AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Automatic transmissions are HUGELY popular in North America. Europe is still a strong hold for the manual gearbox but on this side of the Atlantic self-shifters account for at least 90 percent of new-vehicle sales; the standard trans lost the market-share race decades ago and in spectacular fashion.
Self-driving cars have been proclaimed as the solution to car accidents, removing the human risk factor from the equation, but those working on the technology say it won’t be perfect. Continue Reading…
As more and more automakers develop autonomous driving technology, experts believe that the industry needs a single standard sooner rather than later.
According to recent reports, Continental AG is in the final stages of an agreement with Google and IBM to develop a self-driving system for vehicles.
Adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist and blind-spot monitoring were the stuff of science fiction just a decade ago, but today these features are available on many reasonably priced, mass-market vehicles. Pushing driver assistance even further, Continental is developing a suite of advanced technologies with some pretty amazing capabilities.
AutoGuide’s last installment of “Under the Hood” investigated traction control; today it’s time to look at another safety feature. This one has nothing to do with gripping the road and everything to do with keeping your vehicle shiny-side up.
Traffic, inclement weather and road construction add up to headaches and frustration for motorists. According to automotive supplier company Continental the typical driver spends an average 50 minutes per day commuting to work. Add it up and that’s roughly 300 hours per year that could be spent doing more productive things.
Traction is important; it’s the difference between moving forward and sitting still. Without any friction between your vehicle’s tires and the road surface you’d never make it to work in the morning, let alone to that Grand Funk Railroad concert on Saturday night.
The winter season is underway, and many drivers still aren’t sure which tires are right for them. Fortunately, Consumer Reports has gone and tested just about every winter-tire available, and have ranked them from best to worst.
As the seasons begin to change and the temperatures drop, many motorists will be on the hunt for winter tires, or even just a set of new all-seasons. Well in advance of the snow, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best new all-season and winter tires to meet different traction needs with both Michelin and Continental scoring highly.
It was only December of last year when Google earned patents for autonomous vehicles. Now, the technology continues to rapidly move ahead as automotive supplier Continental has commenced testing a semi-autonomous vehicle of its own that is more affordable and could be among the first licensed for use on Nevada’s designated public roads by months end.
Nevada is the first state to pass laws regulating driverless vehicles. To qualify for a special state license, engineers at Continental have built and driven a heavily modified Volkswagen Passat with its brake and steering controls removed and replaced with sensors to digitally read and interpret surroundings. According to engineer Ibro Muharemovic, the Passat has logged almost 10,000 miles of autonomous driving and during a more recent trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Brimley, Michigan, home of Continental’s development and testing center, more than 90 percent of the journey did not involve the use of hands and feet.
Unlike Google’s ambitions to create a sophisticated fully autonomous vehicle, Continental went along to develop an interim semi-autonomous option that could take over duties during stop-and-go traffic or extended stretches of highway, the least satisfying of driving conditions. However, Continental and Google’s endpoint is identical: to create a solution that will reduce accidents, congestion, and fuel consumption. Continental director of engineering systems and technology Christian Schumacher said, “We still have a long way to go, but the technology is amazing.”
According to Ravi Pandit, CEO of India’s global IT and engineering company KPIT Cummins, “There is a strong business case for an autonomous car that can drop you off or a cab without the expense of a driver.”
Despite the optimism, mass production semiautonomous cars are still a couple years away. The technology exists but the idea raises questions of liability, regulation, and public acceptance. NHTSA will begin a study of autonomous driving in August with a one-year pilot project in Ann Arbor, testing 3,000 cars with the ability to communicate with one another to avoid an accident. What’s more, in an event of a crash, the law has yet to resolve who is reliable or whether the occupants of an autonomous car are legally exempt from bans on mobile devices.
As for passenger anxiety, Ravi Pandit is confident that, “A car can see better than a human can, and the car responds faster.”
Engineer Ibro Muharemovic commented, “I was surprised by how well it worked.” Continental’s Volkswagen Passat is fitted with a stereo camera that can monitor speed-bumps or potholes as far as 220 yards away and adjust steering, braking, and acceleration accordingly. Muharemovic adds, “The driver is always in control and can override the system any time.”
If testing is successful and Continental is qualified for Nevada registration, a special red license plate will be provided to distinguish the driverless car. In the future, production driverless cars would receive a green license plate.
Check out video footage of Continental’s autonomous Volkswagen Passat driving itself below. Continue Reading…
Tires can make a huge difference in your car’s handling and safety. Additionally, with the right rubber, you can enjoy a more comfortable driving experience and even save money.
The right tires depends a lot on how you drive, and in what weather conditions. To help you pick, Consumer Reports has released a list of the best tires in several different categories: All Season, Performance All Season, Ultra High Performance All-Season, Ultra High Performance Summer, Winter and Performance Winter.
All-season tires are the standard equipment for most manufacturers. They’re the ideal combination of performance in wet and dry conditions. Additionally, they’re known to be very comfortable and quiet compared to performance tires.
The top 4 All-Season tires for cars are:
Continental ProContact EcoPlus+
Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Hankook Optimo H727
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred
The Continental, Michelin and Hankook tires all scored a rating of 82 in Consumer Reports test, while the Goodyear tires netted a score of 80.