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  1. This is a little off-topic (to subscription services, but not to "mobility" and autonomous driving). A year ago today I received an interesting follow-up email (the first one asked for reader views on fully-autonomous automobiles) from a representative of "Backfires", the service that manages reader comments for Car & Driver magazine. I'm sharing here the follow-up email: ------------------- All, Thanks so much for letting me into your inboxes last time, and thanks for the many thoughtful responses. Had another thought (rare, I know) that I'd like to share. I think the reason we're starting to read about the strong headwinds pushing back the start date of Level 5 autonomy is that the Waymos of the world are finally considering the psychology of the driverless car. We're hearing about solving for "infinite edge cases" and the impossibility of anticipating every road situation. Why do they need to solve for every case? Weren't we told that halving highway fatalities would be enough for mass acceptance of the AV? Well, as noble and important as that goal may be, making an AV feel safe is more complicated than that. And putting them in traffic is more complicated still. Here's the logic tree in my head: If you are taking the controls out of a driver's hands, then you are asking that driver to exchange a voluntary risk ("I'm driving, we'll be safe"), for an involuntary risk, akin to getting on an airplane. If you're exchanging voluntary risk for involuntary risk, the threshold of acceptable fatalities is much, much lower. It turns out that it does matter who's doing the crashing: We give ourselves tons of leeway for mishaps, but we don't do the same for machines. Machine trust is much harder to come by. The acceptable level for Level 5 fatalities is therefore similar to commercial aviation's. The fatalities have to trend to zero, not merely half of what we have now. If the fatality rate has to near zero, then all cars in a given system have to have multiple safety redundancies, which really means that all cars in that system have to be talking not just to each other, but to the stoplights, the pedestrians, the dogs, even the soccer balls that roll into the street. If that kind of matrix is necessary for the kind of safety that will assure Level 5 acceptance, then human-driven car and driverless cars can't coexist on the same roads. To me, this argues for two parallel paths: Increasingly better ADAS (driver assist) tech, and full Level 5 autonomy. The SAE levels for autonomy appear to be linear, but they aren't. Thanks for reading. Eddie Alterman ------------------- EDIT: and let me add that another difference is liability. With a person driving the car liability typically goes to the driver. With the car driving the car I think we'll find that liability will typically go to the car(maker).
  2. Good question. Going back to the Range Rover example, there are four distinct vehicles in the sub-brand. There is the compact Range Rover Evoque, the mid-sized Range Rover Velar, the somewhat larger (with, I think, an optional third row) mid-sized Range Rover Sport, and the full sized original Range Rover that has no third name. Everyone in the JLR world refer to it as the "full fat Range Rover."
  3. Gurgeh

    2020 Aviator Start Stop :-(

    Hmm... the GT "first drive" reviews said that the vehicle starts off from a stop in full electric mode for the instant torque, but then once the car is going the ICE will kick in. If that is true, the start/stop issue becomes irrelevant.
  4. Very interesting on Bronco and Mustang becoming sub-brands. So, it will be a "Mustang Mach-E", which evokes an inherent performance purpose and does in fact roll off the tongue better than "Ford Mach-E". Much, I think, as the Velar is a Land Rover, but people don't generally refer to the underlying make but to the sub-brand. It is a Range Rover Velar, not a Land Rover Velar.
  5. I think it is a fine looking off-roader ... well, except for that fake pillar. See: https://jalopnik.com/the-2020-land-rover-defender-90-offers-a-huge-fake-pill-1838033156/amp
  6. Gurgeh

    AVIATOR GT Delivery Date

    The GT isn't built yet. They are still finishing up on the line that is going to build it. It was never promised before 2019 Q4, which might slip a little into 2020 Q1. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/ford/2019/07/22/ford-spending-50-m-chicago-support-explorer-aviator-production/1799145001/
  7. This seems to be a case of Moody's following the market rather than leading it. Ford debt is currently priced in the market as non-investment grade (Wall Street remains confused and uncertain about Ford's future). But should it be? That is what the rating agencies should be looking at. The two other agencies, S&P and Fitch, still rate Ford debt two notches higher, as low investment grade. This should be, for now, enough for Ford debt to hold onto institutional investors. There are curious things about placing junk status to Ford debt. Yes, the company is undergoing a tough and costly transition they should have started a few years earlier. But there are early positive signs about the transition and the company is profitable with much more cash than debt. Maybe the oddest thing about the downgrade is that Moody's did it out of the blue without the usual months (or more) process of having it on watch or otherwise indicating that a downgrade is in the works unless there were certain kinds of improvements. And here I've been kicking myself that I missed another opportunity to pick up more Ford stock when it was briefly back in the mid 8s recently with dividends above 7%. Looks like that buying opportunity (or better) will be back again for a while.
  8. Financial Times has a hard paywall for it's articles, so I couldn't read that one. But here's one that should be more accessible: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ford-cut-junk-moodys-doubts-202155962.html
  9. Here's an official spy photo, which is sort of an odd concept... so, due out next year, they say. https://electrek.co/2019/09/05/ford-mustang-inspired-electric-crossover-prototype-first-pictures/
  10. Gurgeh

    More on Aviator GT

    ...and in a few years they will make an entirely different set of right choices and deliver an electrified mid-sized luxury crossover with, reportedly, a battery-only range of over 300 miles with uncompromised performance. But then, it will be an all-electric BEV without any ICE at all. Lincoln could have increased the electric-only range of the Aviator by, for instance, putting in a much lighter 4-cylinder engine to compensate for the heavier batteries and larger electric engine. Except then it would be a traditional hybrid that focuses on fuel economy and doesn't provide particularly great performance in either hybrid or battery-only mode. There are lots of those kinds of vehicles around, and they are fine for what they are. That just wasn't the kind of performance-oriented hybrid Lincoln was trying to build.
  11. I would never purchase a car this way, though I understand some do. There are critical things that, to me, require a test drive (and usually more than one, with at least one being an extended drive). For instance, are the seats comfortable (especially with extended length driving)? Will my road-trip cooler fit on the rear seats floor? Is visibility good? Does the transmission shift smoothly? Is there good power for initial acceleration and passing? Do I like the interior? Is the infotainment system responsive? Don't need to know all that, I guess, if going from a 2016 Edge to a 2019 Edge, but for a new design definitely. I think some in this thread are treating it as either/or. Either everyone buys through a factory order without a test drive or everyone buys from dealer stock. But in Germany, for instance, about half buy from factory orders but a dealership will always have some vehicles on hand for a test drive.
  12. Me too. I traded in a 2016 Audi Q5 S-Line for a 2019 Black Label Nautilus (and had canceled a Range Rover Velar factory order to get the Nautilus).
  13. I'm wondering if they want 2023MY so that in that one year they have 2-row mid-sized crossovers coming out with 1) boosted ICE, 2) performance-oriented PHEV, and 3) BEV. But you are probably right. Most likely management of scarce product-development resources. Even so, 2022MY or an early-release 2023 wouldn't surprise me.
  14. Did I miss the reference to the Edge/Nautilus redesign? That should be coming for MY 2022 or 2023, if I remember correctly. (Unless the Edge/Naut are being replaced by the new "Edge sized" BEV crossovers also planned for around then.)