Driver Who Sat in Passenger Seat of Tesla on Autopilot Gets 18-Month Driving Ban

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 20:30

Tesla says its new vehicles are equipped with the hardware needed for fully driverless operation, but as it stands today with regulations, testing, and the availability of features, Autopilot remains a semi-autonomous system that requires a driver’s hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. But one man in Britain failed to make this distinction, or decided anyway to kick back in the passenger seat while his Tesla Model S cruised down the highway in Autopilot mode. The police eventually caught up to him, and now he’s paying a hefty penalty for the stunt.

According to a police statement, the man switched into Autopilot before transferring to the passenger seat and resting his hands behind his head. That left no one in the driver seat to operate the steering wheel and pedals, as seen in the cellphone footage below. The incident, which took place last May, was posted to social media and then reported to police. Witnesses said the car was traveling at around 40 mph and traffic was heavy at the time. The man plead guilty earlier this month to dangerous driving charges in the U.K.

The man admitted that what he had done was “silly.” However, he also said the car was capable of something “amazing” and he was just the “unlucky one who got caught.” Meanwhile, officers have a different attitude toward the situation. In the police statement, investigating officer PC Kirk Caldicutt said the man’s actions were “grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy.” And, of course, Tesla makes it clear that drivers need to have their hands on the wheel at all times and be ready to take full control of the vehicle while it’s in Autopilot mode.

The local court sentenced the man to 100 hours of community service and ordered him to pay 1,800 pounds toward the cost of his prosecution. He was also banned from driving for 18 months and faces 10 days of rehabilitation.

There have been two deaths in Autopilot-engaged Tesla cars here in the U.S. In a 2016 incident in Florida, investigators concluded that the crash was not caused by a flaw in Tesla’s technology, saying that the owner of the car ignored the car’s warnings to stay in control of the vehicle. Just this March, a Tesla Model X on Autopilot was involved in a fatal crash in California. The driver’s hands were reportedly not detected on the wheel six seconds before he crashed into a concrete divider on the highway.

Source: Hertfordshire Constabulary, The New York Times (12)

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Categories: Property

Toledo Plant Churns out the Last Jeep Wrangler JK Ever

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 19:30

Late last year, Jeep began production on the redesigned JL-series Wrangler, and as our first test showed, it’s really good. Interestingly, Jeep never stopped building the previous-generation Wrangler. At least until last Friday. As of April 27, production of the JK Wrangler has officially come to an end.

According to Fiat Chrysler, Jeep built more than 2.1 million JKs since production began back in 2006. Sales in the U.S. also jumped significantly, rising from 79,017 in 2005 to 190,522 in 2017. Jeep even managed to break the 200,000-mark back in 2015, selling 202,702 Wranglers in the U.S.

2007 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, the first four-door Wrangler

Part of the credit for that sales increase goes to the four-door Wrangler Unlimited that was introduced for the 2007 model year. It didn’t sacrifice the Wrangler’s legendary off-road capability, but it did make the Wrangler a more practical daily driver for a lot of owners. Sales didn’t really take off, however, until Jeep gave the 2011 Wrangler a more modern interior. The next year, it added a 3.6-liter V-6 that gave the Wrangler some much-needed power while significantly improving fuel economy.

Now that the JK Wrangler is no longer being built, Jeep will use that space in the factory to build the upcoming Wrangler-based pickup truck. Jeep says that truck, likely called the Scrambler or Wrangler Scrambler, will go on sale “in the first half of 2019.” Expect the official reveal several months before that, potentially before the end of the year.


“This workforce has been working practically non-stop for the past several years to fulfill the dreams of Jeep enthusiasts around the world who want to go where only a Wrangler can take them,” said Chuck Padden, manager of the Wrangler’s Toledo factory, in a release. “We take great pride in the role we have played in the history of this vehicle and the impact it has made in the Toledo community. We look forward to bringing that same commitment to the all-new Jeep truck.”

Source: Jeep

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Categories: Property

Spied! Toyota Supra Steps out Wearing Production Wheels

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 17:30

This may be the umpteenth time we’ve seen a Toyota Supra prototype, but each encounter reveals new information about the final model that will arrive next year. In this latest sighting, we can see the car’s production wheels.

In contrast to the generic wheels we’ve seen on previous mules, the wheels on this Supra feature a two-tone color design. We don’t know the exact size of the Michelin tires on this prototype, but our spy photographers saw what looks like 255 on the front tire.

Other than the new wheels, the Supra looks pretty much the same as the last time we spotted it. Some standout visual features include its wide front vents, double-bubble roofline, and a spoiler and diffuser in the back. We didn’t catch the interior this time around, but we’ve already seen a Supra prototype with a cabin that borrows from BMW in terms of design. The Supra will share a platform with the upcoming BMW Z4.

Toyota is keeping quiet on powertrain details for its revived Supra. But Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada hinted the model would receive a turbocharged inline-six to please fans of the nameplate who expect the car to have a straight-six. If Toyota decides to borrow from BMW, it could use the Bavarian automaker’s 3.0-liter turbo inline-six. The Supra goes on sale next year, although specific U.S. launch timing has not yet been announced.

Photo source: CarPix

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Categories: Property

Southern secures £43m of new housing stock

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/30/2018 - 16:11
South East housing association Southern Housing Group has completed the acquisition of 496 homes from Hyde Group for £43m.
Categories: Property