Report: CA stops plans for RFID-enabled driver’s licenses [w/poll]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology

California lawmakers suspended legislation to embed driver's licenses and ID cards with radio frequency identification chips.

California could have become the fifth state to issue enhanced driver’s licenses (EDL) and identification cards embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, but last Friday, state lawmakers suspended the legislation over privacy concerns. The RFID-equipped cards were to be optional, but ultimately it was a lack of measures to prevent law enforcement from tapping into the chips that killed the bill, Wired reports.

California EDLs originally were intended to be a solution to long wait times at the US-Mexico border – drivers carrying EDLs would not have to show a passport to re-enter the US at land border checkpoints where RFID readers are used. Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington are the four states that already employ EDLs, and residents of those states don’t need a passport to re-enter the US at most land borders if they have one of the special licenses.

Privacy advocates are worried that if more states start using EDLs and enhanced ID cards, they could become mandatory across the US, allowing the government to surveil the motoring public without its knowledge. Information on the RFID cards is stored in a secure database at the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not difficult to imagine a time when the EDL programs cease to be optional,” says Jim Harper, the Cato Institute’s director of information policy studies. “The government also tends to expand programs far beyond their original purpose.”

Ben Hueso, a California senator from San Diego, supports RFID technology and offers a different viewpoint. “Enhanced Driver’s Licenses can provide a significant economic benefit to the state of California, while strengthening border security,” Hueso wrote in a press release in May, according to Wired.

We’re not sure what’s best for California regarding RFID technology, but considering how much of an impact technology like this could make on its citizens’ privacy, it’s encouraging to see lawmakers and privacy advocates treading carefully and airing concerns. Stay tuned for more on this issue – it isn’t going away any time soon.

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CA stops plans for RFID-enabled driver’s licenses [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: CA stops plans for RFID-enabled driver’s licenses [w/poll]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology

California lawmakers suspended legislation to embed driver's licenses and ID cards with radio frequency identification chips.

California could have become the fifth state to issue enhanced driver’s licenses (EDL) and identification cards embedded with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, but last Friday, state lawmakers suspended the legislation over privacy concerns. The RFID-equipped cards were to be optional, but ultimately it was a lack of measures to prevent law enforcement from tapping into the chips that killed the bill, Wired reports.

California EDLs originally were intended to be a solution to long wait times at the US-Mexico border – drivers carrying EDLs would not have to show a passport to re-enter the US at land border checkpoints where RFID readers are used. Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington are the four states that already employ EDLs, and residents of those states don’t need a passport to re-enter the US at most land borders if they have one of the special licenses.

Privacy advocates are worried that if more states start using EDLs and enhanced ID cards, they could become mandatory across the US, allowing the government to surveil the motoring public without its knowledge. Information on the RFID cards is stored in a secure database at the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s not difficult to imagine a time when the EDL programs cease to be optional,” says Jim Harper, the Cato Institute’s director of information policy studies. “The government also tends to expand programs far beyond their original purpose.”

Ben Hueso, a California senator from San Diego, supports RFID technology and offers a different viewpoint. “Enhanced Driver’s Licenses can provide a significant economic benefit to the state of California, while strengthening border security,” Hueso wrote in a press release in May, according to Wired.

We’re not sure what’s best for California regarding RFID technology, but considering how much of an impact technology like this could make on its citizens’ privacy, it’s encouraging to see lawmakers and privacy advocates treading carefully and airing concerns. Stay tuned for more on this issue – it isn’t going away any time soon.

View Poll

CA stops plans for RFID-enabled driver’s licenses [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25%

Filed under: Budget, China, Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Mazda

Skyactiv Technology logo

Mazda is set to expand production of its Skyactiv engines after critical and commercial acclaim for the fuel-sipping powerplants. The Japanese manufacturer has a number of plans in the works to bump up production, with the first being a 25-percent increase in output from its Hiroshima, Japan engine facility.

Besides adding a new line, Mazda will modify the line that built MZR engines, a family of mills that includes the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder found in the Mazdaspeed3 and the 2.0-liter found in the MX-5 Miata. The bump in production is just part of Mazda’s goal of selling 1.7 million vehicles globally by 2016, with 80 percent of those vehicles expected to wear a Skyactiv badge.

Mazda also builds Skyactiv engines at a joint-venture facility with Ford, in Changan, China, while a Mexican facility will go online by March of 2014. Skyactiv engines currently power the Mazda3, Mazda6 and CX-5.

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Mazda reports strong Skyactiv sales, plans to boost output 25% originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Detroit Electric SP:01 production plans delayed again

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, Electric

Detroit Electric SP:01 delayed again.

The revival of Detroit Electric and the imminent arrival of its first vehicle, the SP:01 sports car, have us hooked, not because the EV is the most innovative design around (based on the Lotus Exige, it’s strikingly similar to Tesla’s discontinued Lotus-based Roadster), but because it promises to be yet another American-built high-performance EV with some unique twists. We like the fact that customers can opt for a four- or five-speed manual transmission (particularly unusual in an EV), or use the car to power a building in the case of a power outage. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a bit longer before the SP:01 hits the road, because Detroit Electric has yet to finalize a lease or purchase agreement of its chosen production facility in Plymouth, Michigan, The Detroit News reports.

Detroit Electric has been trying to hammer out an agreement, but the negotiations for the Plymouth facility are producing enough uncertainty that Detroit Electric’s North American President Don Graundstadt says the automaker-to-be is negotiating with other parties.

Previous plans for SP:01 production called for its manufacture to begin by this month, but plans change, and production will be pushed back. There is no mention of when the electric sports car will become a 2,500-unit-per-year reality, but rather ominously, The Detroit News notes that “the immediate fate of the automaker should be known in the next couple of weeks.”

Detroit Electric SP:01 production plans delayed again originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 24 Aug 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: Meet TVR’s new owner and learn his plans for the future

Filed under: Performance, UK, Luxury, MISC

TVR Sagaris

It’s hard not to be worried about the reborn TVR. The company’s new owner, entrepreneur Les Edgar, recently sat down with PistonHeads to discuss his plans for the fabled brand. Unfortunately, Edgar was no less dodgy about the future of TVR in his latest interview than he has been in the past. Evasive on everything from what the TVR brand means to him to which of the company’s cars he’s owned in the past, the former video game developer is either the most cautious individual to ever get into the automotive manufacturing game or is woefully unprepared for his new undertaking.

When asked what’s at the heart of TVR, Edgar responded, “I think it’s the people that buy them. We’re looking [for] a demographic that is probably different from what it was 15-20 years [ago]. We build cars that hopefully people want to buy, and they may not be the same type of people that bought them 10 years ago. At the base of it – the DNA – has got to be the same thing running through.”

Right.

Edgar then went on to dance around the question of what that DNA is, exactly. You can check out the full interview by heading over to PistonHeads. We sincerely hope we’re wrong about Edgar and his intentions for the brand, but the executive’s early comments haven’t quite passed our sniff test.

Meet TVR’s new owner and learn his plans for the future originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 16 Jun 2013 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Osama bin Laden rejected plans for truck designed to mow down humans

Filed under: Etc.

Trucks from Death Race

If you’ve been living in a house with no TV or internet connection, you may not have heard that Osama bin Laden was found and killed. Actually, even if you have been living in such a house, you still probably know about bin Laden. Teams of analysts are combing through a mountain of data recovered from bin Laden’s compound, and one nugget of information they’ve found is a bit surprising; bin Laden was against a proposed plan for U.S.-based Al Qaeda operatives to weld blades to the grilles of pickup trucks and run down pedestrians.

This plan was laid out by Inspire, an English-language magazine by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The magazine stated that drivers of the customized trucks could look for crowded areas, then motor onto the sidewalk and cause major carnage. It’s a sick plan, and apparently bin Laden felt the same way. He called it “indiscriminate slaughter,” and felt it wasn’t in line with what Al Qaeda does.

Yes, seriously. And no, we’re not making this up. Read more about this aborted plan and the way bin Laden managed the terror organization from his secluded home at this link.

Osama bin Laden rejected plans for truck designed to mow down humans originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 20:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche to relocate U.S. headquarters to ex-Ford facility, plans to build track

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Rumormill

porsche logo

The North American headquarters for Porsche has been in an Atlanta suburb for years, but a report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution suggests that’s about to change. Unnamed sources claim that the German automaker is planning to announce that it will build a new headquarters on the site of the former Ford Taurus plant, just outside the Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport.

The old plant has since been leveled and the ground has been scrubbed of environmental hazards left from years of industrial use, so Porsche will need to start from scratch. That’s probably a good thing, since the German company reportedly plans to build a new offices where the plant was demolished and a new test track very similar to the automaker’s facility in Silverstone, England. Porsche’s lease at its current location ends in 2013, and it is likely to take several years to complete a new facility.

If true, the move would bring hundreds of new marketing and sales jobs to the region, though most positions are likely already filled at Porsche’s current suburban location. Porsche is expected to make the announcement on Thursday.

Porsche to relocate U.S. headquarters to ex-Ford facility, plans to build track originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 May 2011 11:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volvo backtracks on flagship sedan plans

Filed under: Sedan, Volvo, Luxury

volvo concept universe shanghai motor show

Volvo Concept Universe – Click above for high-res image gallery

It seems everyone and their cousin wants a slice of the big pie. Mercedes-Benz has the S-Class, BMW the 7 Series, Audi the A8 and Lexus the LS. Then there’s less conventional choices like the Jaguar XJ, Maserati Quattroporte, Hyundai Equus and Volkswagen Phaeton. Even Cadillac’s been toying with getting in on the action. But after months – if not years – of hemming and hawing, the latest report suggests we not count on a challenger from Volvo any time soon.

The Swedish automaker had been entertaining the notion of jumping into the stratosphere with its own S-Class challenger, but despite the above-pictured Universe concept car unveiled in Shanghai just days ago, the latest reports indicate that Volvo is not, in fact, preparing for an assault on that particular territory.

Word reportedly comes right from the proverbial horse’s mouth: that of Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby, whose revelation disappoints the dreams of Li Shufu, the chairman of Chinese automaker Geely that purchased Volvo last year for $1.8 billion. Jacoby says the company needs to focus on its current lineup while laying the cornerstones for new assembly plants in China. What the point of the Universe show car was, then, remains as much a mystery to us as its bulbous front end.

Gallery: Volvo Concept Universe

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Volvo backtracks on flagship sedan plans originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Infiniti confirms plans to launch in Australia

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Crossover, Infiniti, Australia

Infinity M37

2011 Infiniti M37 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Infiniti has big plans to expand beyond North America, and Drive reports that the Japanese luxury automaker intends to include Australia in its expansion. The site says that officials at Nissan have officially announced that Infiniti would head Down Under by September 2012, adding that the brand would start off with three stand-alone dealerships in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

When those dealerships launch, there will only be three Infiniti products from which to choose. The G37 coupe and convertible, the M sedan and the FX crossover were chosen in part because of their freshness in the market. Infiniti has reportedly decided against exporting the high volume G37 sedan to Australia, opting instead to wait until the next generation model goes prime-time. The Australians will be able to choose from the same 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 options we have here in the States, and they’ll also be able to pick a 3.0-liter diesel that we aren’t afforded.

The folks at Infiniti also hinted at their strategy for the brand. Infiniti brand GM Kevin Snell reportedly told the press at a launch event that the brand wouldn’t try to be the “cheapest” make Down Under, adding that Infiniti models are often better-equipped than the competition from Europe.

Gallery: 2011 Infiniti M37: Review

Photos copyright (C)2010 Michael Harley / AOL
[Source: Drive]

Infiniti confirms plans to launch in Australia originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Lamborghini plans surface; include Estoque, Sesto Elemento and Gallardo-replacing Cabrera

Filed under: Lamborghini, Rumormill

Lamborghini range

With the new Aventador now uncovered and sold out for at least the next year, Lamborghini is undoubtedly preparing its next model. And the one after that. And incoming reports have detailed what could be the Raging Bull marque’s product plan for the next several years.

First to come could be the limited-production version of the Sesto Elemento concept car. Rather than taking the place of any current model, the Sesto Elemento could take up a Reventon-like position in the line-up, offering limited numbers at high prices.

The Estoque concept also appears to be edging closer to production, sharing its underpinnings with the next-generation versions of the Porsche Panamera, Audi A8 and Bentley Continental. The four-door model could also be joined by a GT coupe.

Of course, we can expect to see variants of the Aventador coming ’round the mountain as well, including potential Roadster and eventual Super Veloce versions.

Finally the Gallardo will eventually need replacing, and sources suggest that its successor could carry the Cabrera nameplate in reference to a bloodline of famous fighting bulls. Given that the Gallardo has spawned a good dozen variants over the years, you can bet the Cabrera will give rise to a few of its own, as well.

[Source: Inside Line]

Report: Lamborghini plans surface; include Estoque, Sesto Elemento and Gallardo-replacing Cabrera originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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