NTSB Blames Uber Oversights For Deadly Self-Driving Crash

The USA’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released the results of its investigation into the 2018 fatal Uber crash in Tempe, Arizona, which was widely believed to be the world’s first death by a self-driving car.

During a board meeting held to determine the probable cause of the 18 March crash, the NTSB said an Uber Technologies division’s “inadequate safety culture” contributed to the night-time fatal collision between an Uber automated test vehicle and a pedestrian. The vehicle operator was uninjured in the crash, while the pedestrian, 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg who was walking her bike across the street, died.

Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group had modified the striking vehicle, a 2017 Volvo XC90, with a proprietary developmental automated driving system. The vehicle’s factory-installed forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems were deactivated during the operation of the automated system. An Uber ATG operator was in the driver’s seat, but the automated system was controlling the vehicle when it struck the pedestrian at 39 MPH (62 km/h).

The NTSB determined that the immediate cause of the collision was the failure of the Uber ATG operator to closely monitor the road and the operation of the automated driving system because the operator was visually distracted throughout the trip by a personal mobile phone. Contributing to the crash was Uber ATG’s inadequate safety risk assessment procedures, ineffective oversight of the vehicle operators and a lack of adequate mechanisms for addressing operators’ automation complacency – all consequences of the division’s inadequate safety culture.

“Safety starts at the top,” said Robert L. Sumwalt, NTSB Chairman. “The collision was the last link of a long chain of actions and decisions made by an organisation that unfortunately did not make safety the top priority.”

The NTSB recommended that the NHTSA require entities wishing to test a developmental automated driving system on public roads to submit safety self-assessment plans before being allowed to begin or continue testing, and that the NHTSA should review the plans to ensure they include appropriate safeguards.

Robert L. Sumwalt.

Mercedes-Benz EQC, Toyota Corolla Sedan Receive ANCAP Five-Star Safety Rating

The Mercedes-Benz EQC, the company’s first completely electric production vehicle, has achieved the maximum ANCAP five-star safety rating.

The SUV achieved high scores in each of the key areas of ANCAP assessment, making the EQC the sixth Mercedes-Benz model to achieve high marks under ANCAP’s stringent criteria.

The EQC received 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 92 per cent for child occupant protection, 75 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 76 per cent for safety assist.

“It is encouraging to see Mercedes’ high levels of safety carry across with their first EV market entrant,” said James Goodwin, ANCAP Chief Executive. “The EQC scored well for its protection of children with close to full points scored for its ability to physically protect child occupants as well as its ability to safely accommodate a range of child restraints in the second row.”

The sedan variant of the Toyota Corolla also scored well and is entering the market with five-stars.

“The Toyota Corolla sedan has carried through the same strong safety performance as seen by the Corolla hatch rated last year,” Goodwin said. “As one of Australia and New Zealand’s most popular new passenger vehicles, the Corolla provides very good all-round safety performance including collision avoidance capabilities.”

The five-star ANCAP safety rating applies to Australian and New Zealand-supplied Mercedes-Benz EQC models and all Toyota Corolla sedan variants that are on sale from November 2019. ANCAP’s five-star rating for the EQC is derived from Euro NCAP testing performed in September, while the Corolla sedan’s result is based on the Corolla hatchback’s testing, which was performed in July 2018.

Chery’s New Tiggo8 Receives Five-Star C-NCAP Safety Rating

Chery’s new SUV, the Tiggo8, has received a high score in C-NCAP testing and been awarded a five-star safety certification, according to China Automotive Technology & Research Center, the operator of C-NCAP.

The Triggo8 was marked with ‘exceptional performance’ in both front and side collisions, while protection of the head, neck, chest, abdomen and legs all received particularly high scores.

Chery’s Tiggo8 is equipped with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, hill descent control system and other safety technologies.

Chery said the Tiggo8 received excellent performance in C-NCAP safety test as a result of its long-time efforts in maximising quality control. To this end, Chery said it has built a dual-matrix lifecycle quality management system and a “quality whole process management model ranging from product planning to system quality”.

Chrysler Creates 50th Anniversary 300 SRT Pacer Tribute Car

Chrysler Australia has made a unique Chrysler 300 SRT Pacer tribute car in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Valiant Pacer.

“We’re excited to bring to life a modern interpretation of an Australian classic, the Chrysler 300 SRT Pacer tribute car,” said Guillaume Drelon, Director of Product for Chrysler Australia. “Highlighting the signature details of the original, the Pacer tribute takes inspiration from the iconic design cues of the celebrated 1969 Valiant Pacer.”

The Pacer tribute features a full vehicle wrap to replicate the original Wild Yellow body colour and is adorned with black side stripes and a ‘Pacer 392’ decal on the front quarter panels and rear boot lid. It also has 20-inch black noise alloy wheels which are enhanced with the red stripe seen on the wheels of the 1969 Pacer, matching the red front splitter decal with the Pacer logo and boot lid decal.

The 1969 Chrysler Valiant Pacer was built exclusively for the Australian market at the Chrysler factory in Adelaide, South Australia. The Valiant Pacer was fitted with a 3.7 litre engine producing 130 kW and was paired to a three-speed manual gearbox. It was originally available in three colours – Wild Yellow, Blue and Red. The Valiant Pacer featured black exterior side stripes and red highlights accenting the grille and boot lid, while the exterior styling was further decorated with its ‘Pacer 225’ decals.

The Wild Yellow Chrysler 300 SRT Pacer tribute car is powered by a stronger V8 that produces 350 kW of power and 637 Nm of torque. All details from the original have been reproduced, resulting in the Pacer 225 decals turning into Pacer 392, which represents the capacity of the 6.4 litre V8 engine in cubic inches. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a rotary e-shift, launch control and rear wheel drive.

Chrysler will also announce a limited-edition production variant to be released soon.

Standox Releases 2020 Colours Of Europe Calendar

The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2020) will take place next year with Ireland to host some of the final games alongside other European countries. The Standox 2020 calendar is embracing the tournament, while highlighting certain cars.

Anatol Kotte, a German photographer, has captured Europe’s fascination with football in the Standox 2020 calendar – The Colours of Europe. Kotte captures the flair of 12 European countries in very individual ways, using subtle hints through shop signs, road markings or the colour of a licence plate.

Standox said the calendar’s images show people engrossed in what they do and aims to illustrate that football is more than a European championship, but rather has its roots in people’s playfulness. The calendar also shows some unique and rare vehicles, such as the Spyker C8 (which used to be manufactured near Amsterdam), a Lamborghini Aventador and a GAZ-14 Chaika from Russia.

“We have been working with well-known photographers to design our Standox wall calendar for over 30 years,” says Olaf Adamek, Brand Manager for Standox in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It is not commercially available, but goes exclusively to customers, partners and friends of the brand. We wish all participating countries the best of luck for all their matches and look forward to a fair and exciting Euro 2020.”

The calendar images can be downloaded online at www.standox.com/europe2020.

Suncorp Invests In Vehicle Sharing Company

Suncorp has invested $1.5 million in peer-to-peer car rental company Car Next Door, and will have a board observer seat as part of a $10 million funding round in order to better understand changing vehicle use.

“We know the traditional way Australians own and use cars is evolving and this partnership will allow us to learn and better service our customer needs,” said Gary Dransfield, Chief Executive Officer Insurance at Suncorp.

Car Next Door started in 2013 with 20 cars and 60 borrowers, allowing vehicle owners to earn money by renting them out. Since then, more than 3000 cars have been shared through the platform.

Suncorp says the partnership will include the development of innovative insurance products and joint promotional activity.

“We can support Car Next Door’s members with insurance, and we can also introduce our customers to a new way to safely and easily rent out their cars in their own neighbourhoods,” said Dransfield.

Steve Johnston, CEO of Suncorp Group, said that embedding digital and data in product design and distribution remains a key area of focus.

“This has most recently been demonstrated as we internally pilot Bingle Go, a market-first insurance product designed specifically for customers who rely on more than their car for their everyday commute,” said Johnston.

Johnston also said that the reinsurance team was continuing to review options ahead of a number of multi-year programs expiring at the end of June.

“Based on discussions with the reinsurers we remain confident there will be strong demand for Suncorp’s program,” said Johnston.

New Cars Launched At Dubai International Motor Show 2019

With over 500 cars on display, the Dubai International Motor Show (DIMS) opened its doors to crowds of motoring enthusiasts and families who were seeking to catch a glimpse of this year’s best and most glamourous car launches and motoring-themed entertainment. Organised by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the show is being held until 16 November, 2019.

Organisers say the 15th edition of the show has brought to the region a number of launches, including Nissan’s new concepts, exclusively designed for customers in the Middle East; the Gazelle Storm, powered by a 4.8L 6-cylinder powerhouse, and the Navara Gazelle which offers unparalleled off-road experiences. Jaguar Land Rover hosted its regional debut of its new Range Rover, which is powered by the brand’s new six-cylinder petrol engine, and combines dynamic on-road handling, luxurious refinement, and the trademark Land Rover all-terrain capability.

Independent Chinese brand Hongqi unveiled its flagship crossover SUV, the HS7, equipped with advanced assisted driving. UAE-based STREIT Group, one of the world’s largest armoured vehicle manufacturers revealed the Streit Shaman 8×8; the amphibious automobile delivers a horsepower of 107kW and 350Nm torque, ideal for tackling all terrains.

General Motors revealed an array of models from Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, showcasing six new reveals with 36 models in total across all three brands. Chevrolet made regional debuts of the 2020 Corvette Stingray, the fastest and most powerful in Stingray history, the new 2020 Onix saloon, and the 2020 Chevrolet Captiva crossover. Cadillac revealed its new CT5 sports saloon; and GMC showed off its new GMC Sierra line-up.

Using their state-of-the-art 3D modelling studio, Italdesign, brought to life students’ visions of the cars of the future. Sponsored by CAFU, the MENA region’s first fuel on-demand mobile application, the ‘My Car of the Future’ competition demonstrated how Italdesign’s team of creatives can quite literally sculpt a car from start to finish in a 3D virtual environment. The competition allowed students aged 6-13 from across the city to submit drawings of what they imagined the car of the future to look like. The chosen students will take home a small model of their designed car, the new Need for Speed game on Xbox, a poster of their design, and two grandstand tickets to Abu Dhabi F1.

“We’re proud to be sponsoring this initiative because we are one of the companies innovating the oil and gas sector, and it makes a lot of sense for us to help kids grow their creativity, their entrepreneurship and their innovation skills,” said Antonio Al Asmar, General Manager at CAFU. “We want to be sure the youth can see their dreams are not so far from reality.”

“This project was a demonstration of Italdesign’s range of expertise, showcasing the finest technologies in automotive design,” said Christian Bolognesi, Press Office Manager at Italdesign. “It was a fantastic feeling to see the students’ faces when their designs were unveiled.”

The show’s daily Visit & Win’ raffle draw had one lucky winner receive an AED$10,000 cash prize and two winners won Traxxas RC cars. Visitors to the show can enter the raffle every day for a chance to win.

The Dubai International Motor Show takes place until 16 November at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The Show is also inviting all women who have a keen interest in motoring to visit with free entry between 1-4pm on 12-14 November, and in an effort to celebrate women drivers from Saudi Arabia, the Show is offering free entry throughout the show for those women who hold a valid KSA driving license.

Axalta Opens Regional Training Centre In Western Sydney

Axalta has opened its customer regional training centre (RTC) in Western Sydney, which was inaugurated by Sobers Sethi, President Emerging Markets at Axalta Coating Systems, on 14 November.

“The new training facility uses the latest coating technologies, industry-leading training techniques, and advanced digital equipment to enable repairers to deliver the highest quality refinish, enabling our customers to be more efficient, productive, and profitable,” said Sethi. “We help our customers drive these improvements while also being mindful of the environment with sustainable techniques and products.”

Local customers and partners were invited to see the latest products in action and view the training environment, which includes industry leading equipment.

“Simply put, the new training facility offers the best training available in the region,” said Steven Brett, Managing Director of Axalta Coating Systems in Australia. “Axalta is a world leader in refinish and is consistently making significant investments, like the RTC, to enhance our capabilities and facilities to help customers grow their businesses.”

The training centre is equipped with two of the latest USI Chronotech spray booths and three full down draft preparation areas, which can be divided by electric curtains and feature a rail track system for easy vehicle side loading. There’s also three paint mix rooms with a large cleaning room and a spray box-booth for test panels and colour card spray outs.

Attendees will also learn from Axalta trainers in a theory room with the latest audio-visual equipment that can seat up to 20 people. The new facility also includes a storeroom for all consumables and tools, along with an air-conditioned lunch and kitchen area with modern facilities.

AMR 2020 To Feature Even More International Participation

Auto Maintenance & Repair Expo (AMR) will return next spring from 15-18 March 2020 at Beijing’s New China International Exhibition Centre. Spanning across the 120,000 square metres of the venue’s eight exhibition halls, more than 1300 overseas and domestic exhibitors are expected to participate in the AMR 2020 fair.

In recent years, aftermarket has become one of the main sources of profit in the automotive supply chain. Show organisers says the market value of the global automotive aftermarket expects to see annual growth of three per cent, surging from the current €800 billion to €1200 billion by 2030. In terms of car ownership, the number of vehicles on the road has already reached 250 million in China, with more reports saying the current automotive aftermarket is already valued at ¥1300 billion. By 2025, its market value will grow further by 55 per cent, therefore holding infinite business opportunities for the automotive aftermarket.

Over the past 37 years, AMR organisers say the show has served the Chinese automotive aftermarket by continuing to evolve and grow along the drastic changes in the market, sitting on the driving seat in China’s automotive repair and maintenance industry as it flourishes and becomes more international. Putting the equipment, tools and consumables of repair and maintenance and car care at its core, consistently integrating the latest industry trends and extensive resources, AMR organisers says the show is able to gather quality and professional industry buyers at the fair, which is now recognised as a top trading platform to facilitate sourcing and helping foreign enterprises expand into Chinese and Asian markets.

To further heighten the fair experience and sourcing efficiency, AMR 2020 is set to have a more strategic hall plan in order to highlight the latest products and dedicated services in each sector. Hall allocation will enhance business matching efficiency and the experience for both buyers and exhibitors. For example, there will be specific zones including mechanical, collision, tyre repair, car wash and car care, testing and diagnostics, and repair tools in the Repair & Maintenance sector to better match buyer needs.

Elsewhere, in order to keep up with rising industry trends, the 2020 edition will introduce extensive resources for tyre, lubricant, car care, washing and customising, commercial vehicle, chain stores, emergency roadside assistance, integration of production, and education by hosting concurrent events and special zones.

Numerous sectors will further expand into featured zones, including:

  • The Parts and Components hall, will highlight the latest replacement parts, auto components, supply chain, customising and auto electronics.
  • The Lubricant zone, which will present all kinds of lubricant and oil products for automotive use: engine oil, diesel oil, base oil, engine lubricant oil, transmission fluid, cleaning oil and many other maintenance accessories.
  • The Commercial Vehicle zone, which will bring together prominent brands offering auto parts and components for the aftermarket. The zone will showcase a variety of repair and maintenance products and services for commercial vehicles.
  • The Car care, Washing and Customising zone, which will focus on showcasing products for car washing, car beauty and customising. Numerous live demonstrations will also be carried out in the zone.

According to show organisers, recent market research stated that the repair and maintenance sector in China has big potential as it is now one of the world’s biggest automotive aftermarkets after 20 years of rapid development. In fact, it is the second largest sector and occupies 20 per cent of the Chinese automotive aftermarket. AMR staff say the show establishes a bridge for foreign enterprises to expand their business into China’s automotive market, bringing in more choices and business opportunities to local dealers and customers.

With the global sales network of Messe Frankfurt, AMR 2020 will go further to “bring forward an international market”. In terms of overseas exhibitors, the list has expanded to more than 100 companies in the show portfolio, among which are several overseas pavilions from different countries and regions:

  • The German pavilion first debuted at AMR 2019 with huge success. It will return to the fair in the 2020 edition with an even bigger exhibition space of over 300 square metres. The pavilion will present the latest repair and maintenance products and services from over 30 German companies and brands.
  • The Malaysia pavilion will debut at AMR 2020.
  • The Taiwan pavilion will greatly extend participation from the previous edition.
  • More international exhibitors from Egypt, France, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and the USA are being organised.

In addition, organisers say the level of international participation at AMR 2020 can again be seen in the composition of visitors and buyers, with the fair welcoming first-time buyer groups from Australia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kazan in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

To better service these local and overseas participants, there will be more than 30 fringe programme events organised during the three-day fair. Highlights are expected to include the 2nd Automotive Aftermarket Awards for China’s Top Chain Brands, Commercial Vehicle Aftermarket Annual Meeting, the Rising Terminal Conference 2020, Tyre Marketing Summit, LubTop 2019 Award, National Parts Dealer Conference, China Auto Beauty Championships, the 5th Auto Diagnostics Master Finals, Green Repair and Maintenance Industry Forum, China Aftermarket “Northwest Day” Special Event, AMR 2020 China Aftermarket Crossover Banquet, the Integration of Production and Education Forum, and many more.

The show’s seamless business matchmaking services will also offer targeted business interactions with an “enhanced” sourcing efficiency, according to organisers.

Win Tickets To Summernats 33

Summernats, the annual motoring event held at Exhibition Park, Canberra is coming back next year, and BodyShop News is giving you the chance to win free tickets.

Summernats 33 will be held from 2 to 5 January, 2020. The four-day festival attracts more than 100,000 people from Australia and around the world, featuring more than 2000 cars along with a great music line-up comprised of Airbourne, Bliss n Eso, Macarthur’s own Kerser and Aussie music legend Shannon Noll.

Besides the many reveals, there’s a whole lot of high-speed activities including burnouts, motorkhana, Honk Ya Horn, Go To Whoa and more.

BodyShop News has eight tickets to giveaway to Summernats 33! For your chance to win one of the tickets, simply email us at [email protected] and answer the following question: When will Summernats 2020 be held?