The Imitation Crib: Ford’s Baby Bed that feels like a Road Trip

Infants could soon be enjoying the lulling sensations of a car ride from the comfort of their home. Ford has created a crib – called the Max Motor Dreams – that imitates all the sensory input a baby receives on a peaceful drive, including street lights, engine noises, and small road bumps, to encourage sleep.

Each crib is equipped with speakers that play engine-like background noise, as well as LED lights that simulate the soft glow of nighttime lamp posts. The crib periodically vibrates to capture the feeling of an authentic car ride.

For pickier children, parents also have the option of using a trip-tracking app that perfectly replicates what their baby feels on their own car’s most frequent routes.

At this point in time, Ford has only constructed one Max Motor Dreams, which will be gifted to the winner of their latest contest for the Ford España. The company has not released any further information on the product.

Could this concept be the next trend in the mattress industry? It’s hard to say, but consumers may not be too opposed to the idea.



Basic Tire Maintenance How-To

basic-tire-maintenance-how-toTires are often the first line of defense for drivers and their passengers when the rubber meets the road. With an increase in new drivers hitting the highways every year, regular tire maintenance is a simple way to ensure safety. In 2016 more than 40,000 driving fatalities occurred in the United States reaching a peak for the first time after a decade.

Thankfully basic tire care is an easy way to get back in the driver’s seat when it comes to road safety. Checking the condition of your tires goes a long way toward preventing injuries, fatalities and unexpected repair or insurance costs and claims due to accidents from wear or tire blowout. One of the major causes of accidents is loss of control due to these two factors, which inhibit friction required to gain traction and orientation, such as in a hydroplaning scenario.

The first step to begin with is a visual inspection every once in a while, particularly after suspected or actual friction from road obstructions and chasms such as debris, curbs or deep potholes. One of the most important signs to check for is air pressure since occupant’s lives are literally riding on the air in the tires. During the course of 30 days tires lose an average of 1-2 psi. It only takes one under-inflated tire to cause a potentially life-threatening accident, but quick monthly checks can take mere minutes. Also, look for any protrusions or cuts. Insufficient air pressure or slight flat is an early indication of more serious internal damage.

Generally, tires need rotation every six months or 5 to 7,000 miles, but as with everything mentioned here, it’s wise to consult your Owner’s Manual for your specific vehicle. The importance of rotation is highlighted by the prevalence of front-wheel-drive manufacturing which causes a faster rate of wear to steering tires and less so for rear axel tires. Proper tire alignment is also a key to reducing operating costs often due to vibrations from irregular tread-wear. Before embarking on any extensive road trips it’s always best to put your trust in a reliable professional to conduct a more detailed full inspection that covers tire checks and more. At the very least, doing your own regular visual tire inspection can safe you time and money. It can also help by ensuring that you have more years left to travel life’s busy highways.


GM is launching its Super Cruise competitor for Tesla’s Autopilot in a Cadillac this fall

gm-is-launching-its-super-cruise-competitor-for-teslas-autopilot-in-a-cadillac-this-fallGet excited! GM is bringing its Super Cruise advanced automatic feature to enhance your highway driving after summer ends, debuting first in new version of the Cadillac CT6. Super Cruise has been worked on for a couple of years now and this semi-autonomous drive mode is ready for the road. Its release date had been delayed from 2016 to 2017 to allow engineers more time to make the system as safe as possible.

Super Cruises has a lot in common with Tesla’s Autopilot, which takes over during highway driving settings by maintaining lane position and change speed to match surrounding traffic. The new feature is only available on highways that meet specific criteria such as being a “divided limited access highway” with a defined off and on ramp according to the Verge. This system also makes sure you don’t fall asleep at the wheel while the feature is engaged with infrared cameras built into the steering wheel. The system will then play audio alerts and use a mounted light notification system.

There’s also another fail-safe measure used by GM. The vehicle will safely stop if it is unable to get the driver to respond to these alerts, which has also been implemented in Tesla’s Autopilot software. Much like Tesla’s offering as well, Super Cruise can be updated over-the-airwaves.

However, unlike Autopilot, GM decided to incorporate LiDAR data. Tesla opted not to use the high resolution laser detection tool in its vehicle and GM has followed suit. The cost and look of cars with this technology is simply too unappealing. However, GM has found a workaround. They are deploying a fleet of LiDAR mapping cars to thoroughly image highways and then pass the information along to the cars.

This option does not come standard, with a $2,500 upgrade price and with the potential of another $3,100 in additional expense if you opt to purchase a trim model that doesn’t cover the cost of the driver assist suite.

The launch of Super Cruise is very exciting, but this is the year Elon Musk has also pledged to field a first coast-to-coast of Tesla’ self-driving cars. In short, we are off to the races for who can field the first autonomous car.


A Brand New Durmax Engine is Coming from General Motors in 2017

In terms of pulling power, most consumer trucks being rolled off the assembly line today aren’t cranking out more torque and power than those diesel heavyweights we see in the streets.

Under the name Chevrolet, a major diesel brand that is used to fuel this action is of course coming from a Duramax and it’s getting a little upgrade to make it even more powerful for 2017. The 6.6L V8 is a total retool and upgrade compared to the last few versions and is said that it will offers drivers way more torque and power than ever before.

We have been told according to Diesel Army that this new powerhouse will deliver an SAE certified 445 horsepower, which comes alongside 910 pound-feet of torque. There is no doubt this will be an absolute monster to take care of whatever heavy duty job that happens to come your way. Or you could just rip up the highway instead.

Watch the video below to get a preview of the next generation of Duramax that promises to be an improvement in every way, including overall experience. It’s just a matter of time before you forget that it’s a diesel you are driving.


India Toyota Challenges Hyundai with Country’s Safest, Most Fuel-Efficient Car

india-toyotaIndia’s automobile buyers are in for a treat with Toyota’s new small car, claimed to be the country’s best in three categories: safety, fuel efficiency, and affordability. These features put Toyota on par with both Hyundai and Suzuki while the company simultaneously launches its new brand Daihatsu, a sufficient alternative for price-conscious customers.

This is excellent news for Toyota after the disappointing reception of its Etios series launch. The well-known Japanese company had hoped to make its mark in the automobile industry’s budget category with Etios, but its attempt went largely unnoticed. However, through Daihatsu, Toyota could truly make its mark within the car industry’s segment A/B.

The MD of Toyota Kirloskar, Akito Tachibana, stressed the importance of local market and affordability. He also stated that they would conduct research pertaining to customer expectations for each and every market in order to create the concept of the vehicle before the development process is started.

Tachibana has reportedly assigned the development team with the task of creating a purely hybrid car with high safety features. While the company develops the model, it also considers the possibility of introducing an SUV and compact MPV to the Indian market. Any new models Toyota constructs will appear only after April 2020, when official BS-VI regulations have been put into place.

Toyota has a lot on its plate as it is, but the company has structured plans to release small hybrid models in the near future as well. In 2017 or 2018, India will receive a Corolla hybrid option alongside a mid-size sedan, the latter of which will go head-to-head with the Hyundai Verna and Honda City. Until then, India awaits the introduction of several life-changing cars from one automobile company alone.


Trump’s Putting the Breaks on Fuel Efficiency

trumps-puttingPresident Trump announced his plan to make domestic American automotive manufacturing ‘Great Again’ by putting the breaks on fuel efficiency. Trump marveled at the proud history of domestic car manufacturing in a meeting with auto industry executives and union leaders earlier this year. He pledged to re-visit efforts to maintain fuel efficiency targets set in place by the former Obama administration by taking approximately another year to review the issue.

A midterm review will take place before new fuel efficiency standards are set in 2018.

He stated the details as part of a bigger picture for America to be “the car capital of the world again,” at the American Centre for Mobility. The announcement was made in Ypsilanti, Michigan on the outskirts of Detroit, which reigned for years as the former world’s pinnacle of automotive industry innovation and manufacturing.

There’s no telling how much mileage a promise to maintain fuel efficiency targets for vehicles will log to resurrect domestic American manufacturing. Obama originally billed his administration’s plan to reach Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) emissions targets no later than 2025 with a focus on combating climate change. CAFÉ aims to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks.

Trump’s critics assert he has put economic growth in the driver’s seat while many fear environmental focus will take a back seat and rules with a focus on lowering corporate emissions erode in stagnation. So far, the Trump administration has only vowed to get rid of “job-killing” regulations without identifying which ones specifically meet the criteria for elimination.

Chuck Schumer, Democrat Senate Minority Leader for New York took the criticism one step further by calling the roll back an ‘all-out assault’ on the progression of environmental policy such as a primary rule to reduce emissions for cars and trucks to 54.5 mpg by 2025, which is already a long way down the road.

Amid the delays to cut emissions, car sales dropped last year thanks to low gas prices that increased the demand for larger vehicles with more room and features.

The administration is listening to pressure in a letter from 12 leading manufacturers including the Detroit Three, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and VW asking for a roll back on the standard fuel targets already set by Obama. They say an already suffering domestic industry can’t afford to pay the cost of fuel efficiency at these unrealistically high standards.

A leading manufacturing executive took a more pointed approach to explaining the problem asserting that regulation standards set by Obama were littered with assumptions, incomplete analysis and failure to acknowledge and respond to evidence that does not support their conclusions.

Elaine Chao, Transportation secretary supported manufacturers and sees the curb on setting new standards this year to be a “win” for the American economy overall, the environment and consequently consumers considering the state of the industry.

Environmentalists disagree with her and believe that keeping to the current standards and pushing for more of the rules and standards to reduce CAFÉ emissions will prove effective by saving money and keeping fuel costs low in the future.


Uber promises to stop Greyballing

pexels-photoUber has added, that Greyball has played an extremely important role in the company’s processes, as it has been used for feature testing, marketing promotions, fraud prevention and to protect partners from harm.

Uber, as a $70 billion private company, has enjoyed an outstanding rise until recently. After having a very bad week, Uber has finally admitted, that “Greyball” was used to keep city regulators away, and promises to review its complete Greyball technology.

It has been previously reported, that allegedly, Uber officials remotely provided fake information on drivers to specific individuals. As an example, in 2014 a city regulator could not get an Uber as his app was Greyball-powered, making it possible for Uber to thwart city regulators.

Uber has added, that Greyball has played an extremely important role in the company’s processes, as it has been used for feature testing, marketing promotions, fraud prevention and to protect partners from harm. Therefore, it should be emphasized, that Greyball was never separately developed as an averting system, but to be able to block ride requests from users violating the company’s rules.

Joe Sullivan, the chief security officer at Uber stated in a blog post that it will take some time for the company to change configurations on Greyball. He also confirmed that they are prohibiting its use for blocking the various actions of local regulators. Sullivan has also promised to respond to the numerous inquiries that have been received by the company – numerous organizations requesting an explanation on the technology’s use – saying that they will deal with them, once they have finished their own internal review.

The Greyball scandal and the need for excessive retooling came at a difficult time for the company. The #DeleteUber campaign on social media, which was launched after a series of negative events, have already affected the company’s overall image. The previous charges from a former employee (sexism), and a lawsuit from Waymo over the technology used for self-driving cars‘ sensors – events that all contributed to the halt of Uber’s meteoric rise, where the Greyballing scandal seems like the next drop in the bucket. All these events have us wondering, what could come next? Never a dull moment with Uber!

Furthermore, Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, has announced that he will be looking for help to change his controversial leadership style and is looking for a chief operating officer. What is for sure, is that this challenging period will surely bring a change to Uber – either defining a new approach to the ride-handling giant’s success, or ending up with more Greyball-like cases in the near future.


Porsche, Lexus and Toyota Dominate J.D. Power Dependability Study

porsche-lexus-and-toyota-dominate-jd-power-dependability-studyAlthough Lexus and Porsche proved to be the dominant auto brands for having the least number of problems after three years of ownership, technology headaches continued to cause problems with the overall dependability ratings.

A new survey from the J.D. Power firm has revealed some very fascinating facts about these auto brands as well as many others.

On average, 2014 model owners reported one hundred and fifty issues per one hundred cars over the course of the last twelve months. This is up four from last year’s survey findings. Approximately twenty-three percent of the issues involved problematic tech, which can include an audio system, communications, infotainments, or navigation. Smartphones or similar devices refusing to pair up with the Bluetooth or something else is another major problem. Batteries that wore out permanently or prematurely, also proved to be an issue

What’s interesting is the fact that the ten best-selling models were also able to average the fewest range of problems. Buyers are becoming smarter and smarter when it comes to understanding what a poor dependability reputation means. What this leads to is the fact that automakers now have to work tirelessly to ensure standards. A poor dependability score can set a vehicle back to a significant degree.

Lexus and Porsche are presently tied for first with the fewest problems. Close behind, you have Toyota coming in third. Then you have Buick in fourth place. Hyundai established themselves as the most improved brand.

For now, Porsche and Lexus dominate the list. For dependability on all fronts, their vehicles currently offer consumers the best track record.


Is a Hellcat-Powered Grand Cherokee Coming to the NY Auto Show?

is-a-hellcat-powered-grandBoth Jeep and Dodge seem to be pretty committed to bringing their A-game to the competitive world of SUV power. The Challenger SRT Demon continues to tease the world at large, with everyone eagerly waiting for some more information from Dodge. Jeep seems to be committed to joining the fray, as it has now announced that a Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee is coming to the New York Auto Show!

The 707bhp and 650lb ft of the Hellcat is well worth keeping in mind. At this point, we don’t know if anything is going to be detuned by the time it makes its way to Jeep. At the moment, we only know that Chrysler has taken out a trademark on “Trackhawk.”

The name fits with the rest of the SUVs currently offered by Jeep. Furthermore, we have to appreciate the fact that if the Hellcat is indeed added to a new line of Grand Cherokee vehicles, we are talking about a considerable move upwards in power, compared to anything else Jeep currently has on the market in the realm of SUVs. For now, we can only speculate on what might happen next. The New York Auto Show will be held in April.


Muffler Shop Manager Creates Metal Menagerie

muffler-shop-manager-creates-metal-menagerieWhen we think about things like nuts, bolts, and pipes, or even an old muffler, we tend to associate these them with trash. You’re likely picturing these items sitting atop the dusty shelves of garages and shops, simply taking up space.

One manager of a muffler shop however, looked at these items with a vision. He saw the potential of using them to create fascinating works of art. Jeremy Sipe has started building some truly amazing creations. The results thus far have been extraordinary, generating a certain measure of celebrity for Sipe.

A man and dog sculpture, located just outside of Interstate Mufflers in Waynesboro, is a good example of Sipe’s work thus far. Using a welder and some old junk parts, Sipe was able to create the piece and set it up just outside his shop. The response has been overwhelming so far, with locals and others praising the piece for its uniqueness. Sipe mentioned in an interview that more often than not, his inspiration comes from seeing objects that resemble creatures.

At the moment, the man is just holding a flag however as time goes on, Sipe plans to create new items that his creation is going to be able to hold. For example, Sipe recently mentioned a desire to build a Star Wars lightsaber for his sculpture. Pleased with the attention that he has received thus far, Sipe has made it clear that he has no intentions to stop creating items from everyday objects as it feeds his creativity.