What to Read Next

Motoramic’s Dash for Friday, Dec. 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

What we're reading this morning about self-driving cars, auto award season and Chinese men named Simon who stave off midlife crises with special-edition Bugattis:

Google awarded U.S. patent for driverless car technology [L.A. Times] The patent protection for a car that drives itself is noteworthy. What Google will really need to ever launch a driverless car in the United States is a legal test case — or even better, changes in liability laws. Otherwise, the first fender-bender and every one thereafter could reach into the corporate till, regardless of who's at fault.

North American Car, Truck of the Year finalists announced [Detroit News] This award represents the collective judgment of many of the country's professional automotive reviewers. Their finalists: in cars, the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat. In trucks: the Honda CR-V, the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Sharp-eyed critics already note that the "truck" category contains nothing that would traditionally fit the definition of a body-on-frame "truck." Hey, we don't make the rules.

115 vehicles are named top safety picks [Detroit Free Press] It's great that more new models are safer than ever, thanks in no small part to pushing by the insurance industry. My quibble: How can 115 out of roughly 250 models be considered "top"?

New twist in fight to save Saab [Autocar] Saab still does not have money to build cars, and the patience of the people in charge of their accounts runs thin. Also, Saab gets a new court administrator Monday.

Bugatti Veyron SuperSport Edition Merveilleux for Chinese Customer [YouTube] I can't decide if this video -- of the entirety of Bugatti's management wishing a Chinese customer named Simon a happy 40th birthday with a special edition Bugatti Veyron SuperSport -- is meant to show the lengths Bugatti will go for its most prized clients, or the depths.