Report: Connected vehicle test granted another six months

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology

Vehicles equipped with dedicated short range communication systems, which features vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

The Department of Transportation and eight major automakers have spent a year testing vehicles equipped with dedicated short range communication (DSRC) systems in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but they have decided to extend the test for another six months, Automotive News reports.

With a focus on safety, DSRC is meant to reduce collisions using wifi-based vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems, which can alert drivers to red-light runners, blind intersections, vehicles in their blind spots, etc. DSRC-equipped vehicles have a multitude of alarms to alert drivers to danger, such as sirens, flashing lights or vibrating steering wheels or seats. The tests will help the DOT determine if the technology is ready for production, or if more research needs to be done.

As part of the test extension, the DOT and automakers will focus more heavily on DSRC with motorcycles and V2I communication. It is not mentioned which, if any, motorcycle manufacturers will be involved in the test. The DOT says that the six-month extension does not affect its plan to decide on the technology for light vehicles by the end of 2013, and heavy duty vehicles in 2014.

The test started last August with a fleet of nearly 3,000 vehicles from Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. The automakers came together to develop a standardized DSRC system through a group called the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership.

Connected vehicle test granted another six months originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Sep 2013 10:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Connected vehicle test granted another six months

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Technology

Vehicles equipped with dedicated short range communication systems, which features vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications.

The Department of Transportation and eight major automakers have spent a year testing vehicles equipped with dedicated short range communication (DSRC) systems in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but they have decided to extend the test for another six months, Automotive News reports.

With a focus on safety, DSRC is meant to reduce collisions using wifi-based vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication systems, which can alert drivers to red-light runners, blind intersections, vehicles in their blind spots, etc. DSRC-equipped vehicles have a multitude of alarms to alert drivers to danger, such as sirens, flashing lights or vibrating steering wheels or seats. The tests will help the DOT determine if the technology is ready for production, or if more research needs to be done.

As part of the test extension, the DOT and automakers will focus more heavily on DSRC with motorcycles and V2I communication. It is not mentioned which, if any, motorcycle manufacturers will be involved in the test. The DOT says that the six-month extension does not affect its plan to decide on the technology for light vehicles by the end of 2013, and heavy duty vehicles in 2014.

The test started last August with a fleet of nearly 3,000 vehicles from Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. The automakers came together to develop a standardized DSRC system through a group called the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership.

Connected vehicle test granted another six months originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 01 Sep 2013 10:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: EPA says fuel economy test for hybrids is accurate

Filed under: Hybrid, Government/Legal, Hatchback, Ford

EPA claims its hybrid vehicle tests remain accurate, but says Ford C-Max Hybrid exploited a loophole.

The EPA says it stands behind its fuel economy test for hybrid vehicles following controversy about the testing process after Ford C-Max Hybrid customers and automotive journalists alike struggled to achieve 47 miles per gallon, the advertised mpg number, Automotive News reports. Ford responded to the issue almost two weeks ago by claiming that a 1970s-era EPA general label rule was responsible for the inaccurate mileage numbers, rerating the C-Max Hybrid’s mpg numbers and offering customers rebates. Ford later said it didn’t overstate the C-Max Hybrid’s fuel economy and that it was surprised by the low numbers.

Ford technically didn’t do anything wrong because it was following the general label rule, but agency regulator Christopher Grundler says the automaker was exploiting a loophole when it came up with the hybrid C-Max numbers, and that the testing process remains accurate. The general label rule allows vehicles that use the same engine and transmission and are in the same weight class to share fuel economy numbers, but it doesn’t take into account other factors such as aerodynamic efficiency, which affects hybrids more drastically than non-hybrid vehicles. Ford originally used the Fusion Hybrid economy figures for the C-Max Hybrid and claimed the engineers didn’t realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did.

To address the increasingly commonplace practice of using the same powertrain in multiple applications, Grundler says, the EPA rules need to be changed so more car buyers are not mislead.

Toyota is standing with the EPA on this one after spurring a revision of test methods in 2006 after overstating Prius mileage numbers. Toyota said in a statement that it believes “the current labeling methodology established since 2006 provides appropriate fuel economy label values for customers, when automakers apply these rules with good common sense and engineering judgement.” And yes, that sounds like a well-aimed but somewhat ill-timed shot from Toyota to Ford to us, too…

EPA says fuel economy test for hybrids is accurate originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Crossover, Subaru

2014 Subaru Forester XT

Having aced the crash test from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earning the highest rating of Top Safety Pick+, the 2014 Subaru Forester headed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a date with destruction. In the barrage of NHTSA tests, the new Forester met similar results as it did with the IIHS, earning a five-star overall crash rating.

Comparing these number to the previous model, which carried a four-star rating in all areas, the new Forester did much better in the side-impact test to earn a full five stars; frontal and rollover ratings were still at four stars like the old model, but the improved side crashworthiness was enough to gain the NHTSA’s highest overall rating. The frontal impact video is posted below, but all the various test videos can be seen on NHTSA’s website.

Continue reading 2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video]

2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Followup: NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Tesla, Electric, Luxury

Tesla Model S after crash frontal crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraion

In response to Tesla’s claim that the Model S is the safest car ever tested, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a statement clearing up how it rates cars. While not denying that the Model S is a very safe car, the agency said that its rating system is only between one and five stars – nothing higher and nothing lower.

This means that, unlike honors classes in college and high school, there is no way to score above the highest rating, and Tesla says that it received a 5.4-star rating (although there is no indication where it got this information). Also, NHTSA made no mention of any broken equipment it suffered while testing the Model S; another claim made by Tesla. Scroll down for the Model S crash video courtesy of ABC News as well as NHTSA’s brief statement.

Continue reading NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video]

NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch MT test the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Videos, Chevrolet, GM

2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 handling test - video screencap

We’re (patiently) waiting for our first chance to drive the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, but it appears Generous Motors have given some other publications the opportunity to test the new car early, including the fine folks at Motor Trend.

For its latest episode of Ignition, MT puts the new Chevrolet flagship through its paces on the track, including a 0-60 run, figure-eight, quarter-mile sprint, 60-0 braking and lateral acceleration test. Additionally, the Vette is taken out on to public roads and is given the full review treatment in high-definition video glory. We won’t spoil all of the details for you – scroll down below to check out this Motor Trend video for yourself.

Continue reading Watch MT test the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51

Watch MT test the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Z51 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Tesla buys test track adjacent to its factory

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Tesla

Tesla executives - including Elon Musk - walk away from newly purchased NUMMI plant with Roadster in foreground

Two months ago, Tesla hired Chris Porritt to be the vice president of its vehicle engineering program. Tesla’s purchase last week of a 35-acre parcel abutting its factory in Fremont, California will give Porritt, formerly the boss of Aston Martin’s Vehicle Engineering team (he’s the father of the One-77 supercar), at least a portion of a test track where he can challenge and hone the EVs of the future.

The land was part of a parcel of more than 160 acres that had been owned by the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., the former joint venture factory built by General Motors and Toyota. When NUMMI (shown above) closed, the land was bought by Union Pacific Railroad, which sold the lot to Tesla.

While Tesla hasn’t laid out its plans, we’re guessing they’ll eventually expand the track as the factory footprint grows; CEO Elon Musk has said Model S production could equal 800 cars per week by the end of next year. As for Porritt, from his new base in Fremont and with that new test track, he’ll oversee further development of the Model S and the birth of the Model X, Roadster successor and the “affordable Tesla” due by 2017.

Tesla buys test track adjacent to its factory originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Work, Ram

Vehicles that perform well in road tests by some of the most popular automotive publications, such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Automobile, don’t always score well in in Consumer Reports’ more regimented, practical test procedures, so the Ram 1500’s climb to the top of CR‘s scoreboard is a boon for the well-received pickup truck, which CR also put on its “recommended” list.

To start off with, the freshened 2013 Ram 1500 has a lighter, stiffer chassis than before, and the four-wheel-drive Crew Cab that CR bought and tested performed flawlessly and achieved class-leading fuel economy (15 miles per gallon) with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 – the most popular engine choice for the 1500 – and the new eight-speed automatic transmission. The unique-in-its-class rear coil spring setup endowed the truck with “one of the best rides of any pickup,” CR reports. That helped it earn its class-leading road-test score of 78, well ahead of the nearest competition still in production, the Toyota Tundra (69) and the Ford F-150 (68). It’s worth noting, however, that the Chevrolet Avalanche outscores the 1500 by two points (80), but production of that vehicle ends after the current 2013 model year.

About the only things the publication could find wrong with the truck were a heavy tailgate and a high step up into the cabin. Get ready for the next round later this summer when CR is finished testing the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado, which is doing well so far in the publication’s tests.

To see what we think of the 1500, head over to our First Drive review of the Ram 1500 SLT with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6, and feel free to take a look at the Consumer Reports press release below.

Continue reading Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test

Ram 1500 wins Consumer Reports fullsize truck test originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Read This: PickupTrucks.com’s latest test results in a familiar winner [w/video]

Filed under: Car Buying, Truck, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan, Toyota, Ram

2013 PickupTrucks.com Light Duty Challenge

PickupTrucks.com has gone and thrown the latest batch of half-ton pickups into a cage match to see who would come out on top. The site put the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, 2013 Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan through a battery of tests. Those included 0-60 miles per hour acceleration, 60-0 mph deceleration, fuel economy, a hill climb, and payload and towing. They even threw the rigs on an autocross course to evaluate overall handling. Each truck was given points based on how it scored in each evaluation.

Who came out on top? Somewhat surprisingly, the 2013 Ford F-150 walked away with the gold, though fewer than 50 points separated first and fourth place. Head over to PickupTrucks.com to read the full evaluation and the final results. You may be shocked to see exactly where some of the segment’s newest additions placed. You can also watch a video on the test below.

Continue reading PickupTrucks.com’s latest test results in a familiar winner [w/video]

PickupTrucks.com’s latest test results in a familiar winner [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Ford using robot drivers to test durability [w/video]

Filed under: Minivan/Van, Safety, Technology, Work, Ford

In testing the durability of its upcoming fullsize Transit vans, Ford has begun using autonomous robotic technology to pilot vehicles through the punishing courses of its Michigan Proving Grounds test facility. The autonomous tech allows Ford to run more durability tests in a single day than it could with human drivers, as well as create even more challenging tests that wouldn’t be safe to run with a human behind the wheel.

The technology being used was developed by Utah-based Autonomous Solutions, and isn’t quite like the totally autonomous vehicles being developed by companies like Google and Audi for use out in the real world. Rather, Ford’s autonomous test vehicles follow a pre-programmed course and their position is tracked via GPS and cameras that are being monitored from a central control room. Though the route is predetermined, the robotic control module operates the steering, acceleration and braking to keep the vehicle on course as it drives over broken concrete, cobblestones, metal grates, rough gravel, mud pits and oversize speed bumps.

Scroll down to watch the robotic drivers in action, though be warned that you’re headed for disappointment if you expect to see a Centurion behind the wheel (nerd alert!). The setup looks more like a Mythbusters experiment than a scene from Battlestar Galactica.

Continue reading Ford using robot drivers to test durability [w/video]

Ford using robot drivers to test durability [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 16 Jun 2013 15:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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