Items tagged with Automobiles

Fixing automobiles has become a more complex art over the years, because of the increased reliance on computers and electronics. And that trend will only continue as more self-driving cars and smarter vehicles in general hit the pavement. So kudos to Massachusetts residents who voted to pass a crucial expansion to the state's right to repair law. Here in the afternoon of November 4, we are still awaiting final results of the presidential election. But not so for "Question 1" on the ballot in Massachusetts, otherwise known as "Amend Right to Repair Law," which effectively prevents automakers from withholding critical diagnostic and repair data tools and software from do-it-yourself (DIY) and independent... Read more...
You better look twice before crossing an intersection (in a car or especially on foot), because Tesla's fleet of self-driving vehicles have a new capability—the latest software update enables the autonomous cars to drive through a green light in some situations, without explicit confirmation from a flesh and blood driver. Let's hope it works as advertised. The feature is called "Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control," and it is being rolled out to vehicles through the newly released Autopilot 2020.40.0.1 update, along with a few other features added to the mix, like the addition of an optional PIN to protect the contents of the glove box, the ability to set a priority for a particular Bluetooth... Read more...
Electric vehicles sure have come a long way. Forget about the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight (an excellent car, by the way), Ford's new all-electric Mustang Mach-E 1400 is a different animal. Sure, it's from the same general family—just as domesticated kittens and lions of the wild are similar. But the Mustang Mach-E 1400 is also wildly different. Ford describes the Mach-E 1400 as a "road rocket," an apt designation, considering it harnesses the same 1,400 horsepower as the Mustang Cobra Jet 1400, which incidentally is also an all-electric vehicle. In this case, all that muscle comes by way of seven (yes, SEVEN!) electric motors, with power delivery being split evenly between the front and... Read more...
It may not happen in my lifetime, but it sure seems like we trending towards a world where the majority of automobiles on the market will be capable of driving themselves. In preparation for that day, Amazon on Friday confirmed it is acquiring Zoox, a California-based startup that has been designing an autonomous vehicle from the ground up. "Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. "Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we're excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead." Terms of the deal have not... Read more...
The last time Ford rolled a Mustang Mach 1 off the assembly line was way back in 2004, and the next time will be in 2021. It will amount to a 17-year hiatus when the limited edition Mach 1 makes its return next year, and this time it will be touting a 5.0-liter V8 engine with 480 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,600 rpm, according to Ford. As with the original Mach 1 from a decade and a half ago, the 2021 edition is intended to bridge the gap between the Mustang GT and Shelby models. Ford at one point had actually toyed with the idea of attaching the Mach 1 badge to an electric vehicle, but that became the Mach E SUV instead, paving the way for a true reincarnation. "Bold... Read more...
Imagine for a moment that you bought a used car from a dealership, and after doing so, the original manufacturer of the automobile came to your house and began stripping away features that do not come standard with the base model of whichever car you bought. Maybe you call the cops, or perhaps you take matters into your own hands (we don't condone the latter). Either way, it would be an unfathomable situation. Nevertheless, Tesla is under fire for allegedly doing something similar, only instead of physically removing a customer's radio or anything like that, it disabled features on a used car by way of an over-the-air (OTA) software update. These are not minor features, either—Tesla is... Read more...
Ahead of the Super Bowl this weekend, Porsche posted an extended cut of "The Heist," an advertisement that will run during the big game. That itself is mildly interesting (some people tune into the Super Bowl just for the commercials), but even more intriguing is what it might reveal—a first look at the upcoming 2021 model 911 GT3. That is not the focus of the commercial. Porsche is showing off its electric Taycan Turbo S in what will be the automaker's first Super Bowl advertisement since 1997 (Super Bowl ads are crazy-expensive, so it's easy to see who Porsche has held out for so long). The ad begins with security workers making the rounds at the Porsche Museum in Germany. Initially undetected,... Read more...
You may have figured Sony would blitz CES with new headphones and other audio products, and perhaps a wide assortment of electronic gadgets. Instead, the company is sparking interest with the Vision-S, a concept electric vehicle (EV) with nearly three dozen sensors in and around the car, and a bunch of high-tech goodies. Sony is not the first name that comes into mind when thinking about automobiles, and the EV category specifically. However, the Vision-S is a bold (and surprising) attempt to inject Sony into the discussion, and in a big way. If nothing else, this is certainly an ambitious move by the PlayStation maker. "Sony wants to change mobility as we know it. How can we inspire people through... Read more...
These are some wild and wonderful times we live in, folks. When I was a kid, shows like The Jetsons made me think there would be flying cars in the future. Perhaps there still will be. In the here and now, however, autonomous vehicles have emerged and are gaining traction. Where that leads us remains to be seen, but a new demonstration by Stanford's Dynamic Design Lab has me wondering if one day in the not-too-distant futures there will be races and driving competitions strictly for self-driving vehicles. Perhaps one day self-driving cars will go up against human opponents. Machine versus human is not a new concept, after all. IBM's smarty pants Watson dominated the flesh and blood competition... Read more...
Ford is enjoying a fair amount of buzz right now with the theatrical release of Ford v Ferrari, starring Christian Bale as Ken Miles and Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby in their battle to win 24 Hours of Le Mans. A year before all that went down, however, Ford hit the track with its first 1965 Mustang Shelby GT350 fastback coupe. For car buffs who have a nostalgic itch to scratch, Ford is now offering a limited edition Heritage Edition package for its 2020 Mustang Shelby GT 350 and GT350R models. "Looking back on it, what Ford and Carroll Shelby created back in the mid-’60s was so important to Mustang," said Jim Owens, Ford Mustang marketing manager. "With their authentic exterior livery,... Read more...
I've always wanted to own a convertible, and despite not having a roof, the new McLaren Elva does not fall into that category. So, I guess I'll pass on buying one. I will, however, happily accept one as a gift, if anyone out there fancies purchasing a nearly $1.7 million supercar as a present. Options cost extra, of course, such as tacking on a 24-ct gold engine bay heat shield. This is not a so called grocery-getter by any stretch. It falls way on the other end of the spectrum, though you could certainly get to the supermarket and back in quick fashion with the Elva's 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine harnessing 804 horsepower. Just be sure to pack a set of goggles—a windshield is not included... Read more...
Android Auto was supposed to bring wireless connectivity to all Android devices starting with the release of Android 9.0 Pie. That obviously did not happen—now more than a year later, it has only arrived on a spattering of phones, including Google's own Pixel handsets and its Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Well, that is starting to change. Android Auto is expanding its wireless reach to select Samsung phones. As outlined in an updated support document, Android Auto supports wireless connectivity on nine Samsung handsets, which more than doubles the total number of supported phones to 17 devices. Here is the full list... Pixel and Pixel XL Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Nexus 5X and... Read more...
Tesla took to the track at Laguna Seca Raceway (or WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, if you prefer) and set new lap record (unofficial) for a four-door sedan, with a pre-production Model S built around a new "Plaid" powertrain. The prototype vehicle is even faster goes even faster than what current Model S vehicles can achieve in "Ludicrous" mode. "Some personal news. We lapped Laguna Seca in 1:36.555 during advanced R&D testing our Model S Plaid powertrain and chassis prototype. That's a second faster than the record for a four-door sedan," Tesla stated on Twitter. Electric vehicles (EVs) have grown up fast in the past several years. Earlier this month, for example, Porsche debuted its Taycan... Read more...
Perhaps someday in the future autonomous vehicles will be the norm, not the exception. There are plenty of hurdles standing in way of that ultimate goal, with safety being the obvious main concern. Doing its part, Waymo has decided to share its rich collection of self-driving car data with researchers at no cost. If you ask Waymo, the company will tell you it is one of the largest and most diverse self-driving datasets every released for research. It contains data from 1,000 driving segments, with each segment capturing 20 seconds of continuous driving corresponding to 200,000 frames at 10Hz per sensor. This type of continuous footage can be a potential goldmine for researchers attempting to... Read more...
Money may not buy happiness, but I don't imagine there will be many miserable faces sitting behind the steering wheel inside Pagani's newly unveiled Huayra Roadster BC. Born out of a research project that began in 2017, the Huayra Roadster BC is a street-legal hypercar that is one part artwork and several parts a beastly automobile. Pagani says the BC model weighs 2,756 pounds, which is 66 pounds lighter than the regular Roadster model. The engineers at Pagani were able to shave some weight off by using lighter materials, such as carbon-titanium HP62 comprising the monocoque structure. It also features front and rear tubular steel subframes, and a forged aluminum alloy independent wishbone with... Read more...
How many times have you been in a situation where you are towing 1 million pounds of cargo and thought to yourself, 'I could never do this in an electric vehicle!' Probably never, but if you did find yourself in that situation, you would be wrong for making such a statement. Ford just proved it by towing a train filled with dozens of trucks, using a prototype all-electric F-150 pickup truck. Cue the Tim Allen grunt. Electric vehicles are making headway in the automobile industry, spurred in large part by Tesla's efforts. It's not just Tesla, though. Other automakers are pushing electric cars and trucks. Hell, even Harley Davidson is getting in on the action by developing electric motorcycles... Read more...
Ford has gone on record saying its GT supercar will compete one final time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it is not retiring from the French race quietly. Instead, it is going out with a bang. Ford and its race partner Multimatic today revealed the Ford GT Mk II, a limited edition, track-only GT with 700 horses underneath the hood and a $1.2 million starting price. "The GT Mk II unleashes the full performance potential of the Ford GT without any artificial performance limitations dictated by racing sanctioning bodies," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. "It’s the closest GT owners can get to the Le Mans-winning performance and exhilarating feeling... Read more...
One of the first things you learn in driving class is to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. That is easier said then done these days, with increasingly functional mapping apps and digital displays getting in the way. To help with that, Google Assistant is heading to the Waze navigation app, Google announced on Monday. Google acquired Waze back in 2013 for $1.3 billion, and it continues to operate independently of Google Maps. Over the years, however, Google has ported several of Waze's features over to its own home-brewed maps app. On occasion, some of the features in Google Maps have also found their way over to Waze. The latter is the case here, at least technically—Google... Read more...
Following an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model 3 and a semi-truck, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that the autopilot feature in the Model 3 was in fact engaged at the time of the accident. Interestingly, the Model 3 was traveling 68 miles per hour in a 55 MPH zone on US 441 in Delray Beach, Florida. The southbound highway where the accident happened consists of two lanes, with two more lanes going northbound, separated by a grass median. There is also a turn lane that heads into a private driveway where the accident occurred. "As the Tesla approached the private driveway, the combination vehicle pulled from the driveway and traveled east... Read more...
Huawei is off to a good start in 2019, in terms of its overall business. The Chinese telecommunications company generated 179.7 billion Chinese Yuan (around $26.7 billion in US currency) in revenue during the first quarter, which represents a 39 percent year-over-year increase, resulting in an 8 percent jump in profits (slightly higher than last year). Those figures are not terribly surprising, since Huawei is the biggest smartphone maker in China. However, the company's financial success is noteworthy considering the war of words it finds itself in with the US government, amid repeated attempts to expand its business on US soil. Just last week, for example, the US Central Intelligence Agency... Read more...
When I was younger—a lot younger—it seemed we were headed towards a future where flying cars would be the norm, a thought no doubt influenced by television (The Jetsons comes immediately to mind). That probably won't come to pass in my lifetime, though the widespread use of autonomous vehicles might. Several companies are invested in self-driving cars, including Apple, which not surprisingly is hoping to build the necessary technology in-house if a supplier doesn't step to the plate with an attractive offer. We've seen this play out with Apple in the mobile phone space, with the company designing its own custom Bionic processors for its iPhone family. Granted, those chips are based... Read more...
In the early days of automobiles, we'd jam a key into the lock to unlock the door, and use that same key to turn on the ignition. Nowadays, most people press a button on a key fob or punch in a PIN combination. In some cases, a proximity sensor automatically unlocks the door. So what will tomorrow bring? Perhaps facial recognition technology, if an Apple patent is any indication. Maybe one day Apple will build its own self-driving automobile, as has been rumored for a long time now, and debut a bunch of fancy new technologies. Or maybe not. Either way, there is a patent that Apple filed a little over two years ago and was just recently published that describes unlocking a vehicle through a mobile... Read more...
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