Archives for the Category: Charity Car Donations

6 Issues With Autonomous Driving

With a car driving for you will it be safer than driving for yourself? Or are you opening yourself to different, dangerous possibilities.

As more than 800 engineers, software developers, transportation experts and other technical folks met last week in this Detroit suburb to discuss the risks and benefits of autonomous and connected vehicles, they were raising more questions than finding answers.

Here are six unsolved challenges that stand between the technologies’ potential and reality:

  1. Cybersecurity and privacy protection. Maybe this can’t be solved until there are thousands of pilot vehicles on our roads, but last week Wired magazine writer Andy Greenberg wrote about two cybersecurity experts who accessed a newer Jeep Cherokee’s computer brain through its Uconnect infotainment system and rewrote the firmware to plant their malicious code. The result: hip-hop began blasting through the stereo system, the AC turned to maximum force. Then the hacker’s code killed the transmission and brakes. We know autonomous cars will have even more software coding. One major attack and consumer confidence in the technology could be severely damaged.
  1. How much will these vehicles cost? Established automakers are introducing progressively more advanced autonomous features in their most expensive models. Ride-hailing or other fleet-based services such as Uber or Lyft will try to deliver their service at a lower price than competing options.

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Create a Model of Your Dream Truck With Ford’s New 3D Printer

Car enthusiasts now have a chance to have their very own model car created by Ford amongst their collection. Tweak and change features through various designs and years from Ford until they are finished. 3D digital printing shops by Ford have begun to open, changing the car model industry.

Ford announced that it is the first automaker to open a one-stop 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store. With the help of Turbosquid, Ford fans can use 3D printing technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles or opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images.

Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.

According to a news release the company sent me: “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV roadtrip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.

According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.

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When Does It No Longer Make Sense To Keep Your Ride

13Many things happen to our cars day to day, most are repairable so that your car can see another day. However, some things occur whether that is an accident or just time, where it no longer makes sense to keep it.

Of all the things we buy, maintain, use, and eventually scrap at the end of its lifecycle, nothing involves emotion like our relationship with our vehicles.

 

Perhaps it’s because of the cost and the sacrifices we make to own and operate them, or because they represent independence and mobility. But regardless, all this emotion can cloud our decision-making process when it comes to parting with our beloved daily driver. Many automakers invest as much time and energy in creating and developing an emotional bond between their products and their customers as they do in designing and building the vehicles themselves. If you doubt this, consider the amount carmakers spend on advertising each year compared to what they spend on R&D. While every auto manufacturer will supply an endless list of reasons why you should buy their particular product, few will help you decide when, and if, it’s time to leave your wheels by the curb and buy or lease something new. Here, then, is some advice to help make that decision easier.

 

Time and distance

Of all the auto executives I’ve met over almost four decades, only one ever admitted to the lifespan for which they design and build their vehicles to survive. While no auto company will admit it, the useful life for the majority of mainstream, non-luxury vehicles is about 10 years and/or 250,000 kilometers. While many cars, light trucks and SUVs may exceed that mark without exceptional repair or maintenance, a good percentage are relegated to the boneyard much sooner. A vehicle’s reliability takes a decidedly marked downturn once these milestones are passed. Does this mean we need to rush to the nearest dealership when the odometer clicks past that fateful mark? No, but it means it’s time create a succession plan. No matter the many variables when it comes to our relationships with cars, there’s one constant you can rely on: when you are forced to make a rushed decision on purchasing or leasing a vehicle (because your present chariot is dead in the driveway) it will cost you more than if you planned ahead.

Major repair estimate

Everyone dreads this call. They’ve had the family car towed into their repair provider because it failed to start/move/stop, and they get the estimate to overhaul/repair/replace something big. A good rule of thumb in these circumstances is to review your options of repairing or replacing your vehicle if a single-repair estimate approaches or exceeds its wholesale value. A quick internet tour of just about any used vehicle sales website can pinpoint this value. Just take the average asking price for the same vehicle in your area (with identical equipment and mileage) and subtract around $1,500 from a retailer’s asking price to come up with a wholesale value. Vehicles, unless it’s a collector classic, are a depreciating asset. Spending its entire value in one repair won’t double its worth.

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