By Greg Migliore
Drivers of most 2011 General Motors Co. vehicles will be able to use a smartphone to carry out functions usually found on a key fob -- such as remote starting, activating the horn and lights, and remote locking and unlocking of doors.
Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, working through OnStar, are developing brand-specific mobile applications than can be controlled on Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android operating system.
GM announced the technology today.
Using a mobile phone means vehicle features can be controlled regardless of the driver's distance from the car. For instance, a traveler who forgets to lock the car at the airport can send a locking signal from inside the terminal.
Aston Martin Rapide, meet Porsche Panamera Turbo.
Car and Driver has a short but entertaining video of the Aston Martin Rapide versus the Porsche Panamera Turbo. Well, "versus" may be a bit too strong a term: The head-to-head is not too in-depth -- just a skid pad test and a zero-to-60 mph sprint -- but there are plenty of great shots of the cars driving through Chicago and around Dan Schnitta's GingerMan Raceway (he also owns the GingerMan Tavern in town). The real surprise, though, is the significant 1.3 second difference in the zero-to-60: 4.8 seconds versus 3.5. Can you guess the winner?
A 400-horsepower Ford Taurus SHO may be on the way.
Since then, we haven’t seen too many full-size sedans waltz past the 400-horsepower barrier, and even fewer manage to be a sales success while doing so. A rumor has just popped up that Ford may be interested in waltzing back into the megapowerful-sedan game once again, this time with its new Taurus SHO.
Well, Alex, actually: Alex Severinksy versus Toyota.
Nope. Severinksy sued Toyota claiming it stole the system for powering gas-electric hybrid vehicles that he patented in 1994 -- and he freaking won.
Severinsky started his career developing instrumentation for anti-tank warfare after receiving his degree in electrical engineering from the Kharkov College of Radioelectronics in Ukraine in 1967. He later earned his Ph.D. in the same field from Moscow's Institute for Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics. Then, in 1977, he immigrated to the U.S. What happens after then is where the story really kicks off.
New software helps businesses, government agencies stop their drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
Manage Mobility, based in Alpharetta, Ga., has teamed up with WebSafety Inc., of Irving, Texas, to create a software application for government agencies and business owners that want to ensure their drivers comply with the law in order to cut down on liability issues. WebSafety's technology originally grew out of software intended to stop teens from texting while driving.
Click below for a map, from USA Today, of the current state-by-state breakdown of texting bans -- or lack thereof.
The New York Times 'Wheels' blog breaks it down further.
One thing the automakers don't like? The per-vehicle fee slated to go directly toward boosting the coffers of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (As previously reported, this fee would start off at $3 per vehicle before moving up to $6 and, eventually, $9 in the third year.) The manufacturers argue that the added cost is prohibitive. As the "Wheels" blog points out, though, manufacturers themselves typically tack on fees that are many, many times larger, such as the hundreds of dollars consumers can pay for delivery fees.
An issue that's quite contentious is the raising of the maximum penalty from $15 million to $300 million if a manufacturer fails to promptly notify NHTSA of a safety issue. The manufacturers call this excessive, though the $300 million price tag is a maximum, not a standard, and it's widely accepted that a $15 million penalty for a major manufacturer amounts to little more than lost pocket change.
The crux of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010.
According to Consumer Reports' "Cars Blog," the bill -- which has been presented in both the House and the Senate, though neither has yet voted on it -- the legislation aims to strengthen the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in both power and financial resources.
New models, technology all designed to clean up CO2.
Honda, which has seen its environmental thunder stolen of late by not just Toyota, but General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai, fired off a green salvo yesterday: The company will bring a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric commuter car to the U.S. in 2012. Those would be the first plug-in cars from Honda, which introduced the hybrid to America with the Insight in 1999, but whose hybrids have often been hit-or-miss with consumers.
In an address in Tokyo, Honda CEO Takanobu Ito added that the next-generation Civic Hybrid will switch to a lithium-ion battery when it goes on sale in 2011. That would bring the Civic into line with the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus-based EV and a plug-in Toyota Prius. Those upcoming models highlight the industry’s shift to lithium-ion batteries, which pack roughly twice the power at half the size and weight of current nickel-metal hydride batteries.
Like every automaker, Honda must boost fuel economy across the board to achieve an average 35.5 mpg by 2016, the biggest rise in fuel-economy standards since the Clean Air Act was passed in the '70s. Honda is also gearing up for a world that will almost surely regulate the carbon-dioxide emissions associated with global warming. The European Union, along with regulators in the United States, may require new cars to produce roughly 130 grams of CO2 or less per kilometer driven, a figure already achievable with today’s fuel-saving technology: The Toyota Prius, among the world’s cleanest cars, produces just 89 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
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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
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