Monthly Archives: September 2015

Are We Ready For A Hybrid Automotive Industry?

Its been 18 years since the first hybrid vehicle was created, and since then it has revolutionized the standards of car buyers everywhere.
When the North America CEO of BMW, Ludwig Willisch, said earlier this year, “With the introduction of every new model, there will be a plug-in hybrid version of that, too.” the automotive world sat up and took notice. Even the mighty M3 is rumored to receive the hybrid, all-wheel drive treatment. But it’s a strategy with one foot in the grave already.

You see, the automotive industry, and everything that comes with it, is decaying to the point it’s blindingly obvious that all these ‘innovations’ are simply strategies to cash in on margins before the bullet is finally bitten. What do I mean ? Let’s consider the buying process and what comes with it:

• Car Design
• Fuel
• Govt. Duties
• Business Taxation
• Road Infrastructure
• Insurance

Every part of the chain is being disrupted; some faster than others, others with a deeper impact.

Car Design

Hybrid cars are the ultimate expression of ‘glass half full’. It’s a failure by automotive manufacturers to completely commit to the research and development of an all electric future. As Elon Musk strides forward towards that horizon, other CEOs are continuing slaves to an engine first invented in 1876. And this engine faces another threat to its existence; not from advances in engine design but in just who, or what, will be driving the car of the future itself.

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Plan Your Parking From Your Home

How much easier will it be for drivers to get around when they where they are going they do not need to spend even more time looking for expensive places to park.

Real-time traffic data company Inrix announced its acquisition ParkMe, and the tie-up will pave the way for drivers to find, reserve, and pay for parking near their destination before they leave their house.

ParkMe is one of the largest databases of on- and off-street parking in the U.S., and includes a growing number of parking lots that use radar sensors to display real-time availability of parking. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based start-up currently powers the Inrix Off-street Parking app, which is used by hundreds of thousands of drivers, according to Inrix spokesperson Mark Burnfeind, and is embedded in the head-unit in some Audi vehicles in the U.S. and EU markets, and in many Toyota vehicles in the EU.

The acquisition enables the two products to become more tightly integrated. Inrix, which is based in Kirkland, Wash., will soon be able to support transaction-based processes crucial to facilitate reserved and pre-paid parking, says its CMO, Steve Banfield. By tapping into ParkMe’s database with real-time availability in parking lots that use radar sensors, drivers will be able to see availability, price compare, and lock down a spot during peak times.

“Navigation directions typically directs drivers to the front door,” says Alex Israel, COO and co-founder of ParkMe. “Now it will direct consumers to a parking lot associated with the final destination–all from the seat of their car and from the palm of their hand.”

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Simulation Takes Racing To The Next Level

When racing in a game it is easy to be sucked into the world of driving, but it can be much better through simulation.

Last year NBC Sports hired Parker Kligerman as analyst for its racing telecasts and built him a three-projector simulator.
“It used the same wheel, the same pedals I own at home,” Kligerman said. The studio simulator lets him re-enact scenarios from the track and demonstrate different driving styles. “It almost feels like you’re in the race car.”

Kligerman, 25, who rose from karting to have a brief taste of NASCAR Sprint Cup, remembers himself “just 10 ago years sitting at a desk with a wheel and pedals we could buy at Best Buy. Now, it’s evolved to where we pick and choose pieces of hardware and build our own rig.”
Homebuilts adhere to a three-monitor setup and run commercially available software. “Anyone can do that on a budget,” he said. “It’s just as effective.”

On the other hand, those who’d like an installed, turnkey rig with guaranteed software updates and nearly unlimited variability may look to CXC Simulations, which produces the Motion Pro II Racing Simulator in a facility within burnout distance of Los Angeles International Airport. In fact, prospective Motion Pro II buyers are encouraged to fly in for a thorough demonstration.

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Who Will Take The Responsibility Of Driverless Cars, The Car Makers Or The Drivers

Normally if you were to get into an accident it is either you or the other driver who is at fault, but now with autonomous cars the carmakers may be at fault.
Hacker attacks or faulty software could shift the burden of legal and regulatory liability toward makers of self-driving cars and away from customers, experts say, forcing regulators and insurers to develop new models.

Autonomous cars have the potential to reduce the rate of traffic accidents as sensors and software give a car faster and better reflexes to prevent a collision. However, a greater level of automation increases the need for cyber security and sophisticated software, experts said.

“Although accident rates will theoretically fall, new risks will come with autonomous vehicles,” said Domenico Savarese, Group head of Proposition Development and Telematics at Zurich Insurance.
“What should be done in the case of a faulty software algorithm? Should manufacturers be required to monitor vehicles post-sale in the case of a malfunction or a hacker attack?” Savarese asked.

While established models for assigning liability – such as holding the owner responsible for what the car does – will still be relevant, the onus may shift toward manufacturers.
Greater automation may also change consumer behavior and affect insurance costs if drivers become less vigilant and less practiced in their ability to avert an accident.

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