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Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Toyota Paints the Future of Mobility With e-Palette Concept

“A multi-purpose moving space.”

by on Jan.08, 2018

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda introduces the company's new e-Palette battery-electric van at CES 2018.

Think of the concept vehicle Toyota unveiled at CES Monday as something of a blank canvas. The e-Palette can serve as anything from a driverless ride-sharing vehicle to an automated delivery van – even a mobile store where commuters can shop on their way to work.

The battery-drive prototype will make the transition from concept to reality two years from now when Toyota puts several versions of the e-Palette into service during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And the giant automaker has already signed up several e-commerce partners, including Amazon, Pizza Hut and the ride-sharing service Uber.

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Think of e-Palette as a “multi-purpose moving space,” said Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. and grandson of its founder. “Every e-Palette can be reconfigured for different purposes within a single day.” (more…)

Takata Airbag Recall Expands Again

Largest recall in U.S. history only getting larger.

by on Jan.08, 2018

Takata is recalling another 3.3 million airbags as part of the largest recall in U.S. history.

The largest recall in U.S. history only continues to expand as Takata announced the recall of 3.3 million more faulty airbag inflators.

The newest action from the now bankrupt supplier covers frontal airbags in certain 2009, 2010 and 2013 Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Daimler Vans, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Tesla models.

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Automakers will provide details about the specific models in paperwork that will be filed later this month with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The expanded recall notice was posted on NHTSA’s website. (more…)

China Seeks to Add AI to 50% of Vehicles by 2020

Government looking to become world leader in AI development and use.

by on Jan.05, 2018

The pollution in China has gotten so bad due, in part, to scenes like this. The government is implementing plans to cut it down.

China continues to set the pace when it comes to implementing new technology. The National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, wants to implement artificial intelligence technology in at least half of all its new cars by 2020.

The government also plans to cover 90% of its large cities and highways with a wireless network so the cars can talk to each other and the roads, according to the government agency.

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These actions are part of a comprehensive national smart car strategy the NDRC is seeking public feedback for, it said in a statement. It’s part of the country’s plan to be the world leader in AI by 2025, with the goal of China’s automakers being seen as producing quality smart cars by 2035. (more…)

Nissan to Demonstrate Brain-to-Vehicle Technology at CES

System can anticipate what a driver is going to do.

by on Jan.03, 2018

A volunteer uses the Nissan B2V technology to test how it works will driving on a simulator.

I think, therefore I drive? So, classical philosopher Rene Descartes might have opined after checking out the new Brain-to-Vehicle technology that Nissan Motor Co. will unveil at the Consumer Electronics Show next week.

Anyone who has driven a relatively recent-vintage vehicle has probably experienced the benefits – and occasional snags – of voice control. But Nissan’s system is designed to decode what a driver is thinking and use that to help control how a vehicle steers, accelerates or brakes. In an emergency, for example, it could allow a car to begin slowing down as much as a half-second before the driver’s foot actually hits the brake pedal.

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“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” helping motorists relax more while driving, while also improving vehicle safety, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan.

(more…)

General Motors Catches Break in New Ignition Ruling

Judge says expert testimony cannot be used.

by on Dec.28, 2017

GM caught a break in a new ruling about litigation related to its faulty ignition switches.

General Motors Co. may have just gotten a significant break related to private lawsuits filed about its faulty ignition switches on thousands of its small vehicles courtesy of a new ruling from the district court judge handling the lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said the plaintiffs in two bellwether cases, according to Reuters, where airbags deployed may not use expert testimony corroborating a theory how the defective switches were involved in crashes.

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Some of the lawsuits allege that the switches, which account for 124 deaths and hundreds of injuries, could have moved from the “run” position to the “accessory” position and then back to “run” allowing the airbags to deploy, but too late to be effective. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling 1.8M Ram Pickups

Automaker is working on a fix for the problem.

by on Dec.26, 2017

FCA is recalling 1.8 million Ram pickups due to a problem with the shift interlock.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 1.8 million Ram pickups. The trucks can shift out of park due to a problem with the shift interlock and roll away without pressing the brake pedal.

The company said the problem is potentially related to seven injuries and a “small number” of accidents. According to FCA, testing show the interlock is exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time. The interlock is designed to keep the transmission from shifting out of park when the brake pedal isn’t depressed and there is no key in the ignition.

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The recall is limited to trucks with shifters on the steering column. Rotary-dial shifters or floor-mounted shifters are not impacted by the recall. Model year 2017 trucks build after Dec. 31, 2016, are also exempt. (more…)

Is This the Apple Car?

Patent application hints at Apple’s plans.

by on Dec.26, 2017

A sketch of a possible Apple Car interior helped illustrate the tech giant's patent application.

Despite the company’s traditional reticence to discuss projects in the works, it’s widely believed that Apple is working on a major automotive project – speculation that took on new life when CEO Tim Cook described self-driving vehicles as “the mother of all AI.”

As expected, Apple isn’t saying anything, but it gave another hint as to what’s apparently in the works this past week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published the company’s application for a patent on a new “autonomous navigation system” last week.

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Many of the autonomous systems being developed are intended to operate by linking up a broader network that would provide things like weather and traffic information. The Apple filing, which actually occurred in 2015, appears to focus on ways to make self-driving technology more efficient and able to operation on its own, rather than depending on a link to other vehicles or a highway infrastructure system.” (more…)

Ford, Mazda Recall 380K Trucks for Takata Airbag Problem

Fix is actually part two of a two-stage repair.

by on Dec.21, 2017

The 2004-06 Ford Ranger is being recalled for a second time to repair faulty Takata airbags.

In wake of the news of a 20th fatality attributed to Takata’s faulty airbags, Ford and Mazda announced they are recalling more than 380,000 older small pickup trucks for a second time to replace Takata airbag inflators.

The recalls cover driver- and passenger-side inflators in certain 2004 to 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks made by Ford. The vehicles were recalled in 2015 and 2016 to replace the inflators with newer versions, but the fix was only temporary.

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Now the new inflators no longer use ammonium nitrate, which becomes unstable over time under certain conditions, and are replacing the temporary models which still used the compound. (more…)

Faulty Takata Airbag Claims 20th Victim

Louisiana death highlights new problem: salvaged airbags.

by on Dec.21, 2017

Now 20 people are known to have died due to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

The number of deaths worldwide associated with Takata’s faulty airbags has risen to 20 after a fatality was reported in an accident in Louisiana in July.

Honda and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed that a Takata airbag inflator explosion was to blame for a fatality in a July 10 crash in Baton Rouge, the company said. Additionally, the incident has brought to light a new problem: salvaged airbags.

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Unsurprisingly, the 2004 Honda Civic never received the required recall repair, but the ruptured Takata inflator discovered by investigators wasn’t the original inflator in the bag: it was one from different vehicle. (more…)

GM Ignition Litigation Marches On

Company facing $1 billion trial this week.

by on Dec.18, 2017

GM is facing more litigation related to its faulty ignition switches.

General Motors Co. is facing another expensive day in court on the massive and complex litigation related to the faulty ignition switches found in millions of cars built by the company during the first decade of the 21st century.

The potential liability from a trial slated to start this week tops $1 billion in stock to address claims related to the malfunctioning ignition switches, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The report noted that the trial, set to start Monday in a Manhattan federal bankruptcy court, centers on whether General Motors can block a deal reached in August between ignition-switch plaintiffs and a trust representing creditors of so-called Old GM, the assets the automaker left behind in 2009 as part of its $50 billion government rescue and restructuring.  (more…)