GM to Patent Temporary Digital Key?

A standard part of the dealership test drive experience involves the salesperson grabbing the key to the car in question out of a lockbox, then accompanying the customer on the drive. A new patent filing suggests General Motors may be looking for a way to give customers access to the car without requiring a salesperson to dig through a box of keys.

GM appears to be working on a patent that would allow customers to have a temporary digital key granted to them in order to gain access to a vehicle they want to test drive.

The system would work like this: Interested customer applies for the key, the dealer verifies the buyer’s interest and identity, dealer approves the test drive and monitors it. If the customer doesn’t want to buy the car, the dealer can revoke the digital key authentication, and it can also do the same to a prior key holder if the vehicle is used and someone other than the first title holder buys it.

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QOTD: Dig That Digital Dash?

Thanks to tech advancements in the field of digital display, we live in an age where today’s cars have beautiful, flowing digital gauges. Audi’s MMI system and its Virtual Cockpit, as an example, is a 12.3-inch master class in design.

Not too many years ago, though, it was completely different. Prehistoric electronics, combined with a race by manufacturers to out-spaceship each other, led to more than a few sets of gauges that had to be studied like tax forms.

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Piston Slap: Hacking the Unrollable Odometer?

Brian writes:

I had a conversation with someone the other day who claimed his mechanic rolled back the odometer on his car. This is a late-model car with a digital odometer. I always thought digital odometers were protected from this, but a quick Google search reveals that it’s actually quite common and easy to roll back a digital odometer. I guess this is now something a buyer has to worry about on top of everything else when buying a used car.

For example, how could you ever tell a car was rolled back — say, 10,000 miles — when the car is legitimately in good condition?

What are your thoughts on this? And how can a buyer protect themselves?

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Piston Slap: New Tricks for an Old Car Phone? (Part II)

Tony writes:

I have a 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo with a built-in cell phone (analog) that doesn’t work. Could you help me convert it? That would be amazing.

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Super Piston Slap: New Tricks For an Old Car Phone? (Part II)

Sajeev writes:

I wasn’t expecting a “Part II” for this story: converting an analog phone to digital sounds comically nonsensical these days. But did you know that people once spent big money, back in the day big dawg money, so a (car) phone they’ve trusted for years lived to see another day…in the digital age?

Such a story landed in my Inbox. You know you wanna click ‘dat link to learn more!

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Super Piston Slap: New Tricks For an Old Car Phone?

It started innocently enough: Derek Kreindler posted the above photo on Facebook for nothing more than a few social media lulz. Which triggered a memory on my end of Al Gore’s Internet: of a cellular phone residing in the console of my Lincoln Mark VIII. Even worse, it reminded me of the way-cool hack to make it work in the digital age. The conversation went downhill from there, and the boss man suggested I blog all about it. Won’t you join me in the cellular madness?

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  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.