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The possibilities that begin to form through ideas of technology such as Android Auto And Apple CarPlay are limitless.

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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It is said that for every 1000 miles that you drive you should change your oil. By doing so regularly it can extend the life of your engine to get twice the mileage out of it before it needs to be changed too.

American drivers are accustomed to paying somebody to change the oil in their vehicles — but it’s an expense they can reduce, if not soon eliminate altogether.

Some 87% of U.S. vehicle owners pay for oil changes, according to a Charles Schwab survey — and those oil changes cost anywhere from $20 to $55 a pop, according to consumer information website CostHelper.com.

With about 210 million drivers on the road — and motorists averaging 13,476 miles driven per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration — it’s not a stretch to estimate that Americans are spending billions every year on oil changes.

But — like other services that Americans used to pay regularly for, such as milk delivery — paying for oil changes soon could become a thing of the past.

Motor-oil maker Castrol, a division of BP, recently claimed its technicians have achieved a breakthrough in engine-lubrication design that makes it easy to change the oil in a vehicle in as little as 90 seconds.

The cleaner and quicker system, called Nexcel, must be integrated into vehicle engines at the design stage. That means it won’t hit mainstream cars for another five years — about the length of time between major model changes for many automakers.

But at 90 seconds, the cost of an oil change may become negligible if the Castrol system is widely adopted. Or the expense may even disappear altogether for vehicle owners who find it easier and cleaner to do it themselves.

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How to you get to work everyday? Do you take the train, subway, drive or walk to work. The way people get to where they want to go has changed recently with new car sharing apps.

Jack DeManche’s commute to work was like many in the Boston area — long. But that was before Mr. DeManche, a digital strategist for an advertising agency, began sharing a ride with other commuters with the service Bridj.

Now, the hourlong trip from his home in Brookline to his office at the Boston seaport has been cut in half. And at $70 a month, he estimates that the trip costs less than using the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

“The ability to book a week in advance is a time-saver,” he said. He is guaranteed a seat, he can use Wi-Fi on board and the van drops him off a block from his office.

Bridj is just one of the new services that are helping to redefine car-pooling.

Long the province of shift workers headed to the same factory and suburban parents who drove children to after-school activities, car-pooling is getting an urban makeover as technology becomes more prevalent and a younger work force relies on mobile devices.

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When you are no longer the driver, but the car is do the rules still apply the same way, and do you suffer the consequences of driving in one.

For example when the Florida Highway Patrol pulled him over this month for driving too fast, Brooks Weisblat didn’t bother telling the officer that his Tesla Model S had been driving itself.

“That would have definitely got me a ticket,” said Weisblat, who got a warning notice instead.

Florida doesn’t have a driver’s handbook dictating robot rules of the road. No state does, but California could become the global model next year when it publishes first-in-the-world consumer rules for self-driving cars.

Those regulations are already a year behind schedule. Among the problems vexing officials with the Department of Motor Vehicles is how to handle not just the machines but their over trusting owners.

“The technology is ready. I’m not sure the people are ready,” said Weisblat, who along with his Model S and its new Autopilot feature didn’t notice the sign warning that the freeway speed limit had dropped by 10 miles per hour as it approached Miami. “You still need to pay attention.”

Google has for years been testing vehicles near its Mountain View headquarters that are meant to be fully autonomous, requiring no human intervention except a rider’s voice saying “Take me to the supermarket.” But most carmakers developing self-driving technology are working on tools that relieve but don’t entirely replace human drivers.

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These cars are still good to drive even a decade later making them stand out from most other cars.

Just as the U.S. population is aging with the Baby Boomer generation passing into retirement, the nation’s fleet of cars and trucks is likewise approaching senior citizen status. The average age of all light-duty vehicles in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 11.5 years according to IHS Automotive. A separate study conducted byAutoMD.com found that two in three consumers are now driving vehicles with over 100K miles on the odometer.

Not only do those numbers account for a majority of models being piloted by their second or third owners, an average 13.5 percent of cars a decade or older are held onto by their initial purchasers, according to a study conducted by the car shopping website iSeeCars.com, with some models boasting over 26 percent long-term ownership.

At that, 15 models were found to be at least 1.5 times more likely to kept by their original owners. All of them are imports, including nine Toyotas, five Hondas and a single Subaru; we’re featuring the full list with pertinent percentages noted in the accompanying slideshow.

“While it’s not surprising that many Toyotas and Hondas made the list as they have based their reputations on reliability, what is surprising is the makeup of the cars,” says Phong Ly, iSeeCars.com’s CEO. To that end, 10 out of the top 15 models cited are crossover SUVs and minivans. “These vehicles tend to be largely family cars, so if people buy these cars when they are just starting their families, it stands to reason that these cars would suit them for many years,” says Ly.

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When you need a ride what do you use? Uber and Lyft have quickly become the solution to that question allowing passengers to get around simply. However, now it has grown so that it is no longer only used for one time trips and now has started to catch up with car rental companies.

“Ride sharing, having already overtaken cabs, is catching up to rental cars,” says Kevin Wolf, spokesperson for business expense management firm Certify, based on data from July through September of 2015.

In fact, he says, ride sharing has “actually has surpassed [rental cars] already in Boston and San Francisco.”

Business travelers now prefer ride sharing services to taxis across the U.S.,” reads Certify’s sharing economy report for the third quarter of 2015. “Trends also reveal how ride sharing providers like Uber and Lyft are beginning to gain ground on rental cars.”

“Over the past 7 quarters, ride sharing has steadily increased as a percentage of overall ground transportation, while taxi and rental car [sic] have declined,” the report says. In San Francisco, Certify found that some 82 percent of hired car rides by its customers were in ride shares, versus a mere 12 percent for rental cars and a minuscule 6 percent for taxis. In Boston, the difference was 45 percent for ride shares versus 23 percent for rental cars, though taxis maintained a higher market share of 32 percent.

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Every car company is striving toward a more environmental car with green energy. Now Volvo has decided how to do so, they plan to offer a plug-in version of all cars in its vehicle line up, build smaller vehicles, and offer a pure electric vehicle by 2019.

Key to the plan will be its upcoming line of 40-series vehicles built on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which has been designed from the start with electrification in mind. This new architecture should make it easier for the brand to develop a range of body styles that meet consumer needs, from compact wagons, hatchbacks or crossovers, depending on its market, and with a variety of powertrains. The new architecture should enable Volvo to accommodate conventional engines, electric motors or plug-in hybrids, and likely without compromising interior or cargo space.

Volvo currently offers a gasoline plug-in hybrid XC90 T8 SUV in the U.S., and a plug-in XC60 variant should show up in the near future. The manufacturer currently sells a plug-in diesel hybrid version of its V60 wagon in the EU, which for obvious reasons will not make it to the US shores.

Volvo has recently been caught up in the diesel emissions row, after several of its diesel-powered vehicles were found to produce more emissions than previously reported. The electrification strategy seems to mark a shifting of the winds towards batteries and away from the once favored diesel engines.

“We have come to a point where the cost versus benefit calculation for electrification is now almost positive,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development in a news statement. “Battery technology has improved, costs are going down, and public acceptance of electrification is no longer a question.”

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Which path is going to lead the final result of a fully green vehicle the one Toyota is taking or Nissans? Which path will be quicker and have a better result?

Within the span of a month, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp. have doubled down on starkly divergent strategies for hybrid and electric vehicles.

While other global automakers hedge their bets on alternative powertrain technologies, Nissan and Toyota are placing risky wagers that each knows exactly which powertrain will dominate among next-generation green vehicles.

Nissan aims to be the global leader in EVs. Toyota wants to expand its lead as the world’s top maker of gasoline-electric hybrids.

On June 9, Nissan released the second of four promised EVs, its e-NV200 battery-powered van.

Just weeks earlier, Toyota pulled the plug on its own EV program by ending a two-year deal to build electric Toyota RAV4 crossovers with Tesla Motors Inc. When the last RAV-4 rolls off the line later this year, the world’s largest automaker will no longer be producing electric cars.

No other major automakers are as zealous about their chosen path.

Risky business

“When it comes to zero emissions, we’re absolutely religious,” Andy Palmer, Nissan’s chief planning officer, said at the launch of the e-NV200, Nissan’s second EV after the Leaf. “We’ll be the absolute, No. 1 leader in zero emissions. No doubt. That’s our positioning.”

Publicly, both companies say they see a need for a range of alternative powertrains to meet different driving conditions. But their product plans clearly show where each is plowing the big bucks: Nissan into EVs, while Toyota shuns them for hybrids.

Each gambit is risky. EVs are still hobbled by high costs and range limitations. Hybrids, also still pricey, face tougher competition from improved internal-combustion engines.

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Ever enjoyed driving down a steep hill or winding through the never ending bends well then these top roads across the globe may be perfect for you.

A great road challenges everyday notions, replacing the familiar–the dull grind of everyday commuting–with the epic: turns, terrain and landscape that adjust our perception of the world. But most of all, it elicits a thrill. These 20 mythic highways inspire us to hit the road.

Highway 1, aka “Big Sur”

This stretch of Highway 1 chases the ragged central California coastline through Big Sur, which runs from San Simeon to Carmel. This drive is renowned for its staggering views over perilous cliffs, revealing the Pacific Ocean’s whitecaps as they rush past immense dark rocks.

During peak traffic hours, lumbering rental cars and motorhomes dampen the pace. If you’re stuck in slow motion, we suggest a detour through the nearby but less-traveled Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, which cuts east and offers an amazing bird’s-eye view of the coast below.

Deals Gap, aka “Tail of The Dragon”

This stretch of U.S. Route 129 offers some of the sweetest curves outside of the Atlantic coast, with no fewer than 318 turns in the course of 11 miles. No driveways or intersections interrupt this forest-lined thoroughfare, though there are plenty of peg-scraping cruisers who knock down the average speed. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Tree of Shame, where crashed motorcycle bits adorn the tree and dangle from its branches as a reminder of the road’s dangers.

Nurburgring Nordschleife

Arguably the most notorious racetrack in the world, this 12.93-mile loop of tarmac also happens to be a toll road that anyone with 24 euros and a need for speed can drive on non-race days. Racer Jackie Stewart once called the Nurburgring “the green hell,” and it features treacherous landmarks, including the Caracciola Karussell (the Carousel) and Flugplatz (also known as “the Airport,” for its tendency to launch vehicles airborne). But keep your inner Michael Schumacher in check: This series of 154 turns has a nasty reputation for humbling even the most seasoned drivers.

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After several incidents with autonomous driving and cars being hacked and taken over, a more dangerous side of the new technology appears.

Hacker attacks or faulty software could shift the burden of legal and regulatory liability toward makers of self-driving cars and away from customers, experts say, forcing regulators and insurers to develop new models.

Autonomous cars have the potential to reduce the rate of traffic accidents as sensors and software give a car faster and better reflexes to prevent a collision. However, a greater level of automation increases the need for cyber security and sophisticated software, experts said.

“Although accident rates will theoretically fall, new risks will come with autonomous vehicles,” said Domenico Savarese, Group head of Proposition Development and Telematics at Zurich Insurance.

“What should be done in the case of a faulty software algorithm? Should manufacturers be required to monitor vehicles post-sale in the case of a malfunction or a hacker attack?” Savarese asked.

While established models for assigning liability – such as holding the owner responsible for what the car does – will still be relevant, the onus may shift toward manufacturers.

Greater automation may also change consumer behavior and affect insurance costs if drivers become less vigilant and less practiced in their ability to avert an accident.

 

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