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An Apple Car maybe not, but market domination is still in play

The common thought behind autonomous driving is the sales of individual cars will slowly decline over time. If a car is driving itself, then it can theoretically drive you, your sister, wife, brother-in-law, son or daughter at the same time, or serve as your family’s personal chauffeur. So, what will be the point of everyone contracting a different chauffer? Businesses will maintain self-driving fleets in the same way that people and their direct communities will.

The “Apple Car” was rumored to be the next big bet in autonomous driving for the world’s leading tech powerhouse. It had hired 1,000 people to labor away on a clandestine project known as Project Titan, but then laid off hundreds of that same 1,000 during the last quarter of 2016. The most obvious takeaway was the car was either in trouble or curbed indefinitely.

Apple has been [...]

Nvidia will take us there by 2020

Nvidia is a U.S. based firm specializing in the production of graphics processor technologies for things like smart phones, laptops and more. When you think Nvidia, think motherboard chipsets, the graphic controller for your trusty cell phone, and even game consoles. The company is an absolute monster, a highly innovative monster that like most in the tech arena have an eagle eye on the future of the automobile industry.

Nvidia’s entrance to the car world was via autonomous driving technology. Its original architecture for a self-driving vehicle was released in 2015 – Drive PX – a supercomputer platform with the capability of processing every bit of data arriving from the car’s cameras and sensors. Then, via an artificial intelligence operating system and a 3D cloud-based map, Nvidia helps the vehicle understand the environment, location, and most important, potential hazards to look out for.

Nvidia’s work in the auto [...]

A smaller bet

Car and Driver releases its “Best” lists every year, and for this post we are going to focus on the Best Small Cars of 2017.

Volkswagen Golf R

Coming in at #4, the Golf R. If you were into the GTI but would like a bit more power, this is the ride for you. A performance model with 292-hp and a turbo 2.0-liter four, this all-wheel drive, sport suspension, six-speed gem of a car comes complete with 18-inch wheels and the automatic version was actually faster to 60 mph than the manual. At $26,415, it’s a bit pricy for a smaller car but the bells and whistles are considerable.

Chevrolet Bolt EV

The only electric car in the Best Small Cars category within the Top 4, the Bolt features a floor-mounted battery that fuels a 200-hp electric motor. On the highway, the Bolt registered a range of 190 miles at an average [...]

Take a “brake” and read this

There are two things every car must have – gas and brakes. You need to go and you need to stop. Now, the gas part is easy, albeit not on your wallet. But the brake part needs to be cared for, and like any other part of your car, keeping your brakes in solid, working shape is critical. Here are some helpful tips to keep these master stoppers in prime working condition.

Slow down

Braking from high speeds is murder on your brakes, and the difference between 65 mph and 55 mph for example is quite notable. With just a 10-mph difference, your brakes need to expend roughly a third more energy to slow the car down. This comes down to kinetic energy, so a little less speed equates to less kinetic energy and thus longer lasting brakes.

Keep right

This one is going to sound odd, but [...]

A grandson’s legacy at risk

Toyota was once the world’s largest car manufacturer. It’s still big, but ceded the “largest” title to the Volkswagen Group last year. The German giant sold 10.3 million cars compared to Toyota’s 10.2 million. But that’s not what has Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda concerned. Operating profit has dropped 20 percent in their fiscal fourth quarter (March 31st), and net income is also down 6.6 percent. Prior to this Toyota had recorded two years of revenue, operating profit, and net income records. But they are now facing operating profit and net income falling yet again.

While most companies rise and fall, the falls are not overly welcome, especially by Boards and shareholders. Toyoda has gone on record to express his “sense of crisis,” and as the grandson of the company’s founding guru, Toyoda is facing a legacy crisis. He has already warned that profits will fall once again during the [...]

Fast as ever – the Ferrari resurgence

LaFerrari coupes are some of the most pristine line of cars you can find, and the LaFerrai Aperta is yet another example. One of Ferrari’s pricier models ($2.1 million), the Aperta is a 6.3-liter V12 that also features a 120-kilowatt electric motor just in case you required some additional acceleration. Combined, a jaw-dropping 950 horsepower spills out which will take you from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds.

Now, if I told you a $2.1 million-dollar machine would be driving record revenue for Ferrari you’d laugh before I could finish. Who are buying these cars? Well, we don’t have the “who,” but rather the impressive earnings numbers behind these purchases. Adjusted earnings (before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization) were 242 million euros compared to 178 million from the previous year. In dollars that is roughly $265 million and demand for the pricey ones, like the Aperta, [...]

Diesel and VW are back, let’s hope they can stay

Diesel cars in the U.S. have never taken off in a big way. Unlike Europe where diesel autos are literally ever present, the U.S. lags far behind. VW for a while had a nice position however Stateside, with 20 to 25 percent of all VWs sold being diesel in the U.S. Yet, then came the infamous diesel scandal in 2015 when the automaker reluctantly admitted to utilizing clandestine software to beat emission limits for roughly 6 years. Around 11,000 Golf, Beetle and Passat diesel models where promptly banned from being sold which cost VW $4.3 billion with the U.S. Justice Department alone.

Well, like all scandals, it happened, they paid the price, and now back to business. And back to business VW has been, with permission now to continue again selling diesels in the States. They registered 3,196 diesel sales in April with overall VW [...]

Sprucing up is a viable option

While this blog is auto centric and thus on the cutting edge of new car/tech news, there are some solid arguments to be made for hanging on to your existing ride and sprucing it up. With autonomous upon us, the tech side of the auto world is exploding before our eyes. There is so much cool tech available, and lots of it is designed to protect you. Safety tech is one of the hottest industries and just because you don’t have the budget for a new BMW doesn’t mean you can’t have that same safety tech in your existing car.

The average vehicle on the road today is between 11 and 12 years old. That speaks to the quality of most major car manufacturers. Yet, a tiny fraction of those have forward-collision warning systems for example, a piece of technology that can reduce the risk of a wreck [...]

The key to it all … water?

While it is commonly accepted that electric vehicles are one of the most promising technologies moving forward, there are several limitations. First, the cost. Electricity is not free, and this coupled with the battery cost now equates to a more expensive option to a gas-powered car. Second is range and speed. Electric vehicles have a far shorter range than traditional cars and acceleration/speed is also not nearly as developed. This really puts a damper on potential high performance offerings from Tesla for example.

The good news, folks are actively working on all these points, and some promising news surfaced from North Carolina State University last week. Ever heard of crystalline tungsten oxide or crystalline tungsten oxide hydrate? If you answered, “of course!” while rolling your eyes, you represent 0.000001% of the population. If you belong however to the rest of the world, let’s dive into this. Researchers [...]

In Beijing, they still want American

The world as we know it moves on brands. Brands deliver goods, but are also highly representational. Nike is active, get out and go. Apple is creative, unleash the Steve Jobs in you. Starbucks is comforting, always available, you know the coffee when you smell it. The car world is no different of course, and some brands have that “something” that others either haven’t achieved or are continuously seeking.

During its heyday, Cadillac was associated with elite figures – Muhammad Ali, Queen Elizabeth II, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis among others. It was American luxury at its finest, a brand that filtrated beyond our national borders and into the world. One area where it really took hold was China, tapping into an enormous market that sought to be part of an elite club that is over 100 years old.

Fast forward to the present and Cadillac is experiencing a [...]

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