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Posts Tagged ‘auto safety’

Honda Takes a Tip from Superman

Patent application reveals system that could spot pedestrians around corners.

by on Sep.14, 2016

The Honda patent would allow a motorist to see beyond the normal line of sight.

You wouldn’t have to be Superman to have extra-human vision, at least not if Honda has its way.

The third-largest Japanese automaker has revealed a system it is developing that would allow a driver to see things – notably pedestrians – who might by hidden behind a truck or building but walking towards an intersection.

The concept uses a variety of sensors to look beyond a driver’s normal line of sight and then display a warning on the windshield using a Head-Up Display, or HUD. Considering pedestrians fatalities have been rising sharply in recent years, the technology could have a major impact on safety.

Tech Talk!

A new patent application filed by Honda illustrates the way the concept works. It is designed to watch out for pedestrians as the vehicle approaches an intersection. Sensors – including some of the same ones that might eventually be used to allow a vehicle to drive autonomously – can look beyond the normal line of sight.


GM Settles Final Two Bellwether Cases

Automaker still has more ignition-related problems to solve.

by on Sep.06, 2016

GM settled the final two of six bellwether cases designed to set the pattern for future settlements related to the maker's faulty ignition switches.

General Motors Co. agreed to settlements in the final two ignition-switch cases slated for trial in a New York federal court this year. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.

The settlements move GM closer to putting to rest a significant portion the claims that followed the use of a defective ignition switch that GM installed in more than 2.6 million vehicles resulting in 84 separate recalls.

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The cases were the final two among a half dozen “bellwether” trials aimed at setting patterns for a larger group of personal injury and wrongful death suits. GM recalled the vehicles with faulty ignition switches in early 2014 after it was proven that jostling the switches could turn off engines and safety features including power steering, power brakes and airbags, creating a substantial hazard for drivers and passengers. (more…)

Are Your Car’s Airbags Ready for Retirement?

Growing signs that airbags can begin to fail -- to possibly deadly consequences -- as they age.

by on Aug.12, 2016

Airbags are intended to protect you in a crash, but as the Takata case shows, they can be deadly if they don't work right.

Following the recent death of a Canadian motorist, federal safety regulators in the U.S. have expanded a probe that could lead to the recall of 8 million or more vehicles to replace faulty airbags.

If that scenario sounds familiar, it echoes the situation touched off by more than a dozen deaths in vehicles using defective airbags provided by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp. Ultimately, as many as 50 million vehicles using Takata airbags could face recall. But the latest probe involves a different supplier, American-based ARC Automotive.

The Last Word!

Both the Takata and ARC airbags may over-inflate during a crash, sending deadly shrapnel spewing into the passenger compartment. But a series pf separate recalls announced just since April of this year, targeted more than 4.5 million other vehicles whose airbags may not function at all during a crash. And that could be just hint of an even bigger issue that could eventually pose a safety risk for virtually every vehicle on the road.


Ralph Nader Inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame

Safety advocate changed the industry, saved "1,000s of lives."

by on Jul.22, 2016

Ralph Nader turned safety into a serious issue for the auto industry.

The man once accused of trying to destroy Detroit now has a permanent home in the Motor City.

Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate credited with changing the way the auto industry operates with his critical book, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” was one of four industry legends inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on Thursday night, joining retired Ford CEO Alan Mulally, automotive engineer Roy Lunn and Bertha Benz, the wife and financier of pioneer Karl Benz.

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“There are thousands of people who would be dead if it weren’t for Ralph Nader,” said publisher Keith Crain as he introduced the 82-year-old Nader to an audience of industry managers and executives gathered for the black tie affair.


CEO Musk: Tesla Won’t Disable Autopilot Feature

NTSB latest to launch investigation after three crashes.

by on Jul.13, 2016

Tesla CEO Musk won't pull the plug on Autopilot and, if anything, insists it will enhance safety.

Despite growing concerns about the safety of its Autopilot technology, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is making it clear he has no intention of disabling the semi-autonomous driving system. If anything, the South African-born entrepreneur argues that Autopilot will save lives in the long-run.

Not everyone is quite so confident, at least not in its current beta mode.  The battery-carmaker itself has confirmed the technology played at least some role in a fatal crash on May 9, and two Tesla owners have since blamed Autopilot for crashes that have occurred this month.

Your Auto Insider!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a preliminary investigation following the Florida accident that killed former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown. The National Transportation Safety Board is now conducting its own investigation. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at Tesla’s decision not to publicly reveal the fatal crash for eight weeks – until after the maker’s latest, $2 billion stock offering.


Second Crash May Be Linked to Tesla Autopilot

Tesla CEO Musk under fire for slow response to 1st crash.

by on Jul.06, 2016

Tesla's Autopilot uses a blend of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to control the vehicle.

The crash of a second Tesla vehicle reportedly operating in Autopilot mode is raising new concerns about not only the maker’s semi-autonomous technology but how the battery-carmaker is handling a potential problem that has already touched off a federal safety probe.

Albert Scaglione, an art gallery owner from Southfield, Michigan, was behind the wheel of a 2016 Tesla Model X when it crashed and rolled over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week. According to the police officer who responded to the crash, Scaglione said he had just activated the Autopilot system, which is designed to permit partial hands-free driving on limited-access highways.

Eye on Tech!

The crash occurred a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it would investigate a fatal wreck in Florida that occurred on May 9th. Driver Joshua Brown, 40, was killed when neither he nor the Autopilot system in his Tesla Model S responded by braking when a semi-truck turned in front of the vehicle.


Tesla Driver Dies While Car Operating on AutoPilot

Crash raises new questions about capabilities of autonomous vehicles.

by on Jul.01, 2016

Joshua Brown, 40, said his Tesla Autopilot system had prevented an earlier crash before his death in a Florida collision on May 7.

(This story has been updated with additional comments by Tesla to a query by

Federal safety regulators are investigating the death of a 40-year-old man killed in the crash of his Tesla Model S while the battery-electric vehicle was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

Word of the May 7 crash in Williston, Florida was just released as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Said it would begin a preliminary investigation into the crash, which occurred when the system failed to prevent a collision with a tractor-trailer that turned in front of the luxury car.

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Tesla issued a statement emphasizing that this was the first known fatal crash first involving the Autopilot system, which lets motorists operate hands-free on limited-access highways. There have been a number of more minor crashes involving other autonomous vehicle prototypes, including nearly 20 reported by Google, a leader in the field.


Toyota Recalling 3.4 Mil Prius Hybrids, Other Models

Worldwide effort targets airbags, faulty emissions systems.

by on Jun.29, 2016

A 2012 Toyota Prius. Some versions of the popular hybrid suffer from both of the defects.

Toyota Motor Co. will recall 3.37 million vehicles due to a series of safety and emissions problems, the world’s largest automaker announced on Wednesday.

The global service action includes 2.87 million vehicles with faulty emissions control units. A faulty airbag inflator was installed in 1.43 million cars. Some of the popular Toyota Prius hybrids suffer from both problems which is why the actual total number of vehicles affected by the recall comes in at 3.37 million.

Safety News!

The airbag problem involves a faulty system that may partially inflate without a crash, creating the risk of injury. Toyota noted that the defective system was provided Autoliv, and not by Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag supplier now responsible for the largest recall in automotive history.


Detroit Muscle Cars Fall Short in New Crash Tests

Ford Mustang outperforms Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

by on May.24, 2016

They perform well on the street, but the IIHS wanted to see how the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro perform in a crash.

The Ford Mustang outperformed its domestic muscle car rivals in the latest series of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but none of the three managed to earn top ratings in the closely watched tests.

This marks the first time the insurance industry-funded safety group tested and compared all three of the domestic “pony cars,” a move that reflects the fact that muscle cars collectively suffer some of the highest loss rates of any vehicle category, according to government statistics.

Safety News!

“Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund.


Car Crashes No. 1 Killer of Teenagers in US

National Safety Council provides suggestions for new drivers.

by on May.03, 2016

The top cause of teenage deaths in the is U.S. is car crashes. A few tips and some rules can help mitigate some of the causes.

It’s a rite of passage for every teenager: getting a driver’s license, or at least for many teens these days.

Part of that ritual is the inevitable lecture from parents about how driving is a big responsibility and that is not to be taken lightly. That sermon comes from a good place, even if most parents don’t fully understand how very important it may be.

Safety News!

According to a new National Safety Council poll, 76% of parents don’t know that the biggest threat to their child’s safety is that 2,500-pound behemoth sitting in the driveway: car crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S. (more…)