Chevy's Self-Driving Concept Car Blurs Sci-Fi and Reality

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Vlad Rose

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@gmarsack - LOL that is funny. :)

Yeah, I can guarantee it won't see the light of day. GM is one of the last companies to innovate with their vehicles. I remember going to "Auto World" in Flint back in 1984 when it was around for a short period of time. GM had on display a vehicle that was the same way in forward thinking; with features they still haven't thought of adding; even today. What's sad is that most of the competition has...
 

rocky1234

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@gmarsack - LOL that is funny. :)

Yeah, I can guarantee it won't see the light of day. GM is one of the last companies to innovate with their vehicles. I remember going to "Auto World" in Flint back in 1984 when it was around for a short period of time. GM had on display a vehicle that was the same way in forward thinking; with features they still haven't thought of adding; even today. What's sad is that most of the competition has...

Not 100% true GM has actually been one of the for runners when it comes to adding new tech since the late 70's up until about the mid 2000's then they slacked off a lot and the other companies took other. A buddy of mine picked up an old 1978 caddy that has so many auto features in it that it made some of the so called new cars look silly for features and this was a car from to late 70's. My own Olds from 2001 has even more features than the caddy & it is pretty old now but is in mint condition & gets really good fuel mileage for it's age on the highway and this car was built for the highway for sure. My point is there was a time period where GM was a for runner in tech at least for the north american car builders it was. Doge used to be so far behind that it always made me wonder why anyone would buy a car/truck that was so outdate from new.
 

Vlad Rose

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Yeah, I do agree in the old days, until the 80's when they decided to cut corners, make stuff purposely break for repairs, rust after a predetermined amount of time, etc to where the competition blew past them and nearly put them under. Ford and Chrysler were just as much to blame there as well. While all 3 companies are recovering to one extent or another, they're still a far cry from what they were. The cities of Flint, Detroit, and my hometown Saginaw are nearly destroyed because of it.
Dodge was hilariously bad. The saying went "if your Dodge made it to 100k, it's not a Dodge". Married with Children even made fun of Dodge continuously as the car Al Bundy drove was a Dodge.
 

Onus

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How can Government Motors afford to develop this? They're bankrupt; out of business as far as I'm concerned.
This will never see the light of day; some engineers and/or graphic artists were just playing.
 

falchard

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Looks uncomfortable. There is a reason for the existence of tires. It cushions against the small bumps and rocks. Also the seats are weirdly cushioned.
 

f-14

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http://www.wired.com/2015/04/dmca-ownership-john-deere/
We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership
IT’S OFFICIAL: JOHN Deere and General Motors want to eviscerate the notion of ownership. Sure, we pay for their vehicles. But we don’t own them. Not according to their corporate lawyers, anyway.

In a particularly spectacular display of corporate delusion, John Deere—the world’s largest agricultural machinery maker —told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

It’s John Deere’s tractor, folks. You’re just driving it.

Several manufacturers recently submitted similar comments to the Copyright Office under an inquiry into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. DMCA is a vast 1998 copyright law that (among other things) governs the blurry line between software and hardware. The Copyright Office, after reading the comments and holding a hearing, will decide in July which high-tech devices we can modify, hack, and repair—and decide whether John Deere’s twisted vision of ownership will become a reality.

WIRED OPINION
ABOUT
Kyle Wiens is the co-founder and CEO of iFixit, an online repair community and parts retailer internationally renowned for their open source repair manuals and product teardowns.

Over the last two decades, manufacturers have used the DMCA to argue that consumers do not own the software underpinning the products they buy—things like smartphones, computers, coffeemakers, cars, and, yes, even tractors. So, Old MacDonald has a tractor, but he owns a massive barn ornament, because the manufacturer holds the rights to the programming that makes it run.

(This is an important issue for farmers: a neighbor, Kerry Adams, hasn’t been able to fix an expensive transplanter because he doesn’t have access to the diagnostic software he needs. He’s not alone: many farmers are opting for older, computer-free equipment.)

Over the last two decades, manufacturers have used the DMCA to argue that consumers do not own the software that powers the products they buy.
In recent years, some companies have even leveraged the DMCA to stop owners from modifying the programming on those products. This means you can’t strip DRM off smart kitty litter boxes, install custom software on your iPad, or alter the calibration on a tractor’s engine. Not without potentially running afoul of the DMCA.

What does any of that have to do with copyright? Owners, tinkerers, and homebrew “hackers” must copy programming so they can modify it. Product makers don’t like people messing with their stuff, so some manufacturers place digital locks over software. Breaking the lock, making the copy, and changing something could be construed as a violation of copyright law.

And that’s how manufacturers turn tinkerers into “pirates”—even if said “pirates” aren’t circulating illegal copies of anything. Makes sense, right? Yeah, not to me either.

It makes sense to John Deere: The company argues that allowing people to alter the software—even for the purpose of repair—would “make it possible for pirates, third-party developers, and less innovative competitors to free-ride off the creativity, unique expression and ingenuity of vehicle software.” The pièce de résistance in John Deere’s argument: permitting owners to root around in a tractor’s programming might lead to pirating music through a vehicle’s entertainment system. Because copyright-marauding farmers are very busy and need to multitask by simultaneously copying Taylor Swift’s 1989 and harvesting corn? (I’m guessing, because John Deere’s lawyers never explained why anyone would pirate music on a tractor, only that it could happen.)

John Deere is a company, by the way, that is seriously serious about preventing people from copying their stuff. So serious, in fact, that they even locked the PDF they sent to the Copyright Office. No modifying the document. And no copying passages. Really, John Deere? How am I supposed to highlight all that's wrong in this document now?
John Deere is a company, by the way, that is seriously serious about preventing people from copying their stuff. So serious, in fact, that they even locked the PDF they sent to the Copyright Office. No modifying the document. And no copying passages. Really, John Deere? How am I supposed to highlight all that’s wrong in this document now? Screenshot by Kyle Wiens
John Deere may be out of touch, but it’s not alone. Other corporations, including trade groups representing nearly every major automaker, made the same case to the Copyright Office again and again. It’s worth noting Tesla Motors didn’t join automakers in this argument, even though its cars rely heavily on proprietary software.

General Motors told the Copyright Office that proponents of copyright reform mistakenly “conflate ownership of a vehicle with ownership of the underlying computer software in a vehicle.” But I’d bet most Americans make the same conflation—and Joe Sixpack might be surprised to learn GM owns a giant chunk of the Chevy sitting in his driveway.

Other automakers pointed out that owners who make unsanctioned modifications could alter their vehicles in bad ways. They could tweak them to go faster. Or change engine parameters to run afoul of emissions regulations.

Joe Sixpack might be surprised to learn GM owns a giant chunk of the Chevy sitting in his driveway.
They’re right. That could happen. But those activities are (1) already illegal, and (2) have nothing to do with copyright. If you’re going too fast, a cop should stop you—copyright law shouldn’t. If you’re dodging emissions regulations, you should pay EPA fines—not DMCA fines. And the specter of someone doing something illegal shouldn’t justify shutting down all the reasonable and legal modifications people can make to the things they paid for.

GM went so far as to argue locking people out helps innovation. That’s like saying locking up books will inspire kids to be innovative writers, because they won’t be tempted to copy passages from a Hemingway novel. Meanwhile, outside of Bizarroland, actual technology experts—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation—have consistently labeled the DMCA an innovation killer. They insist that, rather than stopping content pirates, language in the DMCA has been used to stifle competition and expand corporate control over the life (and afterlife) of products.

“The bad part is, my sense is, these companies are just locking up this technology, and increasing the sort of monopoly pricing structure that just doesn’t work for us,” Brian Talley, a farmer on California’s central coast, says of restrictions placed on his equipment. I toured his farm with a fellow from the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic so we could tell the Copyright Office how manufacturers are hampering farmers. “We are used to operating independently, and that’s one of the great things about being a farmer. And in this particular space, they are really taking that away from us.”

The notion of actually owning the things you buy has become revolutionary.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic, and the Digital Right to Repair Coalition (Disclaimer: I’m a founding member of the Coalition.) are fighting to preserve the notion of ownership. We’re trying to open the floodgates of information. To let owners investigate the code in their devices. To modify them for better functionality. To repair them, even without the blessing of manufacturer.

Thankfully, we aren’t alone. There’s a backlash against the slow creep of corporate product control.

Earlier this year, consumers sent 40,000 comments to the Copyright Office—all of them urging the restoration of ownership rights. The year before, consumers and activists forced a law through Congress that made it legal to unlock a cellphone and move it to a different carrier.

This week, Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Jared Polis will introduce the “Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act of 2015, which would substantially improve the DMCA process. Lawmakers in Minnesota and New York have introduced “Fair Repair” legislation that assert an owner’s right to repair electronic equipment they’ve purchased. They want equal access to repair information, replacement parts, and security updates.

Of course, taking back the stuff that we own won’t be easy. Corporations have better lobbyists than the rest of us. And, somehow, the notion of actually owning the things you buy has become revolutionary.

It doesn’t have to be. Tell the Copyright Office to side with consumers when it decides which gadgets are legal to modify and repair. Urge lawmakers to support legislation like the Unlocking Technology Act and the Your Own Devices Act, because we deserve the keys to our own products. And support Fair Repair legislation.

If you bought it, you should own it—simple as that. It’s time corporate lawyers left the bullshit to the farmers, who actually need it.
 

Vlad Rose

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GM used bankrupt as an excuse to break Union contracts. Their CEOs came in on their own personal jet to receive the check. The CEO of Delphi (part of GM then) got a huge kickback for running Delphi into the ground (which Nexteer ended up buying). They paid back that bailout 6 months later.

The only auto company that really needed the bailout was Chrysler, which the government snubbed and is now owned by Fiat.
 

hitman400

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Oh God, more "it looks like comments". I know you guys aren't designers, but at least try to evaluate the form instead of break down your opinion into a 1 word description.

I think it looks cool....lol
 

Vlad Rose

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First guess would be that it'd be insanely expensive (like a Bugatti or Koenigsegg).
 

husker

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I can see a clear design problem, without the car being built. The "dragonfly" doors clearly rotate around the tires. This means the front edge of the front panels and the back edge of the rear side panels are going to get lower to the ground as the panels rotate. Push the button to open the doors and **CRUNCH**. Why put a clear defect in the concept?
 
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