Cars of the Future: Fact or Fiction?

If you look at movies made in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, the future was full of cars — albeit very technologically advanced ones. Movies like “Back to the Future” had us dreaming of flying cars with time-traveling capabilities. But at the time, many of these technologies were stuck in the realm of imagination. What about now? Are these cars real or still destined for the future? Continue reading >>>

Autonomous Car Progress: Approaching Level 5

BMW iNext rendering

I thought adaptive cruise control was the coolest thing ever. Simply set the cruise to 70 miles per hour, and the car does the rest, even slowing down to match traffic when speeds drop.

I first experienced adaptive cruise control in 2014, and now, just three years later, we have automakers talking about “level 5” autonomy.

What is level 5? It means a car can control itself in all situations and doesn’t need a driver for anything. We’re not there yet, but some powerful and influential automakers are on the path to making it happen. Before level 5 cars arrive, lower priced cars will receive levels of autonomy that make my adaptive cruise look like technology straight out of 1999. Continue reading >>>

Kids Born Today May Never Drive a Car

My kids have never known what it’s like to not have Internet or cell phones. It makes me feel pretty old to say things like, “When I was a kid we had to look things up in the encyclopedia and make phone calls while attached to the wall.”

When my kids are parents, they’ll probably say things like, “I remember when people had to drive their own cars.”

Technology advances fast and the next decade will likely bring changes we can’t even fathom right now. On the automotive side of things, self-driving cars are already shaping up to be the next revolution right alongside a shift in the traditional car ownership model. Continue reading >>>

Self-Driving Cars Are Never Going to Happen

Lucid Air

After seeing the Lucid Air—Tesla’s most formidable competition to date—at the 2017 New York International Auto Show, it’s clear that electrification is the future of transportation. Not only do electric cars deliver exceptionally low running costs and valuable peace of mind to more environmentally conscious drivers, but more and more examples are turning in performance benchmarks normally reserved for exotic hypercars. Continue reading >>>

Cadillac’s Super Cruise: Self-Driving Done Right?

Self-driving technology continues to develop faster than auto writers can report on it.

Tesla’s AutoPilot has paved the way for autonomous driving, but it may have an Achilles’ heel: Drivers tend to get lazy and forget that they need to continue keeping an eye on the road. If the system fails, which has happened at least a few times, drivers get caught off guard and unable to quickly respond.

Cadillac began working on an autonomous driving system called “Super Cruise” about five years ago and finally has it ready to debut on the upcoming CT6 sedan.

Will GM’s system show Tesla how autonomy is done? Continue reading >>>

Uber Halts Self-Driving Program, BMW Announces One

The BMW iNEXT: Coming soon!

The drive toward full autonomy in cars continues on its relentless march, but setbacks continue to plague the new technology.

Google was among the first to publicly test self-driving cars and has logged millions of mostly trouble-free miles. Tesla is also proving the technology, though not without occasional tragedy.

Automakers around the world are also going all-in on the self-driving craze. Ford has promised full autonomy by 2021, as have Tesla, Audi, and more.

BMW just announced its intent to join that list, while Uber has abruptly halted its autonomous testing after a crash in Arizona.

Will we see full autonomy in just four short years? Continue reading >>>

The Trouble with Self-Driving Cars: It’s the Drivers, Not the Cars

Angry driver shouting in his car

Picture yourself circling a crowded Market Basket parking lot. You see one empty spot ahead, but by the looks of it, there’s another car angling toward the same space. Your choices are simple: Politely take the high road and yield the vacancy to the other driver, or press on ahead, disregarding the feelings of your fellow motorist, and grab that parking spot while you still can.

Regardless of what they’d do in reality, I imagine most readers would profess their virtue while choosing the former. But what if you didn’t have to worry about insulting another driver? What if you only had to worry about offending an unemotional, soulless computer?

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Are Self-Driving Cars Really Safer?

google-self-driving-car

Safety is the number one reason advocates for self-driving cars give for promoting the technology as the wave of the future.

It’s difficult to argue with that point because human drivers account for an accident every minute of every day in the U.S. alone. Over 37,000 Americans died last year as a result of car crashes, so we have to admit that human drivers make a lot of mistakes.

When computers do the work and make the driving decisions, human error is eliminated and driving will become a nearly accident-free endeavor.

That’s the thought, anyway, but is a future without car accidents realistic?

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Don’t Forget the Little Things: Some Easily Overlooked Safety Tech

Henry Bliss Plaque

Take a walk down New York City’s Central Park West, and right at the intersection of West 74th Street, you’ll see an interesting little plaque. It’s as unassuming a corner on New York’s Upper West Side as can be, but the sign nevertheless marks the intersection as an historic site. On September 13, 1899—117 years ago today—while stepping off a street car across from Central Park, a real-estate dealer named Henry H. Bliss was struck by an electric taxicab. The car knocked Bliss down and crushed him. He was pronounced dead the following morning. Bliss’s death marked the first automotive fatality in the western hemisphere. Continue reading >>>

Coming Soon: A Ford Without a Steering Wheel

ford-self-driving-car

Fully autonomous cars were once the pipe dream of a utopian future.

Ten years ago, self-driving cars seemed so far-fetched that it wasn’t even worth bringing them up in conversation. We might as well have discussed the feasibility of bubble-powered fighter jets.

Today the reality of an autonomous future is closer than most of us realize.

Many major automakers, led by Tesla, have recently boasted about their autonomous plans and showed off early versions of their technology. Ford has quietly sat on the sidelines. So quietly, in fact, that it’s been criticized for not announcing plans for a self-driving future.

Ford shook things up recently, though, when it finally broke its silence and said it hopes for fully autonomous cars in just five years. The company’s vision brings up some new possibilities that could change transportation as we know it.

Continue reading >>>