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The Wired Car

Detroit wants to turn your car into a rolling internet connection. We’ll look at cars as the web on wheels.

The Audi R8 GT is displayed on the floor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP)

The Audi R8 GT is displayed on the floor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP)

You may think your car has enough bells and whistles. Detroit and the rest of the auto-making world do not. The Detroit Auto Show this week is brimming with roll-outs and announcements and hints of a super high tech future for cars.

Cars that are one with the Internet and GPS and your home computer and the e-cosmos in the cloud. Cars that watch the road, watch you, watch your Facebook page, your heart rate, your smart phone. Cars that watch each other, like a flock of birds.

This hour, On Point: Ready or not, cars that are the “web on wheels,” and more.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com.

Hiawatha Bray, tech reporter and columnist for the Boston Globe.

Doug Newcomb, senior editor of the Technology section at Edmunds.com.

Jim Buczkowski, director of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford Motor Company.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Boston Globe “Coming soon to a garage near you is a car that will download your work schedule and trigger your alarm clock. By the time you get behind the wheel, the car will have analyzed the morning’s traffic and weather and calculated the best route to get you to the office on time. You won’t even have to touch the radio – it’s already playing the same station you were listening to in the house. And as you pull away, it will shut the garage door and turn off the lights.”

Smithsonian Innovations “CES brings its own kind of decadence to Sin City, one that cranks up consumption by making the gadgets you got last month already feel retro. But it also has been the event where we’ve taken our first looks at tech that quickly moved into our daily lives–the VCR in 1970, the camcorder and CD player in 1981, DVRs and high-definition TVs in 1998.”

Automobile Magazine “The Ford Evos concept will never go on sale, but it’s still a very important vehicle. This concept car, which debuts on Ford’s stand at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is designed as a way for the Blue Oval’s designers and engineers to showcase future Ford styling and technology trends.”

Video: Ford’s Car Of The Future

This eight-minute video produced by Ford shows the Evos, their vision of the car of the future, which is connected to the internet and capable of adapting to your daily routine.

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  • Jasonspitalnik

    Please make more than a mention about Tesla and Elon Musk as the fuel/pressure for this movement. 

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  • Yar

    Wouldn’t be much better to get on a train with all the latest technology and have a stripped down car for those last couple of miles to the house.  We spend way too much of our GDP on transportation, and we are killing each other in the process.  About 115 people are killed on our highways every day.  http://www.car-accidents.com/  Cars are safer than ever but we are way more distracted.  We have to change our priorities, and find a better way to get around.

    • Ellen Dibble

      It is my understanding that if you are on a train or on a bus, you can still access the internet, and you can actually use it without driving off the road.  ”Leave the driving to us.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000079713373 Jeff Seelig

    I’m disappointed by how difficult it has become to find a new car with no internet, luxury options, or nanny safety features.
    I love my crank windows and manual transmission; which have both gone the way of the cassette tape. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      I still drive stick shift. if you want a good car try Mitsubishi Lancer 2008 and up.  I have one and it’s very very rugged.

      • Tina

        I heard that it is very hard to find a stick shift car!  Yikes!  They are the best solution for driving in Black Ice, which many parts of the country have to maneuver thru!  Yes, what we NEED will get increasingly hard to get, as the huge corporations give us extras that force us to spend more — or, maybe THIS is it — BORROW MORE!!! Is there more money to be made from the loan than even from the cost of the car, so UP the cost of the car, and you increase, NOT JUST THE PROFIT, but the INTEREST ON THE CAR LOAN THE BUYER TOOK OUT!!!  Now, I would like to know:  AT WHAT RATE are these two DIFFERENT MEANS OF MAKING MONEY TAXED:  profit; interest paid to corporations on the loans they made for customers?  I think we need to look “around the corner” to see what is really going on.  I don’t believe that it is just that electronic genius is here and playing in the field.  The businessmen in the corporations would say what I said earlier:  how are jobless people going to afford these new products?  Maybe, the money to be made on the car loans is worth so much more than mere profits, and maybe there is a tax advantage (I say “maybe” because I do NOT know) that they are proceeding in the manner I suggested, above.  Can anyone tell me if I’m onto something; and can anyone answer my question about which is taxed at a higher rate (profits or interest paid).  Thanks!!

        • BHA in Vermont

          I DO NOT EVER want to own another car that shifts. Not manually, not automatically. Nothing better than the smooth acceleration/deceleration of the “doesn’t shift because it can’t” planetary gear transmission in the Prius.

          • Tina

            BHA in Vermont, Hi!  How does the Prius handle on black ice?  Is there an equivalent to the down-shifting of manual transmission that lets you stop on ice, rather than just relying on your brakes which, of course, can cause you to skid on ice, especially nearly invisible black ice?  Thanks!

    • nj

      Everything costs more to repair now—$2xx-dollar window motors, expensive headlight modules instead of a $15 bulb, etc.

      And the days of DIY repair are pretty much over. I rebuilt the engine of a 1980 Honda in my driveway, and even switched engines in a mini van, but now, everything is computerized with black boxes that require specialized equipment to set and diagnose.

      It’s all a plot to further separate us from the essentials of our lives and take more money from us.

  • AC

    i thought ford was looking at intelligent transportation systems for the future…..

  • JustSayin

    What no toilet built into the seat? How about a foot massaging gas pedal, and three tv’s built into the windshield, and a keyboard on the steering wheel for working on the way to the office, and maybe a popup deep fryer if you want to make your own doughnuts.

    Homer Simpson beat them to it: http://vimeo.com/23193145

    People are already doing everything but driving when they should just be driving. I like technology, and I know this is a concept car, but…

    I remember when everyone’s refrigerators and toasters were going to be connected to the internet for reasons that were considered absolutely necessary to designers at the time.

    I can see an additional $4K being added to the cars with all this rube Goldberg junk, and $1000 to all the cars that don’t have it. IMO cars are already have too much wasted tech in them.

    No consideration given to irreverent repair costs… Will the Car Talk guys have to field questions on why a car isn’t updating my alarm clock, or a mechanic giving you a $3500 repair bill to fix the cloud connection?

    Do I want employers, insurance companies, and thieves knowing where my car is?  

    What next.. a cloud connection for my chain saw? Just because we can do something, doesn’t really mean we should.

    • AC

      i think the goal is eventually to just be able to get into the car & not drive –
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_driverless_car
       
      hopefully on a share/pool system too; like turning highways into subways.
      finally, that nincompoop driving like a maniac and cutting everyone off won’t be a danger!!!
      or even better – it blows my mind to see multiple drivers tailgating one another at 70mph+. then wonder why we have 16 car pile-ups. it’s like they never took a physics class in their life!!!!

      • JustSayin

        Yeah, 70+ mph and just feet apart, is the he DC beltway. I was never as tense as I was driving there. Try to leave the correct spacing and the driving gets even more hazardous.

        It has been proposed that if all cars (and it would have to be ALL Cars at some point) were being controlled by computers, then the windows would have to be blacked out to avoid psychological shock (particularly at intersections) .

        I think everyone would love to take the human out of the loop, but that will be a massive technological task even without environmental variables, such as snow, road debris, and signal loss.

    • Jasonspitalnik

      All Homer was missing was the car driving it self!  Thanks for the post.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I AGREE!!  Bells, Whistles, and HORSEPOWER!  That’s what they’ve been selling!  ARE selling!  WILL sell!
          ACTUAL mpg increases, is the goal they have been avoiding for decades!  The technology was there decades ago!

    • Tina

      So funny!  (cloud connection for your chain saw!!!)

    • Ellen Dibble

      Say you have a traveling salesman who gets paid commission on sales, or you have an expert consultant who gets paid by the hour, wouldn’t you rather have their time be productive?  Not just pay them for driving, which even a robot-car could be doing for them?  To me, certain people in certain professions, people paid by the hour, especially, for whom traveling is a lot of their time, really need this.   In the interests of productivity, wouldn’t you want those being paid to work to actually be exercising their expertise?  Of course, if there were trains and buses going the same routes, they could use that.  

  • Jasonspitalnik

    In time, don’t you think cars will be self driving, at least on the highways, due to the ever increasing accuracy of GPS, Lane Keeping Assist and bumper sensors?  The car will end up becoming a mobile living room where the steering wheel will retract the driver seat will swivel.  Let the socializing begin!  I am 38 and I think this can happen in my life time.  The way technology is exponentially increasing, it does not seem like a far stretch.  The technology is there, it just needs to get cheaper, better, faster and more accurate. 

    • AC

      driverless car – i totally agree

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      that’s techonolgy is still an infant. Ford has only started using it but only to park cars and their on board SYNC techonolgy. In order to have a driverless car the highways or roads should have wire grid to exhange information with the car.

      Mitsubishi has been testing it on their cars and you can actually drive it on line.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You can drive an X-wing fighter online, or in a game too!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          I meant A REAL CAR. Did you see the commercial on TV?

    • BHA in Vermont

      I would not at ALL like to have the car driven by GPS. It is NOT guaranteed to be available and is NOT guaranteed accurate.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Electric or Hybrid cars has a long way to go. Especially ELECTRIC CARS are very dangerous according to auto technicians that I talked to.

    The Chevy Volt has a major problem on their electrical system that causes fire. I think it’s a Karma after They Killed The Electrical Cars in the 90s in California.

    Honda and Toyota Hybrid cars are very slow 98 to 120 horsepower and Doesn’t really save on gas.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      you are better off driving a gas car that can go 40 miles on a gallon which is the same with Hybrid cars.

      • Modavations

        All the deisel Audis,Vw,BMWs,ect,all over Europe, get 45 mphish

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          That’s what I mean diesel or gas can go head to head on mileage with Hybrid cars.

        • AC

          my husband is a car enthusiast – he loves those VW diesels

          • Modavations

            We’re speaking the new Diesel.They were so silent the EU made them put in artificial noise because perople were steeping into the street and getting run over,.I hate to say it,but to you advocates of the Diety of Giai,you can’t beat the combustion engine,just get more mileage out of it.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            I know the TDi diesel of VW. they cleaner than the old diesel engine. test drive the Tesla electric car super roadster.

          • Anonymous

            The combustion engine could have been designed to get 40 to 50 miles a gallon years ago.
            The new diesels are not so new in terms of how long they have been in production in Germany. If I’m not mistaken they had these about 5 years ago or more.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            If your husband watch Speed Channel. He might have seen the TDI race with famous people driving the VW diesel race cars. the funny part is that those drivers drive like crazy.

          • AC

            my stepdad was a hydroplane racer and my husband did motorcross; i’m used to crazy drivers – hence why i’m so cautious…..

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            You must have an exciting family.

          • AC

            that depends on your idea of exciting. the 2 of them spent our entire aniversary in my stepdad’s garage……personally, i find a motor only interesting for a very short period……

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Excitement seeing your husband race MX

        • Terry Tree Tree

          If you try to import one, it will stay IMPOUNDED at the port!  Yet, lower-mileage vehicles are imported by the MILLIONS!

        • BHA in Vermont

          Only “EPA highway”. They are still relatively poor in the low to mid 20′s range on the “EPA city” tests.

          Plus, at least where I live, diesel is ~40 cents more per gallon than regular gas. Not much savings there.

          Thanks, but I’ll stick with the 2004 Prius I’ve had for 7+ years which has averaged 49+ MPG for its 119,000 miles.  And before all the no nothings start typing – ZERO problems with any part of the hybrid system. Repaired NOTHING, replaced ONLY the 12V battery, muffler, one wheel bearing, headlights and assorted other small lights. Most of these were in the 90,000 miles range.

          I can’t even get down to low 20s no matter what I do. I guess I could just turn it on and leave it in Park and wait for it to run out of gas. That would take a REALLY LONG time though as the engine would only run to charge the big battery every once in a while.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Tesla roadster goes over 200 miles WITHOUT a gallon of gas!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        We are talking about affordable Hybrid cars.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You mentioned Chevy Volt?

  • Modavations

    All I want is a 2 door Acura Integra,with a killer stereo.The Air France jet that went down when flying from Rio,was because of over complication on the new “monster Jets(my opinion).I saw Wazniak(?) on C-Span one day,during the Toyota,call backs.He said,the gas peddle wasn’t sticking,it was a soft ware mal-function, in the computers.Fred Flinstone had it right.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      You are lucky guy the 2015 Acura NSX will be back in America and it is a Hybrid all wheel drive technology.

      Wozniak was right it was a Toyota computer problem because he almost had an accident when he put his car on Cruise Control and he turned it off but the car Cruise control won’t work. Remember that Chinese guy in Texas that killed an entire family in another car while he was driving his families to church? He said the car won’t stop when he stepped on the brakes and he was released after years in jail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    This seems really cool and all but don’t we already have serious problems with distracted driving in this country? How is adding the ability to check Facebook, post to YouTube, or find a recipe for fried chicken from my vehicle going to help this? I’d rather have a safer, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicle thanks.

    • AC

      you’re right, they should probably work on the ‘driverless’ part a little more 1st. but i think asking for dinner ideas and hearing a few is perfectly ok? although my blackberry never understands me. my iphone tho, is way better….

    • JustSayin

      Agreed, why can’t they engineer an economical self inflating tire system for every car. Only the military, and commercial vehicles have this safety and energy saving technology. A loss of 2 lbs of pressure makes the engine work 10% harder.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Ford’s new cars are very good on gas mileage. They even talk to you when your bored and 80% of Ford parts are Made In America.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    IBM is developing a better batteries for hybrid cars check this site on Auto Blog. http://www.autoblog.com/

    Auto Blog is the best site to know about cars.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The big auto makers STILL haven’t made a car wired to a Wind-Turbine, or Solar Array, that gets reasonable range on a charge, and a quick charge! 
         How much information do they need about us, than where we break-down due to cheap foreign parts, or when there’s a wreck, and emergency services are needed? 
        Tesla roadsters have been on the market for over five years!  Made by a START-UP!!   Big auto makers spend more on executive pay and benefits, than Tesla Motors is worth!  Yet the big auto makers CAN’T make a MUCH BETTER vehicle?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      For Real. Chevy did it before on EV1 but they killed the project and now they are paying for their stupidity even asked for a Bail Out and we paid for their demise except for FORD.

    • Anonymous

      I think Tesla went bankrupt. 

      • BHA in Vermont

        Wrong. Tesla is alive and kicking. Working on the Model S – a high end sports sedan that seats 7 if you could the children sized rear facing seat.

        • BHA in Vermont

          could should be count

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            What is Great about Tesla is that it’s American Made.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Roadster body was Lotus Elise, made in GB.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            The body is design by Lotus not made by Lotus

          • BHA in Vermont

            Yep, too bad they are running in the luxury market. I’d rather see a mid $30K Tesla sedan. But I understand why – SMALL company, can’t make money on lower priced, high volume cars. Hopefully their technology will make it to the main stream manufacturing plants in VOLUME.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Model ‘S’ price is about $60,000, last I saw.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        If you test drive a Ferrari or Lambo THEY ARE VERY NOISY because of the v12 engine they carry and the gas mileage is horrible but

        Ferrari and Lambo are now making Hybrid sport cars. pls. check Auto Blog and Tesla is faster than a Ferrari and greener than a Prius with a tag price of $100,000

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Tesla Roadster beat Lamborghini Gallardo off the line, and has a HIGHER top speed!  Tesla cost 1/3 of Gallardo!  PLUS over 200 miles-per-charge!
           I was referring to Wind-Turbines and Solar Arrays, at home, and work. 
           A car was run off an integrated wind turbine, a few years ago, in a Popular Science article.

  • SnowWhite

    In a way, this may be a blessing.
    We always listen to NPR/WBUR and there are certain topics that NPR would not touch (as part of the cover-up); so, we can be better informed while we are driving, since we will be connected to the internet.
    Here is the best example:
    http://www.HumanGenome.org/FBI

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    1 hour car commercial :-( I’ll check back in tomorrow.

  • BHA in Vermont

    The LAST thing we need is the ability to access/update your Facebook page from your car. What a worthless and dangerous waste of time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Would I trust a computer driven car made in Detroit?   No.

    • Ray in Johnson

      I wouldn’t trust a computer driven car made anywhere.

  • Tina

    Hello, Detroit!?  Shooting yourselves in the foot as a Business Strategy?  People don’t have jobs, how are they going to afford all these extras?

    As a person whose cancer causes her bones to break, I do NOT appreciate any additional distractions being added for the other drivers sharing the road!  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Hang in there with the cancer, Lady!

      • Tina

        Terry Tree Tree!  Thank you VERY much!  I just got some bad news today, but we’ll see.  They’ve kept me alive for a miraculous amount of years so far!  I must say that listening to this show and others on NPR helps keep me energized and distracted in a very intelligent way!  This forum is fabulous, too, for taking me into other people’s ways of thinking, which broadens my own!  Thank you!  (Hope you get this, I’m writing a day later, I think.)

  • PaulCJr

    I can see all these new tech feature being just one more distraction for an already distracted American driver. Americans need less distraction behind the wheel than more. I can’t tell you how many time people almost hit me because they were on the phone or texting. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    100 MILLION lines of code in each luxury car?  It only takes 1 bit WRONG, to cause HAVOC!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I certainly hope that this internet connection is not subject to the vagaries that, for instance, my computer is.  There are days, yesterday for instance, when it takes about five hours for various updates to get in place.  Either it takes two hours to boot, molasses time to function, or time and critical choices to let it update, and then you have to stop right now and reboot.   Feature what the Iranians would do with that kind of vulnerability.  How many American cars likely to be swerving all over the place…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Are they making an easy Driver Over-ride?
         Sorry to hear about your computer problems!   Do you have a decent Security Program in place and updated?  Sounds like you have Mal-Ware.

      • Tina

        And, Ellen, you probably know about Disk Utility and repairing permissions, but a lot of my friends don’t know about taking care of that regularly, especially when the computer is acting sluggishly.  That’s about as much as I know about D.U. or computers in general, but maybe this will help.  I’ve gathered that you know much more than I do about computers, so maybe you’re already aware of this.  Hi, by the way!

    • Beez

      Or how “the Americans” would use it against “the Iranians”

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    It’s a double-edged sword – While it’s nice to have car that gets great mileage, avoid collisions, monitor vehicle status, driver alertness, etc. But, at the same time,  it’s letting drivers not focus on the task at hand: DRIVING.  I’m also not sure I want to a vehicle that can be hacked into, show anyone and everyone where I am unless I say otherwise; and I’ve seen cars not be able to run because of some trivial issues even a loose gas cap, and cost an owner big bucks because a chip got fried from a bad jump-start.
     
    There are still people that put on cruise control and wonder why they wrecked when they thought it would drive itself while they occupied themselves with some other task.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Can’t fix Stupid?

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        The stories you can get from cops and insurance people!… LOL 

  • Phil, West Des Moines, IA

    There’s an old funny story around the web comparing reliability of cars and computers. For shear dependability, cars won. Merging the two may give new meaning to the “blue screen of death.”

  • SnowWhite

    How about having the third brake light (rear window) colored “BLUE” … Da!   Instead of red …. when you see a sea of red lights, you have to pay attention are they red light (moving traffic) or brighter red (stopped traffic)
    Did we run out of colors and have both of the opposite modes in the same color.  Just does not make sense.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      You can’t use Blue color on cars. Why? Because it use by Police or State cruisers. They will pull you over for having a Blue brake light and Blue brake light can cost Irritability try staring on a Blue dash board for awhile it will give headaches. Orange and Green are still the best color lights for cars.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Would be a problem (and illegal) in states like Vermont where the cops’ flashing lights are BLUE!.

    • Tina

      I’d like to see an additional light which allows you to signal to the driver behind you to stop tailgating!!!  Without such a light, I put on my flashers briefly, which sometimes works, but which is not really a clear and direct statement about tailgating.  I’m not even sure if I may be misusing the flashers in an illegal way, especially if I am doing the speed limit rather than driving slower than the limit.  

  • Mgreendale

    In order to monitor people’s use of their in-car technology and protect them and others from harm, we can expect that police cars will be outfitted to collect data on what we are doing. So every move, every conversation, every appointment in our calendars will be available to security forces of some sort. This sounds like the most egregious police state imagineable to me.

  • RD

    Do I want Toyota to watch for my safety? guess not.

    Today’s cars already have computer/programmable chips on-board – think ABS, Traction Control and more. I have read somewhere that these computers can be easily hacked – consequences can be really bad.

    Connected cars – I love the idea – I just want pentagon-grade firewall to ensure that nobody can hack in to my car system.

    Hackers are always 1-step ahead of security experts, just saying.

    • ebw343

      I’ve told people that I’m glad my Toyota has a manual transmission so I can hit the brakes and clutch at the same time, leaving one hand free for the steering and the other hand free for the Rosary.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Counting on Roman Child-Molesting, Child-Abusing church to save you?

      • TFRX

        Rosary?

        Safety-consciousness demands you have a plastic Jesus in an out-of-impact place where you could see it without removing your eyes from the road.

  • Chris

    I don’t want an entertainment center with wheels with all this technology; I want the technology to make the car and the driving experience safer.

  • MarkVII88

    In Chittenden County Vermont, there is a young woman who’s getting the book thrown at her by law enforcement for severely injuring a pedestrian because she was texting while driving.  How can all these technologies be safely integrated into a vehicle to increase motorist/pedestrian safety while realizing all the convenience benefits your guests tout?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Yep, that girl’s life went from new High School graduate straight to he11. Everyone thinks they are the BEST of drivers and can safely talk on their phone or text.

      She MIGHT have escaped this were the accident not at night or the lady and her dog weren’t all but invisible, walking on the “wrong” side of the road. I suspect those last 2 facts are all that will save the girl from getting the MAX sentence.

      People walking just don’t recognize how INVISIBLE they are. THEY can see but don’t think about how they can’t be SEEN.  I had a similar “near miss’ just last week. Lady in a VERY dark coat and pants crossed the road in front of me, not near a street light – probably about 100′ away when she started across. Good thing:
      1) I was doing ~ 20 MPH (and NOT texting or on the phone)
      2) The dog was light colored AND on a leash, I saw it before I saw her. I probably wouldn’t have hit her even if the dog were black but I hit the brakes hard enough as it was thank you very much.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Scary especially in Boston when pedestrians just bolted out from NOWHERE.

  • DC Denizen

    Americans seem to be spending so much time in their cars and they want everything in their cars that they have at home AND do everything that they would do in their cars, why not just take it to its logical conclusion.  Let’s get rid of our cars and we’ll all live in trailers and RVs.  That way we’re just driving our cars.  Now you won’t have to hear “Dad, are we there yet?”  You’re always “there”.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    For me the best Hybrid car this year is the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid car with 6 speed automatic tranny and 206 horsepower. it can match a BMW 3 series in horsepower.

  • Terrance Gallogly

    All of this new technology is going to significantly increase the costs of fixing any car issues. Auto repair is already expensive, this will just make it even more expensive.

  • Ellen Dibble

    As a bicycle rider in a bicycle-friendly city, I am certainly hoping the riders keep their eyes peeled for bicyclists, regardless of what the sensors detect.  Or if I’m on foot.

    • TFRX

      As a teen, when insurance was going to be 3x the cost of my car, I took a motorcycle on the road.
       
      Once licensed for autos, I was a much better driver because of it, and it’s something that never goes away.

  • BAS

    It’s a good thing there are infinite earth resources to mine for these vital developments for the ever expanding driving population.  

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    What happens when the cops use it to nail people?  They already use the Express Passes to issue tickets if they see you reach a toll booth before their calculations say you should have.

  • MarkVII88

    How will all these networked auto enhancements alleviate common driver frustrations like other drivers who don’t signal before turning and those driving below the speed limit on dry roads?

    • TFRX

      If some softwaregodinthesky will keep Maxxholes* from treating the sidewalk and the breakdown lane as “passing zones”, there is some merit to it.

      (*A euphemism.)

  • CArmstrong

    I understand that the younger generation wants all this connection, but I drive to get places and to enjoy the road.  All I want is a comfortable seat, cruise control and a great system that delivers the music.  When I hit the road it’s sheer relaxation because I can ignore my phone and just enjoy the scenery.  If they try to plug me in while I’m trying to relax then that ruins it for me.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Invasion of privacy.  The caller has a point.  Now that Facebook puts forth the idea that of course you post your birthday on line, and if you want your location on line, it seems to me GPS is somehow involved; they prompt me that Google wants to know my location.  I’d like to say New England or Massachusetts, which is unacceptable.  If I’m traveling in a car, my location will be tracking me exactly as if I’m a terrorist.  Hmm.

    • Ray in Johnson

      Tracking and privacy are issues, but we have volunteered much of our own information online.  I wonder, though, why On Point gives air time to bizarre conspiracy theories such as the the caller voiced.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        They’re not bizarre. If we’re wondering about it, then greater and/or more devious minds than ours are too!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Have you NOT heard of the hacking of U.S. Millitary?  Major banks?  Large retailers?  Iranian nuclear industry?  Endless list?

        • Ray in Johnson

          I have, but do you really think that wired cars are a part of an over-arching conspiracy by the U.S. government to track our movements?  My point was that the caller had a basis for a legitimate concern, but that her perspective was ultimately that of a whacko.

  • Anonymous

    I think the older driver will be the one to accept it sooner because they will be able to continue to drive safely and not be as dependant on others.

  • Jennifer

    How will these self-driving cars avoid pedestrians and cyclists on the road?  I can’t even imagine how this idea can be made safe?  Has anyone broached this topic yet?  What happens when a child runs into the street to get a ball?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Remember what Top Gear said about gadgets inside a car?
    They all pain in the behind to use and we don’t actually need it when driving.

  • Lauekop

    Why not invest and advance the technologies of public transportation instead? This is just another way for people to live in their own cushy little bubbles. Public transportation spurs more interaction in the world and is more environmentally friendly.

  • Jacquelinengrady

    What about fuel economy – isn’t that more critical than having the ability to check Facebook in the car.  Is this another attempt by the auto industry to distract car buyers from what is really important.

    • PeterCrozet

      Imagine how much fuel economy would improve if all the (self-driving) cars in a city never had to stop for traffic lights or stop signs. Then add all the accidents and traffic tie-ups that don’t happen.

  • Ashley

    As a person who cannot drive due to a visual disability, I look forward to the day when a computer will help me get into a car and take me to where I want to be!  Think about all the people who have disabilities before you go all out on some government consipiracy theories!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ashley, we’re trying to point out the potential problems, that would make it unsafe for you and everyone. 
         I make fun of businesses, that fight the Americans With Disabilities Act, for cutting their customer-base!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I don’t line up for an I-anything, and hearing about this makes me want to buy only antiques.  Safety and the environment be damned.  There are larger concerns.

  • PaulCJr

    Young people are not driving as much because it sucks! I’d rather take public transit and walk to places. I’m not against driving, but I’d rather spend my money on better and nicer housing or other things that make my life funner. Car sharing and taking taxis would are more appealing to me. I would however like to see taxis drive themselves. Taxi drivers can be crazy!

    • TFRX

      I think I’m older than you.

      That being said: I sorta miss the days when I could believe people who said that making more pavement was a solution to transportation problems.

      • PaulCJr

        It’s just another tool in my opinion. We need both, not too much of just one. 

        • TFRX

          There seems to be a lack of applying the proper tool tot the situation.

          In plenty of places in the USA, I’d submit that maximum auto throughput has been achieved, and the only way to fix it is to “get all those jerks off my asphalt”.

          • PaulCJr

            I would agree with that statement. Maximum auto usage has been achieved in a alot of places, but I don’t rule out where improvements can be made or things need to be replaced. Yes we do need more people off the road. That’s why we need better urban places and planning along with better public transport.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      you will be bored without a Taxi driver. it’s fun to hear their personal stories.

      • PaulCJr

        Ya I guess you would be right. 

  • Ed in Vermont

    Why not mention Google’s automatically-driven street-view cars?

  • Gregorclark

    All this gadgetry is downright creepy, and completely takes the fun out of driving!

    I travel for a living (professional travel writer for the past 12 years), and for me, half the joy in the driving experience is doing it yourself, making decisions on the fly, not being locked in to some pre-programmed notion of how your day has to proceed. Our culture is already trying to turn us into automaton couch potatoes in so many other ways, I suppose this is the next logical step, but I’ll be fighting tooth and nail not to adopt this new technology, or more likely switching to my bicycle if the powers that be decide I need this in my life.

  • ebw343

    Self-driving cars have been 10-15 years off since the ’50s.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      We were promised flying cars too.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        there is flying car for sale. Have you heard of it?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Yes–isn’t it still being developed?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            I saw one for sale but couldn’t remember what site it was or it was on TV.

        • AC

          terrafugia.
          i’m meeting Anna Dietrich soon….hoping for a free sample :)

      • nj

        I’m still waiting for my jet-pack.

  • Patrick

    What happens if self-driving cars are linked up to a singular massive network and that singular network gets hacked? Look at the computer hacking that goes on now. I see massive car accidents with this technology…scary.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I heard Obama saying yesterday that America wants to be making the Made in America cars that the emerging economies will want to buy.  Those would be small cars, not necessarily the sort of thing Americans like to boast about.  It seems to me that a first requirement is that the owner can repair the vehicle.  I’m not sure I could repair the computer parts.

    • Still Here

      You couldn’t.  Ever had a high efficiency water heater or furnace mother board die on you.  It’s hundreds of dollars easy.  A low efficiency model does not have the same frailties. 

    • Beez

      Those cars probably wouldn’t even be sold here. Ever been to Europe? There are small U.S. cars that aren’t available here.

  • PeterCrozet

    Self-driving cars offer enormous advantages. 1) Cities without traffic lights. 2) Highway platooning doubles MPG. 3) Ten of thousands of lives saved every year.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      And the cost?  Losing control of our lives.

      • PeterCrozet

        Can you give me an example of losing control? 

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I can read a map.  I can drive a stick shift.  I live where we can easily avoid the rare toll road.  The point?  I don’t want to be so regulated and controlled on the road.  I even want speed limits eliminated on highways.

          • PeterCrozet

            So a specific example of losing control would be that you could not exceed the speed limit. 

            BTW, even with self-driving cars there would be many rural areas and back roads  where you need to drive it yourself.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I drive it myself all the time now.  I don’t see the benefit in changing.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      1,000 car pile-ups, caused by 1 bit wrong in software, or hacking, or sunspots?

      • Tina

        This is THE most succinct argument against many of these changes.  When driving even the smallest of automobiles, we must think of the worst case scenarios when assessing the wisdom of various changes.  Thanks!

    • PeterCrozet

      Some more advantages of self-driving cars.

      4) No need to own a car. Just summon one with your cell phone.

      5) Cities need less parking places because after your summoned car drops you off, it goes to help someone else.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        I own things because I want control over them.  I don’t want to depend on some service to be able to travel.

        • PeterCrozet

          It seems like the bottom-line need is to depart whenever we want and arrive safely in a predictable amount of time. 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            And you’re trusting that you’ll be given just that.  I’m not so gullible.

      • PaulCJr

        I like that idea.

  • Terry from Franklin

    Science Fiction writers have speculated on self driving cars for years.  One of the common methods for handling old cars is to build separate roads or protected lanes for the self driving vehicles.  If you want the fast lane you’ll have to be in self driving mode.

    • Tina

      just another excuse for eminent domain?  

  • Samantha

    The real discussion here should be about how the next generation is going to be able to afford these cars with the way the economy is today. As a twenty-something, I think my generation may be sticking to bikes!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      2000s model Honda is still affordable on Craigslist.

      • Tina

        I’m curious…. for how much?  I drive a ’98 Honda.

  • Andrewm 314159

    Can’t wait!  I’ll reprogram my car’s computer to tell the cars ahead of me there is a blockage in the lane and everybody gets out of my way!  I’ll be like a Russian oligarch with his own blue light.

    So hundreds have already been killed by drivers texting, now they can be playing World of Warcraft between brief glances at the road.

  • HopingfortheJetsonsCar

    I’d like to here discussion on what happens if not all cars are networked.  It seems to me that if even a few cars on the road lack this networking capability, then the point of having the networking capability is moot.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      That’ll be me, screwing up the system.

      • TFRX

        Ever read William Earls’ ”Traffic Problem”?

        You are ready to be a sci-fi hero. Vive le resistance!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Haven’t seen that one, but I did read Richard Foster’s “A Nice Morning Drive.”  It’s the inspiration for the Rush song, “Red Barchetta.”

          • TFRX

            I will look for that on (dating myself here) paper.

            While on the subject, Henry Melton, a quarter century ago.

    • Guest

      Love the idea of computer assistance, but even more significant then missing networks, what about malicious data being passed?  How can you verify this data is accurate?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    I might go for more, but I want a “fudge factor”. I don’t want cops bothering me if I’m a few MPH over the limit if conditions are good. I don’t want to be able to drive my car way I want to drive, not the way the car wants me to drive.

    For a long time some European car makers didn’t even put cup holders in their cars because they wanted drivers focused on driving, not adding creamer to their latte while trying to negotiate the road while driving with their knees.

  • Irvin Eisenberg

    It really frustrates me that we are putting so much focus into cars and self driving cars.  If you don’t want to drive public transportation would allow you to use your computer and would give us way less gas use.

    • paul

      not everyone lives in a city with public transportation! I live in a rural small town :)

      • PaulCJr

        I hear you Paul. People should live where they want and be able to drive if they chose. But small town living or suburban style of living shouldn’t be thrusted on everyone as it is mostly done today.

  • Phil

    What would Click and Clack say about more distractions in cars.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Click and Clack would say that THEY are distraction enough for anyone!

  • http://zeitvox.com/ Citizen Zed

    No No No… Give me a Ford Galactica 500 – no network, Adama approved!  Raw, Spartan!

    What happened to the days when guys hated asking for directions!?  Now it’s a fracking iPod on wheels. No!

    This all sounds like it’s driven by Thrasymachus out of the Republic: Processing might makes right.  The hood ornament is the multi-headed dog of Hades, Charon… all representing the dissolution of the soul into an infinity of desire – and slavery.

  • Gullagep

    I am a Realtor and see distracted drivers all the time while I am on the road. I will not cross a street around Boston until I see the driver come to a stop, when they are talking on their phone! The last thing we need are tech advances that are going to distract drivers more than they presently are. We need advances that are going to make people safer and be more friendly to the environment and public health.

    • Beez

      Advances, like public transportation, perhaps?

  • Sol

    If cars become self driving who is liable if an accident happens? The person not driving their car or the server who is controlling the car?

    • AC

      good point!

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    What about someone (law, your bank, irate ex) locks you out of your car? Missed a payment? Locked. Forgot to pay that parking ticket? Locked.  The possibilities are endless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Maybe these computers can pinpoint where the bird-whistles and strange clacking is coming from in American made vehicles.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Is there anything about America that you like?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Yes.  The forests, lakes and seashore.

        • Plushkin

          quintessential moron.
           

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You don’t like the forests, lakes, and seashores?   Or are you a quintessential moron, too?

          • Plushkin

            if you don’t see Caruso’s omission of at least  ‘some people’ as offensive you are a moron too.  

  • AC

    part of an intelligent transportation system includes group use, like zip cars

  • Nick Thompson

    I will buy the first car the eliminates the CD player. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ’97 F-150, with cassette, $5500!

  • Yar

    This is an old one but it is funny.
    If Microsoft made cars

    At a recent COMDEX, Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated: “If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five dollar cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon.” In response to Bill’s comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics: 
    1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day. 
    2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car. 
    3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on. 
    4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine. 
    5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought “Car95″ or “CarNT.” But then you would have to buy more seats. 
    6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on five per cent of the roads. 
    7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single “general car default” warning light. 
    8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt. 
    9. The airbag system would say “Are you sure?” before going off. 
    10. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grab hold of the radio antenna. 
    11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car’s performance to diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department. 
    12. Everytime GM introduced a new model car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car. 
    13. You’d press the “start” button to shut off the engine.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I LOVE IT!

  • Jackspratinvt

    Car companies dream of it,   but their accounting geeks will prevent self driving cars because that would shift responsibility  from a drive  to the system.   and the liability becomes prohibitive for the companies.     besides  the insurance industry will block it at every step.

  • max

    There is no such thing as a 100% secure network. That’s as much an argument against total automation as I can imagine anyone needing.

    Anyway, this sort of consumeristic futurism allows us to ignore this country’s awful regional and urban planning in favor of oohing and aahing over touch screens and the idea of constant connectivity. Even though I work in technology, I don’t find this stuff to be compelling or productive.

  • Andrewm 314159

    oh, by the way, we’re already on the Peak Oil downslide.  What will my computerized car do about $25/gallon gas?  What about no gas?

  • Karen Williams

    I’m sorry, but what about time to think. Silence. Your guests sound too “wired” like they need a moment to themselves to breathe and think and be out of touch.

    • max

      Right on. Time for reflection is all too rare in the information age.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    I can see it now – Someone hacks your car in the middle of the night and starts it remotely, just to run the motor 20 mins at a time, and you wonder why you’re getting crappy mileage?

  • Carlo

    This all sounds great but we are not putting any resources into mass transit – Yes, that is expensive but we need to start somewhere – The technology of automobiles has been supported by public money for a long time, and now matter how efficient they are, we still have to build them, one for every two or three people – The infrastructure for mass transit is expensive, but so are roads and bridges and tunnels – Your guest says that most of us do not use transit – That is a cherry picked piece of information - 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      actually, this may be a long way around to public transit. If we get auto-driving cars, then it trains people to view transportation as a service provided by something else other than themselves driving to wherever they want to go.

      It’s a much shorter leap from deciding to jump into your own car that drives you somewhere to jumping into a public transit vehicle that drives you somewhere.

  • Ren Knopf

    Time and time again “electronics” are blamed in accidents. And time and time again, when all is checked out, it was the driver who screwed up. Yet this latter point seems to never get the sensational press of the former. Maybe because we know the problem all along. I, for one, am not prepared to trust my life to the electronics in someone else’s vehicle.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Hiawatha is talking about the high cost of rail, and the inconvenience.  I saw an article about this in our newspaper lately by David Pakman, who has a syndicated show.  I don’t watch, but I like what his columns say.  In “A wish to be railroaded,” he explains how the car and airplane and oil lobbies have prevented our opportunity to be carried hither and yon.  Let’s see:  ”If the train were faster and more convenient, I would certainly opt for it.  If trains were faster, airlines would lose out on exactly the type of short trip” (Springfield, MA to New Haven, CT to New York City to Washington DC).  He analyzes it, the time, the costs.  ”What will it take to really get fast, advanced trains in the US?  Even if the country finds the political will to start today, we’re still years and years away.”

  • paul

    In the future human driven cars will be for hobbyists, on closed tracks.  Transportation will be with auto-piloted auto-driven vehicles like Google’s self driving car.

    Cars don’t have to be networked to be self driving, they can be autonomous and still have all the reliability of machines.  Let’s be honest, sensors and computers have a much greater attention span and fail far less than humans do.

    I look forward to the day when cars are self-driving, but I’m probably too old to see it in my lifetime (I’m 46).

  • Brian

    Are the brake better cause you’re gonna need’em with all the distracted drivers out there (and there are enough now).

  • Brennan Phillips

    I think that we need to get over our fear of “State Control” and the hubris associated with networking vehicles.  It is inevitable… and this is a good thing… that our cars will talk amongst each other and eventually drive themselves.  Consider the time we waste driving from place to place and then the risk of accident that we all endure; it is only logical that we embrace the technology at hand and progress forward.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Wait until China send their Solar Powered cars to America.

  • PaulCJr

    The guest stating that no one will ride trains or that building high speed rail going over budget means we shouldn’t build it is mislead. This can be seen in all the transport engineering studies around.  Cars and Public Transit are both tools we need in our transportation tool box in this country. We’ve been heavy on the car side it hasn’t made our lives all that better. Cars are need, but so is high speed rail and public transit. Most people could use public transit for most purposes and if we build our cities correctly can walk and take public transit to most needs. We need cars and good public transit. Not just one!!

  • paul

    Tom! we are close to auto-piloting cars see 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMdcWHnbhsw  Arizona has already passed laws to allow them on the road!

  • Paul G, Iowa

    I commute by bicycle and the thought of more distractions for drivers is very scarry!  The close calls that I have had usually involves a driver that is using a cell phone!

  • SteveT

    I think the greatest potential advantage of smart cars is safety, but there needs to be a manual override and drivers need to know how to drive the old-fashioned way for the foreseeable future. The issue with gadgetry is that it is nearly always engineering-driven rather than consumer-driven, making most new products a good fit for geeks but not ordinary people. For example, remote control devices with dozens of tiny buttons, making it difficult to perform basic operations, such as a turning a television on and off, incorporating features that few people want or need. 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Yeah, forgetting HOW to drive would be a problem.
      Ever watch the Amazing Race? LOTS of people on that show have NO clue how to drive stick but outside the USA, MOST cars are manual. Pretty much a chuckle every season.

  • N0ywb1

    I have not hear it discissed yet: Synthetic Vision is coming soon. Imagine driving at night or in a blinding snowstorm like it was clear daylight.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_vision_system   http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/as-the-croft-flies/2010/04/hud-synthetic-vision-hold-your-head-up.html

  • Joe in RI

    CONVERGENCE. We’ve already seen a piloted self-driving car, Mercedes with crash sensors, Ford with self-parking, ubiquitous GPS directions. No accidents, no drunk driving, no tailgating, no traffic jams, etc. The only problem is after a generation the manual override will be scary.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “As you can see, airline and automobile lobbies have the strongest of interests in preventing the development of high-speed rail, as do oil giants, as increased rail travel would decrease individual fuel consumption and people’s carbon footprints — both of which would be great from the point of view of the environment, logic and reason.”  (More from David Pakman in the Dailiy Hampshire Gazette sometime in December)

  • Rebecca

    How will these cars sense bicycles who are sharing the road with cars?

  • MarkVII88

    Is it possible that features of the Self-driving car could be integrated into the law enforcement of driving?  If you’re convicted of a DUI, get too many speeding tickets, or if you fail your driving test (hopefully mandated after age 65), then you MUST utilize or turn on the automated driving features your car of the future contains……or you may lose the privilege of driving.  Driving is a privilege, not a right!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Another reason to buy an old car.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Too many multiple  DUIs on the road now!

  • Michael

    Will this all require is to get a $1200/year data plan?

  • Meredith in the adirondacks

    What a boon for lawyers this will be: the young woman targeted by the driver of a connected car; the car decides to re-route you to avoid a traffic jam, but misses your destination; a distracted driver kills someone. All your callers have been against it, yet your “experts” insist this is wanted. Progressive already offers a discount if you agree to be monitored: welcome Big Brother. I recall getting mad at my new car radio “selecting” things for me. Drive me? Drive me crazy.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Oh, here we go–safety over freedom.  No thanks.

  • Epeterson525

    I really do not want to be on the road with others who are using these electronics. Hands-free does not help. We need eyes and mind on the road.  This sounds like a great marketing opportunity.  Ford couches the trend in terms of increased safety, but it is not safe.

  • Anonymous

    Software companies want to get the product out as fast as possible.  Can we then expect buggy programs that will cause safety issues? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    Don’t you hate drivers when they use their GPS system even though they know where they are going? just to show off some car gadget even thought it’s not necessary to use it all the time.

  • nj

    Yar was onto something earlier. So many of these topics are discussed in isolation and not as part of the comprehensive whole. Gas-powered personal vehicles exist only because fossil fuels have been so cheap for so long.

    What do people think is going to be fueling transportation in 50 or 100 years? We’re on the cusp of peak oil. In the coming decades, liquid fossil fuel prices are soon to begin a steady, inexorable rise. 

    As the likely alternative, electricity has problems. Toxics in batteries, limited range, coal is still the main source…

    I’m not at all sure that, in the future, the personal auto will have anything like the role it has now.

    But here we are ooo-ing and ah-ing about techno-gizmos.

    • Yar

      The automobile has become a part of our identity, and even an extension of one’s personality for many.  It is funny to go to a place like Disney World and listen to middle class suburban (white) Dads comment on the ‘public transportation’  most of them have never set foot on a bus since they left high school.  They are astounded that the system works.  
      Changing our psyche to accept public transportation is a significant hurdle.  The first realization should be how much we actually pay for the convenience of a multi-car family.  It is likely a major driver in the two income trap.  Lack of good transportation options are making us less rich and with less time to raise our children.

      • nj

        Part of the problem you mention (not being able to even imagine Life Without a Car) is, in part, due to the fact the a good part of the infrastructure we depend on, and the patterns of settlement we live in are the way they are mostly because of cheap, fossil fuels.

        Getting a large part of our food from the other side of the country, driving to work, driving to pick up an item at the mall, driving just to drive (remember the “Sunday drive”), reliance on services (lawn mowing, deliveries of all sorts, etc.)…all these things are still dependent on cheap fuel.

        Imagine fuel prices of $10 per gallon, $15 per gallon. What will have to change? This is our future.

        Public transportation will be a part of the necessary adaptation, but it won’t be enough. Re-localizing economies, dramatically reducing energy needs through efficiencies and other measures, etc. will have to be part of the solution.

        On Point really needs to do a show on this at some point.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          AGREED!

  • Anonymous

    Once everything is seamlessly meshed into a voice-activated system, what would your vehicle do to you when one screams out “f*** me, you idiot” when enraged by another driver?

    Unless it can be programmed to  speed past slower vehicles and cut them off  while stopping at the next light, I don’t see it becoming too popular with the drivers where I live.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You really want a CAR to do that to you?

  • T D

    What about the moral cost? Isn’t the explosion of technology intrinsically tied with crimes against humanity in places like Africa where software companies do business [indirectly] with genocide practicing warlords in order to make all of our great technology to sell at these artificially inexpensive prices? And if Africa is too much, how many Americans would like to work in a Chinese computer chip factory at 16 hours a day for hardly any pay?

    • T D

      Not that the warlords are making the technological parts, they are only supplying the necessary resources?

  • Plm Nikon

    TOM–FOLLOW THE MONEY!!!! One of your guests made a comment about “free services…for a period of time.” That’s a critical point. A caller voiced concern about obsolescence. Put these together and talk about the new revenue stream the car companies are looking for. Planned obsolescence through dropping support—Apple does this all the time. No more driving a car for 10 years.

  • Gullagep

    In addition to the need to create environmentally friendly cars, populations are aging all across this country. I see a real need for more and better public transportation. And as a person who loves the outdoors, I want many more safe bike and walking paths, so that cars become less of a necessity. 

  • Rachel Daack

    I am sad that scientists working in the auto industry are trying to find more ways for people to use phones, etc. when they drive when lots of sound research indicates that using a phone while driving (regardless of handheld or not) is ONLY a hazard and a very serious hazard.  The suggestion that we’re just giving people what they want is disappointing.  These people are far smarter than this.  It feels exactly like the cigarette industry having given us tobacco ads about how good you feel when you smoke despite their having known that seriousness health risks.  The fact that these are smart people makes the decision even more distasteful.

    Don’t we already have these capabilities in public transportation?  Why doesn’t the auto industry share the road, so to speak?

  • BHA in Vermont

    How about a NON technical safety feature? REQUIRE that all vehicles have headlights the same height off the ground – BELOW the height of car windshields. No better way to get blinded than all the trucks and SUVs coming toward you with headlights right at eye level.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Privacy?  What’s that?  Any such thinking is counterrevolutionary.

    • Ray in Johnson

      Haven’t you heard?  According to many strict constructionists there is no such right.

  • James

    I haven’t had an accident in over a decade. I’m an autocrosser and track junkie and I don’t need a computer to help me drive. I don’t want some sort of “auto-drive” system in my car or Twitter/Facebook because I actually LIKE to drive. I’m not interested in new cars today because they are too soft, too isolating, and too boring to drive.

    • AC

      you’d like the men in my family

  • amy

    I find this conversation so disheartening.  How about using all this time , smarts, and effort to make real strides in reducing the carbon output of a vehicle.  Meaningful fuel efficiency?   Otherwise this technology may be meaningless. 

    • AC

      that is part of intelligent transportation design – it would be pointless w/o it

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Like the song ‘Pink Caddilac’, some think what is cool MATTERS, even if it just sits in the yard!

  • Ellen Dibble

    The guest didn’t answer about deer.  Or dogs.  Or bicyclists.

    • AC

      sensors

  • Terry from Franklin

    I believe that in some areas your car might get a boot if you are late on tickets.

  • J52wurz

    If car will eventually require retrofitting who is going to pay for it?Look at the number of people who buy from “buy here, pay here: dealers. It will double the price of a car that low wage income earners can’t afford now. Are the people who are barely making it now going to have to pay for that? will this be the end of car ministries which prove donated and reconditioned car to famnilies that can not afford them on their own.

    John in VT

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    I’m working on bringing tech that could up MPG by an honest 20%-30%, and reduce emissions by that same amount to market, and it’s old fashioned engineering. Now if I can get the banks and engineers that insist it won’t work to stop arguing with me… Ugh.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Scott,  Build it yourself, sell it to family and friends.  If Big Oil can’t buy it, to hide it, they have OTHER measures!

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        I can’t go into details, but what family and friends?   They’re all working way to hard for way too little, unemployed, or lost their savings when the rich go richer.

        I need a biz loan, but to get a loan these days I first have to prove I don’t need one.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Oh well.  Maybe Big Oil will make you a $ ‘offer you can’t refuse’, and you will be rich enough to develop your new air-bag system invention!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Water-Injection was used on F4-U Corsair, P-47 Thunderbolt, and others in WWII,  gets better fuel mileage, if not used for more power.  How many auto-makers water-inject?
          Other inexpensive technogies have been around for decades!  Bought up by Big Oil, or Big Auto, and shelved!
          MANY land-yatchs got over 20 mpg, in the 60s.  Half the size and weight, with aerodynamics, gets average 30 mpg?

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        Water injection works on some applications, this works on anything with a conventional engine.

        Yes, some land-yatchs got good gas, but there 0-60 speed was just under that of the second coming of Christ.  One-barrel carbs don’t move 2 ton bricks fast.

        I wasn’t kidding about having people argue, even shout at me, how “it’s impossible” and “will never work”. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I am VERY familiar with that problem!  I belong to the Tenn. Inventors’ Assoc. 
             Tried for Angel Investor, Venture Capitalist, (watch for Vulture Capitalists), local Enterpreneurs’ group, Innovation Incubator, Inventors’ Assoc.?

  • Eric H. Doss

    The real problem is not a lack of computers, but a lack of driver understanding and attentiveness.  Many of these issues could be solved with comprehensive 

  • Meredith

    Knowing all about us is for our own good? C’mon. Our originally-controllable information became Facebook’s revenue stream. My car will tell me when to leave and which way to go? Thanks, but I’d prefer to take responsibility for my own experience.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You don’t want a car telling you where to go?

  • Ellen Dibble

    If you made the cars (a) smaller, (b) lighter, (c) slower, then their dangerousness would be diminished considerably, and you could simplify all this technology a whole lot.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Slower?  No deal.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ellen,  How many people do you know that clammor for a slower, lighter, smaller car?

      • Ray in Johnson

        If it is affordable and reliable, then I do.  I rarely go above 60, and I rarely need to.  I nurse my 10 year old Neon for the highest MPG that I can get.  I don’t need high technology on the road.  I want efficiency.

      • TFRX

        Compared to when or what?

        For example, today one can’t open a glossy car mag without having one’s manhood questioned if the car one buys doesn’t go 0-60 in 6 seconds. Two hundred fifty HP is “serviceable”, if not underpowered. Thirty-five hundred pounds of “compact car” (except for the Lotuses of the world) is “ordinary”, not massively ponderous. 

        Contrast that to the “glory days” of pony cars in the late 60s, the meme that is perpetually crammed down our collective advertising piehole. That has lead to a nostalgia for when roads were less crowded than they’ll ever be again, and Dad could fix everything with two wrenches and a screwdriver.

        Except everything we’d buy a specialty vehicle for back then is eclipsed (no pun intended, Mitsu) by a humdrum car or crossover of today. And comparably nobody wants a car that performs the way those carbuereted, leaf-sprung, drum-braked ’67s did. The market for them would not be worth any mass-maker to go after. All these computers adjusting engines, just for one example, are making them so much more useful that people don’t know how good they have it today. (By “today” I mean “about the last 15 years.)

        Acceleration? Payload? Ride plushness? Cornering? NVH? Fuel economy? Serviceable life expectancy? I hate to say it, but there aren’t a lot of measurable advanced in car building to be wrangled out of the marketplace as we know it.

        Therefore, we get sci-fi-level speculation, as much of today’s show is about. Else the whole industry is threatened with becoming a commodity, and as sexy as comparing brands of copy paper.

        (Okay, bit of a ramble. Thanks for your ear. Carry on.)

  • MarkVII88

    The fact is that the first things these auto-innovators are going to do are the ones easiest to accomplish that will sell for the most money.  I’m sure it’s easier to integrate Facebook and traffic monitoring into a car than to make fuel cells affordable and convenient and to engineer new lighter materials to boost fuel economy all while keeping cars affordable.  These electronic gadgets are just the low-hanging fruit.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Too true. And like OnStar – they get to charge you monthly or yearly for access to all these ‘features’.

  • Adks12020

    I’m 30 years old and have no desire whatsoever to have my car turn into a computer.  I want it to get me from point A to point B safely and be able to play music…that’s really it.  I don’t understand why people want their cars to be so technologically advanced. 

    There was a time, even in my lifetime, when people could fix their own cars. With all the new technology it forces people to take cars to dealers and expensive mechanics because the average person can’t fix them. 

    Why don’t they use all this technology investment to make cars that use less or no fossil fuels instead of making cars that have all the unnecessary bells and whistles.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      you’re just saying that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    What I want for my car:
     
    1. 10 air bags
    2 GPS/TPMS/Self inflated tires when flat.
    3. 850 or more watts for my car stereo and 8 speakers with tweeter with DVD so when I am waiting for someone i can watch a movie but doesn’t play dvd when I am driving.
    4. 7 speed manual transmission
    5. HID head lights
    6. overhead ceiling glass panaromic view. so I can see the snow or plane passing above me. LOL
    7. Momo racing Steering wheel with airbag.
    8. trash bin
    9 recaro racing leather seats
    10. SRI

    • Modavations

      I just want a killer sound system and a bad a– engine

    • Modavations

      When you get it,spin over to Belmont and pick me up.I’d love a ride in that baby!!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I  don’t think sensors could do the trick.  Dogs and deer and bicycles don’t come “out” at the angles that sensors could do much about.   Perhaps sensors in a city environment or wildlife environment could simply inform the driver, “You’re on your own buddy; we can’t keep track of off-the-road emergences, and they’re actually all over the place.”  I’m thinking of a recent bicycling accident, a fatal one, a block from where I live, where the bicyclist was coming up behind a truck, not turning or anything, staying in her lane, and the truck in his.  I forget exactly, whether she swerved because of a bump in the road or a driveway of some sort; it didn’t take much of a diversion near the rear tire to end her life.  I forget whether the driver or bicyclist was in any way at fault.  Sensors could say you just passed a bicyclist, who’s now coming up again, but only very careful driving on the part of everyone would have prevented it.  I bike there myself, and I tend to walk my bike onto the sidewalk right there.

  • Alex

    I don’t know about the internet connection, but I do love the following technological features in my car:

    1. GPS;
    2. Blue tooth;
    3. Rear view camera;
    4. iPod integration (i.e. USB connection that puts the interface on the screen and at the same time provides power supply);
    5. Music box hard drive where we can rip the kids’ CDs so we don’t have to carry a bunch of CDs with us.

    Also, we did not get, but probably should have, the rear seat DVD monitors to pacify our twins on longer drives.

    And no, I do not want a lighter slower car.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      gees Alex you got better taste than me.

      • Alex

        I don’t know what you mean. All I am saying is technology can be useful. On the other hand, the internet connection in the car does seem like a gimmick, but who knows?  

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think the objections on this thread reflect the feeling of being herded such that all vehicles are designed like that.  Already, it is hard to find a vehicle that is truly small, suitable for city driving.  What next ?

  • The King

    In a way, this may be a blessing.
    We always listen to NPR/WBUR and there are certain topics that NPR would not touch (as part of the cover-up); so, we can be better informed while we are driving, since we will be connected to the internet.
    Here is the best example:
    http://www.HumanGenome.org/FBI

  • Ellen Dibble

    After 40 years of wall-to-wall advertisements from our most successful industry, and one of our largest employers, the car industry, an industry that has made money by featuring the idea that faster and bigger is better — what do you expect?  We are so gullible.  It’s time to turn the tide.  There is a place for big and powerful and fast, but there are also a lot of people whose needs can be met without going 60 miles an hour — ever.  Why force them to buy a dinosaur?

    • BHA in Vermont

      You forgot FUN! Must have FAST 0-60, must have HIGH top speed or your car won’t be “fun to drive”. I wish people would think about how much “fun” they are having in their overpowered sports cars hanging in traffic on their daily commute before they buy their next gas hog. 

      Oh, and BIG is SAFE (thus small MUST be DANGEROUS)! That is a heavy handed ad line even though it is not true.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Yes, fun.  Safety and control from above is dull.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Right.  ”You are buying a tank; you could be creamed and you’d hardly feel it.”   HOWEVER, that only makes sense if all the other cars are catapulting missiles as well.  It’s a vicious circle of some sort, the faster and heavier the critical mass of our traffic, the heavier and more dangerous is the vehicle you might feel safe in.  I feel safer on a bicycle partly because I have all my senses in play all the time.  There is no insulation between me and what I might see or hear or sense in other ways.  I can throw myself into a snowdrift or run up onto a slope — without endangering others in the same line of traffic.  I might like riding a horse as well, but I have no idea how to deal with the poop.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          It’s shortly behind you!

          • Ellen Dibble

            You mean with a pooper-scooper!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Horse-Diapers, Pooper Scoopers and more!

          • Ellen Dibble

            There’ll be socializing on the roadways once again, rather than road rage.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Slower like < 75 or slower like can't do 150? There is ZERO reason for ANY private vehicle on the road to be able to exceed the legal speed limit. At the moment, I believe the MAX in the "high speed" states is 75 MPH. Yet we keep seeing 450 HP even 550 HP cars being put on the road. Where do they drive? To work, the same as everyone else. How fast do they go in traffic? The same speed as the car in front of them.

    There is also ZERO reason for 0-60 MPH times of 5 or 6 seconds let alone 3 or 4 seconds. Just causes the "wanna be" NASCAR drivers to drive dangerously.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      How about because speed limits in many places are more about raising money for the county or city budgets than they are about safety?

      • Ray in Johnson

        Maybe where you live, but not where I live.  In parts of my town we have an annoying low limit, but that was undertaken by the voters to stop people from speeding through town and making Main Street unsafe for pedestrians to cross.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Don’t you mean making it too hard for the stores on Main Street to sell things?

          • Ray in Johnson

            Maybe that too, but we have a lot of kids that walk to school here, so we don’t want people buzzing through the middle of town at 50.

          • Alex

            Well Ray, that’s just common sense. But roads with no intersections or pedestrian traffic should be a little more permissive. I drove in Germany last year and I noticed that just because on certain portions of the autobahn there is no speed limit at all that does not mean everyone drives at 200 km/h. I mean, I rarely exceeded 130 km/h (80 mph). Of course, you occasionally see a big Audi or BMW whizzing by in the left lane and disappearing right in front of your eyes, but the majority of the people just don’t do that.   

          • Ray in Johnson

            That’s true.  The Interstate may be another beast altogether, but I think that even if put up to popular referendum a lot of states would probably still keep a limit there.  The state limit here in VT is 50, and as curvy and the roads can get, as well as what nature can throw at us, I think that it works well for us.

          • Alex

            No question. I once drove through Maine and I would not advocate an 80 mph limit on those roads. 

          • Ray in Johnson

            Exactly.  Things vary greatly from place to place.  I can see how not having a limit in places like Montana, if that is what the communities choose to go with, but it is hard to find a straight road in Vermont.  Plus you have cows, horses, deer, etc in a lot of the rural areas that might be traveling or crossing.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I remember the interstates being built in the 1950s, under Eisenhower.  And before that, in the war years, when rubber was very scarce, and gas rationed, driving was a luxury.  But the interstates, as I understand it, were dreamed up by a general (Eisenhower) because of their usefulness in case of needing to transport military hardware from here to there.  However, I suppose since there was no actual war, and there was at the time a war (World War II still to finish paying for), the expense of the interstates needed to be justified.
                THUS, the big push to encourage Americans to get out there and revel in speeding around on the roads that would actually allow that kind of speed.  You couldn’t speed on a country road.  But if you had interstates to justify, you needed cars that would take advantage of it.  And the car manufacturers were glad to offer cars that would take advantage of that.  They are STILL doing that.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Eisenhower and others were IMPRESSED by the German Autobahn, and road system.  He was President when the National Defense and Interstate Highway System was started!   One requirement was that every five miles had to have a straight section that could be used as an aircraft runway!

          • nj

            See the U.S.A. in a Chevrolet!”

          • Ellen Dibble

            There were free flyers available from many states, which when I was learning to read I could see offered in various magazines.  Probably Woman’s Day and the newspaper.  And my parents let me send away for the booklets, and I remember studying all the booklets, the lovely and interesting sites that existed at each state, but no one ever spoke about actually going to any of these, just collecting the flyers, which seemed to me freeloading in some way.  My family was like that, not freeloading, but considering gratuitous travel a national waste.  But I realize the flyers were  probably promotional for interstate usage and also the car industry.

          • TFRX

            as I understand it, were dreamed up by a general (Eisenhower)

            Slight correction: I read The Big Roads just last month. Eisenhower didn’t dream up the interstates. He was on that big cross-country trip in 1915 or thereabouts, but most of the I’s were set in “stone”, designs and route-wise, before WWII became a priority (as you noted).lnd money.

      • Alex

        I agree with Greg. Often, you encounter speed limits so ridiculously low that the only explanation for them is revenue raising. I am not an expert and I may be wrong, but I think 60 mph on a highway is low. I would like to be able to freely drive at 80-85 mph without constantly looking over my shoulder. And as far as those 450 HP cars, they are so expensive and rare that they do not really enter the equation here. 

      • revolve

        not so–in Montana as sb pointed out–they can speed, no limit, but they still pull you over for a “energy” tax.  Its not the state-its small towns that want revenue who do this.  Speed limits about fuel efficiency and safety and in this time of GLOBAL WARMING and extreme radical pollution we need to be eliminating waste and fossil fuels–most Americans don’t care–shamefully so we have to make them care–thats the point of a law.  We don’t need 90% of the fascist laws coming out of Washington and we don’t war or computerized cars but we do need green fuel efficient cars–and that should be the Law of the land!

  • James

    Smaller and lighter really should be thought of as the technology of the future. A 3000 lbs car is not a “light” or “small” car. If look, you’ll see that vehicle weights have blimped out over 1000 lbs for each model over the last 10 years. Pretty sad really, but it’s cheaper to write silly software and connect it to the cloud than it is to design a real car. Listen up Detroit: I WON’T PAY FOR A 4X4 PLAYSTATION. Make it small, light, and involving to drive or I’ll just keep my MR2.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think you live “out of town.”  More and more of us live where just about everything is within a few miles.  If it isn’t, we can rent a Zipcar from across the way and get there at expeditious speeds.  But if you’re going five miles, you don’t need huge horsepower.  I actually find that I can go faster on a bike than in a car.  I know because I race them from time to time.  They end up in various bottlenecks, and I fly past them.  Also, in this type of environment, the main corridors have usually been trolley paths in the 19th century, and those corridors make sense still for bus routes, and those buses have forks out front for bicycles hitching a ride along the way.  Too bad those bus forks only accommodate a few bikes.  One can’t count on being able to claim a spot.  Foldable bikes are an option.  But what is not needed is the high-speed, high-power.   There are issues if you’ve got something slower whether to go in the bike lanes (where they exist) or even the sidewalks, but from the point of view of need-for-speed, it’s often faster to have the lighter vehicle.  I can usually park right outside the door.

  • Ellen Dibble

    That’s assuming the Iranians had all THEIR vehicles wired into interactive internet networks as well.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “Involving to drive”?  You’re making the proposed “wired” car (the self-driving variety) sound like a rubber mannikin of a busty female, all pre-wired to take you where you’re going.

  • James

    Wired does nothing for me. Sorry, but I’m old school and know too much to buy the hype. My Miata has 140HP, full manual gear box with real clutch pedal, an SLA suspension, and a tight steering rack with little use of rubber. It doesn’t have to be crazy fast to be fun, just involving. Check out your local autocross and you’ll understand.

    • paul

      agreed, and one day you’ll only be able to do this on a closed course that is much more fun.

      for the vast majority of people commuting is not fun, but a wasteful time sink where they get bored, try to multitask (which is a euphemism, not a real skill) and have an accident.
      let the machines do the transportation, they’re much better at it and never get road rage or fall asleep at the wheel.

      • James

        Well, I hit Little Talledega Grand Prix Speedway summer before last, and Nashville Super Speedway this past summer (it’s now closed, thanks for your support) so I guess I might know something about that closed course thing. Do you? I don’t have accidents, and I drive in traffic all of the time. I will not accept a computer driving for me. I take responsability for my driving behaviors and demand that others do to. I check the weather before I leave the house, if it’s much below freezing, I avoid bridges and other cars. No wrecks in the last 10 years, no insurance claim ever. Ever. Can you say the same?

        • revolve

          u r special.  how can i be like u

      • James

        I miss-read your last post, I think we are in concurrence.

  • James

    Yeah, show me a car made from an inexpensive carbon fiber unibody with a tiny electric power plant driving the rear wheels and I’ll get behind it. Give it a real suspension, not some cost cutting McPhereson strut nonsense and proper weight distribution. THAT would be technology. I’d rather drive a go-kart through the city and down those curvy roads than an SUV. Large trucks and SUV’s should be made illegal to own anyway, they’re too big and too dangerous. When you need one, you go rent it, otherwise, drive your small car.

    • revolve

      go cart would be hell more fun–we should all br driving electric go-carts–charging panels in the road–just spin over them and get a electric boost.  u don’t even need to be fast as a Lamborghini cuz close to the road you are the faster it feels.

  • James

    Facts are people, lower weight equates to increased tire, ride dampening, suspension bushing, clutch, brake pad, and wheel bearing lives just to name a few. Want more MPG’s? lower weight and better aero is where it’s at. You might want your giant truck to feel “safer” but you can’t argue with physics. It takes more force to stop a heavy object that’s been accelerated to a high speed than a light object at that same speed.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Check out the google self driving car.  That is the future.  Everyone’s a passenger.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/how-google-self-driving-car-works

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      i saw that on ABC news it is not really fully operational

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Is it ready for market? No.

        But they’ve run it on real roads (cities and highways) for thousands of miles without mishap.

        They have some clips of the car stopping for jay walkers.

        • Anonymous

          GM can’t even build an electric vehicle that is human controlled.  

          Did you see that all of the Volts were recalled again within the last two weeks! LOL

    • Anonymous

      That is great until it crashes like every computer I have ever owned.  They run great for about 3-6 years and then they start acting funny and die a slow death.  I am not likely to ride in a computer controlled car anytime soon for that reason!

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Perhaps a new meaning to the “blue screen of death”?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I noticed a lot of people here drives manual or stick shift. I drive a manual because i have more control over my car, save on gas, during traffic i can just put it on neutral and hand brakes so i don’t have to step on the brakes all the time. I pretty much drive like a 18 wheeler truck driver. i don’t tail gate to avoid down shifting and stepping my brakes all the time.

    Don’t let the car control you, you control the car!!!

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      I think they call it hyper-miling.

      I have a hybrid Camry with regenerative brakes. The car gives lots of efficiency feedback.  My driving style has changed dramatically.  I have 80K miles and my brakes are barely worn and I get 42mpg combined.  I love it.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        People who drives Automatic doesn’t know that you don’t have to step on the gas pedal all the time because the car still moves when you don’t step on the gas pedal. Automatic is so easy to drive I am not sure why those drivers always want to tail gate other cars and step on their brakes all the time. especially in traffic 2 3 cars away from the car in front of you can save a lot of gas and you don’t have to step on the brakes all the time.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          I’m with you.  Having the hybrid electric feedback makes me more aware of traffic lights, avoiding tailgating, coasting into red lights, etc.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      85 mph speed limit is around Jacksonville, FL and Georgia border on interstate 95

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    there is only one place in America you can drive fast.

    Georgia has a 85 mile per hour speed limit but you have to be careful with rednecks doing 150 miles per hour with their Super charge cars and State trooper also has a super charge mustang cruiser waiting for you. if you go beyond 90 mph

    • JustSayin

      I was stopped for speeding in Montana once. They have no speed limit, but the troopers give out energy tickets, because its a waste of fuel. $5 and no surcharge to insurance.

      What slows people down in MT is the endless white crosses on red posts placed on the side of the road where auto fatalities have occurred.  In some places they are really thick, maybe 10 or 20 in one spot.

      • Beez

        I was actually pulled over in MT for going too slow

      • revolve

        would i be hanged if i posted a atheist symbol or a Jewish star or a Muslim moon to remember my kin by..?

        • JustSayin

          Well, it is MT… and I was looking for other symbols, and I never saw any.

          My guesses were that there were some and they were pulled out, or they are not sanctioned by state law, or people of other religions just avoid extremist christian states.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          What’s the atheist symbol ?

  • Rollin Traver

    The “built-in” approach to car networking/phone has two disadvantages over linking with your own phone:

    1. In-car systems will become obsolete very quickly and will be very costly to replace, as opposed to picking up a new phone. This is very much like choosing a “built-in” microwave in your kitchen a few years ago: they were incredibly expensive to fix/replace, yet almost immediately inferior to countertop versions available from WallMart for a few dollars.

    2. Something you tout as an advantage, the ability to lock out functions while driving, usually turns out to be a big negative due to the ham-handed way it is done. Once my Prius starts moving I can’t pick a new destination on the navigation, or even scroll through a music list. And no way to let the passenger do all that. Besides, the user controls for the both the navigation system and the music system are vastly inferior to that available on a smartphone.

  • Bob Garcia

    I can see a great advantage, using self-driving cars, for seniors or disabled people who will now have access to a personal vehicle that can drive them around without assistance.  Will this make drivers’ licenses optional now to operate a vehicle?

    • JustSayin

      …with a special old guy app: The car speed set at a constant 22mph, brake lights are pulsed every 10 seconds, and the left turn signal is always on.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I have a hunch this new technology will make it easier for the opposite set of people.  To a certain extent, yes, with slower reflexes, older people can use the assists, the automatic protections, much as we use seatbelts and air bags, but it seems to me that the flip side of the advances will be aspects that are confounding to seniors.  They’ll need a teenager riding shotgun to tell them what to do if the light turns pink, or the wheels do thus and so, or the panel starts blinking.  And we know even GPS isn’t always right.  I once told a young nephew how to get here, but he followed GPS and wound up around the block on a one-way street, a quarter-mile hike or so away, where we were later carrying 40-pound boxes.   I mean, you have to know when to use the technology and when to use your own senses.   So…

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    I’m waiting for a Mr. Fusion unit for my DeLorean.  Any news there?

    • Ray in Johnson

      I think that we’ll have to wait until 2015.  Same for the hoverboard.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      One of the oil companies bought the patent!  They’ll make it available in year 3535, so you can enjoy it!

  • Ellen Dibble

    This wiredness for automobiles was in the works back during Bush II, when we were switched from free TV to cable.  I know that some TV is still free if you happen to live in certain locations, but not in apartment buildings that don’t have satellite dishes, for instance.  So I now pay $8.00 a month for the same service I had before.  However, they said to me, back about 2007, that actually this was all laying the groundwork for opening up lots of bandwidth or wavelength, whatever it is, so that every automobile would be able to access the internet.  So courtesy of me paying for cable TV, you automobile drivers may be able to access the internet.  You are very welcome.  Use it well.

    • Modavations

      Every things Bush’s fault!!!!.Where do you live Ethiopia?.I pay $100.00 for Cable in Boston and that’s with no movie stations.

      • Anonymous

        $100 for cable, eh? Do you often find yourself waking up in roadside ditches?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how much it would cost to get an unwired vehicle, like a F150 with nothing blue tooth compatible, no sync, no XM radio, no 7 color leds, and nothing else fancy? I just want a reliable stylish and easy to work on vehicle, but no one seems to sell them anymore.

    • Modavations

      I just want a 2-Door Acura Integra, with a 5 speed and  killer sound system

  • Jane

    With a finite supply of petroleum (that is needed for critical plastics used in things like surgical equipment, for example), it is ludicrous to me that we are wasting so much energy and time on cars.  Self driving car?  Please.  It’s called a TRAIN or a BUS.

  • Anonymous

    I had known something about this topic for a couple of years ever since I saw Charlie Rose interview the CEO on Nvidia and what that company was doing with automakers to incorporate graphics and imaging into windshields. I found it highly fascinating and finally saw that technology presented by Hollywood via the new Mission Impossible film in the Bimmer hybrid supercar. I’ve d/l this episode so I can listen to it later in the day when I have more time.

    But what I found interesting in the Ford video above is not the featuring of a car of the future itself nor even the implications this would have in class divide, but that Ford itself has hired to a woman with a soft German and Oz accent to feature their product line-up to English speakers. Americans ourselves find little credibility on the subject of cars, technology and highly skilled manufacturing when it’s presented by another American? 

  • Chuck Swanson

    what you are really talking about here — with hands free driving and traffic control through the cloud, is mass transit within individual pods. Given that, why not turn some of the driving lanes into real mass transit? A bit like the south of Chicago. Trains can also be entertaining.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    Despite all the safety aspects at stake – all of which I totally agree with – I must say, every day I sit on the Pike stuck in the morning parking lot, the boredom of “driving” becomes absolutely maddening.  How can you expect drivers not to be tempted to check their email?

    I think the real focus of manufacturers bringing out networked cars should focus on  safety and driving in synchrony (autonomous driving vehicles) so that safety is built in and operate continuously in the background. 

  • Modavations

    Hey NPR,take note.Look how nicely everyone is treating each other today.Guys who are normally tyrying to murder me, are engaged in courteous discourse.Maybe you should have innocuous subject day,political day,innocuous day,than political.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Just so that Moda won’t make some wild statements that cause people to wonder what ELSE affects his brain, from his childhood?

      • Modavations

        Oh well,I knew it wouldn’t last.NPR’s newest Stalker in Training, had to ruin a pleasant  day

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Your comment read like guppy and you were disappointed that you were being ignored!  No telling how someone with your chemical background will react to being ignored!

          • Modavations

            NPR,I appologize that the man’s blind hatred,is a continual disruption.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Hatred?  Where have I expressed hatred for you, or anyone?  In your delusional mind?  It must really be weird in there!

          • Modavations

            As I was saying before the stalker attack.Give me a 2 door ,Acura Integra Diesel with a hot engine and killer sound system.I don’t want the gizmos.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Follow the exchange back up, and that is NOT what you said!

  • Frank

    This is the scariest g@d^&!m thing I’ve seen since the advent of the PC!  Interfacing with a “cloud” (innocuous little image) to know what you were listening to at home, what your health status is, how you drive, who talks to you, who your friends are…  If you think facebook has tested the limits of our privacy and FREEDOM as individuals, look what’s behind door number three!  
    What I’d love to know is who’s behind these ideas.  I’m incensed by whoever is “planting the seed of need” on this one.  That we should even think of spending–no, squandering–our creative and technological resources on this S#!T when we haven’t even scratched the surface of solving our energy problems!  But then again, the people working on these absurd and obscene ideas can’t be disturbed while they have their heads in the “clouds”.

  • Anonymous

    dlt

  • Hidan

    Can you imagine the cost of fixing these cars when they start to break? Sounds cool until it breaks, malfunctions or becomes outdated.

  • Mjsorrentino

    I have a 25 year career in the automotive industry and can tell you this will not last. These cars WILL be built but, there are two major problems. One is the labor pool. I have watched the amount of qualified people in the service and collision industry diminish for years. And now it will take a much more highly qualified technician to service them and there is just not that much money to be made in the service and repair industry to draw in new talent, secondly if you have a car with all this tech installed from the manufacturer it will be at the dealer for extended time intervals for service and repair and once the warranty runs out the labor rates to service or repair plus parts will be astronomical. I think in the end this will ultimately cause people to sell them and regress to a lesser model. In the end it will be a fad. There is definitely alot of tech that will carry on to newer models but, it will only go so far. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rbzelman Rich Zelman

    I’m 21 and I love technology and everything it’s done for the world, until lately. I am also a car lover. When I’m driving, I want to drive, and that’s it. My car has a manual transmission, no automatic-stopping feature, no infotainment nonsense, and that’s the only way I ever intend to buy a car. I’m all for new engine technology making our cars faster, more efficient and reliable, but please leave driving completely in my hands!

  • David Colston

    I’m assuming that all these cars will be fitted with the technology that can tell how far you’ve been driving in order to tax you for use of roads. I guess gasoline consumption represents 18% of road infrastructure funding and less driving and more electric cars mean less gas use do they need to tax us some how,. This looks like it

  • eCAHNomics

    All these electronic gizmos are no diff from the tail fins of the 1950s. Totally useless, planned obsolescence toys geared to entice stupid consumers into spending more money more often.

    • Pildrim

      I too am concerned about the cost of feeding data to these cars. I don’t use a smart phone because I prefer to avoid data charges.  The streaming data functions, like Toyota’s Entune or SiriusXM Navigation, require data service subscriptions as a new permanent ongoing cost of ownership. Many hi-tech safety features are bundled with these subscription-demanding services, so if buy the package for the safety feature, but don’t take on the data subscription, you’re left with useless hardware.

  • Louis

    All this new technology is reminding of George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984. More and more devices are tracking every move we make, and storing so much information about ourselves. What is the government might ever use this technology? Soviet Russia would have LOVED to have this technology. I think these new devices are really becoming a dangerous threat to society.

    • Louis

      Correction: “What IF the government…”

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  • RJ

    I am diabetic and use an insulin pump that communicates by radio frequency to my blood glucose monitor and my continuous glucose sensor. As it is, I have to be wary of being around wi-fi systems. Will being on the street or the highway make my blood sugar go haywire?

  • Rickloftus1

    What a nightmare. I’ve got a simple-as-can-be Jeep Patriot – standard shift, hand cranked windows, doors that require a key. That’s the way I like it. I hope this electronic mumbo jumbo doesn’t displace simple vehicles like mine that are designed for one thing – driving. As it is, the darn clock takes 15 minutes to set, and that’s with the manual in my lap. Ludites unite! I want to drive a car, not a pinball machine.

  • Shango

    Donald Fagan has something to say about this. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP0TaVYPkrk

  • revolve

    I am disgusted by this!  Disgusted!  When will these jerks get it thru their thick skulls?  We need green technology/alternative fuels–instead they give us nonsense.  Make it green first–eradicate fossil fuels–then play with your useless gadgets.  I will not buy one.  i will by foreign–cuz they get it–once again America just isn’t with it.

    Not to mention, this is just one more way to keep us under surveillance.  Why invest all this time, money, ingenuity into nonsense–imagine if all this money and brain power went into green technology and creating jobs. 

    i will never buy American again.  The Chinese wil be offering us a green ca before America ever gets it thru the thick head–and the Chinese will be leading the world market–why?  they just do it–no bullshit.  Do yo u have any shame?  wake up and get with the program!

    waste waste waste!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You never heard of Tesla, or a number of Electric or Hybrid vehicle makers?

  • revolve

    and if the gov doesn’t like u–they just tell the car to lock the doors and drive of a cliff.  Now your car is the enemy. 

    imagine you question the government–and the gov will not always be your best friend–your party will not always be the power party–its not now–but anyway, imagine you challenge the gov policy, protest, then you get in your car, the doors automatically lock, and calls the police–next with the new marshall law in place where the gov/military can detain you indefinately for no reason and no trial–you find yourself in Guantanamo naked with a black hood over your head and some private touching u in dark places.  and waterboarding you.  And u still have your car payment

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  • Cmorgan

    why don’t automobile manufacturers listen to what people want in a car?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      GREEDY oil executives KNOW what you NEED, what you want doesn’t matter!

  • Anonymous

    What happens when the network breaks down? Does everyone crash and burn together.. or do we end up with a complete blackout where they all just shut down and grind to a halt? What happens when hackers emrace a new genre for thier self-expression of malevolence?

  • Bin

    Well, I hope one of their ideas is to have an OFF switch to turn the “smarts” off and quiet. I want a car to drive form point A to point B. Nothing more, no talking back to me.

  • Slipstream

    Color me skeptical.  No doubt someday people will either have the option, or more likely, be required to get inside a car, punch their destination into a computer, then sit back and watch TV, chat with their fellow passengers, have a drink, etc.  And this may improve safety and efficiency to some degree.  But…

    What about when the network goes down, or isn’t working right, or gets hacked, or when your onboard computer malfunctions, or somebody else’s computer isn’t working right and sends your car wrong information?  Then we will have people behind the wheel who drive maybe once or twice a year, and other serious problems.  

    And what if people want to be able to drive themselves?  Will the consortium of government and industry groups who will run this network allow them to do that?  Already cars are loaded with all sorts of electronic junk that most people can do without, but it is standard, so if you want to roll down your windows or shift gears yourself, you are out of luck.  Most drivers today probably couldn’t operate a gearshift.

    Kudos to the guy who said the brainpower going into this should be applied to the problem of developing renewable fuels!

  • http://twitter.com/kino_govno_tk kino-govno.tk

    I had known something about this topic 
    http://www.caril.ru

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