How Certain Are We On Autonomous Driving

Posted by admin on April 21st, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The new reality when it comes to automotives is autonomous driving but is it all that it really seems. While I am optimistic about driverless cars, skepticism abounds about whether driverless cars can actually work and, even if they are technically possible, whether they should be allowed.

In the interest of facilitating a robust conversation, I want to offer seven of the most pressing concerns. Effective decision making, as Peter Drucker observed, depends on the dialogue between different points of view and a choice between different judgments.

The following differing points of view and judgments cover a wide range of potential issues, including technical viability, operational resiliency, and even fears that driverless cars might work too well and thus unleash a host of unwanted secondary effects.

Please feel free to reiterate, refute or add to the items on this list.

  1.  There are too many “corner cases.” While driverless cars have demonstrated remarkable proficiency in many aspects of driving, some contend that many driving scenarios will remain unsolved. MIT’s John Leonard, for example, points to left hand turns into heavy traffic, adverse weather, changes to road surfaces, and eye and hand gestures as open technical questions for which solutions “might be a very long way away.” Leonard should know, he has been a central figure in the field for years, including a stint as the leader of MIT’s autonomous car team in the famed 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. (Watch this excellent presentation for Leonard’s detailed assessment.)
  2.  The technology is not robust enough. Even if theoretical solutions are found, it might be hard to reliably translate them to the real world. Robustness would depend on a myriad of electronic, mechanical and software components operating with little tolerance for error under adverse (freezing, wet, boiling) conditions, long duty cycles, less than perfect maintenance (car owners being human), fender benders, network and electrical outages, and so on.  Dr. Louise Cummings, for example, made a well-reasoned argument along these lines during a recent U.S. Senate committee hearing.
  3.  They will cost too much. The cost of sophisticated electronics, including lidar, radar, sensors, cameras, computing and networking devices, on top of the cost of additional development, maintenance, and liability, will price driverless cars out of reach of most consumers.

To Read More Click Here

BMW May Have Sins In Their Past, But Are Looking Toward A Bright Future Of 100 More Years

Posted by admin on March 12th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized, World Charities (no responses)

The history of BMW is checkered and interesting to follow, but they are still here today, and looking forward to more to come. BMW celebrated its 100th birthday in Munich this week by reveling in past achievements and suggesting some important ones to come, but investors only asked, what has the company done for us lately.

And surprisingly, given the 100 years covered some parts of history best forgotten; BMW bravely came up with a full frontal apology.

In a long statement headlined “BMW Group The Next 100 years,” the company pointed to the 1930s and 1940s, when under the National Socialist regime it operated exclusively as a supplier to the German arms industry.

“As demand for BMW aero engines increased, forced laborers, convicts and prisoners from concentration camps were recruited to assist with manufacturing them. To this day, the enormous suffering this caused and the fate of many forced laborers remains a matter of the most profound regret,” BMW said.

BMW is organizing a world tour to talk about future opportunities and change for it and the auto industry in general in the next 100 years. The BMW Vision 100 tour will end in the Los Angeles in October. The tour will discuss –

The opportunities opened up through digitalization and connectivity

The increasing role of technology in our lives

BMW Group’s vision of a sustainable future

The company’s commitment to expand its efforts as a good corporate citizen

Investors though have more pressing concerns.

Morgan Stanley analyst Harald Hendrikse worried that in the fourth quarter of 2015, BMW’s profit margin may have slipped beneath the long-term target of eight to 10 per cent.

“We forecast an Auto EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin of 7.7 per cent for Q4 2015, below the eight per cent lower limit of the target range,” Hendrikse said.

To Read More Click Here

Ride Sharing Becomes Dangerous To Taxi Companies

Posted by admin on February 8th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The ways to get to where you are going are numerous, subways, taxis, bus, streetcar. Now you can share your ride with a friend to make it easier and quicker, but that might not be a good thing for everybody.

The city’s largest taxi company, Yellow Cab Co-Op, said that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a December letter to shareholders obtained by the San Francisco Examiner. While regular taxi operations will continue, the company needs to restructure due to “serious financial setbacks” caused by mounting debt and competition from ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft.

The major problem? People just aren’t taking as many regular cab rides any more now that Uber and company present a solution that’s often cheaper and more convenient. “On an annual basis over 5 million passengers are transported in Yellow cabs,” Yellow Cab President Pamela Martinez wrote in the letter. “We used to have more and our goal is to get them back and even more.”

As Uber and Lyft recruit drivers with significant bonuses, as well as more flexibility in hours, the old taxi companies also aren’t able to retain the best drivers. “We need to have not just more drivers but drivers who are happy to be behind the wheel of a Yellow cab because we offer the best opportunity to make a living in a taxi,” Martinez continued.

Yellow Cab might be just the first domino to fall in ride-hailing’s global assault on the taxi business. Many local taxi companies have lobbied for legislation to protect themselves against Uber, but the startup worth more than $60 billion is hard to defeat. It is striking that Uber and Lyft together raised more than $3 billion in December alone, in the same month Yellow Cab admitted it would have to file for bankruptcy.

To Read More Click Here

Who Will Come Out On Top Tesla Or Faraday Future?

Posted by admin on January 17th, 2016 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized, World Charities (no responses)

Everybody is striving to create the most popular electric car, who knows what can happen in the next couple years?

Faraday Future debuted a stunning electric vehicle concept at CES 2016 on Monday night. But Tesla can do a lot between now and 2018 (or thereabouts) when Faraday plans to bring out a real car.

Executives from Faraday Future, the Chinese billionaire-backed startup,were dropping buzzy-sounding ideas like Variable Platform Architecture, battery strings, and “aero-tunnels” Monday night. Jia Yueting, the billionaire founder and chief executive of LeTV — a Chinese media company with a market value of over ten billion dollars — is putting down some serious bucks. He’s one of the principals investing $1 billion in a 3 million square foot manufacturing facility on approximately 900 acres in North Las Vegas. The project would create 4,500 direct jobs on site.

But the first production vehicle won’t be here for “a couple of years,” as Nick Sampson, a senior vice president at Faraday and a former Tesla engineer, said on stage Monday night (to be fair, he used the word “only” when stating a couple of years and also had praise for Tesla: “Tesla andElon Musk have created something we should all applaud them for”). The challenge is, in a couple of years, the Tesla Motors TSLA -2.38% Model X crossover will be a maturing platform and pouring out of Tesla factories.  And of course that’s when the mass-market $35,000 Model 3 should hit the streets. And, needless to say, Tesla will have new car and technology announcements over the next couple of years.

Faraday claims it’s going to move fast and be able to crank out everything from FFZero1-like cars to SUVs to “even a pickup truck” based on its Variable Platform Architecture (see video at bottom). The VPA includes a battery structure arranged into “strings” — adding or removing strings changes the battery capacity and allows FF to develop new wheelbases. VPA also allows modular motor and power train configurations, including layouts with up to 4 motors and two or all-wheel drive systems.

To Read More Click Here

Many Dead Ends Lead To A Future Where Your Car Will Park For You

Posted by admin on December 17th, 2015 in Category Car News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

MIAMI BEACH — Parking lots can sometimes be more dangerous than driving on the roads, with reckless drivers trying to find a spot and hurry into the store, well we are getting closer to no longer worrying about that thanks to technology.

It seemed like the perfect nightlife accessory for the South Beach set — an automated robotic parking garage where trendy clubgoers could park their Porsches with a futuristic touch of a button.

Forget hiding your GPS and favorite Fendi sunglasses from a valet who might ding your new alloy wheels; this garage would park cars itself.

Instead, malfunctions lasted for hours. Cars were smashed, and faulty machinery fell several stories to the ground. Sometimes vehicles were stuck for so long that garage operators had to pay for customers’ taxis.

“It was clear that the garage was not ready to be open to the public,” said Russell Galbut, the managing principal at Crescent Heights, the property developer, which has sued two manufacturers over the botched garage.

While engineers aim to perfect self-driving cars, they still have a lot of work to do on another element of the idealized commute of the future: robotic parking. Designs differ, but most consist of a combination of automated ramps, slabs, lifts and shelves, using a computerized system that parks and delivers a car like a high-tech vending machine.

But the garage on Collins Avenue is one of two cutting-edge parking projects in South Florida that ended in spectacular debacles. At a luxury residential high-rise in downtown Miami, a $16 million robotic garage plagued with delays finally closed, leaving tenants paying $28 a day to park elsewhere. The police were called to keep order at the building, BrickellHouse.

And around the country, other attempts at self-parking garages have been caught in embarrassing software and hardware mishaps at a time when dozens of projects have been proposed or are underway.

To Read More Click Here


No Need To Import Seating For Tesla Vehicles, They Create Their Own Supply

Posted by admin on November 6th, 2015 in Category Car News, Charity News, Site News, Uncategorized, World Charities (no responses)

With the demand for more Tesla automotives increasing at a high rate the need for the company to grow and change becomes essential. The latest change for Tesla Motors is the Model X’s second-row seats.

In August, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told investors it was difficult to make the seats, which he described as a “sculptural work of art, but a very tricky thing to get right.” They were so challenging that they led him to reduce the electric-car maker’s delivery forecast that month to as few as 50,000 from 55,000, which set off a wave of skepticism over his ambitious plans.

“We have substantially in-sourced the seats at this point,” Musk said Tuesday during the third-quarter earnings call with analysts. “Tesla is producing its own seats.”

Musk has long been a fan of doing things on his own as much as possible, such as building the world’s largest battery factory outside of Reno, Nevada, to streamline production and reduce costs to bring a more-affordable car — the Model 3 — to market. When an analyst asked Musk about the enormous costs of the automotive industry, Musk said that Tesla is becoming more capital-efficient.

To Read More Click Here

Your Old Cars Can Be Safe Too

Posted by admin on October 4th, 2015 in Category Car News, Cool Cars, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Technology has advanced vastly when it comes to safety technology and vehicles, and now it can be added onto older cars as well.

This way you don’t have to be left out of the technological revolution. Audiovox makes a rearview camera that can be added on.

The rearview camera is one of the most popular of a growing list of add-on devices and services that promise to bring modern features to aging jalopies.

“Lane departure and collision warning, pedestrian warnings, high-beam control and traffic sign recognition — all of those can be retrofitted in a customer’s car,” said Elad Serfaty, a vice president at Mobileye, whose technology is built into a variety of vehicles from BMW, Volvo and other carmakers that offer collision detection and prevention.

A warning and monitoring system that can be added to older vehicles, like the Mobileye 660, costs roughly $1,000 including a professional installation, Mr. Serfaty said, but he pointed out that the benefits could outweigh the costs. A Highway Loss Data Institute study of Honda Accords and Crosstours equipped with lane departure and forward collision warnings, for example, found a 14 percent reduction in damage claims compared with models without the systems.

To Read More Click Here

What Makes The BMW 7 Series Stand Out From Other Cars

Posted by admin on September 5th, 2015 in Category Car News, Charity News, Cool Cars, Donation News, Site News, Uncategorized, World Charities (no responses)

BMW is well known for the quality of cars they make and the technology embedded within however with this new seven series you will stand out even more so.

With the proliferation of technology across all vehicle segments, luxury automakers have to work harder to differentiate their cars. After all, when Buick and BMW both have Apple CarPlay, there isn’t much brand discrepancy via the dashboard display.

The 7 Series is BMW’s flagship and therefore the German luxury car company’s technology standard-bearer. Previous generations debuted the first in-dash navigation system, active safety features and center-console infotainment controller, iDrive, which other automakers later adopted.

BMW boasts that the all-new 2016 7 Series features 24 new innovations, and that half of those are segment exclusives. I got a chance to test drive the new 7 Series at a press event earlier this week and came away impressed with these six new tech features.

Gesture Control

Not only is the new 7 Series the first BMW with a touchscreen, but to activate certain features it doesn’t even need to be touched. The 7 Series has gesture control thanks to an infrared camera positioned in the headliner that detects the position of a hand in a small sweet spot above the shifter. Twirling a finger clockwise increases the volume of the stereo and twirling it counter-clockwise decreases it. Simply pointing at the screen can perform answering a call on a connected Bluetooth phone or swiping a finger can ignore the call. Two gestures can also be programmed to control a pair of favorite features.

To Read More Click Here

50 States and 50 Favorite Cars

Posted by admin on August 18th, 2015 in Category Car News, Cool Cars, Fun and Humor, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Each state is known for a certain thing and cars are no different, which car is your state known for?

If you were to take a list of the most popular cars in each state in the U.S., it’d be a pretty monotonous list. A bunch of Ford F-150s, some Chevy Silverado and Ram pickups, the odd Honda Accord or Toyota Camry here or there.

But we were curious: What car was the most distinctive in each state? What model of car did, say, California buy far more often than any other state in the Union? We turned to auto analyst Tom Libby of IHS Automotive to help us crunch the numbers. First, Libby pulled data about the make and model of every car sold in the U.S., and calculated the popularity of each by percentage using registration data. Then, he did the same at the state level, and compared each state to the national average.

“I compared the share for each model in, for instance, Alabama with the share of the same of model in the United States and came up with a ratio,” says Libby. “Then I basically ranked those ratios within each state. It’s an interesting methodology—you’re basically able to compare the individual demand of a model in a state with the individual demand at the national level, and see what ways is each state unique from the nation.”

Some states seem to conform to stereotypes—Texas loves the hulking Cadillac Escalade EXT, NPR-loving New England enjoys their Volvos, and in the rough country of North Dakota they love the GMC Yukon Denali XL. But there are surprises: Georgia, for instance, seems to have a thing for Nissan Leaf. “Georgia had very, very strong incentives to buy electric vehicles,” says Libby, referencing the fact that until very recently, the Peach State offered $5,000 in state tax credits (in addition to $7,500 in federal tax credits) to anyone who bought an electric vehicle. In other words, everyone who bought a Nissan Leaf in Georgia saved themselves a cool $12,500.

To Read More Click Here

6 Things That Need To Be Done Before Autonomous Driving Happens

Posted by admin on July 28th, 2015 in Category Car Donation, Car News, Charities, Charity News, Cool Cars, Donation News, Fun and Humor, Site News, Uncategorized, World Charities (no responses)

How much easier will it be as you go to work with your car driving for you? Will it be safer, can you get more done? However, you may need to wait for this automotive dream to become a reality.

As more than 800 engineers, software developers, transportation experts and other technical folks met last week in this Detroit suburb to discuss the risks and benefits of autonomous and connected vehicles, they were raising more questions than finding answers.

Here are six unsolved challenges that stand between the technologies’ potential and reality:

  1. Cybersecurity and privacy protection. Maybe this can’t be solved until there are thousands of pilot vehicles on our roads, but last week Wired magazine writer Andy Greenberg wrote about two cybersecurity experts who accessed a newer Jeep Cherokee’s computer brain through its Uconnect infotainment system and rewrote the firmware to plant their malicious code. The result: hip-hop began blasting through the stereo system, the AC turned to maximum force. Then the hacker’s code killed the transmission and brakes. We know autonomous cars will have even more software coding. One major attack and consumer confidence in the technology could be severely damaged.
  1. How much will these vehicles cost? Established automakers are introducing progressively more advanced autonomous features in their most expensive models. Ride-hailing or other fleet-based services such as Uber or Lyft will try to deliver their service at a lower price than competing options.

To Read More Click Here