Navigating the Fast Lane: A Weekly Round-Up of the Latest Stories in the Automotive World

Explore this week's key automotive stories: Android Auto's updates, UAW's looming strike, Sony's new sensor tech, challenges for small EV startups, and the 2024 Jeep Gladiator reveal.

By Murray Halvorson
Sep 15, 2023
20 Minutes
Navigating the Fast Lane: A Weekly Round-Up of the Latest Stories in the Automotive World

Welcome to this week's round-up of the most compelling stories in the automotive industry. From technological advancements to labor disputes, we cover a range of topics that are shaping the future of transportation. Buckle up as we take you through five stories that have caught our attention this week.

Android Auto Unveils Comprehensive Updates for Enhanced Productivity and Entertainment

Android Auto has recently announced a series of updates aimed at making time spent in the car both more productive and enjoyable. For professionals who are always on the move, Android Auto now integrates with Webex and Zoom to facilitate audio-only conference calls, effectively converting your vehicle into a functional mobile workspace.

On the leisure side, the update is a boon for electric vehicle owners who often find themselves waiting at charging stations. A newly introduced Prime Video app allows for streaming of your favorite shows to pass the time. This feature is particularly useful given that public charging stations aren't always conveniently located near entertainment venues.

Additionally, the update brings a digital key feature exclusive to Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis models. This allows owners to unlock and even start their cars using a compatible Pixel or Samsung smartphone. While these features are currently tied to specific vehicle brands, Android Auto has indicated that a more extensive rollout is in the pipeline, promising a more unified in-car experience in the near future. Source: Car and Driver

Looming Strike Threatens U.S. Auto Industry: Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in Critical Negotiations with Union Workers

The U.S. auto industry is on the brink of its largest strike in generations as Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis struggle to reach an agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. With a midnight deadline looming, the White House has urged both parties to find a resolution. Failure to do so could result in thousands of workers walking out in planned "stand-up" strikes targeting individual auto plants.

The UAW is demanding a 46% wage increase over a four-year contract, citing the billions in profits these companies have made since the 2008 economic recession. The union also emphasizes that average wages have decreased by 30% over the past two decades when adjusted for inflation. The companies have expressed their focus on reaching a deal but have also prepared contingency plans for a possible work stoppage.

The situation has reached a point of urgency, with a rally planned alongside Senator Bernie Sanders in Detroit to kick off the looming strikes. Public opinion seems to be in favor of the workers, as a recent Morning Consult survey found that U.S. adults would support the autoworkers' strike by a two-to-one margin. Source: The Guardian

Sony Unveils High-Definition CMOS Sensor for Enhanced Automotive Cameras

Sony Semiconductor Solutions has introduced a new CMOS image sensor, the "IMX735," designed for automotive cameras. Boasting an industry-leading 17.42 effective megapixels (eMP), this sensor aims to significantly improve the sensing and recognition capabilities of automated driving systems. The sensor is unique in its horizontal signal output, allowing for better synchronization with mechanical scanning lidar systems.

This synchronization is crucial for the overall performance of automated driving systems, as it enhances their ability to sense and recognize the surrounding environment. The sensor also features a wide dynamic range of 106 dB, which can go up to 130 dB in dynamic range priority mode. This allows for more accurate object capture in varying lighting conditions, such as when entering or exiting tunnels.

The sensor meets the AEC-Q100 Grade 2 automotive electronic component reliability tests and is compliant with the ISO 26262 road vehicle functional safety standard. It can also support cybersecurity features, adding an extra layer of security to automotive applications. Source:

The 25 'Best of 2024' Vehicles Announced in NACTOY Awards

The North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) awards have unveiled their "Best of 2024" vehicles. The list includes 10 cars, 10 SUVs, and five trucks that have advanced to the semifinal round. Notably, iconic vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and affordable options like the Chevy Trax were left out, while electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Blazer EV and Genesis GV70 Electrified gained favor.

The awards, judged by 50 independent journalists from the U.S. and Canada, will further narrow down to three finalists in each category on November 16 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Winners will be announced on January 4 in Detroit. The Tesla Cybertruck and 2024 Toyota Tacoma were among the surprising omissions in the truck category. In the car category, the list is diverse, featuring vehicles from the Ford Mustang to the Toyota Prius.

The NACTOY awards are a significant industry event, honoring automakers for innovations in design, performance, technology, and value. With the increasing focus on electric vehicles, this year's awards are keenly watched for trends in consumer and industry preferences. Source: The Detroit News

2024 Jeep Gladiator Debuts with New Features and Trims at Detroit Auto Show

The 2024 Jeep Gladiator has been revealed with a host of new features and upgrades. Retaining its 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, the Gladiator introduces two new trims—Mojave X and Rubicon X—equipped with enhanced off-road capabilities. The vehicle also features a Jeep Adventure Guide, a catalog accessible via a 12.3-inch vertical Uconnect touchscreen, offering detailed maps of 3,000 Jeep-ready trails.

While the Gladiator doesn't yet offer a plug-in hybrid option, Jeep plans to electrify all its nameplates by 2025. The Gladiator also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Uconnect 5 infotainment platform is five times more powerful than its predecessor. The vehicle is set to arrive at U.S. dealerships by the end of this year. Source: Autoweek

And there you have it—a comprehensive look at some of the most impactful stories in the automotive world this week. From Android Auto's new features aimed at making your drive more productive and enjoyable, to the looming strike that could disrupt the U.S. auto industry, these stories offer a snapshot of the dynamic changes underway. Sony's new sensor technology promises to make autonomous driving safer, while smaller EV startups are struggling to find their footing in a competitive market. Finally, the 2024 Jeep Gladiator's reveal showcases the brand's commitment to innovation and off-road capabilities.

As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, it's crucial to stay informed about the latest developments. Whether you're an industry professional, a car enthusiast, or simply someone who relies on four wheels to get around, understanding these changes can offer valuable insights into what lies ahead on the road of progress.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we look forward to bringing you more exciting updates next week. Safe travels!