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Updated: 11 weeks 6 days ago

2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 20:23

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Hyundai Genesis Gauntlet

For better or worse, technology like adaptive cruise control, backup cameras, lane keeping assist and other safety features have revolutionized the way cars drive. Hyundai is proving just how advanced its assists are in a trio of new videos starring veteran stunt and race driver Rhys Millen.

Each video puts Millen behind the wheel of a 2015 Hyundai Genesis with all of its windows blacked out. He's challenged to prove the usefulness of the car's backup camera, lane assist and automatic emergency braking by making it through three dangerous situations while driving blind.

At about two-minutes each, the videos are quick to watch, even if the amount of danger Millen is ever really in seems somewhat questionable. The one titled The Gauntlet, which tests the backup cam to swinging transport containers, is probably the best of the bunch. Scroll down to watch all three videos and see how you think Hyundai's safety assists stack up.

Continue reading 2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests

2015 Hyundai Genesis demonstrates safety with high-stakes blind tests originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 May 2014 19:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FL man facing $48,000 fine for operating cell phone jammer in his Toyota

Sun, 05/04/2014 - 16:10

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A trade exhibitor shows a portable pockeSometimes one man's great idea is everyone else's idea of a huge breach of the law. Using a phone while driving is completely legal in Florida, but it still bothered Jason R. Humphreys. He responded by allegedly operating a cellphone jammer from his Toyota Highlander for about two years until Federal Communications Commission officers and sheriffs finally caught him.

Humphreys' device wasn't discovered until a cellphone carrier noticed regular interference in its towers along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 4 around Tampa, FL. The company contacted the FCC to investigate, and it identified the vehicle with direction-finding equipment. According to Network World, when sheriffs pulled the Toyota over, their radios stopped working to contact the dispatcher, and they found the jammer under a cover in the backseat.

While it may seem relatively harmless, operating a cellphone jammer is quite illegal in the US. Humphreys is charged with allegedly operating the device and causing interference. However, the FCC only fined him for one violation each, totaling $48,000. The organization could have levied as much as $337,000 because he blocked signals for so long.

FL man facing $48,000 fine for operating cell phone jammer in his Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 May 2014 15:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 18:15

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2014 Volkswagen Website

The one thing that is certain in life is change, especially in the fast-moving world of the internet. So it's not usually news when an automaker redesigns its website. However, Volkswagen of America just launched a major revamp of its site to try and make it a less intimidating way to research about and buy its cars. It's simple and clean, but the new look is drawing the ire of some few visitors because its minimalist design makes some information hard to find.

The goal was to "take away the intimidation and make buyers feel empowered."

The new site has a simplified, tablet-first concept that reduces the number of necessary clicks to find a car. The biggest change, though, is that it replaces the traditional configurator to build and price with "Find a Match." With it, users choose things like the model, color, engine and features they want, and the database finds corresponding models from nearby dealers. While it's a quick way to find a vehicle, you're searching for rather than creating a specific car. The system also obscures the cost of individual options and packages.

Paige Parrent, Digital Platforms Manager at Volkswagen Marketing, guided the design process for the new site. The goal was to "take away the intimidation and make buyers feel empowered," she told Autoblog. That meant making the build process more transparent and giving users immediate feedback. It's no longer about what's possible, but what's available. "We want to match people with the cars they love."

Online dating and e-commerce websites inspired the layout.

Users can still find prices by trim level, but it's an obtuse process. They have to go to the model page, select "Explore Trims," and then "View Trims." This section is also where a vehicle's full specs are located. Generally, the site only calls out basic technical data like fuel economy and power. Focus testing, says VW, showed those details were most important to buyers. At the moment, there is no way to view dealer-installed options on the car when finding a match, but Parrent said this feature would be added later.

Online dating and e-commerce websites inspired the layout. Like dating, logic plays a role in buying a car, but it's an emotional decision in the end, Parrent believes. Aesthetically, the site works well with quick load times and detailed images, and some users are responding well. "They appreciate the boldness of the design," said Parrent. That said, it might take time for the brand's enthusiasts to get used to the streamlined, less-technical flow.

Check out the gallery above for some examples of the new layout or just go to VW.com. Scroll down to read the automaker's press release about the revamp.

Continue reading VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews

VW introduces radically different new consumer site, draws mixed reviews originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 May 2014 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next Mazda CX-9 to launch by 2016, could get turbo-four

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 12:16

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2013 Mazda CX-9

Mazda has a lot going on these days, what with launching the new Mazda6 and Mazda3, with the new Mazda2 just around the corner. We know the new Miata is also on the way, and after that it looks like the next vehicle in its lineup due for an overhaul is the CX-9 crossover, due to launch by 2016. The move makes sense because the CUV is growing long in the tooth. It was first introduced in 2007 and was refreshed twice since then.

The next-generation CX-9 will move away from Ford-derived components like the V6 in the current model and will likely use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, a final decision hasn't been made yet. "If I ask Mr. Hitomi, our top guy of powertrains at Mazda, he believes the downsizing turbo solution costs more. But real downsizing means six-cylinder to four-cylinder turbo could make sense from a cost point of view," said Mazda's global marketing boss Masahiro Moro to CarAdvice at the New York Auto Show. The executive said a hybrid powertrain option would be unlikely, but markets outside the US could get a diesel, as well.

Moro also tipped his hand at future Mazda model plans. He hints that the Japanese automaker is considering building a luxury vehicle with a six-cylinder engine. "It's too early, we don't have a car yet. But we are collecting advice as to V6 or straight-six," he said to CarAdvice. We'll definitely be watching.

Next Mazda CX-9 to launch by 2016, could get turbo-four originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 May 2014 11:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Aston Martin confirms new platform under development

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 09:44

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Aston Martin One-77 production

It's been thirteen years since Aston Martin introduced the original V12 Vanquish. The model was effectively been replaced twice over by the time it reached its Bar Mitzvah, but its underlying platform is still around. And not just around, either: it underpins everything Aston makes and has made ever since it came on the scene, save for the Cygnet and the One-77 supercar. That includes the V8 and V12 Vantage, the short-lived Virage, the new Vanquish, the DB9, DBS, V12 Zagato and even the four-door Rapide. But while it may seem like forever that Aston's been using the VH platform, it won't be around forever more.

In announcing its positive financial results for 2013, Aston Martin CFO Hanno Kirner confirmed: "We are engineering a completely new architecture and technologies to ensure that our next generation of sports cars is at the forefront of design, performance and technology." The new platform is expected to underpin the next generation of Astons Martin, and will be powered by a new V8 engine being developed by Mercedes-AMG, similar to the arrangement that sees V12s furnished to Pagani for the Huayra.

Whether an AMG-developed V12 is also in the cards for Aston Martin remains to be seen - the company ran on V8 power alone from the mid 70s (when its six-cylinder engine was retired) until the Ford-developed DB7 brought six- and then twelve-cylinder power. That aging but glorious 6.0-liter engine, by the way, still powers the vast majority of the company's lineup.

The platform and associated technologies are being funded by the influx of capital from shareholders Investindustrial, Primewagon and Adeem Investment and by a 13-percent increase in revenue due to the launch of the new Vanquish Volante and V12 Vantage S, as well as the company's expansion into new markets like Mexico and Thailand.

It wasn't long ago that upon spending a week with the company's Vanquish coupe that we fell just short of love, wondering aloud how long Aston could weather its uncertain financial picture while still relying heavily on elderly technology and drivetrains cradled in elderly platforms. We now appear to have our answer, and we like what we're hearing.

Continue reading Aston Martin confirms new platform under development

Aston Martin confirms new platform under development originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How mobile phones and connected cars will help keep pedestrians, riders safe

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 19:59

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This device helps connect cars to other vehicles and roadway infrastructure in a University of Michigan pilot program. For some road users, such data and location tracking could soon be done on cell phones.

The next phase of a massive federal study on connected car technology will focus as much on the people surrounding cars as the vehicles themselves.

Researchers at the University of Michigan, which is administering the study with funds from the US Department of Transportation, are placing an emphasis on protecting vulnerable road users as they develop and test new traffic systems.

For good reason: Even as the overall number of traffic fatalities in America has declined over the past decade, the number of pedestrian, motorcyclist and bicyclist deaths have all increased for three consecutive years. Together, the three groups comprised 31 percent of all traffic deaths in 2012, the latest year for which data is available.

Automakers and researchers have searched for ways to address the problem. While it's not an immediate solution, Jim Sayer, a research assistant in the human factors group at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, says technology that protects the most vulnerable will evolve alongside connected-car technology.

On Tuesday, Sayer said the next stage of protecting pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists lies in creating chips and apps for cell phones that can monitor and communicate the position of all road users in a connected-car environment. As part of the upcoming Michigan study, he'll work on enhancing such technology and determining how various users might issue warnings to each other.

Continue reading How mobile phones and connected cars will help keep pedestrians, riders safe

How mobile phones and connected cars will help keep pedestrians, riders safe originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Apr 2014 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google's self-driving car gets better at navigating city streets

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 20:30

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Google Autonomous Car

Google's autonomous car technology is constantly improving. After thousands of miles of testing, the company claimed that the driverless vehicle was safer than conventional, piloted cars. However, it previously only really worked on highways. Now, the the search engine giant is improving the tech even further to be able to drive on busy city streets.

The latest evolution of the system comes after driving its autonomous car around Mountain View, CA. The software can now detect hundreds of moving objects simultaneously and actually react to them. Google claims that the patterns are actually fairly predictable for the programming. As the car met various situations, the engineers built models of how to react.

Unfortunately, Google's autonomous software is only trained for Mountain View at the moment, and it wants to test the system on more streets there before trying the system in other towns. Still, the company believes that building a fully autonomous car is an achievable goal. Scroll down to see the latest step in this cutting-edge research.

Continue reading Google's self-driving car gets better at navigating city streets

Google's self-driving car gets better at navigating city streets originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Apr 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Smartphone battery backup that will jump start your car

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:56

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The Jumpr smartphone and car battery charger by Junopower.

Since we carry and deal with more and more items that need batteries, we have to figure out better and mobile ways of charging those batteries - at least until John Galt arrives and shows us how to harness electricity from the air. In the meantime, the Jumpr from Juno Power is one of those chargers trying to make our lives easier by being able to both charge your small portable electronic devices as well as your car battery.

There's a 6,000 mAh battery in that sky blue case, which Juno Power says is also good for a 12-volt boost at 300 amps. The company says it's robust enough "to jumpstart almost all four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines," but in case you're wondering how 300 amps can run safely through those tender cables in the image above, it's possible that Juno Power is playing casual with the meaning of "jumpstart;" elsewhere on the product page we're told that the Jumpr " is capable of jumping a completely dead car battery in minutes." So it sounds like this is less of a jump for your car and more of a series of quick, restorative hops of electricity - or, in other words, something we call "charging."

There are other devices that do the same thing (like this and this, two more expensive options) or you can get two specific tools for each job (like this and this, which together cost the same as the Jumpr). Not that it matters - you won't care to argue semantics or originality if the Jumpr can keep you from being stranded outside that Swedish death metal concert at 2:00 AM. It goes on sale on May 1 and costs $69.99.

Smartphone battery backup that will jump start your car originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Apr 2014 17:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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AMG's partnership with Aston Martin won't extend past engines, for now

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 08:59

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The 4.7-liter V8 in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage

There's been talk of late about the technical partnership between Aston Martin and the AMG division of Mercedes-Benz going beyond engines to include Mercedes sports car and SUV platforms for the English brand, perhaps as a way to kickstart the development of a Lagonda SUV. But AMG CEO Tobias Moers, speaking to Top Gear, said that's effectively out of the question because, "No one has the time to discuss any more involvement than that for now."

Moers believes Aston Martin will be so busy "for the next two to three years" integrating its AMG-sourced engine and electronics that it won't have the resources to devote to working out a platform-sharing deal; Daimler sources have already said that Aston Martin's development budget "just isn't enough" to even consider a whole new model, and that greater cooperation would require something like a larger ownership stake in the boutique sports car maker.

AMG, in the meantime, is busy with the recent launch of the GLA45 AMG, the coming C63 AMG and its rumored 4.0-liter V8, the Mercedes-AMG GT and its assault on the Porsche 911 among who-knows-what other skunkworks projects. Moers said the technical partnership is about profit for AMG, clear and simple, and, "All these rumors about platform sharing are nice but no one at Aston or Mercedes has the time to discuss them."

AMG's partnership with Aston Martin won't extend past engines, for now originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Apr 2014 07:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch Obama kick the ball around with Honda's latest ASIMO

Sat, 04/26/2014 - 12:59

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Pres. Obama and Honda's ASIMO

Bend it like Obama. The Commander-In-Chief was just in Japan for a state visit, and his trip took him to a science expo, where he played a bit of soccer with Honda's latest ASIMO robot. The entire scene was captured on video, and showed the innovative robot as it ran, hopped and kicked a soccer ball to a bemused President Obama.

ASIMO had a number of upgrades ahead of its meeting with the president, which were originally shown off to the crowds at the 2014 New York Auto Show. These tweaks to the 110-pound robot included a number of changes in both its upper and lower body to improve stability, speed and balance. Although not shown in this video, Honda claims the lower-body upgrades allow ASIMO to climb faster and more smoothly than ever before. Its hands are more dexterous and expressive, as well, while new sensors give it an even better sense of touch.

Before ASIMO smoothly and effortlessly jogged across the stage, the robot and the President had a brief chat. According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama later told students at the Miraikan Science Expo in Tokyo that ASIMO and the other robots at the fair "were a little scary. They were too lifelike."

Take a look below for the video of ASIMO and President Obama in action.

Continue reading Watch Obama kick the ball around with Honda's latest ASIMO

Watch Obama kick the ball around with Honda's latest ASIMO originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Apr 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nissan shows self-cleaning car coated in nano paint

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 20:31

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Nissan Note with Self-Cleaning Nano Paint

Washing the car is an activity like mowing the lawn that some people love and others find to be an absolute chore. For the latter group, Nissan may have an answer. Nissan is testing a nano-paint coating that could make the car wash a very infrequent place to visit.

Shown on a European Note hatchback, the key is a special layer of super-hydrophobic and oleophobic material called Ultra-Ever Dry that is sprayed over the paint. It creates a protective layer between the body and environment, and it means that when dirt or water come into contact with the car, the gunk just sheets away.

Nissan admits that the coating is still early in testing. The key will be if the stuff can actually last for the long term, and the company will be analyzing it over the coming months to see how it will react in different conditions. At the moment, the automaker has no plans to offer Ultra-Ever Dry as a standard feature, but it may make it available as an aftermarket addition in the future. Scroll down to watch the video of Nissan testing the stuff in some very dirty conditions.

Continue reading Nissan shows self-cleaning car coated in nano paint

Nissan shows self-cleaning car coated in nano paint originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 08:58

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old trucks at NRAO

Head on out to Green Bank, WV, and you're likely to notice what looks like a giant satellite dish on the horizon. Only it's not a satellite dish. It's actually a fully steerable radio telescope - the largest of its kind in the world. It's funded by the federal government through the US National Science Foundation and operated by National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In short, it's one of the most advanced telecommunications devices in the world. So you'd expect them to service it with suitably advanced vehicles, right?

Wrong. Radio telescopes are hyper-sensitive to interference. That's why this one is located (alongside the NSA installation at Sugar Grove) inside the United States National Radio Quiet Zone. It's also why the NRAO only uses old diesel trucks to get anywhere near the telescope. Some of those trucks are 45 years old, but because they don't use spark plugs, computerized ECUs or even door chimes, they don't mess with the telescope. Head on over to Driving.ca to read exactly why.

High-tech observatory only uses decades-old diesel trucks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 12:30

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Yamaha PES1

Yamaha PED1A big player in the two-wheeled world is hopping into the electric market. Yamaha's PES1 (pictured above) and PED1 (pictured right) battery-powered concepts are going into production in the near future, the company announced. Both bikes originally debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

According to Visor Down, the Yamaha disclosed in its annual report that both cycles would be in production by 2016. "In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience," said a portion of the announcement.

If their skeletal looks don't give it away, these are some very light motorcycles. In concept form, Yamaha reported that the PES1 sport bike weighed less than 221 pounds, and the PED1 dirt bike weighed less than 187 pounds. Power came from a removable lithium-ion battery pack and brushless DC motor that were housed in a monocoque frame that was shared by both cycles. The concepts were equipped with a transmission with both manual and automatic modes.

Yamaha hasn't released performance figures for either bike yet. However, an earlier video suggested that the top speed of the PES1 was limited to 62 miles per hour. Granted, that was the concept version, and the production model could be faster.

Considering that Yamaha has a long and storied history of building fantastic bikes with internal combustion engines, we have high hopes it can do the same to challenge the electric cycle world.

Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Building a better Pinewood Derby car with science

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:45

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Screencap from a video explaining the science behind building a Pinewood Derby-winning car.

Every corner of human endeavor has its researchers, and that includes activities that we might think are just supposed to be fun for kids, like pinewood derbies. In case you don't know, a pinewood derby where kids build a car out of a block of wood, add some nails for axles and plastic wheels and then race them head-to-head on a length of track with an elevated starting line. It's all about kids having fun with gravity and little chunks of timber.

Except it isn't at all, because dads are involved, and that means that winning pinewood derby cars use the kind of science and technology real car enthusiasts are familiar with: center-of-mass studies, polished axles, lightweight wheels and copious use of graphite.

YouTube regular Mark Rober gives an excellent explanation of what goes into a champion derby run, with science help from Dr. Scott Acton, a physicist with spacecraft and defense component maker Ball Aerospace. But Rober mostly uses children's blocks to lay it all out, and then he wins, which are things we can all understand. You'll find an education in the video below.

Continue reading Building a better Pinewood Derby car with science

Building a better Pinewood Derby car with science originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Leno's steam-powered 1925 Doble E-20 is fascinating

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 13:44

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Doble E-20

The steam-powered car is considered an old-fashioned relic in today's age, but in his latest video showing off his 1925 Doble E-20, Jay Leno demonstrates that at its best, steam provided a realistic challenge to the internal combustion engine. This car has some real provenance too. Famous industrialist Howard Hughes is counted among its owners, and Leno claims he liked it so much because it was the only car that performed as well as his Duesenberg.

While the Doble's four-cylinder compound engine makes only 150 horsepower, it produces a staggering 1,000 pound-feet of torque, according to Leno. That much power means that a transmission isn't necessary, and it directly drives the rear end.

For much of the video, Leno puts on his teacher's cap and explains step-by-step how the Doble's advanced steam engine works, and it's a very complicated piece of machinery, especially if your are used to internal combustion engines. One of the most interesting parts is the system's efficiency, because after being used in the engine, the gas is condensed back into water and heated again.

If you're a fan of engineering or mechanical systems, this is a fascinating video to watch, and it's amazing how functional the Doble makes steam power appear. In fact, it's almost possible to see steam as a realistic alternative to modern engines. Scroll down to watch Professor Leno give you an inside look at his idea of the pinnacle of the steam-powered automobile.

Continue reading Leno's steam-powered 1925 Doble E-20 is fascinating

Leno's steam-powered 1925 Doble E-20 is fascinating originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Apr 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch Congress sample Toyota's i-Road 3-wheeler concept

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 13:45

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Toyota i-Road in Congress

Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.

We'd say their reactions were surprisingly positive. Of course, some were just down there because Toyota is a big presence in their respective districts, but the bulk of the senators and representatives seemed like they just wanted to zip about the makeshift indoor course on the leaning trike.

Take a look below at the video from Bloomberg.

Continue reading Watch Congress sample Toyota's i-Road 3-wheeler concept

Watch Congress sample Toyota's i-Road 3-wheeler concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Apr 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:31

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Toyota small-displacement engines

Toyota introduced a pair of brand-new engines in Japan today, that it says will eventually spawn 14 different variants by 2015. Where these two engines stand out in today's world, is that neither mill boasts direct injection, and both are naturally aspirated.

The larger of the two is a 1.3-liter, while the smaller engine, a 1.0-liter, was developed in collaboration with Daihatsu. What makes these two unique is that they both use the Atkinson cycle. Now, we aren't going to bore you by explaining just what this is - there's Google for that. Suffice it to say, Atkinson engines are highly efficient, but that efficiency comes by sacrificing power. That's why they're so popular in hybrids, which can offset the power losses.

This focus on fuel efficiency extends throughout the new engines, which also benefit from tweaks like a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system and a trick intake port, while the 1.3 employs Toyota's iE variant of variable valve timing. Both engines can be fitted with stop-start tech. According to Toyota, when fitted with stop-start the 1.3 should provide around a 15-percent bump while the 1.0-liter will increase economy around 30 percent, when they arrive on the road.

We're not going to lie, the non-hybrid Atkinson system is a question mark. But according to General Manager of Powertrain Planning Shouji Adachi, it shouldn't be an issue.

"There is always the challenge of lower performance in torque," Adachi-san told Automotive News. "For the new engines, we were able to resolve these issues."

We're presuming that what Adachi is referring to is Toyota's use of high compression ratios on both engines - 13.5 in the case of the 1.3L and 11.5 in the 1.0L. Using a higher compression ratio allows the engine to develop more power thanks to increased thermal efficiency. In the case of the 1.3L, max thermal efficiency is at 38 percent, which Toyota says is quite good. The 1.0L is just a smidge behind, at 37 percent.

So, power concerns momentarily swept aside, where to do we think these engines will end up? According to AN, non-hybrid, JDM compacts will be the first to use the new engines. From there, though, it's really anyone's guess where these engines and their variants will end up. Scroll on down for the short press release on the two engines, from Toyota.

Continue reading Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines

Toyota unveils two new small displacement engines originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Senate committee votes to keep driver black box data private

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:01

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Automotive Black BoxDrivers are one step safer to having improved privacy behind the wheel. The Senate Commerce Committee has granted bipartisan approval to legislation that aims to protect the information on automotive Event Data Recorders (EDR), also known as black boxes. The committee concluded that the vehicle owner is the one who owns the information stored on the device.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) first proposed the rules last year. The legislation stipulates that the owner or lessee of the vehicle is the only person entitled to the data in the black box, outside of a few specific conditions. The information can still be accessed if authorized by a court or if the owner consents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may collect data for recalls, but personal information must not be disclosed in the process. Finally, law enforcement may use the data if needed following a crash. According to the senators, 14 states already have data recorder privacy laws.

"EDRs can serve a useful function by helping to make cars and streets safer, but access to the data should be treated as personal except under very specific circumstances," said Senator Hoeven in a statement on his website.

Black boxes are already installed in over 90-percent of vehicles and track data like speed, braking, airbag deployment and some even know the vehicle's location. Previously, NHTSA proposed that all future vehicles must come with data recorders. According to The Detroit News, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and Volkswagen, has given support to the committee's rules.

Senate committee votes to keep driver black box data private originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Audi and FAW to launch A6 E-Tron in China

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 12:32

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Audi A6 e-tron

Audi and its Chinese joint-venture partner FAW have announced that they'll be building a production version of the Audi A6 E-Tron Concept, shown at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show. Based on the China-only long-wheelbase A6, the plug-in-hybrid model is being targeted specifically at the People's Republic.

Audi is promising a 50-kilometer (31-mile) electric range for the fuel-sipping sedan, although there are precious few details beyond that. We do know, though, that this will be a Chinese-built vehicle, with assembly slated for the FAW-Volkswagen joint-venture factory in Changchun. We presume we'll find out more when the Beijing Motor Show kicks off a few weeks from today.

"We are the market leader in China's premium segment and will continue systematically with the application of efficiency technologies. Audi is thus supporting the Chinese government's targets for the reduction of fuel consumption," said Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, the president of Audi China.

Take a look below for the full press release from Audi and FAW.

Continue reading Audi and FAW to launch A6 E-Tron in China

Audi and FAW to launch A6 E-Tron in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Land Rover augments off-road reality with amazing Transparent Bonnet tech

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 13:31

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Land Rover Transparent Bonnet system

With very few exceptions, production off-road vehicles all mount their engine up in front. The trouble is that the hood can obstruct the view to the terrain ahead. Leave it to Land Rover, then, to come up with a novel solution.

When the doors open at the Javitz Center next week for the 2014 New York Auto Show, Land Rover will present its new Discovery Vision Concept. The vehicle will show the way forward for the brand's next generation of SUV, and included with it will be this Transparent Bonnet system. The system uses cameras located in the grille to project an image of the terrain ahead on the vehicle's Head-Up Display, making the hood virtually transparent to make navigating up-close obstacles like large rocks and narrow tracks that much easier.

It's just one of the new technologies which Land Rover will demonstrate in the new Discovery concept, and - like the depth sounders mounted in the mirrors of the Range Rover Sport - the system follows a proud tradition of technological innovation pioneered or adopted by Land Rover to enable more capable off-roading. Check out the system in action in the video and the details in the press release below.

Continue reading Land Rover augments off-road reality with amazing Transparent Bonnet tech

Land Rover augments off-road reality with amazing Transparent Bonnet tech originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Categories: Auto News