"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
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.
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.
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
Teslas are incredibly data-hungry, storing massive troves of data about their owners, including videos of crashes, location history, contacts and calendar entries from paired phones, photos of the driver and passengers taken with interior cameras, and other data; this data is stored without encryption, and it is not always clear when Teslas are gathering data, and the only way to comprehensively switch off data-gathering also de-activates over-the-air software updates for the cars, which have historically shipped with limited or buggy features that needed the over-the-air updates to fix them. Read the rest
Freedom EV is a free/open software stack intended to replace the software in your electric vehicle, it's been tested on a Tesla Model X and should work on a Model S, if you can get root. Read the rest
Jit Ray Chowdhury attended CES in his capacity as an autonomous vehicle engineer, and while there, snapped a picture of a self-driving car equipped with a LIDAR system from Aeye; he says the LIDAR's laser lanced through his camera's aperture and zapped its optical sensor, burning a permanent spot into it and ruining the camera (Aeye has offered to replace it). Read the rest
People like this guy waving his gun at a driverless Waymo van in Arizona are attacking self-driving vehicles with rocks, knives, and *their own cars*, sending a message to tech companies like Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet (Google's parent company). That message is, please go experiment with artificial intelligence in somebody else’s neighborhood. Read the rest