Autonomous Vehicles – Pros & Cons

Small and large Automakers in 2017 are making impressive progress toward offering fully autonomous vehicles.  There are pros and cons to this new amazing technology that many of us anticipate with excitement and some with dread and uncertainty. We will begin with the cons and end with the pros.

First of all, many people are worried about their jobs. The Insurance Journal reports that as many as four million truck, bus, delivery and taxi driving jobs could be lost if fully autonomous vehicle technology is adopted in a short period of time, according to a new report (Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS).  US states where workers have the most to lose when the new technology is adopted:  North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Iowa and Indiana. 

Driving jobs in these states offer the highest wages in comparison to non-driving jobs and when fully autonomous vehicles take hold it could leave a very serious economic toll. To learn more about the 2017 CGPS study visit the Insurance Journal.

Fully autonomous vehicles are not likely to hit the roadways anytime soon as coordination efforts between government, insurance and automakers must be scrutinized and enacted in accordance to hammered over policies and regulations. 

 The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.  John Locher/AP

In 2017 most manufacturers are creating cars/trucks with partial autonomous control but not completely driverless control. The Inspiration Truck by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is the first licensed autonomous commercial truck to operate on an open public highway in the U.S. called a level 3 autonomous vehicle where the trucker is still largely in control. Discover the videos that bring to life this cutting edge first commercial autonomous truck on US Highways.

General Motors Executive, Gier, reports that:  “In 2017, we’ll launch our Super Cruise feature, which keeps you centered in your lane and lets you take your hands off the steering wheel,” he said. That development will position the automotive industry at the brink of what he terms Level 3 in the progression toward vehicle autonomy.   

From GM – Detroit: On the heels of the signing of the SAVE Act legislation to support autonomous vehicle testing and deployment in Michigan, General Motors will immediately begin testing autonomous vehicles on public roads. GM also announced it will produce the next generation of its autonomous test vehicles at its Orion Township assembly plant beginning in early 2017. Discover more at their media page.  

Volvo plans to make their autonomous model by 2020 — in 2017 they will be testing 100 cars on China's public roads.  This is the largest test to date and will include Chinese citizen volunteers.  Per Volvo:

"Even in a self-driving car, you’re always in control when you want to be. You can mix and match your journey with both autonomous and active driving. And there is no doubt that Autopilot driving technology has the potential to improve road safety dramatically, helping Volvo Cars to reach its goal that nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by 2020.

For instance, the all-new Volvo XC90 has automatic braking at intersections—so if you turn in front of an oncoming vehicle, the car will apply the brakes for you."  Click here to discover more from Volvo’s dynamic videos and site content.  

With more than 30 companies working diligently on this life changing technology the future is bright for automakers.  For us average joes the new technology promises to save many lives but also the loss of many future jobs. 

The Insurance Journal states that U.S. regulators are encouraging development of automated vehicle systems to reduce traffic accidents that annually kill more than 30,000 people. Regulatory and legal issues with self- driving cars, such as liability in accidents, have yet to be addressed.

Learn more about autonomous vehicles and the promising progress made by the major players, such as Tesla, Ford, GM, Google, Volvo and Uber: 

See BusinessInsider.com to discover the 7 self-driving car milestones to look out for in 2017.

For more details check out Driverless-Car Market Watch.

 

Rip Roaring Fast Cars in 2017!

Last year we brought you “Rip Roaring Fast Cars in 2016” which highlighted the Venom GT taking you up to 270 miles per hour, the McLaren 675LT at 205 mph and the Audi R8 also up to 205 mph.  So will 2017 cars move even faster? As unimaginable as it may seem, the answer is YES!

Photo Credit: venomgt.com/venom-f5/

The Texas manufacturer has beat its own record of 207 mph with the 2017 Hennessy Venom F5 at 290 miles per hour made in America!   This hypercar has 1500 horsepower and reaches speed in two seconds.  However, don’t expect to see too many of these in the grocery store parking lot.  According to Hennessy Venom website: "Production is very limited, making the Hennessey Venom F5 not only one of the quickest and fastest hypercar in the World, but also one of the most exclusive."

The Venom GT that we reported on last year sold 12 of its $1.2 million Venom GTs in its six-year production run. But now, the era of the Venom GT draws to a close.  According to Road and Track, as of January 19th, all these beauties are SOLD OUT

Coming in second place is the Bugatti Chiron with a speed up to 260 mph, 1500 horsepower, and a 16 cylinder engine. This super-car is manufactured by the Bugatti Automotive Group which is owned by Volkswagen.  Start saving your pennies for this one, it is currently running around $2.6 million plus (based on current exchange rate).

Also making the list this year:

  • The Saleen S7 Twin Turbo at 248 mph and $550,000

  • The McLaren F1 at 240 mph and $1.1 million

  • The Noble M600 at 225 mph and $300,000

For something a little more affordable, fast and fun you might want to check these winners out.

  •  The 2017 Lotus Evora 400 will get you 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds for just under $90,000.  The Lotus is returning to the United States after two years and capable of reaching 186 mph.
  • The 2017 Hyundai Genesis Coupe will take you up to 146 mph at a kinder price tag of around $30,000. 
  • The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro makes a fast highway pass reaching 60 mph in 4.3 seconds for around $27,000. 

Looking even further into the future, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon promises, even more fun rolling off the assembly line 200 pounds lighter than the Dodge Hellcat.

Looking for speed and fuel efficiency? According to Forbes, this is entirely possible through a few engineering marvels. The Audi TSS gets up to 27 miles per gallon while still capable of making 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

The Chevrolet Camaro previously mentioned can maintain up to 29 miles per gallon and the Ford Mustang up to 31 miles per gallon hitting 50 in 5.3 seconds. 

Out of all of the dynamic super sonic fast cars which one would you choose? For those willing to travel at hyper speed with all the bells and whistles car manufactures can instill there appears to be something for everyone.

Happy, fast and safe travels to all!  

2017 Auto Design Summed Up In One Word - Technology

It feels like a recent memory that Auto Technology meant having a CD player instead of a tape deck.  Previous to that, we had a portable CD player that plugged into the cigarette lighter with a cassette tape popped into the car’s tape deck.  One bump and that ever so fun music jam was over.  Just twenty years later, 2017 is proving that auto technology is far from ceasing to surprise us in improving our driving experience.

So let’s start with the ever present device of the times, the smartphone. Automakers have found new ways to make the smartphone experience safer while driving by integrating the technology into our vehicles and for good reason. Smartphone use while driving is attributed to 26% of all car accidents. According to ATT, texting alone causes 1.3 million crashes a year, and this doesn’t include gaming, app use, checking in on social media, video chat, and web searches.

The Providence of Newfoundland, Canada began banning cell phone use while driving in 2003. Today, all ten provinces have strict driving with cell phone laws. Touching your phone while driving in Ontario will result in a $490 - $1000 fine.

Here in the United States as recent as September of this year, California extended its cell phone/driving laws to include banning all uses of a cell phone. To our health, and, longevity 2017 autos bring even more hands-free options for that cell phone than ever before.

 Photo Credit: Chrysler Pacifica -  http://www.nwitimes.com

Photo Credit: Chrysler Pacifica - http://www.nwitimes.com

Addressing this issue, and one up-ing smartphone/vehicle technology, we now have… Onboard Infotainment.  Which is, basically, everything you love about your smartphone in that center spot of the car where only your stereo used to reside. A simple, touch screen access to Bluetooth, social media, GPS navigation and more. The Bluetooth technology even allows connecting to your favorite online commercial-free music such as Jango or Pandora. 

This technology is too new at this juncture to analyze if it’s less a distraction overall than actually touching a phone while driving, although as of today it is a legally allowable way to continue communicating with the outside world as you drive by it.

A few other new technologies coming to a dealer near you include:

  • Predictive Forward Collision Warning system
  • Improved Smartphone Infotainment Integration
  • Smartphone Vehicle Management
  • Self-Parking Systems

Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, Lexus and BMW all have new Self Parking technology. Thus far, my system of landing a parallel parking spot has been to keep driving until a more convenient parking spot appears.  The 2017 Ford Super Duty Pickup Truck has at least SEVEN cameras to make anyone look like an expert parker. 

Also look to see more vehicles with Predictive Forward Collision Warning systems and smart braking technology. Those capabilities are sure to help avoid accidents, an August 2016 report from AAA, states it is best to still keep you as the driver in control of the brakes.

For more mind-blowing details on what to expect in 2017, check out the following links:

Whereas it may still be a few years before the standard vehicle drives itself like that awesome car from Night Rider, we are every year closer to living like the Jetsons than we ever thought possible.

By Guest Blogger: Audrey Elder - See more of Audrey's blogs at Past to Present Research