TodayApril 16, 2022

Tesla talks to Google, Audi puts a Vulcan grip on Mercedes with a fascinating self-parking car

John Batchelor, host of the John Batchelor radio show, talked to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, about tesla talking to Google about autonomous vehicles, and Audi’s car commercial that star Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy.

Google was the first autonomous vehicle to get a license to drive their autonomous vehicles in Nevada, Audi was the first car company, Continental the first car supplier.

Tesla is one of the first start-up electric vehicle producers to create partnerships with mass marketing car companies such as Mercedes and Toyota, creating a B-Class electric vehicle for Mercedes and an electric RAV4 for Toyota.

While dealers are struggling to enforce state franchise laws Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk is challenging the state law

All car companies are working on some aspect of autonomous vehicles. Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, is a leader in the autonomous field. They prefer to call their technology “piloted” rather than autonomous. Piloted because it can be over-ridden like an autopilot function in an airplane.

Volkswagen Group has spent millions, probably billions, on creating autonomous vehicle technology. They have hired some of the best minds, creators of some of the autonomous cars in the Darpa challenges.

Why would Tesla want to create an autonomous car company with Google? Elon Musk made some “just off-the-cuff_ remarks to Bloomberg, and then tweeted, “Tesla priority is electrification of cars, so priority is Model S, Model X, then mass market third gen vehicle & truck”

Why would Google be interested in creating a partnership with Tesla? What assets do they have that would be attractive to Google? Google is known to have talked to well-established car companies, with a dealer distribution network already. Audi has confirmed that they do not have any serious discussions going on with Google.

Leonard Nimoy, old Spock, and Zachary Quinto, new Spock, team up to create the best car commercial in Star Trek history for Audi

Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: “The Challenge” is the new Audi commercial that has every trekker whimsically saying, “fascinating”

If you liked the VW Passat kid in the Darth Vader outfit you will love this commercial.

The blatant contest might be between the new Spock, Zachary Quinto, and the old, legendary, Spock, Leonard Nimoy, but beneath that is the contest that Audi wants to win. Quinto throws his golf clubs into the trunk and warp speeds the new Audi S7 to the lodge while Nimoy’s golf clubs end up in the car with him, instead of in the trunk of his Mercedes-Benz CLS 550.

While rolling down the highway, singing the Bilbo Baggins song that he created, Nimoy gets a call from Quinto asking him where he is, because Quinto is already at the club. Nimoy, knowing he has lost the bet pulls his live long and prosper hand to the window as he says his last farewells.

But don’t count Nimoy out. As one of the bloggers on the Audi commercial post said, “Old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill”. Nimoy bests Quinto with a Vulcan Grip and beats him into the lodge, thereby eluding the grim reaper of wealth, vexing Quinto to buy lunch.

The coup de gras, though, is when they are both heading out of the lodge and an Audi TTS self-parking car drives up in front of the lodge and Paul Dallenbach, one of the great Pikes Peak Hill Climb competitors, gets out and the car drives away by itself. The insignia on the side of the car is from Stanford University and Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL), headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. Both Spocks look in amazement and say, “fascinating.”

The only thing that would have made this commercial more of a “touche” would have been if Martin Eberhardt, co-founder and former CEO of Tesla, and former employee of Volkswagen’s ELR would have gotten out of the car. If would have put Tesla on notice, as well as Mercedes. Audi already has the Audi E-Tron, an Audi R-8 electric sports car, now they have a self-parking sports car as well.

Live long and prosper – Listen to the John Batchelor radio show podcast

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.