Tesla driver in fatal 2018 crash had reported 'Autopilot' problems before, NTSB finds

A Tesla driver in California died in a March 2018 crash while using the Autopilot driver-assistance system.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) disclosed in documents made public Tuesday that Walter Huang, the 38-year-old Apple software engineer killed by his Tesla, previously reported that on prior trips his car steered away from the highway by itself. Read the rest

Coronavirus outbreak to delay Tesla deliveries, says electric car VP on Weibo

Shares of Tesla Motors were down 19% on Wednesday after a senior executive with the electric vehicle company warned of delivery delays for Model 3 cars made at its Shanghai plant, because of the ever-worsening coronavirus outbreak in China. Read the rest

Inventive students detach IoT car-immobilizers, use their SIMs to power free wifi hotspots

The "Barnacle" is a networked car-immobilizer that parking guards stick over the windshield of your illegally parked car; you pay the fine online and the Barnacle gets an over-the-air signal to release itself from your car so you can remove it and put it in a nearby deposit bin. Read the rest

'Cars now run on the new oil — your data.'

What data does your car gather about you? Where does it go? Who has access to it? Read the rest

Kickstarting a new edition of Steve Jackson Games's Car Wars

I grew up on RPGs, not tabletop strategy games, but the one exception was Car Wars, a dystopian science fiction game where you kit out vehicles with weapons and then fight them in giant duelling pits or in freeway battles. I loved Car Wars and played it like crazy. Read the rest

Just look at this bananamobile that a cop pulled over because he wanted to give the driver $20.

Just look at it. (Thanks, Jack Buffington!) Read the rest

Teen uses external cameras and projection-mapping onto the a-pillar to "solve" blind-spots

"Improving Automobile Safety by Removing Blind Spots" is 14 year old Alaina Gassler's prizewinning science-fair project, which uses cameras mounted to the exterior of the car and feeding their video to internal projectors, which projection-map them onto the a-pillars that otherwise obscure the driver's view. Read the rest

Heavy duty disposable nitrile gloves for working on my car, bus or bike

These heavy duty nitrile gloves keep my hands clean when an automotive emergency pops up.

Frequently my 43-year-old motorcycle and 32-year-old VW bus hiccup. Usually, they do it when I am wearing something I do not want covered in grease, and am far away from home. Luckily both vehicles have nearly full sets of tools in them, and I can usually get to work wherever need finds me.

Keeping my hands clean, however, not likely until I started keeping a handful of nitrile gloves in each.

I tried keeping a pair of shop gloves in the car, but they got lost quick. With these nitrile gloves, I can refill either vehicle when I run out.

These gloves are also easier to work with while wearing. Bulky gloves are no fun.

They do tear but less frequently than the thin medical exam gloves I tried before.

GLOVEWORKS HD Industrial Orange Nitrile Gloves - 8 mil, Latex Free, Powder Free, Diamond Texture, Disposable, Heavy Duty via Amazon Read the rest

This #vanlife is not all it is cracked up to be

Oh, the joys of #vanlife!

I was checking up on my Vanagon yesterday and noticed the coolant was low. Missing coolant is very bad in a Vanagon for many, many reasons.

I looked for a leak.

I could not find a leak. It was possible the car had just burped an air bubble and swallowed a cup or two of coolant from the reserve. I was not in a panic.

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Via my sister

A post shared by Jason Weisberger (@jlw) on Jul 25, 2017 at 4:09pm PDT

I also knew my power steering belt was looking really ragged. I decided to call the local shop I've been working with and see if they could swap the belt and pressure test the system today.

They said bring the bus in at 7am.

I drove the 10-15 miles to my mechanic with no problems at all. I had given myself an extra hour in the event something terrible went wrong with the cooling system, or the v-belt decided to trash my day on the way to being replaced.

It is a Vanagon, these things happen.

I got to the shop uneventfully. I love my bus. I take good care of it.

See, things work out!

I decided to park about 3 blocks away and get a cup of pretty terrible coffee from a Starbucks.

Starbucks had terrible coffee.

I, and Pretzel my faithful Cavalier King Charles companion, returned to the van. I turned the key in the ignition. Read the rest

Fixing a car-door dent with fantasy cartography

Did you get dinged in a parking lot? Or did you back into a phone-poll? A little bondo, a little black pinstriping, and voila, you've turned your car's unsightly, damaged door panel into a map of fantastic, Tolkien-adjacent realms. Read the rest

Women are much more likely to be injured in car crashes, probably because crash-test dummies are mostly male-shaped

Women wearing seatbelts are 73% more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash than men in seatbelts, and while it's not entirely certain why this is, it's a pretty good bet that sampling bias in crash-testing is to blame. Read the rest

Autonomous vehicles fooled by drones that project too-quick-for-humans road-signs

In MobilBye: Attacking ADAS with Camera Spoofing, a group of Ben Gurion security researchers describe how they were able to defeat a Renault Captur's "Level 0" autopilot (Level 0 systems advise human drivers but do not directly operate cars) by following them with drones that projected images of fake roadsigns for a 100ms instant -- too short for human perception, but long enough for the autopilot's sensors. Read the rest

Self-driving car jargon

Bruce Sterling republishes the acronyms in a recent Daimler white-paper on self-driving cars: Read the rest

Dieselgate 2.0: 42,000 Mercedes diesels recalled for "illegal software"

Germany's auto regulator has ordered Daimler to recall 42,000 Mercedes diesels because the company installed illegal software in their engines that gimmicked the engine's thermostat, which would allow the manufacturer to selectively tune its cars' emissions. Read the rest

Americans believe that they should own the mountains of data produced by their cars, but they don't

Your car is basically a smartphone with wheels, and it gathers up to 25gb/hour worth of data on you and your driving habits -- everything from where you're going to how much you weigh. Cars gather your financial data, data on the number of kids in the back seat, and, once they're connected to your phone, data on who you call and text. Read the rest

The empirical impact of Lyft and Uber on cities: congestion (especially downtown, especially during "surges"), overworked drivers

Mike Moffitt sums up the empirical work on the impact of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft for cities: an increase in congestion, especially downtown, especially during "surges" (Uber and Lyft insist that they reduce congestion, especially in downtowns, and especially during surges!); lower wages, longer hours and more precarious work for drivers (accompanied by the slow death of the taxi/limo businesses); huge losses for car-rental companies; and less walking, cycling and use of public transit (awithnd accompanying cuts to transit). Read the rest

Small stickers on the ground trick Tesla autopilot into steering into opposing traffic lane

Researchers from Tencent Keen Security Lab have published a report detailing their successful attacks on Tesla firmware, including remote control over the steering, and an adversarial example attack on the autopilot that confuses the car into driving into the oncoming traffic lane. Read the rest

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