The Truth About Cars » Gizmology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:52:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Gizmology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/gizmology/ Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Musk: Autonomous Vehicles Mean Future Where Driving Is Illegal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/musk-autonomous-vehicles-mean-future-driving-illegal/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024489 His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention. Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.: In the distant future, I […]

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His hand may be on a steering wheel now, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk foresees a future where autonomous vehicles lead to a total ban on human intervention.

Automotive News reports Musk said as much during a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif.:

In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.

He later clarified on Twitter his own position on the matter, stating his company “is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,” hoping that the statement was obvious to those following along.

As for his appearance at Nvidia, the chipmaker is working to sell a purpose-built autonomous-vehicle computer called Drive PX, based upon its Tegra X1 mobile processor. The system will have 12 inputs for high-res cameras — like the kind Tesla is putting into its Model S right now — and is due to go on sale in May.

Musk added that his engineers are hard at work on improving autonomous technology, believing the tech will take greater control of the wheel on the highway “in a few years.”

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Insurers, Suppliers Face Potential Disruption From Autonomous Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/insurers-suppliers-face-potential-disruption-autonomous-vehicles/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016754 Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles? The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business. How? For […]

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Google Autonomous Clown Car Amid Wind Turbines

Work in the insurance industry? Ever wonder what life would be like insuring the owners of autonomous vehicles?

The Wall Street Journal reports insurers Cincinnati Financial, Mercury General and Travelers, along with supplier LKQ, are warning investors that autonomous technology would one day come to disrupt the way insurers and suppliers do business.

How? For insurers, decreased demand for certain policies, changes in policy marketing, pricing and underwriting, and predicting risk when the driver no longer drives. For suppliers, declines in accident rates and repairs from those that do occur, leading to less demand for parts overall.

Barclays insurance analyst Jay Gelb, however, says insurers would have plenty of time to prepare for the autonomous future, especially since such vehicles are more complex; thus, requiring more money to fix them. He adds that it was “hard to see how a product that has been in place for more than a century is just going to go away” because a different breed of vehicle is just now entering the development phase.

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Schockmel: CLEPA Members Ready For Autonomous Opportunities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016706 Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game. According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of […]

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Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game.

According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of the movement:

This is the story which is not only changing cars, but the entire automotive industry and [is] a societal change. I am very much focussing on this because I feel for our members, we have to follow this very strongly and we see huge business opportunities. There will also be challenges with new players coming in – I see this in a positive way because there are opportunities.

Already, Volvo is experimenting with autonomous technology through a plan to introduce 100 vehicles so-equipped to its home city of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom government approved measures to allow driverless testing on public roads, providing funding for tests in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry. The government also is developing certification standards for autonomous vehicles.

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016682 Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed. According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the […]

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Lexus Autonomous Car

Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed.

According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the outcome being that most vehicles on the road within the next few decades will be autonomous. Automotive practice chief Hans-Werner Kaas explains:

Autonomous vehicles will have a gradual step-by-step adoption. First, there will be pay-per-usage models. These vehicles will be alternatives to cars. They will make mobility available in smaller incremental units.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology is already present in the industrial sector, such as Australian mining company Rio Tinto’s fleet of 53 autonomous dump trucks at one of its iron ore mines in western Australia. Kaas says vehicles like those trucks “are defined environments where you have defined routes,” leading to greater control overall.

The report goes on to state that body shops would have less work due to fewer fender-benders between autonomous vehicles, while service techs would need extensive training to maintain the array of systems used by the vehicles; insurance companies would have to adapt as well.

Finally, more parking spaces would be in need of repurposing: by 2050, up to 5.7 billion square meters would be converted into something else as a result of how autonomous vehicles handle such things. The report adds that the shift to near-autonomy would take two decades to accomplish.

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Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

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V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

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Chicago 2015: Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-mitsubishi-concept-gc-phev-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-mitsubishi-concept-gc-phev-revealed/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:38:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998426 A preview of things to come for a full-size crossover, the Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV bowed at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The concept not only demonstrates the design language that is expected for the production-ready full-size crossover to come, but also hints at what might be on-board when the real deal finally hits the showroom. […]

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A preview of things to come for a full-size crossover, the Mitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV bowed at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

The concept not only demonstrates the design language that is expected for the production-ready full-size crossover to come, but also hints at what might be on-board when the real deal finally hits the showroom.

Power for the Concept GC-PHEV is a supercharged 3-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed auto, and paired an electric motor powered by a 12-kWh lithium-ion pack. Total output is 355 horsepower, which is carried to all four corners via the crossover’s full-time AWD. Fuel economy is projected to be 35 mpg — the specific category wasn’t mentioned — and can go up to 25 miles on its electric motor alone.

Should a disaster not involving EMPs occur, Mitsubishi says the Concept GC-PHEV generates 1,500 watts of electricity when both battery and fuel tank are fully replenished, enough for nearly two weeks of emergency power for an average household.

Other features include: four bucket seats; a “Tactical Table” console touchscreen that allows smartphones to access its features via wireless induction; augmented-reality HUD; lane-departure; and adaptive cruise control.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Acura RDX Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-acura-rdx-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-acura-rdx-debuts/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:08:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998114 An hour after Honda debuted its new Pilot, the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX took to the ramp at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Much like the Pilot, the RDX gains a nine-speed automatic to direct power to the front or all corners. Said power comes from an updated 3.5-liter V6 generating 279 horsepower and 252 […]

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An hour after Honda debuted its new Pilot, the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX took to the ramp at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Much like the Pilot, the RDX gains a nine-speed automatic to direct power to the front or all corners. Said power comes from an updated 3.5-liter V6 generating 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, with cylinder deactivation adding 1 mpg on the highway for both FWD and AWD models; the most efficient highway star garners 29 mpg.

Other features on the premium crossover include: LED projector headlamps; AcuraWatch safety system; heated front seats; remote start; front/rear parking sensors; and second-row air vents. The 2016 Acura RDX is due in showrooms this spring, hoping to continue where the crossover left off in 2014, when 45,000 units took to the highways of the United States.

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DOD: Connected Technologies Growing More Vulnerable To Sabotage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995314 As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice. Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but […]

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2012_Chevrolet_Impala. Photo courtesy wikipedia

As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice.

Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but at home, in the office et al.

In one demonstration, Kaufman was able to break into the OnStar system aboard a previous-gen Chevrolet Impala, transplanting a code that allowed him to control everything on the car, from the wipers and the horn, to the braking and acceleration system itself.

The situation may be more dire still: a report from Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts’ office states all new vehicles can be hacked, and that only “two out of 16 car makers can diagnose or respond to an infiltration in real-time.”

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More Consumers Turning To Technology For Vehicle Purchases http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/consumers-turning-technology-vehicle-purchases/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/consumers-turning-technology-vehicle-purchases/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994202 While visiting a dealership is de rigueur for most, an increasing number of consumers are turning to technology to buy their cars. Detroit Free Press reports that consumers visit 1.6 dealerships on average prior to purchasing a vehicle — down from an average of five 10 years prior — four out of five compare prices […]

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While visiting a dealership is de rigueur for most, an increasing number of consumers are turning to technology to buy their cars.

Detroit Free Press reports that consumers visit 1.6 dealerships on average prior to purchasing a vehicle — down from an average of five 10 years prior — four out of five compare prices and vehicles from an average of 10 dealerships through sites like eBay Motors, Edmunds and TrueCar, and half of millennials purchased their vehicles from their smartphone or tablet.

The challenge for those who conduct their car-dealing business online is to convince more traditional dealers that technology is a tool for increasing sales, not a new competitor out to steal sales. Ebay Motors general manager Bryan Murphy considers his site a sales channel and “not a retailer,” citing scale as the main selling point; dealers can connect with 155 million eBay customers around the world through eBay Motors.

Dealers, as well as automakers and lenders, would also be able to make financial offers tailored to a consumer’s given economic history, zip code, insurance, and other factors that may not be relevant to buying a car, thanks to data mining and other information-gathering tools.

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OEMs Delay Vehicle Alert Sounds For Pedestrians On EVs, Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/oems-delay-vehicle-alert-sounds-pedestrians-evs-hybrids/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992458 As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018. Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 […]

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As quiet as electric vehicles and hybrids are, plans to make them noisy for the benefit of pedestrians et al have been delayed until 2018.

Edmunds reports accidents involving pedestrians climbed 6 percent in 2012 over the previous year, totaling 76,000 injuries and 4,743 deaths. Though EVs and hybrids only account for less than 2 percent of all vehicles traversing the United States, were they equipped with engine sound technology — and were the percentage to increase to a projected 4 percent in 2016 — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 2,790 fewer accidents with pedestrians would result.

To help introduce the technology in all EVs and hybrids, Congress enacted the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act in January 2011, which mandates the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop standards for automakers to use in implementing “recognizable” sounds meant to alert pedestrians that a vehicle is approaching when the vehicle is moving down the road at 18 mph or less. The full power of the act would have come into play three years after the final rule is passed down, but delays in getting to that point — the result of comments by automakers and industry groups — have pushed the mandate to September 2018.

Meanwhile, a handful of automakers have moved ahead with implementing their versions of the safety system. Nissan has the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians on its Leaf, while Chevrolet has a driver-operated noise onboard the Volt. However, the sounds don’t always resemble that of the ICE; Fisker’s Karma, for example, pulls its alert from Tron light-cycles and Motorola Droids, while the Kia Soul EV is waving its light saber in front of a field of crickets. Most manufacturers, though, are sitting out the PSEA until they know what the final rule will say on the matter.

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Verizon Goes Its Own Way With Verizon Vehicle Post-OnStar http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/verizon-goes-way-verizon-vehicle-post-onstar/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/verizon-goes-way-verizon-vehicle-post-onstar/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=983673 With General Motors’ OnStar breaking up with Verizon after nearly 20 years to wed AT&T this year, and with about 200 million vehicles in the United States that don’t have such a system on-board, what’s a telecom to do? Jump in the game itself, of course. During the final press day of the 2015 Detroit […]

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With General Motors’ OnStar breaking up with Verizon after nearly 20 years to wed AT&T this year, and with about 200 million vehicles in the United States that don’t have such a system on-board, what’s a telecom to do?

Jump in the game itself, of course.

During the final press day of the 2015 Detroit Auto Show Tuesday, Verizon announced it would be debuting its newest service, Verizon Vehicle, in Q2 2015; nationwide retailer availability will come later in the year. The service would provide users with all the things OnStar users have had for years, including: diagnostics assistance with ASE Certified Mechanics; one-button live assistance; and roadside assistance with GPS.

As for how this will be accomplished for the aforementioned 200 million vehicles without the luxury of OnStar, Verizon Vehicle subscribers will use an OBD reader to obtain information via the vehicle’s diagnostic port, a Bluetooth-enabled visor-mounted speaker for live one-on-one communication, and a free smartphone app to accomplish the same. Subscribers can also use the app to have customer service reps contact them via email, text, push notification or phone. A second button on the speaker handles all emergency situations.

No subscription rates were announced at this time.

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New Apps, Infotainment Systems Turn Up At 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-apps-infotainment-systems-turn-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/new-apps-infotainment-systems-turn-2015-ces/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973610 Autonomous alien luxury pods and royalty-free hydrogen patents aren’t the only things coming onto the stage during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll show you the latest and greatest from BMW, FCA, Audi and Ford, with the help from our brothers and sisters over at AutoGuide. BMW introduced non-contact gesture controls […]

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FCA Uconnect Access Services

Autonomous alien luxury pods and royalty-free hydrogen patents aren’t the only things coming onto the stage during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll show you the latest and greatest from BMW, FCA, Audi and Ford, with the help from our brothers and sisters over at AutoGuide.

BMW introduced non-contact gesture controls for its Control Display touchscreen infotainment system, allowing drivers to input a given address with directed gestures made between the instrument panel and gear shift, among other tasks. Another system, Touch Command, will use a standard Samsung tablet to handle all infotainment and comfort functions, and provides wireless access to all onboard electronics for all passengers.

Over at FCA, the automaker debuted new additions to its Uconnect Access suite of apps: Vehicle Finder, Send Destination to Vehicle, Monthly Vehicle Report and Vehicle Health Alert. All four allow owners to keep tabs on their vehicle’s systems, easily navigate to a given destination, and know where their vehicle is at all times. The new suite will debut in H1 2015 on select FCA products equipped with either 8.4A or 8.4AN Uconnect systems.

Audi showed off the new interior of the next-gen Q7 — set to bow in Detroit next week as a 2016 model — to the media in attendance at the 2015 CES. The dashboard arrangement is derived from the TT, featuring a 12.3-inch Audi Virtual Cockpit display with 3D maps and other important information. An additional pop-up central display uses a rotary knob and touch-sensitive pad to operate, while two large, removable, Wi-Fi-enabled tablets mounted in the back of the front headrests provide navigation info and entertainment for those seated in back.

Finally, Ford has added on AccuWeather and Life360 to the AppLink suite of apps on-board the new, QNX-based Sync 3 system. The Life360 Sync 3 app has a special Drive Mode feature that sends text messages to a driver’s friends and family so that they know not to contact the user while driving, with a follow-up text sent upon arrival at the user’s destination. AccuWeather, meanwhile, will use GPS to give minute-by-minute weather forecasts to help drivers better deal with and plan around inclement weather.

BMW CES 2015 01 BMW CES 2015 02 BMW CES 2015 03 BMW CES 2015 04 Uconnect_Access_Smartphone_App_ Vehicle_Finder Send_Destination_to_Vehicle_FCA Monthly_Vehicle_Health_Report Audi Q7 CES 2015 01 Audi Q7 CES 2015 02 Audi Q7 CES 2015 03 Audi Q7 CES 2015 04 Ford CES 2015 01 Ford CES 2015 02 Ford CES 2015 03 Ford CES 2015 04

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Mercedes Brings ‘Luxury In Motion’ To 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-brings-luxury-motion-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/mercedes-brings-luxury-motion-2015-ces/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972857 The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show isn’t just the place to see the latest and greatest in gadgets and 1,000-inch Ultra 5K curved-screen Omega Definition touchscreen televisions with Minority Report-style controls, but also where some of those things will wind up in the auto industry. For Mercedes-Benz, it’s the F 015 Luxury in Motion. The carbon-fiber, […]

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Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 07

The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show isn’t just the place to see the latest and greatest in gadgets and 1,000-inch Ultra 5K curved-screen Omega Definition touchscreen televisions with Minority Report-style controls, but also where some of those things will wind up in the auto industry.

For Mercedes-Benz, it’s the F 015 Luxury in Motion.

The carbon-fiber, aluminum and high-strength steel concept’s main selling point is autonomous driving and its relationship with both time and privacy, something Daimler AG CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche believes will become the two most important “luxury goods” in the 21st century.

To facilitate this, the Luxury in Motion offers variable seating for four, perfect for conducting business meetings on the way to Google, or enjoying a weekend getaway to Las Vegas. The seats also swivel out to 30 degrees upon opening of the doors, allowing for easier exits and boarding.

The interior also boasts six display screens “harmoniously integrated into the instrument panel and the rear and side panels,” creating a “digital arena” for everyone’s convenience. The screens can be accessed via Minority Report-style gestures, eye-tracking or touch.

As for power, the Luxury in Motion “was designed to allow the impact-protected integration of an electric drive system with fuel cell”; perhaps Daimler might be interested in some patents, then? The concept also weighs 40 percent less than a standard vehicle in its segment, and is notably larger than the S-Class.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 07 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 06 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 05 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 04 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 03 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 02 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion 01

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Connected-Vehicle Tech Takes Center Stage At 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/connected-vehicle-tech-takes-center-stage-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/connected-vehicle-tech-takes-center-stage-2015-ces/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 15:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972098 You’ve seen the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show; now see what else automotive-related is debuting at the annual tech show in Las Vegas. Whether you have an iPhone 6 Plus or a Nexus 6, Volkswagen has you covered for connectivity. According to AutoGuide, the automaker unveiled its new App-Connect system at […]

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MirrorLink VW CES

You’ve seen the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show; now see what else automotive-related is debuting at the annual tech show in Las Vegas.

Whether you have an iPhone 6 Plus or a Nexus 6, Volkswagen has you covered for connectivity. According to AutoGuide, the automaker unveiled its new App-Connect system at CES 2015 with a demo in its e-Golf. The system also works with MirrorLink, found on smartphones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy Note, and Sony Xperia Z. Other demos involving the EV itself included its Intelligent Charge wireless charging system, and the Perfect Parking autonomous parking feature.

Sticking with VW, future BlackBerry spinoff QNX announced it would partner up with the brand in providing its technology for new 2015 models, including the Touareg, Passat and Golf. The system supports 3D Google Earth and Google Street View, and offers real-time traffic information, reverse camera display, and four-zone climate controls among its array of features. QNX is also in use by parent company Volkswagen AG’s Audi and Porsche brands.

QNX also unveiled its latest concept car at CES 2015. Based upon the Maserati Quattroporte GTS, the Snapdragon 602A-powered QNX Quattroporte Technology Concept Car introduces the company’s take on autonomous driving. The concept uses ultrasonic radar, LIDAR and cameras to navigate and anticipate obstacles, as well as provide warning to those inside via its high-res touchscreen display from the CLA 45 AMG QNX Concept. QNX also brought an updated version of its Jeep Wrangler Technology Concept Car to demo the company’s technologies via a virtualized driving environment.

Those of you dealing with “the second coming of the polar vortex” might be happy to know that one day, you’ll be able to start your car via smartphone. Valeo’s InBlue technology uses Bluetooth to not only accomplish said task, but to also unlock doors, allow for secure vehicle sharing, and access vitals like fuel level and where your car is among the many silver-backed crossovers in the mall parking lot. InBlue is also compatible with smartwatches, and could hit the market as early as 2016.

Finally, 100 select BMW i3 owners in northern California will take part in a pilot program by Pacific Gas & Electric Company and BMW to study electric-vehicle charging time management, with the aim of improving the grid and reducing total cost of ownership of EVs. The target is to give PG&E 100 kilowatts of capacity at any time, even while groups of EVs recharge their batteries; BMW will determine when an i3 is charged, though owners can override via the i3’s smartphone app upon notification. Each participant will be paid a $1,000 incentive for their time.

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Toyota Grants Royalty-Free Use Of Over 5K Hydrogen Patents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-grants-royalty-free-use-5k-hydrogen-patents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-grants-royalty-free-use-5k-hydrogen-patents/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972018 Last year, Tesla granted every one of its competitors full access to its myriad of patents, in the hope they would, in turn, build more EVs. This year? Toyota is doing the same with its hydrogen fuel-cell patents to help spur on further FCV development. The automaker made the announcement Monday during the 2015 Consumer […]

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2016-toyota-mirai-10-1

Last year, Tesla granted every one of its competitors full access to its myriad of patents, in the hope they would, in turn, build more EVs.

This year? Toyota is doing the same with its hydrogen fuel-cell patents to help spur on further FCV development.

The automaker made the announcement Monday during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where those interested in building their own Mirai can do so with information gathered from the 5,600-plus patents linked to the FCV. Said patents include “approximately 1,970 patents related to fuel cell stacks, 290 associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 related to fuel cell system software control and 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply.”

There is a catch for this access, of course: Royalty-free use of Toyota’s patents related to FCVs will last until the end of “the initial market introduction period,” set to end in 2020. Those who are more interested in building the infrastructure for those FCVs, however, will have unlimited access indefinitely. Toyota also asks that any patents developed from those by the former be shared with the automaker, but does not require any party do so.

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New Startup Zirx Provides Concierge Services For Drivers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-startup-zirx-provides-concierge-services-drivers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-startup-zirx-provides-concierge-services-drivers/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 07:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963002 This Saturday will be one of the most brutal shopping days of the year, as everyone will be trying to find that last-minute Christmas gift for their loved ones. The last thing anyone needs is to try to figure out where to park, wasting precious shopping minutes while circling the lot in their mythical brown […]

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ZIRX Xmas 2014

This Saturday will be one of the most brutal shopping days of the year, as everyone will be trying to find that last-minute Christmas gift for their loved ones. The last thing anyone needs is to try to figure out where to park, wasting precious shopping minutes while circling the lot in their mythical brown diesel manual RWD wagon.

For those in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, there is a solution.

San Francisco-based startup Zirx provides shoppers — and anyone else who needs it — with an array of automotive concierge services, from charging your Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf for $10 and $15 parking so you can get on with it, to $4/gallon refueling and $30 full-detail car washing service for your Dodge Charger Hellcat or Ford F-150 Platinum Edition. Overnight parking in monitored garages and oil changes are available, as well, and all prices include tips, so you can put that tipping calculator away.

Said services are initiated via an app on your iPhone or Android unit of choice, with a Zirx agent popping by within five to seven minutes. The agents work seven days a week in the downtown cores of the aforementioned cities, with hours of operation between 7 a.m. and midnight on most days, depending on the city. Your car is covered by a $2 million insurance policy split evenly between your car and its agent, with coverage in effect from the start of your requested service, to the time your car is returned.

Though Zirx is in just three cities, the concierge startup is looking at expanding to other locations. As for Windows and BlackBerry users, the app will come to their phones in the near-future.

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Jaguar Land Rover Enhances Driving With Ghost Cars, Pillars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/jaguar-land-rover-enhances-driving-ghost-cars-pillars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/jaguar-land-rover-enhances-driving-ghost-cars-pillars/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961753 Worried about checking those corners with those thick pillars in the way? Always wanted to bring the Forza experience into the real world? Jaguar Land Rover’s got you covered. Regarding the pillars, JLR unveiled its 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen, which combines a high-end HUD with cameras embedded in the surface of a given vehicle’s A-, […]

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Worried about checking those corners with those thick pillars in the way? Always wanted to bring the Forza experience into the real world? Jaguar Land Rover’s got you covered.

Regarding the pillars, JLR unveiled its 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen, which combines a high-end HUD with cameras embedded in the surface of a given vehicle’s A-, B- and C-pillars to help the driver see potential problems that would otherwise be obscured by said vehicle’s blind spots.

How? Upon checking the corners to change direction, a given pillar would go transparent, showing the pillar’s live video feed of what might be hiding. The same effect occurs upon approach toward an intersection, when the system automatically makes either right- or left-side pillars transparent.

The virtual windscreen can also pull information from the cloud — gas prices, restaurant locations, parking spots — helping to keep the driver’s eyes where they’re needed the most: on the road. This is further enhanced with the addition of JLR’s Follow-Me Ghost Car Navigation, which places a ghost car in front of the driver to aid in arriving at a destination with help from the cloud.

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Iowa DOT Introducing Driver’s License App In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/iowa-dot-introducing-drivers-license-app-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/iowa-dot-introducing-drivers-license-app-2015/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959217 Live and drive in Iowa? The state’s DOT will soon have an app that will act as your license. The Des Moines Register reports the app will be free of charge to all Iowa drivers when it arrives sometime next year, and is as official as the traditional plastic license card one receives after waiting […]

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Iowa Drivers License App

Live and drive in Iowa? The state’s DOT will soon have an app that will act as your license.

The Des Moines Register reports the app will be free of charge to all Iowa drivers when it arrives sometime next year, and is as official as the traditional plastic license card one receives after waiting forever and a day in the DMV; drivers can still get the more tangible version if so desired.

Iowa is also one of 30 states that allows drivers to present insurance information in electronic form during a traffic stop. Per Iowa DOT director Paul Trombino, having a digital license is only logical. He adds that the app will be secure via PIN verification, and will be accepted by security in Iowa’s airports, as well.

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Ford Kills MyFordTouch, Introduces SYNC 3 Connected-Vehicle System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/ford-kills-myfordtouch-introduces-sync-3-connected-vehicle-system/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=959081 Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system. Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones […]

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SYNC 3

Joy to the world, MyFordTouch is dead. In its place, Ford introduced Thursday its new SYNC 3 connected-vehicle system.

Pulling from suggestions and comments from 22,000 consumers, in combination with clinics and surveys, the QNX-based SYNC 3 aims to be more intuitive than the outgoing technology, delivering an interface similar to those found on smartphones and tablets. The system also offers day and night settings, reduced complexity, and better voice recognition.

Speaking of smartphones, users can connect theirs via SYNC 3’s AppLink, allowing them to control their smartphones through voice commands. The latest version of AppLink can automatically discover music and news apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio Auto and NPR One.

Software updates can now be achieved via Wi-Fi: once a user links the system to their home network, updates can happen while the car is parked in the garage or on the driveway.

Finally, users can dial 911 via the subscription-free 911 Assist service, which uses a Bluetooth-connected phone to call first responders in the event of an accident, and providing detailed information location, whether airbags were deployed, how many seat belts were used, and the type of crash that occurred.

Owners can expect SYNC 3 to arrive in the 2016 model year, with full replacement by New Year’s Eve 2016. Lincoln will have a slightly touched-up version for its customers, as well.

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EFF: ECU Modification May Result In DMCA Notice http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951321 Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood. Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the […]

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Auto Repair

Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood.

Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to exempt hobbyists and shade-tree mechanics from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically Section 1201 (which we’ve talked about before).

For now, modifications to the ECU, such as boosting fuel economy or horsepower, would void a given warranty at worse. As automakers continue toward the path of consolidation, though, the potential profit in the untapped remapping market would be enough for them to lock out competitors and grab all rights to the technology.

However, a ruling could curb those DMCA notices: a 2012 case involving Lexmark and printer cartridges resulted in the decision that “companies like Lexmark cannot use the DMCA in conjunction with copyright law to create monopolies of manufactured goods for themselves.” The ruling provides protection for the original work, but not to the extent of using security measures — such as those lovely, Red Book-violating CDs from the 2000s — to protect said work.

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VW Unveils New 10-Speed DSG, Other Technologies From Innovation Workshop http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-unveils-new-10-speed-dsg-technologies-innovation-workshop/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944441 At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels. On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 […]

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Volkswagen TDI

At its 2014 Innovation Workshop, Volkswagen unveiled an assortment of technologies, ranging from doors that open and close automatically, to 10-speed transmissions and more powerful diesels.

On the powertrain front, the aforementioned 10-speed DSG will handle engine power up to 406 lb-ft of torque, while the layout of its gear steps helps further lower CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the new 239 horsepower twin-turbo diesel unit in the Passat could be pushed to 268 horsepower with electric assist, variable valve trains, and an optimized gas exchange cycle. The mill also burns a gallon of diesel for every 44 miles, while VW’s newest stop-start system cuts power at 4 mph, as well as at higher speeds when the accelerator is released. A mild hybrid system uses energy recovery to further efficiency.

Inside, the driver will be able to make use of either Apple’s CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto thanks to the latest version of MirrorLink and its App Connect software. VW also introduced a prototype navigation system that “takes notes” of where the driver prefers to go without the need to be first called upon. They can also check on their car’s vitals via updates to VW’s Car Net’s Security & Service suite, connecting drivers to the Internet to determine what fluids, if any, need to be topped-up prior to a trip, as one example.

Other technologies on display at this year’s workshop include dashboards and glass sunroofs whose pigments and coatings block infrared radiation; lightweight construction and materials techniques derived from motorsport — specifically the 2014 Polo R WRC; and need-based air-conditioning systems for EVs such as the e-up! and e-Golf.

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Study: Most Drivers Addicted To Texting While Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/study-drivers-addicted-texting-driving/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944025 Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T. Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample […]

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texting-driving

Add one more reason for Greg to have missed that stop sign: He was likely addicted to texting while driving, per a study commissioned by AT&T.

Edmunds reports the study, conducted by Dr. David Greenfield of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, noted that three out of four individuals surveyed — from a sample size of 1,004 between the ages of 16 and 65 — simply couldn’t put the phone down to change lanes safely, look out for that semi-trailer et al.

The reason: Dopamine. According to Greenfield, those who check their cell phones every time an update blinks into existence — Facebook, Instagram, texting, etc. — receive a lift in mood thanks to the neurochemical. This could then lead into a feedback loop that could get in the way of driving to the detriment of all on the road.

Further, 90 percent of those surveyed knew it was wrong to do so, but kept texting away through the power of rationalization, with 30 percent placing said power in the belief that they can multitask like their laptops and tablets at home.

As this is a study commissioned by AT&T, the telecom giant is in the midst of a campaign promoting safe driving by putting away the phone (of which the study plays a part). The campaign, It Can Wait, includes an app available to Android and iOS users — sorry BlackBerry and Windows Mobile users — named DriveMode, which can silence text alerts once it senses speeds greater than 15 mph, shutting down once the driver comes to a stop. Over 1.8 million users have downloaded the app thus far.

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