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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Technology

Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket

On: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:25AM | By: John Welch


Daytona Construction Well Underway, Piece of Track With Every Daytona 500 Ticket test 1-1

As soon as the last Sprint Cup car disappeared into the Daytona International Speedway garage on the evening of July 3rd, the tarmac surrounding the 2.5 mile landmark began to tremble. It knew its time as the racing surface in Daytona was up. On July 5th, the tarmac realized its worst fears. Crews began disassembling the catch fence surrounding the track, trucking in construction equipment, and making the final preparations for the new track surface.

Now we crawl into August (I say 'crawl' because that is the fastest we can travel when outdoors in Florida; it’s very hot and an elevated heart rate will cause one's head to explode) and The AutoShopperBlog has a few DaytonaConstruction updates for you. Brothers operating cranes, tarmac for free, and month-one progress inside the post . . .


Nissan Designs an Automobile That Provides Health Benefits?

On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 3:18PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


The updated Nissan Rogue test 2

Nissan has recently issued a press release about a brand new concept in automotive interior features—a car that can promote comfort, as well as health and wellness for drivers and passengers.


Lola Produces Prototypes Under New 2011 Regulations

On: Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:34PM | By: John Welch


New Lola Chassis test 2

I might have written a little piece on the ALMS Northeast Grand Prix last weekend. In that article I may have stated that Lola will no longer build Coupes. I was wrong; they will no longer build short wheelbase coupes, like the Dyson Mazda, but they will produce a long wheelbase Coupe; think Drayson-Judd. Also, try not to confuse Dyson with Drayson, annoyingly similar team names, I know.

The new Lola Coupe, the B11/80, will feature the same ACO mandated "blow-over" fin as the B11/40 open top prototype. This fin is intended to interrupt a car's momentum if it gets up on two wheels and is trying to turn over, possibly crushing the driver. These regulations were spurred by an accident at Monza in 2008. Stéphane Ortelli's Courage is seen here nearly beheading Allan McNish as it flips and rolls, causing a broken ankle for Ortelli and Gawdawful signage space on the backs of post-2010 LMPs. Funny thing is, this sort of incident has NOT happened since. Scott Sharp's crash at Petit Le Mans last year was caused by hitting an errant Porsche 911 while cresting a blind hill at 140 mph, so it doesn't count. Before going into the new Lola Coupes, I offer video of Ortelli and Sharp, flippity flipping their prototypes into oblivion, inside yon post . . .


Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 5:05PM | By: Chris Weiss


Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features  test 1-1

A day after its big, hyped-up Facebook reveal, the 2011 Ford Explorer has shown up in a series of videos. Ford uses the short clips to provide some hands-on footage of new features of the Explorer, such as the 4WD system's terrain management and Trailer Sway Control. Ford's photo and video team must have made a killing off of the new crossover.

The 2011 Explorer has been a big story this spring and summer, and continues capturing headlines. Ford introduced the newly ordained crossover on Monday, and followed up with a few videos that provide a closer look at the Explorer in action. More specifically,  the videos help to show consumers exactly what the Explorer's new technological features can do on road and off.


 

Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child?

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child? test 1-1

New parents looking to provide the safest child car seat for their infant may find that there is more to selecting the best baby car seat than they initially realized, and to complicate matters more, there have been many recalls on seats that were deemed more of a safety hazard than anything. So, how do parents know they are getting the safest car seat for their child?

First of all, it’s important to select a car seat that is fairly simple to use; if you cannot get the belt buckled in a pinch, it will only bring frustration. You should get familiar with the mechanisms of your child safety seat before actually installing it in your car; that way if you have your hands full and the baby is crying, or it’s dark in the car and you cannot see the latching mechanism, you will know how to use it fast and efficiently getting the baby buckled into, and out of, the seat.

Some car seats have special features that enable the seat to be easier to use, including the behind-the-seat harness adjustment, harness straps that won’t twist up, and even some that have automatic tightening and tethering of the straps. There is usually a significant price difference in the seats with extra options.


Porsche To Campaign GT3 Hybrid at Petit Le Mans

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 2:10PM | By: John Welch


Porsche To Campaign GT3 Hybrid at Petit Le Mans test 1-1

Those wacky Germans, always brewing up some crazy scheme for world sports car racing domination. The list is enormous, Porsche 917, Audi Quattro, BMW CSL, Audi R8, Sauber Mercedes, Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, just a few dominant German cars on a list of hundreds. The ubiguitous Porsche 911, in various forms, occupying the top seed on that list.

The newest Porsche nut-case 911 is the GT3 R Hybrid. Using a flywheel-based system to capture energy from braking, this car is equipped with a "push to pass" button that releases stored energy whenever the driver feels like bruising an ego or two. The system was developed byt the Williams F1 team, starting life as the KERS system for their 2009 open wheeler. After recieving significantly more development, the system is capable of metering out extra power automatically, or at wide open throttle; the possiblities are endless.

The 911 GT3 R Hybrid was raced in the Nurburing 24 hour race this year, and led for 11 hours. With two hours remaing the car suffered a mechinal problem unrelated to the Hybrid machinery. A header fell off or something.

Though pleased with the pace of the GT3 R Hybrid at the N24, Porsche was not satisfied with the result. Just to make double sure that they hadn't built a time bomb, the team ran their own 24 hour race at Paul Ricard a month later. Paul Ricard HTTT is located in the south of France. HTTT stands for High Tech Test Track. The French dig aliteration apparently . . .


British Aim to Break 1000 MPH With Bloodhound SSC

On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 8:52AM | By: Chris Weiss


British Aim to Break 1000 MPH  With Bloodhound SSC test 1-1

The Bloodhound SSC is on its way toward becoming the fastest "car" in the world, with plans to make it the first wheeled vehicle to boast four-figure speeds. A model of the British streamliner recently made its debut at the U.K.'s Farnborough International Airshow. Measuring about 42 feet long, the model gives a sneak peak of what type of space-age voodoo will be employed to break the current absolute land speed record by over 200 mph.

If you look in the record books today, you'll see that the absolute land speed record set in the Black Rock Desert more than 10 years ago stands at a towering 763 mph. For anyone that's ever driven 150 mph or even 100 mph, that seems like unimaginable speed in a land-based vehicle. But for the team of automotive engineers that made it possible, it's more of a starting point, a gauntlet to do better. You see, it was their vehicle—the ThrustSSC—that set the record back in 1997, surpassing the previous record—also held by the Thrust team—by over 130 mph, while becoming the first land vehicle to break the speed of sound (761 mph). The average group of mortals would be pretty satisfied with that lofty feat, but this particular engineering team, along with its 166 sponsors, simply shifted its goals higher, undertaking the monumental objective of breaking the 1,000 mph mark three years ago.


BMW's New Traffic Assist Technology

On: Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 2:57PM | By: Sherry Christiansen


BMW's New Traffic Assist Technology test 1-1

BMW has announced plans for brand new technology that will assist in supporting “safer and smoother-flowing” traffic, including 15 new projects to create new driver assist systems, as well as programs that will enable resourceful traffic management which BMW calls “Technologies for Intelligent Traffic.”

The technology, designed to intervene when a potential accident is about to occur, is what BMW is calling their “Active Hazard Braking” feature. This feature will, according to BMW, completely prevent nose-to-tail impacts utilizing a laser scanner that will actually monitor for any vehicles that are too close, ahead and to the side. My favorite mechanism in the plan is a surveillance camera that will be on the lookout for those drivers that constantly ride your tail. The car will then use sensors to evaluate a driver’s reaction to having a car close with a risk of imploding in the front of the car, for example, and the brakes will automatically be applied when the driver is not responding correctly, in order to avoid an accident—that is, after the driver is alerted (and does not respond to) the vehicle’s alarm system.

Another project that BMW is working on is the “Car2x Communications” program that will allow the exchange of information from one to another regarding the traffic patterns.

“If this assistance system discovers that the motorist giving way is probably misjudging his approach, the system warns him of a potential collision through a visual and audible signal.”

Additional projects that the group worked on were pedestrian and cyclist safety technology.

Other subprojects within the Active Safety project were the development of Integrated Lateral Assistance, Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety and the crossover project Driver Awareness and Safety as well as a traffic management program that would implement traffic information from internet sites such as Google to view a potential driving route from the drivers vehicle while in route.


2011 Ford Edge Offers Top Fuel Economy and Power

On: Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 9:45AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


2011 Ford Edge Offers Top Fuel Economy and Power test 1-1

Ford has done it again! Designed a car with great fuel economy that doesn’t feel like having squirrels running on a wheel powering the engine! The  2011 Ford Edge SEL and Limited (front-wheel drive) offer an estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Best in its class for fuel economy as well as power, the standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 with as much as 285 hp, more power than most V6 contenders.

The 2011 model Edge has been improved by 1 mpg better city and 2 mpg better highway driving with even more power than its predecessor; 20 more hp than the 2010 Edge.

According to Ford’s website, the chief engineer of the new Edge was quoted as saying, “Providing class-leading fuel economy and power are two of many examples of the improved attributes customers will find in the 2011 Edge; the new Edge demonstrates how a refresh at Ford is much more than just a few tweaks. It’s reworking all the elements, adding more content and improving the look and feel of the vehicle.”


Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting

On: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 11:44AM | By: Sherry Christiansen


Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting test 1-1

Say what you want about Ford, but no one can argue the fact that the company is very progressive—for all of you Ford haters—yes, that includes you, John Welch!  The voice recognition (VR) technology that is a part of Ford’s SYNC system is said to be more effective in identifying commands than any other system of its type, recognizing over 10,000 commands without having to pass through a single menu.

One of the problems with other VR systems has been figuring out which specific commands are required to enter a destination or make a call. The Nuance system (utilized by Ford SYNC) has implemented a system that can use a variety of different phrases that let users request the same command for example, "play track" or "play song" will both command the same action.

Now Ford’s new technology for the 2011 MyFord Touch driver connect features a "Do Not Disturb" button to enable motorists to block incoming phone calls and text messages while driving. The option can be selected for the duration of the trip, or for times when there is heavy traffic and the driver does not want to be distracted.


Chevy To Back The Volt Battery With 100,000-Mile Warranty

On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 11:32AM | By: Chris Weiss


Volt Battery Plant Manager  Marisol McCormick assembles the first Volt batt test 2

If you are a little hesitant to buy into hybrid or electric vehicle market because of the unproven nature of the technology behind these vehicles, GM has just made your decision a little lighter. The automaker announced today that it will extend an industry-leading 8-year/100,000-mile warranty to the lithium-ion battery used in the Volt. Not only does GM stress that this is the longest, most robust battery warranty to be offered on any electric vehicle, it states that the warranty is transferable, at no cost, when the Volt is sold. The newly announced battery warranty is also better than the 5-year/100,000-mile warranty Chevy offers on its gasoline engines.

GM's new warranty covers not only all battery components—numbering 161 in total—but also extends to the thermal management system, which is used to warm or cool the battery depending upon outside weather conditions, the charging system, and the electric drive components. It should deliver extra consumer confidence in the integrity of the new electric drivetrain being used within the Volt.

While the new warranty delivers extra protection, GM is confident that its battery offers the on-road performance needed to stand up to daily driving. The battery has been developed to hold up under extreme temperatures, rough terrain, and other rigors of everyday use. According to GM's own numbers, testers have put one million miles and four million hours into testing every aspect of the batteries including short circuiting, corrosion, water submersion, and extreme temperature shifts.