Mobility

They lay strewn across sidewalks but Toyota sees e-scooters as a roadmap to vehicle safety

Toyota is working with a college in Indiana to study e-scooter interactions with vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) is currently in the midst of a multi-year study aimed at using real-world e-scooter riding data to better understand e-scooter and vehicle interactions. Rini Sherony, a Senior Principal Engineer at CSRC, is leading the effort, which includes partnerships with universities, hospitals, research institutions, and federal agencies.

Toyota, as a company, is focused on a variety of mobility solutions from alternative fuel technology to fresh transport solutions to improving safety. Sherony sees e-scooters as a way to better understand the world of mobility in current times and use that gleaned knowledge to improve safety technology for the future.

e-scooter Toyota LIDAR Toyota is using LiDAR to capture interactions between scooters and cars on the road.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

She became interested in the possibility of studying e-scooters after visiting her daughter at the University of Michigan. "Walking around campus, I saw many students riding e-scooters without much concern for the other vehicles around them and not following any rules regarding direction or speed. Around the same time, data from many hospital ERs were also reporting an uptick of e-scooter related incidents."

The laissez faire attitude of many e-scooter operators is not news to many inside and outside the transportation community. Cities are grappling with how to regulate their use while balancing the need for alternative transportation solutions for their residents. Plus, there's the fun factor.

According to Sherony, there are currently more than 85,000 such scooters in service throughout the U.S., but in 2018, there were approximately 14,600 e-scooter accidents, up from just 4,500 four years earlier.

"I thought it would be fascinating to take a more in-depth look at how e-scooters interact with vehicles, with the thought that a deeper understanding of those interactions could help to develop safety systems in vehicles that might mitigate or avoid crashes with e-scooters," she shared.

To take that in-depth look, CSRC is partnering with the School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). The collaborative effort involves collecting data from fully instrumented e-scooters and vehicles using LiDAR and front- and rearview cameras.

The study efforts may be the key to success to move the scooters move from burdensome transportation solution and recreation activity to a true mobility solution. "The ultimate goal is to use this research to potentially develop or modify advanced safety features that will help to prevent and/or mitigate crashes with e-scooters in the future," said Sherony.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

BMW, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz are among the top 100 brands in the world.

Photo courtesy of BMW

A new survey of the top brands in the world features three automotive brands ranked in the top 100. To determine the rankings, BrandZ used a formula that looks at the brand's market capitalization and took into consideration the results of a global public survey that measured customer attitudes toward vehicle brands.

The survey included data from 3.8 minion customers and spanned 17,801 brands in 512 categories. The results included 51 markets and 5.3 billion data points.

The top 10 brands in the world read like a list of the usual suspects: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Visa, Alibaba Group, Tencent, Facebook, McDonalds, and Mastercard. AT&T, Verizon, Coca-Cola, IBM, Marlboro, The Home Depot, SAP, Moutai, Louis Vuitton, and UPS round out the top 20.

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime will give buyers a plug-in hybrid option for the popular two-row model. Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Between UPS at number 20 and the first automotive brand at number 48 are a section of brands that many Americans use daily: Nike, Disney, PayPal, Starbucks, Netflix, Walmart, Instagram, Adobe, YouTube, Samsung, and American Express.

Then, there's Toyota. Sitting at 48th on the list, Toyota has a valuation of $28.388 billion according to BrandZ. That's down 2.62 percent from 2019.

Eight spots lower on the list at number 56 is Mercedes-Benz. The company has a valuation of $21.349 billion, which is an 8.59 percent drop year-over-year.

Lower on the list, in the 61st position is BMW, which is valued at $20.517 billion. That's 12.04 percent less than they were listed at in 2019.

No other automaker made the list.

The overall value of the companies on the list topped $5 trillion, a six percent increase year-over-year.

To see the list of the top 10 auto brands, click here.

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BMW, which recently introduced the new 4 Series coupe is one of the most valuable automotive brands in the world.

Photo courtesy of BMW

New analysis by BrandZ has determined the most valuable automotive brands in the world. To determine the rankings, the company used a formula that looks at the brand's market capitalization and took into consideration the results of a global public survey that measured customer attitudes toward vehicle brands.

Scroll down to see the top 10.

No. 10 - Porsche

Porsche 911 Turbo S

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche doesn't make as many vehicles as some automakers each year, but they're still plagued by problems similar to what you'll find in a mass market car. The Porsche lineup includes the 718, 911, Taycan, Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne. Each of those has multiple variants - the 911 alone has 22 different models.

No. 9 - Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen Jetta Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen's U.S. lineup is small, but much of it is made in the U.S.A. There's Jetta, Jetta GLI, Passat, and Arteon cars as well as Tiguan, Atlas Cross Sport, and AtlasSUVs. If a wagon is more your style, you can get a Golf SportWagen or a Golf Alltrack. The Beetle, Golf, Golf GTI, and Golf R are also still on sale.

No. 8 - Audi

2021 Audi Q5

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi has had a big year revamping its lineup and adding the E-Tron all-electric SUV and additional variants of its most popular models.

The Audi cars lineup now includes: A3, S3, RS 3, A4, S4, A5 Sportback, S5 Sportback, RS 5 Sportback, A6, S6, A7, S7, RS 7, A8, S8, A5 Coupe, S5 Coupe, RS 5 Coupe, A5 Cabriolet, S5 Cabriolet, TT Coupe, TTS Coupe, TT RS Coupe, TT Roadster, R8, R8 Spyder, A4 Allroad, A6 Allroad, and RS 6 Avant.

The roster of SUVs includes: Q3, Q5, SQ5, Q7, SQ7, Q8, SQ8, and RS Q8.

The aforementioned E-Tron SUV is joined by the E-Tron Sportback in the Audi EV stable.

No. 7 - Nissan

2020 Nissan Titan PRO-4X Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has a wide variety of models to choose from. Its Versa, Sentra, and Altima cars have all be redesigned over the last two years. The Maxima got a solid mid-cycle refresh. On the SUV side of things, the Kicks, Rogue Sport, Rogue, Pathfinder, and Armada all remain options. Nissan plans to launch new versions of most of those in the next two years. The Frontier has a new engine for 2020 and will be all-new for 2021. The Titan has also undergone a significant upgrade.

No. 6 - Honda

Honda CR-V Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Ford recently slimmed their lineup as the company's focused shifted toward next-gen models. Still, there's a number of competitive offerings. Fusion and Mustang are their only cars. The SUV and crossover lineup includes the EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, and Mustang Mach-E. Some Flex models remain on automaker lots. The Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty round out the trucks lineup while the vans offered are the Transit and Transit Connect. The Ford GT is still sold in limited quantities.

No. 5 - Ford

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford recently slimmed their lineup as the company's focused shifted toward next-gen models. Still, there's a number of competitive offerings. Fusion and Mustang are their only cars. The SUV and crossover lineup includes the EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, and Mustang Mach-E. Some Flex models remain on automaker lots. The Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty round out the trucks lineup while the vans offered are the Transit and Transit Connect. The Ford GT is still sold in limited quantities.

No. 4 - Tesla

Tesla To Release Fourth Quarter Earnings Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tesla sells the Model 3 and Model S cars as well as the Model X SUV and Model Ycrossover. The Cybertruck is Tesla's next big model release.

No. 3 - BMW

BMW i4 concept

Photo courtesy of BMW

Visiting the BMW lineup is like going to Baskin Robbins. There are a wide variety of flavors to suit nearly every palette. the list of SUVs includes the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7. There's the 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 Series sedans and coupes. There are M and cabriolet variants of most of the cars. BMW also sells the new Z4 as well as the i3 and i8 electric vehicles.

No. 2 - Mercedes-Benz

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz stable is nearly full, not just with a wide variety of models, but a slew of engine options to choose from once you pick the car or SUV you're after.

In the U.S., the automaker sells the A-, C-, E-, and S-Class sedans. There's also the Mercedes-Maybach sedan line and the E-Clas wagon. The CLA, C-Class, E-Class, CLS, S-Class, and Mercedes-AMG GT (two- and four-door) all have coupe variants.

There are C-, E-, and S-Class cabriolets as well as the SLC and SL roadster and a convertible version of the Mercedes-AMG GT.

As for SUVs, the lineup includes the GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, GLS, and G-Class. Mercedes offers coupe versions of the GLC and GLE.

No. 1 - Toyota

2020 Toyota Tacoma

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Toyota delivers a lot of what customers are looking for. Its lineup includes the Yaris, 86, Supra, Corolla, Camry, and Avalon cars as well as the CH-R, RAV4, Highlander, Land Cruiser, and Sequoia. The company also sells the Tacoma and Tundra trucks. They recently announced that they would be selling a plug-in version of the RAV4 and bringing back the Venza nameplate for 2021.

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