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July 26th, 2017 News of the Day: Elon Musk's Boring Company Tests Car Elevator, UK Plans to Ban Gas and Diesel Cars

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【Summary】July 26th, 2017 News of the Day.

Original Eric Walz    Jul 26, 2017 1:41 PM PT
July 26th, 2017 News of the Day: Elon Musk's Boring Company Tests Car Elevator, UK Plans to Ban Gas and Diesel Cars

Elon Musk's Boring Company Tests Car Elevator

The Boring Company plans to launch its first underground tunnel system around Los Angeles, and it's now testing an elevator that will transport cars from the street to below ground, as evidenced by a new video.

On Instagram, Boring backer Elon Musk posted a video showing off the elevator. The system looks a little different than the one in a concept video shown back in May, in which the vehicle was placed on a pod before being lowered to the tunnel.

Once underground, the car shoots along a tunnel on an electric skate at speeds of up to 125 mph. The skate can carry cars, goods, or people, and the addition of a vacuum shell transforms it into a Hyperloop Pod that can travel at speeds exceeding 600 mph. The new transportation system has the potential to reduce traffic as the tunnels can be built in practically limitless layers, the company claims, and obviously, it should help commuters save time.

Previously, Musk said the company has begun work on a tunnel that will run from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks in southern California. On social media last week, Musk also said he received verbal government approval for an underground transport system running between New York and Washington, D.C. But the company has yet to receive a formal go-ahead for the plan, he admitted.

Britain plans to Ban Diesel and Gas Cars by 2040

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Following in the footsteps of France, Britain will ban the sale of gas and diesel cars from 2040 in an effort to reduce air pollution.

The British government is following up on promises made earlier this year to get rid of the most polluting vehicles.

"Today we are confirming that that means there should be no new diesel or petrol vehicles by 2040," environmental minister Michael Gove told BBC Radio, reports Reuters.

The ban also includes hybrids, meaning that all cars will have to be purely electric within a quarter of a century, reports the Financial Times. Currently, electric cars make up less than 5% of new car registrations in Britain.

Earlier this month, it was reported that France will ban the sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040. Norway, Germany, and India have also targeted the end of gas and diesel sales. Meanwhile, officials in Athens, Madrid, Mexico City, and Paris want to ban diesel vehicles from city centers by as early as 2025.

Tesla Model 3 Officially Eligible for California Clean Vehicle Rebate

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Tesla has priced the Model 3 at $35,000 to be competitive with any other vehicle in its segment without incentives. However, buyers can take advantage of state and federal incentives which take $10,000 off the price.

Yesterday, the Model 3 was officially added to the list of eligible vehicles for California Air Resources Board's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) – bringing the cost of the vehicle down to $25,000 for most buyers after the federal tax credit, which is expected to start phasing out for Tesla's vehicles at some point next year.

The vehicle's VIN, which Tesla provides during the production process, and the date of purchase are required to apply for the rebate.

Tesla is expected to concentrate Model 3 deliveries in California for the first few months of production, which means CVRP rebates will come in handy, and with the first few deliveries coming on Friday – those Model 3 owners will now be able to apply. However, California's clean vehicle rebate has some requirements.

For example, though buyers with income greater than $150,000 per year do not qualify for the rebate, buyers with lower income could potentially get a greater rebate than $2,500 from the CVRP under the current rules. Individuals with incomes below $35,640, and for a household of four, $72,900, will get $4,500. The rule is aimed at cheaper EVs than the Model 3, but it's still something to take into account.

Also, the CVRP sometimes runs out of funds at which point applicants are put on a waiting list, but it has only so far delayed the rebates and not prevented anyone from receiving them.

Currently, there's a new proposed bill that would fund the program with $3 billion and change it from a rebate to a direct discount at the purchase.

It would certainly simplify the process, but the amount of the discount is not clear yet and therefore, we don't know how it would change for Tesla's Model 3. The bill is still moving through the legislative process.

It means that buyers will have to pay the full price of the car, but they can then apply for the $7,500 federal tax credit, assuming that their tax burden for the current year allows it, and they can apply for a $2,500 CVRP rebate now that the Model 3 was added to the list of eligible vehicles.

The plan aligns with goals set forth under the Paris climate accord. Under the agreement, many nations pledged to keep global temperature increases this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Automakers are starting to hop on the electric bandwagon, too. Recently, Volvo said that all of its new vehicles from 2019 will have an electric motor.

SK Telecom to Test Self-Driving Cars on Public Roads

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South Korean operator SK Telecom plans to soon start testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. SK Telecom has received government approval to operate self-driving vehicles on roads, the Nikkei reports. SK Telecom will use autonomous vehicles based on Hyundai Motor's Genesis luxury sedan in its road tests. The company has already started testing 5G technologies for self-driving cars on tracks.

The 5G technology for wireless data transmissions is expected to generate a response time of less than 0.001 second. SK Telecom plans to use this speed to make vehicles exchange information in real time with other vehicles, as well as with road infrastructure, such as road surface and traffic signals. This information will be used to increase road safety, as well as enable vehicles to select the optimal routes for their destinations.

SK Telecom is also developing high-resolution 3D road maps, designed to help self-driving cars operate safely even in adverse weather conditions and at night, when the car's sensors are less accurate. These maps will include signage and other features down to a resolution of better than 25cm, to make cars avoid obstacles.

SK Telecom has developed its technologies for self-driving cars in cooperation with South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai, German car manufacturer BMW and the Seoul National University.

Audi's Self-Driving A8 will Use Intel Chips

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Intel processing power will be part of autonomous driving systems on the 2018 Audi A8, it was unveiled yesterday.

Earlier this month Audi unti debuted its new Audi A8 luxury sedan, complete with level 3 autonomous driving, active electronic suspension, a mild hybrid engine and new infotainment system.

Level 3 autonomous driving means that the driver is still present, but are able to completely shift "safety-critical functions" to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions.

"It embodies our heritage as well as our future," said Audi board member Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter. The Audi AI Traffic Jam Pilot will move the car along autonomously while stuck in gridlock both on the highway and without input from the driver.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that Audi will use processors from Intel's Programmable Solutions Group (PSG) and from its Wind River subsidiary as part of the self-driving system that will allow for Level 3 autonomous driving, among the most sophisticated technology that will be on the road.

Intel created its Programmable Solutions Group from the former Altera Corp. Intel closed on its acquisition of Altera in December 2015. PSG is responsible for Intel's field programmable gate array technology. FPGAs allow for great flexibility in the programming of hardware and software, and are often used in the Internet of Things and the data center.

"If you look across all these different solutions you've got the FPGA (field-programmable gate array) … and the operating system. So a lot of Intel content (is in) the world's first Level 3 autonomous driving system." said Michael Hendricks, automotive director for PSG.

Wind River, another Intel company, supplies the VxWorks operating system for the highly scalable, safety-related electronic control unit. As the underlying software platform, VxWorks maintains and monitors the safety of critical applications. The Altera portion is doing the object fusion, map fusion, parking, pre-crash, processing and functional safety aspects of the Audi A8's self-driving car system.

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