Automotive News: Americans are right not to trust self-driving cars, Diesel emissions kill 4,500 in Europe each year

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Americans are right not to trust self-driving cars

Self-driving cars potentially represent the greatest step toward automotive and pedestrian safety since universal installation of the air bag. Yet the American people remain reticent about this leap into the future.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents to an AAA survey said they would not want to ride in a self-driving car. Only 13 percent of those surveyed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology agreed they would be comfortable with vehicle “features that completely relieve the driver of all control for the entire drive.”

Clearly, we are not a nation of Luddites. We Americans adopted the car like no others, won the race to the moon, love our smartphones and smart homes, and are accustomed to seeing self-driving or flying cars in almost every movie set in the future. But to ignore crowdsourced gut feelings around a revolutionary change to a building block of our current societal topography is to fail to meet consumers where they are.

As it turns out, that unsettled feeling in Americans’ stomachs is not actually about the future. It’s about the past.

Serious questions emerge when lawmakers provide exemptions from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as the House of Representatives did earlier this month , to an industry that has a history of fighting safety features. And everyone’s Spidey-sense should be tingling when that same industry will not make crash data on self-driving cars available to the public. read more »

Diesel emissions kill 4,500 in Europe each year

Researchers have discovered there have been more than 4,500 premature deaths annually in Europe because diesel cars emitted far higher levels of pollution than claimed.

The study comes two years after Volkswagen was caught cheating on emissions tests in the US.

The tiny particles emitted are hazardous to human health and contribute to 425,000 estimated annual premature deaths from air pollution in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland. read more »

Fiat Chrysler recalling 494,417 Ram trucks for safety issue

Fiat Chrysler is recalling almost half a million Ram heavy-duty pickups and medium-duty trucks because their water pumps could be defective.

The recall involves Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups and Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs from the 2013 to 2017 model years. All 494,417 of the vehicles involved have 6.7-liter engines.

Most of the trucks were sold in the U.S., but 46,220 are in Canada and 4,485 are in other markets.

Fiat Chrysler says a water pump bearing can overheat under certain conditions, potentially leading to an engine fire. read more »

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