Auto News for July 17

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Audi says one of its self-driving cars turned in some lap times at California’s Sonoma track that were faster than some humans can do it. A RS7 prototype required only 2:01.01 minutes to set its best lap time at the 2.5 mile course in a demonstration for lawmakers and Silicon Valley executives. Audi said it will offer what it calls “Piloted Driving” in the next generation of the A8.

So how do people feel about cars that don’t need a driver? A University of Michigan survey of more than 500 drivers found that 43.8 percent have no interest in such vehicles. Only 15.8 percent want to turn the driving over to technology while 40 percent would go along with some partial autonomous technology. And 35 percent said they would be nervous riding in a fully autonomous vehicle.

Sales of the aluminum bodied Ford F-150 fell 8.9 percent last month blamed on a lack of normal inventories on dealer lots. The company has had some frame supply problems, and is still working to convert two plants to produce the truck. To stimulate sales, Ford is offering “up to $10,029 in total savings” to customers in some regions. All this has sparked concern on the part of some analysts about how the public is reacting to the new truck, and whether Ford is losing ground to Chevy Silverado and Ram rivals. Both brands posted sales gains last month. Ford has said it may not have a full inventory on lots until September.

Not sure if you want to celebrate this birthday, but it was on July 16th 1935 that the first parking meter appeared on a city street. It only covered a single parking space in downtown Oklahoma City, yet the idea that this could be a revenue raiser for local governments quickly caught on. In time, pay parking lots and garages sprouted and today, the Census Bureau reports, they take in well over $7 billion a year in parking fees.

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