Archives for the Category: News from the USA

“Smart” Tires, Leaps And Bounds Ahead Of Todays Tires, Ready For Autonomous Driving

Posted by jg on March 14th, 2016 in Category Car News, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

When driving your car one major concern of companies is making sure that the car can drive and stop safely, which relies heavily on the tires itself.

Perhaps a bit lost among the myriad exotic car introductions at this week’s Geneva Auto show are automotive concepts of a different nature. Let’s call them “smart tires.”

Designed specifically for the coming generation of autonomous driving cars, Goodyear unveiled two concepts that are miles ahead of today’s tires in terms of technology and safety.

The most advanced of them is the Goodyear Eagle-360. For starters, it’s spherical-shaped, looking like a kids’ playground kickball from the side. The tire maker says this unusual profile will allow a car to move in all directions, thus enabling easier and safer maneuvering and the ability to navigate and park in tight urban environments. Meanwhile, the irregular tread design is said to mimic the pattern of brain coral so it can essentially behave like a sponge, remaining stiff while dry, but softening when wet for improved performance and added protection against aquaplaning on slick roads.

Someone say “connectivity?” Indeed Goodyear’s futuristic concept incorporates sensors that would communicate road and weather conditions to the vehicle (as well as other cars in the area), with advanced tire-pressure monitoring to help maintain even wear and extend its longevity.

But perhaps the most futuristic aspect of the Eagle-360 is that it would incorporate a magnetic levitation system that could suspend the vehicle (slightly we assume) from the pavement, thus affording a smooth and quiet ride. We can see the advertising banner now: “It’s like driving on a ball of air!”

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What Are The Rules When A Car Drives Itself? DMV Is Still Deciding

Posted by jg on November 2nd, 2015 in Category Car News, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

If the car makes a wrong turn, goes to fast or to slow because of the technology controlling it rather than the driver, who is to blame the one in the driver’s seat or the car controlling it.

When the Florida Highway Patrol pulled him over this month for driving too fast, Brooks Weisblat didn’t bother telling the officer that his Tesla Model S had been driving itself.

“That would have definitely got me a ticket,” said Weisblat, who got a warning notice instead.

Florida doesn’t have a driver’s handbook dictating robot rules of the road. No state does, but California could become the global model next year when it publishes first-in-the-world consumer rules for self-driving cars.

Those regulations are already a year behind schedule. Among the problems vexing officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles is how to handle not just the machines but their overtrusting owners.

“The technology is ready. I’m not sure the people are ready,” said Weisblat, who along with his Model S and its new Autopilot feature didn’t notice the sign warning that the freeway speed limit had dropped by 10 miles per hour as it approached Miami. “You still need to pay attention.”

Google has for years been testing vehicles near its Mountain View headquarters that are meant to be fully autonomous, requiring no human intervention except a rider’s voice saying “Take me to the supermarket.” But most carmakers developing self-driving technology are working on tools that relieve but don’t entirely replace human drivers.

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Ford Cools Down The Temperature To Test Winter Driving

Posted by jg on August 23rd, 2015 in Category Car Humor, Car News, Charity News, Go Green, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Fall is just around the corner and winter testing for cars is already here.

It’s a steamy 35 C in this small city on the Florida panhandle. Meanwhile, I am inside a giant chamber, suited up in full winter gear and watching snowflakes fall from the ceiling onto a line of vehicles below.

It’s -28 C inside the McKinley Climatic Laboratory on the Eglin Air Force Base, and Ford is showing me how it tests its cars and trucks for winter compatibility.

“One of the things we’re looking at is cold starts,” says Rich Shimon, technical expert on gasoline powertrain calibration for Ford. “When drivers get into the vehicle, they expect it to start right away and have a comfortable idle speed. Our job is to make sure our vehicles do that under any conceivable condition and with any conceivable fuel, and now we’re doing the extreme cold-weather testing.”

Accurate testing depends on stable conditions, which is why McKinley was constructed in the first place. Many fighter planes wouldn’t start in the cold during the Second World War, and since it couldn’t count on consistent weather outside, the U.S. government commissioned the facility for testing during equipment development. It was finished in 1947, and following a major renovation that wrapped up in 1997, it was then opened up to outside companies. It runs 24 hours a day and is fully booked for the next three years.

Its five chambers can reproduce any type of weather, except tornadoes and lightning strikes. It’s the largest in the world at 5,110 square metres, can go from a high of 48 C to a low of -65 C overnight, and can replicate hurricanes, fog, freezing rain and sandstorms.

Depending on the chamber used and the type of weather requested, rental costs range from $8,000 to $30,000 (U.S.) per day.

Ford uses the big chamber for three weeks each year, primarily because of its capacity. “We’re able to get 72 vehicles and 54 engineers into the chamber,” Shimon says. Back in Michigan, his team has to share Ford’s four smaller test chambers with other departments, and it would take months to do what he can achieve in Florida in three weeks.

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Car Sales New Technique Is To Focus On Tech

Posted by jg on July 30th, 2015 in Category Car Humor, Car News, Charity News, Donations, Go Green, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

The new generations of car buyers love their social media, smart phone and tablets and having a car with compatible technologies is right up their ally.

Targeting techies is an important marketing strategy for automakers, according to a study released today by J.D. Power.

The company’s 2015 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report — Summer edition found that 30 percent of new-vehicle drivers cited their vehicle’s latest technology as a reason for purchasing.

 

J.D. Power has released the report twice a year since 1987, but this is the first time respondents were asked about technology features as a reason for purchase.

 

Among luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 43 percent said cutting-edge technology features influenced their purchase. Lincoln, Infiniti, Cadillac and Audi drivers had the highest proportions of respondents who cited technology features as a reason for purchasing.

 

Among non luxury-brand new-vehicle drivers, 28 percent were looking for the latest technology. Mazda, Buick and Chrysler drivers were the most interested in technology when deciding on a vehicle.

 

“Targeting these technology seekers with the right messaging is critical to using marketing dollars effectively to reach consumers who will actually buy new vehicles because of technology,” Arianne Walker, J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive media and marketing, said in a statement today.

 

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Classic Cars Brought Back To Life

Posted by jg on June 20th, 2015 in Category Car News, News from Canada, News from the USA, Odd News, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Students participated in the opportunity of a lifetime. Together they restored many well-known automotives, such as town cars, sports cars, even classics. They all had one goal, for the automotives to not only look good but to once again run.

Toner’s instructor lifted the hood to adjust the choke linkage. A few tense moments later, the 1916 Scripps-Booth Model D roared to life, allowing Toner, a 24-year-old auto restoration student from the Philadelphia suburb of Quakertown, to pull out of his spot and begin a triumphant circuit around the show grounds.

You have to expect some car trouble when your ride is a one-of-a-kind classic like the Scripps, which, after all, hadn’t been driven since 1959 – until students at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport took it out of mothballs this spring and got it back on the road.

I can’t say enough about our students’ passion,” said restoration instructor Roy Klinger.

Passion is what the hobby desperately needs from young people right now.

When Penn College revved up its vintage vehicle restoration major in 2012, it became one of just a handful of degree programs around the country teaching young people how to help refurbish and maintain North America’s fleet of more than 10 million classic cars.

“We have a huge void,” said Earl Mowrey, who heads youth development at the Antique Automobile Club of America. “There’s been a generation or a generation and a half of missed opportunity.”

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Young Canadian Drivers Rewarded for Good Driving

Posted by jg on March 25th, 2015 in Category Car News, News from Canada, News from the USA, Site News, Uncategorized (no responses)

Should auto insurance be based on age or driving record?

New to Canada is a company called Ingenie. It’s an Aviva Insurance company that is now offering better insurance to younger drivers.

Normally insurance payments are steep until drivers reach 25. However, with this new UK based company operating in Canada, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 have the chance to prove they are good drivers and receive lower rates.

How this is done is through an internet operated device that will review, record, and evaluate driving habits. This is a first in North America, as most drivers must wait until they reach 50 for the possibility of low rates because they are safe drivers, now we can reward them for their success earlier in their lifetime.

Read the full story here.

New Car Seat Finder Tool Helps Parents Select Right Car Seats for their Children

Posted by jg on September 24th, 2014 in Category Car News, News from the USA (no responses)

A new federal push to reduce childhood injuries and deaths on the roads came from the stark and unfortunate facts that every 34 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash and more than a third of children killed in crashes were not in car seats or wearing seat belts. As part of the initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched safety tools and a registration campaign to increase car seat safety.

The launch of these tools corresponded with Child Passenger Safety Week (September 14 – 20).

The new Car Seat Finder Tool not only helps parents and caregivers  select the right car seat or booster seat, based on age and size of child, but the ability to easily look up recalls. The “Don’t Delay. Register Your Car Seat Today” campaign, the agency said, encourages parents and caregivers to register their child’s car seat so manufacturers know how to notify them of a recall and how to receive the free fix.

“Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense by ensuring they are selecting the right car seat, registering it, and using it correctly for every trip,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

The agency noted that in 2014 it pushed manufacturers to recall seats with defective buckles and to ensure that owners received a replacement buckle at no cost. The agency’s efforts, it said, led to the recall of more than 7.4 million car seats, but on average only 40 percent of people get their car seat fixed.

“That’s in comparison to an average of 75 percent for light vehicles, for which registration is required by law,” NHTSA said.

“Regardless of age or the length of the trip, children should always be properly restrained in a car seat, booster or seat belt that is installed correctly and free from safety defects,” David Friedman, the agency’s deputy administrator said in a statement. “The first step for a parent is finding the right seat and our new Car Seat Finder Tool helps sort through the numerous options in car seats to ensure they’re making the best choices for their child passengers.”

Read the full story here.

1958 Corvette Up for Charity Auction

Posted by jg on March 6th, 2013 in Category Car News, Charity News, Donations, News from the USA (no responses)

Want to buy a Corvette? No, not the new C7 Chevrolet Corvette that made its splashy debut at the North American International Auto Show this past week.

The one going on the auction block at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday has a bit more miles on the odometer, though it appears the relatively rare ’58 ‘Vette is in excellent condition.  It also happens to be the personal car of Dan Akerson, CEO of Chevy’s parent, General Motors.

Read the full story here.

Brad and Angelina Donation

Posted by jg on January 3rd, 2011 in Category Donations, News from the USA (no responses)

brad and angieIn feel good news to start off the new year, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have made a special gift to the land of one of their children’s birthplace.

The Jolie-Pitt Foundation has committed $2 million  towards the N/a’an ku sê Mission in Namibia. The Mission aims to conserve the land, cultures and wildlife of the African county and to rescue species threatened by an ever-shrinking habitat.  The charity also works  to improve the lives of the San Bushman community in Namibia through better education, employment, healthcare and improved living conditions.

According a a press release from the Mission, Pitt and Jolie have a close friendship with Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren who are the directors and Founders of N/a’an ku sê. Namibia is also where the celebrity couple chose to deliver their daughter, Shiloh.

“We have known Rudie and Marlice for many years and continue to be impressed by their hard work and dedication to the people and conservation of the land and wildlife of Namibia,” Jolie said according to the release. “The new section of the project will be under N/a’an ku sê and in Shiloh’s name.  We want her to be very involved and grow up with the understanding of her country of birth.”

The Jolie-Pitt family spent Christmas at the N/a’an ku sê where they engaged in several activities including visiting the San Bushman School on the farm and witnessing the release of a leopard back into the wild.  I love seeing rich celebs giving back to the world!

Pamela Anderson Walking for Charity

Posted by jg on May 3rd, 2010 in Category Charity News, News from Canada, News from the USA (no responses)

One of our favourite Canadians is helping yet another charity in her hometown.  PETA spokeswoman Pamela Anderson has taken a walk on the wild side – to help raise money for charity.  The former Baywatch star participated in a three-mile fundraising walk through her hometown of Malibu.

The walk benefited the California Wildlife Centre and Anderson, who is currently participating on the reality TV show Dancing With The Stars, was also given the top honour of the day.  She released back into the wild a pelican that had been rehabilitated by the Centre.  Now three miles is not exactly a marathon but Pam is always doing great things for charity so we salute her!