Category: Gizmology

By on July 6, 2016

Volvo-self-driving-car

If you’re going to let people take their hands off the wheel and let the vehicle do the driving, you’d better offer every tool available to make sure it’s safe.

That’s the view of Stefan Sommer, CEO of German auto parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen, who advocated for the use of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) in autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles in the wake of the fatal Tesla crash. Read More >

By on July 5, 2016

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

Less than a week after it was revealed that Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving mode played a role in a deadly May crash, the automaker is planning a host of changes to its Autopilot system.

The changes, billed as the 8.0 upgrade, include a feature that allows the vehicle to exit a highway and navigate an off-ramp while in Autopilot mode, according to Autoguide. The function will be activated by the vehicle’s turn signal. Read More >

By on June 27, 2016

tesla autopilot

There’s no shortage of safety-minded autonomous technology on Tesla vehicles, but a video suggests some features could say “forget it” when asked to work.

YouTube user Kman recently posted a video showing real-world testing of the collision avoidance abilities of the Autopilot feature in a Tesla Model S 90D — tests that nearly got his friend splattered across the pavement. Read More >

By on June 24, 2016

Volvo Autonomous Drive, Image: Volvo Cars

We’re told the future will bring us a blissful, autonomous driving experience that allows us to enjoy the scenery as we read our tablets and enjoy a Venti Macchiato, free of the burden of driving decisions and liability.

Now, for the less happy stuff: who should your safety-minded car kill if it’s forced to make an autonomous Sophie’s Choice-style decision — an occupant or a pedestrian?

A study published in the journal Science tackled that question, with researchers posing various scenarios to 1,900 participants via an online survey. The results show our sense of moral duty is matched by our sense of self-preservation. Read More >

By on June 22, 2016

2015 jeep grand cherokee altitude side

A software fix issued to Jeep dealers sheds light on how Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to stop the accidental rollaways plaguing many of its vehicles.

The dealer service document, issued for recalled 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees with the confusing Monostable shift lever, was obtained and published by Jalopnik.

FCA voluntarily recalled 1.1 million vehicles in April after the shifter, which sometimes stays in gear after drivers think they’ve shifted into “park,” was linked to hundreds of rollaways and 41 injuries. That was before the shifter became the focus in the recent death of actor Anton Yelchin. Read More >

By on June 17, 2016

2017 Toyota Prius Prime Front 3/4, Image: Toyota

Hybrid fans looking to harvest free solar power as they drive (or park) won’t get that ability when the Toyota Prius Prime arrives in the U.S. this fall.

The automaker announced that European and Japanese buyers will get a solar roof version of the plug-in sedan, but Stateside customers will have to wait, Automotive News reports. Toyota faces an engineering and regulatory hurdle in the U.S. — America has stricter crash regulations, and its engineers haven’t been able to create a solar panel mount that doesn’t shatter during rollovers. Read More >

By on June 16, 2016

The thing about really old car companies is that they seem to enjoy taking the gulf of time they’ve been in existence and projecting it into the future.

Rolls-Royce, the 110-year-old purveyor of rolling boutique enclaves for the horses and mahogany set, just looked ahead and saw something…intergalactic? Read More >

By on June 14, 2016

2017 All-New GMC Acadia Denali

Sometimes, someone invents a device that perfectly sums up the world we live in. Selfie sticks and microwave bacon racks are good examples, but GMC has a strong candidate with its Rear Seat Reminder.

The automaker just announced that the new warning chime, which monitors the rear doors of the 2017 Acadia SUV, will alert drivers to the fact that they’ve procreated, and that their vulnerable offspring is currently sitting in the backseat. Read More >

By on June 14, 2016

004-2016-cadillac-ct6-1

You just know this feature is going to be used by a frisky couple or a penniless college film student with a traditional, “buy domestic!” uncle.

Cadillac made a big deal about the video rear-view mirror in its 2016 CT6, but now it says drivers can film — and store— video shot by four external cameras. With the range-topping sedan now rolling into dealers, the automaker really wants people to know just what the industry-first system can do.

Don’t lose that memory card if you’re an adventurous driver. Read More >

By on June 9, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Exterior Front 3/4. Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne could be on the cusp of a new (corporate) romance.

The automaker is talking with ride-sharing megaprovider Uber about join forces on a self-driving vehicle venture, according to Automotive News. Sources close to the matter say those talks are in the early phase, but a agreement could be announced before the end of the year. Read More >

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