By on January 7, 2020

Sony

When it comes to forward-thinking concept vehicles, “vision” ranks among the most popular words used by automakers to convey their futuristic aspirations to the general public. Among real-world production models, the letter “S” best signifies a vehicle either at the top or bottom of its game. There’s no in-between when it comes to S; it’s either Sport, or base.

So it’s forgivable if the reader finds the name bestowed on a prototype vehicle launched Monday night at the Consumer Electronics Show to be both generic and instantly forgettable. But the Vision-S is real, and it was built by a company best known for putting music in the hands of the teeming masses, not cars. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

2019 Buick Envision interior

True story: a person this writer knows was recently upsold into a higher-trim version of a popular domestic subcompact crossover, with the selling point being, obviously, the model’s additional plushness and safety features. Once in the driveway, this buyer instantly grew annoyed with the vehicle’s various driver-assist features and, not knowing how to dial them back or cancel them altogether, began the process of finding a buyer.

Dealers and their salespeople have a long way to go in educating the buying public on the industry’s growing list of tech-heavy features; doing so would help boost satisfaction rates for new vehicles. A great number of people have a bone to pick with their car’s driver-assist features, and it may prevent them from sticking with the brand. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2019

Launched on Cadillac’s flagship CT6 sedan for 2018, the hands-off Super Cruise driver-assist system has apparently already taken passengers 2.5 million miles, General Motors claims. The feature works only on divided, carefully mapped highways, with a driver-monitoring camera ensuring motorists don’t pull any Tesla-inspired stunts.

With Super Cruise poised to migrate from the CT6 to other vehicles in the coming years, GM plans to add an extra 70,000 miles of “compatible” roadways to the feature’s network, including a key route missing from the previous version. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2018

Image: Shantanu Joshi/Youtube

American safety advocates have long cautioned motorists and manufacturers that poor communication leads to unrealistic expectations of driver assist systems, thus putting lives in danger. The Europeans are waking up to this reality, too.

Despite an ever-growing list of standard tech in new cars, customer bewilderment hasn’t waned, a new study shows. You’d be alarmed (but perhaps not surprised) by the number of people who think self-driving cars are already on the market. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2018

Mazda CX-9 blind spot monitoring - Image: Mazda

One of the criticisms of all the various pieces of technology that serve as driving aids is this: They make it too easy for drivers to fall into bad and lazy habits.

I thought of this while making a lane change near my Chicago home the other day. The test car I was in had blind spot monitoring, and I made the change without turning my head, and with barely a peep at the mirrors.

It was a harmless maneuver, as no one was near me. The system worked. But I chided myself – I’d let technology make me lazy.

(Read More…)

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