A swarm of Cruise robotaxis blocked San Francisco traffic for hours

A small fleet of Cruise robotaxis in San Francisco suddenly stopped operating on Tuesday night, effectively stopping traffic on a street in the city's Fillmore district for a couple of hours until employees were able to arrive. TechCrunch first noticed a Reddit post that featured a photo of the stalled driverless cabs at the corner of Gough and Fulton streets. Cruise — which is General Motor’s AV subsidiary — only launched its commercial robotaxi service in the city last week. The rides feature no human safety driver, are geo-restricted to certain streets and can only operate in the late evening hours.

Cruise apologized for the incident in a statement, but gave little explanation for what caused the mishap. “We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “While it was resolved and no passengers were impacted, we apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced.”

The GM-backed AV startup won the first driverless taxi permit in a major US city, and began offering San Francisco residents free rides in February. After launching its paid passenger service on June 24, early reviews from Cruise passengers came pouring in. One passenger noted that his Cruise car took an unusually long route to get to his home. Another passenger seemed to have a more positive experience, even leaving a cash tip for the driverless car.

This week’s traffic jam appears to be Cruise’s first major stumbling block, at least for its commercial service. Back in April, police stopped a Cruise car for not having its headlights on. Officers appeared unsure of how to proceed after discovering there was no human behind the wheel.

The State of California requires AV companies to report any collision that involve property damage, bodily harm or death to the DMV, which publishes the data online. A total of 18 reports involving Cruise vehicles have been filed this year.

A swarm of Cruise robotaxis blocked San Francisco traffic for hours

A small fleet of Cruise robotaxis in San Francisco suddenly stopped operating on Tuesday night, effectively stopping traffic on a street in the city's Fillmore district for a couple of hours until employees were able to arrive. TechCrunch first noticed a Reddit post that featured a photo of the stalled driverless cabs at the corner of Gough and Fulton streets. Cruise — which is General Motor’s AV subsidiary — only launched its commercial robotaxi service in the city last week. The rides feature no human safety driver, are geo-restricted to certain streets and can only operate in the late evening hours.

Cruise apologized for the incident in a statement, but gave little explanation for what caused the mishap. “We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “While it was resolved and no passengers were impacted, we apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced.”

The GM-backed AV startup won the first driverless taxi permit in a major US city, and began offering San Francisco residents free rides in February. After launching its paid passenger service on June 24, early reviews from Cruise passengers came pouring in. One passenger noted that his Cruise car took an unusually long route to get to his home. Another passenger seemed to have a more positive experience, even leaving a cash tip for the driverless car.

This week’s traffic jam appears to be Cruise’s first major stumbling block, at least for its commercial service. Back in April, police stopped a Cruise car for not having its headlights on. Officers appeared unsure of how to proceed after discovering there was no human behind the wheel.

The State of California requires AV companies to report any collision that involve property damage, bodily harm or death to the DMV, which publishes the data online. A total of 18 reports involving Cruise vehicles have been filed this year.

GM is training more first responders for EV emergencies in the US and Canada

GM is training more first responders to be able to handle emergencies involving electric vehicles. The automaker is "significantly expanding" its EV First Responder Training program in the United States and Canada as electric vehicle sales continue to grow. Its initiative will primarily focus on training firefighters and equipping them with the necessary knowledge about full electric vehicle technologies. GM says it's hoping to dispel misconceptions when it comes to handling EVs in emergency situations. One of those misconceptions is that water is dangerous around EV batteries — turns out the recommended way to put out lithium-ion battery fires is by using copious amounts of water. 

Andrew Klock, a senior manager of education and development at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), said: "The best way for the public and private vehicle fleet owners to rapidly adopt EVs is to train firefighters and emergency responders on how to handle incidents involving battery powered vehicles. The fire service has had more than 100 years to gain the knowledge needed to respond to internal combustion engine fires, and it is critical that they are now educated on EV safety." The NFPA held trainings of its own that had benefited 300,000 first responders, but it believes more than 800,000 members of the community still need further training.  

GM previously piloted the program in southeast Michigan, but now it's conducting training events across Michigan and in Fort Worth, Texas, as well. Later this summer, it's bringing the program to metro New York City and Southern California. Participants will have to attend four-hour sessions, with up to two per day, held in various venues, such as fire houses and dealerships. Interested first and second responders can register through the program's dedicated website and earn a certificate from the Illinois Fire Service Institute if they score higher than 70 percent on the learning assessment by the end of their training. 

The automaker already has a few EV models on the market, including the Chevy Bolts, the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq. It has huge electrification plans for the future, though, and training responders could help make potential customers more receptive to the idea of switching to electric vehicles. GM aims to launch 30 EV models by 2025 and to exclusively sell EVs ten years after that.

GM is training more first responders for EV emergencies in the US and Canada

GM is training more first responders to be able to handle emergencies involving electric vehicles. The automaker is "significantly expanding" its EV First Responder Training program in the United States and Canada as electric vehicle sales continue to grow. Its initiative will primarily focus on training firefighters and equipping them with the necessary knowledge about full electric vehicle technologies. GM says it's hoping to dispel misconceptions when it comes to handling EVs in emergency situations. One of those misconceptions is that water is dangerous around EV batteries — turns out the recommended way to put out lithium-ion battery fires is by using copious amounts of water. 

Andrew Klock, a senior manager of education and development at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), said: "The best way for the public and private vehicle fleet owners to rapidly adopt EVs is to train firefighters and emergency responders on how to handle incidents involving battery powered vehicles. The fire service has had more than 100 years to gain the knowledge needed to respond to internal combustion engine fires, and it is critical that they are now educated on EV safety." The NFPA held trainings of its own that had benefited 300,000 first responders, but it believes more than 800,000 members of the community still need further training.  

GM previously piloted the program in southeast Michigan, but now it's conducting training events across Michigan and in Fort Worth, Texas, as well. Later this summer, it's bringing the program to metro New York City and Southern California. Participants will have to attend four-hour sessions, with up to two per day, held in various venues, such as fire houses and dealerships. Interested first and second responders can register through the program's dedicated website and earn a certificate from the Illinois Fire Service Institute if they score higher than 70 percent on the learning assessment by the end of their training. 

The automaker already has a few EV models on the market, including the Chevy Bolts, the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq. It has huge electrification plans for the future, though, and training responders could help make potential customers more receptive to the idea of switching to electric vehicles. GM aims to launch 30 EV models by 2025 and to exclusively sell EVs ten years after that.

Man Builds Remote Controlled Bed So He Never Has to Leave It

I’ve heard of couch potatoes before, but never bed potatoes. But here to prove there is such a thing, a 39-year-old man from China named Zhu Jianqiang went and built himself a joystick-controlled bed so he never has to get out from under the sheets to go about his day. Talk about a genius!

The bed moves about as fast as a walking human and gets an impressive 30 miles to a full charge (there’s plenty of room for a large battery). It can tackle steep grades thanks to its large tires and braking system and includes a motor for raising the incline of your head and a canopy for staying out of the sun. Now it just needs a mini-fridge and I’ve found my dream bed!

In the video, Zhu even takes the bed down to a pond to do a little fishing. That’s cool. At least until he accidentally steers himself into the water. Then it’s less cool and more cold and wet. Unless, of course, it can transform into a submarine bed the way James Bond’s would.

[via TechEBlog]

Hyundai shows off its Ioniq 6 electric vehicle for the first time

Hyundai has revealed the design for Ioniq 6, its upcoming electric vehicle that was inspired by the Prophecy concept EV it showed off in 2020. It retains the Prophecy's futuristic elements without looking like it was a prop made for a sci-fi movie, with its aerodynamic profile and clean lines. Hyundai says the vehicle will have an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.21 — most modern cars have an average drag coefficient of 0.25 or 0.3 — thanks to its low nose and active air flaps, among other elements. Its elliptical wing-inspired spoiler and slight boat-tail structure help make it more aerodynamic, as well. 

Inside, the Ioniq 6 has a cocoon-shaped interior that's trimmed in sustainable materials, such as eco-process leather or recycled PET fabric for its seats. The company's modular platform for electric vehicles enabled its designers to stretch the car's dimensions and give it a completely flat floor for more legroom and space. For its entertainment and navigation system, it has a modular touchscreen dashboard with a 12-inch touchscreen display and a 12-inch digital cluster. 

Hyundai
Hyundai

The automaker has yet to announce the EV's specs, but to give you an idea, the Ioniq 5 has a 72.6-kWh battery that can deliver up to 300 miles of range. It also boasts 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque and the capability to go from 0 to 60 MPH in under 5 seconds. Hyundai will reveal the Ioniq 6's full specifications and features during its world premiere in July.

Hyundai shows off its Ioniq 6 electric vehicle for the first time

Hyundai has revealed the design for Ioniq 6, its upcoming electric vehicle that was inspired by the Prophecy concept EV it showed off in 2020. It retains the Prophecy's futuristic elements without looking like it was a prop made for a sci-fi movie, with its aerodynamic profile and clean lines. Hyundai says the vehicle will have an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.21 — most modern cars have an average drag coefficient of 0.25 or 0.3 — thanks to its low nose and active air flaps, among other elements. Its elliptical wing-inspired spoiler and slight boat-tail structure help make it more aerodynamic, as well. 

Inside, the Ioniq 6 has a cocoon-shaped interior that's trimmed in sustainable materials, such as eco-process leather or recycled PET fabric for its seats. The company's modular platform for electric vehicles enabled its designers to stretch the car's dimensions and give it a completely flat floor for more legroom and space. For its entertainment and navigation system, it has a modular touchscreen dashboard with a 12-inch touchscreen display and a 12-inch digital cluster. 

Hyundai
Hyundai

The automaker has yet to announce the EV's specs, but to give you an idea, the Ioniq 5 has a 72.6-kWh battery that can deliver up to 300 miles of range. It also boasts 320 horsepower, 446 pound-feet of torque and the capability to go from 0 to 60 MPH in under 5 seconds. Hyundai will reveal the Ioniq 6's full specifications and features during its world premiere in July.

Cadillac’s Lyriq SUV is the exact EV it needed to build

Luxury automakers can’t phone in an EV. Especially now as the electric vehicle market matures, it’s no longer a case that a car is a “good EV” but instead a “good car that happens to be an EV.” Cadillac seems to have gotten the message as it drops the Lyriq into an increasingly crowded luxury electric SUV field and may have delivered one of its best vehicles ever.

The 2023 Lyriq is the first electric vehicle from the automaker based on GM’s Ultium battery platform. Upon that, Cadillac built a luxury EV that has the fit and finish you’d expect from the automaker combined with a polished ride and almost eerily quiet interior. Toss in over 300 miles of a range and a starting price of around $60,000 and Cadillac is ready to take on the current crop of EVs. Watch the video below for the full story.

Hummer EV’s obstacle-avoiding Extract Mode adds six inches of ride height

GMC Hummer EV owners will soon be able to raise their 9,000-pound vehicle nearly six additional inches in the air, all due to a simple software update. Over the new few weeks, GMC will be adding a new “Extract Mode” — which lets drivers elevate their vehicle to avert off-road obstacles — to all First Edition models of the all-electric pickup truck. Essentially, Extract Mode lets drivers elevate their vehicle so they can avert off-road obstacles. 

As fun as the feature sounds, drivers should take heed that the suspension mode can only be used at low speeds. Also, frequent use of the feature will result in your vehicle needing to cool off before being suspended again. In total, Extract Mode will allow for 15.9 inches of ground clearance for the vehicle, which will give it an edge over other off-road capable vehicles like the Rivian R1T, Ram TRX, F150 Raptor and Bronco Raptor. For a preview of Extract Mode in action, check out the video below.

Unfortunately, only a handful of GMC Hummer EV owners will be able to actually try out the feature. As Electreknotes, demand for the Hummer has far exceeded GMC’s expectations and the automaker is struggling to ramp up production. Only one Hummer EV was delivered last year, and the automaker has received over 65,000 reservations for its Hummer EV pickups and SUVs. If you’re in the market for a first edition pickup, you’re out of luck: reservations for the roughly $110,000 vehicle are full. And if you spring for a slightly cheaper model, you could be due for a two-year wait.

Take a first look at Formula E’s new Gen3 car in action

Formula E recently showed off its latest Gen3 car that it says is faster, more agile and "the world's most efficient" racing vehicle to date. Now, we're getting a first look at one on a track at England's Goodwood in the form of the Mahinda M9 Electro with Nick Heidfeld at the wheel. 

On its Twitter account, Goodwood said that Heidfeld was "not holding back" and it looked like the car made a clean lap other than a few minor lockups. On track, the Gen3 design certainly looks more subdued and less dramatic than the Gen2, but it's lighter (840kg compared to 920kg including driver) and quicker in every way.

The Gen3 model is very specifically designed for street circuit racing with high maneuverability and speeds up to 200 MPH. That's not quite as fast as the 220-230 MPH top speeds for F1 cars, but the Formula E vehicles do that with less than half the power. They're also highly efficient, with over double the regenerative braking capabilities of the Gen2 cars. Overall, they convert 90 percent of battery energy to mechanical power, compared to 52 percent for F1 cars. 

There are now 11 Gen3 teams confirmed with 22 cars, including DS Automobiles, Dragon/Penske, Envision, Mercedes-EQ, Avalanche Andretti, Jaguar, Maserati, NIO 333, Nissan and Porsche, along with Mahindra. The first season of Gen3 will kick off this winter with pre-season testing.