Friday, November 25, 2016

Blackberry Signs Deal With Ford



Big News: Blackberry is still around!! Ok, maybe this was just news to me, but in even bigger news: they signed a deal with Ford to to produce software that could power their first generation of mass-market self-driving cars. The Canadian company has announced that it is dedicating a team of engineers to help the car manufacturer incorporate a range of BlackBerry software — including its QNX Neutrino operating system, its Certicom security tech, and audio processing software — into future Ford cars. In addition to helping Ford utilize existing software, the new deal means BlackBerry can put itself at the center of Ford’s future plans for self-driving cars, helping the Canadian company in its stated aim of pivoting from a hardware company to a software one.

BlackBerry’s days of dominating the cellphone market are long gone but the company’s QNX subsidiary is its most promising hope for future success. How Ford’s self-driving car efforts pan out is yet to be seen — companies like Google, Baidu, and Mercedes-Benz all plan to have autonomous vehicles on roads at least a year before 2021 (Ford's projected date) — but the deal could help BlackBerry score similar arrangements with other manufacturers.

We Probably Should Trust Driverless Cars - But We Don't.

More than 30,000 people are killed each year in car crashes in the United States. In 90% of crashes, human error is to blame. And so most experts agree that self-driving car technology will reduce the number of crashes and fatalities. Self-driving cars could save up to 1.5 million lives just in the United States and close to 50 million lives globally in the next 50 years. Yet in a March 2016 poll by the American Automobile Association, 75% of respondents said they are not ready to embrace self-driving cars. It's understandable that people are sceptical of handing their keys over to an algorithm. But algorithms have come a long way in the last decade: they can take in data, learn, and generate more sophisticated versions of themselves. We rely upon algorithms for many of our decisions and actions these days, from low-risk activities such as deciding what to watch on Netflix or buy on Amazon to high-stakes decisions such as how we should invest our savings. We are even OK with autopilot features controlling airplanes. This current skepticism for self-driving cars thus raises a question: Why do we trust algorithms in some cases, but not in others?


It all comes down to this: people trust algorithms for more objective decisions, and trust them less for subjective ones. font-family: Guardian; font-size: 17px;">Could it be that people are hesitant about self-driving cars because they view driving as a more subjective, personal experience? Consider the findings described by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania: Their research showed that people lose confidence in algorithms much more than in human forecasters when they observe the two make the same mistake. Furthermore, people were less likely to choose an algorithm over a human forecaster even if the algorithm outperformed the human on the whole. In short, we are not very forgiving of mistakes made by algorithms even if we make the same mistakes more often. Maybe we think that an algorithm's mistake is baked into the program and is untrustworthy. The implication is chilling for self-driving car manufacturers and proponents: People might rapidly lose trust in the technology if there are enough incidents, even when the technology is proven to be safer in the aggregate. Early fatalities could turn the general public against self-driving cars very quickly. Manufacturers have to think harder about when and how to introduce driverless features.

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) advances and deep learning – a branch of machine learning that aims to recreate the actual processes of neurons in the brain – matures, algorithms will run a greater share of our lives. That said, scepticism only shows that good technology alone does not ensure success. AI and smart algorithms need to be introduced in ways that win the trust and confidence of their human users.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Cars Are Getting Smart Enough To Help You Find Parking





Smart Cars are the future. The very nearly present, future. And while having a car that drives itself is cool and very practical, there's no feature more practical than helping you find a parking space. A tech company named "Here" is launching a service that will have cars automatically share real-time data to improve commutes for everyone. Vehicles (starting with German cars: Audi, BMW & Mercedes-Benz) will use their sensors and cameras to offer details on free parking spaces, traffic conditions, and road hazards. You would know that a parking spot has just opened up, or that heavy rain is forcing drivers ahead to slow down. The service will be available in the first half of 2017, but the main challenge is time. It won't give you a truly comprehensive view of the road until there are plenty of connected cars roaming the streets. So, eventually, we'll have cars that can help us find parking. Those of us living in or near in big cities can't wait!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Don't Worry. Emissions Will Kill Us Before We Run Out of Oil



Are you worried about what will happen when we run out of oil? Well, don't. Dr. Jeremy Martin of the Union of Concerned Scientists took part in a Reddit AMA, fielding questions about emissions, fossil fuels, EVs, ethanol, etc. And assured us that we'll destroy the planet from using fossil fuels faster than we could ever run out. Martin also points out that emissions from oil extraction and refining are rising as producers go after new, dirtier sources. "This is by no means inevitable," he adds, injecting a merciful modicum of hope. "We just need to hold the oil industry to the same level of accountability as all other fuel producers."

 As for the alternatives, Martin puts a fine point on the fact that sourcing is important when it comes to the environmental footprint of any fuel. How hydrogen is made, what sort of feedstock and conversion method is used to make ethanol or biodiesel ("palm oil biodiesel is a disaster"), and where the electricity comes from to charge electric vehicles all have an important effect on lifecycle emissions. He adds that most researchers are more concerned with climate-changing emissions than net energy balance of any particular fuel, though he did indulge some questions to the latter.


And with each answer about specific alternative fuels, Martin points out that they're each emitting less than oil, a fact that sometimes falls to the wayside when we discuss the challenges new fuels and technologies pose. With biofuels unable to fulfill the current demand of petroleum (scalability is one of the focuses of Dr. Martin's research), the shift will ultimately need to be to battery electric and fuel cell vehicles, a transition that will take time, but that Martin is confident will happen.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Self-Driving Cars Are Subject to Federal Regulation



The car industry is about to change in a radical way. If you follow the industry at all, you have no doubt been bombarded with articles about the swift progress of companies building autonomous cars.  Every major car company will have partially autonomous cars in the next 5 years, with plans to become completely autonomous soon thereafter. And in these uncharted waters, the federal government has stepped in to provide some regulation. Tech companies and automobile manufacturers will have to address a 15-point "safety assessment" — including details on how a car’s software will address ethical and conflict situations on the road — to determine whether or not their driverless vehicles are safe for public use. And that's just one aspect of the new rulebook for self-driving cars. Last January, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx promised to release a set of guidelines designed to bring some order to the flurry of activity surrounding automated vehicles.

These new rules confirm what we all are suspecting that self-driving cars are about to change the commuting landscape in a huge way. "We’re envisioning a future where you can take your hands off the wheel and the wheel out of the car, and where your commute becomes productive and restful, rather than frustrating and exhausting," said Jeff Zients, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, in a call with reporters Monday evening.

Of course, the question is whether or not the car companies would willingly share their tech information. But a spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the guidelines will likely be made mandatory through regulations.The government is seeking basic details on how these cars function, as well as how they record data, what happens when they crash, how they protect themselves against malicious hacking, and most intriguingly, "how vehicles are programmed to address conflict dilemmas on the road." They plan on publishing the responses they receive in an annual report.



The Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have included a set of model regulations for states to adopt. This is to avoid a "patchwork" of regulations where some states allow for the deployment of self-driving cars, while others do not. This policy governs how to inspect and license self-driving cars, as well as law enforcement and insurance considerations, etc.

This is uncharted territory and the government certainly has their work cut out for them. No word yet on how much pushback they will receive from manufacturers.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's Coming Back!! (To The Future)

The DeLorean is Coming Back To The Future with Production of New Cars in 2017


 


The DeLorean is one of the world's most iconic cars, due in no small part to it's co-starring role as a time machine in the movie Back To The Future

The car will be a replica of the 1981-1983 version thanks to the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, which allows replica car manufactures to sell complete turn-key vehicles rather than just rolling chassis or kits. “It’s fantastic. It is a game-changer for us. We’ve been wanting this to happen,” said DeLorean CEO Stephen Wynne. “That was a green light to go back into production. That was prohibited. It was against the law to do it.”


There will be a limited number of the cars made, 300, and they will cost around $100,000.

DeLorean hopes to begin production of new replica DMC-12 models in the first quarter of 2017. One day, the company hopes the law will be changed to allow low-volume production of modern cars, preferably by the time the production run of replica cars is completed in about five to six years.

 

 

And maybe, by then.......



We won't need roads....

What To Look For When Buying A Family Car



Choosing a family car is an important decision. What you really need to do is to first evaluate the needs of your family and then go about thoroughly evaluating the various factors that are important. Some essential tips for a sensible choice:

 Budget 

When you have a growing family, the budget can be pretty much the most important thing to affect the choice of a new vehicle. You need to determine how much of a monthly payment your cash flow will permit without taking you to the brink. If your budget is tight, it may be a good idea to consider a pre-owned car. Buying a used car doesn't mean you're buying a lemon. Make sure to ask where they get their cars from. Some used car dealers buy their cars at auction from major dealers who need to sell off their new car trade-ins. A lot of these cars are still in great condition and most honest used car dealers (like Southern Auto Liquidators) will thoroughly check and repair any necessary fixes before they put the car up for sale. So you can be sure that you are buying a car that will last you a while.

Safety

Though all contemporary cars have to abide by the new regulations governing vehicular safety, there are always models that are built with safety features as a prime consideration. When you are buying a family car, you need to make certain that the vehicle has an excellent crash-test rating, and features like side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability and traction control, and other such safety features.

Fuel Efficiency

Over the years, gas prices increased substantially enough to make a dent in the budgets of most families. To be fair, car manufacturers too have woken up to the problem and are now offering models that are far superior in fuel efficiency. Make sure the car you're looking at has decent fuel efficiency before buying.

Comfort and Convenience

If you and your family are going to be spending a lot of time in the car then choosing a vehicle that offers comfort while driving, is very important. Headroom and rear seat legroom, as well as cargo space, are very important considerations when you are reviewing cars. You will also want to look at 4 doors for more convenience.

Here at Southern Auto, we have a varied inventory with some really great options for family cars. We have a couple of PT Cruisers with lots of room and really cool "old Hollywood" looks. We have a really reliable Honda CRV if you are looking for an SUV option. And we have an incredibly affordable 02 Ford Taurus with some outstanding safety features. Check out these, and all of our other inventory, at www.southernautoliquidators.com