Autobraking Set To Be A Standard By 2022

Cars these days are as much technology as they are mechanical, with everything from your indicator and dashboard to the radio and pedals attached to a computer which helps you organise and drive as much as your driving teacher did when you first started learning. A new agreement could see autobraking set as a standard as soon as 2022.

Back in 2012, the EU made some legislation which saw automatic electronic brakes (AEB) a required standard on new cars. A group of automakers look to speed up this process within the US by avoiding the legislation part of the issue and instead agree to do the project on their own.

Some of the 20 companies involved, including the likes of Honda, Ford, Volvo and Toyota, have made a pact with the US department of transportation’s national highway traffic safety administration alongside the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that looks to bring AEB’s to cars in America as soon as 2022.

The reason for avoiding the government rule aspect of the pact is that it is expected to be “three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process”. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that could help prevent as many as 28,000 crashes and over 12,000 injuries.

The full list of companies involved in the pact can be found below, and features some of the biggest names in car manufacturing:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Kia
  • Maserati
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Nissan
  • Porsche
  • Subaru
  • Tesla Motors Inc.
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo Car USA

If you drive something bigger than your average car (anything between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds) companies have until 2025 to adapt AEB’s for your vehicle.

FBI Warns That Cars Are Increasingly Vulnerable to Hacks

It’s no surprise that hackers have taken an interest in connected vehicles, but not everyone is actually aware of their cars’ vulnerabilities. That’s why the FBI has decided to make a public service announcement alongside the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in which it warns people of the dangers of hacking and tells them what they can do to protect themselves from these attacks. Interestingly enough, the announcement doesn’t come in the wake of some new discovery, which means that the agency probably should have issued it quite some time ago. In any case, it includes some pointers that can diminish the risk of being hacked, such as keeping the car’s software updated and making sure to verify the authenticity of various notifications.

Since a team of researchers managed to successfully demonstrate how to control a car’s critical functions using an insurance dongle last year, the FBI also informs about the dangers of connecting various third-party devices to your vehicles. The bulletin included these exact words:

“The FBI and NHTSA are warning the general public and manufacturers – of vehicles, vehicle components, and aftermarket devices – to maintain awareness of potential issues and cybersecurity threats related to connected vehicle technologies in modern vehicles. Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies that aim to provide benefits such as added safety features, improved fuel economy, and greater overall convenience. Aftermarket devices are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status of their vehicles. However, with this increased connectivity, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cyber security threats.”

Are you worried about potential hacking attempts on your vehicle?

Super-Charged P100D Tesla Plans Discovered in Firmware Update

Tesla enthusiast and self-proclaimed white hat hacker Jason Hughes has been doing some digging, taking apart the latest Tesla firmware update that was sent his own Tesla P85D, and it looks like he’s uncovered a secret!

The Model S currently comes in three variants, but it seems Elon Musk has a fourth model in the pipeline, and it’s going to be powerful! Jason claims to have spotted files pointing towards a 100kWh car, which is quite a bump from the current 70 and 90kWh models available. With the available models being named the 70D, 90D and the P90D, it would be safe to assume that a new 100kWh model would be called the P100D.

The information was discovered in Firmware Update 7.1 and while he could have release the information immediately, he decided to tease Elon a little bit first with the following tweet as well as some forum posts. Followed up later the next day with “You guys are great. Fun to get home and find people have cracked some SHA256 I posted. Nice work.”

I don’t have to tell you this whole thing needs a pinch or fist full of salt, but it’s certainly believable that some information to a future car would be held within the firmware. Tesla would likely use their cars firmware to test future models and we’ve seen similar leaks in the past for graphics cards and other bits of tech.

“There are quite a few things that are in the firmware that I’m not prepared to share publicly. Just like the P100D has been in there for months with my lips mostly sealed.” said Hughes.

However, Tesla rolled back an update, perhaps to remove the files or tighten up the encryption keys on the files unlocked, and potentially other parts of the system that used the same keys, who knows. Either way, Elon seems to be playing it cool right now, so we’ll have to wait and see.


Mercedes to Replace Factory Robots with Human Workers

With robot dominating manufacturing processes, and estimates suggesting that automation could make up to half the world’s human population unemployed within 30 years, and that one-third of jobs in the UK will be done by robotic or artificial intelligence systems by 2035, car-maker Mercedes has announced the surprising move of replacing its production line robots with human workers. The decision was made, Mercedes told Bloomberg, in order to support its full array of customisable options available to customers.

“Robots can’t deal with the degree of individualization and the many variants that we have today,” Markus Schaefer, Head of Production for Mercedes, told Bloomberg at the Daimler AG’s Sindelfingen factory. “We’re saving money and safeguarding our future by employing more people.”

Schaefer, who is heading up the new customisation initiative, is also aiming to reduce production time from 61 hours per vehicle to 30 hours, and he believes that human staff can adapt to the range of customisation options quicker than an automated production line can.

“The variety is too much to take on for the machines,” Schaefer added. “They can’t work with all the different options and keep pace with changes.”

While the company will not eschew robots and automation entirely, its remaining mechanical systems will become smaller and more flexible to allow workers to utilise them for various purposes.

Mercedes hopes that its new E-Class model, available this March, will spearhead both its customisation portfolio and its return to using human workers.

Volvo Pledges Their Cars Will be Deathproof by 2020

Safety in a car is important, as is made clear when you see new cars marketed with their safety ratings proudly on show. Volvo has now gone one step bolder than their rivals, with their North American CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, telling CNN that their complete lineup of cars and SUVs will be entirely deathproof by 2020.

Volvo’s plan to achieve the deathproof car involves the incorporation of a number of technologies we have already seen in the development of autonomous cars, including adaptive cruise control, auto lane keeping assists and collision avoidance. This isn’t to say that Volvo’s fully safe car is fully autonomous, instead, the safety assists will run regardless of autonomous or manual control. This results in a reverse of current self-driving cars, where instead of the manual driver taking over in an emergency, the safety systems will kick and override the driver when needed. Most of the technologies Volvo plans to put to work here also already exist in autonomous vehicles, which may explain their confidence in the timeframe.

Volvo also already tracking the number of deaths that occur in their vehicles worldwide. This may seem morbid, but in fact, it helps the engineers at Volvo see the impact of new safety measures in each generation of car and predict how much safer the car can be made. Fatality-free cars are not a new thing either, with the Volvo XC90 (and eight other non-Volvo vehicles) having no recorded fatalities in the US between 2009 and 2012, which is the most recently available data on the subject.

It is unlikely that even the safest car can save those going out of their way to put themselves at risk or ignore the rules of the road, but for the sane majority of drivers, this is a great move. It is nice to think that by the start of the next decade driving could be no less hazardous that walking around your own home, for both those behind the wheel and pedestrians.

Bill Gates Mansion Has Some Secrets!

We all know Bill Gates has a whopping amount of money. He’s the owner of Microsoft, several hotel chains, and Corbis. Well, he also has several stunning properties. His home in Washington is worth a phenomenal $154 million. That’s approximately 1000 average British houses. However, he only paid $2 million back in the golden days of 1988. It is also said that he pays approximately $1 million in property tax per yer. Not a lot for Mr Gates though is it?

Sensors, sensors everywhere!

On arrival at the Gates household, you’ll be handed a little pin. This pin interacts with sensors built into the house, in turn, it then tracks your movement throughout the entire complex. As a result of the pin and sensors, the house then automatically adjusts temperature and lighting to ensure comfort throughout. He also has hidden speakers in all the rooms so music can follow you wherever you go.

Oooh, nice pictures Bill

Many of the paintings in the house are digital, he has roughly $80,000 dollars of displays that then connect back to a $150,000 server farm. The server farm then has a nearly unlimited supply of artwork for you to switch to.

Bounce Bill bounce, the trampoline room

The house has its own exercise facilities. The main room has a trampoline in and a 20ft high roof space for you to bounce around in. The facilities are 2500 square feet and contain a sauna, steam room, and separate men/women’s locker rooms.

Hosting a party? The reception hall

If the family wants to hold a party, Bill has a 2300 feet square reception hall. It can seat 150 people at a dinner party or 200 at a cocktail party. One wall has a 6 feet wide fireplace whilst the other is home to a whopping 22 feet wide video screen. Perfect for chilling and looking at cat pictures!

Fancy a read? The library is massive

Bill Gates paid $30.8-million for the 16th Century Codex Leicester manuscript, so it does not come as a surprise that he also has a 2,100-square-foot library, complete with a dome roof and two secret bookcases. On the ceiling, he has a quote from “The Great Gatsby”. “He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.” I wonder if the blue reminds him of the windows XP taskbar, we will never know.

More of a film fan? Bill has it covered

In his 20 person movie theater. It has an Art-Deco theme, humongous chairs and much more. The screen itself is huge, however, we’re not allowed to know the true size. There is even a snack bar just for the theater.

The Car garage

Across the residence, there are several garages that amount to having room for 23 vehicles. One of which is designed to look like the Batcave. Rather cool I say – not bad for a 60-year-old!

Thank you to Wikipedia, techeblog and for providing us with these images.

New Regulations Pave the Way for Self Driving Cars on the Road

The development of self-driving cars promises to offer consumers an exciting future, now, regulators in the sprawling metropolis known as California have published draft proposals aimed at paving the way for consumers to legally use self-driving cars on the road.

Included within the recommendations from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the stipulation that a fully licensed human driver must be present behind the wheel in case the technology fails or decides to drive into the nearest hedge. I understand the fully licensed bit, but I would have thought the whole point of a self-driving car is for people to easily travel from A – B in the car. The new regulations also stipulate that users must undergo “special training” and manufacturers must monitor the cars use.

Technology giant Google has experimented to the point whereby a vehicle does not even need a steering wheel or pedals, this sounds impressive, albeit slightly dangerous, for the foreseeable future at least. So much so that the DMV recommends all self-driving vehicles to be equipped with traditional controls. The draft regulations also provide requirements for self-driving cars to be protected from cyber attacks; it will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond to this considering very little is immune from hacks in the digital age.

Many fans and experts alike envisage a future whereby a driving licence is obsolete and even non-drivers are able to metaphorically drive, sounds good until you factor in the many issues including longer traffic jams as more people are able to use a vehicle, only time will tell as to the path with which this new breed of tech will follow.

Image courtesy of marketinginautomotive

Vending Machines Big Enough to Sell Full-Size Cars?

One of the most painful experiences as an adult is having to use a vending machine, 9/10 times the stupid thing gets stuck and you either have to do the walk of shame to the person with the keys or give the machine a naughty shake. Well, the technology has been making the move towards a much larger and more expensive product, namely your potential new car.

Carvana is now setting out to revolutionise the way that we buy and collect our new cars. Instead of the traditional method of going to the dealership and then walking out to your car and drive it home, you can no almost complete the transaction without human contact. You order your car online, drive to a collection point and insert a special token that is encoded and the delivery system picks up your car and pushes it to your feet.

This is by far not the first time this style of delivery system has been implemented and it’s not the largest version either, being beaten to both by Volkswagen HQ in Germany.

I can see the appeal for this style system, remove the sales person and save money. Remove the valet/ parking attendant and all potential human parking error is removed. I honestly don’t see the point of this new system unless there is one in every town and a chauffeur to take you there. You still have to find a way to go collect the car, you still have to wait for the car to become ready, you still have to use your feet dang it!

EPA Finds Another Emissions Scam in Volkswagen Cars

Following revelations the Volkswagen was using software to fake its vehicle’s emission reading – a scam overseen by at least 30 high-ranking VW executives – the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has discovered a second emission-cheating program in the German car manufacturer’s diesel vehicles.

The software, designed to allow VW vehicles to fraudulently pass air pollution tests, has been found to be in use in 11 million individual cars so far, in models dating back to 2009. The new software, discovered by the EPA, was set to be used by VW in its EA 189 2.0-litre diesel engines for its 2016 range, but is thought to be included in earlier vehicles, too.

“We are investigating the nature and purpose of the additional [auxiliary emissions control device],” an EPA spokesperson said.

“VW did very recently provide EPA with very preliminary information on an auxiliary emissions control device that VW said was included in one or more model years,” the EPA’s Nick Conger said. Both the EPA and the state version in California “are investigating the nature and purpose of this recently identified device.”

In the wake of the scandal, VW has been hit by over 250 class action lawsuits and faces charges in Texas and West Virginia.

Volvo to Accept Blame in Event of an Accident

Well in the case of the autonomous cars anyway. Up until now, the only company to come forward with a fully working prototype is Google and the accidents that occurred were never blamed on the company, rather the external parameters such as traffic and pedestrians. It has now come to light that Swedish-based company Volvo will “accept full liability whenever one if its cars is in autonomous mode” and is the route cause of an accident.

This announcement follows the steps taken by Volvo to protect the main software that controls the car by passing it through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This Act prevents occurrences such as vehicular hacking being blamed on the company itself and treated as a criminal offense.

If we remember back a few months, vehicle hacking way a hot news subject with a small team taking it upon themselves to hack multiple cars, including a brand new Jeep.

In the US specifically, the government has allowed monitoring and regulating of autonomous vehicles to be controlled by the individual states, but Volvo is now calling out for a country wide regulation format and this will be discussed further tomorrow at a seminar for self-driving cars.

I can see Volvo is taking a massive step forward by trusting the car’s software and hardware this much and removing the blame from the driver almost entirely. Let’s hope that this allows lawmakers and legal systems to become more lenient with autonomous vehicles operating in each state and each country of the world.

Thank you to Mashable for providing us with this information.

Grand Theft Auto V Realistic Vehicle Mod Pack is Now Available!

Grand Theft Auto V’s active community has produced a wide array of unusual character mods and custom vehicle designs. However, for the less-experienced user, applying each individual mod can be a laborious process. Thankfully, YouTube user, SteamLOL has compiled a number of user-created vehicle mods into a handy downloadable package. The collection features more than 50 highly-detailed authentic vehicles from manufacturers like Pagani and Mitsubishi.

Please note to install the mod pack, you will need to acquire OpenIV and then download the vehicles from here. The installer creates a backup of the default car setups incase any data becomes corrupt. The collection has an abundance of hypercars but lacks the typical road vehicles. This is a shame as I’d like to see affordable cars from Kia and Vauxhall on the streets too just to mix things up a bit.

Despite this, I’ve always loved to put real vehicles in Grand Theft Auto which adds to the game’s atmosphere and creates a more realistic tone. I’m also impressed with the interiors which are modeled superbly and make each vehicle a joy to drive. Hopefully, more car packs can be released in the future.

Have you installed any mods for GTA V yet?

Thank you The Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

Human Error to Blame for Self-Driving Car Collisions Says Google

Amid reports of safety problems and road collisions, Google has leapt to the defence of its self-driving car, insisting that human error was to blame, not its automated vehicle. Chris Urmson, Head of the Google Automated Car Program, spoke about the vehicles’ safety record at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in Ypsilanti, Michigan on Wednesday.

“There’s been a lot of noise recently in the press about the fact that our vehicles have been in collisions,” said Urmson, during his during his keynote speech. “We’ve been hit 14 times over the lifetime of the program, and there’s been a bunch of speculation about that.”

Urmson blames the human drivers of the other vehicles for the 14 collisions, attributing the majority of them to the distraction caused by the novelty factor of Google’s self-driving car. He backed up his claim by showing sensor data from the Google cars involved in road accidents, with one video showing a car rear-ending the Google vehicle without applying brakes.

“We see [the accidents] as an illustration of the epidemic of distracted driving,” Urmson said. “[The car] isn’t distracted. It doesn’t worry about missing its first cup of coffee in the morning. It’s going to be paying attention all the time.”

Google’s self-driving cars have, collectively, clocked up around a million miles. Suffering 14 collisions, none of which are the fault of the automated system, is pretty good going.

Thank you Technology Review for providing us with this information.

More Than 65,000 Range Rover Vehicles Recalled Over Software Bug

Land Rover have recalled more than 65,000 vehicles due to a software bug which automatically unlocks the car doors. The affected models are the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with a manufacturing date from 2013 to the present day. While the introduction of keyless ignition seemed like a novel idea, it’s become prone to software errors and a prime target for car thieves. These issues are compounded further when you consider the technology is exclusively used on luxury models.

In a statement to the BBC, Land Rover said,

“No accidents or injuries were reported to have occurred as a result of the bug.”

“Range Rover owners would not have to pay for the modifications to be made.”

The widespread security concerns with blank key systems are backed by clear evidence as gangs often use a handheld black box to easily open the doors without forced entry. Possibly, there are too many concessions just to avoid the industry standard mechanical lock. This brings up the question, do we even need this technology? Software is always prone to glitches and open to hacking. Given the monetary value of high-end vehicles, it seems a bit reckless to keep relying on these devices. For example, a spokesperson for Thatcham Research which collects information on car crime argued,

“It’s been known for over a year that keyless entry and ignition systems possess certain vulnerabilities.”

“There were a number of vehicles suggested as being vulnerable in this way, Range Rovers being one of them.”

“Other cars targeted include Ford Focus and Fiestas, Audis and some light commercial vehicles.”

“That was all to do with keyless entry systems and vulnerabilities through the onboard diagnostic port.”

Do you believe keyless ignition systems can ever be completely safe?

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information. 

Self-Driving Taxis Could Be the Key to Greenhouse Gas Reduction

We have heard a lot of news about self-driving cars, mostly from Google, in the past years and they have already come a long way. The main focus in this area has been on reduction of accident rates, general safety, as well as freeing up your time. We’ve also seen how they can improve the quality of life for people who can’t drive any normal car, blind people for example.

A recently published study from Berkley Lab has found more good reasons for us humans to make the switch and the main one is the reduction of greenhouse gasses. The study suggests that switching the transportation grid from conventional vehicles to autonomous electric taxis could cut greenhouse gas emission levels up to 90 percent by 2030. Those numbers are of course the best case scenario where everyone plays ball and the infrastructure follows with charging stations and green power plants.

Transportation has to be smart. A lot of the times you don’t need that big car of yours to get around in, it’s just an unnecessary load to carry around. Automatic driving could also allow for very tight packed traffic that eliminates wind resistance and thereby reduces the energy needed and it would be able to pick the smartest route on any given time.

That is very optimistic and the researchers know that we as humans just won’t do that. There are too many people who would resist parts of it or all of it and they also got some good news on a smaller scale. If we just had self-driving taxis and they made up 5 percent of 2030’s estimated car sales (about 800,000 machines), they would cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2.4 million tons per year.

Thank You Engadget for providing us with this information

StoreDot’s Latest En-devour Could Super Charge Your EV

StoreDot’s at it again, remember that company, whose tech could charge your smartphone in a minute, their latest en-devour could charge an electric vehicle in just 5.

At Microsoft’s ThinkNext conference, the Israeli startup announced that it had started work on a technology that would enable electric vehicles to fully charge in 5 minutes.

To achieve this, they’ve developed a multi-function electrode (MFE). The MFE is a combination of a conductive polymer and metal oxide. The polymer allows the battery to receive the charge quickly while the metal oxide is used to trickle the Lithium ions into the electrode. Trickle charging’s essential as it prevents the electrode from cracking and shorting out, a danger when fast charging Lithium ion batteries.

StoreDot also tackles a major issue “heat”, it destroys electrodes over time. To remedy this, StoreDot’s developed new organic materials with low resistance, which produce little to no heat. The technology’s capable of 3x the charge cycle of normal lithium-ion batteries (1500-2000 charges). It also charges a lot quicker (one order of magnitude faster than existing battery technology).

They accomplished this speed by replacing existing battery components with new ones optimized for fast charging. The re-design isn’t a small fit, the company’s raised over US $42 million last year to create a pilot production line demonstrating how batteries are made with its technology. StoreDot estimates 80 percent of the manufacturing process is similar to the way today’s lithium batteries are made.

The battery’s only one side of the coin as infrastructure’s needed to make extremely fast charging a reality. To understand this one needs to know how StoreDot’s technology will work and its limitations. To fully charge a battery of an electric vehicle in 5 minutes, one needs powerful electrical infrastructure. 200 kilowatts for every 100 km of travel between charges. This effectively rules out charging at home, a modern high-rise would be more suitable as it would have the necessary infrastructure.

Five-minute charging requires a direct connection to the battery a foreign concept in today’s EVs. StoreDot’s goal with its battery technology is to provide a similar refueling experience as one would fill up with its petrol counterpart and to achieve a similar range of travel between charges. To realize this, existing and future refueling stations would need more than 200kW of power, a major upgrade.

Tesla one of its rivals had a similar issue implementing its Supercharger network (120kW fast charging stations), these provided a model S with 200 miles of travel per 30-minute charge. StoreDot’s technology though a lot faster requires stations to be in the range of a high-power transformer. It believes a wide spread adaptation of its technology would require some government support directing the installation of new grid components.

StoreDot’s tech will cost 20 to 30 percent higher than today’s lithium-ions, due to costly organic materials. Yet this shouldn’t put you off, 3x the charge cycles of current Li-ions will save you thousands in the long run, who doesn’t love saving.

StoreDot estimates we’ll see the first mobile products based on its technology around the second half of 2016. It should have a preliminary prototype of its vehicle battery in 2016 and commercial one in 2017.

Here’s a video of their vision:

This startup’s one to keep our eyes on, their technology could revolutionize everything, really looking forward to further developments, are you? let us know in the comments section.

Thank you for providing us with this information.

Google Wants to Predict the Calories in Your Food

We’ve heard that Facebook is keen on finding talented people in the AI field by opening a new research lab in Paris, but what is Google up to with its own AI research? The latest news shows that Google is more interested in what you eat rather than where you take your photos.

Google revealed that it is working on a project called Im2Calories at the Rework Deep Learning Summit in Boston, where scientist Kevin Murphy revealed that they are working on predicting how many calories you have in your food. They want to achieve the latter by having an algorithm analyse a photo of your meal, but don’t think it’s as simple as distinguishing colours.

Murphy said that the app is still not accurate enough for distinguishing appropriate calories in meals, but he believes that if there’s a 30% chance of success rate, the app will be a success itself. It might not look as much, but a lot of data needs to be processed and adapted in order to shape the algorithm and have it give out more accurate results in the future.

Though Google filed a patent for its Im2Calories app, it is not yet quite clear when they plan on releasing it or if they even want to release it in the first place. However, Murphy added that the data from the app will prove to be very useful for bigger deep learning projects in the future. They plan on moving on to analysing traffic and predicting things like where the most likely parking spot is, specific details from cars that pass through an intersection and so on.

Thank you Popular Science for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of ithicasking

US Pushing For Car-to-Car Communication

The US Department of Transport is very keen on introducing car-to-car communication technology to America’s highways, with DoT Secretary Anthony Foxx revealing legislation that will make vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications compulsory in new cars, accelerating the previously planned timetable. Foxx made the announcement during a speech at Beyond Traffic 2015, in partnership with Delphi Automotive.

V2V technology is designed to reduce road traffic accidents by ensuring that vehicles are constantly in contact with each other, pre-emptively warning of close proximities, and even giving the vehicle some automated control to take evasive action.

Foxx outlined the following plans for V2V:

First, I have directed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to accelerate the timetable for its proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology in new vehicles.

Second, we’re committing to rapid testing that would ensure life-saving V2V transmissions aren’t obstructed by radio interference. We stand ready to complete this testing, which many in Congress, the FCC, and industry are eager to complete within 12 months of receiving production-ready devices to test.  Combined, these two commitments will accelerate the introduction of V2V and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems, which are key components of the connected, automated future. 

Third, I’ve asked NHTSA to begin work aimed at ensuring our regulatory framework encourages the deployment of innovations demonstrated to increase traffic safety.

Delphi Automotive tested the technology back in April, during a 3,400 mile journey from California to New York that took place entirely in fully automated mode. A Delphi spokesperson said, “Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication are key to achieving Delphi’s vision of zero fatalities, zero accidents and zero injuries on the world’s roadways.”

Thank you United States Department of Transportation for providing us with this information.

Project Cars Not Sabotaged But AMD are Working to Fix Performance Issues

Project Cars claims to be the ultimate driver journey, combining the “passionate community of racing fans and real-life drivers”, to create an immersive racing world with next-gen graphics and career development game play. But like most modern games the release has been plagued by bad news, in this case, Performance issues.

With AMD graphic card users claiming to have performance issues with the game, even on the top end AMD GPU’s. Ian Bell, the “big boss” at slightly mad studios has spoke out regarding rumours that the problem with this performance may have been due to Nvidia paying for the “issues”. He states that Nvidia have not paid the company one penny and were very supportive throughout develop and even now after release supporting them with driver issues. He does claim however that they gave AMD 20 keys for the game to be tested and have been inviting the company to work with them for years, and looking back at the company emails the last time they received a communication from AMD was October of last year.

Claiming that looking at the lesser hardware available in consoles shows how optimised they are on AMD chips, later on AMD’s Vice President announced through twitter that AMD is now working with Slightly Mad Studios to fix the performance issues.

With modern day gaming being plagued by performance issues on a variety of hardware, and the business models of companies coming under attack for expensive season passes, can companies afford to wait for the damage to be done before stepping in to fix performance issues?

Thank you DSOGaming for providing us with this information.

Grand Theft Auto V Cars – In Real Life

Did you notice that many, if not all, of the cars in Grand Theft Auto look incredibly similar to real world cars? If you didn’t, then you may want to head out and get your eyes checked! The team over at TechReviewFeed decided to investigate and find out how much the digital and real-world cars had in common and for many of them, I’m surprised there isn’t a stack of lawsuits on the doorstep of Rockstars office, or at least more than usual.

I’m loving Grand Theft Auto V on PC, the graphics look stunning and the cars are certainly the best looking in the series so far. A mixture of high-performance sports cars seem to be littered around the game world and far more accessible than they have been in previous entries to the series. Not forgetting the stunning highways and mountain roads we have at our disposal to put each of the cars through their paces, modding, customisation, driving abilities and more; GTA V is a great game for driving fans.

The digital knock-offs of the real world cars are great, but just like we saw with Grand Theft Auto IV real cars mod, I can’t wait to see what the modding community can do with the vehicles in GTA V.

Car Manufacturers Plan to Prohibit Home Mechanics from Tinkering

Car manufacturers are supporting new changes in copyright law that could stop home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

A federal agency has had several comments filed with it that may determine if tinkering with a car could become a copyright violation. Every three years the US copyright office holds a meeting on whether certain activities should be exempt from the law that governs technological measures that protect copyrighted work. To prevent all changes to cars being blocked the Electronic Frontier Foundation have asked the government to allow changes to the necessary car components such as headlights, wiper blades etc.

Many auto makers have expressed concern that allowing 3rd parties to access the Electrical Control Units in their cars could be potentially fatal. The ECU controls vital functions such as throttle input, braking and steering, however incorrect changes may affect these functions or worse, stop them completely. The industries have also expressed concern that modifying the computers could lead to security vulnerabilities and issues with cyber security.

After-market suppliers and home enthusiasts have been changing ECU’s for several years without serious consequences. This was done in a process commonly known as chipping. Changes to the code have been able to increase horsepower, increase fuel efficiency and enhance countless other features.

For the main part, manufacturers say they’re more concerned about potential money loss rather than new money streams. Tinkering with the computer can void the cars warranty but the auto makers remain concerned if the changes could result in physical or financial harm. They noted that some mechanics manipulate odometers and make cars appear that they have less miles on them, a serious problem for used car buyers.

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you to AutoBlog for this information

Image courtesy of

Aston Martin Developing Hybrid and Electric Cars

Luxury car maker Aston Martin is working on a pair of eco-friendly vehicles – a hybrid DBX and a fully electric Rapide S – it has revealed at the recent New York Auto Show. The hybrid will be a four-door version of the DBX that was showcased in Geneva in March (above). It will serve as a testbed for electric technology which, if popular to Aston Martin customers, “would be a nice place to go,” according to CEO Andy Palmer.

The EV, which is still in the early stages of development, will be based on the existing Rapide S (below), but four-door. The company is currently engaging in a technical study of an all-electric Rapide S, with Palmer projecting a release in two years’ time. It will be priced in line with other Rapide models, so is expected to cost around $200,000.

Source: Engadget

Former Tesla Intern Releases $60 Open Source Car Hacking Kit

Ever since cars added on-board computers, there has been a market for hacking them, but the service was too often prohibitively expensive and relied on the few who knew what they were doing. In recent years, though, the market has opened up as the tech has become cheaper and the hardware becomes more intuitive.

Now, Eric Evenchick, a former Telsa intern, has developed a custom hardware/software kit, designed to hack into a car’s system, and he’s selling it for less than $60. The CANtact (CAN for Controller Area Network, the standard car computer network) is a Python-based system that can be hooked up to a car’s computer and operated though a Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.

“I want to make this easy. Python developers can get the code in one line … and start working with it. It’s also built as a library rather than just a collection of scripts. The plan is to build more functionality out around it, and contribute that back into an open source tool,” Evenchick told Forbes.

“Making diagnostics available for cheap means that we can not only audit the security of these systems, but also use them for their intended purpose: fixing cars,” he added. “One of the big problems is access to vehicles. Ford, let’s say, won’t let anyone with security skills in to hack it.”

Evenchick will be shipping the CANtact for $59.95, though the necessary OBD2 diagnostic tool is not included. The first batch will only be 100 models, but the system is totally open source, so industrious tech-heads could even build their own.

Source: Forbes

GTC 2015 NVIDIA Powered Cars On Show

GTC 2015: Normally I’d write something insightful but for this article, it’s a really simple one that involves some heavily induced eye-candy for you. As a member of GTC, the first step for me was to check into my hotel and I was even greeted with a special key card for the hotel room, branded in event gloryness.

After checking in, I made my way to the exhibition centre, to pick up my pass and straight away could see people from all walks of life. This included fellow journalists, analysts, manufacturers and much more all queuing up.

In the entrance of the hall was a nice little showcase of cars that utilise NVIDIA technology or are sponsored in some shape or form by NVIDIA. This included the epic Renovo Coupe which is an all American, all electric sports car which simply looks like a vintage car that would be basic inside, but it’s anything but that with the NVIDIA Tegra X1 at the heart of it. This gives the car the NVIDIA Drive Studio which features an 11.6″ touchscreen and all-digital cluster.

Giving a whopping 500 horsepower and a 0-60 MPH time of 3.4 seconds, it’s not exactly sluggish. We managed to get a bit more information from Renovo including OTA updates and cloud access, but details on delivery is still a bit sketchy, but should be very soon indeed.

Also featured was the Lamborghini Aventador which once again is powered by NVIDIA. It’s not an all-electric car, but the instrument clusters and infotainment system are all courtesy of NVIDIA’s mobile processor.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be an NVIDIA event featuring electric cars and the like without the Tesla Model S P85D so without further ado, here is the 600BHP monster in all it’s glory and every time I see one, I still contemplate buying one, so I’m going to stop talking there before I talk myself into it.

Project CARS Delayed Again!

It’s with a sad face that I break this news to you, as I’m sure many of you are eagerly awaiting the release of this game as much as I am. Of course, delays are nothing new to the world of computers games, but this isn’t the first time the game has been pushed back and we’ve obviously no way of knowing if it will be the last.

The games release date has now been moved to “mid-May 2015” and with no solid date there, that statement doesn’t fill me with confidence that the developers will be ready for release even then. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing, as the team are wanting this time to get the game polished for release. With many games being released broken these days, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to wait a little while longer.

“Despite our long heritage and pedigree in making critically-acclaimed racing games, Project CARS is by far the grandest and most intricately detailed of them all. Despite therefore the game being 99.9% complete, the remaining 0.1% attending to small issues and bugs has been tricky to anticipate. We’re absolutely dedicated to delivering a ground-breaking experience and by targeting mid-May fans can be assured that’s what they’ll receive” said Ian Bell, Head of Studio at Slightly Mad Studios. “Again, we want to thank our fans for their support and patience on this matter. There’s a high expectancy from racing fans around the world that Project CARS is going to be an exciting new contender in the simulation racing space and we firmly believe gamers deserve it to be in its most complete and polished state when they come to play it on day one. And since the gaming community is our primary focus and has always been at the heart of the project during development, we would like to offer some free content to all players as compensation for this short delay and as acknowledgement of how grateful we are. This gift, that we’re sure is going to excite fans, will be available from day one and revealed shortly. Keep an eye on our website for more info.”

The delay is a disappointment, but at least the developers are looking to make amends with the addition of some free content upon the games release.

Thank you Xbox Hub for providing us with this information.

100 Real People to Test Volvo Self-Driving Cars in 2017

Volvo, the Scandinavian automaker, has said that they will begin testing of their first driverless vehicles with real drivers in 2017. Yes, that means anyone, not special scientists or engineers. The tests will also be on public roads as well, in real traffic on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Volvo is seeing this as an example of their edge over the competition. The head of R&D at Volvo, Peter Martens, poked fun at their German counterparts.

“We do this in real traffic with real customers and real cars,” he said. “It’s relatively easy to put together a mockup or a show car which drives around race circuits with 250 kilometers [per hour] or put living rooms on four wheels and pretend that this is the car interior, how it looks like in 10 years. It’s much more complicated and much more real-life to really put the cars into the traffic where it’s the most complicated situation.”

If Volvo’s plans go ahead, they would mark a significant development in the evolution of driverless cars, marking the first literal public testing programme.

Source: The Verge

Flying Cars to be “Commercially Available” in 2016?

Terrafugia, a company based in Boston in the United States, says that it will offer the first “commercially available” flying car in 2016.

The ‘Transition’, as it’s called, will allow those who hold pilot licenses to fly their aircraft as well as drive it on the roads too. It is officially street legal – the first flying craft to receive such certification. The craft runs on standard unleaded fuel and is supposed to be incredibly easy to fly.

However, you might be questioning this and wondering, is this really the flying car we’ve always envisioned? Well, you do need a pilot’s license for it and it costs $279,000, making it inaccessible to many. Terrafugia thinks it has the answer to this though.

They say that the ‘Transition’ is just the beginning and that in 10 years, they will be able to offer the TF-X – a craft that is completely driverless, allowing literally anyone to step onboard and fly to wherever they want to go at speeds of up to 200mph. They say that the cost issue will be solved too – the vehicles will offered perhaps in a similar way to a taxi or Uber for example, where you can pay a fare just for the journey you wish to take.

While all of this is incredibly exciting, we’ll have to see it to believe it first.

Source: BBC News

Electrician Fixes $4,400 Toyota Hybrid Fault for Under $10

Imgur user scoodidabop had a rude awakening when the dashboard of his recently purchased second-hand Toyota hybrid car lit up. After Googling the issue, he discovered that there was an issue with the hybrid battery, meaning the car was running on 100% fuel. He was distressed to discover, after an investigation by his local Toyota dealer, that the issue would cost him more than $4,400 to fix.

Being an electrician, though, he had other ideas. He pulled the massive battery from the car’s chassis and – taking proper safety precautions with the high-voltage system – took to examining each cell, one-by-one, with a multimeter, thinking that he might have to replace one or two of the cells, costing about $45 dollars each.

To his surprise, every single cell checked out. They were all fully functional. So he pulled the copper connecting bus bars, which were quite corroded. He soaked all 34 of them in a solution of white vinegar and baking soda.

And it worked! After reassembling the battery and connecting it to the car again, the fault had been cleared. The issue had been fixed, and it cost him under $10. If you’re electric car bugs out, be sure to check those copper connectors before paying to have the whole pack replaced!

Source: imgur