The Truth About Cars » Safety 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 Sep 2014 19:04:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/safety-2/ Lenders Monitor, Control Subprime Nexum Via Connected Vehicle Tech http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lenders-monitor-control-subprime-nexum-via-connected-vehicle-tech/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/lenders-monitor-control-subprime-nexum-via-connected-vehicle-tech/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920098 In a perverse nexus where connected-vehicle technology, privacy and subprime lending intersect, consumers who fall behind on so much as a single payment, or even stray outside a given teritory, may find their vehicles shutdown by their lender from a digital panopticon. The New York Times reports that some subprime borrowers — a group that […]

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Isis Panopticon Album Cover

In a perverse nexus where connected-vehicle technology, privacy and subprime lending intersect, consumers who fall behind on so much as a single payment, or even stray outside a given teritory, may find their vehicles shutdown by their lender from a digital panopticon.

The New York Times reports that some subprime borrowers — a group that made up a quarter of all new car loans in 2013 — must agree to have a GPS-equipped starter interrupt device installed in the vehicle of a given borrower’s choosing. In turn, the lender can keep track of where its property — and the borrower — is at all times, and with a single tap or click, cut all power to the vehicle if a borrower falls behind on payments.

However, some lenders are choosing to act only days after a missed payment — instead of the 30-day grace period before a borrower is considered in-default — no matter where exactly the vehicle is at the moment of shutdown. This has led to situations where a borrower has been stranded in a bad neighborhood, at the stop light, or, in one case, on the freeway.

Further, some loan agreements include so-called “geo-fences”: a maximum range a subprime borrower can travel before the lender, again, shuts down a vehicle and sends a tow truck to recover the asset. The claim is that a borrower who travels further than the fence allows — such as to their place of employment — may not be able to make good on their payments.

The consequences of using the devices have drawn considerable attention from both consumer lawyers and state regulators. The former argue starter interrupt systems give a lender all the more reason to remotely repossess a vehicle if even a payment is missed by a day, violating state laws on the matter as a result. The latter, in turn, is examining the potential safety hazards for the borrower and other motorists if the devices become defective.

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EU Orders Germany To Cease Use Of R134a Within Two Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/eu-orders-germany-cease-use-r134a-within-two-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/eu-orders-germany-cease-use-r134a-within-two-months/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920050 After months of investigation regarding the German government’s support of Daimler’s continued use of R134a — in violation of a law mandating use of refrigerants “with a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon dioxide” — the European Commission has given Germany two months to comply with the law, or be […]

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Mercedes SL With R134a

After months of investigation regarding the German government’s support of Daimler’s continued use of R134a — in violation of a law mandating use of refrigerants “with a global warming potential no more than 150 times that of carbon dioxide” — the European Commission has given Germany two months to comply with the law, or be fined and taken to court.

Reuters reports the Commission sent its formal request to the Bundesregierung this week, stating that if the government fails to comply, “the Commission may decide to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice.”

Meanwhile, Germany still believes it is not in violation of European Union law, and that the government would reply within two months to the Commission.

As for Daimler, a representative says the company’s position on the use of R134a has not changed, and is still at work on a CO2 replacement expected to arrive in 2017. Daimler’s stance is based on its concerns over the EU-compliant R1234yf refrigerant made by Honeywell, claiming the alternative creates a toxic gas when burned.

The edict comes a few months after Daimler successfully won the right to continue to sell R134a-equipped vehicles in France, when a ban issued by the nation’s economy minister, Ségolène Royal, was found unjustified.

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Chrysler Recalls 349K MY 2008 Units Over Ignition Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-recalls-349k-2008-units-ignition-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/chrysler-recalls-349k-2008-units-ignition-issues/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920002 Owners of a handful of MY 2008 DaimlerChrysler products now have one thing in common with those who own certain General Motors models: An ignition-related recall. Chrysler Group says 349,442 MY 2008 vehicles have ignitions where the switch remains stuck between the “ON” and “START” positions, or slips into “ACCESSORY” or “OFF”; the latter scenario […]

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2008 Chrysler 300 LX With A Hint Of Pimp

Owners of a handful of MY 2008 DaimlerChrysler products now have one thing in common with those who own certain General Motors models: An ignition-related recall.

Chrysler Group says 349,442 MY 2008 vehicles have ignitions where the switch remains stuck between the “ON” and “START” positions, or slips into “ACCESSORY” or “OFF”; the latter scenario cuts power to the engine, steering and air bags.

The affected were assembled before May 12, 2008, and consist of the following:

  • Dodge: Charger, Magnum
  • Chrysler: 300
  • Jeep: Commander, Grand Cherokee

The recall covers 292,224 units in the United States, 18,976 in Canada, 4,947 in Mexico and 33,295 around the globe. Chrysler recommends removing everything from the ignition key, as well as confirming the switch is in the “ON” position after starting their vehicles, until affected owners are able to bring in their vehicle for free servicing.

A similar recall issued earlier this year affected 890,000 vehicles made between January 2007 and June 2010, where the switches also could slip from “ON” to “ACCESSORY.”

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US District Court Orders Discovery For Some GM Ignition Switch Suits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/us-district-court-orders-discovery-gm-ignition-switch-suits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/us-district-court-orders-discovery-gm-ignition-switch-suits/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916226 Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman issued from his bench in the Southern District of New York an order for discovery to begin on a number of cases related to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall. Reuters reports the order covers suits not tied to an ongoing case regarding GM’s battle to […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman issued from his bench in the Southern District of New York an order for discovery to begin on a number of cases related to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall.

Reuters reports the order covers suits not tied to an ongoing case regarding GM’s battle to maintain its liability shield as erected in bankruptcy court back in 2009. Furman added that discovery should only focus on requests made to the automaker for supporting documents on a “reasonable, but aggressive schedule,” with depositions to be obtained at a later date.

The order comes as 131 fatality claims were filed thus far with the compensation fund established by GM, and maintained by attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his team of experts. The fund also identified a total of 19 fatalities linked to the ignition switch found in 2.6 million Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn compact vehicles, up from the automaker’s original count of 13.

Meanwhile, the bankruptcy protection case won’t have a verdict until sometime in 2015. The automaker’s lawyers had requested discovery be delayed until after the case was resolved.

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Virginia Company Unveils Text-Detection Device http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/virginia-company-unveils-text-detection-device/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/virginia-company-unveils-text-detection-device/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916050 From the commonwealth where radar detectors are verboten, and speeding has more in common with sex crimes than physical graffiti, a local company has developed a device that can detect the sort of signals a phone might emit when its owner is texting. The Virginian-Pilot reports ComSonics of Harrisonburg, Va. has tweaked technology used by […]

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Fairfax County Virginia Police + Radar Gun

From the commonwealth where radar detectors are verboten, and speeding has more in common with sex crimes than physical graffiti, a local company has developed a device that can detect the sort of signals a phone might emit when its owner is texting.

The Virginian-Pilot reports ComSonics of Harrisonburg, Va. has tweaked technology used by cable repairmen to find damaged wiring to detect transmission data from a phone sending a text. The device, as explained by calibration services manager Malcolm McIntyre, can differentiate between texting, phone calls and data transmissions by frequency.

Though the text-detecting device is “close to production,” according to McIntyre, privacy concerns, legislative red tape, and adoption by law enforcement are likely to slow down progress for now.

Virginia commonwealth law states phone calls by drivers are legal, while texting is illegal. Should the device enter into the fight, however, enforcement of the law may become more muddied, since anyone in a given vehicle could be sending texts; the device likely will not be able to nail down the exact position of the transmission.

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Howes: No Escape Yet From Recall Woes For General Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/howes-escape-yet-recall-woes-general-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/howes-escape-yet-recall-woes-general-motors/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=915162 After running the gauntlet of congressional hearings, numerous recalls and personnel firings under the dark cloud of scandal created in the wake of the February 2014 recall crisis, General Motors believes it’s ready to turn the page, that everything is now in the rear view. Not so fast. The Detroit News‘ own Daniel Howes states […]

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GM RenCen Storm Clouds

After running the gauntlet of congressional hearings, numerous recalls and personnel firings under the dark cloud of scandal created in the wake of the February 2014 recall crisis, General Motors believes it’s ready to turn the page, that everything is now in the rear view.

Not so fast.

The Detroit News‘ own Daniel Howes states that the next chapter of the story has just begun, with the combination of this week’s congressional hearing — where National Highway Traffic Safety Administration director David Friedman experienced the lash from the Senate Commerce Committee — and the revelation of 131 fatality claims submitted to the victim compensation plan GM hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to run.

The transparency and independence granted to Feinberg — including weekly updates on the number and types of claims submitted and approved/rejected — and the open-ended nature of the fund itself as far as compensation is concerned are both likely to further dent the automaker’s reputation until the last claims are put through the paces mid-2015.

Further, with investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission nowhere near close to completion, as well as the possibility of Attorney General Eric Holder bringing the hammer down on GM or its lower-level execs in the same manner as Toyota suffered, it may be a long time before the automaker’s reputation recovers to what it once was.

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House Dems Take Republicans To Task Over NHTSA Report http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/house-dems-take-republicans-task-nhtsa-report/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/house-dems-take-republicans-task-nhtsa-report/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914338 In the wake of a report written by Republican members of the United States House of Representatives regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inability to find and link evidence regarding General Motors’ involvement in the design and implementation of an ignition switch now linked to 54 accidents and 19 fatalities, two Democrat members took […]

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Henry Waxman

In the wake of a report written by Republican members of the United States House of Representatives regarding the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inability to find and link evidence regarding General Motors’ involvement in the design and implementation of an ignition switch now linked to 54 accidents and 19 fatalities, two Democrat members took the report’s authors to task.

The Detroit News reports Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado, both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee whose Republican majority penned the report, proclaim the report ignores GM’s role in the problems leading up to the February 2014 recall crisis that saw 2.6 million vehicles recalled in one go, placing the blame squarely upon the automaker’s shoulders.

The duo also laid criticism upon Republicans in both houses of Congress for not moving faster on legislation meant to prevent disasters like the one experienced by GM:

There is still time to improve auto safety in this country and to demand more from both car companies and regulators. Republicans should act quickly to pass legislation that solves the auto safety problems they identified in their report.

Meanwhile, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, who had planned to bring automotive safety legislation up for consideration back in July, said he wasn’t decided on the matter. He explained that while Congress would continue to look for answers and build toward solving them, the “NHTSA was part of the problem and is going to have to be part of the solution.”

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Friedman: GM, Not NHTSA, Most To Blame For Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/friedman-gm-nhtsa-blame-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/friedman-gm-nhtsa-blame-recall-crisis/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=913658 It was a long day for David Friedman and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during congressional testimony Tuesday, admitting before a Senate panel that his agency has more work to do to improve itself, and that General Motors made “incredibly poor decisions” as far as recalls were concerned. Automotive News reports Friedman and the […]

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David Friedman

It was a long day for David Friedman and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during congressional testimony Tuesday, admitting before a Senate panel that his agency has more work to do to improve itself, and that General Motors made “incredibly poor decisions” as far as recalls were concerned.

Automotive News reports Friedman and the NHTSA came under harsh criticism before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee’s consumer protection subcommittee during this second round of testimony. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri made the deputy administrator aware of the panel’s overall frustration with the excuses for why the NHTSA did not act swiftly in forcing GM to recall vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch now linked to 19 deaths and 31 injuries.

In turn, Friedman deflected criticism of the agency by placing the blame upon the automaker, proclaiming the execs “were more worried about [the NHTSA] getting information about problems than they were about actually fixing problems.” He added that a “new normal” has since been established upon all automakers, whereupon any defect is immediately reported to the agency, and that it would have “zero tolerance” on those who fail “to act quickly and aggressively” on reporting such flaws.

Regarding the original case, Friedman said that his agency lacked “ample information” in 2007 to determine whether or not a defect was to be found in the aforementioned ignition switch, despite a report by a House committee issued earlier in the day stating the opposite.

After testimony, Sen. McCaskill stated she found Friedman’s statements troubling, proclaiming he was more concerned with rebutting the news media than with taking responsibility for his and his agency’s role in the GM recall crisis.

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Real-Time Mapping Key To Autonomous Travel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-mapping-key-autonomous-travel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-mapping-key-autonomous-travel/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=912698 Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond. Automobile News reports mapping technology will become important in an autonomous vehicle’s V2I and V2V systems, with input coming from […]

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Lexus Autonomous Car

Like famed explorers Lewis & Clark, Amerigo Vespucci and Dora, autonomous vehicles will be at the mercy of whatever maps are available as they navigate the uncharted technological waters of the United States and beyond.

Automobile News reports mapping technology will become important in an autonomous vehicle’s V2I and V2V systems, with input coming from a collaborative effort between official sources and crowdsourcing.

In particular, mapping could be accomplished between vehicles via data collection and distribution on a real-time basis, such as the case now through smartphone apps that allow drivers to pass such data along to each other.

When the road runs out or hasn’t been mapped, however, it may end up in the hands of the driver passenger to take up where the vehicle left off. In turn, the data would be passed along as normal to others making a similar trek, improving upon what was discovered before so long as the road continues to see traffic on a frequent basis to ensure accuracy.

Meanwhile, government agencies and map makers could be called upon to create a digital infrastructure framework that would allow for “a static and dynamic representation of the physical world that would determine how autonomous vehicles get around,” according to Maxime Flament of ERTICO-ITS Europe. The standardized framework would further ensure accuracy and reliability in the maps for tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles.

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Ford Debuting Self-Unparking Technology In 2015 Edge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ford-debuting-self-unparking-technology-2015-edge/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=910658 Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go. Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the […]

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15FordEdge-Sport_15_HR

Though Ford, Lincoln, BMW and others have mastered the art of parallel parking in tight spaces for their customers, it turns out the systems used do it too well, prompting Ford to give “unparking” a go.

Automotive News reports the 2015 Edge will include an improved automated parking system that will not only allow the crossover to parallel-park in those tight spaces, but be able to pull itself out. The system can also do perpendicular parking, such as the sort found at your nearest supermarket. An array of sensors — four up front, six in back — use echolocation to find objects and obstacles, allowing the crossover to calculate how best to get itself out of a rock and a hard place.

In addition, the Edge will have lane-keeping technology and adaptive cruise control, both using a combination of cameras and radar to safely guide the crossover from the house to the office and back.

All of the above will be available to consumers when the new Edge arrives in showrooms next March.

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Cadillac To Introduce V2V, Semi-Autonomy In 2017 CTS, Flagship Sedans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/cadillac-introduce-v2v-semi-autonomy-2017-cts-flagship-sedans/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908657 Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later. According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super […]

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2014 Cadillac CTS 2.0T Exterior-009

Cadillac owners entering showrooms in 2017 will find that their new ride will be capable of more than they might like, as V2V and semi-autonomous systems will become available on the CTS and a Cadillac to be named later.

According to Automotive News, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the semi-autonomous system — dubbed Super Cruise — will be an option for “an all-new Cadillac that’s going to enter a segment where we don’t compete today,” possibly the recently green-lit flagship meant to take on the Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7 Series in the F-segment. The option, meant to take over driving and braking duties on the highway and during rush hour, will likely be as expensive as the $2,400 top-of-the-line safety package offered on all Cadillac sedans.

Meanwhile, the V2V system will be standard on the 2017 CTS, though it may only be able to talk to other CTSs so-equipped if no other manufacturer has V2V ready to go by then. By announcing the feature, however, Barra hopes to “start the conversation” on the technology:

The sooner the industry puts a critical mass of V2V-equipped vehicles on the road, the more accidents we’ll prevent.

GM is currently involved in a partnership with Ford, the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Transportation to augment 120 miles of Detroit Metro highways with cameras and sensors to provide data to V2V-equipped vehicles, with the goal of reducing accidents in mind.

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GM, NHTSA Deliberated Saturn Vue Issue Thrice Prior To Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/gm-nhtsa-deliberated-saturn-vue-issue-thrice-prior-recall/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=908633 The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard. Autoblog reports General Motors and the […]

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2003 Saturn Vue

The General Motors recall train has boarded quite a few passengers since leaving the station in late February of this year. For one passenger, the 2002-2004 Saturn Vue (V-U-E, if you’re Keith Sweat), it took some deliberation by the conductors and fare inspectors before allowing the compact crossover aboard.

Autoblog reports General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held three meetings with each other from mid-June through late July regarding 152 reports of the Vue’s ignition key being easily removable despite the switch not being turned to the “off” position. The reports were first discovered in April by the automaker.

In addition to the meetings, GM’s own Open Issue Review panel looked over the data near the end of July, with the go-ahead for recall given by the Safety Field Action Decision Authority July 31, as noted in a memo sent to the NHTSA the day prior to the issuance of the recall.

On August 8, 215,243 2002-2004 Vues around the globe — 202,155 in the United States — were brought aboard the recall train as part of six recalls issued that day, affecting a total of 312,280 units worldwide.

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Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-focused-safety-vehicle-autonomy/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906993 Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors. Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, […]

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Google Toyota Prius Autonomous Vehicle

Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.

Autoblog reports “Toyota’s main objective is safety,” not developing autonomous vehicles of its own, according to the automaker’s deputy chief safety technology officer, Seigo Kuzumaki. He adds that he and Toyota’s top brass don’t believe such vehicles will have much marketability outside of the technocratic state of Silcon Valley, nor are they certain the technology is ready for primetime.

At the present, Toyota is working on 34 projects with 17 partners, including those involving V2V and V2I communication systems. That said, it believes the human behind the wheel is just as important as the computers running most of the show. Thus, the driver will not become a passenger in the near-term.

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General Motors Looks To Cameras To Solve Distracted Driving http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/general-motors-looks-cameras-solve-distracted-driving/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906361 Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind. Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 […]

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Distracted Driving Canadian Style

Until the overlords at Google bestow their technocratic utopia of automation to every new vehicle leaving the factory, distracted driving will remain a problem in need of a solution, such as the one General Motors has in mind.

Autoblog reports GM is working on a three-way deal with Seeing Machines and Takata to install 500,000 cameras in its line of vehicles within a three- to five-year period. The cameras will track eye and head movements to determine if a driver is paying attention to the road or to the office BlackBerry, then alerting them so as to not miss the stop sign or other hazards.

Seeing Machine CEO Ken Kroeger says there could be other uses to the cameras, citing safety’s lack of sexiness. Such future uses could include anti-theft systems, ignition interlocks programmed to prevent a young driver from taking the car out past curfew, or apps that can trigger an action inside the vehicle while driving.

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Google Wanted Autonomous Vehicle Driver Interventions Kept Quiet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/google-wanted-autonomous-vehicle-driver-interventions-kept-quiet/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899122 In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents. Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s […]

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1024px-Jurvetson_Google_driverless_car_trimmed

In the entire time Google has been working on delivering an autonomous future upon the driving populace, only one accident was reported, and was caused by human error. That said, the tech giant would prefer you not to know that or of any similar future incidents.

Through a FOIA request, Quartz reports Google lobbied California’s state government for amendments to traffic safety legislation that would, in the words of the company’s director of safety Ron Medford, “limit required reporting to accidents involving vehicles operated in autonomous mode.” The company also wanted language removed that obligated it to report “disengagements” — when the car returns control to the driver — to the government, citing lack of relevance regarding vehicle safety.

Though the state’s DMV wants this data for future driver testing when the day of the autonomous vehicle comes, Medford claimed the reporting would create “a significant burden on manufacturers” and the DMV, especially since the agency did not have “the engineering expertise to interpret the data.”

Other concerns Google wanted the state legislature to address included the fear of trade secrets going public — and to its rivals — as well as the possibility for test drivers to simply leave all of the driving to the car than to disengage even once. The company found support from General Motors, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, all wondering what the fuss was about regarding autonomous vehicle testing and reporting obligations.

The California DMV did excuse manufacturers from reporting every disengagement — only those linked to safety reasons will now be reported to the agency — but did want everything else related to autonomous driving. Google, for its part, was disappointed “that the vast majority” of its comments were ignored.

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Honda Fixes Flawed Beam Design In 2015 Fit, Gains IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-fixes-flawed-beam-design-2015-fit-gains-iihs-top-safety-pick-rating/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897842 After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam. Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. […]

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2015 Honda Fit

After a poor performance at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Honda has redesigned the front end of the 2015 Honda Fit to correct an issue with the compact’s front bumper beam.

Autoblog reports the beam had broken free during the small-front overlap test earlier this year, resulting in a “Marginal” grade by the IIHS. The broken beam allowed more impact energy to be absorbed on the driver’s side of the Fit.

In turn, Honda’s engineering team set about to fix the issue, then ask the agency to retest the Fit. The newly updated compact hatch fared better in the test this time, bumping the original grade up to “Acceptable.” On top of receiving “Good” status on the vehicle’s other four tests, the IIHS gave the Fit the title of Top Safety Pick, a goal Honda desired for the compact hatch according to chief vehicle safety engineer Chuck Thomas:

We had targeted “Top Safety Pick,” and just weren’t satisfied with not achieving that. We had studied the results of that test, and made some modifications to the front bumper.

The modifications were made on the production line in June, and the 12,000 owners with their Fits already in possession can bring back the vehicle for the free upgrade. Honda will send notices in September.

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NHTSA 2016 V2V Proposal Open For Public Comment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-2016-v2v-proposal-open-public-comment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-2016-v2v-proposal-open-public-comment/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897786 As reported earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled plans to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle technology within the next few years through a proposal that could take just as long to make it through Congress. Since then, more details and reactions about the V2V proposal have come out. Autoblog reports the plan, which will be available […]

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V2V Intersection

As reported earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled plans to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle technology within the next few years through a proposal that could take just as long to make it through Congress. Since then, more details and reactions about the V2V proposal have come out.

Autoblog reports the plan, which will be available for public comment for the next 60 days, points to two specific applications of V2V that could prevent as many as 592,000 accidents and 1,083 fatalities annually by 2020 if implemented: left-turn assist and intersection-movement detection systems. The agency also adds V2V could be used to aid with detecting blind spots, alert drivers regarding forward collision, and warn them when not to pass on the road. Many of these systems are already in modern vehicles, where radar and similar technologies help in functionality.

As far as the potential for hacking is concerned, the NHTSA stated V2V data transmitted would only be used in enhancing driver safety, with “several layers” of protection keeping hackers at bay. In turn, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement that the Federal Communications Commission should reserve certain frequencies for V2V communication in the early phases of development “until it is definitively established that sharing will not interfere with the safety of the driving public.”

In addition to V2V, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication is in the proposal, allowing for vehicles to talk to roads and other pieces of infrastructure for safety purposes.

The proposal is set to make its run toward becoming law beginning in 2016 at the earliest.

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NHTSA Unveils VIN Recall Look-up Tool For Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-vin-recall-look-tool-consumers/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897234 With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however. Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN […]

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SaferCar VIN Recall Lookup Tool

With as many as 26 million vehicles recalled by General Motors alone thus far in 2014, consumers may have a hard time determining if their vehicle needs to be repaired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come up with a tool to help, however.

Autoblog reports the agency unveiled on Wednesday an online VIN look-up tool, where consumers can find out if their vehicle is under recall. The tool covers all “major light vehicle and motorcycle brands,” and is part of the NHTSA’s new mandate that all manufacturers provide VIN search tools on their own sites for uncompleted recalls, updated weekly.

At the moment, however, the tool can only report on vehicles that have yet to be repaired, instead of any and all possible campaigns a VIN may fall under. That information would need to be found by combing through the agency’s database separately from the look-up tool. Customer service and non-safety campaigns are also not searchable within the tool, as well.

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Honda Tops Most Stolen List, Overall Figure Lowest Since 1967 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897202 The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967. Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be […]

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1996 Honda Accord

The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967.

Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be stolen in 2013 as noted by the NICB:

  • Honda Accord: 53,995
  • Honda Civic: 45,001
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size): 27,809
  • Ford Pickup (Full Size): 26,494
  • Toyota Camry: 14,420
  • Dodge Pickup (Full Size): 11,347
  • Dodge Caravan: 10,911
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee: 9,272
  • Toyota Corolla: 9,010
  • Nissan Altima: 8,892

That said, according to Autoblog, owners of newer Hondas can sleep more soundly than those whose vehicles were made during the start of President Bill Clinton’s final term in office. In 2013, 8,166 1996 Honda Accords were stolen, compared to only 276 2013 Accords.

Meanwhile, 2013 will likely be the first year since 1967 that auto thefts fell below 700,000 stolen, based on preliminary results from the FBI. That number also represents a 50 percent drop in thefts since cresting at 1,661,738 in 1991.

NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle tempered the good news, however, with a reminder that while this year’s figures are a good sign, “it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year.”

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General Motors Expands Ignition Website To Cover 20 Affected Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/general-motors-expands-ignition-website-cover-20-affected-models/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896762 Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems. Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from […]

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GM Ignition Recall Safety Information

Once reporting information on the group of vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall, General Motors’ website on the matter recently expanded to cover all 20 vehicles affected by the original and subsequent recalls over ignition problems.

Reuters reports gmignitionupdate.com now has information available for the 15 million owners of 20 affected vehicles — from the Chevrolet Cobalt to the Camaro and Impala — with ignition switch issues. The site came online in April of this year, focusing upon the handful of 2003 through 2007 GM models caught up in the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million units.

In addition, CEO Mary Barra penned a letter to 1.9 million customers from the original group, pushing them to take their vehicles in for repair work. The majority of the letters focused on those who had yet to order the parts needed to fix their vehicles, with the remaining 875,000 reminding owners who had placed their parts orders to bring their vehicles to dealers for repairs to begin.

Speaking of repairs, GM said around 800,000 of the original 2.6 million recalled had been repaired. Representative Alan Adler stated, on average, 80 percent of GM owners affected by a recall bring their vehicles in for repair work within a year of notice, and 85 percent by year two. He added that both the website expansion and the letter campaign were efforts by the automaker to have all vehicles with defective ignitions to come in for repairs.

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NHTSA Unveils Plan Instituting New V2V Technology By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-plan-instituting-new-v2v-technology-by-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/nhtsa-unveils-plan-instituting-new-v2v-technology-by-2020/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895322 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled its plan to institute minimums regarding vehicle-to-vehicle communications in an effort to bolster driver safety. Automotive News reports the agency and eight automakers — Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Daimler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — collaborated on the development of V2V technology that will become standard equipment between […]

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V2V

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled its plan to institute minimums regarding vehicle-to-vehicle communications in an effort to bolster driver safety.

Automotive News reports the agency and eight automakers — Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Daimler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — collaborated on the development of V2V technology that will become standard equipment between 2017 and 2020 as part of a proposed mandate.

The draft proposal includes minimums on the messages sent between two or more vehicles, along with the decision as to what safety features to include in a vehicle left to the automaker.

The intended goal, as explained by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, is to move from “helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.” The plan projects 25,000 to 592,000 crashes and 49 to 1,083 lives saved annually once every vehicle in the United States is equipped with the technology.

As for how the new V2V technology will be managed and financed, the NHTSA plans to solicit interested private companies. The systems are expected to cost between $341 and $350 per unit by 2020.

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Aston Martin Could Leave US Without Federal Crash Exemption Approval http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-martin-leave-us-without-federal-crash-exemption-approval/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-martin-leave-us-without-federal-crash-exemption-approval/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893890 Should you desire an Aston Martin in the near future, you may need to make your purchase sooner than later if the automaker fails to live up to the federal government’s newest expectations. Bloomberg reports Aston Martin stores will likely suffer financial hardships should the DB9 and Vantage are no longer made for sale in […]

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Aston-Martin One-77

Should you desire an Aston Martin in the near future, you may need to make your purchase sooner than later if the automaker fails to live up to the federal government’s newest expectations.

Bloomberg reports Aston Martin stores will likely suffer financial hardships should the DB9 and Vantage are no longer made for sale in the United States due to both vehicles’ failure to comply with new regulations regarding side-impact crashes. This would result in every dealership closing their doors barring an exemption for both vehicles, as explained by U.S. dealer advisory panel chairman James Walker in his petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

The financial viability of Aston Martin dealers is very much in question. If dealers make the decision to shutter the franchise, a very likely outcome, the impact on employment is significant.

Aston Martin sent exemption requests last year for the DB9 through August of 2016, and the Vantage the following August. Next-gen models of both vehicles have been delayed due to financial issues.

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Chinese Government Investigating Quality Issues Among Volkswagen Sagitars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-government-investigating-quality-issues-among-volkswagen-sagitars/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=893458 Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem. Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and […]

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Volkswagen-Sagitar-GLI

Amid complaints of broken rear shafts from Sagitar owners, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has contacted Volkswagen to fix the problem.

Bloomberg reports 435 complaints were collected into the nation’s National Defective Motor Vehicle Recall Information Management Platform’s Defect Information Collection System, half of which were filed between July 30 and August 12 alone.

FAW-VW responded late last month by claiming the problems were isolated incidents (via expert analysis) and not anything on their end. The joint venture also vowed to sue anyone spreading “untrue” information about their products.

The investigation is taking place at the same time an antitrust probe by the government over price-cutting by seven transplants, including Volkswagen AG’s Audi.

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Local, Federal Officials Begin Work On Connected, Autonomous Vehicle Regulations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/local-federal-officials-begin-work-connected-autonomous-vehicle-regulations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/local-federal-officials-begin-work-connected-autonomous-vehicle-regulations/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882082 Connected and autonomous vehicles are slowly but surely coming into reality, enough time for local and federal authorities to come up with solutions to solve issues of privacy and safety. The Detroit News reports National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration associate administrator of vehicle safety Nat Beuse, speaking before those in attendance at a panel […]

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google-self-driving-car1

Connected and autonomous vehicles are slowly but surely coming into reality, enough time for local and federal authorities to come up with solutions to solve issues of privacy and safety.

The Detroit News reports National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration associate administrator of vehicle safety Nat Beuse, speaking before those in attendance at a panel during the first day of the Center for Automotive Research’s 2014 Management Briefing Seminars, said the agency is working on its vision for connected and autonomous vehicles, including regulations on park-assist, crash-warning systems, and more:

One of the fundamental things we have to address is how to test these systems to make sure they’re safe and reliable. There are some serious questions that need to be answered before we can say “Yeah, that’s a good idea.”

Beuse adds that privacy will also be a challenge for the NHTSA, especially as connected vehicles store information from how one drives, to where one drives to. There are currently few regulations regarding ownership of this data, as well as what to do when hackers figure out a way to break into a vehicle’s connected system.

That said, there may enough time to address those concerns, as the public aren’t too thrilled with the idea of the car doing the driving. A University of Michigan study found 57 percent of 1,500 surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia held a positive opinion of autonomous vehicles overall, with 70 percent believe such vehicles would help bring down the accident rates in their respective countries. Yet, most surveyed believe humans can do a better job at driving than whatever Google or Baidu unleash upon the world.

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Federal Highway Safety Grants Go Mostly Unclaimed Over Stringent Qualifications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/federal-highway-safety-grants-go-mostly-unclaimed-stringent-qualifications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/federal-highway-safety-grants-go-mostly-unclaimed-stringent-qualifications/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=880978 Aside from funding issues with the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, state governments are having a difficult time applying — and receiving — federal grants to make their part of the system safer. USA Today reports grants for graduated licensing for teens, ignition interlocks for DUI offenders, and distracted driving prevention have gone largely unclaimed. Though […]

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Capital Hill Interstate

Aside from funding issues with the U.S. Highway Trust Fund, state governments are having a difficult time applying — and receiving — federal grants to make their part of the system safer.

USA Today reports grants for graduated licensing for teens, ignition interlocks for DUI offenders, and distracted driving prevention have gone largely unclaimed. Though several states have laws on the books that would merit the boost, the qualifications necessary for each grant and the two-year time frame for each grant are too much of an obstacle to make the attempt, let alone be rejected by the federal government.

As a result, no states received grants for graduated licensing. New Jersey came close by mandating restrictions until the driver is 18 — which the grant requires — but the rest of the state’s GDL legislation failed to match up with the rest of the grant’s requirements.

Additionally, four states qualified for the ignition interlock grant by meeting the requirement that all first-time offenders must use interlocks for no less than 30 days.

Finally, Connecticut was the only state to win a grant for distracted driving prevention by imposing minimum fines that escalate with every new offense, as well as warn of the issue in driver’s licensing exams.

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