When Will Self-Driving Cars Be on the Market?

Autonomous vehicles were a huge focus at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In this week's episode of Industry Focus: Energy, Sarah Priestley talks with Motley Fool Canada Premium analyst Taylor Muckerman about what he saw at CES last week regarding self-driving cars, some of the biggest stumbling blocks that self-driving tech is running into today, and when we might start to see fully-autonomous cars on the road. Also, the hosts take a look at BP's (NYSE: BP) $1.7 billion hit to profits this quarter, and why the company is still paying up for the Deepwater Horizon spill; what we know so far about GE's (NYSE: GE) potential plans to split itself up, and what they would mean for the company's future; and more. A full transcript follows the video. This video was recorded on Jan. 18, 2018. Sarah Priestley: Welcome to Industry Focus, the show that dives into a different sector of the stock market every day. Today, we're talking Energy and Industrials. It's Thursday Jan. 18, and today we're going to be discussing Taylor's recent trip to CES in Las Vegas, GE, and BP. I'm your host, Sarah Priestley, and joining me in the studio is Motley Fool Canada Premium analyst and all around nice guy, Taylor Muckerman. Taylor, thank you for joining me! How are you doing? Taylor Muckerman: Cheerio! [laughs] I'm great! How about you? Priestley: I'm good. Have you caught some sun from Vegas? Muckerman: No, it was actually the rainiest two days in Vegas history. The last day, sure, but the first two days were quite miserable. Priestley: I'm trying not to show too much joy in my voice, because of all the snow right now. What was it like? Did you see anything cool? Muckerman: There were a lot of people, so I didn't get to see a whole heck of a lot. But I think that's just par for the course out there every year. Got to ride in an autonomous car with Lyft. Priestley: That's very cool. Muckerman: They partnered with BMW for the show. It's not a Continue Reading

7 lessons from 2,300 miles in Cadillac’s new partial self-driving car

DETROIT -- J. Geils band is playing Detroit Breakdown on the Bose audio, but it’s all good. I’ve got Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system under the hood and 1,100 miles of highway ahead of me between the Gulf Coast and the Great Lakes.Boogie on, self-driving Caddy.This is my second experience with the Super Cruise, but the earlier drive was much shorter.Before the engineers and lawyers jump all over me: “Self-driving” is a slight overstatement, but it’s hard not to be excited by Super Cruise’s performance and potential.The 2018 Cadillac CT6 doesn't quite drive itself, but it comes closer than you can imagine, and I enjoyed the results more than I could have expected. Over the course of 2,300 miles in a recent drive from Detroit to New Orleans and back, Super Cruise showed it’s a major step toward fully autonomous vehicles that require no human intervention. Its radars, cameras and electronically controlled brakes, acceleration and steering allowed the 2018 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan to virtually drive itself for nearly 90% of the trip.This is not a dream “someday, cars will drive themselves” feature. Super Cruise is available now. It’s standard on the top-of-the-line $84,295 CT6 Platinum and a $5,000 option on the $65,295 CT6 Premium Luxury.Expect Cadillac to add Super Cruise to other vehicles quickly, and GM to roll the feature out across its three other brands.Super Cruise works on restricted access highways in the U.S. and Canada. Essentially, it steers the car from the time you leave the entrance ramp until you’re ready to exit the highway.Super Cruise accelerates and brakes to keep pace with other vehicles or hold any speed you set up to 85 miles per hour. The driver has to touch the steering wheel briefly to change lanes, and take full control in some construction zones and on surface roads with cross traffic, stop lights, etc. A facial recognition system watches to makes Continue Reading

U.S. Congress plans self-driving car legislation to speed rollout

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress is working on national self-driving vehicle legislation that could replace state-by state rules and make it easier for automakers to test and deploy the technology, senior U.S. House and Senate lawmakers told Reuters on Tuesday. The chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee said he planned to unveil a package of legislation to overhaul federal rules governing self-driving vehicles. "We're getting very close. I think it's a good package. We've put a lot of work into it," Representative Greg Walden of Oregon said in an interview, adding that there was "good bipartisan agreeement" and he hoped to unveil and take up the package in the next month or two. Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is also working on a legislative self-driving proposal with Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat. "We're not there yet but we are getting closer," Thune said. Thune and Walden spoke to Reuters on Tuesday after getting a ride in a self-driving Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG . Companies such as Alphabet Inc and Ford Motor Co are aggressively pursuing automated technologies and want unified federal regulations to replace outdated rules and make it simpler to develop and eventually sell the technology across the country. This spring, Republican staff drafted a summary of 16 potential legislative proposals on federal reforms and regulations that they circulated to automakers and which was seen by Reuters. Among proposals under consideration is one to allow the U.S. Transportation Department to exempt up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles from current safety standards, which were written on the assumption responsibility for a car's operation rested with the human driver. The existing motor vehicle safety standards bar the sale of vehicles without steering wheels and gas pedals, for example. Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit has called for those rules be Continue Reading

Fun-der the radar: 7 of the most unexpectedly fun-to-drive cars and SUVs for sale in 2016

Automotive enthusiasts are a lucky bunch in 2016. From punchy micro hatchbacks like the hilariously fun Ford Fiesta ST to rip-roaring halo cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT, there’s a lot to be thankful for in the world of fun cars this year. But not every fun car comes with a garish paint job, big wheels, or an ‘SS’ badge. For your driving enjoyment, we’ve compiled a list of our seven favorite fun-to-drive cars that often fly under the radar. GET YOUR ENGINES REVVING WITH THE DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. ‘LIKE’ US HERE. Buick Regal GS If you had said 10 years ago that one of the most fun-to-drive compact luxury cars would wear a Buick badge, we’d have looked at you like you had three heads. But, lo-and-behold, a tossable European sports sedan for a reasonable price wears the triple shield, and is fully worth your attention. Sporting a punchy 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, the Regal GS makes a respectable 259 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Oh, and did we mention it’s available with all-wheel-drive? BMW be damned, this Buick could be the perfect all-season sports sedan for you. Cadillac CTS Yeah, you read that right. Cadillac, makers of some of the largest and most luxurious American cars the world has ever seen (and likely builders of one of your grandparents' automobiles) has become a new standard in fun-to-drive luxury cars. With an advanced chassis, available magnetic ride suspension, and a punchy turbocharged powertrain or smooth V6, the CTS is the chief example of Cadillac's sporting intentions, and many (ourselves included) have said that it's even more fun than a BMW 5 Series. It seems Cadillac has out-BMW-ed the Germans for the time being, so enjoy it while it lasts. BUYER'S GUIDE: 2016 CADILLAC CTS Ford Edge Sport Sometimes the name "Sport" - when added to a crossover, Continue Reading

BMW’s 340i xDrive is an annoyingly great all-wheel-drive luxury sedan

Full Car Details More Reviews I love rooting for the underdog, always have. When I was a kid, growing up in Wisconsin (in the pre-Brett Favre era), my other favorite footballs teams included the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and New Orleans Saints. Want to know why? It’s because they all stunk, each one was routinely as god-awful as my beloved and beleaguered 1980s Packers. Oh, and for the record, guess which formerly bad football teams I kind of can’t stand right now? (The Saints get a pass, pun intended. Who dat’ say dey gonna hate dem Saints?) BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS AUTOS TEAM ON FACEBOOK So now here I am, with the Tom Brady of luxury sport sedans, the 2016 BMW 340i xDrive Sedan. The 3 Series has been the standard bearer of its segment for so long, it’s hard to remember a time when this Bavarian-built sedan wasn’t the target all other automakers were chasing. Mercedes-Benz and Audi certainly haven’t been asleep at the wheel. And Cadillac is definitely taking some enormous strides to regain its iconic, but dust-covered, “standard of the world” title from long ago. In the meantime, BMW keeps refining, updating and improving the 3 Series, the sedan with a bulls-eye on its back. By and large, the changes are always for the better – though let’s ignore bizarre niche models, like the hunchbacked Gran Turismo variant. Unless you’re saving up for the wild M3 sport sedan, the 340i model is the most powerful version of the ‘regular’ 3 Series range. Powered by a turbocharged inline-6 cylinder engine, coupled to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, this powertrain delivers 320-horsepower and a stout 330 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 1,380 rpm. This means there is no perceptible turbo lag, no hesitation from the engine whatsoever as speed and revs climb. Fitting the 340i with Continue Reading

Surmount the snow with 7 of the best used all-wheel-drive winter cars for under $10,000

Whether this is your first snowy winter or your umpteenth, all-wheel-drive makes the necessary treks through the powder a whole lot easier. But if you’re not in the market for a brand new car, fret not! We’ve found 7 of the best used all-wheel-drive cars for under $10,000 that will soldier on for thousands more traction-filled miles. Grab a mug of cocoa and cozy up to the first in our 4-part series of the best winter-friendly used cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, and trucks. 2002-2006 Subaru WRX It’s no surprise that we kick off our list with the holy grail of fun, affordable, all-wheel-drive cars. Since its introduction to the U.S. market in 2002, the Subaru WRX has been the go-to choice for rally fans, speed enthusiasts on a budget, and snowy fun-seekers around the country. Used examples will go for thousands more miles with proper care, so don’t be scared of any examples you find that boast well over 100,000 on the odometer. With the famous 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer 4-cylinder under the hood and a 5-speed manual (or 4-speed automatic, if you must), over 200-horsepower, and fuel economy to match many modern small cars, the WRX sedan and wagon make a strong case for being the ultimate winter ride. 2006-2013 Suzuki SX4 Hatchback That’s right, a Suzuki! I bet you didn’t know that for the last 7 years, before the company’s recent departure from the U.S. car market, Suzuki offered one of the most capable and affordable all-wheel-drive cars. The SX4 was available with all-wheel-drive in hatchback form only, and had the guts and capability to match Subarus and Toyotas of the time. With a 6-speed manual or a CVT, you could make the most of the SX4’s 140-horsepower 4-cylinder. Okay, it was no speed demon – but that’s why we kicked things off with the spry WRX. Models less than 3 years old with fewer than 60,000 miles Continue Reading

Test Drive: 2015 Volkswagen GTI is still the hot hatchback valedictorian

I’d like to start this review by coming clean right off the bat: I am a Volkswagen GTI owner. I’ve had a 2007 GTI for the last year and a half, and to put it lightly, I’m quite fond of it. For this very reason, I tried to remain as impartial as possible during my time with the all-new seventh-generation GTI, but I’d be lying if I told you that absolutely zero bias trickled through. But believe me when I say that despite my fondness for the VW, among the excellent current crop of hot hatchbacks for sale in the U.S. the GTI is not the fastest, the quirkiest, the most charismatic, or the most fun of the bunch. What it is instead, is one of the best all-around cars that money can buy. We reviewed the new 2015 Golf and GTI back in May, and found them to be fun, practical, efficient, and affordable do-everything machines that American buyers would be unwise to overlook. So when the chance presented itself to spend a bit more time with VW’s latest version of its seminal hot hatchback, needless to say, I pounced. Our test car was a 4-door GTI S model, finished in the bold Tornado Red and complete with VW’s excellent six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission. While the new model is more angular and modern than the MKVI (Mark 6), the look is still undeniably understated, if almost anonymous. The 2015 GTI is a handsome car, but it won’t turn nearly as many heads as the “look at me!” Fiat 500 Abarth. Stepping inside, I was pleased to see that VW continues to soldier on with the GTI’s distinctive plaid seats. They’re certainly not for everyone, but it’s a fun and fitting tribute to the car that started it all way back in 1976. The rest of the interior is arguably the best among all economy cars. Everything feels solid, well-placed, and extremely high quality in relation to the majority of cars in its class (we’re looking at you, Focus ST). The steering wheel, often Continue Reading

10 awesome ten-year-old used cars, trucks, and SUVs for under $10,000

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the average age of non-commercial vehicles on the road is 11.4 years. Clearly, Americans are keeping their cars longer, and buying used instead of new a large portion of the time. With this trend seemingly on the rise over the past decade, we’ve compiled a list of 10 excellent cars, trucks, and SUVs from ten years ago that can be had for the very reasonable price of $10,000 or less. From small cars to big trucks, there’s something for every prospective buyer. Small Car: 2005 Honda Civic The Civic has long been one of the most reliable, best value choices in the small sedan market, and the story was no different ten years ago. With up to 35-mpg on the highway, this perennial favorite is still on par with the fuel efficiency of modern gasoline and hybrid models. Top-spec examples can be had for around $7,500, and don’t worry about a high mileage figure, as Hondas from this generation can last for hundreds of thousands of miles. Midsize Car: 2005 Toyota Camry The world’s best-selling car certainly deserves its title, as Toyota Camry owners are some of the most satisfied on the road. The fifth generation Camry was one of Toyota’s best-selling models ever, and it’s no surprise, as even the top-spec XLE trim with the optional V-6 saw fuel economy figures of 26-mpg highway. Well-kept models can still be had today for around $9,000 depending on location. Large Car: 2005 Chrysler 300C Chrysler may not have been at their prime in 2005, but the resurrected 300C remains one of the best models they’ve released in decades. With a 340-hp 5.7-liter V-8 and styling that looks at home on cars with 5 times the price tag, the 300C is still a strong choice in the large sedan segment. Good condition models can be had for $10,000 or less. Station Wagon: 2005 Mazda6 Wagon Continue Reading

2013 Buick Encore is a solid new option in the family car market

The Encore did itself the biggest favor it could possibly do during its maiden journey of a week-long test drive – it made me forget it was a Buick. Not that I have anything against Buick – I don’t – it’s just that the badge in particular carries with it the burden of glorious Detroit days gone by. Boomers complain the company hasn’t made anything interesting since 1965, and GenY has long thought of the brand as a museum piece. Still others haven’t forgiven GM for the Skylark or the Lucerne. The Encore will make believers out of all of ‘em. I punched this ride through cruelly frigid January air and found a sublimely zippy, tight, stylish and comfortable compact crossover. Its press materials compare it to BMW’s X1 and Audi’s Q3, but let’s not go overboard – the Encore is more in the spirit of an upgraded Rav4 or Honda CRV, it does what it sets out to do, and there isn’t a single nod to the past, good or bad, here. The engine’s dinky – a 1.4 litre job making a blow-dryerish 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, and the car weighs an elephantine 3200 pounds. It’s greatly assisted, though, by a turbo which is spirited at low speeds and holds 55+ MPH easily on the highway with no complaints or groans. You’re out of luck if you don’t like the engine as this is the only one GM is offering, although you have a choice of front-wheel drive or an “Active On-Demand” with 4-wheel drive. With that feature, you’ll switch to front-wheel drive at speeds upward of about 37 MPH if the car’s computer system doesn’t detect any slippage in the rear axle - as well as each time the vehicle stops - to give you improved off-the-line acceleration. If no slip is present, the system gradually disengages, improving your mileage. Usually, 4-cylinder engines are noisy at speed, but there’s a sound-deadening feature in your headliner, window glass as Continue Reading

Honda needs to bring back these cool cars

We like Honda, a lot. From the economical Civic and family-minded Accord, to the Acura brand’s suave MDX sport-utility and upcoming NSX supercar; when it comes to product, Honda has a lot of great stuff. But from time to time, when we’re feeling especially sentimental, the Daily News Autos team looks back on some of the cars that Honda inexplicably brushed aside. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. ‘LIKE’ US HERE. The legendary little CRX, famed for its frugality and razor-sharp handling, was supposed to be reborn with the similarly petite CR-Z. But with more of a focus on hybrid tech and EPA economy numbers, the CR-Z lacked the sparkle and sizzle of its much loved ancestor. With that being said, allow us to present a wide range of cars that Honda should consider reviving, to help regain the brand’s legendary engineering edge, along with the youthful appeal that made Honda the darling of everyone from suburban families on a budget, to metro-based tuners with a need for speed. S2000 The S2000 was like a Mazda MX-5 Miata, but with much more of a Sega Genesis look and feel to it. The first models were famous for having an insatiable appetite for revs. In other words, you had to ping that digital tachometer all the way to 9,000 rpm to get the most of the S2000’s wild and wonderful little 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. In fact, when it was new, this naturally-aspirated engine had the highest horsepower output in terms of power-per-displacement of any car on the planet. Double wishbone suspension, a rigid chassis, and precise 6-speed manual all made the S2000 convertible a driving delight with unlimited headroom. CRX We’re not going to lie; the Honda CRX is no beauty queen! That truncated tail isn’t everyone’s idea of automotive seduction, but the real charm of the CRX is found inside, specifically from the perspective of the driver’s Continue Reading