Traffic can add more time to your commute going to and from work, which causes you to allow more time for your commute. Despite advances in public transportation and ride sharing, expansion of bicycle lanes and bike rentals, and additional pedestrian programs, highway congestion remains crippling in our nation’s largest cities, with commuters wasting an aggregate of eight billion extra hours stuck in traffic last year. That’s nearly 50 hours per driver, which accounts for more than a week’s vacation days.
Personally, we’d rather spend that time at some posh resort sipping fruity cocktails with tiny umbrellas than fighting our way to and from the office.
According to the annual Traffic Scorecard compiled by the connected car services company INRIX in Kirkland, WA, the most artery-clogged municipality in America is Los Angeles. Commuters in the City of Angels spent an extra 81 hours sitting behind the wheel in rush hour congestion last year, compared to the (hypothetical) periods during which traffic is moving freely. Also considering European cities, only London suffers worse traffic than the top-ranked U.S. cities with a stultifying 101 hours crawling along in traffic per commuter.
INRIX says the U.S. leads a long list of countries surveyed in terms of wasted time behind the wheel, beating such car-clogged European burgs as Belgium (44 hours), the Netherlands (39 hours), Germany (38 hours), Luxembourg (33 hours), Switzerland (30 hours), the United Kingdom (30 hours), and France (28 hours). U.S.A! – We’re number one!
Since every silver lining inevitably comes wrapped within a cloud, INRIX notes that the cities riding the gravy train of economic expansion are ultimately paying the steepest price in terms of traffic congestion. (Perhaps if more workers actually took that gravy train to work instead of driving there’d be less congestion, but we digress…) Aside from additional commuting time, more traffic means reduced productivity, more tailpipe emissions spewed into the atmosphere, and considerably more stress borne by commuters. Pass the Prozac, please.
Do you know what to do every time you step in the drivers seat, and what features are available to help make your driving experience better and easier?
While automakers are spending billions of dollars loading up their vehicles with technologies of all kinds, many owners are not using them and would rather use their smartphones instead, according to the first-ever J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report.
The market research firm found that at least 20 percent of new vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features that DrIVE measured. For the consumer, this means they are paying for something they are not using, said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.
The report looked at driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership and was based on responses from more than 4,200 owners and lessees of 2015-model-year vehicles.
Features that owners did not use
43 percent—In-vehicle concierge feature such as OnStar.
38 percent—Mobile connectivity, such as a factory installed Wi-Fi hot spot.
35 percent—Automatic parking system, which aids in either parallel or perpendicular parking with limited interaction by the driver.
33 percent—Head-up display.
32 percent—Built-in apps such as Pandora.
“Tired and impatient, car buyers just want to get out of the dealership, often without becoming fully oriented with all of their new car’s features,” says Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports’ automotive human factors engineer. “But many high-tech features aren’t immediately obvious or intuitive, especially when trying to decipher their use for the first time when driving.”
Recently there have been multiple issues with connectivity when it comes to hackers and safety, so before it is available to the masses it must be protected as well.
Connected vehicles hold tremendous potential for improving road safety while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and road congestion through data sharing over the next 10–15 years.
Unfortunately, that potential may never be realized unless there is a dramatic change in the way automakers and suppliers handle cyber security. The recently revealed security vulnerability in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) products with Uconnect telematics systems demonstrates some of the flaws in the current landscape.
Wired.com recently ran a report highlighting a flaw in the Uconnect telematics system discovered by noted white hat security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek. The pair worked out how to remotely connect to the vehicle’s cellular modem, a key component of Uconnect and all other telematics systems. From there, they were able to access a port in the vehicle network that provided entry to vehicle control systems, including steering, braking, and other functions. The article noted that Miller and Valasek notified FCA and waited until a fix was developed before publicly disclosing the flaw. So far, so good.
With technology advancing in the automotive industry and with the results skyrocketing new tech features are the most important piece of the puzzle. However, car makers have discovered this fact which may to them continuing to keep information close to home.
Carmakers are limiting the data they share with technology partners Apple and Google through new systems that link smartphones to vehicle infotainment systems, defending access to information about what drivers do in their cars.
Auto companies hope that the vehicle data will one day generate billions of dollars in e-commerce, though they are just beginning to form strategies for monetizing the information. Apple and Google already make money from smartphone owners by providing a variety of products and services, from digital music to targeted advertising, and connecting phones to car systems will almost certainly extend their reach.
But as infotainment systems such as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto become more widespread, auto companies hope to keep tech providers from gaining access to a wealth of potentially profitable information collected by computer systems in cars.
Some auto companies have specifically said they will not provide Apple and Google with data from the vehicle’s functional systems — steering, brakes and throttle, for instance — as well as information about range, a measure of how far the car can travel before it runs out of gas.
“We need to control access to that data,” said Don Butler, Ford Motor Co.’s executive director of connected vehicle and services. “We need to protect our ability to create value” from new digital services built on vehicle data.
The scheduled release of General Motor’s new hybrid cars will soon make them stand out in hope to compete with other companies in the electric field of automotives.
General Motors has mapped out a comprehensive electrification strategy that includes a reinvented 2016 Volt plug-in hybrid, a 2016 Malibu hybrid, the retail launch of the Spark EV in Canada and other markets, and the Bolt EV.
The Bolt, with a range of 321 kilometers, will be priced at $30,000, subsidies included.
All will be sold in global markets through GM dealerships, covered by factory warranties and backed by service procedures proven over the five years the current Volt has been on sale – with more than 70,000 Volts in the hands of customers.
Despite all this, Tesla remains the darling of the EV set. GM has made a demonstrable commitment to putting affordable electrified cars in the hands of the masses, but Tesla is considered a “buy” by a number of Wall Street analysts.
For instance, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas has a $320 per-share price target on Tesla (trading today at about $266), yet the company continues to lose money. The first-quarter loss at Telsa amounted to $154.2 million (U.S.). Nonetheless, the stock market puts a market cap on Tesla of more than $30 billion.
By contrast, GM today was trading at $35.43, for a market cap of about $57 billion. This begs the question: Does it gall Pam Fletcher, GM’s executive chief engineer for electrification, and her team to see such buzz about Tesla, but not so much for GM? She pauses and says, “We just showed you a video of a real car.”
She also points out that GM purposely puts key electrified vehicles into the Chevrolet brand. GM’s hybrids, plug-in and pure electric cars are not just for the elite, she says, taking a jab at Tesla. The base price of a Model S in Canada is $77,200, or more than twice the expected price of the coming Bolt – or the estimated $33,000 price tag of the Spark EV when it hits retailers in Canada this October.
GM is anxious to get out its electrification message, naming it one of the key elements of the Chevy brand moving forward.
Is your car ticking, squealing, or knocking? Each sound means a different problem with your car. Read the following sounds to find the problem and solution required for each noise your car makes.
You hear a high-pitched squeal that stops when you shut off your engine: Readjust or replace the belt. These belts should have about half an inch of play and shouldn’t be frayed, cracked, or glazed on the underside.
You hear a continuous high-pitched sound that may continue after the engines shut off: Check the radiator pressure cap. The rubber gasket may be worn.
Something ticks rhythmically while your engine idles: Shut off the engine, wait ten minutes for the engine to cool and the oil to settle, and then check the oil level. If you have enough oil, have a mechanic check the valve adjustment.
If you hear a loud tapping or knocking sound in your engine, pull to the side of the road and call for road service. The source may be a loose rocker arm or carbon buildup inside the engine, but if it’s a loose bearing or a faulty piston, it can destroy the engine.
Mild knocking or “pinging” may be the result of using fuel with the wrong octane rating.
You hear the engine running after you turn off the ignition: Your engine is dieseling. This condition only happens to cars with carburetors. It is usually caused by an idle speed that’s set too high or excessive carbon in the combustion chamber.
There are 4 million car crashes in North America each year. Hopefully self-driving cars will one day lower that statistic.
Self-driving cars could generate billions of dollars a year in revenue from mobile Internet services and products, even if occupants spend only a fraction of their free time on the web, according to a new study by McKinsey & Company.
The study, released Thursday, also projects that widespread adoption of self-driving cars could lead to a 90 percent reduction in U.S. vehicle crashes, with a potential savings of nearly $200 billion a year from significantly fewer injuries and deaths.
In addition, the McKinsey study warns of several risks to established companies, including vehicle manufacturers, dealers and even insurance companies.
McKinsey projects that future owners of self-driving cars could save up to 50 minutes a day, some of which is likely to be spent surfing the web.
The consulting firm estimates the additional free time in the car could generate about $5.6 billion a year in digital revenue for each additional minute that vehicle occupants spend on the internet – as much as $140 billion if half their free time in the car, or roughly 25 minutes, is devoted to daily web surfing and shopping.
Auto parts city was once considered a menace in the community. But after greening up its act, it’s now earning top environmental awards — including Green Business of the Year from the Green Business League.
It may look like a junkyard, but brothers Jay and Larry Brosten hope to change your mind.
“We’ve spent too many years trying to improve our image and we’ve spent millions of dollars setting this facility up and trying to do the right thing,” said Larry Brosten. “But it’s always had the stigma of the ‘j-word’.”
The three-generation old Auto Parts City in Gurnee just got an $8 million make-over. The family’s goal is to set the green standard in auto recycling.
“Aggressive, top-notch facilities that understand the power of networking and education”. That is how the Locator Executive V.P Charis Lloyd describes what it takes to be listed in the top 25 most influential recyclers list for 2009. And our friend David Gold was voted number one, as the most influential auto recycler of 2009!
We caught up with David for a brief chat on Monday morning and when asked how it felt to be voted number one as the most influential auto recycler of 2009 he replied, “I was in shock! I love the business and love all the great people involved in it.” “It is a huge honor and over at Standard Auto Wreckers we are committed to helping our fellow recyclers across North America and the world.”
I really loved this analogy, it is very pertinent to us here because we are currently working with about half a dozen auto recyclers, upgrading their websites.
A user won’t wrestle with your site. Web design, particularly navigation, is not the place to get clever. Web design should be no more complicated than book design. You might notice every book shares the exact same user interface. As do cars. As do bicycles. I have no idea how my car works. People have explained the workings of the internal combustion engine to me, and I nod sagely, but really, I don’t have a clue. Nor do I need to know. I just turn the key and hit the pedal. Your website design should ask nothing more of the user than a car does. Assume nothing, other than the user will point and click something obvious.