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Radar -- Throughout much of early-to-mid 20th century, cutting-edge design and technology found its way into cars. Following the invention of the integrated circuit, chips and bits started displacing pistons and gears in the hearts and minds of engineers. Silicon Valley’s gravitational force began stripping Motor City of its talent, compounding with the success of every tech startup. Not long after the birth of the Internet, Silicon Valley experienced unencumbered prosperity, while Detroit struggled to hold on for dear life. As automakers rise through the ashes of bankruptcy and corporate hot-potato, I expect our best and brightest entrepreneurs and engineers to be building car tech companies.

Skeptics will cite the arduous three-to-six-year automotive design cycles, onerous qualification requirements, and thin margins that plague the automotive value chain. By attracting the greatest engineers and entrepreneurs, the car business of the early 20th century took us from horseback to stylish coupes within a generation, soon to be followed by tire-smoking muscle cars. Cars built during and after the late 80s pollute less over their lifetimes than their predecessors did parked. Sound like Moore’s Law to you?

Unfortunately, as the automotive business matured, competitive advantage became a matter of economies of scale. Technology innovation began to give way to financial engineering. The mergers and acquisitions (M&A) frenzy and bloodbath that ensued led to brand consolidation and technology divestitures — hence the birth of Tier-1 suppliers. Manufacturing automation lowered the price of entry for new automakers. The Tier 1 suppliers made cutting-edge technology as available to new entrants, such as Hyundai, as incumbents, such as Ford. The industry mantra was to outproduce, outprice, and out market. Technology and innovation took a back seat as the bean counters took the wheel.

Ralph Nader’s consumer advocacy campaign — known to many as Unsafe at Any Speed — put the brakes innovation. It helped turn cars into one of the most heavily regulated consumer products on earth. Death rates per mile driven did drop, but at a rate nowhere near that in the first half of the 20th century. Everything from tires to windshields to dashboard materials began undergoing more rigorous regulatory certifications — even the most simple modifications became subject to a litany of checklists. Cars became difficult to differentiate, to the point where automakers are now relying on sheet metal and badge engineering to differentiate themselves. The difference between an Accord/Camry, A4/3-Series, F-150/Silverado continue to blur, as the way they look, feel, and drive is a function of the same components subject to narrowing regulatory constraints.

Should we assume that cars will soon be indistinguishable? Perhaps, but they will be autonomous, extremely personalized, and carry subtle differences that will characterize our motoring experience. Components such as engines, brakes, seats, and headlights will undergo the same battery of qualifications; however, those components will be abstracted by rapidly evolving technology that will make cars personalized, and eventually, autonomous. The creators of Knight Rider didn’t have to worry much about distinguishing KITT’s appearance from a base Pontiac Trans Am, or its evil twin KARR, as its artificial intelligence made it as unique a character as Michael Knight himself.

For example, today, most modern navigation systems are obsolete as soon as the new car hits the showroom floor. That is because they are qualified under similar timelines and processes as those used to qualify critical safety systems such as brakes and seat belts. As Apple Carplay and Android Auto gain broader adoption, everything we touch, feel, and hear will become as personal and customizable as floor mats, seat covers, and fuzzy dice. While automakers will continue to focus on what they do best — build safe, efficient, comfortable, and reliable chassis — we are being ushered into an arena reminiscent of the dawn of motoring: custom coaches built on production chassis, except the “customization” will be in software, not hardware.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Telegraph -- Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, has said he wants to transform from a carmaker into a mobility services company.

“You have autonomous driving, connected cars, new ways of accessing ownership like Zipcar, Uber or Lyft, you have data collection. We are looking at all of it,” he told the audience at Europe’s largest technology event, the Dublin Web Summit.

“It’s the company that can stitch all that together to make people’s lives easier [that] will emerge as a winner. It will require partnerships with big technology companies and also with startups.”

Speaking about whether Ford may partner with the likes of Apple and Google to make driverless technology, Mr Ford said, “You never know. I do think partnerships will be important.

“In my great grandfather’s time, when he founded Ford, there was a single vertical, where they did everything,” he said. “But one company shouldn’t know it all or do it all. That’s going to change.” 

Read the rest here: -- It's called the "silver tsunami": a huge wave of aging baby boomers that will build to its peak as that demographic enters its geriatric years. The 70-plus crowd is projected to increase from 30.1 million in 2013 to 53.7 million by 2030, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

This means there will be more aging drivers on U.S. roads in the coming years, continuing a trend that's been building for more than a decade. The IIHS estimated that the number of licensed drivers 70 years old and older jumped 30 percent between 1997 and 2012. Older drivers have also been traveling more miles. From 1996-2008, average yearly mileage for drivers 70 and older rose by 42 percent.

The IIHS notes that fewer people in their 70s are licensed to drive than are drivers between ages 20 and 69. And motorists in their 70s also log fewer miles than younger ones. But boomers are nevertheless keeping their licenses longer than previous generations and make up a bigger proportion of the driving population than in past years.

Help for Boomers Behind the Wheel
From music to medical care, baby boomers have exerted enormous influence on society and they will likely rewrite the rules of what it means to age and drive, too. But boomer drivers can't escape the toll that aging can take. AAA points out that nearly 90 percent of motorists age 65 and older suffer from health issues that may affect driver safety.

At the same time, however, mobility is important to mental health. For many aging people, driving is synonymous with independence.

"Helping seniors remain mobile with new technologies and a good car fit is important for quality of life," says AAA spokesman Michael Green. "Older Americans who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility compared to those who remain behind the wheel."

Fortunately, the technology that makes cars safer for everyone is arriving just in time to be particularly useful for aging motorists. Groups such as AAA and AARP offer resources that can help older drivers understand new technology and pick a vehicle that's best suited to their age and abilities.

"Older drivers should consider choosing vehicles that best meet their needs in order to improve safety and comfort behind the wheel," adds Green. 

Read the rest of the story here:

Everyone from app developers to navigation companies to thought leaders are gathering today at the Connected Car Expo (CCE), part of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the first major auto show of the season. The expo precedes the LA Auto Show’s press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18-19, 2015. 

The CCE, now in its third year, has gathered quite a bit of momentum since its beginnings. “We used to be situated at the Los Angeles Convention Center, but we outgrew it,” Andy Gryc, conference director, CCE. The expo is now being held at the J.W. Marriot L.A. LIVE, the hotel and entertainment complex adjacent to the convention center. The move to the new location has afforded the expo 60,000 square feet of exhibit space and a presentation room with seating for up to 1,500 people.

“Car companies are here because of the auto show so this expo is a natural extension of that,” Gryc said. “We’re showing where the connected car is going and how the industry is evolving.”

Last evening, the CCE hosted a networking reception, but things officially kick off this morning with a welcome address by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti followed by an opening keynote by Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer.

Not only is the event in a new location, but it’s also drawing a larger number of exhibitors who aren’t involved in manufacturing cars at all—they’re developing the software and services to go in them. The show is offering a diverse mix of more than 40 companies on the show floor.

For instance, OpenCar, an automotive software company, is involved in the development of the world’s first Connected Car ecosystem for automakers. High Mobility is making cars more responsive to a user’s presence. Its software allows cars to communicate with users via wearables. Remoto is a Connected Car platform that helps car owners to manage their cars—start their engine or open/close doors—remotely by Smartphone. HONK is an on-demand mobile app for tow, tire change, jump start, fuel and lock out services from more than 20,000 tow trucks nationwide.

But don’t expect the same old song and dance from the regulars who have booths at the expo. Magellan is showing both its Off-Road Vehicle and SmartGPS Eco connected car navigation. Magellan's Off-Road Vehicle navigation solutions deliver detailed 3D maps, over 44,000 vehicle trails and community generated trails, improved driver safety and a superior user experience. The SmartGPS Eco features the company's cloud platform that brings together automotive quality navigation and routing, content services, iOS and Android smartphone apps, and connected car platforms.

Hyundai is demonstrating its augmented reality owner’s manual app called Virtual Guide. The automaker said it is a “modern take” on the traditional owner’s manual that usually ends up gathering dust in the glove box. This version allows consumers to use their smartphone or tablet to get information on repairs, maintenance and vehicle features. The Hyundai Virtual Guide is compatible with the 2015 Sonata model, and will soon become available for additional models. 

Volvo Cars has something up its sleeve, but is waiting until opening day of the auto show to reveal what it has teased as its concept time machine. The automaker has been working on the concept for the last several years at its Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Camarillo, California.

“You won’t be able to go back in time and meet the legends of history, or go into the future and meet your kids,” Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, General Manager of the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, said in a press release, “but when our planned concept is applied to a SPA based vehicle, it has the potential of giving significant time back to drivers.”

The conference program is also expected to be a highlight as it addresses hot-button topics like cyber-security, car sharing and autonomous vehicles, and features a diverse group of speakers from Google to Volkswagen.

 “We’ve taken a lesson from successful conferences and modeled our program after that. We’re going with a short format for our presentations,” said Gryc.

Another key component of the show is the Innovation Zone where the Top 10 start-ups are being recognized. “We’re taking a look at who the next Ubers and Googles are,” Gryc said.

Start-ups were chosen based on their potential to shape the future of the new automotive industry and make cars safer, more accessible and more exciting. The CCE Advisory Board chose the companies based on vision, innovation, unique perspective and the likelihood of technology adoption and success.

Each of the Top 10 are being recognized and have their solutions on display at the show. Among the Top 10 Automotive Startups are Capio, which is developing the next-generation speech recognition and natural language processing technologies that are redefining human computer interaction; Driversiti, which is a cloud-based, situational awareness technology company focused on enabling mobile devices to transform from driving distractors to driver assistance systems; and HopSkipDrive, a ride service for kids, founded by three experienced professionals who are also working moms.

Attendance is expected to be high. According to Gryc, the show could draw anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 attendees which is both a good and not-so-good thing. “We may have outgrown this location before we expected, but I can’t say yet. We’ll just have to see how things go.”

For more information on the show, go to

Daily Caller -- Soon, our cars will be able to provide and share real-time data — such as windshield-wiper activity, drive times and outside temperatures — that can keep us safer on the road.

Car companies will be able to aggregate, geotag and share this data with weather reporters and local government officials who make school-closing or public-safety decisions. The benefits of car-data collection and consumption are about to be realized in life-changing ways.

These automotive data-collection systems will be on display at CES 2016 in Las Vegas the week of Jan. 4. Nine carmakers and more than 115 automotive tech companies will be exhibiting their technological advances at the annual consumer electronics trade show.

The Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace at CES 2016 will showcase, among other things, the latest in car-safety tech, such as parking assistance, collision avoidance, emergency braking and in-vehicle communications. They are all making cars safer and drivers more connected.

Read more:

EDMOND, Okla.— Petra Industries, the consumer electronic industry’s accessory authority, hosted Car Tech 2018 on Sunday, April 22, 2018, at the company's B2B Store, located at 3400 S. Kelly in Edmond. This intensive, one-day training opportunity paired businesses that do aftermarket installations on cars, powersports vehicles and boats with trainers from eight of the most-requested 12-volt manufacturers. Attendees from area businesses broke into small groups and rotated through the eight manufacturers. They received hands-on training and learned insider tips and tricks. Earl's Rib Palace of Edmond provided lunch.

"Small shops can't afford to go to SEMA or CES," said Chris Parvin, National Trainer for Maxxsonics. "Events like Car Tech bring the latest trends, products and knowledge to independent retailers right here, at no charge to them."

"Explaining aspects of products they may not know about and answering questions face to face is what makes events like this so important," noted Harry Kroll, National Trainer for Pioneer.

"Knowledge is crucial for small businesses," said Rene Rodriguez of Intense Car Audio. "There's an opportunity for real conversation and for new employees to learn insider tricks from seasoned professionals."

"Meeting with trainers who have field experience is invaluable," said Dusty Deaton of Dusty's Total Audio. "I have new guys who are more comfortable texting than talking with people face to face. Car Tech helped them see how professionals interact with others. This will help them become better sales people."

"Car Tech 2018 provided an intense learning experience," said Tate Morgan, Petra President. "It enabled area installers to ask questions, gain new skills and learn from the best."

Representing more than 500 leading brands, Petra is the industry’s consumer technology authority. They connect tens of thousands of top name-brand products with tens of thousands of retail partners. Petra knows that retailers rely on accessories to increase margin. Accessories for mobile devices; connected home accessories; automotive accessories; audio/video accessories; appliance connection accessories—all of the most sought-after add-ons for every category of consumer technology are stocked at Petra’s massive distribution center. Founded in 1985 with a focus on and passion for accessories, today, Petra serves every segment of retail with the hottest products. Petra is a member of CTA and CEDIA. For more information on Petra, visit or call 1-800-443-6975.

11-26-2016, Autocar -- Padmasree Warrior is sick and tired of her car being crashed into. Twice in the past few weeks, the US boss of rising Chinese electric car company NextEV has been hit by other motorists as she commuted from her home in Palo Alto to her company’s office in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

Even setting aside the stress, cost and inconvenience of road traffic accidents, the twice-daily journey is often a fraught one.

“The distance of my commute is about 20 miles,” said Warrior at the Los Angeles motor show last week. “On a good day, it takes about 45 minutes to make that one-way commute. If you do the maths, it costs me around ten work weeks of productivity per year, just sitting around in my car, not doing anything but getting frustrated.”

Warrior, a former chief technology officer at Cisco Systems and Motorola, has used her experience of computer engineering to create a future vision where using a car to commute to work is a zen-like experience, with little or no risk to our lives and no pollution. 

She calls it ‘Car 3.0’ and predicts it will “have a big impact on human life and many industries as we know them today”.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Forbes -- Automakers are introducing new, high-tech features considerably faster than many drivers can learn how to use them or even fully understand what they do, according to a couple of recent studies.

But even older consumers see the value in some of the newer features, especially blind-spot warning systems and back-up cameras, according to research from The Hartford insurance company and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Age Lab.

Nearly all of the respondents in a Hartford/MIT study of drivers ages 50 to 69 said they would be willing to buy a car with at least one of the seven auto technologies in the study: back-up cameras, blind-spot warning systems, collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems, smart headlights, parking assistance and adaptive cruise control.

That list is in order of preference, in terms of being linked to safety. Back-up cameras, blind-spot warning systems and collision avoidance were the highest rated.

Collision avoidance systems can bring a car to a complete halt if sensors detect the distance to the car ahead is shrinking too fast, and if the driver either ignores a warning alarm or doesn’t brake hard enough. “Smart” headlights turn the beams in tandem with the steering wheel.

Parking assistance, used in parallel parking only, measures the size of a parking place and moves the steering wheel to direct the car into a space. The driver has to apply the brake and shift when needed.

Read the rest of the story here:

NBC News, 3/27/2016 -- As part of a unique industry-government consortium, American motorists will soon find virtually every car, truck and crossover on the market equipped with a breakthrough safety system called Automatic Emergency Braking.

But that's likely to be only the start. The same group of 20 automakers, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, plans to push even more advanced safety technology into tomorrow's cars faster than would normally be possible under the slow and cumbersome regulatory process.

Experts say such moves — which will help lead up to an era of fully autonomous vehicles — could yield huge benefits in terms of lives saved, as well property damage prevented.

Autonomous Emergency Braking, or AEB, alone has been shown to reduce the number of rear-end collisions by as much as 40 percent, according to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind earlier this year suggested it may be possible to bring the total number of U.S. highway fatalities — which topped 32,000 in 2014 — down to zero in the not-too-distant future.

To get there, automotive manufacturers and suppliers are taking a two-pronged approach, starting with improvements in passive safety — systems like seat belts and airbags designed to keep occupants safe in a crash. The latest vehicles are expanding the use of high-strength steel, carbon fiber and other materials which, along with new designs, absorb much of the energy of a crash before it reaches the passenger compartment. 

Read the rest here:

Reuters -- Car owners and security experts can tinker with automobile software without incurring some U.S. copyright liability, according to new guidelines issued this month that had been opposed by the auto industry.

The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, agreed with fair use advocates who argued that vehicle owners are entitled to modify their cars, which often involves altering software.

Automakers including General Motors Co, and other vehicle manufacturers such as Deere & Co, opposed the rules. They said vehicle owners could visit authorized repair shops for changes they may need to undertake.

However, U.S. copyright officials decided that altering computer programs for vehicle repair or modification may not infringe a manufacturer's software copyright. A GM representative referred to a statement from an industry group that said the new rules would weaken safety innovation. 

"Sensitive vehicle data could be easily manipulated, altered, or distributed - undetected - if these changes are implemented," the statement said.

Deere spokesman Ken Golden said the company stands by its earlier opposition. However, some systems that transmit data from the vehicle to Deere could still be protected by copyright, Golden said.

Security researchers also pushed for copyright liability protection because computer programs are "pervasive" in modern machines and devices, including vehicles, home appliances and medical devices.

"We are pleased that analysts will now be able to examine the software in the cars we drive without facing legal threats from car manufacturers," said Kit Wilson, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocated for the rule changes.

The new rules must be renewed in three years, Wilson said. Vehicle owners still cannot perform other activities that would violate an automaker's copyright, he said, like extracting code and selling it.

Some U.S. government agencies expressed serious reservations about the new rules, and the Environmental Protection Agency flatly opposed them.

"EPA explained that vehicle modifications are often performed to increase engine power or boost fuel economy, but that these modifications increase vehicle emissions and thus violate the Clean Air Act," the Library of Congress said in its final rule.

However, the new rules do not allow vehicle owners to break any other laws, the Library said, and will not take effect for a year so the EPA and other agencies have time to prepare.

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