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Found 17 results

  1. A group of ten automakers have agreed to equip all of their new vehicles with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system in the near future. Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo announced today they will work together with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on an agreement and timeline to make automatic braking standard on all of their models. AEB systems work to prevent or lessen the effects of a rear-end collision by detecting an imminent collision and apply the brakes to slow or stop the vehicle. This technology is becoming commonplace in more vehicles, but seemingly always as an optional feature. The IIHS says one percent of 2015 model year vehicle have AEB as standard while 26 percent have it as an option. “If technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  2. October 9th, 2013 Drew Dowdell Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com Ford of Europe demonstrated a new safety technology this week at their test facility in Lommel, Belgium. Dubbed "Obstacle Avoidance", the system will swerve around a stopped or slow moving object if it decides the driver hasn't taken evasive action soon enough to avoid a collision. Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe says, “The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies – including Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance – that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalized and greener driving and ownership experience" Along with Obstacle Avoidance, Ford also demonstrated fully assisted parking that can be activated inside the vehicle or outside using a remote on the key. Both technologies are years away from actual deployment in production vehicles, but show where the future of automated cars is heading next. Ford Press Release is on Page 2 Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on Twitter as @cheersngears FORD REVEALS TEST CARS THAT CAN PARK AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON AND AVOID COLLISIONS WITH VEHICLES OR PEDESTRIANS Ford reveals test cars with Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance prototype technologies at Ford Futures – a showcase of Ford’s forthcoming vehicles, features and research Ford is developing Fully Assisted Parking Aid to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car. Obstacle Avoidance technology uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians Ford also shows S-MAX Concept, the company’s vision for a future sport activity vehicle. All-new Mondeo Vignale Concept provides a first look at the upscale Vignale experience with unique design touches, premium craftsmanship, exclusive specification and technologies Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid will offer Ford customers a full range of electrified vehicles by 2014 Ford SYNC with AppLink will offer voice-activated apps including Spotify, TomTom and Hotels.com LOMMEL, Belgium, Oct. 8, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today revealed for the first time technology developed to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car; and also a prototype system that uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians. Experts from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering organisation have harnessed advances made in existing Ford technologies Active Park Assist and Ford Powershift to deliver a Ford Focus test car equipped with prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system. The next-generation parking technology controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking that can even be operated by remote control. Ford has also revealed Obstacle Avoidance technology developed as part of a Ford-led and European-funded research project. Ford’s Obstacle Avoidance-equipped Focus test vehicle issues warnings first if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the same lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following those warnings the system will then automatically steer and brake to avoid a collision. Both technologies were today demonstrated for the first time at Ford’s test facilities in Lommel, Belgium. “The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies – including Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance – that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalised and greener driving and ownership experience,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe. “Ford is focussed on making sure the vehicles, technologies and features we develop better meet changing customer expectations and values.” Ford revealed the two new research technologies alongside forthcoming vehicles and features including: Ford S-MAX Concept which builds upon the current S-MAX’s style-without-compromise ethos with sleek design, premium craftsmanship, smart technologies and a more flexible interior; also features connectivity and wellness technology including the Ford ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat All-new Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept which provides a first glimpse of Ford’s vision for the unique upscale Vignale experience that is scheduled for launch in early 2015. Offers unique design touches, high quality craftsmanship, exclusive specification, advanced technologies and an exclusive purchase and ownership experience. Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid cars that will, by the end of 2014, offer customers a full range of electrified vehicles Ford SYNC with AppLink. Spotify, TomTom navigation and Hotels.com are among voice-activated apps which will enable drivers to stay connected on the move, and keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel Ford’s futuring experts have identified an increasing consumer demand worldwide for “Sanity Savers” – technology and features which make life easier, and also a greater customer focus on “Ethical Consumption” as purchases tend more to reflect personal values. “Car-buyers are placing a growing emphasis on the ownership experience, on purchases that keep them connected on the move and that also reflect their beliefs – trends that will have a profound effect on the vehicles, features and services they will choose in the future,” said Sheryl Connelly, manager, Ford Global Trends and Futuring. “Ford Futures sends a clear signal that Ford is moving in harmony with these global trends.” Further Ford technologies on show at Ford Futures, that takes place as Ford celebrates the 100th anniversary of its moving assembly line, include: MyKey technology, which enables parents to place restrictions on younger drivers to promote safety Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, which can alert local emergency services operators to an accident in 26 languages, spoken in 40 European regions New techniques for the volume production of lightweight carbon fibre car components “Ford Motor Company has always been one of the world’s leading pioneers and forward-thinkers,” added Samardzich. “From the introduction of a whole new way of mass producing cars 100 years ago to the advanced safety and convenience features unveiled today, we continue to set the template and define the future for drivers and the automotive environment.”
  3. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 16, 2013 During a congressional hearing on crash-prevention features yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Administration's administrator David Strickland told the hearing that NHTSA was considering a new mandate to require new vehicles to be equipped with an automatic braking system. Automatic braking systems uses either or both radar and cameras to monitor the road for vehicles and objects then apply the brakes if the system detects a possible accident and of the driver fails to hit the brakes. Automakers such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz offer auto braking systems and have been praised both by NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Strickland told reporters after the hearing that a decision whether automatic braking systems will be made mandatory or if more research will need to take place sometime later this year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  4. In light of the GM Ignition Switch and Takata airbag recalls, you would think owners would be aware whether or not their vehicle has a notice and take it in to be repaired. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Bloomberg reports that only two-thirds of vehicles get repaired. Even more worrying is a third of vehicles under a recall notice aren't repaired within 18 months. “Recalls are only successful, and they only save lives, if they end up getting the cars fixed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. So how do you get owners to repair vehicles? Well that's what NHTSA and automakers will be talking about today at meeting in Washington D.C. with the focus on improving the getting the word to get vehicles fixed. General Motors has a fair bit of experience on notifying owners in the wake of ignition switch recall. The company tried redesigned mailings, did outreach on a number of online platforms such as YouTube and Twitter; and even offered loaner cars. Yet, there are still a fair number of vehicles needing to be fixed. “Awareness doesn’t mean action,” said Julie Heisel, GM’s director of customer relationship management. Source: Bloomberg
  5. The past few years in the automotive industry has seen an explosion in technologies - whether its dealing improving the overall safety of a vehicle or figuring out a way to hook up your smartphone. Some of the tech makes the driving experience better, while others don't. So what do consumers think about the new technologies coming into vehicles? J.D. Power decided to find out. In their 2015 US Tech Choice Study, the company asked 5,300 consumers who either bought or leased a new vehicle within the past five years about the technologies that are being put in vehicles. Their results are interesting to say in the least. For example, safety tech is a big item for consumers. 40 percent of those surveyed expressed interest in blind-spot monitoring systems, 33 percent were interested in night vision systems, and 30 percent said they were intrigued by crash mitigation systems, along with backup cameras. Was there technologies that consumers couldn't really care about. Very much so. Only nine percent on consumers wanted gesture controls and further eight percent said they wanted haptic feedback in the touchscreen. J.D. Power also asked consumers about Apple's Carplay and Android Auto, systems that allow you to use phone via the infotainment system. Unsurprisingly, preference for either system came down to what phone you had. Notably, neither system garnered high marks in the survey. "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market. For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Finally, J.D. Power's survey showed that Gen Y is willing to spend for tech. According to the survey results, Gen Y willing to spend an average of $3,703, followed by Gen X with an average of $3,003, and Baby Boomers spending an average of $2,416. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 J.D. POWER 2015 U.S. TECH CHOICE STUDY Consumer Preference for Collision Protection Technologies Paves the Way for Autonomous Driving Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto? It Depends on Your Phone WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 22 April 2015 - Three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to collision protection, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice StudySM released today. Technologies that reduce the overall burden of driving and enhance the safety of the vehicle and its occupants receive the most consumer attention. Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems. These findings demonstrate growing customer acceptance towards the concept of the vehicle taking over critical functions such as braking and steering, which are the foundational building blocks leading to the possibility of fully-autonomous driving. The only non-collision protection technologies to crack the top five are camera rearview mirror, which falls into the driving assistance category, and self-healing paint, a comfort and convenience category. The inaugural study uses advanced statistical methodologies to measure preference for and perceived value of future and emerging technologies. A total of 59 advanced vehicle features are examined across six major categories: entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; collision protection; driving assistance; navigation; and energy efficiency. "There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. "In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren't as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time." Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto Smartphones play an increasingly vital role in everyday life, and vehicle technology is beginning to mirror what is offered on those devices, yet Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto technologies consistently have among the lowest preference scores across all generations. Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology. For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as solar glass roof. Kolodge noted that "lukewarm interest in these technologies that connect your phone to your vehicle coupled with consumer loyalty to their phone poses a unique challenge for automakers, which could be remedied by knowing their customers' phone preferences." "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market," said Kolodge. "For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them." Gen Y Willing to Spend Most for Technology Across all generations[2], price is the most important consideration for technology, accounting for 25.2 percent of importance. Gen Y is the least sensitive to technology price and shows a greater willingness to spend on new technologies than the other generations. Gen Y consumers, who have accounted for 27.7 percent of new-vehicle sales thus far in 2015[3]-second only to Boomers at 37.1 percent-are willing to spend an average of $3,703 on technology for their next vehicle. Gen X is willing to spend $3,007, while Boomers, who show the greatest price sensitivity, and Pre-Boomers are willing to spend only $2,416 and $2,067, respectively. Importance of Technology A certainty in the automotive domain is the impact the consumer electronics world has had upon it. From shifting consumer expectations of user interaction, to the rapid pace of technology introduction and importance of keeping software up to date, to the miniaturization and creation of cost-effective solutions for sensors and cameras, "the auto industry is standing on its head to keep technology up to consumers' new standards," said Kolodge. "Those who haven't done so have seen negative feedback from consumers." KEY FINDINGS Full self-driving automation technology, part of the collision protection category, is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions. The younger generations (Gen Y and Gen X) have substantially higher preference for the technology than the older generations (Boomer and Pre-Boomer). The Pre-Boomer generation, in contrast, has a greater preference for lower levels of automation, such as traffic jam assist. ŸBlind spot detection and prevention has high preference across the range of vehicle price segments. In contrast, reverse auto braking systems have low preference across the vehicle price segments and preference wanes as vehicle prices increase. ŸAdvanced sensor technologies, such as hand gesture controlled seats, biometric driver sensors or haptic touch screens have low preference. ŸTechnologies in the navigation category have low preference across all vehicle price segments. The 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study was fielded in January through March 2015 and is based on an online survey of more than 5,300 consumers who purchased/leased a new vehicle in the past five years.
  6. Aston Martin could lose a big market in the U.S. if federal regulators don’t exempt the brand from an upcoming safety rule. The rule in question deals with new side-impact crash regulations that require vehicles to better withstand the impact from running into a pole or tree. This rule has been phased in over the past few years, but low-volume manufacturers like Aston Martin have been given an exemption runs out this month. Convertibles built by low-volume manufacturers don't lose their exemption till next September. According to Reuters, Aston Martin reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March asking for exemptions up until 2017 for the DB9 and Vantage. These happen to be the oldest models in Aston Martin's lineup. Aston Martin explained that with money tight during the recent recession, they weren't able to redesign the DB9 and Vantage to meet the upcoming standards. The lack of the exemption would cause "substantial economic hardship" to Aston Martin, including the possible closure of dealers in the U.S. A spokesperson for NHTSA told Reuters that a decision hasn't been made at this time. "The agency has been in contact with Aston Martin regarding their exemption request and is awaiting additional information from their dealers," the spokesperson said. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  7. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 8, 2013 Eight months after Google became the first company to be licensed by the state of Nevada to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, Audi becomes the first automaker to be licensed. The German automaker is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. In 2010, a specially-built TTS took on the Pikes Peak Climb, finishing the course in 27 minutes. Audi will use its license to continue developing and refining its autonomous system, which the automaker equates to auto-pilot system on a plane. Audi's vision for the system would have the driver allowing the vehicle to perform mundane tasks like stop-and-go traffic and parking, while still letting the driver have control when needed. Source: Audi William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Nevada grants Audi the first automaker permit to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads • Audi gets second-ever license from the state to test Audi piloted driving • Audi piloted driving and parking technology will be a focus at 2013 CES • Audi has been an autonomous driving pioneer through work by its Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University The State of Nevada issued to Audi only the second license allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads. This makes Audi the first automotive original equipment manufacturer to obtain this special permit. The first license went to technology giant Google. Audi has been at the forefront of autonomous driving research. Among the early highlights was the 2010 achievement of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research car on the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in Colorado. That Audi research car, developed jointly by the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University, autonomously completed the 156-turn, 12.42-mile Pikes Peak circuit in just 27 minutes. Today, Audi defines autonomous driving capabilities in terms of piloted parking and piloted driving. The term "piloted" is used advisedly, as Audi envisions motorists enjoying the convenience of allowing the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, for example, while still being able to take control of the car when needed. In this way, the technology is similar to auto-pilot systems found on jetliners. Likewise, autonomous, or piloted parking, would let future Audi models park safely without a driver at the wheel in in tight parking spaces. Audi will provide updates on strategies involving its Audi piloted driving and piloted parking technologies at the Audi booth during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2013.
  8. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 15, 2012 The National Transportation Safety Board announced their 2013 Most Wanted safety list which is used to "increase awareness of, and support for, the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives." On this year's list, the NTSB put "Collision-Avoidance" technologies to be standard on all new vehicles. What the NTSB means by "Collision-Avoidance" technologies are features like rear-end collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and advanced braking systems. Most of these features are either standard or optional on luxury vehicles or high-trim models. The NTSB wants to see these features on new models. The NTSB cites data from NHTSA which says forward collision warning can prevent 879 fatal car crashes annually and lane departure warning can prevent 247 fatal crashes annually. "What they are recommending is a safety system for cars where you have a multitude of things that cooperate together to dramatically improve safety in a vehicle," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Automakers aren't happy with this suggestion, saying that adding this equipment to their vehicle could add thousands to the base price. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers say collision warning systems could add between $1,000 to $3,000 per vehicle, while collision warning systems that activate the brakes cost around $3,500 per vehicle. The NTSB shot back to the claims of the Alliance saying that "many of the safety features rely on the same electronic sensors and computers." "Some of this technology can be done for literally just a few dollars. I don't think we're talking about adding thousands of dollars to a car," said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt. Source: Associated Press William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  9. A group of ten automakers have agreed to equip all of their new vehicles with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system in the near future. Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo announced today they will work together with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on an agreement and timeline to make automatic braking standard on all of their models. AEB systems work to prevent or lessen the effects of a rear-end collision by detecting an imminent collision and apply the brakes to slow or stop the vehicle. This technology is becoming commonplace in more vehicles, but seemingly always as an optional feature. The IIHS says one percent of 2015 model year vehicle have AEB as standard while 26 percent have it as an option. “If technologies such as automatic emergency braking are only available as options or on the most expensive models, too few Americans will see the benefits of this new era,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. These 10 companies are committing to making AEB available to all new-car buyers.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  10. CNG Safety CNG is one of the safest vehicle fuels available, CNG is safer than gasoline. According to the Federal Transit Administration. Data collected over time has demonstrated natural gas vehicles to be safe in actual operation. Based on a survey of 8,331 natural gas utility, school, municipal and business fleet vehicles (NGVs) that traveled 178.3 million miles on CNG: • The NGV fleet vehicle injury rate was 37% lower than the gasoline fleet vehicle rate. • There were no fatalities compared with 1.28 deaths per 100 million miles for gasoline fleet vehicles. • The collision rate for NGV fleet vehicles was 31% lower than the rate for gasoline fleet vehicles • The fleet of 8,331 NGVs was involved in seven fire incidents, only one of which was directly attributable to failure of the natural gas fuel system. Gun Test on Natural Gas Tank Sever Abuse Tank Test Because CNG is mostly made of methane and methane is odourless CNG is odorised with Mercaptan to provide a ready means of leak detection. An average person can easily detect the smell of gas at a concentration as low as 0.3% by volume in air. That concentration is about 16 times lower than the level which will support combustion. CNG has a high ignition temperature, about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with about 600 degrees Fahrenheit for gasoline. It also has a narrow range of flammability, that is, in concentrations in air below about 5 percent and above about 15 percent, natural gas will not burn. The high ignition temperature and limited flammability range make accidental ignition or combustion of CNG unlikely. CNG has no known toxic or chronic physiological effects (it is not poisonous). Exposure to a moderate concentration may result in a headache or similar symptoms due to oxygen deprivation but it is likely that the smell would be detected well in advance of concentrations being high enough for this to occur. The fact that CNG is lighter than air further enhances its safety. Unlike other fuels such as diesel, petrol or LPG, which are heavier than air, and pools on the ground creating a fire hazard and potential pollution to waterways. Should a CNG leak occur, the gas will disperse rapidly upwards into the atmosphere and dissipate. CNG fuel systems are "sealed," which prevents any spills or evaporative losses. Even if a leak were to occur in an NGV fuel system, the natural gas would dissipate into the atmosphere because it is lighter than air. Natural gas is not toxic or corrosive and will not contaminate ground water. CNG combustion produces no significant aldehydes or other air toxins, which are a concern in gasoline and some other alternative fuels. CNG fuel cylinders are much, much stronger than gasoline tanks. The design of the cylinders is subject to a number of "severe abuse" tests such as heat and pressure extremes, gunfire, collisions and fire. The systems are also fitted with valves and other safety devices to prevent leakage and eliminate the risk of an explosion - actually making them safer than the legal requirements stipulate. CNG cylinder pressure - as CNG is stored at high pressure, it is often perceived that the high pressure of the product makes it more hazardous than other fuels. While a high pressure gas leak tends to make a lot of noise as the gas is escaping. The resulting high concentrations of gas and its tendency to dissipate upwards make it less likely for the gas in the immediate vicinity of the leak to ignite. Safe distribution, CNG is delivered via underground pipeline networks, the same networks that deliver natural gas to our homes and businesses. This method not only eliminates the need for road tankers to deliver fuel from the refinery, but also the need for ocean going oil tankers to deliver crude oil to the refinery. The CNG delivery system itself also has an excellent and proven safety record. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the natural gas transmission and distribution system is the safest way to transport.
  11. October 9th, 2013 Drew Dowdell Managing Editor - CheersandGears.com Ford of Europe demonstrated a new safety technology this week at their test facility in Lommel, Belgium. Dubbed "Obstacle Avoidance", the system will swerve around a stopped or slow moving object if it decides the driver hasn't taken evasive action soon enough to avoid a collision. Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe says, “The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies – including Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance – that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalized and greener driving and ownership experience" Along with Obstacle Avoidance, Ford also demonstrated fully assisted parking that can be activated inside the vehicle or outside using a remote on the key. Both technologies are years away from actual deployment in production vehicles, but show where the future of automated cars is heading next. Ford Press Release is on Page 2 Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on Twitter as @cheersngears FORD REVEALS TEST CARS THAT CAN PARK AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON AND AVOID COLLISIONS WITH VEHICLES OR PEDESTRIANS Ford reveals test cars with Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance prototype technologies at Ford Futures – a showcase of Ford’s forthcoming vehicles, features and research Ford is developing Fully Assisted Parking Aid to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car. Obstacle Avoidance technology uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians Ford also shows S-MAX Concept, the company’s vision for a future sport activity vehicle. All-new Mondeo Vignale Concept provides a first look at the upscale Vignale experience with unique design touches, premium craftsmanship, exclusive specification and technologies Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid will offer Ford customers a full range of electrified vehicles by 2014 Ford SYNC with AppLink will offer voice-activated apps including Spotify, TomTom and Hotels.com LOMMEL, Belgium, Oct. 8, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today revealed for the first time technology developed to enable drivers to park at the touch of a button from inside or outside their car; and also a prototype system that uses automatic steering and braking to avoid collisions with vehicles or pedestrians. Experts from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering organisation have harnessed advances made in existing Ford technologies Active Park Assist and Ford Powershift to deliver a Ford Focus test car equipped with prototype Fully Assisted Parking Aid system. The next-generation parking technology controls steering, gear selection and forward and reverse motion to facilitate push-button parking that can even be operated by remote control. Ford has also revealed Obstacle Avoidance technology developed as part of a Ford-led and European-funded research project. Ford’s Obstacle Avoidance-equipped Focus test vehicle issues warnings first if it detects slow-moving objects, stationary obstacles or pedestrians in the same lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following those warnings the system will then automatically steer and brake to avoid a collision. Both technologies were today demonstrated for the first time at Ford’s test facilities in Lommel, Belgium. “The future for Ford means developing innovative products and technologies – including Fully Assisted Parking Aid and Obstacle Avoidance – that help deliver a safer, more convenient, more desirable, more personalised and greener driving and ownership experience,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president Product Development, Ford of Europe. “Ford is focussed on making sure the vehicles, technologies and features we develop better meet changing customer expectations and values.” Ford revealed the two new research technologies alongside forthcoming vehicles and features including: Ford S-MAX Concept which builds upon the current S-MAX’s style-without-compromise ethos with sleek design, premium craftsmanship, smart technologies and a more flexible interior; also features connectivity and wellness technology including the Ford ECG Heart Rate Monitoring Seat All-new Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept which provides a first glimpse of Ford’s vision for the unique upscale Vignale experience that is scheduled for launch in early 2015. Offers unique design touches, high quality craftsmanship, exclusive specification, advanced technologies and an exclusive purchase and ownership experience. Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Mondeo Hybrid cars that will, by the end of 2014, offer customers a full range of electrified vehicles Ford SYNC with AppLink. Spotify, TomTom navigation and Hotels.com are among voice-activated apps which will enable drivers to stay connected on the move, and keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel Ford’s futuring experts have identified an increasing consumer demand worldwide for “Sanity Savers” – technology and features which make life easier, and also a greater customer focus on “Ethical Consumption” as purchases tend more to reflect personal values. “Car-buyers are placing a growing emphasis on the ownership experience, on purchases that keep them connected on the move and that also reflect their beliefs – trends that will have a profound effect on the vehicles, features and services they will choose in the future,” said Sheryl Connelly, manager, Ford Global Trends and Futuring. “Ford Futures sends a clear signal that Ford is moving in harmony with these global trends.” Further Ford technologies on show at Ford Futures, that takes place as Ford celebrates the 100th anniversary of its moving assembly line, include: MyKey technology, which enables parents to place restrictions on younger drivers to promote safety Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, which can alert local emergency services operators to an accident in 26 languages, spoken in 40 European regions New techniques for the volume production of lightweight carbon fibre car components “Ford Motor Company has always been one of the world’s leading pioneers and forward-thinkers,” added Samardzich. “From the introduction of a whole new way of mass producing cars 100 years ago to the advanced safety and convenience features unveiled today, we continue to set the template and define the future for drivers and the automotive environment.” View full article
  12. In light of the GM Ignition Switch and Takata airbag recalls, you would think owners would be aware whether or not their vehicle has a notice and take it in to be repaired. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Bloomberg reports that only two-thirds of vehicles get repaired. Even more worrying is a third of vehicles under a recall notice aren't repaired within 18 months. “Recalls are only successful, and they only save lives, if they end up getting the cars fixed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. So how do you get owners to repair vehicles? Well that's what NHTSA and automakers will be talking about today at meeting in Washington D.C. with the focus on improving the getting the word to get vehicles fixed. General Motors has a fair bit of experience on notifying owners in the wake of ignition switch recall. The company tried redesigned mailings, did outreach on a number of online platforms such as YouTube and Twitter; and even offered loaner cars. Yet, there are still a fair number of vehicles needing to be fixed. “Awareness doesn’t mean action,” said Julie Heisel, GM’s director of customer relationship management. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  13. The past few years in the automotive industry has seen an explosion in technologies - whether its dealing improving the overall safety of a vehicle or figuring out a way to hook up your smartphone. Some of the tech makes the driving experience better, while others don't. So what do consumers think about the new technologies coming into vehicles? J.D. Power decided to find out. In their 2015 US Tech Choice Study, the company asked 5,300 consumers who either bought or leased a new vehicle within the past five years about the technologies that are being put in vehicles. Their results are interesting to say in the least. For example, safety tech is a big item for consumers. 40 percent of those surveyed expressed interest in blind-spot monitoring systems, 33 percent were interested in night vision systems, and 30 percent said they were intrigued by crash mitigation systems, along with backup cameras. Was there technologies that consumers couldn't really care about. Very much so. Only nine percent on consumers wanted gesture controls and further eight percent said they wanted haptic feedback in the touchscreen. J.D. Power also asked consumers about Apple's Carplay and Android Auto, systems that allow you to use phone via the infotainment system. Unsurprisingly, preference for either system came down to what phone you had. Notably, neither system garnered high marks in the survey. "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market. For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. Finally, J.D. Power's survey showed that Gen Y is willing to spend for tech. According to the survey results, Gen Y willing to spend an average of $3,703, followed by Gen X with an average of $3,003, and Baby Boomers spending an average of $2,416. Source: J.D. Power Press Release is on Page 2 J.D. POWER 2015 U.S. TECH CHOICE STUDY Consumer Preference for Collision Protection Technologies Paves the Way for Autonomous Driving Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto? It Depends on Your Phone WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 22 April 2015 - Three of the top five technologies consumers most prefer in their next vehicle are related to collision protection, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Tech Choice StudySM released today. Technologies that reduce the overall burden of driving and enhance the safety of the vehicle and its occupants receive the most consumer attention. Among the technologies consumers express most interest in having in their next vehicle are blind spot detection and prevention systems, night vision, and enhanced collision mitigation systems. These findings demonstrate growing customer acceptance towards the concept of the vehicle taking over critical functions such as braking and steering, which are the foundational building blocks leading to the possibility of fully-autonomous driving. The only non-collision protection technologies to crack the top five are camera rearview mirror, which falls into the driving assistance category, and self-healing paint, a comfort and convenience category. The inaugural study uses advanced statistical methodologies to measure preference for and perceived value of future and emerging technologies. A total of 59 advanced vehicle features are examined across six major categories: entertainment and connectivity; comfort and convenience; collision protection; driving assistance; navigation; and energy efficiency. "There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market," said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. "In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren't as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time." Apple CarPlay vs. Google Android Auto Smartphones play an increasingly vital role in everyday life, and vehicle technology is beginning to mirror what is offered on those devices, yet Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto technologies consistently have among the lowest preference scores across all generations. Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology. For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is "unacceptable" nearly twice as often as solar glass roof. Kolodge noted that "lukewarm interest in these technologies that connect your phone to your vehicle coupled with consumer loyalty to their phone poses a unique challenge for automakers, which could be remedied by knowing their customers' phone preferences." "Owners of luxury vehicles tend to own iOS devices,[1] so for many luxury brands, offering Apple CarPlay may be the best option, realizing they may be leaving out a portion of the market," said Kolodge. "For non-luxury vehicle brands, the ownership of Apple and Android devices is much closer to an equal split. The solution for those brands may be to offer both operating systems and allow customers to select the option best suited for them." Gen Y Willing to Spend Most for Technology Across all generations[2], price is the most important consideration for technology, accounting for 25.2 percent of importance. Gen Y is the least sensitive to technology price and shows a greater willingness to spend on new technologies than the other generations. Gen Y consumers, who have accounted for 27.7 percent of new-vehicle sales thus far in 2015[3]-second only to Boomers at 37.1 percent-are willing to spend an average of $3,703 on technology for their next vehicle. Gen X is willing to spend $3,007, while Boomers, who show the greatest price sensitivity, and Pre-Boomers are willing to spend only $2,416 and $2,067, respectively. Importance of Technology A certainty in the automotive domain is the impact the consumer electronics world has had upon it. From shifting consumer expectations of user interaction, to the rapid pace of technology introduction and importance of keeping software up to date, to the miniaturization and creation of cost-effective solutions for sensors and cameras, "the auto industry is standing on its head to keep technology up to consumers' new standards," said Kolodge. "Those who haven't done so have seen negative feedback from consumers." KEY FINDINGS Full self-driving automation technology, part of the collision protection category, is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions. The younger generations (Gen Y and Gen X) have substantially higher preference for the technology than the older generations (Boomer and Pre-Boomer). The Pre-Boomer generation, in contrast, has a greater preference for lower levels of automation, such as traffic jam assist. ŸBlind spot detection and prevention has high preference across the range of vehicle price segments. In contrast, reverse auto braking systems have low preference across the vehicle price segments and preference wanes as vehicle prices increase. ŸAdvanced sensor technologies, such as hand gesture controlled seats, biometric driver sensors or haptic touch screens have low preference. ŸTechnologies in the navigation category have low preference across all vehicle price segments. The 2015 U.S. Tech Choice Study was fielded in January through March 2015 and is based on an online survey of more than 5,300 consumers who purchased/leased a new vehicle in the past five years. View full article
  14. Aston Martin could lose a big market in the U.S. if federal regulators don’t exempt the brand from an upcoming safety rule. The rule in question deals with new side-impact crash regulations that require vehicles to better withstand the impact from running into a pole or tree. This rule has been phased in over the past few years, but low-volume manufacturers like Aston Martin have been given an exemption runs out this month. Convertibles built by low-volume manufacturers don't lose their exemption till next September. According to Reuters, Aston Martin reached out to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in March asking for exemptions up until 2017 for the DB9 and Vantage. These happen to be the oldest models in Aston Martin's lineup. Aston Martin explained that with money tight during the recent recession, they weren't able to redesign the DB9 and Vantage to meet the upcoming standards. The lack of the exemption would cause "substantial economic hardship" to Aston Martin, including the possible closure of dealers in the U.S. A spokesperson for NHTSA told Reuters that a decision hasn't been made at this time. "The agency has been in contact with Aston Martin regarding their exemption request and is awaiting additional information from their dealers," the spokesperson said. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  15. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com May 16, 2013 During a congressional hearing on crash-prevention features yesterday, the National Highway Traffic Administration's administrator David Strickland told the hearing that NHTSA was considering a new mandate to require new vehicles to be equipped with an automatic braking system. Automatic braking systems uses either or both radar and cameras to monitor the road for vehicles and objects then apply the brakes if the system detects a possible accident and of the driver fails to hit the brakes. Automakers such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz offer auto braking systems and have been praised both by NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Strickland told reporters after the hearing that a decision whether automatic braking systems will be made mandatory or if more research will need to take place sometime later this year. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com November 15, 2012 The National Transportation Safety Board announced their 2013 Most Wanted safety list which is used to "increase awareness of, and support for, the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives." On this year's list, the NTSB put "Collision-Avoidance" technologies to be standard on all new vehicles. What the NTSB means by "Collision-Avoidance" technologies are features like rear-end collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and advanced braking systems. Most of these features are either standard or optional on luxury vehicles or high-trim models. The NTSB wants to see these features on new models. The NTSB cites data from NHTSA which says forward collision warning can prevent 879 fatal car crashes annually and lane departure warning can prevent 247 fatal crashes annually. "What they are recommending is a safety system for cars where you have a multitude of things that cooperate together to dramatically improve safety in a vehicle," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Automakers aren't happy with this suggestion, saying that adding this equipment to their vehicle could add thousands to the base price. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers say collision warning systems could add between $1,000 to $3,000 per vehicle, while collision warning systems that activate the brakes cost around $3,500 per vehicle. The NTSB shot back to the claims of the Alliance saying that "many of the safety features rely on the same electronic sensors and computers." "Some of this technology can be done for literally just a few dollars. I don't think we're talking about adding thousands of dollars to a car," said NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt. Source: Associated Press William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  17. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com January 8, 2013 Eight months after Google became the first company to be licensed by the state of Nevada to test autonomous vehicles on public roads, Audi becomes the first automaker to be licensed. The German automaker is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. In 2010, a specially-built TTS took on the Pikes Peak Climb, finishing the course in 27 minutes. Audi will use its license to continue developing and refining its autonomous system, which the automaker equates to auto-pilot system on a plane. Audi's vision for the system would have the driver allowing the vehicle to perform mundane tasks like stop-and-go traffic and parking, while still letting the driver have control when needed. Source: Audi William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. Press Release is on Page 2 Nevada grants Audi the first automaker permit to operate autonomous vehicles on public roads • Audi gets second-ever license from the state to test Audi piloted driving • Audi piloted driving and parking technology will be a focus at 2013 CES • Audi has been an autonomous driving pioneer through work by its Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University The State of Nevada issued to Audi only the second license allowing the testing of autonomous vehicles on the state's public roads. This makes Audi the first automotive original equipment manufacturer to obtain this special permit. The first license went to technology giant Google. Audi has been at the forefront of autonomous driving research. Among the early highlights was the 2010 achievement of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research car on the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb course in Colorado. That Audi research car, developed jointly by the Volkswagen Group Electronics Research Lab in Silicon Valley and Stanford University, autonomously completed the 156-turn, 12.42-mile Pikes Peak circuit in just 27 minutes. Today, Audi defines autonomous driving capabilities in terms of piloted parking and piloted driving. The term "piloted" is used advisedly, as Audi envisions motorists enjoying the convenience of allowing the car to handle mundane stop-and-go driving conditions, for example, while still being able to take control of the car when needed. In this way, the technology is similar to auto-pilot systems found on jetliners. Likewise, autonomous, or piloted parking, would let future Audi models park safely without a driver at the wheel in in tight parking spaces. Audi will provide updates on strategies involving its Audi piloted driving and piloted parking technologies at the Audi booth during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2013. View full article

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