After seeing a wealth of favorable reviews of its virtual NASCAR race last weekend, Fox Sports has signed up to broadcast the rest of the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Sunday’s virtual race was watched by 903,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1. Those numbers are far below the millions of viewers who watch NASCAR’s official races as the last one at Phoenix Raceway reached 4.6 million. Sunday’s virtual race hit a number of firsts that seem to be enough and Fox Sports committed to broadcasting the virtual racing series for the remainder of the season, beginning March 29.

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating German automaker BMW. The news was confirmed by a company spokesperson a few days ago. The investigation is regarding BMW’s sales practices, specifically whether the company is “punching” its sales.

The German automaker confirmed it has been contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, declined to provide further comment on the ongoing investigation.

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Chinese authorities have recently given Tesla the green light for production in its huge factory in Shanghai. Europe could be next.

Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Shanghai started trial production ahead of schedule this month and is starting to build “full vehicles”, “from the body to paint”, officials from the company told investors Wednesday.  In addition, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is planning to announce the location of its Gigafactory that will be built in Europe by the end of the year.

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Following years of slowed growth, ride-sharing app Uber may soon be forced to start selling its vast amounts of user data in order to turn a profit.

The company has been affected by a number of scandals in recent years, as a result, its growth rate slowed to 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter, making the company’s annual loss of more than $3 billion all the more worrisome for investors.

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The Michigan factory will be the first of its kind to build vehicles capable of Level 4 autonomy.

Over a month after launching the first-ever commercial autonomous ride-hailing service, Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle company, Waymo, said this week that it is planning o build a new manufacturing plant. The company said in a blog post that the facility will be located in Michigan and that it will be the first of its kind to build vehicles of Level 4 autonomy, in which the vehicle drives itself, but only with limits on where. It seems Waymo hopes the new facility should help the company build its lead in this growing industry. This will be the world’s first factory 100%-dedicated to the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles,” said from the company.

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BMWs bursting into flames made headlines in South Korea earlier this year. The local media reported more than 40 cases in 2018 and some parking lots refused to accept BMW cars over fears of fire.

South Korea said Monday, December 24, it will fine German automaker BMW $10 million and file a criminal complaint with state prosecutors over allegedly dragging its feet in recalling vehicles with faulty engines after dozens of engine fires.

The auto giant apologized and recalled 172,000 vehicles of 65 different models in July and October with a faulty exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler, which the company blamed for the fires.

In August, a recall of 480,000 vehicles with the same EGR cooler issue for Europe and some Asian countries, including South Korea, was announced — including South Korea — of 480,000 cars affected by the same problem. The recall was expanded to more than one million additional diesel cars two months later.

After a five-month review, South Korea’s Transport Ministry concluded that the German automaker deliberately tried to cover up technical issues and was slow to recall the cars. The ministry found the fires to be caused by faulty valves in the exhaust gas recirculation coolers (EGR). Combined with carbon and oil sediment the leaks could cause fires when the vehicle was driven at high speeds for long periods of time, but the carmaker said the problem would be solved by the exchange of faulty hardware.

Six out of 10 imported vehicles are from Germany in South Korea. BMW sold nearly 39,000 cars in the first six months of 2018, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.

According to MSN.

The Japanese automaker has teamed up with the Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald to create the ‘perfect’ ad, which it is billing as the first commercial scripted by artificial intelligence.

The 60-second spot is entitled Driven by Intuition and directed by Macdonald, working from a script that was developed by IBM’s Watson AI system. Macdonald’s credits include The Last King of Scotland and the Whitney Houston biopic Whitney. The storyline itself along with the script was created using AI along with technical partner Visual Voice, IBM and Lexus’s creative agency The&Partnership. The agencies collaborated with the IBM Watson team to use AI to analyze 15 years’ worth of footage, text and audio for car and luxury brand campaigns that have won Cannes Lions awards for creativity, as well as a range of other external data. More »

The German automaker is considering a second manufacturing plant in U.S. that could produce engines and transmissions, BMW Group Chairman and CEO Harald Krueger said to reporters Tuesday in Los Angeles ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show. According to a company spokesman, the Munich-based BMW Group is considering building an engine plant in the U.S. to supply its vehicles made in the U.S. and Mexico. More »

Tesla Model Y prototype has been approved by Elon Musk, and its production will start in 2020.

Elon Musk had approved the production of a prototype of the Model Y and the company is targeting 2020, Tesla CEO said during the automaker’s third-quarter earnings call a few days ago. The CEO only said they had made significant progress on the Model Y and didn’t give any further details. Musk has previously teased a March 2019 reveal of the SUV. More »

Google’s Waymo gets permission for human-free driving tests in the Golden State.
Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, has won approval from California to begin the first tests of fully driverless cars without human safety drivers at the wheel as a backup on state roads. The company is the first to receive a driverless permit in the Golden State. The company has been granted the permission amid an increase in skepticism about the real-world readiness of self-driving technology.

Waymo’s permit includes day and night testing on city streets, rural roads, and highways with speed limits of up to 65 mph. The company claims its vehicles can safely handle fog and light rain, and testing in those conditions is included in the permit. Waymo plans to gradually begin driverless testing on public roads in a limited territory and, over time, gradually expand the area. More »