By Leslie J. Allen, Automotive News
General Motors Co.'s OnStar telematics unit is bringing Google mobile navigation technology into the car.
Chevrolet Volt drivers whose smartphones use Google's Android operating system will be able to use their phones to pinpoint their vehicle's location on Google Maps, GM said in a statement released Tuesday. They can then request a destination by speaking it into the phone, and have the desired destination sent directly to the car.
OnStar would then guide the driver to the destination using turn-by-turn spoken directions.
OnStar will demonstrate the technology at an Android software developer's conference that starts Wednesday in San Francisco.
Clever beats complex in the fuel-economy fight.
The Environmental Protection Agency has officially announced the fuel-economy figures for the 2011 Ford Fiesta, and the numbers are well above what the driving world has come to expect from small, nonhybrid cars.
According to the government agency, the new compact should return 29 mpg city/40 mpg highway when equipped with the new 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. Drivers who go for the 6-speed manual version of the car will likely see slightly lower mileage averages. For comparison’s sake, the Fiesta’s highway numbers are a full 5 mpg better than the Honda Fit and best the Toyota Yaris by 4 mpg.
By Jake Lingeman
General Motors has formed a partnership with Hawaiian power firm the Gas Company to test the state’s hydrogen infrastructure.
TGC is the major power provider for the Hawaiian islands. It produces and delivers hydrogen along with natural gas. TGC plans to separate the hydrogen from its pipeline and send it to filling stations for fuel-cell vehicles.
Hawaii is uniquely qualified for this project, announced last week, because it depends on imported fuel for 90 percent of its energy, and the state is committed to reducing its petroleum use by 70 percent in the coming years.
The 'Holy Grail' of transmissions may not be that.
Now, apparently, there have been more than a few responses to the magazine article regarding the viability of the product shown in the Gizmag video of Steve Durbin, presenting his D-Drive. (And, I should include, our own commenter CKTVT, who pointed out the limitations of the system quite early on -- good on you, CKTVT.)
First and foremost: The machine presented is not, in and of itself, an infinitely variable transmission. Rather, it has the chance to be a component of such a system, which would mean the main friction actors -- the absence of which we touted highly during the initial hoopla -- would remain, but simply as a factor of the system.
Experimental Fiestas can social-network, play -- even tweet their feelings.
Let's concentrate instead on a team of University of Michigan students currently road-tripping in a Ford Fiesta to Makers Faire, the Silicon Valley do-it-yourself festival, to demonstrate the wacky, wonderful future of cloud-based computer applications in your car. Those include cars that can broadcast real-time traffic and weather data, keep tabs on lost or straggling vehicles in your convoy, play rally-style games or social-network with occupants of other cars. And while some vehicles can already communicate with dealerships to send diagnostic reports or receive messages, this small Ford can send out tweets on its “mood,” based on performance data being collected by its computers.
Ford, whose Sync system already reigns as one of the slicker telematics platforms, held a competition for six teams of Michigan students, who were asked to dream up potential apps on a new experimental connectivity platform. The winning team -- Joe Phillips, Sangmi Park, Collin Hockey and John Ciccone -- are cruising in one Ford Fiesta, with Ford engineers in a second car, tweeting from the road as @AJtheFiesta. Along the way, they’ll be stopping at Northwestern University, near Chicago, and other points to demo the system.
BMW is pitching its orders the European way.
BMW wants you to buy a car the European way: The German automaker, which wants to pass Lexus as the leading luxury brand in the U.S. by 2012, is trying to convince its U.S. customers that they should order their BMWs with exactly the stuff they want on it, not settling for whatever is on the lot.
For example with its new X3, on sale here early next year, BMW wants its U.S. dealers on board to help promote options on built-to-order models.
And you thought 250 mph was fast.
How is this car-related, you ask? We found the awesome video on Jalopnik, which is a car site. And we loved it, because it's really freaking cool. So that's that. (Also, the pilot's code name is "Taco" and we find that funny.)
The shuttle approaches the Earth backwards at Mach 2 to start, then turns nose-down (this happens around the 3:00 minute mark) and glides to a landing. Enjoy, after the jump.
40,000 of various 2010 models to be recalled.
Apparently, those models have been experiencing problems with a defective ignition switch, which releases the key even if the vehicle's transmission isn't in park. Needless to say, this can cause vehicle movement when it certainly isn't desired (i.e., when you're not actually in the car, piloting it).
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5