General Motors spent a lot of time and money in the development of TravTek GPS. As we learned in our last installment, the comprehensive (if clunky) navigation system used a touchscreen, had live traffic information, and could even make phone calls. Installed in 100 Toronados used in the greater Orlando area for an entire year, GM, AAA, and various government parties were eager to see just how useful the system was and if it was worthwhile. Narrator: It wasn’t. Let’s find out why.
We return to our spicy Oldsmobile content this week, with the introduction of GM’s first publicly tested in-car navigation system, TravTek. Arriving in the early Nineties, TravTek was launched more than two decades after GM’s magnet-based DAIR prototype failed to make production. This time The General was determined to make good on their big investment. Onward, to Orlando!
In last week’s installment of Abandoned History, we learned about General Motors’ 1966 magnet-based primitive navigation system, DAIR. The inclusive system featured emergency messages, traffic bulletins played inside the car, and route guidance. DAIR never progressed beyond the concept stage and two total test vehicles, largely because it would have meant buried magnets and accompanying signal relay stations at every major intersection in the country. Some 25 years later The General tried it again, but technology progressed considerably by that point.
Dealer franchise laws are controversial at best and downright divisive in most cases, but they remain a significant force in the automotive industry despite the political noise surrounding them. Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis recently joined the fray when he signed House Bill 637, legislation that blocks direct auto sales for most brands but not all.
Have you ever played the Florida Man birthday game? It’s simple enough – you type “Florida man” into Google, followed by your birthday, then read the headlines. Hilarity ensues (“Half-Nude Florida Man Wearing Underwear Marked ‘Breathalyzer, Blow Here’ Arrested for DUI,” is mine, in case you’re curious). But there are a few other “Florida Man” headlines you might find interesting, from an automotive perspective. Headlines like, “Florida Man Builds World-beating Supercar”.
A Chevy Silverado owner in Florida snapped and attempted to run down a gas station attendant following a heated argument about fuel pumps. Frankly, we can’t imagine how anyone could be unhappy with fuel prices being so low, but this is Florida, a state whose motto of “In God We Trust” seems far less fitting than my proposed alternative of “Check This Out.”
America’s infamous panhandle is a wellspring of weirdness and, in true Florida fashion, the latest event is as terrifying as it is hysterical. While attempting to assault someone with a motor vehicle holds little humor in itself, watching that person fail as their agitated target (who had to get in the last word) takes a near-perfect pratfall offers so much instant relief, the mind can’t help itself.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/HB 311: Autonomous Vehicles into law on Thursday, claiming the state has effectively removed “unnecessary obstacles that hinder the development of autonomous vehicle technology,” including human safety operators.
Provided that a vehicle meets all insurance requirements, Florida will no longer require AVs to operate with a flesh-and-blood person behind the wheel. However, those that do remain in the driver’s seat, will also be exempt from the state’s distracted driving laws.
The last couple of weeks (and, um, stories) have been awash in negative press and bad vibes for Nissan. Fortunately, mother nature stepped in to help one Florida dealership restore the cosmic balance by having a family of ducks move in.
A few months ago, a nest of ducklings hatched outside Sutherlin Nissan Orlando. They decided to stick around, creating an interesting incentive for customers. While we doubt the company would implement new dealer conditions that mandate an on-site petting zoo, it could be a novel solution to its sales woes. After all, promoting dogs worked extremely well for Subaru. Maybe Nissan can become the duck brand.
Florida lawmakers are pushing a new bill that would make it illegal to have your car stolen if you haven’t bothered to take the keys out of the ignition. While accidentally prepping a car for prospective thieves is easily one of the dumbest things you can do, making it illegal to leave it running while you pop in to buy a pack of gum sets us up for a nice slippery slope argument.
Last week, State Representative Wengay Newton and Senator Perry Thurston introduced matching proposals (House Bill 927 and Senate Bill 1112) that would make leaving your car unattended without stopping the engine, locking the ignition, and removing the key a second-degree misdemeanor. Under the Florida statute, the crime would be punishable with a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
Florida-area car dealerships are annoyed that insurance companies pulled the plug on policies earlier this week, fearing further hurricane-related payouts as Hurricane Irma approaches the coast. Insurers, including Progressive and Allstate, are reacting to losses incurred in Texas during Hurricane Harvey’s assault last month.
While this is standard practice for some companies, it isn’t a universal trend. State Farm, for example, said it would continue offering coverage until after a national hurricane advisory had been issued.
Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.
A driver who was charged for driving under the influence — even though a blood test revealed only caffeine — won’t have to enter a courtroom to plead his innocence. That, a gas station attendant takes the Florida Woman meme and runs with it (into another woman’s car), and Canadian heavy truck drivers just refuse to lower their beds while on the highway.
We need to talk. You’re a good state. Really, you are. I love your beaches. There’s the delightful lilt of latin accents everywhere. Daytona is the place where motorsports royalty is crowned in America. Sebring is the place of legends. And who doesn’t love Disney World?
But we need to talk about your car situation. It’s just flat-out embarrassing. All of your friends are talking about it. I think it’s time we had a an open, honest conversation, and maybe we can solve this problem together.
Didn’t we all have a good laugh earlier this week about the confrontation between a low-talent Florida motorcyclist and a low-IQ Fusion driver? Shouldn’t it be a lesson to all of us to never ride a motorcycle in Florida, even though we now know how it started and how it’s gonna end? What kind of idiot would deliberately go rent a motorcycle and ride it around Florida immediately after watching that video?
Well, friends and readers, I am precisely that kind of idiot.
Last week, I asked the B&B if this Civic-ramming incident was malicious or merely idiotic. No such question could possibly be raised about what you’re about to see. This video has it all: the stereotypical “Florida Man” (or possibly “Georgia Man”) in full assault mode, some of the most hellaciously dangerous motorcycling you’ll ever see, and plenty of Michael-Bay-movie-in-real-life swerving into oncoming traffic.
The best part, however, is how a fellow behind the wheel of a motorcycle that is literally faster than a Ferrari 599 Fiorano can’t quite escape the murderous attentions of … a previous-generation Ford Fusion.
Somebody sign that guy up for NASCAR!
The year is 2010. Hope and Change still lingers in the air. The water in Flint, Michigan is passably safe to drink. And Donald Trump doesn’t have a single pledged delegate to his name.
This year saw $8 billion from the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated to dozens of so-called “high speed rail” projects across the country. The projects were said to be “shovel-ready” — and some were — but many are still ongoing, er, creating jobs today.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
- Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.