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. Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:35:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 » Gizmology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/gizmology/ General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094633 Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves. General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, […]

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Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves.

General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, “delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale” in repurposing.

To demonstrate this, five packs from the first-gen Volt are working in concert with a 74-kilowatt solar array and two wind turbines — each good for 2 kW — to generate power at GM’s Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Mich. The packs can also provide emergency power for four hours in the event of a power outage, while the full setup can deliver up to 100 MWh of energy — the equivalent of the amount used by 12 average households — annually to the data center, with excess sent to the proving ground’s grid.

Though supply of Volt packs remains low for now, GM says it’s working with partners to “validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.” Valencia adds the repurposing of packs for energy storage would be perfect for commercial use, providing “full functionality” from the packs while also reducing upfront costs in implementing the system.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090601 Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday. While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday.

While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life of its EV and PHEV packs once they can no longer fulfill their service in automotive applications, Reuters reports.

As early as 2012, GM had the emerging storage market in mind when it paired with Swiss engineering group Advanced Auto Batteries to develop a stationary pack composed of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries. The resulting modular unit was good for two hours of power as needed by three to five average U.S. homes.

According to battery lifecycle management chief Pablo Valencia, the automaker’s development of a given pack includes secondary uses:

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.

The market back when Valencia made those comments delivered $200 million in total profit by the end of 2012. As more competitors jump into the game, however, research firm IHS CERA says end-of-year profits could climb as high as $19 billion by 2017.

GM’s announcement will be made during the second day of AAB’s AABC conference at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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Google’s Autonomous Cars See 12th Accident, Virginia Opens Highways For Testing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/googles-autonomous-cars-see-12th-accident-virginia-opens-highways-for-testing/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084305 Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing. Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, […]

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Google acknowledges the 12th accident involving its autonomous cars, while Virginia opens 70 miles of highway to Google and others for testing.

Google’s acknowledgement of the accident was made Wednesday during the tech giant’s annual shareholders meeting, Autoblog reports. Co-founder Sergey Brin said the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light when it was rear-ended, the seventh or eighth occurrence of such a scenario per Brin.

Safety advocates want the company to release all records pertaining to the accidents so the public can know where each instance went wrong, a request reinforced by shareholder and Consumer Watchdog advocate John Simpson during the meeting. Brin gave a synopsis of each accident in response, adding Google would be open to giving more information, an action it has yet to take thus far.

The latest accident follows a disclosure made by Google in May, wherein 11 accidents involved its fleet of autonomous cars over a six-year period, with all accidents attributed to human error by the tech giant.

Meanwhile, Northern Virginia drivers may soon see Google’s autonomous cars on their way to work. Richmond Times-Dispatch says over 70 miles of highway on Interstates 95, 495 and 66, as well as U.S. 29 and U.S. 50, will become so-called Virginia Automated Corridors under the oversight of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. The vehicles would be first certified for safety by VTTI at its Smart Road test track in Montgomery County, and at Virginia International Raceway in Halifax County prior to highway testing.

VTTI Center for Autonomous Vehicle Systems Director Myra Blanco says the aim of the program is for Virginia to show other states how to make testing of autonomous technologies easier, adding the program would “advance the technology and… attract companies and satellite offices in the Northern Virginia area to develop these new concepts.”

Testing is set to begin within a year, with the Center providing insurance and license plates for those companies looking to prove their concepts. The Virginia Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles are partners in the program.

[Image credit: Google]

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Ford Fiesta, Escape First With Sync 3 System Starting This Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-fiesta-escape-first-with-sync-3-system-starting-this-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/ford-fiesta-escape-first-with-sync-3-system-starting-this-summer/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 17:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082121 Coming to the Ford Fiesta and Escape this summer is the automaker’s Sync 3 connected-vehicle system, where it will be listed as an option on the order form. The Sync 3 system is based upon BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, Detroit Free Press reports, and replaces the MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch technology supplied by partner Microsoft. The […]

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Ford Sync 3

Coming to the Ford Fiesta and Escape this summer is the automaker’s Sync 3 connected-vehicle system, where it will be listed as an option on the order form.

The Sync 3 system is based upon BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, Detroit Free Press reports, and replaces the MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch technology supplied by partner Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash. tech giant will supply over-the-air updates to Ford’s new system via its Azure cloud-based global network, allowing the vehicle to update its system once parked at home.

New Fiesta and Escape owners who opt for Sync 3 will be able to connect their smartphones via AppLink, allowing for control of compatible apps from the system’s touchscreen. Apple iPhone users, meanwhile, will have an additional function available in the form Siri Eyes-Free, giving drivers the ability to call up Siri for information by holding down the push-to-talk button on their steering wheel.

The touchscreen uses a new capacitive-touch technology capable of delivering an experience similar to a given smartphone or tablet, including the ability to swipe and pinch-to-zoom. Voice and touch actions are claimed to be quicker, as well, while the overall system is optimized for hands-free use with reduced complexity on-screen.

Sync 3 is expected to be on over half of all Ford and Lincoln models by the end of 2015, with all U.S. models onboard by the end of 2016, and in all models sold globally by 2018.

[Photo credit: Ford]

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General Motors Receives Patent To Sell ‘Geoboxed’ Radio Presets At Auction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-receives-patent-to-sell-geoboxed-radio-presets-at-auction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/general-motors-receives-patent-to-sell-geoboxed-radio-presets-at-auction/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 19:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076946 General Motors recently received a patent allowing the automaker to sell your radio’s presets to the highest bidder at auction. The patent — titled “System and method for auctioning geoboxed flexible, semi-locked or locked radio presets” — would let GM sell the presets to various bidders on different vehicles, Jalopnik reports, with each preset being […]

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General Motors recently received a patent allowing the automaker to sell your radio’s presets to the highest bidder at auction.

The patent — titled “System and method for auctioning geoboxed flexible, semi-locked or locked radio presets” — would let GM sell the presets to various bidders on different vehicles, Jalopnik reports, with each preset being geo-fenced.

Thus, if one were to be out on the road listening to NPR, the preset could switch abruptly from the sleepy sounds of “Morning Edition,” to the “wacky” antics of Scumdog McTatertot and the Mötley Breakfäst Crüe once the motorist entered the winning bidder’s geo-fence. Another scenario could have McDonald’s hijack your navigation settings when you were looking for Starbucks for breakfast.

Though GM has the patent to do this to its consumers to bring in revenue from the connected-vehicle space, whether it acts on the patent remains to be seen.

[Source: Cadillac]

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Study: Virtual Drivers Possible Key Toward Autonomous Vehicle Acceptance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073074 Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency. A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, […]

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Johnny Cab

Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency.

A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, Edmunds reports.

The study by Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands introduced over 100 volunteers to such a driver, named “Bob.” The virtual driver’s appearance, movements and driving style were programmed to match those belonging to each participant, who allowed Bob to do the driving in a simulator on a route pre-selected by said test subjects.

The goal was to assess trustworthiness levels in the virtual driver, finding the more Bob looked and drove like a given subject, the more trust the subject would bestow in regard to their safety. Said strategy is in place with other forms of technology already, such as Siri and Cortana in Apple’s and Microsoft’s smartphones, where if the tech in question has a slight bit of humanity — human voices, sociability et al — end users would respond as if the tech actually was human.

Whether there will be a Johnny Cab in the future to help one escape from baddies because they’re actually a spy who may or may not know too much about Mars, or a Hatsune Miku recolor to drive you to her next performance is up in the air for now. Not even Google has placed a Nexus 6 behind the non-existent wheel of its autonomous bubble pod in its testing thus far.

[Source: mrbillyt/Photobucket]

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More Legislators Move To Ban Red Light Cameras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/legislators-move-ban-red-light-cameras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/legislators-move-ban-red-light-cameras/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1053273 The bane of many a motorist and freedom advocate alike, the red light camera’s days may be drawing to a close as more governments move to ban them. Over the past two months alone, legislators in California, Illinois and Texas have moved to do away with the devices based on both civil rights and financial […]

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Red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon

The bane of many a motorist and freedom advocate alike, the red light camera’s days may be drawing to a close as more governments move to ban them.

Over the past two months alone, legislators in California, Illinois and Texas have moved to do away with the devices based on both civil rights and financial concerns, Business Insider reports. The bans in California and Texas would be statewide if made into law, while Illinois’ ban would only apply to suburbs outside of Chicago and other communities with local authority.

The three states join 10 others that have imposed bans on red light cameras and another 19 that never bothered with the issue in the first place. The devices have garnered criticism from those who were caught by them, then received tickets in the mail, all without a chance to defend themselves under due process.

Meanwhile, the cities that once had them in place – such as the majority of the 110 municipalities in California that used red light cameras; only 39 of the 110 remain currently – took them down when they found that revenue from tickets issued didn’t do much to fill the coffers in the first place.

[Photo credit: Chris Phan/Flickr]

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Hyundai Patent Shows Cell-Phone Disabling Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045106 Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC. Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to […]

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Hyundai Driver Cell Phone Blocking Patent

Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC.

Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to disable on a phone based on vehicle speed, time of day, importance of message, and other factors, and can do so either at the driver’s seat or the entire vehicle.

According to the patent, this is done with cellular-signal-monitoring antennas placed throughout the cabin. When an antenna detects a signal, the system performs the tasks needed to disable functions that would otherwise hinder a driver’s ability to maintain vigilance. However, the system requires the phone in question to have firmware that would accept the former’s commands.

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US Army Puts Dummies To Work To Improve Combat Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/us-army-puts-dummies-work-improve-combat-safety/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043658 Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume. Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development […]

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Dummies have experienced a lot over the years, from going through windshields, to being set ablaze. Now, IED explosions can be added to the resume.

Gizmag reports the U.S. Army has awarded a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems to work on the branch’s Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin project under the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command. The WIAMan project’s mission will be to assess how soldiers handle explosions caused by IEDs, land mines et al while inside a vehicle, with the goal of improving safety on the battlefield.

To do this, military casualty data from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq is combined with biomedical sensors meant to simulate the human body when attached to a dummy. The dummy is then subjected to the same sort of underbody explosions and blast waves soldiers hope not to experience on the field, which is then recorded to equally small data boxes, each holding up to 16 GB of data.

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AM/FM Radio Still High Among Consumers’ List Of Car Features http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/amfm-radio-still-high-among-consumers-list-car-features/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/amfm-radio-still-high-among-consumers-list-car-features/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041273 Though one can now connect their smartphones and iPods to their vehicle’s infotainment systems, consumers still go gaga for AM/FM radio. Forbes reports the demand for radio is as strong as ever, serving as one of the main drivers for a consumer looking for a new vehicle. A poll by market research firm IPSOS found […]

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05 - 1976 Buick Electra Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Though one can now connect their smartphones and iPods to their vehicle’s infotainment systems, consumers still go gaga for AM/FM radio.

Forbes reports the demand for radio is as strong as ever, serving as one of the main drivers for a consumer looking for a new vehicle. A poll by market research firm IPSOS found that while features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, touchscreens and apps are desirable, a majority of the 1,000 polled want radio at the center of it all, ranging from 91 percent when asked about radio versus apps, to 80 percent preferring radio over CDs.

As for why radio still holds a strong following in the United States, reasons range from wanting to listen to music and sporting events, to keeping up with the world via local news and traffic/weather reports. Advertisers, too, love radio listeners, mainly due to the size of the audience: 60 percent of Americans listen to the radio daily, while 85 percent listen at least once a week.

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NYT’s Bilton Finds Vehicle Broken Into Via Wireless Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nyts-bilton-finds-vehicle-broken-via-wireless-technology/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039361 Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology. According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they […]

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2014 Toyota Prius

Locking the doors may not be enough to deter would-be thieves now, thanks to wireless technology.

According to Jalopnik, New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton watched from afar as his Toyota Prius’ defenses — specifically, the door locks — were disabled wirelessly by two youths before they entered the vehicle to steal whatever they could find. Bilton then chased down the two to ask what they used to break into his car, only to come away with nothing but a description and a price tag: a $100 device that broadcasts RF signals to unlock the doors.

Similar instances include a slew of break-ins in 2013 linked to devices pressed against new car doors, cycling through remote-entry codes before happening upon the correct code to unlock the vehicle, and a demonstration at a Blackhat conference with a setup involving a laptop and $1,000 of radio equipment.

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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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