By on June 26, 2019

Next year, BMW plans to equip all plug-in hybrid models with a standard function that automatically switches the automobile into electric mode whenever it enters an area designated for emissions-free driving. While the change is universal, the feature won’t get much action in the United States where government-mandated electrification is less pervasive than a Europe or China.

Still, that’s a sizable chunk of the brand’s global market. Hoping to appeal to it, Bavarian Motor Works went on an electric kick for Tuesday, announcing the electrically powered Motorrad Vision DC Roadster motorbike, Vision M Next Concept, testbed “Power BEV” drive units, upgrades to the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and a bunch of other tech hand picked for the unsettlingly trendy #NEXTGen event.

However, the “eDrive Zone” PHEV geofencing system was one of the few items that has been scheduled for production. Unfortunately, it’s going to incorporate some gamification into the driving experience — making us suspicious of BMW’s ultimate goal.   (Read More…)

By on January 8, 2019

Expanding on last year’s concept, Honda is reintroducing “Dream Drive” for this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Previously a platform intended to provide passengers with augmented and virtual reality experiences, Double D now focuses primarily on in-car purchases. In fact, the service seems identical to General Motors’ Marketplace.

That’s right, Honda is entering the dark realm of in-car consumerism and twisted corporate partnerships. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2018

GM marketplace
Automakers began hunting for new revenue streams about two milliseconds after realizing they could put the internet into vehicles. While the earliest endeavors involved ride-sharing applications and new infotainment features, companies are now beginning to see new opportunities via automotive e-commerce, data acquisition, and in-car marketing.

However, the delivery system used for these new sources of revenue pose a legitimate safety concern. Distracted driving is on the rise and shopping while behind the wheel isn’t likely to remedy the situation. (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2018

When General Motors first deployed OnStar, it was a little more than an emergency services hotline. Drivers in need could tap a blue button on their rearview mirror and immediately get in contact with an operator. The system could also do this automatically in the event of a crash. OnStar later introduced anti-theft measures, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote access as part of a subscription plan.

However, with General Motors seeing dollar signs wherever connectivity is involved, the automaker wants to retool the system. OnStar will continue offering existing services, but GM is changing the subscription model and placing a new emphasis on data acquisition. The good news is that the tiered payment model will offer more features starting in May. Unfortunately, some those amenities used to be free and those fed up with companies selling your data or paranoid about Orwellian Big Brother scenarios might be less enthusiastic about the long-term corporate vision. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2017

GM marketplace

After announcing its new in-car marketplace earlier this week, General Motors is taking some heat from the National Safety Council. While we weren’t entirely sold on the shopping service either, our concerns revolved mainly around the automaker’s initial push into consumer data acquisition and targeted advertising.

We glossed over the safety angle, for the most part, mainly because we hadn’t yet played with the feature. However, the council’s worries focus squarely on the potential risk for distracted driving.

Upon marketplace’s release, GM tried to make clear that the service took those dangers into account, offering what it claims is a safer alternative to mobile phone use. But National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman believes the app will only create more accidents, hinting at the role cumbersome in-car technologies may have played in last year’s 5.6-percent rise in U.S. auto fatalities. (Read More…)

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