Tag: Driving

By on December 7, 2018

There are many things I don’t like about Los Angeles. The traffic, the cost of doing just about anything, the traffic, the sprawl, the traffic, the oversaturation of chain fast-food restaurants and billboards, the traffic.

However, there is one thing that makes me rethink my living situation. One thing that tempts me to move to the West Coast.

It’s not the weather, or the beach, or the chance at Hollywood stardom. It’s the roads.

(Read More…)

By on December 5, 2018

We’ve arrived. It’s officially #TheFuture.

After years of talk within the auto industry, Waymo says it will become the first company to offer a commercial taxi service using autonomous vehicles when the program launches in Arizona today. Called Waymo One, the Google subsidiary plans to offer the first batch of rides to the 400 individuals who participated in the firm’s pilot program. Afterwards, the service will be expanded to more riders in a broader area.

As with the company’s early rider program, Waymo wants to keep the launch small to assess demand while continuing the company’s testing in an environment it feels comfortable with. Based on the growing assumption that autonomous vehicles can’t handle inclement weather, Arizona seems like the perfect place to keep working out the bugs.

Similarly, public complaints have indicated Waymo’s fleet of Chrysler Pacificas may not yet be perfected(Read More…)

By on November 7, 2018

Last month, a motorcyclist was injured by one of Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacificas. According to the accident report, a car in the left lane attempted to merge into the same middle lane as the Pacifica test platform, which was operating in autonomous mode. The safety driver then “took manual control of the Pacifica out of an abundance of caution, disengaged from self-driving mode, and began changing lanes into [the outside lane].”

Considering the AV wasn’t traveling above 25 mph, it’s a little curious the driver took evasive action, unless the second car attempted to merge directly into it. Regardless, the Pacifica’s lane change placed it into direct contact with a motorcycle that was moving slightly faster. Waymo said that, had the autonomous system been left in play, the vehicle would have assuredly avoided the accident.  (Read More…)

By on August 17, 2018

driving Golden Gate

Just rest comfortably on the couch here. That’s good. Now, what seems to be the problem?

We’re giving everyone a chance to talk it out today, as each and every one of us harbors some type of anxiety, insecurity, or deeply rooted fear. Oh, you don’t? Sounds like you’re lying to yourself.

The inspiration for this QOTD lies in a tragedy. Earlier this week, a bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, killed 39 people, with some motorists surviving a plunge of up to 180 feet. Others braked in time to avoid tumbling off the edge of the crumbling span.

For many, perhaps even yourself, this exact scenario (or something like it) takes top billing on the “worst driving fear” list. However, other worries — both rational and irrational — cloud our time behind the wheel, watering down the pure, unadulterated joy of driving. What’s your greatest driving fear? (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2018

2017 Subaru Impreza driving, Image: Subaru

Yesterday’s questionable study regarding self-driving cars — in which the authors foresee a veritable utopia brought on by ultra-efficient, humanless robot cars — inspired the usual twinge of nausea in this author. Beware of any study that gleefully brushes aside massive job losses in certain sectors in order to tout increases in others. It’s usually the work of a zealot or someone who stands to bolster their personal wealth.

In this case, it also stands to separate you from the tactile experience of driving. Yes, there’s plenty of people who would gladly turn over their commute duties to an array of sensors and a digital brain — I think we’d all prefer that in stop-and-go situations — but if future roadways require a complete absence of human drivers in order to hit peak efficiency, we’d also be giving up the ability to de-stress. Driving means different things to different people. For some, it’s therapy.

Just how much of your driving is non-essential? (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2018

Tempe, Arizona, that sunny hotbed of autonomous vehicle testing, made headlines earlier this year after a driverless Volvo XC90 operated by Uber Technologies struck and killed a woman crossing a darkened street. The “driverless” vehicle, which had a (distracted) Uber employee behind the wheel, apparently didn’t see the victim. Uber suspended testing after the incident.

Now, Tempe’s making headlines again. A Waymo-operated Chrysler Pacifica found itself the victim of a collision on Friday afternoon, but it’s the behaviour of another Waymo minivan — caught on video by another motorist — that’s generating the most interest today. (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2018

public domain

A bill seeking to amend Virginia’s DUI laws passed through the state Senate last month, but don’t expect the law to make it onto the books. The legislation aimed to make intoxicated driving legal if a driver performed the boozy feat on his or her own private property, with all other existing laws remaining the same.

As you might expect, this didn’t go over well with law enforcement, politicians, safety advocates, and various other concerned citizenry. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2018

Weather, at least in this neck of the woods, and especially at this time of year, is more often foe than friend. It certainly was yesterday, when a sudden and very heavy dumping of snow arrived just at the beginning of rush hour, spawning a perfect gridlock that lasted for hours.

While your author didn’t have to drive in it, at least not for commuting purposes, the tangled mess of compact crossover owners all attempting to get to that warm cocoon of beige vinyl they call a home tied up freeway traffic well into the evening. For some reason, nary a plow was to be seen — quite odd for Suburban Canada, as Corey Lewis calls it.

The conditions yesterday mirror those experienced on the longest commute I’ve ever faced. Last year, driving from head office in Downtown Canada (Toronto) to my managing editor’s home in Suburban Downtown Canada (Oshawa), another perfect storm transformed what would have been a basic highway trek into a three hour, 15 minute hell slog. Let’s just say there were no secrets between us by the end of that trip.  (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2018

New York City and San Francisco, besides having the most tailored beards and bike activists on both coasts (Note: Portland might have something to say about this) might not like some of the data emerging from the University of Michigan.

While some Millennials, especially ones working at startups and paying the equivalent of a Cadillac for a shoebox apartment in a trendy, upcoming part of their building, might think personal car ownership is as dated a concept as VCR tapes and telephone banking, there’s a vast gulf between that lifestyle and that of the average American. It’s clear to see in the U-M Transportation Research Institute’s latest findings.

The data also pours a cold glass of asparagus water over an earlier poll that suggests we’re poised to kick car ownership to the curb. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2017

(In keeping with our promise to share thought-provoking fodder with our readers, we sometimes run articles published by TTAC’s sister sites. This look at recent crashes involving self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, penned by GM Inside News head honcho Michael Accardi, touches on a number of themes we’ve explored in these pages. Are humans really to blame for all of the accidents involving “perfectly safe” autonomous vehicles, or is the real picture not as crystal clear? Read on.)

The autonomous Chevrolet Bolts GM’s self-driving startup has running around San Francisco have been involved in 22 accidents during 2017 – none of which were the software’s fault (legally, that is).

Cruise Automation has been using a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolts to log autonomous miles in an urban environment since GM purchased the company for more than $1 billion in 2016. When you’re trying to disrupt personal transportation as we know it and develop a new technology standard, there are bound to be a few incidents.

But this hybrid model of humans and algorithms sharing the road is more complex than simply apportioning blame based on the law, isn’t it? None of the 22 incidents involving GM’s Cruise fleet were serious, but a majority of them were caused by a fundamental difference in the way autonomous and human drivers react. (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet - Image: © Timothy Cain250 years ago, in Prince Edward Island’s 1767 land lottery of 64 parcels, Lot 20 was scooped up by Theodore Houltain and Thomas Basset.

Encompassing the communities of Malpeque Bay, Clinton, French River, Park Corner, Sea View, and other hamlets, and possessing fewer than 1,000 people, Lot 20 is a gem along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s a gem I thought I knew well, at least until I took possession of our new family home earlier this week. Last night, with my friend Jeff The HR Manager operating as a tour guide, we traversed virtually every road on Lot 20 in the company of a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet.

We reached antisocial speeds, as AMGs are prone to do. We consumed fuel, as twin-turbo V6s are inclined to do. We made inappropriate noises, as Mercedes-Benz’s Dynamic Select Sport+ mode (with the Performance Exhaust System’s button also depressed) is wont to do.

And we made friends, as convertibles have always and will forever do. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2017

Route 330, Newfoundland

Growing up a million years ago in Canada’s most eastern province, everyone – young, old, tall, short – had a primo spot for their favored recreational activity. Fishing? We all did that … and you’d better believe there was a location or two better than all the others. The old folks used to go berry-picking and everyone knew not to muscle in on Uncle Eli’s favorite blueberry patch.

Me? Then, as ever, I enjoyed driving cars … and I had a favorite spot for that, too.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2016

traffic (Michael Gil/Flickr)

Passenger vehicles have never been safer, with a bevy of high-tech aids available to keep nervous motorists safe, and feeling safe.

For the most part, we enjoy these handy driver’s aids. After all, who wants to end up in hospital, or have their insurance company come collecting for an arm, a leg, and a few other pounds of flesh? However, one safety feature, found on an increasing number of new vehicles, has all the popularity of Chrysler’s grating Electronic Voice Alert of the 1980s. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2016

Driver's Life Driving Matters Campaign Mazda

Drivers afraid to be behind the wheel are a misunderstood threat to road safety. Fearful driving often leads to excessive caution masquerading as politeness. Resulting behaviors may appear benign, when in fact they can be grave.

(Read More…)

By on January 25, 2016

pb-110202-snow-jw.photoblog900--Courtesy franklinnow.com

Every other year or so, the same site/email/thread/rumor goes around:

“Did you know that your car’s ABS system actually makes driving in snow WORSE?! And the worser part is, you can’t even turn it off! Automakers and the government are the worstest!”

Except that’s not true.

(Read More…)

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