Monthly Archives: November 2015

Autonomous Driving May Be Already Invented But Will Take A While Longer Until It Is Perfected

Car companies continue to steam ahead on the path towards autonomous driving, but their may be more obstacles on the road to overcome than predicted.
The age of the driverless car will probably arrive eventually, but today the reality still falls far short of the promise. In the short time since Tesla released a software update for the Model S that enables their Auto Pilot feature, several owners have posted videos online of the system steering the car either into oncoming traffic or toward roadside barriers. After a week, driving the new 2016 Volvo XC90, it too demonstrated the limitations of even some of the most capable driver assist systems currently available.
Safety has been an integral part of Volvo’s brand DNA for decades and even under the ownership of China’s Geely Group, the Swedish brand has been allowed to remain true to itself. Volvo has a long-standing goal of no fatalities or serious injuries in its vehicles by 2020. Early this year, Volvo announced its Drive Me program for 2017 which will put a fleet of 100 semi-autonomous XC90s into consumer hands in a real-world test program around its home base of Gothenburg, Sweden.
The engineers developing those vehicles will have their work cut out for them because the technology available on the road today is not robust enough to take over from the driver in many real-world conditions.
Radar-based adaptive cruise control and camera-based lane keeping assist systems are becoming increasingly commonplace on even mainstream models like the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 so it’s no surprise to find both functions on the XC90. Volvo’s big crossover goes a step further this year with a feature called pilot assist.
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In Depth View On The New Android Auto And Apple CarPlay Options That Have Been Added to the Passat

For companies that used to focus mainly on smart phones, Apple and Android have been able to integrate their cell phone technology into the automotive industry and distribute it well.
Technology updates are a large part of the refreshed 2016 Volkswagen Passat (full review), and perhaps the boldest change to this historically sedate midsize sedan is seen in its CarNet infotainment platform, which receives Apple AAPL -3.45% CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integrations.
When using CarPlay or Android Auto, the smartphone is displayed in the in-dash display instead of the vehicle’s infotainment system. However, don’t expect to see a mirror image of your home screen–the smartphone integrations use a “vehicle mode,” which contains a subset of approved media and navigation apps on the device’s phone, including the native Apple Maps and Google GOOGL +0.59% Maps. These apps have been optimized (and in some ways restricted) for use in the car and integrated with the vehicle controls to provide a seamless and theoretically safer way to use your smartphone.
Volkswagen Electronic Strategy Specialist Thanh Uy Phan Tan demonstrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to highlight its features and differences between the two integrations.
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E.P.A Testing Multiple Companies For Emissions, After Scandal With Volkswagen

Recently everybody is worried about other companies and the emissions scandal with Volkswagen. Concerned that cheating on vehicle emissions could be prevalent across the automobile industry, regulators in the United States and Canada are significantly expanding their on-the-road emissions tests to cover all makes and models of diesel cars.
The tests, which come in the wake of Volkswagen’s admission that it installed software on more than 11 million cars to evade emissions standards, are being conducted randomly and in real-world conditions, rather than in traditional laboratory settings, to increase the odds of catching cheaters.
“We are very anxious to find out if there are any other programs out there,” said Christopher Grundler, director of the office of transportation and air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The first tests on brands manufactured by Volkswagen, completed last week, found the cheating software on about 10,000 VW, Audi and Porsche models not previously disclosed by the German manufacturer. Volkswagen disputes the E.P.A.’s claim, saying the software recently uncovered was not intended to thwart emissions testing.
Since then, no other automobile company has been found to have installed so-called defeat software, although it will take several weeks for all makes and models to be tested.
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Flat Tire? Worry No Longer

Every driver has experienced a flat tire or mechanical issues on the road and had to call a truck and a repair guy to fix it, but now the hassle has become so much easier.
For Example Vince Vannelli’s flat tire came at a bad time — just as he was on his way to the San Francisco airport for a flight to Los Angeles.
He parked his Tesla, jumped in an Uber car and contacted Tesla service. Once in Los Angeles, Mr. Vannelli was able to remotely unlock his car and allow the Tesla service person to drive it to a tire store, fix the flat and deposit the car in his driveway, waiting for his return.
“I was an early Lexus owner and experienced coffee in the waiting room and being treated civilly,” said Mr. Vannelli, a venture capitalist from Lafayette, Calif. “But this is a cut above. When it comes to service, Tesla has really exploited technology.”
Still, for many drivers, scheduling repairs, delivering and then picking up a vehicle remain exercises that haven’t changed in decades. Too often, they say, emails and calls go unanswered, checking in at the service department is as slow as waiting for a bus, and then completing the paperwork for a loaner car, paying for the repairs and waiting for someone to deliver the repaired car can test anyone’s patience.
But technology is now helping a brand’s service department move into the connected age, employing tools that reduce waiting times, provide a customized experience, increase efficiencies and even help the consumer feel better about the entire process. And the better the experience, the more likely that customer is to stick with the brand.
The best service experience may be no service experience at all, which is what Tesla promotes to its prospective customers. Because its all-electric car does not use a traditional gasoline engine, the company suggests only an annual service appointment, but even that is not required to maintain the warranty.
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