Monthly Archives: April 2016

By Hiding A Key In Your Car Do You Void A Claim

In a busy you are able to lose things, but having a hide a key isn’t always a good idea except for car thieves. But if a crook does find the key you skillfully hid in the cup holder, you’ll probably still be covered by insurance.
“Most personal auto insurance policies do not include clauses that would deny coverage for a theft if the keys were in the car or if the doors were unlocked,” said State Farm Canada spokesman John Bordignon in an e-mail. “However, if a person has a pattern of many losses over a short period of time or a history of suspicious claims, this could make an insurance company investigate further or to review their relationship with them.”
We checked with the provinces with government insurance. They said the same thing – you’ll be covered if a thief uses your spare key to drive away. And, it happens.
“Unfortunately, people leaving their keys in their vehicle and having the vehicle stolen is pretty common in Saskatchewan, according to what we hear from police agencies,” said Kelley Brinkworth, media relations manager for Saskatchewan Government Insurance.
How often? We checked with several police departments and didn’t get exact numbers.
“We did a project a couple of years ago where 60 per cent of the stolen vehicles we recovered had keys in them,” said Dan Service, director of investigative services for the Western and Pacific region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
When opportunity knocks
“You have to understand that there are two different kinds of car thieves,” Service said.
Organized theft rings steal higher-end cars and send them overseas in container cars, Service said. These more sophisticated car thieves clone keys,hijack the signal from keyless entry fobs or simply drive cars away on flat bed trucks
And then there are opportunistic car thieves who are looking for any car that’s relatively easy to steal.
“They want a car so they can travel from point A to point B because they don’t feel like walking or they want to commit a crime,” Service said.
Transport Canada made anti-lock engine immobilizers – which prevent the car from starting unless it recognizes a computer chip in the ignition key – mandatory for all new vehicles in 2007.
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Is There A Point To Traffic Lights If We Aren’t Really Driving?

Autonomous driving the next new thing everybody is interested in, but how much would it change everything else.
The century-old traffic light could be become extinct if autonomous vehicles become the most common form of automotive transport.
Traffic experts believe that a slot system — closer to how air traffic is routed — might work better for ground transportation than traditional lights once self-driving cars and trucks become ubiquitous.
That’s the finding of an international study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Swiss Institute of Technology and the Italian National Research Council.
Traffic intersections are complicated because different flows of traffic compete for the same space. Switching to a slot-based model could be simpler and more efficient, the study said.
“A slot-based system moves the focus from the traffic flow level to the vehicle level,” said Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT Senseable City Lab. “Ultimately, it’s a much more efficient system, because vehicles will get to an intersection exactly when there is a slot available to them.”
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The Road Block With Electric Cars

What do you consider when looking for a car, electric or gas powered?
Many people think that the electric vehicle’s time has finally come, with the roughly 300,000 orders for Tesla’s Model 3 providing a boost to advocates who have been disappointed many times. However, this sector of the blogosphere has a tendency towards uncritical thinking that deserves a lot more attention than it normally gets. History, as always, is informative.
An interesting piece from 2007 came to my attention recently, describing the apparent progress in the electric vehicle industry and suggesting a looming change in the automotive sector. It opened with “Putting the zoom into electric cars: Watch out, Detroit. A new crop of electric-vehicle startups aims to put a dent in the Big Three by applying the latest in high-technology engineering and design.” Granted, this was not a critical analysis of the industry but more of a general-interest story with the aim of cheerleading innovators, but it points to a number of problems with the sector.
Perhaps most informative was the status of the electric vehicles which the author (or an editor) described as the “Next Little Things.” The list seemed puzzling, as I recognized none of the names. Tesla was acknowledged separately, but an executive was quoted as saying they only aimed at a small subset of the market (which plan has since been modified), while others were said to be much more ambitious. Aptera, in particular, received attention for its unusual three-wheel design, described as looking like Batman’s girlfriend’s car, and the sales goals of 10,000 a month.
None of these vehicles is now in production, and most of the companies have disappeared, as have better known rivals like Fisker and A Better Place (a battery switching company), despite consistently positive coverage of them. A brief search suggests that only one of the companies, Zap, encountered significant skepticism, based on its record of unfulfilled promises and sales of a Chinese vehicle that proved to have serious quality problems. The others were typically heralded as revolutionaries who would transform transportation and the automobile industry.
The six companies seemed to have a similar operating concept: electric motors have many advantages over the internal combustion engine, they would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and were particularly appropriate as commuter cars, where short driving distances and stop-and-go traffic is the dominant environment. Styling was often a focus of the manufacturers, who wanted their product to stand out and have a “wow” factor. The vehicles were marketed as commuter cars or second cars rather than primary transportation, unlike more recent designs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Tesla models.
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Is Start- Stop Technology A Blessing Or A Curse

Each time technology or a new feature is added to a line cars there is debate whether it is better, and if it is needed. Dr. Keith Tao, a radiologist in Danville, Calif., owns three late-model Mercedeses, each equipped with a fuel-saving technology called start-stop.
The system saves fuel and reduces emissions by cutting the engine when the car comes to a full stop and restarting when the foot is taken off the brake.
One of the first things Dr. Tao does after starting the engine: He turns off the feature.
The problem, Dr. Tao says, is that the stopping and restarting is rather intrusive. “You actually feel it restarting,” he said. “In terrible stop-and-go traffic this thing comes on and off constantly. In 20 minutes you can have 50 stop-and-start cycles. It can drive you totally insane.”
Mercedes defends its technology, known as ECO Start/Stop, calling it “one of the most seamless systems,” according to Christian Bokich, a company spokesman. “Customers with any concerns always have the option of defeating the system each time they enter and start the vehicle.”
While start-stop technology may make some people crazy, the technology is here to stay.
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