What it’s like to drive in today’s self-driving cars

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Aptiv is a leader in autonomous driving technology.

The time of dreams

Self-driving cars are very cool, powered by technology that will end up being as revolutionary for the auto industry as electric vehicles or even the Model T.

Barron believes that this transformation continues after conducting autonomous vehicle testing, what we call testing. Cars did most of the steering, turning and keeping an eye on pedestrians and other cars.

Show us the AV strings was


(ticker: APTV), both a technology and auto parts supplier. We did our first overcast day test in May at an Aptiv technical center in Troy, Michigan.

Aptiv literally keeps much of the technology a secret, like any vendor working with pre-production models from global automakers. Many vehicles were coated with what is best described as wild nylon. The crisscrossing black and white patterns are meant to do to contestants – and journalists – exactly what the stripes of a zebra do to lions. They are confusing, making it more difficult to understand all of the design features of future models.

What we ended up in wasn’t wrapped up: a sedan from


(BMW. Germany) with an autonomous level 2 plus system, going into production shortly.

With levels 2 and 2-plus, the driver must always be engaged at all times. What the systems do are things like lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control, which basically involves staying within the speed limit and maintaining a following distance. safe.

Drivers will eventually own or experience Level 3 and 4 AV systems. With systems like this, drivers do not have to pay attention at all, within certain parameters. Level 3 systems offer conditional autonomy. The car will run until it tells the driver to intervene. Level 4 autonomous vehicles will drive on their own without intervention in limited environments, such as city streets.

Automakers have yet to launch Level 3 systems, in part because they’re unsure of the responsibility associated with telling drivers they don’t have to be careful 100% of the time. . Self-driving level 4 taxis are available for use in a few cities.

We took the BMW through the city streets and on the highway to Troy. It stopped at the traffic lights, accelerated and slowed down but hasn’t made the turns, in part because BMW doesn’t want this feature enabled yet.

It is not necessary to keep your hands on the wheel. Instead, an interior camera makes sure the driver is watching the road. The system stays on as long as the camera is sure a human is paying attention.

Our route was impressive, but not as impressive as the second. Next stop: Las Vegas, where self-driving Level 4 taxis take passengers to over 3,500 destinations. This fleet is part of a joint venture between Aptiv and

Hyundai engine

(005380. Korea) called Motional.

Barron landed in Las Vegas on a warm spring night. McCarren Airport seemed busy, making finding a taxi more difficult than travelers might have expected. We had arranged for a ride, but it was not in a standalone taxi. We were picked up by a Motional executive in a

You’re here

(TSLA) Model S.

At Motional’s headquarters, after a short visit, we got into an autonomous BMW 5 Series equipped with optical cameras, radar and lidar, or laser radar, the sensors that allow autonomous driving.

There was a driver in the BMW. Safety drivers are needed in these taxis because it is still a first generation technology, even though these robotaxis have made more than 100,000 trips since they arrived on the roads of Las Vegas in 2018. the rules are different on private property and casinos are private property.

We drove the robotaxi from Motional’s head office to the Aria hotel and returned to the airport.

The autonomous taxi is a good driver, patient, putting his signals, making appropriate lane changes, not going around waiting cars and not accelerating. make turns to the right or to the left. Our driving was really smooth.

“There are the little lidar thugs,” said one of our guides. The taxi is equipped with a screen showing passengers what the car sees: people, vehicles, lights and buildings. His eyes can see beyond us, and 360 degrees.

For us, the screen was a bigger draw than the neon lights on the Strip. The experience was amazing.

The technology and the Motional joint venture are expected to benefit Aptiv’s inventory in the long run. Investors, to some extent, are already realizing this. Shares are up about 13% year-to-date, which is similar to the comparable gains of the

S&P 500


Dow Jones Industrial Average.

And Aptiv is a relatively popular stock with analysts with a 70% buy rating. The average purchase rating ratio for S&P 500 stocks is approximately 55%.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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