Official: VW launches Car-Net telematics system with brace of safety features

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Sedan, Safety, Technology, Crossover, Volkswagen, Infotainment

Volkswagen will offer Car-Net assistance system for select 2014 models.

Starting with select 2014 models, Volkswagen will offer an in-car assistance system called Car-Net, which comes with safety features such as location-based roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, remote vehicle unlock, destination assistance and more. The system is very similar to General Motors’ OnStar, but VW is quick to point out that a subscription to Car-Net gives the owner access to all of its features. OnStar requires that subscribers pay extra for its navigation function.

A mobile application will be available to accompany the in-car system as well, and working together they allow owners to check vehicle status or even find where they last parked.

The 2014 VWs that are compatible with the system are Jetta, Passat, Tiguan, CC, Beetle and Eos models. One year will cost $199; two years is $378, three years is $540; or $17.99 for a month-to-month subscription. Feel free to read the press release we included below.

Continue reading VW launches Car-Net telematics system with brace of safety features

VW launches Car-Net telematics system with brace of safety features originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ETC: Ford EcoBoost successful because of Soviet laser weapons system expert?

Filed under: Etc., Technology, Ford

Mike Kluzner is a man of many talents. Not only is he the software engineer responsible for fuel system diagnostics for Ford globally, he “got his start designing laser weapon systems capable of disabling the navigation systems of enemy satellites” for the former Soviet Union. Quite a résumé, wouldn’t you say?

You may be asking yourself the same question that popped into our minds upon reading about Mr. Kluzner: What do laser weapon systems have to do with Ford and its EcoBoost engines? We’ll let the man answer himself. “The same process for analyzing key physical relationships works for what we do today in engine combustion, catalyst chemistry and mechanics,” says Kluzner. “These are all part of Ford’s software engineering expertise.” Who are we to argue?

Ford also employs an engineer who previously designed software to detect damage to the heat tiles on the International Space Station, as well as one who’s past work involved particle physics, says the automaker in the press release below. David Bell (pictured above right), global boost system controls engineer for Ford, describes the software running EcoBoost as “the secret sauce” that makes the technology work as the driver intends and demands.

Scroll down below to find out more, and to learn how Ford’s 125 (and growing, it says) patents related to EcoBoost help keep the automaker at the forefront of engine technology.

Continue reading Ford EcoBoost successful because of Soviet laser weapons system expert?

Ford EcoBoost successful because of Soviet laser weapons system expert? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Jul 2013 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pioneer debuts first augmented reality navigation system

Filed under: Aftermarket, Japan, Technology

Pioneer AVIC-VH09CS

Pioneer’s AVIC-VH09CS has all the techie trappings you’d expect from an in-dash navigation system: A seven-inch LCD, DVD and CD player, USB and SD card slots, and Bluetooth connectivity. But what sets it apart is the addition of the Augmented Reality (AR) Scouter Mode.

The double-din head-unit wirelessly connects to a camera installed on the windshield, streaming video and layering the sat-nav information over the image. The system integrates with the road, highlighting lanes, identifying stores and creating 3D representations of destinations so you know exactly where you’re going. It even allows you to “augment” the vehicle in front of you, so if that minivan is too staid for your tastes, the system will superimpose something sexier (think Ferrari) on top.

The AVIC-VH09CS is due to go on sale later this month. The bad news: It’s only available in Japan and comes in at $3,700.

[Source: Pioneer via CrunchGear]

Pioneer debuts first augmented reality navigation system originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 May 2011 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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San Francisco adopting demand-based parking system with pricing up to $18/hr?

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal

curb appall

Have you ever found yourself cursing at a parking meter because it wants $2.00 of your hard earned change? Residents of San Francisco do not feel your pain. A new demand-based system is getting ready to be tested, which, during certain special events, could drive the hourly parking rate up to $18.

That (insane) $18 charge will only occur when demand for parking is at a fevered pitch, such as it is during Fleet Week when the Navy’s in town. Normal charges, however, will range from a low of $0.25 per hour up to $6.

Sensors in the parking meters will monitor parking space availability, and hourly pricing will then be dictated according to the perceived demand. The project is called SF Park, and it’s currently funded to run for two years. Perhaps the name SF Gouge is more appropriate.

[Source: KTVU.com | Image: OrinRobertJohn/Flickr, CC 2.0]

San Francisco adopting demand-based parking system with pricing up to $18/hr? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Apr 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: LA police officers who alleged ticket quota system win $2M judgment

Filed under: Etc., Government/Legal, Safety

motorcycle policeman with radar gun

For the average motorist, dealing with law enforcement usually amounts trying to get out of a traffic citation. So it’s understandable that we sometimes are less than thrilled to see them on our roads. But keep in mind that the police are the first responders whenever there is trouble, and the men and women in blue are looking out for our best interests more than many of us realize.

Case in point? Los Angeles police officers Howard Chan and David Benioff sued the city for instituting a ticket quota system (we knew it!). According to the Los Angeles Times, the officers alleged that they were instructed to write up 18 tickets each per shift. And not just any ticket – we’re talking high-dollar offenses like blowing stop signs and other major moving violations.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the officers won their civil case by an 11-1 vote and were awarded a $2 million judgment due to a loss of reputation and work actions that resulted from the officers’ refusal to meet that quota. Gregory Smith, Benioff’s lawyer, says that he hopes the decision helps eradicate quotas, adding that the practice is “a direct violation of the vehicle code and this case was about these officers being asked to break the law.”

The city’s defense was that the department had broad goals for tickets, but only to improve safety and decrease fatalities. Former LAPD Commander Paul Kim tells a different story, testifying that weather, paramedic response times and the price of gas were more likely more significant reasons for traffic deaths. Hat tip to Bo!

[Source: Los Angeles Times | Image: Corbis]

Report: LA police officers who alleged ticket quota system win $2M judgment originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Apr 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Custom car audio system shreds phone books with sound

Filed under: Aftermarket, SUV, Etc., Technology, Videos, Chevrolet

Steve Meade Designs Tahoe

Steve Meade Designs’ phone book-shredding Chevrolet Tahoe – Click above to view videos after the jump

There’s ridiculous bass, and then there’s this madness. Steve Meade Designs is a custom car audio shop that specializes in the kind of audio systems that require 10 batteries and three alternators to run. This clip features Meade’s own 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe, and its compliment of four 18-inch subwoofers, backed by a total of 13 amps and 26 smaller speakers, including 10 6.5-inch mids, and 10 one-inch tweeters.

The result of all that firepower directed at four 18-inch woofers is a phone book-shredding bass attack. We don’t mean phone book-shredding in the figurative sense, either. As the videos after the jump clearly show (hint: fast-forward first video to 3:00), Steve Meade Designs has built a stereo system so powerful it can shred your average metropolitan phone book to bits in minutes. Just think about what it’ll do to your ear drums.

[Source: YouTube]

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Video: Custom car audio system shreds phone books with sound originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 21:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Filed under: Safety, Technology, Ford, Lincoln

Ford MyFord Touch dashboard

In 2010, Ford reinvented its SYNC system with the launch of the refreshed Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. But the new integrated system – MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch or what’s known as “SYNC generation 2” – has been plagued by more than a few bugs. And part of the problem is due to its design.

If one of its various functions trips up – navigation, phone or entertainment, among others – the system can restart. This can leave the driver faced with a blank display and a restart procedure that can take two to three minutes. Double bummer: It usually wipes out your paired phones and indexed music.

After talking with several colleagues who have experienced similar issues (including one where the volume was stuck on max while the A/C continued to blow cold air in 42-degree weather) and experiencing these issues first hand for ourselves, we called up Ford’s Head of Technology Communications, Alan Hall, and got on the phone with one of the Blue Oval’s engineers to see what’s causing the issues and how the automaker is addressing them.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start

*UPDATE: Official statement from Ford added after the jump.

Continue reading Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE

Ford’s second-gen SYNC system off to a buggy start *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Nelly shows off Ford Explorer audio system, commercial director adds unnecessary zazz

Filed under: SUV, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Crossover, Ford, Celebrities, Humor

Nelly and the 2011 Ford Explorer

Nelly disapproves of back-up dancers and falling snow – Click above to watch video after the jump

The audio system in the 2011 Ford Explorer was created by Sony and features Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Technology being pumped through 12 speakers, including a subwoofer. The crisp-sounding system can pick up HD Radio channels and tag songs so you can buy them later with iTunes. Ford tapped multiple Grammy Award-winner Nelly to discuss the virtues of this setup.

Ford also got a hold of a director that thinks Nelly and the 2011 Ford Explorer are not enough to make a stand-out commercial. He decides to add some pizazz, and Nelly feels it’s not needed. The premise sounds iffy but the results are surprisingly hilarious. Check out the clip for yourself by clicking past the jump. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go brush up on our Country Grammar…

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Nelly shows off Ford Explorer audio system, commercial director adds unnecessary zazz

Video: Nelly shows off Ford Explorer audio system, commercial director adds unnecessary zazz originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Feb 2011 18:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NASCAR simplifies points system for 2011

Filed under: Motorsports

NASCAR racers

NASCAR is a simple sport to follow. The guy who finishes first wins and everyone else loses. The points competition that is used to determine the Sprint Cup champion is another matter altogether. We won’t even bother explaining how the old system worked (because we have no idea), but The Detroit Free Press reports that the new points system for 2011 will be a whole lot easier to comprehend.

The new points system goes like this: If you win the race you receive 43 points. If you finish in 43rd place you receive one point. Every driver in between receives points based on their order of finish. The system will still allow for bonuses, with the winner of the race receiving three points and any driver who leads an entire lap receives a point for each lap they’re out in front. A point will also be given to the driver who leads the most laps in any given race.

To keep race winners from walking away with massive point totals for one good race, NASCAR is capping points at 48 for any given race. Sounds easy enough to us, though it won’t necessarily make us any more likely to watch.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

NASCAR simplifies points system for 2011 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 28 Jan 2011 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volkswagen offering lockable sat-nav system abroad

Filed under: Etc., Europe, Volkswagen

Volkswagen Navi Lock

Volkswagen Navi Lock – Click above for high-res image gallery

Volkswagen has come up with an unconventional solution for a rash of navigation thefts afflicting Dutch vehicle owners. From what we can gather, thieves are particularly fond of the company’s RNS 310 and RNS 510 navigation systems, resulting in an apparent break-in epidemic. To help get the situation under control, VW is now offering its customers an RNS Navi Lock. The system locks a large metal plate over the entire navigation system, theoretically obscuring the hardware and making it more difficult to steal in the process. When owners are ready to use their nav screen, they simply unlock the plate using a key and go about their business.

The system is available for the Golf, Passat and CC in Europe, but it’s not exactly cheap. Buyers hoping to protect their precious navigation systems can expect to shell out around 219 euro for the armor plating. Pricey? Sure, but it’s likely less than the cost of repairing break-in damage and replacing the whole system.

Gallery: Volkswagen Navi Lock

[Source: Autoblog.nl]

Volkswagen offering lockable sat-nav system abroad originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Dec 2010 16:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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