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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

First Drive: Newer, More Affordable 2019 Acura ILX

In an age of SUVs, a sedan worth checking out.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.30, 2018

The 2019 Acura ILX A-Spec.

It was the first Japanese luxury brand but, in recent years, Acura has struggled to be more than dead last when it comes to potential buyers’ shopping lists.

That’s begun to change as Honda’s upscale brand has started rolling out some truly impressive updates to its line-up, including the 2019 Acura RDX considered one of the hot prospects for North American SUV of the Year. But the transformation doesn’t stop there, as Acura is demonstrating with the roll-out of its next-generation entry-level sedan.

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The 2019 Acura ILX not only gets a stylish remake and plenty of appealing safety, comfort and convenience technologies, it also boasts a surprising price cut, the base model coming in at just $26,895, including $995 in delivery fees. That’s a full $2,200 less than the outgoing ILX – and is actually the same price the luxury brand first asked for when the ILX was introduced in 2012. (more…)

New Nissan Maxima Debuting at LA Auto Show

Subtle visual updates but lots more safety tech.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.23, 2018

the 2019 Maxima, Nissan's flagship sedan, gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2019.

While some automakers are leaning out their sedan lines – even abandoning them entirely, in the case of Ford – Nissan continues to bet big on four-door models, with two critical updates for the 2019 model-year.

While we’ve already seen and driven the Altima makeover, we’ll have to wait until next month and the Los Angeles Motor Show to get a first good look at the 2019 Nissan Maxima, the Japanese maker’s most sporty sedan offering.

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Actually, Nissan has given us a first peak at the new Maxima, and not in the usual form of a carefully lit and cropped teaser. The accompanying picture pretty much reveals all we’d need to know about the 2019 refresh short of any taillight and rear bumper revisions.

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Power Study Finds “Total Lack of Trust” in Autonomous Vehicle Technology

More than four in ten say they “would never ride” in self-driving vehicle.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.09, 2018

Looks like its going to take Waymo rides, er, way more rides in Waymo's autonomous minivan to change opinions.

Even as automakers rush to bring autonomous and completely self-driving vehicles to market, perhaps as soon as the end of the decade, there’s a deep distrust of the technology, with more than four out of 10 Americans saying they “would never ride in a fully automated vehicle.

The lack of trust runs deep, according to Robert Lajdziak a researcher with J.D. Power and Associates, which conducted the new study in partnership with the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, or NAMIC. Significantly, just as federal regulators have announced plans to ease restrictions on testing autonomous vehicles on public roads, those surveyed by Power and NAMIC questioned whether the government – as well as automakers and tech companies – can properly ensure the safety of the public.

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The new study likely reflects the fact that “people’s opinions have been swayed” by recent incidents involving semi- and fully autonomous vehicles, including a fatal Uber crash earlier this year in Tempe, Arizona, said Lajdziak, in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com ahead of the release of the new study. (more…)

Honda Implementing New Tech to Make Smart Intersections

Automaker working with Marysville, Ohio, to test technology.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.05, 2018

Honda's Smart Technology uses V2X technology to make drivers aware of potential hazards in an intersection.

Honda has demonstrated its “Smart Intersection” technology that connects a vehicle to its surroundings to help reduce traffic collisions at intersections, which account for 20% of the 35,000 traffic deaths that occur annually in the U.S. and 40% of all collisions.

The technology was developed in partnership with Marysville, Ohio, the home of Honda’s Research and Development unit where, as part of a Smart Mobility Corridor project that addresses the limitations of on-board vehicle sensors in reducing traffic collisions at roadway intersections.

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“Honda believes that V2X technology is an essential component of a smarter and safer transportation ecosystem and can play a role in our dream for a zero-collision society,” said Ted Klaus, vice president of strategic research at Honda R&D Americas Inc.  (more…)

First Look: BMW Rolls Out 7th-Generation 3-Series in Paris

This time they mean it when they it’s all-new from the ground up.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.02, 2018

The 2019 BMW 3-Series sticks with a relatively familiar exterior design.

It may not be the most expensive model in the BMW line-up, and considering where the global luxury car market is going, SUVs and CUVs are coming to dominate the sales charts. But perhaps no model line better defines the DNA of the Bavarian automaker like the long-lived 3-Series.

So, expect to see and hear a lot about the all-new, seventh-generation compact, the 2019 BMW 3-Series to launch next spring in the U.S. market with the arrival of the 330i and 330i xDrive, as well as the M340i andM340i xDrive. And you also can expect to see a slew of additional versions, all the way up to the de rigueur M3, to follow in relatively short order.

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Automakers often overuse phrases like, “all-new,” or “ground-up redesign,” but they appear to fully apply here, the gen-7 3-Series pretty much revisiting everything, including its basic platform, suspension and powertrain line-up. It also introduces or updates a wide range of technologies. That includes the 330e plug-in hybrid coming in 2020, as well as the debut of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant that uses plain-English commands to operate everything from navigation to audio and even lets you ask it what a warning light might be trying to tell you.

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First Drive: 2019 BMW X5

A crossover by any other name: a worthy successor to mark the X5's 20th anniversary.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.27, 2018

BMW will offer three versions of the 2019 X5, including a plug-in hybrid to come later in the year.

Few new models have done more to redefine a brand – indeed, to help transform the auto business overall – like the BMW X5. But there were plenty of doubters when the Bavarian automaker first announced plans to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up back in the late 1990s.

Even BMW seemed to have some doubts, deciding to call the new line a “Sport-Activity Vehicle,” rather than an SUV. But those concerns were quickly forgotten, demand for the midsize ute taking off from almost the moment the first X5 rolled out of BMW’s then-new assembly plant in Spartanburg South Carolina in 1999. The first generation alone generated more than 600,000 sales and, with production of the third-gen X5 now winding down, that’s jumped to more than 2.1 million.

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These days, BMW offers a full range of Sport-Activity Vehicles, from the little X1 all the way up to the new X7 set to launch next year as a crossover alternative to the brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. But much like the 5-Series sedan, the X5 remains a lynchpin of that line-up, meant to combine both the utility of a crossover and the performance of a classic BMW sedan.

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Most Drivers Don’t Know How to Use the Latest Safety Tech

Drivers overestimate capabilities, underestimate problems, using ADAS technology.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.26, 2018

Consumers are demanding new collision avoidance technologies, but often don't know how they work.

If you’ve bought a new car during the last several years, chances are it is equipped with any number of advanced safety systems, such as blind-spot monitoring to forward collision warning, perhaps even technology capable of letting you do a limited amount of hands-free driving.

The odds also suggest you don’t fully understand how those advanced driver assistance systems actually work and may be making some potentially dangerous mistakes, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

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“A substantial proportion of respondents demonstrated what we believe was a concerning lack of awareness of some of the key limitations of the technologies,” said AAA senior researcher Brian Tefft. (more…)

Better Headlights Could Save Pedestrians’ Lives

NTSB also wants improve brakes and highway infrastructure.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.25, 2018

Using European-style laser headlights could reduce accidents and improve overall driver safety.

Federal safety regulators want to throw some light on a deadly subject.

The National Transportation Safety Board has outlined a three-pronged approach to dealing with the rapid rise in pedestrian fatalities, starting with improvements in vehicle headlights that would help motorists steer clear of a dangerous situation in the first place. At a Tuesday hearing, the NTSB also said manufacturers need to improve vehicle brakes, while improvements in local roadways could also keep pedestrians out of harm’s way.

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“We’ve got to end this tragic problem on our nation’s roadways,” NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said Tuesday during a Washington board meeting that looked into recommendations made by the agency’s staff. (more…)

BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

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A handful of select media outlets, including TheDetroitBureau.com, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

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Ford Smartens Up New Edge’s All-Wheel Drive System

All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect improves fuel economy.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.13, 2018

The new Ford Edge with available all-wheel drive is smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Ford Motor Co. has tweaked the 2019 version of the Ford Edge by making an all-wheel drive system smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The system is called all-wheel-drive disconnect, a first-for-Ford technology that uses a form of artificial intelligence that can calculate quicker than the human brain. Based on information received from dozens of high-tech sensors, the new Edge can determine in a fraction of a second whether all-wheel drive is needed.

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“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.” (more…)