Chrysler Wants Your Car To Be A Mobile Wi-Fi Spot

Chrysler is gearing up for their 2009 models to be rolling Wi-Fi hot stops, that will allow Internet connection right from your vehicle. What a great idea! Now I will be able to spend more time on the Internet and never get a break. :-) According to the story from the LA Times:

Is there anything more frustrating than being stuck on the 405,
unable to illegally download the new Coldplay album and put it on your
iPod? Or surf the Web from the passenger seat?

Chrysler feels your pain. The littlest of the Big Three will soon be
putting wireless routers in its vehicles -– turning its cars, trucks
and SUVs into roaming Wi-Fi hotspots.

Chrysler plans to formally announce the news
Thursday, just days before California’s new hands-free driving
legislation goes into effect, but Wired and ITWire
got the jump on it. The service would appear to be a huge victory for
that critical lobby of people bored with merely texting, scrolling
through iPod playlists and chatting on the phone.

Highway safety advocates, on the other hand, are a little less enthusiastic.

“Stop already!” said Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit funded by insurance companies
that researches the causes of accidents. “Clearly this is a problem.
Our cars are becoming just another place to catch up on calls and now
e-mail, and that’s a real safety problem.”

For its part, Chrysler says that the service is intended to be used
while in motion only by passengers, not drivers, who should use it only
when parked. The car maker admits, however, that …


there is no way to prevent the driver from surfing and driving
simultaneously.  “We’re relying on the responsibility of the consumer
to follow appropriate legislation,” said Keefe Leung, Chrysler’s
engineer for the product.

In that case, California drivers can breathe a sigh of relief: The law
going into effect on July 1 doesn’t proscribe use of computers or the
Web at all, except for drivers 18 years of age or younger (there is a
bill in the state Senate that would make computer use illegal, however).

Don’t to throw a damper on this idea, but one one think that Chrysler may wish to start concentrating on more fuel efficient cars, hybrids, and other alternatives to oil. On their web site I only see one hybrid vehicle. Hello. Giving $2.99 gas away is not going to solve the oil crisis.IMHO it just adds to the problem.

What do you think? Is Chrysler on or off track when it comes to what Americans want from their cars?

Comments welcome.

Source.

More Crime, More Pollution Caused By Cheap Products?

There are some interesting takes on how some of the new technology products could actually cause more crime and another speculates on more pollution.

The first if the OLPC [One Laptop Per Child] projects and what could happen if and when these units are shipped to nations like Africa. The theory is that by allowing the inexpensive computers to connect to the Internet, it could cause more cyber crime by those using them. It seems that this concern is because of the nigerian scams that run so rampert now and in the past.

Not to be outdone, the next technology is a automobile being produced in India called Tata Nono . Billed as the worlds least expensive car at $2500, the thinking is that this vehcile could actually cause more pollution. This theory goes on to state that since more people could afford a car such as this, there would than be more cars on the road, thus more pollution.

Interesting takes. What do you think? Is this type of thinking valid or is it just a way to discredit products?

Comments welcome.

[tags]pollution, crime, technology, products, cheap, computers, cars,  [/tags]

Should All Of Us Here In The US Be Driving Fords Today?

After reading the decision by the EU concerning Microsoft and its dominant market share of 95%, it makes one wonder how the world would be a different place had other technological marvels been granted such a high market share. Let me explain. In this day and age of ‘intellectual property rights,’ most of us would agree that new innovations should be afforded protection and others should not be allowed to steal their thunder. One wonders what would happen if this same logic were applied to everything that has ever been made.

Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but did come up with one of the first practical uses of the assembly line. This innovative way of mass producing automobiles revolutionized the way cars were produced here in the US, and made it possible for Ford to market a car that most consumers could afford. I know this might be far fetched, but what if if no one else was allowed to use the assembly line to manufacture cars? What would the world be like today?

We would most likely be driving Fords and nothing else, since none of the other car companies could compete. Would we consider this fair? Or would we insist that the rules be changed? I think the answer would be quite obvious to most of us.

Is this too simple of a way to look at this? What do you think?

Comments welcome.

[tags]ford, cars, automobiles, assembly line, microsoft, eu, [/tags]

Had To Park Too Far Away? Here's One Way To Deal.

We live-streamed the unveiling of GM’s newest electric car concept fully at a substantially lower bitrate, but here’s the Segway segment from Ponzi’s perspective. Again, our position was not fully ideal – but at least we were able to capture the energy.

[tags]astra, auto, autobahn, automobile, automotive, car, cars, frankfurt, germany, iaa, infobahn, live, opel, pirillo, race, racing[/tags]

A Chat With Dr. Thiesen About Hydrogen Cars

Ponzi and I had a rare opportunity to learn more about hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with one of the automobile industry’s leading minds, Dr. Lars Peter Thiesen.

The GM HydroGen4 is the European version of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell. In fall 2007, the first of these fuel cell cars — a global fleet of more than 100 vehicles is planned — will be on the roads in the USA.

The HydroGen4’s fuel cell stack consists of 440 series-connected cells. The entire system produces an electrical output of up to 93 kW. With help from a 73 kW/100 hp synchronous electric motor, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes around 12 seconds. The front-wheel drive vehicle’s top speed is around 160 km/h.

[tags]astra, auto, autobahn, automobile, automotive, car, cars, frankfurt, germany, iaa, infobahn, live, opel, pirillo, race, racing[/tags]

Cadillac DTS Named "Most Satisfying Car" in AutoPacific Survey

In a recent AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards survey the Cadillac DTS received the highest scores for any vehicle in any category in the industry resulting in it being proclaimed the most satisfying car or truck in the large luxury car.

The AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award is earned by the direct input of vehicle owners who answer questions regarding the vehicles overall performance and dependability. The survey polled approximately 24.000 owners of 2007 models.

Jim Taylor, general manager of Cadillac said that the DTS in particular, earned excellent consumer loyalty based on the type of satisfaction shown in this important survey.

The 2008 DTS, launching later this year, is marked by the introduction of the limited-edition DTS Platinum, which will feature an elegant handcrafted interior. The new features in the DTS will include magnetic ride control, heated windshield washer fluid and the new Lane Departure Warning and Side Blind Zone Alert safety systems.

The DTS has a standard 4.6-liter Northstar engine and OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation and will start at $42,590. While pricey this vehicle is one of the top selling vehicles from Cadillac’s repertoire of vehicles. Cadillac is a division of General Motors with their cars being manufactured in 33 countries.

[tags]cars, Cadillac, Northstar engine, OnStar, General Motors, AutoPacific, survey, DTS, [/tags]

Your Car – A Rolling Computer System

Yesterday while driving I was thinking about how much cars have changed over the years since I was a kid, and how different we viewed things prior to the time they started to producing ‘safe cars’. The days of the backyard auto mechanic when one could tune up their own car with simple tools prior to going computerized. Open the hood on most new vehicles and your lucky you can find the oil dipstick let alone where the spark plugs are located.

Which, being the curious soul that I am, I wondered how many computer chips a new vehicle comes with? So I took a spin over to How Stuff Works. A new vehicle can have up to 50 computer chips. Our vehicle engines, emission controls, climate controls, air bags, braking control, vehicle stability control, instrument panels, door locks, transmission controllers, plus more are all computer chip controlled.

On the How Stuff Works web site they state:

Each year, cars seem to get more and more complicated. Cars today might have as many as 50 microprocessors on them. Although these microprocessors make it more difficult for you to work on your own car, some of them actually make your car easier to service.

Some of the reasons for this increase in the number of microprocessors are:

    • The need for sophisticated engine controls to meet emissions and fuel-economy standards
    • Advanced diagnostics
    • Simplification of the manufacture and design of cars
    • Reduction of the amount of wiring in cars
    • New safety features
    • New comfort and convenience features

I than recalled last year when we have moved finding a tune-up analyzer at the bottom of my tool cabinet I must of purchased back in the late 70’s. Why was I keeping it? Someday I’m going to take on the challenge of rebuilding an old muscle car and I just may need it. Even if this doesn’t happen it is just nice to recall a time when I was able to tune up my car which not only gave me a sense of satisfaction but also was a heck of a lot cheaper. :-)

Comments welcome.

The complete How Stuff Works article can be found here.

[tags]cars, computer, chips, system, [/tags]

Google Building Hybrid Cars

Google is now taking its carbon neutral policy one step further by aligning itself with other companies and producing hybrid electric cars that get their energy source from solar grids. The Mountain View, CA search giant has entered into the electric car business by applying technology that it claims can extend a vehicle’s range up to 70-100 miles compared to one gallon of gasoline. Google engineers have come up with a modified Toyota (looks like a Prius), and added battery storage to extend the range of the vehicle. Unfortunately, the vehicle still has a gasoline engine just in case it is needed.

Google, on its site, describes the vehicle as:

Today Google.org is launching an exciting project that offers a glimpse of a smarter energy future: cars that plug into an electric grid powered by solar energy. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (“plug-in hybrids”) can achieve 70 -100 miles per gallon, quadrupling the fuel economy of the average car on the road today (~20 mpg). As we demonstrated at today’s event, plug-in hybrids can sell power back to the electric grid when it’s needed most through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

As you may know, one of Google.org’s core missions is to address climate change. In the U.S., transportation contributes about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions –- with more than 60 percent of those emissions coming from personal vehicles. By accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrids and vehicle-to-grid (“V2G”) technologies, this new project, RechargeIT.org, aims to reduce emissions and dependence on oil while promoting clean energy technologies and increasing consumer choice. Linking the U.S. transportation system to the electricity grid maximizes the efficiency of our energy system. From these efforts, we believe the environment will benefit — and consumers will have more choices to fuel their cars.

I applaud the folks at Google for not only recognizing the importance of seeking alternative methods to propel vehicles on our roadways, but also testing vehicles and improving the technology behind hybrids. It should be interesting to see how the auto industry looks at Google’s efforts. We can’t forget the oil companies and the way they may view this latest Google venture as well.

And you thought Google was just a search company. :-)

Comments welcome.

Full Google article here.

[tags]google, hybrid, cars, alternative energy[/tags]

Gas Prices, The Web, And Internet Salvation

Regardless of trying to argue the reasons “why,” the fact is that gas prices are a concern for millions of working families all over North America and in many other countries as well. Here in the States (and Canada), we have been given the ability to find solutions to make sure that every dollar going into the tank offers maximum bang for our dollar spent.

Today, I decided to look into a couple of solutions in an effort to make sure that my gas dollars were going to the gas station offering me the best price. My first stop was to MSN and its “auto” section. Overall, it offers a fair set of results for my search here in Bellingham, WA. What I was disappointed to find was the lack of Fred Meyer and Costco in the list.

So, largely unimpressed, my search continued and I was able to locate this resource. Well, I can tell you this much, the results are certainly better than the previous results. So I think it is safe to say that knowing about resources such as GasBuddy.com, can quite literally save you money – especially in a larger city where it is more difficult to keep tabs on the best gas prices. Take both resources for a spin, then share which is providing you with the best results. Who knows, perhaps you have a largely undiscovered alternative that is yielding better results? If you are, don’t forget to share it with the rest of us.

[tags]gas,fuel,expenses,travel,cars[/tags]

SpotScout

I don’t live in a big congested city, but I’ve always said that if I did, there’s no way that I would own a car. I like driving in general, but one of my least favorite things to do would be to drive in a city like New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. I live near Atlanta, and that’s enough for me. Due to the traffic, I usually don’t wander into the city limits unless I know exactly how to get to where I’m going. Aside from the hassles of actually driving in a major metropolis, there’s also the issue of trying to find a parking spot so you can get out of your car and breath relatively easy again. With SpotScout, your worries about parking will mostly become a thing of the past.

At least, that’s what SpotScout hopes will happen. The service isn’t everywhere just yet, and they’re encouraging people to preregister in order to equip themselves for what the service has to offer. Basically the idea is that if your car is parked in a parking spot that you plan to leave at a certain/regular time, then you can post and sell this information to people who are looking for a spot in the area where your car is. In this way, you can make a little money and help someone out. Come on, you don’t want the parking spot to be lonely while you’re gone, do you?

[tags]SpotScout, City, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Driving, Cars, Atlanta, Traffic, Parking[/tags]

Boompa

It should come as no surprise that I love my black 2006 Volvo S40. It’s a huge upgrade from my white 1989 Toyota Camry, and while that car was pretty good to me, I’m glad that it’s no longer leaking oil on my driveway. Oh, how I’ll miss Whitey. Besides tinting the windows and adding a custom Swedish license plate to the front of the car, I haven’t really done anything else to modify it. It’s exactly what I want, and I don’t feel the urge to tweak it to the extent that many automobile owners do. Even though I’m not a member of the Modification Nation, I do enjoy checking out what others have done to their rides. Boompa makes this a whole lot easier.

Not only can interested users create Web pages for their custom rides, but they can also host unlimited photos of their work, detail the modifications that were made, and share their masterpiece with the world of automotive enthusiasts so that they can comment on it. Boompa does its best to tap into the collective knowledge of the community, and they encourage everyone to post news and vehicle information. Car owners can even battle with each other in order to see who’s car is the best. It’s easy – the contestant with the most votes wins. Are you feeling confident about your ride? While the site does appear to mostly be populated with automobiles, you can also find other vehicle types at Boompa. Good – now I can show off the passenger jet that’s parked on the runway in the backyard of my estate. Take that, Xzibit.

[tags]Boompa, Automobiles, Cars, Rides, 2006 Volvo S40, Toyota Camry, Vehicles, Passenger Jet, Xzibit[/tags]