14 December 2015

Is North Las Vegas Becoming The Driverless Detroit?

Concept Art, Faraday Future Facilities

Faraday Future

Concept Art, Faraday Future Facilities

Are those solar panels on the roof?

Faraday Future wants to build the car of the future, and the secretive startup company is going to try and do it in Nevada. The team is headed by four former Tesla Motors executives and an executive from BMW, and their company has generated lots of excitement in recent months, despite the fact they have yet to unveil an actual product. Here’s what they say they want to do:

We will launch with fully-electric vehicles that will offer smart and seamless connectivity to the outside world. Beyond traditional electric vehicles, we are also developing other aspects of the automotive and technology industries, including unique ownership models, in-vehicle content and autonomous driving.

Last week, they announced their intentions to build invest $1 billion in a site in North Las Vegas. The reasons they gave for the location are fairly typical, including worker availablity and tax climate. There’s also this:

Additionally, we’ll be appropriately positioned on the south end of the “electric highway,” a pioneering stretch of U.S. Route 95 between Reno and Las Vegas that is populated with a large network of vehicle charging stations.

“Electric Highway” may refer to the specific piece of infrastructure, but it could also refer to the burgeoning transportation development hub that is forming in the area. Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is set to begin testing in North Las Vegas next year. Nevada was the first state to authorize driverless cars, and they’ve already tested autonomous freight truck convoys.

More broadly, North Las Vegas is also home to another futuristic transportation company: Bigelow Aerospace, which wants to put inflatable habitats, and eventually hotels, into orbit (h/t: Moe Delaun).

If Henry Ford’s great innovation was producing cars cheap enough that works could own them, it seems Faraday’s ambition is making autonomous cars that remember to pick up their users, but that no one really owns.



from http://www.popsci.com/is-north-las-vegas-becoming-driverless-detroit
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