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IntelliSafe Auto Pilot interface for Drive Me

Here's what a self-driving Volvo looks like from behind the wheel


Silicon Valley is not the only place where engineers are making strides in autonomous driving. Earlier this week, Volvo unveiled its new interface, IntelliSafe Auto Pilot, in Gothenburg, Sweden.

One hundred XC90 crossovers will be installed with the new technology for the Drive Me autonomous car project.

The new setup is activated and deactivated with specially designed paddles on the steering wheel. After entering a route into the navigation, the car gives the driver a message that Auto Pilot is ready. Also, the steering wheel paddles will start flashing.

The driver must then pull both of the paddles simultaneously to activate the self-driving mode. The lights will change from flashing green to constant green and a countdown will appear with estimated time to the destination.

Volkswagen will offer U.S. customers a $2,000 incentive toward the purchase or lease of a new gasoline or hybrid VW.

VW hoping $2,000 incentive will stem defections


Volkswagen of America is offering a $2,000 customer loyalty incentive this month to prevent a possible wave of owner defections in the wake of its admission of diesel emissions violations.

Existing VW owners will receive $2,000 toward the purchase or lease of any new VW gasoline or hybrid model, according to the brand’s website. The offer can be combined with any other VW offer, except for dealer employee participation or fleet programs, a VW spokeswoman said.

The offer comes as VW tries to manage the fallout from last month’s disclosure that the company sold some 482,000 diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. market with engine software designed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

“The heart and soul of this brand relies upon the devoted customers and dealers that drive our products on a daily basis,” VW of America COO Mark McNabb said in an Oct. 2 memo to dealers announcing VW’s monthly incentive programs.

Latest Reviews

2015 Toyota Highlander Limited review

a strong seller that holds up to abuse


ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: After a weekend of doing responsible grown-up things in the Highlander (mostly picking up home-improvement supplies, as per usual), I noticed that there were 14,088 miles on the odometer. That’s not a lot in terms of the expected lifetime mileage for a three-row crossover. I’d venture a lot of owners can rack up that sort of mileage in just a few months of kid-toting and grocery getting. But it’s a lot for a fleet car. These things get thrashed, by uh, other drivers. I’m totally responsible.

Anyway, they’re not treated gently, is my point. But short of a mint Lifesaver I spotted in the crevice between the driver’s seat and the center console -- and you know that sucker is never coming out of there -- this thing was good as new. Not a shake or a rattle; not a stain on the carpets or seats; not a scratch in that weird hard plastic Toyota likes to use on every non-soft-touch surface.

Not a whole lot of excitement here, either, but that’s probably by design. Steering is light, with nonexistent feel, and the whole deal doesn’t come off as “planted” on the expressway either; frequent minor corrections are needed to keep it pointed straight. All in all, it feels more or less like a minivan with a higher seating position -- which, perhaps ironically, is the exact type of vehicle prospective three-row crossover buyers claim they wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Long-term wrapup

2015 BMW M3


BMWs are really good at long hauls, so when the mission was to cart 400 pounds of books from One Autoweek Tower in the Motor City 1,000 miles to the authors’ row at the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, in one day, the staff concluded that our Yas Marina blue-metallic four-door M3 was the tool to best do the job.

There are serious reasons for the staff’s conclusions: We went to Amelia to hang out with BMW clubbers who drove thousands of miles to the concours to honor the men who made heroes out of BMW cars by scoring a win at Sebring’s brutal endurance contest in 1975, setting into motion years of some of the world’s most tense production-car endurance racing.

Our quick M3 helped us see what these folks already know: Forty years ago, the little-known German marque was already a long-haul favorite. At Amelia, racers Bill Auberlen, Brian Redman, Sam Posey and Hans Stuck all related how hauling race cars to tracks across the U.S. helped them for long track days. Redman drove seven hours of the ’75 12 Hours of Sebring enduro in the winning 3.0 CSL, which made our relaxing 814-mile cruise home in the 425-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-powered M3 from Walterboro, South Carolina, in 11 hours seem wimpy.