Elon Musk announced this week that Tesla will replace round steering wheels with a yoke-based design in X/S models starting immediately. Originally an option that customers could pick, the yoke will now be standard moving forward, with no ability to choose a round steering wheel. Leo says that not only is that a difficult proposition for those who were taught to steer at 10 and 2, but the steering ratio remains at 14-1, something the Yoke is not designed to accommodate.
Sam says that computer processors have been in cars since the late 70s, as manufacturers have sought to improve the efficiency of car engines. But with each new feature, Sam says it seems that another processor gets added to the overall car design. Now just about everything in your car is controlled by a processor, and they're getting more and more powerful. The more advanced a car is, the more code to control it. Some cars have over 100 million lines of computer code. So they are quite complicated and powerful. But with the rise in power, comes a rise in price.
Software development and the use of computers in today's cars have contributed to the rise in car prices over the last few years. Leo says that up to 40% of a price of a car can be attributed to the development of car computers and software that operates them. Add to that, Leo says that the worldwide chip shortage, and not only are cars more expensive, but car manufacturers are making fewer of them.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the Lexus 500H, a hybrid that will have the Toytota Team system, the brand's first hands-free driving system. It will also use LIDAR, which is different from the RADAR found in most cars with hands-free driving options. It's chiefly interactive, sending out a laser to read the 3D space around the car, but it falls short in measuring distance and speed. But its higher resolution can see through the 3d space to pick up details RADAR may not see.
Sam joins Leo to talk about cars. This weekend is the Indy 500 and Leo says it's a lot different from Formula 1, which he thinks is more exciting, especially when you go to Monaco. Sam says that in the last 25 years, the technology transfer from racing to consumer-driven cars has been greatly diminished due to regulations. But there are still some advancements that influence car design, even if it's not noticeable.
Sam is back to talk about hands-free driving technology and the regulations that may be in the way of its development. The process of creating an autopilot has been an evolution as car manufacturers and government regulators seek to figure out the safest way to do it. Elon Musk complains that regulations are in the way, but they are there for safety purposes. But now Europe has put forth regulations for level 3 systems designed to make the development of hands-free steering more harmonious.
Scott joins Leo to talk about Citroen's new car subscription service called "Free2Move." It's a car-sharing subscription service that's ideal for people living in the city. Great for people who may have a need for a car from time to time, but don't really want the expense that comes with parking spots and insurance. The Citroen Ami cars are electric and have a top speed of about 28 mph and a range of about 200 miles on a single charge.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the extreme shortage of rental cars right now, as rental agencies sold over half their fleets during the pandemic, and now they can get new cars to replace them.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the news that Tesla data indicates the car that crashed in Houston may not have been on autopilot at the time of the crash that killed two people. Sam says that doesn't mean it wasn't on autopilot before the crash though, and Tesla hasn't responded to when exactly the autopilot disengaged. If it disengaged a few seconds before the crash, and with the driver foolishly sitting in the back seat, there would be no way to regain control of the vehicle. So the point is rather moot.
Sam joins Leo to talk about another Tesla that crashed due to overreliance on Tesla's autopilot. Two people died. The facts of the accident are that both people climbed into the back seat while the car was navigating itself. With no one to take control when the autopilot failed, the car went off the road while going around a curve, hit a tree, and caught fire. Sam says that in spite of the hype, there is no car with a so-called autopilot feature, that is truly self-driving.