Automotive


NSW could get digital drivers licences

16th March 2015

NSW premier Mike Baird has promised to shift drivers off plastic cards and onto digital drivers licences over the next four years if his Liberal government gets re-elected.

It’s the second major technology policy promise to come out of the state government in the lead-up to the March 28 election, following the announcement of a $100 million funding pot for police technology.

Baird today said the move to digital drivers licences could save the state tens of thousands of dollars, and would make NSW one of the first in the world to offer citizens the choice of having a licence issued digitally and displayed on their smartphone.

Physical licences would still be available for those who wanted one, he said.

The NSW government’s digital council – which is chaired by Customer Service Commissioner Mike Pratt – would be tasked with working through security, privacy and regulatory issues.

“Customers are doing more and more transactions on their smartphones,” NSW Finance and Services Dominic Perrottet said in a statement.

“From cafes to banks, businesses are offering customers the opportunity to access their services, loyalty programs and payment systems through smartphone apps.

“While the private sector has shifted to digital, the NSW government must do the same.”

NSW currently counts over 123 different types of licence. It issues more than 2.8 million plastic cards every year.

The state liberal party said if re-elected, the first licences to be shifted to digital would be a number of common licences including photo cards and boat and fishing license. The conversion of drivers licences to digital would come after, he said.

If implemented, NSW would join the likes of Iowa and Delaware in the US to work towards rolling out digital drivers licences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supercharged Corvette can go 0-60 in 2.95 seconds

 

2015 Corvette Z06

1st Oct 2014

General Motors says a new high-performance version of the Chevrolet Corvette can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under three seconds.

The 2015 Corvette ZO6 is the fastest car GM has ever made. The company says it can hit 60 mph in 2.95 seconds and can finish a quarter-mile in just under 11 seconds. It can reach 127 mph in one-quarter mile.

GM spokesman Monte Doran says GM believes it to be the first front-engine, rear-wheel-drive production car to break the three-second barrier.

The Z06 that achieved the times is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It has a supercharged V8 engine that puts out 650 horsepower.

The Z06 goes on sale early next year and will cost just shy of $80,000.

 

source:http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SPEEDY_CORVETTE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-10-01-14-32-07

Cry, your car’s on hidden camera

23rd Sept 2014

Without prior knowledge or intent, I recently was inducted into a club I had no interest in joining, especially in light of the $200 initiation fee.

In fact, I had no idea I had joined until the bill arrived notifying me that a camera had caught me exceeding the speed limit somewhere along the route between downtown Washington and the Maryland border. My aggravation at being charged, judged and sentenced without the courtesy of a human exchange was made worse by the realization that I had been denied the opportunity to adequately appreciate that on at least one day, the city’s eastbound traffic was actually moving.

To a fan of eye contact under almost any circumstance, the feeling was of having been observed without permission. There is a reason our justice system allows the accused to face his accuser.

Notwithstanding these common understandings, speed and red-light cameras are becoming increasingly prevalent as reflected by the bulging coffers of participating towns and municipalities. In Washington alone, traffic citations total about $179 million a year.

So what’s wrong with that? Drive too fast or run a red light, and take your medicine, non-drivers contemptuously intone. (See the comments section.)

Well, yes, but not really. Here’s the relevant question: Are the cameras designed to increase public safety, or are they just a means to trap citizens and make money?

The conclusion of an audit earlier this month by the District of Columbia inspector general suggests the latter. In one revealing quote cited in the report, a senior district official commented on the effrontery and efficacy of the parking-ticket system:

“One of the beauties of parking, it’s like the [Internal Revenue Service]. If you get a parking ticket, you are guilty until you have proven yourself innocent. . . . And that’s worked well for us.”

Ditto can be said of camera-caught speeders and red-light runners, which resulted in 666,275 tickets in 2013.

As a consequence, annoyed citizens have begun challenging speed cameras on issues of property rights and home rule. In Ohio, 29 state lawmakers and two civil liberties groups joined a motorist in a court challenge claiming that the city of Toledo violated his constitutional rights to due process.

The argument basically questioned whether the city was attempting to exact property from Ohio drivers without access to a judge authorized by and accountable to duly elected legislators.

It all gets rather weedy — and does seem like picking a nit to cure a plague — but so goes U.S. jurisprudence. The Ohio motorist’s case points to the more general concern that gotcha cameras, by eliminating the middle man (that being a human being), violate our sense of fair play.

What was that camera’s name, anyway, and what was he doing in my business? Did the camera bother to wonder why I might be driving faster than I’m supposed to? Excuse me, but could I speak to a human, please?

Bottom line: Mr. Camera doesn’t care.

Which brings us to my own rather metaphysical perspective. While not on an existential par with events in Syria and Iraq, someone has to worry about our self-inflicted war on ourselves and our submission to dystopian efficiency over humanity.

There may well be reason to install cameras at red lights to catch those who fail to stop. But exceeding the speed limit often means keeping pace with traffic, which is sometimes safer. One car pulled aside by a traffic officer is usually sufficient to slow the herd, whereas a camera no one notices gives no one pause. Where’s the safety in that?

And then there are the true emergencies — the woman in labor or the injured child being rushed to the hospital. While these occasions are perhaps rare compared with people who are merely in a hurry, they illustrate our increasing lack of regard for the human side of events.

Once we accept the necessity of cameras to keep the citizenry in line, especially when keeping order is so profitable, we needn’t let our imaginations wander far to see that absolute order is the endgame in a brave new world. The weird genius of the speeding/parking ticket industry is that we the people enrich the bureaucracies that torment us. And their little machines, too!

Surely with all the money just from parking tickets — $82.8 million in 2013 — Washington could hire some organic traffic officers. Or at least provide a little soma to ease the transition.

 

 

Source:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/kathleen-parker-cry-your-cars-on-hidden-camera/2014/09/23/f9795dfc-4359-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

New “digital tokens” system to radically cut city traffic

Traffic sucks. Congestion is bad for the environment, health ( see: Beijing), and maybe most importantly, our sanity. One solution gaining in popularity amongst urban governments is the congestion charging scheme, in which drivers pay a toll to enter designated downtown areas. London, Stockholm, and Milan all have such systems in place, and New York came close to trying it out in 2007. Those efforts are all whippersnappers compared to Singapore’s program, which was introduced in 1975. Over the past few decades, the city-state has upgraded the system, which now uses radio transmitters to detect cars entering designated areas.

But two MIT researchers think they’ve got a better way of doing things. They’ve tested out a new method — and won an award doing it — that eliminates the need for the cameras and sensors in the streets that see where cars are going. That makes the system as a whole much more flexible and useful, since borders can be changed on the fly to reflect actual traffic conditions. As an added bonus, the system doesn’t just penalise drivers for entering certain zones, it helps them avoid them altogether.

The “RoadRunner” system, developed for Singapore by graduate student Jason Gao and his advisor Li-Shiuan Peh, issues a digital “token” to each car entering a congestion-prone area. Once a given number of tokens are assigned, a car can’t enter unless another vehicle leaves. Everyone else gets turn-by-turn directions to avoid the area. In computer simulations using data from Singapore’s Land Transit Authority, Gao and Peh saw an 8 percent increase in average car speed during periods of peak congestion. They also did a small scale test in Cambridge, Mass. to prove the technology works.

Read more …

Mercedes unveils roomier, techier C-estate

Merc-Cclass

Mercedes has unveiled the estate version of its new C-class saloon, proclaiming the new car to be much roomier with more practical technology than the outgoing car.
The new car won’t sell as many as the saloon in the UK when it hits the showrooms in September, but its success is still important to the firm. The outgoing estate model accounted for about 20 per cent of total C-class sales, with just over 33,000 shifted here since it launched in 2007.
The new car is longer by almost 100mm with an increased wheelbase that Mercedes says increases the rear passenger space to give 45mm extra leg room. The company also claims there’s also more head room, shoulder room and knee room back there.

The seat backs themselves are split threeways in a 40:20:40 formation to give a more practical loading bay, for example to push long items through with the central seat folded, and they can be optioned to fold electrically. In total with the rear seats folded the boot spaces measures 1,510 litres.

Further practicality comes with the optional electric-raising boot that can be opened automatically with a wave of a foot to echo similar technology offered by Ford and VW.

The two diesels engines at launch will be the C220 and C250 Bluetec four-cylinder 2.1-litre units with 168bhp and 201bhp respectively, while a 2.0-litre petrol with 181bhp badged C200 will also go on sale. Expect the latter to be cheapest, with prices starting at about £28,000. No official prices or fuel figures have been announced yet.

Later in its life the estate will be available as a C300 diesel hybrid with CO2 emissions at just 94g/km (equivalent to around 80mpg) according to Mercedes. Even more frugal will be a C350 plug-in hybrid, while more traditional Merc fans might want to hang on for a planned six-cylinder petrol or even performance AMG versions.

The rear-drive estate is likely to be as comfortable as the C-class saloon we tested earlier this year, offering optional air suspension to allow the driver to adjust the settings to change how much yield the car has over bumps. The handling should be improved by a lighter kerb weight compared with the outgoing model thanks to a greater use of aluminium, including for the boot lid. Mercedes claims an average 65kg weight saving across the models.

Clever equipment carried over from the C-class includes GPS-activated air-con that switches the cabin air to recirculate when in tunnels, while the controls for the iPad-like dashtop screen are found on a special touchpad in the centre console.

Safety equipment will include automatic emergency braking up to 65mph as standard, while the front passenger seat can be ordered with a special sensor that recognises when a child seat is fitted and deactivates the airbag.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/mercedes-benz/10846994/Mercedes-unveils-roomier-techier-C-estate.html

Former Holden boss Mike Devereux to kill Commodore name when local production ends in 2017

holden.boss

HOLDEN is poised to kill the Commodore name once local production comes to an end in 2017 — and the man in charge of the decision is the same person who vowed to save it: former Holden boss Mike Devereux.
The decision comes as the next generation large car to replace the Commodore is now expected to come from Europe not China.
Holden is pleading with General Motors executives to keep the Commodore name because it is so iconic, but the request has fallen on deaf ears.

Holden is now going to be forced to adopt a global name for the car that will replace the Commodore which, in a bizarre twist, will come from the same place the Commodore originated from in 1978: Opel in Germany.

News Corp Australia has been told that Holden’s sales and marketing executive Phil Brook has been pleading with his former boss, Mr Devereux, who is now the vice- president of sales and marketing at General Motors’ international operations, based in Singapore.

In the past two months Mr Brook is understood to have repeatedly asked Mr Devereux for his “support”, allegedly saying “I need the Commodore name to help sell this car”.

Mr Brook has denied making these comments. He told News Corp Australia it was “absolute rubbish, no decision has been made, we’ve got plenty of time to make those calls.”

However, Mr Brook did admit the Commodore nameplate is “up for discussion”.

News Corp Australia can reveal Mr Brook flew to Europe last month to view early versions of the General Motors’ new global large car, after which he reportedly begged his former boss to reconsider the use of the Commodore name.

The burial of the Commodore name alongside the Falcon nameplate, one of the longest running in the automotive world, is likely to be viewed by some Holden fans as a betrayal.
But others may welcome the move given that every car that has worn the Commodore badge so far was an Australian-made rear-wheel-drive sedan, whereas the next model will be a foreign-made front-wheel-drive sedan.
In February 2013, at the media preview of the Commodore, Mr Devereux told the media scrum: “A lot of folks have been speculating about whether this is the last Commodore … well I can categorically tell you we have already begun working on the Commodore that comes after this one.”
The speculation about the future of the Commodore name follows strong denials that the famous Holden badge may be replaced by the Chevrolet logo.
A Holden insider told News Corp Australia last year the switch to Chevrolet could happen if General Motors believes the Holden brand image has been damaged by the shutdown of its factories.

“There is no emotion in this,” the insider said. “It will all come down to money. If General Motors thinks sales will go down because the Holden brand is on the nose, then they will switch it to Chevrolet.”
Marketing experts say it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to rebrand each of Holden’s 233 dealerships nationwide, and that General Motors would likely foot half the bill for each showroom, forcing Holden dealers to pick up the rest of the tab or lose the franchise.
One Holden insider revealed that the company has been forced to conduct exhaustive research with Australian car buyers to prove the case to Detroit that the Holden brand is worth saving.
“The amount of money we’ve spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous,” the insider said.

“But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden (cars), and use that against us.”
At the time of the factory shutdown announcement last December, Mr Devereux said: “Holden is committed to this country … we expect we will be a thriving brand in this country for many years to come.”
New Holden boss Gerry Dorizas said in April: “the Holden brand is here to stay”. But he made no comment about the future of the Commodore badge at the time.
The original Holden “lion and stone wheel” logo was created by sculptor Rayner Hoff in 1928, before GM brought the saddlery turned body builder in 1948.
The logo was a tribute to the prehistoric fable that lions rolling stones led to the invention of the wheel.
The Holden lion badge has changed only three times since 1928: in 1948 at the launch of the first General Motors Holden car, in 1972 to coincide with the launch of the HQ Kingswood, (which went on to become the biggest selling Holden of all time), and in 1994 as Holden ramped up its marketing push for the Commodore to reclaim top-seller status from the Ford Falcon.

Source:

http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/former-holden-boss-mike-devereux-to-kill-commodore-name-when-local-production-ends-in-2017/story-fnkgdhrc-1226959990764

Holden denies Chevrolet rebranding, but…

chevy-badge

 

Holden cars and dealerships could be rebadged as Chevrolet once General Motors shuts its Australian manufacturing operations in 2017.

Holden has secretly been fighting to protect the Australian icon from extinction for the past decade, say company insiders.

But the switch to selling only imported cars — all of which are already sold as Chevrolets overseas — means the iconic Holden badge faces its biggest threat to date.

Holden boss Mike Devereux last night told News Corp Australia: “Holden is here to stay. Holden has been a part of Australia’s past … and it will part of its future for decades to come.”

“We are committed to the brand for the long term. The brand is going to be a part of the fabric of this country for a very long time.

“There is no plan other than to feed this iconic brand with world-class cars for decades to come.”

However, General Motors headquarters in Detroit wanted to kill the Holden nameplate during the Global Financial Crisis, along with the Hummer and Pontiac brands, but the then boss of Holden Mark Reuss fought against it.

“There will now be the biggest fight ever to save the Holden brand from being shelved,” a Holden insider told News Corp Australia.

“Every time there is a new boss of Holden or a new head of General Motors, the question is asked, ‘Why do we still have the Holden brand in Australia?’.

“Now that (Holden) won’t be making cars and there won’t be anything unique about the vehicles, the debate is going to come up again and it will be hard to win. There will be massive implications for the brand.”

By remaining an orphan brand, Holden misses out on global Chevrolet marketing campaigns, such as the $600 million seven-year sponsorship deal with superstar soccer team Manchester United.

The closure of Holden’s test track and the sacking of hundreds of engineers means that future imported Holdens will not be uniquely tuned for Australian driving conditions.

One insider said the switch to Chevrolet could happen if General Motors believes the Holden brand image has been damaged by the shutdown of its factories.

 

“There is no emotion in this,” he said. “It will all come down to money. If General Motors thinks sales will go down because the Holden brand is on the nose, then they will switch it to Chevrolet.”

News Corp Australia understands it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to rebrand each of its 233 dealerships nationwide, and that General Motors would foot half the bill for each showroom, forcing Holden dealers to pick up the rest of the tab or lose the franchise.

One insider revealed that Holden has been forced to conduct exhaustive research with Australian car buyers to prove the case to Detroit that the Holden brand is worth saving.

“The amount of money we’ve spent trying to defend the Holden brand to Detroit is ridiculous,” he said.

“But when executives from North America come out to Australia, they take photos of Chevrolet badges that people have fitted to their Holden utes, and use that against us.”

The last time Holden won the argument with Detroit to save the proud Lion badge, it got a stay of execution because Holden agreed to “soften” its image and focus on technology.

However, since then, Holden has announced multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals in the AFL and NRL football codes.

“Holden made a promise to General Motors that it would try to modernise the brand because it has a bogan image,” the source said.

“That’s why the (Chevrolet) Volt is being sold as a Holden, even though Holden is losing $1 million a year on it,” he said.

With a price tag of $60,000 for an electric car the same size as a $20,000 Toyota Corolla, Holden has sold fewer than 200 Volts since it went on sale in Australia last year.

Mr Devereux insists the cars will continue to be sold as Holdens once the company becomes solely an importer of vehicles.

But Mr Devereux will not be responsible for that decision by 2017; he starts his new international role for General Motors next February.

“Holden is committed to this country … we expect we will be a thriving brand in this country for many years to come,” he said during the announcement of the factory shutdowns.

The original Holden “lion and stone wheel” logo was created by sculptor Rayner Hoff in 1928, before GM brought the saddlery turned body builder in 1948.

The logo was a tribute to the prehistoric fable that lions rolling stones led to the invention of the wheel.

The Holden lion badge has changed only three times since 1928: in 1948 at the launch of the first General Motors Holden car, in 1972 to coincide with the launch of the HQ Kingswood, (which went on to become the biggest selling Holden of all time), and in 1994 as Holden ramped up its marketing push for the Commodore to reclaim top-seller status from the Ford Falcon.

Source: http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/holden-denies-chevrolet-rebranding-but-23314#.U6eTXvmSwuc