Category: Gizmology

By on September 7, 2016

drone (Peter Linehan/Flickr)

Mercedes-Benz plans to spend piles of cash figuring out exciting new business models for its vans segment, and one idea involves invading people’s airspace.

Because most of its van buyers are in the delivery business, the German automaker sees benefits in offering a system where part of a parcel’s journey is accomplished using a drone, Reuters reports. Read More >

By on August 29, 2016

Instrument panel with Vojta "driving" the Tesla Model S 85D, Image: © 2016 David Marek/The Truth About Cars

Earlier this summer, headlines flew fast and furious around Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot driving system, and the often hazy crashes associated with it.

Now, the electric automaker plans to tweak the system to cut down on driver misuse, according to a report in Elektrek. Read More >

By on August 29, 2016

traffic (Michael Gil/Flickr)

Passenger vehicles have never been safer, with a bevy of high-tech aids available to keep nervous motorists safe, and feeling safe.

For the most part, we enjoy these handy driver’s aids. After all, who wants to end up in hospital, or have their insurance company come collecting for an arm, a leg, and a few other pounds of flesh? However, one safety feature, found on an increasing number of new vehicles, has all the popularity of Chrysler’s grating Electronic Voice Alert of the 1980s. Read More >

By on August 27, 2016

2016 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited 75th Anniversary edition

A Houston-area vehicle-theft ring that used laptops to enter, then steal, over 100 Jeep and Ram vehicles exposed a serious internal security breach at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Now that two arrests have been made in the case, FCA is talking tough and threatening criminal proceedings against anyone who provides outsiders with key vehicle data, Automotive News reports. Read More >

By on August 12, 2016

SEAT DriveApp

Apple loves it when people buy its toys, but doesn’t appreciate it when other companies try to muscle into its technology playpen.

Whether the tech giant likes it or not, the Volkswagen-owned Seat brand just became the first automaker to design and market an app that is compatible with Apple CarPlay. Read More >

By on August 12, 2016

2013-volkswagen-lineup

Two decades’ worth of Volkswagen Group vehicles are vulnerable to a simple, cheap hack that can unlock their doors.

A research paper released this week (first reported by Wired) describes how multiple Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda models built since 1995 can be unlocked using a handmade radio that copies key fob signals.  Read More >

By on August 11, 2016

Audi eROT system

The search for better fuel economy takes engineers down weird paths, and the latest plan to wring out extra mileage is no different. It involves an unlikely part of the vehicle — the suspension.

Audi just announced a new suspension system that harvests wasted energy and turns it into electricity, capable of adding juice to a vehicle’s 48-volt electrical subsystem. Read More >

By on August 10, 2016

Tesla Model 3 Unveil, Image: Tesla Motors

In his Master Plan, Part Deux, some of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s visions make a lot of sense, like a compact SUV based on the Model 3 platform, and a pickup truck, which will presumably have more than enough torque to haul around a big load (and plenty of space for a big battery pack).

That’s not at all what I want to talk about. Instead, I want to talk about some of the more speculative parts of the Musk vision: the self-driving vision. (I first wrote about some of the dystopian aspects of self-driving cars for TTAC in 2010.)

Musk wants you, the owner of a Tesla, to click a button and have your self-driving car go off and Uber itself during the day while you’re at work, earning you money. It will come back to you at the end of the day, ready for you to use again. This vision is going to have a very harsh collision with reality. Read More >

By on August 5, 2016

20-2014-jeep-cherokee-chrome-grille

The same two guys who brought you last year’s remote hacking of a Jeep Cherokee on a Missouri highway (and resulting 1.4 million vehicle recall) are at it again.

This time, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek entered the same Cherokee’s electronic brain, bypassing security software to gain control over key driving functions, according to Wired. Read More >

By on July 30, 2016

2016 Tesla Model S

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s drive to develop and market new driving technology is well known, but former employees say he brushed aside their concerns about the safety of the company’s Autopilot system.

Several employees, including a former Autopilot engineer, told CNN Money that their concerns fell on deaf ears, as Musk always reverted back to a “bigger picture” position on safety. Read More >

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