Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

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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Lexus, Volvo Tie for Top Spot in New Brand Survey

Overall, consumers slightly happier with ownership experience.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Volvo tied with Lexus for the top brand honors in the latest ACSI survey, receiving its highest score ever.

Vehicle owners in the U.S. are slightly happier with their ownership experience this year than last year, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index, which is the result of surveys of car owners on their overall service and product experience with specific auto brands, creates a score between 1 to 100. According to the latest edition, the industry-wide score for 2018 is 82, up from 81 in 2017.

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“Car owners are often highly satisfied—they’ve kicked the tires enough times that they’re happy with their decision when they buy,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI.  (more…)

Toyota Investing $500 Mil in Uber, Will Aid in Autonomous Vehicle Efforts

Move could help ride-sharing service in anticipated IPO plan.

by on Aug.28, 2018

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO and Toyota EVP Shigeki Tomoyama shake over their new alliance.

Toyota confirmed  reports it will invest $500 million in Uber and partner with the nation’s largest ride-sharing service on the development of the autonomous and fully driverless vehicles Uber believes will slash its costs and make it a viable alternative to personal vehicle ownership.

The announcement comes barely a week after Uber wrapped up its search for a new chief financial officer, something that, along with the new Toyota alliance, could help move closer to a widely anticipated IPO. The Japanese maker’s investment puts a value of $72 million on Uber.

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“This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company. “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.”

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Highway Fatalities Could Again Top 40,000 This Year

Efforts to reduce toll coming up short warns National Safety Council.

by on Aug.23, 2018

Two teens were killed in this fiery Tesla crash in Florida earlier this year.

The U.S. highway death toll remained stubbornly high during the first half of 2018 and as many as 40,000 are now expected to die on U.S. roads for the full year, the National Safety Council warned as the country headed into the Labor Day holiday, one of the deadliest times of the year on American roadways.

After decades of decline, highway fatalities began to rise again mid-decade, experts pointing to a variety of possible factors, ranging from distracted driving to the fact that, as the economy recovered, U.S. motorists were simply clocking more miles. Whatever the reason, efforts to improve highway safety have had little seeming effect.

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“When it comes to this leading cause of accidental death, we aren’t making progress – we’re treading water,” said Ken Kolosh, manager of statistics at the National Safety Council. “We cannot accept more than 18,700 deaths as the price of mobility. We hope these numbers remind drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively so we can get on the road to zero deaths.”

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2019 Hyundai Elantra: More Than the Typical Mid-Cycle Refresh

Compact sedan gets major sheet metal update, new “light guide” technology.

by on Aug.22, 2018

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra gets a major makeover, including front end lights and sheet metal.

Most vehicles undergo modest “mid-cycle” updates three to four years after coming to market, though those usually consist of minor, and often indistinguishable tweaks to soft plastic parts, and the addition of perhaps a few new technology features.

But when the 2019 Hyundai Elantra comes to market this autumn, motorists shouldn’t have any trouble recognizing the changes. The compact sedan unveiled Tuesday evening at an event in Park City, Utah has undergone an unusually extensive makeover for a mid-cycle update, one that includes extensive revisions to the sheet metal up front, as well as the introduction of an eye-catching new feature dubbed a “light guide.” And all but the base version of the 2019 Elantra will now get an extensive array of high-tech safety features.

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“The changes we’re making to the Elantra shows our commitment to this segment,” despite the broad market shift from conventional passenger cars to SUVs and other light trucks, said Mike O’Brien, the head of product planning for Hyundai Motor America.

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Loss of Control, Viruses Top Hurdles for Autonomous Vehicles

Ford charging ahead with AVs by trying to establish trust.

by on Aug.21, 2018

Ford says consumers need to believe they can trust AVs, and that will take time and energy.

A new study found that losing control of the vehicle and the threat of computer virus are the two most important reservations or fears consumers have about autonomous vehicles.

The study done by the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology also found that AVs have yet to break through as status symbols. The study found that improving social status among peers is the least important incentive to adopting AVs. In addition, fewer than 5% of respondents indicated their households are willing to pay an additional $20,000 to add automation and greater connectivity to their vehicle.

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One very interesting finding was that the feeling of losing control was more important than safety concerns for people. In addition, the threat of computer virus penetrating the vehicles was considered an important barrier to adoption. (more…)

Musk Laments “Excruciating” Toll He’s Faced at Tesla

But no plans to give up post as CEO.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that he feels like this has been the toughest year of his life.

Forget the amusement park. Anyone who wants to ride a roller-coaster might be better off purchasing Tesla stock. But no one has faced more ups-and-downs during the last year than the automaker’s co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.

Even as Tesla appears to be resolving its production problems and seems poised to deliver a long-promised profit, the automaker and its CEO are facing a probe by the SEC, lawsuits filed by several short-sellers, additional investigations by the NLRB, NHTSA and the NTSB, and allegations of safety and quality problems by several self-styled whistleblowers.

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No wonder, “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk said in an interview newly published by the New York Times. “It was excruciating.” (more…)

Odyssey, Pacifica Top IIHS 2018-19 Minivan Rankings

Toyota Sienna falls from top ranking.

by on Aug.16, 2018

The Honda Odyssey earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2018-19.

The competition among minivans is already tight and the most recent ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the current model year have only made that wrestling match tighter.

The Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey are 2018 Top Safety Picks. They were among the qualifiers when IIHS announced initial winners of the 2018 awards last December. Both earned a superior rating for front crash prevention and have acceptable-rated headlights. Better headlights would have secured Top Safety Pick+ awards – the group’s top rating – for these minivans.

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To earn a 2018 Top Safety Pick, according to IIHS, a vehicle must have good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness tests except the passenger-side test. Other requirements are a front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating and headlights that earn an acceptable or good rating.  (more…)

Kroger Launches Driverless Delivery Pilot in Scottsdale

Debut echoes Waymo/Walmart partnership.

by on Aug.16, 2018

The Kroger project won't completely solve the "last mile" challenge. Customers still will have to go out and grab their bags from the delivery vehicle.

While it may take some time before you can hail a driverless ride-sharing vehicle, you may soon be able to have your groceries delivered autonomously – at least if you live in certain parts of greater Phoenix.

Kroger has teamed up with Nuro, a self-driving tech firm to launch a trial grocery delivery program in one part of the Southwest community, and could roll it out to other parts of the country if it proves successful. The move comes shortly after rival Walmart announced a similar pilot program pairing it with Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off Waymo.

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“Kroger wants to bring more customers the convenience of affordable grocery delivery,” Kroger Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset said in a statement.

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