Lamborghinis and Ferraris are well known for being the most expensive and opulent sports cars on the planet. But Lamborghini wasn’t always considered synonymous with wealth and status. It began as an Italian tractor company known for refurbishing old military equipment. So how did Lamborghini go from selling tractors to becoming one of the world’s top luxury car brands? With a little improvisation, some not-so-friendly competition and an alleged sticky clutch.
(CNN)Nowhere else in the world can you hail a police car and snap a selfie with the driver.
Dubai’s tour de force
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Selecting the supercars
(CNN)Dubai has announced yet another pioneering initiative, but this time it’s not the world’s first rotating skyscraper or 3D printed office. It’s a fleet of flying taxis.
Self-driving transport strategy
Monitored by ground control
The California government, long cautious with self-driving cars, has changed its tune.
The state DMV issued proposed rules for the testing and deployment of fully self-driving vehicles Friday. The news appears to clear the way for cars with an empty driver’s seat to operate on state roads by year’s end.
“This is a big deal,” said Jason Orr, an attorney who follows autonomous vehicle law at O’Melveny & Myers. “Despite being more sensitive than other states, at the end of the day, it will potentially result in widescale deployment of autonomous vehicles.”
California’s DMV had long frustrated the self-driving car industry, which felt state regulators were holding back innovation that could improve public safety. The DMV previously missed a deadline for autonomous vehicle rules. And when it released rules in December 2015, it excluded fully self-driving vehicles, citing safety concerns.
Over the years, some companies, such as Google (Tech30) and Uber, resorted to shifting tests outside their home state.,
The California DMV has wrestled for years with how to comfortably sign off on a self-driving car operating on public streets. While experts agree that self-driving cars will eventually be far safer than human drivers, autonomous vehicles will not immediately be flawless or even better than a human. Governments worldwide are struggling with how to certify that a fully autonomous vehicle allowed to drive on public roads is safe enough.
The DMV previously considered using a third party to examine vehicle data, or external test tracks for autonomous vehicles. But Friday it revealed it would allow manufacturers to self-certify that their vehicles are safe, a move that follows in the footsteps of the current federal government plan for autonomous vehicles.
In a sense, the licensing process for a robot that wants to drive on California roads is more lax than what a human driver seeking a license must go through. Humans must pass a state driver’s test. The makers of self-driving cars must just provide a safety assessment letter to the state.
In a briefing with reporters, California DMV deputy director Brian Soublet downplayed the different approaches to putting humans and robots on public roads.
“It’s a minimal test. It’s basically seeing that they have the skills to operate the vehicle,” Soublet said the driver’s test for humans. “And there’s all of the post-licensing discipline that goes with it. We believe that that same type of a structure is being established here.”
Just as the DMV can revoke a human’s license, it can also revoke a company’s ability to operate self-driving cars on state roads, under the proposed rules. The DMV will exercise this right if it sees recurring safety issues with a vehicle, according to Soublet.
The DMV also took a step toward embracing new vehicle forms, such as a car without a steering wheel or pedals. Under its proposed rules, the DMV will allow cars without a steering wheel or pedals, provided that the maker has the approval of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
By Agnieszka Flak and Andreas Cremer
GENEVA (Reuters) – Lamborghini is open to an all-electric addition to its line-up of luxury sports cars, its chief executive said on Wednesday, evidence that German parent Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) interest in producing zero-emission vehicles could extend to the very top end of its brands.
The 54-year-old Italian car firm is already deviating from its tradition of producing high-powered, low-slung sportscars with its new sport utility vehicle, called Urus, itself a variation in its bovine branding.
The SUV will be launched at the company’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, towards the end of this year, with deliveries starting in the second half of 2018.
“Electrification is an area of great attention for us, but I’m not expecting it will happen in the short term,” CEO Stefano Domenicali told Reuters at the Geneva car show, ruling out a purely battery-powered Lamborghini before 2025.
“We need to be realistic,” he said, pointing to the need to preserve the characteristics of a supercar in terms of handling, weight and performance even in an electric model, while at the same time considering its cost and the required investments.
Lamborghini, one of VW’s stable of superluxury brands along with Bentley and Bugatti, already plans to bring a plug-in hybrid version of the Urus SUV by 2020.
Separately, the CEO held out the prospect of another record year for Lamborghini in 2017, powered by undiminished demand for super-luxury cars in the United States, China and Europe.
The company was showing its new Huracan Performante in Geneva ahead of first deliveries in June, with the level of pre-orders already looking good, said Domenicali, the former head of Ferrari’s Formula One racing team.
“Since the financial crisis, the market for super sports cars has seen a constant recovery,” he said.
“For the medium term, I don´t see a change in that substantially positive trend, especially since economic regions like the U.S. and China are showing unchanged growth.”
Domenicali said he expected sales this year to increase by a single-digit percentage rate from last year’s record 3,457 deliveries.
Future shipments for sportscars would be capped at around 3,500 a year but could go slightly higher as the market expands to a maximum of 3,800, to safeguard the brand’s exclusivity, he added, although the Urus SUV could double overall production volumes.
“We will be prudent. Of course we will grow sustainably, but being in the luxury market we must not take every growth potential that is there,” he said.
Depending on demand the Urus could add at least another 3,500 vehicles to Lamborghini’s total output, he added.