and the remaining three on communication technologies. "As part of the Digital Test Bed, Audi is participating in development activities to make the autobahn infrastructure even more reliable and therefore support piloted driving," remarked Alejandro Vukotich, Head of Development for Automated Driving at AUDI AG. "Among other things, the idea is to modify the materials used for marker posts and guardrails so that they reflect radar waves better than at present – from a greater distance, and in snow and rain too. Other aims include car sensors that will in future detect the road markings more easily." One of the communication projects is to allow road signs to communicate with cars via a mobile connection. This would allow the cars to understand temporary speed limits, lane closures and traffic jams, for example. signs that are online. These signs alert drivers by mobile connection to speed limits, traffic jams or lane closures, for example. By supplying the car with information on new traffic situations, this will increase the safety of piloted driving. The same data transfer modules are also being tested to allow cars to directly connect to each other. This would enable cars to communicate with one another even when there's no mobile coverage. Cars would then be able to inform other piloted cars of black ice warnings. Audi are also working on what they call “platooning,” where piloted driving cars form an energy-saving convoy. Bye bye, Project Titan. Apple is no longer planning to make a car. A new report states that Apple have reassigned numerous staff from its electric car project, dubbed Project Titan, in a shake-up that likely means that the tech giant is no longer actively pursuing an automotive product. According to Bloomberg, Apple is now heavily focused on automotive software, but has no plans to release its own vehicle. This is similar to Google's strategy, where they plan to make the best automated vehicle technology, but will sell the technology to established carmakers. If Apple's team can't prove the worth of Project Titan in the next year, the report says that the project will be shut down completely. This comes as something of a surprise after Apple was rumoured to be buying McLaren's technical division early last month. The rumours were shot down, however, when a McLaren spokesperson insisted that the company was not for sale. It's now likely that we'll never see an Apple Car on the road, but with two massive tech companies building software for a safer future on the roads, we only hope that they'll be able to work together - or will we end up having to choose Google's safety features or Apple's safety features? Ford's Design Chief talks driverless technology. Ford's Design Chief, Moray Callum, has been tasked with making cars that are smarter than a driver. He says that the challenge starts with the user interface of the car. It needs to interact with the driver in a seamless and comfortable way. "It's the biggest challenge in the car industry at the moment." It can't be distracting, so it's not as easy as just putting an iPad - designed for entertainment and engagement - in the car. "[Automated cars are] not going to happen overnight and there will be some hiccups along the way." Callum made a cloaked reference to some recent accidents, where piloted technology has been misused and resulted in deaths of drivers, to support his point. Sidewalk Labs wants to turn 16 cities in to tech-friendly laboratories. Alphabet, for those who don't know, is the parent company of Google. So, when you hear that they want to change the world with one of their companies, you don't think it's just another pipe-dream by a company that will go bankrupt after a few years of research, you pay attention. Sidewalk Labs, also owned by Alphabet - and a spin-off company from Google - wants to change the world by transforming American cities in to smart cities where they can test their innovations. Rohit Aggarwala, chief policy officer for Sidewalk Labs, cautioned that the goal of the collaboration was not to sell Google products to these cities, but to provide technical assistance to improve transit services and the flow of traffic in these cities. This should go hand-in-hand with Google's self driving cars, so if the plans go ahead these cities will likely become test beds for the company's self driving technology in the future. New Tesla Model 3 orders won't be delivered until 2018. Automotive journalists worked themselves in to a frenzy earlier this week as Tesla updated terminology on their website from "Deliveries are planned to begin in 2017" to "Production is planned to begin in 2017". This led people to believe that Tesla's estimates for the car had slipped. Elon Musk took to Twitter to assure people that this wasn't the case, and that the company has simply updated its website to reflect a more realistic timescale for new orders. Production and delivery for anybody who has already made a reservation is still expected for next year. This change came just before Tesla is about to announce something 'surprising'. Although we don't know what the company have up their sleeve, it's expected that this will either be Part 2 of the Model 3 announcement - which is rumoured to show off the interior, or new technology, of the car - or a brand new car, the Model Y. We'll know more later today.