Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

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A handful of select media outlets, including TheDetroitBureau.com, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

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California Pushes Ahead with Promotion of Zero-Emission Vehicles

Major changes expected by 2025 and new tech by 2040.

by on Sep.14, 2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown continues to forge ahead on the state's zero-emissions goal.

Despite the efforts by the Trump administration to roll back clean air regulations, California continues pressing forward with efforts to foster zero-emission vehicles.

“By working across national and state boundaries, through this new focused effort, we can accelerate progress and help bring these important clean technologies to market years earlier. We are very supportive of this program and look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve our clean air and climate goals,” said Richard W. Corey, executive officer of the influential California Air Resources Board.

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California Governor Jerry Brown also announced this week that the State of California intended to get all of its electricity from clean sources such as solar and wind energy by the middle of the century. (more…)

General Motors Recalling 1.2 Million Trucks, Sport-Utes

Problem causing temporary power steering failure.

by on Sep.13, 2018

GM is recalling 2015 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks for a problem with the truck's power steering..

General Motors is recalling more than 1.2 million full-size trucks and sport-utility vehicles to correct a steering problem causing crashes.

The company reveals that the power steering may fail and then recover due to a voltage drop in the vehicle’s electrical system. The dip makes the vehicles more susceptible to a loss of control and a crash.

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GM says it has reports of 30 incidents related to the problem, including two injuries. No deaths have been reported. (more…)

Ford Smartens Up New Edge’s All-Wheel Drive System

All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect improves fuel economy.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The new Ford Edge with available all-wheel drive is smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Ford Motor Co. has tweaked the 2019 version of the Ford Edge by making an all-wheel drive system smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The system is called all-wheel-drive disconnect, a first-for-Ford technology that uses a form of artificial intelligence that can calculate quicker than the human brain. Based on information received from dozens of high-tech sensors, the new Edge can determine in a fraction of a second whether all-wheel drive is needed.

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“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.” (more…)

More than a Third of Teens Texting Behind the Wheel

The younger the driver, the more likely they are to text and drive.

by on Sep.11, 2018

More than a third of teen drivers text while driving, according to a new study.

A new study is recommending tougher laws for texting while driving after it was determined that more than a third of teenage drivers engage in the dangerous – and possibly deadly – activity while behind the wheel.

Researchers surveyed 101,397 teens age 14 and up, from 35 states, who had driven a vehicle in the past 30 days. All but one of the states banned texting by drivers under age 21. However, 38% of the teens said they had texted while driving at least once.

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The results make the case for stronger enforcement of laws on mobile phone use while driving but are also a warning to parents, Motao Zhu, the study’s senior author, told Reuters. (more…)

Woman Injured in Model S Autopilot Crash Sues Tesla

Owner blames Autopilot but was looking at cellphone when crash occurred.

by on Sep.10, 2018

The driver of the Tesla involved in this March crash in Utah suffered a broken foot and other injuries

A Utah woman who was injured in the crash of a Tesla Model S in May has filed a lawsuit against the automaker alleging negligence and claiming that the vehicle’s Autopilot system should have prevented the crash – even though she admitted to police that she was looking at her cellphone when the battery-sedan ran into the back of a fire truck.

Heather Lommatzsch broke her foot in a crash, which occurred about the same time as several other high-profile incidents involving Tesla vehicles using the automaker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot technology. That included one in California in which a motorist was killed when his vehicle hit the center barrier on a freeway and ultimately caught fire.

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The lawsuit comes at a particularly awkward time for Tesla, the automaker watching its share price plunge by nearly a third since shortly after CEO Elon Musk announced his interest in taking the company private. That project has since been abandoned and both Musk and Tesla now face an investigation by the SEC. Tesla also faces a number of lawsuits and Autopilot is under investigations by federal regulators following several of those recent crashes.

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Fire Risk Forces Recall of 2 Million Ford F-150s

Faulty seatbelt system could trigger smoke, fire after crash.

by on Sep.06, 2018

The Ford F-150 built between 2015 and 2018 is part of a 2-million truck recall by the automaker.

Nearly 2 million Ford F-150 pickups are being recalled because of a seatbelt defect that could lead to a fire following a crash, the automaker announced Thursday morning.

The issue involves the pretensioners used to cinch seatbelts tight following a crash. But, on late-model versions of the F-150, the pyrotechnic system used to activate the pretensionsers “can generate excessive sparks when they deploy.”

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“When sufficient sparks are present, gases exhausted inside the lower portion of the B-pillar by the pretensioners may ignite,” Ford said in a statement. “If this gas ignites, components behind the B-pillar such as insulation and carpet may subsequently catch fire.” (more…)

Why Fly? Self-Driving Volvo 360c Offers Alternative for Long-Distance Travel

Autonomous, electric, the concept will let travelers do “what they want to do.”

by on Sep.05, 2018

The Volvo 360c Concept is designed to let an owner travel in Business Jet-style comfort.

Flying is glamorous, or so the airlines would have you believe, but ask anyone who has had to deal with security lines, crowded cabins and inevitable delays and you’ll get an entirely different picture.

That’s where something like the Volvo 360c might offer a pleasant alternative. While the industry has focused on using driverless vehicles to replace conventional taxicabs, the self-driving concept from Volvo has long-distance travelers in mind. Billed as “the future of autonomous travel,” the 360c is designed to skip the lines and deliver the sort of experience you might expect flying on a private jet.

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“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars, adding that “The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry.”

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Toyota Recalling 1m Hybrids Worldwide Over Fire Risk

Prius, Prius plug-in and C-HR models targeted.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A problem with the Prius wiring harness could lead to a short-circuit and possible fire.

Toyota is issuing a worldwide recall for three of its hybrid models due to a potential fire risk.

The service action covers the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, as well as the newer Prius plug-in hybrid and the C-HR hybrid SUV. According to the automaker, The problem involves a wiring harness that has been linked to at least one incident in which a short-circuit caused smoke to pour out of a vehicle in Japan.

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According to Toyota, the problem occurs the wiring harness can come into with the cover of the hybrid power control unit. If dust accumulates on either the cover or the wiring harness, the insulation on the wires can wear down over time and eventually result in a short-circuit.

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FCA Upgrades Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Vehicle Testing

Late to the game, FCA races to make up lost time with $30 mil project.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $30 million to upgrade its sprawling Chelsea Proving Grounds, an hour west of Detroit to expand its ability to develop and test both autonomous vehicles advanced driver assist system technologies.

The automaker has been slow to embrace self-driving vehicle technology, though it has been able to leapfrog some of its competitors with an expanding tie-up with Waymo, the self-driving spin-off of Google. The new project will allow FCA to test technology from Waymo and other potential partners, as well as systems it may develop in-house.

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“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” said Mike Manley, who took over as FCA’s CEO just two months ago. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”

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