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Things became grim the moment the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety added headlight performance to its testing regimen. An initial report on midsize cars came back with only a single vehicle receiving a good score, and IIHS wasn’t any kinder toward SUVs or pickup trucks. The general consensus seemed to be that most headlights are absolutely terrible at providing adequate visibility but great at blinding oncoming traffic.
Adding headlight effectiveness to the ratings criteria for the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ designation ended up cutting the previous year’s list practically in half. Down from 79, only 38 models received the safety plus appointment under the new measurements. Read More >
Over the past two years, we’ve brought you in-depth coverage of a crop of shadowy gadgets designed to give thieves access to parked vehicles.
Like most tools of the trade, the gadgets are very similar, using the same principle to achieve the same result — unlocking a parked vehicle by sending signals to the car’s own keyless-entry system. For vehicles with a push-button ignition, the same gadgets can sometimes start the vehicle, giving that thief an instant lifestyle upgrade.
Now, a “mystery device” purchased by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has revealed just how vulnerable an average vehicle is to these high-tech slim jims. Read More >
You don’t just develop a multi-cog transmission with your longstanding rival and not use it.
With that in mind, General Motors has big short-term plans for the nine-speed automatic it co-developed with Ford Motor Company. Already announced as uplevel equipment in three models, GM plans to spread the nine-speed love to a total of 10 models within a year. Read More >
General Motors’ futuristic semi-autonomous driving technology now seems tinged with nostalgia.
The automaker’s “Super Cruise” self-driving function was first announced back in September 2014, but the new model many expected to be launched with the feature — the 2016 Cadillac CT6 — showed up without it.
Now, GM plans to debut the feature next year, and a recently intercepted letter from the federal government shows what to expect from the system. Read More >
Automatic emergency braking (AEB) should be mandatory, not voluntary, say safety groups, some of which have sued in order to see it happen.
It’s something of an odd situation, as one of the people behind a lawsuit filed against the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is an ex-NHTSA administrator. Read More >
George Hotz has revived his Comma One self-driving technology project — sort of — after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shut down the commercial launch of his product earlier this year. Today, Hotz announced he would release the hardware schematics and code for the project for free to the public, targeting hobbyists and researchers.
The code is already up on the Comma.ai github repository, along with a detailed guide and schematics on how to assemble the hardware. Making the project open source and releasing it for free might get NHTSA off his back, so the only question now is how to monetize it in the future. Read More >
It’s a one-way flight, obviously.
Audi has announced that its Lunar Quattro has a ticket to ride on a moon-bound spaceflight booked for late next year. Refined, finessed, and now 18 pounds lighter, the automaker’s plucky moon rover is bound for a rendezvous with another extraplanetary car.
That one, however, is a 1970s model. Read More >
There is a new form of embarrassment for rule-breakers of the parking variety. It’s an irremovable suction-based clamshell blindfold for your car that inconveniences you to the point of having to cooperate with authorities.
Devised by Barnacle Parking as a friendlier alternative to the infamous “boot,” the device is already being tested in a few American cities and might one day make it to yours.
Read More >
Due to a wildly cooperative joint venture between German carmakers and the Ford Motor Company, owning an electric vehicle in Europe will soon become far more practical.
Daimler AG, BMW, Ford, and Volkswagen Group intend to establish a continent-wide network of ultra-fast 350 kW capacity charging sites that will begin juicing up vehicles as early as next year. Read More >
Thanksgiving is past and the coming month promises plenty of opportunities for socially acceptable, clove-scented boozing. Some beverages placed in hand — egg nog, for example — can easily pack enough liquor to make a sailor’s eyes water, while the drinker remains unaware of the serving size.
No problem, you say. You’ve bought a civilian breathalyzer, or perhaps the bar you’re at provides one. Got it all covered. Once that device delivers the green light, bam — it’s motoring time! Any police impaired driving checkpoint you encounter should pass your sober ass with flying colors, right?
So wrong. The majority of breathalyzers tested in a recent study failed miserably. Read More >