What Happens If Your Self Driving Car Manufacter Stops

Once you purchase a car, you basically rely on yourself, however now you may have to continue relyoing on the manufacturer

This is because, what we don’t expect is for the company that made it to reach out through the internet and remotely shut it down whenever it feels like it. Yet a recent move by a corporate sibling of Google GOOGL -0.17% signals exactly that sort of future as we move into an era of connected and automated vehicles.

Connected thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest, purchased Revolv, a manufacturer of home automation hubs in October 2014 and promptly stop selling devices. The staff of Revolv were reassigned to work on new similar products within the Nest organization. Nest is itself a subsidiary of Alphabet, a holding company formed in 2015 that also owns Google, Google cars and a host of other ambitious startup companies.

It’s not at all unusual for a company to cease updating products after an acquisition, especially when the purchase is a so-called acquihire where the purchaser just wants the staff and technology. What makes this situation different is that Nest this week posted a message on the Revolv.com website announcing that the product would be permanently shut down on May 15, 2016. The Revolv hubs haven’t been updated since the Nest purchase, but by all accounts they still work just fine and will likely continue to do so for years to come. At least they would if Nest wasn’t about to brick them.

I’ve always liked Google. I use Chrome, search and I do most of my writing in Docs as I jump around between machines. I use a Nexus 6P as my main communications device. I’m also fully aware that any Google software product can be killed at any time and I’ve been the victim of some of these sunset events just like millions of other people that formerly used Google Reader, Wave, Talk, Notebook and many other products. While some of these product deaths irked me, they were all free software that had alternatives I could move too. In each case, Google deemed that the products didn’t have enough users to justify ongoing support and subsequently pulled the plug.

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GM Purchases Key Company When It Comes To Self Driving Vehicles

We have seen mergers, cooperating companies and entirely new companies form due to autonomous driving, however GM might have the right idea. General Motors (GM) said Friday it has turbocharged its effort to win the self-driving car race with an acquisition.

The automaker — which is racing against tech giants Google and Apple, not to mention traditional car makers — said it has purchased San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, a software company dedicated entirely to self-driving car technology.

The Detroit-based manufacturer declined to say how much it paid for the start-up, which has backing from Silicon Valley venture investors Y Combinator, Maven Ventures and Signia Venture Partners. But the acquisition suggests GM is shifting into high gear when it comes to rolling out cars that will either largely or entirely move through traffic using sensors and other technology.

“We have a timeline that we are not announcing today, but I will say we are moving very, very fast,” Kyle Vogt, founder of Cruise Automation, told USA TODAY of the integration and testing of Cruise’s software in GM vehicles.

GM CEO Mary Barra has vowed to keep the automaker ahead in the self-driving car race, acknowledging that the company must be agile and willing to adapt its business model to survive the coming revolution in the auto industry.

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The Answers To Your Connectivity Questions

Anything new always forward more questions and connectivity in cars is no different.

  1. How will Google bring self-driving cars to market? Google wants to bring shared self-driving cars to market by 2020. In 2015, it showed signs of inching toward the marketplace by bringing aboard John Krafcik to lead the program and commencing testing in Austin, Texas. With a manufacturing deal with Ford reportedly in the works, 2016 may bring more concrete signs of Google’s go-to-market plan. Meanwhile, Google’s archrival Apple Inc. continues to explore cars in secrecy.
  2. Will vehicle-to-vehicle communications really happen? For more than a decade, the U.S. government has pushed technology that would allow cars to “talk” to one another to avoid crashes, using a wireless communications frequency. It hasn’t hit the market — though General Motors says it’ll be offered on the 2017 Cadillac CTS — and the government hasn’t built any roadway infrastructure to enable it. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has vowed to propose rules by the time President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017, but will that happen?
  3. Can the auto industry patch its security holes? The dark side of connected cars is that every additional connection creates another way for a wrongdoer to gain access to a car’s internal network. A big reminder of this risk arrived in 2015, when security researchers showed they could wirelessly tap into a Jeep Cherokee and slam the brakes or shut off the engine. In 2016, automakers will be racing to make their cars more secure in hopes of outrunning the bad guys — and hoping nothing happens that might chill customers’ acceptance of connected cars.

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Bring Your World Into Your Car

How much time do you spend on the road? Think of all the things you could have done before you arrive at your destination.

Microsoft is moving closer to putting your living room on wheels, introducing several features that will make your drive more productive and entertaining.

On Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft announced four partnerships that will usher the next generation of cars into the cloud. “The industry is going through a digital transformation,” said Sanjay Ravi, Microsoft Worldwide Managing Director of Manufacturing. “The automotive companies want to be digital companies.”

In other words, say “connect to conference call,” and your car will connect you to your officemates. Say “Skype with Mom,” and the line will soon be ringing. Say “find a gas station,” and you won’t have to worry about running on empty.

“Think of the car of the future as your living room on wheels,” Ravi said. “Or your office on wheels.”

Nissan, for example, will use the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform to allow the all-electric Leaf and certain vehicles from its luxury Infiniti brand to tap into the benefits of cloud-based connectivity. Moving telematics information from Nissan’s own global data center to the cloud will increase the network’s storage space, which means drivers can perform functions such as finding places of interest and monitoring the car’s battery capacity faster.

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Going Once, Going Twice, Sold! To The Person Who Knows How To Buy Cars At An Auction

Today there are many ways to purchase a car than just through a car dealer at a lot, one of the means to purchase a car is through an auction.

You wouldn’t know it from the road, but there are typically around 4000 vehicles tucked away awaiting sale at the Copart auction facility in Newburgh, New York. And arriving on a Thursday morning for the regular weekly auction, you really wouldn’t guess that about 1000 of those vehicles would be on their way to new homes by day’s end—whether that means the driveway of a proud new owner, on a dealer’s lot, in a body shop for pre-resale repairs, or off to the crusher. On the Thursday of our visit, the parking lot is empty, save for one agitated tow-truck driver talking on a cell phone and whose half of the conversation consists almost entirely of expletives.

Inside, however, is a different story. A busy staff of about a dozen headset-wearing workers is fielding nonstop calls from dealers, and handling title issues, deliveries, and other questions. The auction is in full swing, but there’s no fast-talking auctioneer, slamming of gavels, shouting of bids, or cars crossing the block. As with many car auctions these days, all the bidding happens online. And fast.

Used-car auctions are big business, and companies like Copart, Adesa, and Manheim are the giants of the industry, with daily auctions nationwide. Copart puts 75,000 cars up for sale every day, but Manheim is the biggest, handling some 7 million vehicles in 11 countries annually. It’s a complicated business, with cars moving locally and across the country to maximize profits based on supply and demand, regional needs, and even the price of scrap metal. The vehicles come from a variety of sources, including fleets, rental companies, carmakers, financial institutions, insurance companies, and other wholesalers.

The bad news for bargain hunters is that the bulk of these auctions are for dealers only. But paddle-wielding wannabes have plenty of other options, from municipal and federal government auctions, to commercial auctions catering to the public, and auction sites like the ubiquitous eBay.

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