Archive for the ‘Advocacy Groups’ Category

New IIHS Tests Show Wide Disparity in Automakers’ Pedestrian Crash Avoidance Tech

BMW system sent dummies “airborne.”

by on Feb.21, 2019

The BMW X1 failed the IIHS pedestrian test, sending the dummy airborne during the exercise.

Pedestrian fatalities have been on a rapid rise in recent years, something some experts blame on the shift to blunt-nosed utility vehicles. Whatever the reason, automakers are under pressure to find ways to reduce the problem.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has launched a study to evaluate and compare the performance of new pedestrian crash avoidance technology and the first pass found wide disparity between the 11 small SUVs put to the test. The majority of the vehicles earned top ratings, but two performed poorly, the BMW X1 sending a crash dummy “airborne” when it failed to come to a stop.

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“We want to encourage manufacturers to include pedestrian detection capabilities as they equip more of their vehicles with automatic emergency braking systems,” said David Aylor, the IIHS manager of Active Safety Testing. “We also want to arm consumers with information about these systems so they can make smart choices when shopping for a new vehicle.” (more…)

IIHS Unveils Top Safety Pick Plus Models for 2019

More of the top two awards handed out for 2019.

by on Dec.19, 2018

IIHS President David Harkey announced this year's winners of the organization's Top Safety Pick+ awards.

New vehicles continue to get safer and safer – a point many makers advertise – and this year’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded its highest rating – one of those advertised – to 30 new vehicles for 2019, falling short of last year’s total of 34.

The biggest reason for the improvement for some brands wasn’t necessarily new crash avoidance technology, but instead improvement of a long-used feature: headlights.

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“The 30 first-tier “” award winners earn the highest rating for passenger-side protection in a small overlap front crash and have good-rated available headlights,” the organization noted in a release. (more…)

Toyota Using Carma to Get Takata Airbag Recall Done

A simple phone app and a financial reward help with recall rate.

by on Dec.19, 2018

Toyota is partnering with the Carma Project to accelerate the rate of repair of vehicles with Takata airbags.

The ongoing struggle to get car owners with potentially deadly Takata airbags in their vehicles to bring them in for repair is taking a new turn: social media.

Toyota Motor North America and the Carma Project are working together to get more of the vehicles repaired using the internet and rewards to improve the repair rate for vehicles in the largest automotive recall in history.

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The 70 million airbags, used by nearly 20 automakers, including Toyota, can explode with too much force sending pieces of plastic and metal into the vehicle’s cabin. It’s responsible for 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries. (more…)

Hyundai, Kia Owners File Suit About Engine Fires

Safety regulators investigating problems with vehicles.

by on Dec.17, 2018

The 2014 Sonata is part of an NHTSA investigation about engine fires.

U.S. owners of select Hyundai and Kia models filed suit against the automakers in the U.S. trying to resolve a possible defected that may cause some engines to catch fire. The affected vehicles are already part of an ongoing investigation by U.S. regulators.

The more than 350 complaints filed by vehicle owners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration constitutes “concealment of the defect,” according to the class action suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California by law firm Hagens Berman.

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The fires have been occurring for some time, but have been difficult to separate from fires that occurred as a result of a crash and those that happened before or after a crash. In Florida, more than 400 fires were reported, but just 120 of those fit the description for the lawsuit. (more…)

Americans Driving with Insufficient Headlights, Study Says

AAA says older headlights are a real safety concern.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Millions of American vehicles have headlights that provide dangerously low levels of illumination.

We’ve all said it at one time or another: “Are my lights on?” According to a new AAA study, aging and sun-damaged headlights are a major safety issue in the United States.

Yellow or clouded headlights generate about 20% of the amount of light that new headlights do, according to the AAA study. Obviously, this can create some hazardous conditions when driving at night. With half of all accidents occurring at night, AAA encourages drivers to check the condition of their headlights regularly and change them when necessary.

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“Walk through any parking lot and it is evident that deteriorated headlights are a problem for most vehicle owners,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Headlights on the road in the U.S., even when new, don’t produce a sufficient amount of lighting, so any reduction in performance is a real safety issue.” (more…)

Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

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Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)

Advanced Driving Systems Can Be Misleading and Don’t Always Work as Promised

Autopilot, ProPilot, Pilot Assist, names can confuse motorists expecting full autonomy.

by on Nov.16, 2018

This Model X crash reveals the short comings of Autopilot and, potentially, other similarly named advanced driver assistance systems.

Soon after Tesla first introduced its Autopilot system in October 2014, videos began popping up on YouTube showing owners doing things like jumping into the back seat while their cars cruised down the highway. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk was shown in his Model S sedan, hands out of the window, rather than on the steering wheel.

After a couple high-visibility crashes, Tesla now takes pain to make sure its owners know Autopilot isn’t a fully autonomous system – at least not yet. But not everyone seems to be getting the message. And it’s not just Tesla. With Nissan adding ProPilot Assist to some new models and Volvo opting for Pilot Assist.

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The new car market is experiencing a flood of new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS, that claim to help drivers stay in their lanes, brake automatically, and even change lanes by simply tapping the turn signal. But testing by AAA finds that many of these systems don’t work as promised – at least all the time. And, worse, the names manufacturers have chosen may lead to a false sense of security, some motorists believing these systems can but drive all but fully autonomously. (more…)

Uber Aiming to Relaunch Autonomous Testing on Public Roads

After fatal crash, ride-sharing service plans to redouble steps to ensure safety.

by on Nov.05, 2018

In the wake of a fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona, Uber suspended all of its autonomous vehicle testing. Now it wants to resume in Pittsburgh.

Uber plans to relaunch the autonomous vehicle testing program it suspended following a fatal crash in Arizona last March, but it has advised regulators in Pennsylvania that it will take additional steps to ensure the safety of its vehicles.

The San Francisco-based ride-sharing service has been betting heavily on fully driverless technology, hoping it will lower costs to the point where many Americans won’t even feel the need to own a private vehicle anymore. But that effort was put on hold after a modified Volvo struck and killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a road in a Phoenix suburb.

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It was initially unclear why the Volvo hit the 49-year-old Herzberg, as its system spotted her six seconds before impact. It was subsequently revealed during a police investigation that the backup driver charged with taking control in an emergency was actually streaming the TV show, “The Voice,” rather than watching the road. She failed to intervene when the car’s brakes weren’t automatically applied because of improper modifications made to the vehicle. (more…)

Ford, Baidu Ink Autonomous Test Deal in China as Waymo Starts in California Despite Protests

Disparate reactions to autonomous vehicle testing.

by on Nov.01, 2018

Ford's Sherif Marakby and Baidu's Zhenyu Li shake hands, confirming the new autonomous testing deal between the two companies.

Ford Motor Co. just inked a deal with Baidu Inc. to conduct two years of autonomous vehicle testing on the roads of China as Waymo is getting approval to engage in its own self-driving vehicle tests in California despite the protests of watchdog groups.

The Baidu-Ford L4 Autonomous Vehicle Test Project is set to begin by the end of this year, the automaker noted. The project will develop and test autonomous vehicles that are designed to meet the Level 4 (L4) driving automation standard as defined by SAE International.

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Level 4 vehicles are capable of operating autonomously within a specific geographic area and under certain weather conditions. Ford engineers have already started the process working at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Center, which was set up to convert the vehicles into Autonomous Vehicle Platforms in order to prepare them to be fit with Baidu’s Apollo Virtual Driver System.  (more…)

Car Crashes on the Rise in “Pot-Legal” States

New study suggests a 6% jump in collisions.

by on Oct.18, 2018

A new study suggests that states where recreational marijuana is legal, car crashes are up 6%.

With all of the talk about blue waves and red waves coming in the November election, a couple of new studies show that Americans may want to direct their attention to the “green” wave: recreational marijuana.

Several states have measures on ballots to make the recreational use of marijuana legal, just as the aforementioned studies show that vehicle crashes are up as much as 6% in states where it is already legal.

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Crashes are on the rise in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) shows.  (more…)

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