How self-driving cars could make everything worse, and what to do about it

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The promise of self-driving cars is to take our vehicle fleets from 5% utilization to near-100% utilization, reducing congestion, parking problems, emissions and road accidents. But what if the cheapest way to "park" your autonomous vehicle is to have it endlessly circle the block while you're at work? What do we do about the lost jobs of bus-, truck- and cab-drivers? How will we pay for roads if gas-tax revenues plummet thanks to all-electric fleets? Read the rest

100 million VWs can be unlocked with a $40 cracker (and other cars aren't much better)

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In Lock It and Still Lose It—On the (In)Security of Automotive Remote Keyless Entry Systems, a paper given at the current Usenix Security conference in Austin, researchers with a proven track record of uncovering serious defects in automotive keyless entry and ignition systems revealed a technique for unlocking over 100,000 million Volkswagen cars, using $40 worth of hardware; they also revealed a technique for hijacking the locking systems of millions of other vehicles from other manufacturers. Read the rest

Profile of People's Ride: a co-operative, driver-owned alternative to Uber

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People's Ride is a co-op ride-hailing company in Grand Rapids, Michigan: drivers own the service in common and collectively decide how to spend its profits (for example, on deploying an app to go with its website); for-profit competitors like Uber take 30% commissions from their drivers and deliver them to investors, while People's Ride spends all the revenue paying drivers and improving the service. Read the rest

Return of Dieselgate: 3 more hidden programs found in VW Audi/Porsche firmware

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The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag says that US investigators have discovered three more hidden cheat apps in a Volkswagen product line: these ones were discovered in 3-liter Audi diesels. Read the rest

Big rigs can be hijacked and driven with software-based attacks

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In a two-month-long class assignment, researchers from the University of Michigan found vulnerabilities in J1939, the standard for networking in big rigs and other large industrial vehicles, that allowed them to control the acceleration, braking, and instrument panels of their target vehicles. Read the rest

San Francisco's bike lanes have become Uber's pickup/dropoff zones (and the cops don't care)

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It's no secret that San Francisco's cops hate cyclists -- they won't investigate hit-and-runs, they blame cyclists for accidents and harass them, they run them down in bike lanes -- so it's no surprise that they stand by idly while San Francisco's busy biking lanes are turned into pick-up and drop-off zones by Uber and Lyft drivers, forcing cyclists to swerve into traffic. Read the rest

To hell with the Trolley Problem: here's a much more interesting list of self-driving car weirdnesses

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Jan Chipchase has assembled a provocative, imaginative, excellent list of "driver behaviors in a world of autonomous mobility" that go far beyond the lazy exercise of porting the "trolley problem" to self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, including flying drones. Read the rest

Rolls-Royce's futuristic self-driving luxury car

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Revealed yesterday in London, the Rolls-Royce 103EX is the car company's vision for a futuristic luxury autonomous whip. The (way) over-the-top concept car features a massive OLED display, Macassar wood detailing, silk carpeting, and an artificial intelligence named Eleanor.

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Kickstarting beltbuckle multitools

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Tony Zentil, a mechanical engineer, has a fully funded Kickstarter for a variety of multitool belt-buckles aimed at skateboarders, snowboarders, and motorcyclists -- they're a significant advance on my old, beloved 686 belt-buckle stolen by the security staff of London Gatwick airport in 2011. Read the rest

Hot Wheels is making a Spock-leaning-on-a-64-Buick car for Comic-Con

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The classic photo of Leonard Nimoy in Spock costume leaning on the 64 Buick Riviera he bought with his Star Trek earnings will be immortalized in dinkycar, thanks to the good offices of the Hot Wheels Corporation. Read the rest

DoD public relations' highest-ranking civilian gets community service for stealing license plates and harassing neighbor's nanny

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Bryan Whitman -- familiar to many as the Pentagon's top spokesman during much of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- has settled a case with people who live near him in DC, who caught him repeatedly stealing the license plates off their nanny's car using a hidden camera. Read the rest

The Steampunk Roadster: Jake von Slatt's final steampunk project, and it's for sale!

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Steampunk pioneer Jake von Slatt sez, "Unbelievably, The Steampunk Workshop will be ten years old in just a few months so it's kind of fitting that I've just completed my biggest and probably my last steampunk mod of my steampunk career. It's a car and it's for sale." Read the rest

Straddling buses would only work if they were made out of rubber

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Chinese engineer Song Youzhou has been trying to get traction for his straddling bus, a huge elevated bus that goes over, rather than through, traffic, since 2010. Read the rest

The Homer: now a real(ish) car from Hot Wheels

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In 1991, The Simpsons episode called Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? aired, in which Homer becomes an auto-executive and designs a car that is used to show why American auto-manufacturing had failed: now you can own that car. Read the rest

Mitsubishi's dieselgate: cheating since 1991

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Mitsubishi has admitted that it cheated on emissions standards tests for a quarter of a century, and it admits that this affected 600,000 cars, but the company says that the cheating cars were only sold to Japanese people. Read the rest

VW offers to buy back 500K demon-haunted diesels

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Reuters reports that VW is about to tell the federal judge in San Francisco in charge of its case that it will offer to buy back nearly half a million of its diesel vehicles from owners who were deceived about the cars' emission standards and performance when the company engineered its cars so that they would act daemonically, performing differently based on whether they were being tested or not. Read the rest

Luxury overnight bus with sleeper cabins shuttles between LA and San Francisco

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Sleepbus is a startup that's "disrupting long distance transport" -- it's a bus. Read the rest

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