Auto News for March 8 – Feeling Good About Autonomous Cars?

 Three-quarters of drivers report feeling afraid to ride in a self-driving car, and only 10 percent report that they’d actually feel safer sharing the roads with driverless vehicles, according to a survey just released by AAA. However, 59% want autonomous features in their next vehicle. This marked contrast suggests that drivers are ready embrace autonomous technology, but they are not yet ready to give up full control.

  “U.S. drivers may experience the driver assistance technologies in their cars today and feel they don’t work consistently enough to replace a human driver – and they’re correct,” said Greg Brannon, director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations.

  “While these technologies will continue to improve over time, it’s important that consumers understand that today’s systems require your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel,” he added.

 The head of Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, suggested to reporters at the Geneva show that one day Volkswagen would come calling to discuss some sort of alliance with his company. Now Reuters reports that VW’s Chief Executive said his company is not ready for talks about anything as it continues to deal with the diesel engine scandal. Marchionne has also been shunned by GM regarding any kind of the match up. 

 Mazda said the revamped CX-5 that will arrive on dealer lots later this month will carry an MSRP of $24,045. All models come standard with the 2.5 four and six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, with Mazda’s all-wheel drive available on all trim levels.

 Hyundai has revealed a Fuel Cell concept car in Geneva that it said represents the next step toward creating a zero emission “Hydrogen Energy Society.” An internal air humidifier recycles water emitted by the hydrogen system to create a more comfortable interior. Hyundai said its new technology is 20 percent lighter and achieves 10 percent greater efficiency over its current Tucson fuel cell vehicle. The concept is said to have a range of 800 kilometers or about 497 miles.

 Also in Geneva, Mercedes-AMG debuted a high performance hybrid sedan concept with a total output of 805 horsepower and a 0-60 sprint in less than three seconds. Mercedes said the concept “gives a sneak preview of the exterior design coming to the series production model.” The concept sports a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine, electric motors, all-wheel drive and three operating modes.

 Toyota said its C-HR compact crossover will carry an MSRP of $22,500 when it hits showrooms next month with “bold, eye catching style.” CH-R stands for Coupe High-Rider. One feature will prevent certain multimedia menus from being selected while the vehicle is in motion. Another will maintain full force braking at all four wheels even if the driver reduces the pressure on the pedal. Once the operator depresses the accelerator, the brakes will release.




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