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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Can you input a conscience into a car, can ethics be broken down into data and codes.
Skeptics of driverless cars have a variety of criticisms, from technical to demand based, but perhaps the most curious is the supposed ethical trolley problem it creates. While the question of how driverless cars will behave in ethical situations is interesting and will ultimately have to be answered by programmers, critics greatly exaggerate it’s importance. In addition, they assume that driverless cars have to be perfect rather than just better.
The basic trolley problem involves being put in a situation where you have to choose between killing some people and killing others. For example, imaging you are driving your car and another car is headign right towards you and you have to either hit them head on or swerve into a group of pedestrians. What does a robot do!? This, it is argued, presents a big issue for driverless cars. How do we program them? How will they react in such situations?
The first problem with this is that humans are assumed to be doing a pretty good job at driving already, including in so-called trolley car situations. For example, here is Patrick Lin writing at the Atlantic with a paean to human’s driving abilities:
“But there are important differences between humans and machines that could warrant a stricter test. For one thing, we’re reasonably confident that human drivers can exercise judgment in a wide range of dynamic situations that don’t appear in a standard 40-minute driving test; we presume they can act ethically and wisely. Autonomous cars are new technologies and won’t have that track record for quite some time.”
The idea that humans will act ethically and wisely while driving is an absurd and false assumption. For starters, in 2013 over 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which accounts for 31% of vehicle related deaths. So from the start we have a third of all driving deaths resulting from humans who are probably often using poor judgment, and unethical and unwise decision-making.
Now that we have opened the door to driverless technology we need to make sure that hackers can’t get in as well.
Given the multitude of recalls announced by other automakers, the industry must take action. FCA’s recent 1.4 million vehicle cyber security-related recall is not a one-off occurrence. These types of recalls can be minimized, however, it will not be a singular effort by a single automaker. Today’s connected car includes upward of 300 million lines of code compared to a 747, with roughly 75 million lines. Automotive vulnerabilities are at an all-time high and FCA’s recent recall is perfect evidence of said vulnerabilities. The real question is, who is taking the necessary action?
On July 21, Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal introduced first-of-its-kind legislation, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act (SPY Car Act). The senators’ legislation directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to establish federal standards that will secure today’s connected car. There was no in-vehicle system regulation until the SPY Car Act.
FCA is suffering $105 million costs in just civil penalties alone, with recall costs entering into the billions. Automotive recalls, SPY Car implications, and improved user experiences can all be alleviated through a common industry trend—collaboration. The recent governmental legislation will kick automakers into high gear with respect to addressing cybersecurity.
While the SPY Car Act was truly an unprecedented announcement, it was also long overdue. As a whole the automotive industry’s cybersecurity posture is weak. Change is inevitable, and Frost & Sullivan believes the industry will see laser focus and fully secure systems within the next two to three years.
Recalls are frustrating drivers due the inconvenience, as well as the danger they put their families in.
The 2015 American Consumer Satisfaction Index, an annual survey that involved 4,300 consumers, found that satisfaction with automobiles dropped for the third straight year to the lowest level since 2004. High new-car prices also were a factor.
“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,” said Claes Fornell, chairman and founder of the survey.
Honda records 20 per cent rise in profit despite massive recalls Last year automakers recalled a record 64 million vehicles for problems such as exploding air bags and ignition switches that can unexpectedly cause engines to stall. The problems can be deadly. So far General Motors has agreed to compensate families of 124 people who died in crashes caused by the faulty switches. Eight more people have died worldwide after being cut by shrapnel from exploding Takata air bag inflators.
Rising prices also contributed to the consumer frustration. Car prices are up 11 per cent since 2010 and hit records all year, rising to an average $32,932 in July, according to the Edmunds.com auto website.