Slideshow: 2020 Jeep Gladiator

Over-engineered 2020 Jeep Gladiator can conquer tough terrain and be a weekend warrior

The Jeep Gladiator may be a little over-engineered but that just makes it more fun.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Jeep Gladiator is the automaker's new truck. The company admits that the truck is a bit over-engineered, making it capable of tackling the tough terrain a Wrangler can scramble over, but at the same time delivering a comfortable ride with room in the bed for the results of a trip to Home Depot.

This slideshow covers the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mopar, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, and various details of the interior.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

They can tackle farm land and rough rocky hills.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Interior

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Leather-appointed seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

This model first became available to celebrate the Gladiator's launch.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Overland

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The Jeep Gladiator Overland starts at $40,395.

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon starts at $43,545.

Nuro is eyeing Houston as a pathway to success.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

Editor's Note: There are currently no autonomous vehicles for sale in the U.S. Nuro, like Cruise, is marketing self-driving vehicles. Autonomous vehicles, as defined by SAE J3016, can go anywhere at any time whereas self-driving vehicles operate under limited conditions.

Houston — with its sprawl and winding roads broken up across various neighborhoods — is particularly challenging when it comes to self-driving car navigation. And that's exactly why Nuro, a California-based tech startup that's raised over $1 billion in funding, decided to focus on the Bayou City for its self-driving vehicle delivery pilot programs.

"Houston is our first full-scale operations city," Sola Lawal, product operations manager in Houston, tells InnovationMap. "All eyes at Nuro are focused on Houston."

Photo courtesy of Nuro

Last year alone, Nuro launched three pilots in six of Houston's ZIP codes from Bellaire to the Heights. The first of which was a partnership with Kroger in March, followed by the announcement of driverless pizza delivery from Domino's in June. Last month, Nuro announced its latest delivery partner was Walmart.

Lawal explains Houston's appeal to Nuro in a few ways, but the challenging landscape is key. Nuro cars are learning from the narrow, tree-laden streets of West University or the pedestrian-heavy, ditch-lined paths in the Heights.

"There's a ton for us to learn, but it's a great microcosm of the United States in a number of different ways," he says.

In addition to its diversity within its street types, Houston, named the most diverse city in the country, represents an ideal customer base, says Lawal, a Houston native himself. Houstonians are open minded about new experiences.

"If you think and look across Houston, the average commute is over 60 minutes for people to get back and forth," Lawal tells InnovationMap. "As we surveyed across major cities we were interested in, Houston stood out as a place where customers said they don't want go to the grocery store if they don't have to or get in their cars again to pick up their pizza."

The third reason Houston was a great market for Nuro is the amount of regulatory support the state of Texas has — Gov. Greg Abbott announced the launch of the Texas Connected and Autonomous Vehicle task force a year ago — as well as the support at the city level.

"It's been a welcoming environment from the mayor's office down for us to be here," Lawal says.

Since entering the Houston market, Nuro's local operations have grown to over 100 employees. The company still has software operations out of California, and some work being done in Arizona, but the Houston is the largest — and growing as the company seeks new partnerships with more stores with a goal of eliminating errands once and for all.

"The way that we think about this is that this new technology and our mission of accelerating robotics for everyday life, is we will bring the people what they want," Lawal says when asked about what types of stores Nuro is looking to partner with.

Eventually, Lawal says, the plan would be to have every errand be delivery optimized with Nuro technology — from big-box stores like Walmart to your local florist.

"Our goal is to have a platform that retailers can connect to in order to provide easy and inexpensive delivery," he says.

Currently, Nuro's technology is still in learning mode. Nuro's fleet of Prius cars with staff onboard are driving up and down Houston streets mapping and taking notes on a daily basis. The company also has bots, called the R2 fleet, that are designed to be unmanned.

These bots are smaller than normal cars and are completely electric. Rather than being designed to protect passengers inside like traditional automobiles, the R2s are designed to be safe for people outside the vehicle.

"It's a new way of thinking about transportation and what our vehicles can and should do," Lawal says.

2020 is the year of these R2 bots, and some areas can expect to see them in action — specifically focused on Domino's pizza delivery — in just a matter of weeks.

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This story originally appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site, InnovationMap.

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Lincoln has made two pickup trucks but neither reached any level of tremendous commercial success.

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Before luxury pickup trucks became the staple that they are today on America's roadways, there was one company willing to attempt to capitalize on the premium buyer. Unfortunately for that company, they were too early. But they had the right concept. That company is Lincoln.

The Lincoln Blackwood was the company's first attempt at a proper luxury pickup. It was built for the 2002 model year and was based on Ford's F-150 platform. It shared the F-150's 5.4-liter V8 that made 300 horsepower and was only available in rear-wheel drive. It had luxury features like a power tonneau cover and a wood-lined bed.

2006 Lincoln Mark LT The Mark LT was a luxury level take on a traditional pickup but it may have been a little ahead of its time.Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

That truck made the way for the company's second attempt; the Lincoln Mark LT. That truck received the updated Triton V8 and was available with four-wheel drive. It was also a more practical truck, having a useful bed and other amenities. It was in production from 2005 until 2008 in the United States (yet carried on until 2014 in Mexico).

Nowadays, the F-150 Limited is nearly a $70,000 USD pickup truck – more than the Mark LT ever was – and people are buying them at a steady pace. It begs the question; is the Mark LT or other Lincoln pickup truck ready to make a return to the United States?

The answer is complicated. Officially, Lincoln is leaving the pickup trucks to Ford. They have their own things to worry about, such as a completely refreshed product line and paying Matthew McConaughey to not say his trademark phrase in commercials.

Unofficially sources have told AutomotiveMap that they aren't sure what a Lincoln pickup truck would even look like. How do you get more luxurious than the F-150 Limited that is already on sale?

That is, indeed, a fair question. The F-150 Limited has premium seats that are both heated and cooled. They have a massage function. The only thing that Lincoln offers above that in their vehicles is something they call "Perfect Position" front seats in the Navigator with dozens of different adjustment options.

The F-150 would benefit from a larger infotainment screen and a more attractive instrument cluster, which Lincoln could offer. But these upgrades are also likely to be attached to a refreshed F-150 that might debut as early as this year for the 2021 model year. That would negate the Lincoln benefit.

Lincoln could offer the truck with a plug-in hybrid, and we know Ford is working on electrification options for the F-150. Combine that with some other unique Lincoln features, like the Revel audio system and Phone as a Key and you might have something that stands out from the best Ford offering.

But would it be enough? The price ceiling on pickup trucks hasn't been reached, which is why manufacturers are able to charge $70,000 for a full-size, half-ton pickup truck. Globally, Mercedes-Benz built a luxury-minded pickup on the Nissan Navara platform but didn't see any sales success. Though the rest of the world does view the pickup truck differently than the United States. What we consider a midsize truck is about as large as they sell globally.

Ultimately, a Lincoln pickup truck revival is unlikely to happen due to differentiation. It's important for Lincoln to set itself from Ford, and like the Mark LT that came before, that is unlikely to happen. Yes, it'd be a different truck, but it wouldn't be different enough. Nor would it be a compelling enough reason for loyal truck buyers to buy a Lincoln instead of a Ford, even if they'd be built on the same assembly line.

There's space in the market for even more expensive trucks, but from Ford they'll likely carry the Ford Blue Oval on them.