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Baidu launches China’s first commercial driverless taxi service

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Baidu's Apollo Go driverless taxi service

Chinese search engine giant Baidu on Sunday started offering the first rides to commercial customers in its self-driving taxis.

Known as Apollo Go, the service has been open to the public on a trial basis since last October but Sunday marked the first time that riders have needed to pay for it.

Currently, the paid service is limited to roads in Beijing’s Shougang Park, one of the venues for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Apollo Go users are able to use the service to reach various sport halls, as well as business districts, coffee shops and hotels.

Baidu’s Apollo Go driverless taxi service

Hailing a ride is done via an app. Once the vehicle arrives, checks are done to identify the rider and ensure he or she is wearing a safety belt before the journey begins. At present, a safety driver still rides in the front passenger seat for monitoring purposes. Eventually the safety driver will be removed but the vehicles will still be connected via 5G to a central hub should the need to remotely control the vehicle occur.

The plan is to expand the service to more parts of Beijing and eventually more Chinese cities. Baidu has completed more than six million miles of testing and has public trials also up and running in the Yizhuang, Haidian and Shunyi areas of Beijing.

Waymo, the self-driving taxi service of Baidu-rival Alphabet, has been offering its Waymo One commercial service in parts of Phoenix, Arizona, since last December. Unlike Apollo Go, Waymo One is already operating without a safety driver on board.

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Autos

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car for sale

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1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Nissan scored some of its biggest racing successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, competing in the IMSA GTP prototype class and racing the Z32-generation 300ZX in the GTO class. One of those 300ZX IMSA GTO race cars is now for sale on Bring a Trailer.

Clayton Cunningham racing built seven factory-supported cars, which raced between 1989 and 1995. This car—chassis 004—debuted in 1990 and raced in 1991 as well, with wins at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen, seven pole positions, two fastest laps, and a 93% finishing record, according to the listing.

Power is provided by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive.

1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo IMSA GTO race car (Photo by Bring a Trailer)

Carbon-fiber bodywork vaguely resembles a stock 1990 Nissan 300ZX, but underneath is a bespoke chromoly tubular space frame. Chassis 004 debuted an extended-wheelbase layout intended to help cure handling ills with the first three cars.

After 14 races, chassis 004 was retired at the end of the 1991 season. It was used as a backup car, before being sold in 1997 to a Canadian owner. That owner left the car unused before returning it to Clayton Cunningham Racing in 2003 for reconditioning, according to the listing. The car then sat idle again until it was sold in 2017 to an Oregon owner, who entered it in vintage races. It was refurbished a second time before being acquired by the current owner in 2020, according to the listing.

Its worth noting that a similar car, chassis 002, built for the 1989 IMSA season, went unsold after being listed by Stratas Auctions last year. That car has at the same twin-turbo engine as chassis 004, but the earlier short-wheelbase chassis. It also never won a race; its best finish was third at Mid-Ohio.

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How to choose 35-inch or 37-inch tires

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2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor will be available with 35-inch or 37-inch tires when it hits dealerships this summer, and the choice really depends on how you plan to use the Raptor, according to Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Based on interviews with Ford engineers, the website advises that the 35-inch tires are better for high-speed off-roading, while the 37-inch tires are better for driving over large obstacles at slower speeds.

Both 2021 Raptor tires are from the BF Goodrich K02 series. The truck comes standard with 35-inch tires; the 37-inch tires are a $7,500 option. They’re also the largest tires available from the factory for a half-ton pickup truck.

2021 Ford F-150 Raptor

The bigger tires come with various hardware and software changes, which should avoid the ride and steering issues that often come with simply bolting bigger tires onto a truck, Adam Busack, Ford Performance feature engineering supervisor for the 2021 Raptor, said in an interview with Muscle Cars & Trucks. Those changes include repackaged suspension, and calibration changes for the steering, powertrain, and anti-lock brakes.

Other notable features of the 2021 Ford F-150 Raptor include first-ever coil-spring rear suspension, increased suspension travel (now 14 inches in the front and 15 inches in the rear), and Fox internal-bypass shocks. The Raptor also moves to the current-generation F-150 platform, which brings increased structural rigidity and a new infotainment system, among other features.

Under the hood, the Raptor gets a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Output hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to surpass the previous generation’s 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Ford has confirmed that an upcoming 2022 Raptor R will get a V-8, but hasn’t released any other details.

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2022 Genesis G70, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06: This Week’s Top Photos

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Electric Porsche Macan development

Genesis this week kicked off its European launch with the reveal of a sexy G70 wagon. It’s based on the updated 2022 Genesis G70 sedan, and sadly we won’t see it in the United States.

Electric Porsche Macan development

Porsche plans to offer an electric Macan alongside an updated version of the current gas-powered model. While we’ve previously spotted the updated gas model, Porsche this week provided a glimpse of the new electric Macan for the first time.

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 Porsche Cayenne Coupe facelift spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another Porsche out testing was an updated Cayenne. Porsche’s Cayenne range is about to undergo its mid-cycle refresh and the changes look to be more substantial than normal. Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the more dynamically styled Cayenne Coupe.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS production at plant in Sindelfingen, Germany

Mercedes-Benz reached a major turning point with the start of production of its first dedicated electric vehicle, the 2022 EQS. The big sedan is due in showrooms this fall with a 108 kilowatt-hour battery, or enough for 400 miles of range.

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

2021 Lexus IS350 F Sport

Lexus has a new generation of its IS sedan on its hands, one that boasts bold styling and a sport-tuned chassis. The car is more of a heavy update of the outgoing IS than a true redesign, and this becomes evident after a quick drive.

2021 Acura TLX Type S

2021 Acura TLX Type S

An alternative to the IS is Acura’s new TLX, which comes in sporty Type S guise. The TLX Type S is serving as the official pace car at this weekend’s Mid-Ohio round of the 2021 WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, ahead of the showroom appearance later this month.

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Chevy engineers were spotted testing a hotter version of the mid-engined C8 Corvette, and it’s likely the new Z06. We hear it will run a naturally aspirated V-8, and some video footage of the tester seems to confirm it.

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

2022 Ineos Grenadier prototype

The Land Rover Defender-inspired Ineos Grenadier is undergoing durability testing ahead of the start of production in 2022. That’s about a year later than originally planned, but a lot has changed in the past year, and that’s before you factor in the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

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