Self-Driving Cars

Mercedes-Benz, NVIDIA join forces to create computer-focused automated driving solutions

Mercedes-Benz is planning for an automated driving future.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

There's a lot that goes into self-driving vehicles. It's not just cameras and radar. There's a bevy of technology that goes into solving the "how" question as well as attempt to automate how to react to other drivers demonstrating their free will, safely or unsafely. Then there's the regulations and laws to consider, not to mention the wide variety of roads, differing traffic laws by jurisdiction, and the appearance (or lack thereof) of a variety of lane markings. And that's just a quick list off the top of the head.

It's no wonder that automakers are pairing up with tech companies to come up with computer solutions to automated driving. Mercedes-Benz is the latest to do so, having joined forces with NVIDIA. According to a release, the two companies are planing to work together to "develop the most sophisticated and advanced computing architecture ever deployed in an automobile."

Mercedes is set to begin rolling out vehicles with the technology in 2024.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The solution will be software based and built on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform. Mercedes-Benz is already saying that the architecture will be deployed in the company's next-generation fleet and will allow for automated driving functionalities.

What features can drivers expect? According to Mercedes, "A primary feature will be the ability to automate driving of regular routes from address to address. In addition, there will be numerous future safety and convenience applications. Customers will be able to purchase and add capabilities, software applications and subscription services through over-the-air software updates during the life of the car."

This includes developing AI and automated vehicle applications that include SAE vehicle automation Level 2 and 3 levels, as well as automated parking functions (up to Level 4).

Level 2 is considered partial automaton and is defined as requiring the vehicle to be in a specific drive mode to allow for the specific execution of one or more driver assistance systems regarding steering and acceleration/deceleration.

Level 3 is conditional automation. This level allows drivers to switch on automated functionality as part of a drive mode and for that enabled technology to perform all the aspects of dynamic driving. When the system requests, a human can intervene.

Level 4 is a highly automated version of Level 3 requiring even more sophistication. A vehicle with Level 4 technology can respond on its own if a driver does not "properly" respond to prompts from the system to take control. This technology would not be available in just one mode, bu rather in many.

The DRIVE platform includes a computer system-on-chip (SoC), called Orin, which is based on recently announced NVIDIA Ampere supercomputing architecture. It includes a full system software stack designed for automated driving AI applications.

The NVIDIA DRIVE platform includes a full system software stack designed for automated driving AI applications. NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop the AI and automated vehicle applications that include SAE Level 2 and 3 levels, as well as automated parking functions (up to Level 4).

The new system's state-of-the-art capabilities will be harnessed with a total focus on safety. As the technology and regulatory framework develop, it will be possible for every car to be updated over-the-air to enable new automated driving functions. Convenience as well as other safety features will also be available.

To develop the new models, both companies will be utilizing NVIDIA DRIVE Infrastructure solutions to enable data driven development and deep neural network development to handle the requirements of the regions and operational domains where the cars will be available.

A statement from Mercedes says that the technology will begin rolling out in 2024.

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The 2023 Crosstrek starts at $23,645.

Subaru

Subaru is one of the best at listening to its customers' needs, and the Crosstrek is a great example of that mindset. It's a useful vehicle with plenty of interior space and enough ground clearance to take its passengers well of the beaten path. Today, Subaru announced pricing for the 2023 Crosstrek and Crosstrek Hybrid. The duo will go on sale this summer.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek's cabin is adventure-ready and packed with great tech. Subaru

The standard Crosstrek starts at $23,645 before destination and the Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $36,845. Five trims are available for the standard model, including Base, Premium, a new Special Edition, Sport, and Limited. The Hybrid comes in a single trim level. All Crosstrek variants get all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring and 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The Base, Premium, and Special Edition trims come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 152 horsepower. The Sport and Limited trims get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 182 horsepower. Most models come with a continuously variable transmission, but the Base and Premium trims come standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Crosstrek Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with two electric motors. The plug-in system can deliver 17 miles of electric range.

Subaru CrosstrekThe Crosstrek delivers 8.7 inches of ground clearance.Subaru

True to Subaru form, the Crosstrek comes with a full suite of advanced driver aids, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure alerts, adaptive cruise, and more. These features are only available for CVT-equipped models. The Limited trim and the Crosstrek Hybrid add automatic high beams, reverse automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

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Family-friendly three-row SUVs

Three of our favorite three-row SUVs for 2022

The Grand Cherokee L is available with two different powertrain choices.

Jeep

There are more three-row SUVs on sale than ever before, so it can be tough to make a choice between them. You need to balance space, performance, safety, and tech to make your decision, and doing your homework is important. To help you get started down the right path, we've selected three of our favorite three-row family haulers. These are SUVs that bring the latest features and excellent design features to help keep you and your family rolling. Let's get started.

2023 Toyota SequoiaThe Sequoia is all-new for the 2023 model year, and finally stands on level ground with its rivals.Toyota

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota gave the Sequoia a much-needed overhaul for the 2023 model year that brought it up to speed with its competitors. The thirsty V8 and outdated styling are gone, and in their place, Toyota installed a twin-turbo V6 with a hybrid system that produces 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission and either rear- or four-wheel drive are available.

The Sequoia’s update brought a new infotainment system with a much more intuitive, fluid interface. It runs on a standard 8-inch or an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Toyota’s new software offers voice controls, standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

Inside, the Sequioa’s interior feels much more upscale and modern than before, and there’s plenty of room for the entire family and all their gear across its three spacious rows. Starting with the Limited trim, Toyota gives luxurious standard features, including heated and ventilated front seats, a larger touchscreen, a hands-free liftgate, and a heated steering wheel.

2023 Kia TellurideKia updated the ultra-popular Telluride for 2023 with refreshed styling and features.Kia

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is easily one of the best family vehicles from the last ten years, and it offers great value on top of its functional characteristics. Kia updated the SUV for 2022 with a new 10.25-inch infotainment system and a highway driving assistance system.

The Telluride comes with a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. The SUV’s engine may not be the most powerful or thrilling, but it gets the job done and offers refined, smooth operation.

Kia equips the base Telluride with seating for eight, but the optional second-row captain’s chairs reduce capacity to seven. Interior fit and finish, materials, and styling are all far more upscale than the Telluride’s price tag would suggest, making the SUV an excellent family companion for longer road trips.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee LThe Grand Cherokee got a third row for the first time with the new L.Jeep

Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Jeep completely overhauled the Grand Cherokee for 2021 and added a new three-row “L” model shortly after. The new Grand Cherokee L features boxy, muscular styling that works with its stretched profile. Even with a new shape, the SUV is immediately recognizable as a Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers two engines in the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. The base mill is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the V8 comes standard with four-wheel drive.

The L is more premium inside than most likely expect from a Jeep, but at the top end of the model line it’s deep into luxury territory, both on price and design. The Jeep is just shy of its competitors on interior space, but there’s still plenty of room for up to seven people. Top trims get luxury finishes like leather and woodgrain, and available tech like a rear-seat entertainment system helps keep everyone happy for the long haul.

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