Sharks with lasers are admittedly awesome, but of little practical value. Automobile headlamps, on the other hand, make for a much more worthwhile application, and it looks like BMW will be the first to answer the call. These will ultimately replace LED lighting and bring about several advantages over today's best and brightest headlights.
Go ahead and leave your mix tapes at home before you go test drive a new vehicle, they won't do you any good. According to a report in The New York Times, auto makers have finally moved on and there isn't a single 2011 model car that sports a factory-installed cassette player. The last model that did was a 2010 Lexus. Is time running out on the CD player too?
Most of the media attention having to do with electric vehicles has been shining on the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt as of late, and that can't be sitting well with Toyota. In fact, we know it isn't, as evidenced by a press release announcing the addition of two new Prius models, both of which will be unveiled at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
"In addition to the current third-generation Prius and Prius Plug-in vehicle (PHV), the first all-new addition to the Prius Family will debut along with a Prius concept vehicle," Toyota said.
No one seems to have any idea what Toyota has cooked up for its concept model, and of course Toyota isn't giving away any details. You won't have to wait long to find out, however, as the press conference will be held on January 10, 2011.
If you would have told us 10 years ago that cars would be capable of 93 miles per gallon within the next decade, we wouldn't have believed it. And if you told us today there's a car that can do exactly that, we still wouldn't believe it.
Yet that's exactly what Chevrolet is claiming. Stated in big, bold letters right there on the sticker, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Chevy Volt gets 93 MPG. So why don't we believe it? For the simple fact that the rating represents the Volt's battery-only mode when fully charged and for the first 35 miles only. 0_o
Once the battery is used up, unleaded gas will keep the Volt chugging along for another 344 miles at 37 MPG. Combine the two and the Volt gets 60 MPG, which isn't too bad, even if it isn't 93 MPG.
Talking and texting while driving has become such a hazard that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said there's been talk of installing devices in cars that would prevent mobile phones from working, The Daily Caller reports.
"There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that," LaHood said in an interview with MSNBC. "I think it will be done. I think the technology is there and I think you're going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones. We need to do a lot more if we're going to save lives."
These devices and the technology LaHood refers to would essentially scramble cell phone signals while a car is turned on, including passenger cell phones. How this would affect smartphones with things like GPS or the need to call 911 if you're in an accident isn't clear.
In response to the inevitable criticism that followed, LaHood sought to clear the air in a blog post.
"A story in The Daily Caller this morning inaccurately characterized my response to a question I was asked on MSNBC earlier this week, specifically about whether I believed we should employ a specific technology that would block cell phone signals in cars to prevent drivers from talking or texting behind the wheel," LaHood explains. "What I actually said was, 'There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that. A number of [cell technology innovators] came to our Distracted Driving Summit here in Washington and presented their technology, and that's one way. But you have to have good laws, you have to have good enforcement, and you have to have people take personal responsibility. That's the bottom line."
Kia motors is taking the idea of plug-and-play to a whole new level with the unveiling of its all-new electric concept car simply called "POP."
The POP concept looks like a toy but is all serious business when it comes to hugging trees. Kia claims the POP puts out zero emissions while in use, and can seat up to three people in a frame that measures a scant three meters (just under 10 feet) long.
That's all the details Kia is willing to share, at least for the time being. On September 30th, Kia will show off its concept car at the Paris Motor Show, in which "further information will be released." In the meantime, have a glance at the handful of rendered pics.
It's quickly becoming apparent that there's no limit to what Google Labs will concoct to make everyday life a little easier. The latest experiment is called "Open Spot," which is a free app intended to help Android users find free parking spaces.
There aren't any fancy GPS tricks or spy cameras hidden around town, and instead Open Spot relies on you, Joe Citizen, to tap the "Mark a Spot" button on the app when you leave your parking space. Other Android users within about a 1 mile radius will then see the open spot as designed by a red (just vacated), orange (vacated 5 minutes ago), or yellow (vacated 10 minutes ago) dot. And as an incentive, the more open spots you mark, the more "karma points" you're awarded.
So what happens when some jackass gets the bright idea to mark a bunch of spots as open even when they're not?
"We're watching for behavior that looks like a griefer spoofing parking spots," Google said. "We have a couple of mechanisms available to make sure someone can't leave a bunch of fake parking spots. If we see this happening we will take steps to fix it."
It's a neat idea, but one with limited utility until there are more Android users for something like to truly be effective.
Did your car really need new muffler bearings and was it actually low on blinker fluid, or did your mechanic take you for a ride? You may never know (we do - he took you for a ride). To help put your mind at ease (and maybe to get back at its staff for joining a union), Audi is test driving a new program called Audi Cam.
The way it works is when you drop off your Audi for repair, you end up tethered to your mechanic with a two-way radio and headset video camera. You're then whisked away to the waiting room, where you can watch your mechanic's every move and, for better or worse, communicate with him as he works, and vice versa.
Snarkiness aside, we can see where this would be useful, both for the mechanic and the customer. We can also see where it would be incredibly annoying, at least for the repair guy. Either way, Audi Cam so far is only available in Europe.
Dension has figured out a way to cram tens of thousands of Internet radio stations into your pocket with no one ever being the wiser. It's called the Webradio and it's no bigger than a USB thumb stick, but unlike your flash drive, the Webradio lives up to its name by loading your RadioTime presets, provided you sign up for a free RadioTime.com account. After you do, just pair the device with a 3G-enabled mobile phone and plug it into your car radio's USB port and you're ready to rock.
"RadioTime.com will provide our users with access to 30,000 AM/FM and Internet-only radio stations and 100,000 music, news, talk, sports and entertainment programs, and the Dension Webradio makes it so easy to listen to your favorites anywhere, from the living room to the driver's seat," said Bill Moore, founder and CEO, RadioTime, Inc. "You simply plug the Webradio into your computer to copy your RadioTime account in one step. No need to enter any codes or endure a registration process."
You can also connect the Webradio to your home stereo, not just your car's audio system. Stations appear as MP3 files, and you can browse, select, and listen to the stations just as if they were regular MP3 music files.