Self-Driving Systems are categorized by five-levels:
Level 1- Driver Assistance: Under specific conditions, the car controls either the steering or the vehicle speed, but not both simultaneously. The driver performs all other aspects of driving and has full responsibility for monitoring the road and taking over if the assistance system fails to act appropriately. Cruise control is Level 1
Level 2- Partial Automation: The car can steer, accelerate, and brake only in certain circumstances. Maneuvers such as responding to traffic signals or changing lanes largely fall to the driver, as well as scanning for hazards.
Level 3- Conditional Automation: The car is able to manage most aspects of driving, including monitoring the environment. The system prompts the driver to intervene when it encounters a scenario it can’t navigate. The driver must be available to take over at any time.
Level 4-High Automation: The vehicle can operate without human input or oversight but only under select conditions defined by factors such as road type or geographic area. In a shared car restricted to a defined area, there may not be any. But in a privately owned Level 4 car, the driver might manage all driving duties on surface streets then become a passenger as the car enters a highway.
Level 5- Full Automation: The vehicle can operate on any road and in any conditions a human driver could negotiate.
Manufacturers continue to plow forward to meet the 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. Ramping up electric car sales is on the forefront. Be prepared to see lots more Electric Vehicles starting in 2020, for example:
The trend in construction of new vehicles using lighter weight substrates continues. According to an article by MPower, much of the focus is placed on aluminum but many automakers are turning to carbon fiber not only for exterior components but also complete inner body structures. Some of Volvo’s hybrids inner structure are primarily carbon fiber. This reduces weight and enhances rigidity. Carbon fiber is also in the Silverado/Sierra trucks where GM is using carbon fiber in the construction of new bed assemblies. Industry analysts predict a compound annual growth rate of the automotive carbon fiber market between 7.9 percent and 10.6 percent for the coming five years.
This year, the auto industry will grow 2.0% to $1.299 trillion, the slowest growth rate since at least 2011. Growth will flatten through 2022, according to eMarketer’s latest US retail forecast.
Based on an article by eMarketer, that says that US light vehicle sales have been off to a slow start this year. Cindy Liu, forecasting analyist said that will contribute to the slowdown in the overall US retail market. Auto buyers remain hesitant to purchase new vehicles amid uncertainty surrounding the economy and rising interest rates.
The auto industry represents 23.7% of all US retail sales, making it the largest retail sector. As a result, it has a large impact on the aggregate. eMarketer says that total retail sales in the US will grow 3.0% in 2019 to $5.475 trillion. Because the auto industry represents nearly one-quarter of total US retail, any growth or contraction will have an outsized effect.
According to a new LendEDU study, 32% of consumers filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy carry student loan debt. Of that group, student loan debt comprised 49% of their total debt on average.
As of 2019, student loan debt is at an all-time high with a national total of $1.5 trillion. According to Student Loan Hero, the average student-loan debt per graduating student in 2018 who took out loans was $29,800.
The LendEDU data shows the effects of the growing burden of student loan debt. Coupled with a high cost of living and the fallout of the recession, student loans make it harder for millennials to save and put them financially behind — to the point where they may need to declare bankruptcy to be able to pay them off.
The social safety net for older Americans has been shrinking for the past 20 years or so. Reduced income, and increased healthcare costs, are now financial risks associated with aging. A new trend is emerging, older Americans are increasingly likely to file consumer bankruptcy. Using data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, the SSRN (Social Science Research Network) reported finding more than a two-fold increase in the rate at which Americans aged 65 and over file for bankruptcy. Also reported, an almost five-fold increase in the percentage of older persons in the U.S. bankruptcy system. The magnitude of growth in older Americans in bankruptcy is so large that the broader trend of an aging U.S. population can explain only a small portion of the effect. The SSRN data indicates that older Americans report they are struggling with increased financial risks, namely inadequate income and unmanageable costs of healthcare, as they try to deal with reductions to their social safety net. As a result of these increased financial burdens, the median senior bankruptcy filer enters bankruptcy with negative wealth of $17,390 as compared to more than $250,000 for their non-bankrupt peers. For an increasing number of older Americans, their golden years are fraught with economic risks, the result of which is often bankruptcy.
Read more here.
Is the trend of declining bankruptcy filings coming to an end? There are some key indicators that suggest it.
A 2019 report from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) indicates that consumer bankruptcy filings are on track to increase notably for the first time in years. The ABI shows that total U.S. bankruptcy filings increased 3% in July from the previous July; consumer bankruptcy filings increased at the same 3 percent rate year-to-year, with 61,025 consumer filings in July 2019, up from 59,110 in July 2018. Consumer bankruptcies also rose about 5 percent month to month from June to July 2019 (from 58,003 to 61,025).
The New York Post noted that if the trend continues, the overall total of [personal and business] bankruptcies is on pace to hit 796,000 which far exceeds last year’s totals.
Data from the ABI suggests that household debt is roughly $14 trillion, which is $1 trillion more than the 2008 Great Recession peak. Credit card debt is $1 trillion and also exceeds the 2008 peak, which could make households more likely to turn to bankruptcy as a means of relief moving forward.