Hi there listeners. So far, Dan and I have been supporting Wheel Bearings ourselves but at some point it might be nice to get a sponsor or two to help out. One thing that help us do that is if you were to take a couple of minutes and answer some survey questions. That will help us understand who’s listening and if we do get sponsors we can try to make them more relevant to you.
With the whole crew back in action, Sam has been driving the Lexus LS500h. Rebecca samples a couple of luxury SUVs in the form of the Audi Q8 and Volvo XC90 T8. Meanwhile Dan learns that you can trail-brake a Toyota Sienna minivan before jumping into the Subaru Ascent. In California, PG&E has been shutting down power to try prevent wild fires and it’s impacting EV drivers. Tesla has released a less than fully baked Smart Summon feature and AAA tests a bunch of other driver assist systems that serve to demonstrate that human drivers need to stay alert.
This week as Dan helps the kids with homework, Rebecca and Sam perform an automotive duet. Sam drove the Honda Civic Type-R for a week while Rebecca had the Toyota Rav4 hybrid and Cadillac XT4. The timing of Rebecca driving the Cadillac was fortuitous as Sam had just returned from driving the new Lincoln Corsair and we dive into the differences between the two.
In the news, Canoo unveiled its first product, a small electric van that will be offered by subscription only. Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian and Acura unveiled a new ad campaign that focuses on driving. Finally, Hyundai and Aptiv team up on automated driving.
Rebecca has been off cavorting on a new Lexus yacht before coming home to move some stuff in the Toyota Sienna. Meanwhile Sam has enjoying the premium cabin of the Kia Telluride and Dan does a bit of four wheel drifting in the Audi Q3. Rebecca and Sam each got to try out the 2020 Ford Escape in gas and hybrid form and found it has shifted more toward its Focus sibling. Sam also got to check out the interesting new user interface of the upcoming Byton M-Byte during his latest jaunt to Silicon Valley.
This week we have lots of vehicles to talk about. Rebecca drove the Mercedes-AMG GTC Roadster to the US Open, and the Honda Accord Hybrid in SoCal. Sam discusses the Mazda CX-5 Diesel and the base Volkswagen Atlas. Dan shares his take on the Toyota 4Runner. Then we dive into the Porsche Taycan and how we evaluate vehicles. Sam also discusses the cool new Drive Labs video series from Nvidia that gives an introduction to how multiple neural networks work together to power an automated driving perception system.
Building a reliable and robust automated driving system is really hard. In the past half decade a lot of progress has been made thanks to the advancements in machine learning and deep neural networks. One of the companies on the forefront of that effort is Nvidia. While most people think of Nvidia GPUs for graphics cards and bitcoin mining, they also have thousands of engineers that works on software. Neda Cvijetic is a senior manager on the automated driving team and she hosts the Nvidia Drive Labs video series explaining some of the core principles of how they are tackling this problem.
The gang is all back together this week. Since we last talked about the garage, Sam has been driving the Lincoln Navigator in San Francisco, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in Ohio and Jeep Gladiator in Michigan. Rebecca escapes a ticket in the Honda Civic Sport and Dan has been road tripping in the Cadillac XT6.
We review the goings on at Monterey Car Week and the legacy of Ferdinand Piech.
This week Dan and Rebecca are travelling so Sam is joined by Ed Niedermeyer to talk about his new book, Ludicrous, the Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors. The book is available at Amazon and other booksellers.
Here’s a special extra episode for our listeners. Sam will be doing a talk on partnerships in automated vehicle development during the Drive World Expo conference in Santa Clara, California August 27-29. In the runup to the conference, the organizers have produced a special podcast series called the Drive to Level 5. Sam talks with host Jack Heslin about the his topic in episode 5.
It’s a slow news week so the crew is just talking about the cars they’ve driving. Rebecca opens it up with the second-generation Audi Q3 while Sam has been in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie. Dan proclaims his love for the Mazda Miata which remains one of the last true roadsters available. Rebecca and Sam got to drive the 2020 Nissan Versa in Nashville and Rebecca tells the story of driving the 2020 Subaru Outback in the wilds of Northern California.
Fiat Chrysler recently launched a market feature in its UConnect telematics system that enables users to utilize apps to access a variety of services from the dashboard. FCA UConnect marketing manager Mike Novak gives us a demo of the new UConnect Market.