essential smartphone driving apps

7 Essential Smartphone Driving Apps to Take On the Road

essential smartphone driving appsAccording to the Pew Research Center, 81-percent of all Americans own a smartphone. That’s about a 120-percent increase from less than ten years ago, with the number of new smartphone owners expected to rise even further in the coming years. Smartphones have truly revolutionized the world. Providing the average person with a plethora of cutting edge, technologically advanced tools in the palm of their hand. It seems as if there is a smartphone app for just about everything, including driving. In today’s blog, we dive into seven essential smartphone driving apps that every motorist should have on their phone.

1.) Waze

This popular, free-to-use, GPS navigation app delivers real-time driving directions, traffic conditions, gas prices, and other useful information to all IOS and Android mobile devices. What sets Waze apart from the competition is its network of over 100 million active monthly users across the globe crowdsourcing up-to-the-minute traffic info and accident reports, along with alerting motorists of road hazards like potholes and police. Waze instantly processes all of this data while providing the most efficient, traffic-free routes possible, as well as seamless navigation. This easy-to-use, essential smartphone driving app is also known for its fun customizable voice options.

2.) Gasbuddy

While there is an abundance of apps dedicated to finding the best gas prices in town, Gasbuddy is the best in the breed. This free-to-download gas price app boasts an industry-leading network of over 60 million active users continuously sharing real-time fuel costs, updates, and ratings for over 140,000 gas stations across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Gasbuddy users are encouraged to report current gas prices by earning the chance to win free gas. Aside from helping drivers save money on gas, Gasbuddy offers an integrated gas station payment service, which includes a customer loyalty program.

3.) Plugshare

Plugshare supplies hybrid and electric vehicle owners with the latest prices, descriptions and alerts from more than 300,000 designated charging points located across the country. Also, Plugshare includes filters when searching for specific types of charging connections to ensure proper compatibility, as well as identifying rapid-charge stations and electric vehicle service and repair providers. This essential smartphone driving app is especially useful on road trips or cruising through unfamiliar areas, as it is not always easy to find charging or service stations for electric vehicles.

4.) Spotify

Music and driving go hand-in-hand. That’s why adding Spotify; the world’s number one music streaming service to our list of essential smartphone driving apps is a no-brainer. Just about any artist or song you can think of is available to stream on Spotify. The industry leading music app is also a podcast powerhouse, owning exclusive rights to some of the most popular podcasts on the air, such as The New York Times Daily and Barstool Sports, along with recently signing deals with celebrities like Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian. Spotify offers an ad-based, free-to-use version as a well a subscription-based premium service with enhanced features and integrates seamlessly with most modern auto entertainment systems via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

5.) Roadtrippers

Roadtrippers is the best pure road trip-planning app on the market. This handy, free-to-download smartphone app makes planning any road trip fun and easy. Allowing users to plan every aspect of their itinerary, including fuel consumption and travel time. Over five million specific locations like gas stations, restaurants, and lodging are plotted across the United States and Canada. Including detailed descriptions, reviews, and photos. The database also features other points-of-interest such as shopping, recreation, and cultural sites. Also, along with a myriad of other fun and interesting stops to break up the monotony of a long drive.

6.) Witness Driving

The only pay app on our list. For a reasonable 99 cents, you can transform your smartphone into a full-functioning dashcam with the Witness Driving app. For a fraction-of-the-cost of a dedicated auto dash camera, you can record your driving on a loop with this user-friendly app. Witness Driving is very useful for documenting evidence to be presented during insurance company disputes involving accidents. Also, fighting unwarranted traffic violations in court, as well as capturing other random events for fun. Witness Driving also logs the time, date, speed and location of every video.

7.) Repair Pal

Not all of us are “car people”. Repair Pal offers drivers a valuable resource that tracks any repairs done to your vehicle. Also, notifications for upcoming routine maintenance. In the event of a breakdown, Repair Pal can identify and contact the nearest available roadside assistance service provider. They can do this nationwide, 24-hours a day. Also, Repair Pal keeps real-time data on prices for each specific type of repair. They do this based on each individual vehicle’s make, model, and geographic location. This gives users peace-of-mind in terms of fair market value. While this app may be valuable on the road, Winston Salem locals know bringing your car or truck to Carolina Auto Service is always the right decision. Especially, if you’re looking for premium, ASE-certified auto repair service at an exceptional value.

Here at Carolina Auto Service we genuinely hope you received value from our list of essential smartphone driving apps that will not only help you save time and money but enhance your overall driving experience. With all the fancy apps and tech features available on today’s smartphones, we want to remind you to be safe. Lastly, stay alert and keep your eyes on the road.

New Car Sales

Should You Buy A New Car Or A Used Car?

When it comes to buying a new car, a lot of people have trouble deciding if they should buy new or used. Both sides have pros and cons you should consider if you want to make the best possible choice for your short and long-term needs. Jumping in too soon without looking at both sides can cause you to take a path that is not right for you, and you can’t afford to make that mistake. On the other hand, reviewing the benefits and downsides of each path puts you in a much better position to choose with confidence.

Upfront Costs Of A New Car

The upfront cost is the first thing that will grab your attention when buying a vehicle. A new car or truck can cost between $20,000 and $30,000, requiring most people to take out a loan. On the other hand, you could buy a car that is three years old for about half the price it would have cost when it was new.

If getting a new vehicle is not within your budget, then getting a used one is your only option. If you have the budget for a new vehicle, take the other factors listed in this guide into consideration before you do anything else.

Warranties and Repair Costs

One of the benefits of buying new is that many vehicle manufacturers offer service plans and warranties. If you buy a new car and something goes wrong within the first year or so, the dealer will often fix it without charging you. It’s important, though, that you check the terms before buying so that you know what plan you are getting and what it includes. Even if you don’t get a service plan, new vehicles are much less likely to face trouble if you care for them.

Depreciation

Depreciation is one of the top things you should consider when buying a vehicle. Most new cars and trucks lose about 10 percent of their value within the first month. If you own a new vehicle for two or three years, you will lose about 50 percent of its value. On the other side of the coin, a used vehicle won’t lose too much value as long as you treat it well. Buying used is the best option if you want to sell the vehicle in the future without losing too much money.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a new and used vehicle is no small task, and you must consider several factors if you want to discover what path is right for you. If you want a vehicle with the best possible reliability, buying new is the choice you should take. Buying a used car or truck is the right option if you don’t want to lose a lot of money to depreciation over the next few years.

Keep your goals and needs at the front of your mind while comparing your options so that you can see which one is the best fit for your life. As long as you keep your eye on the prize and give it careful consideration, you won’t have trouble doing the right thing.

For more useful information about purchasing a car and car maintenance visit our blog.

Used Car

8 Important Steps When Buying Your Next Used Car

With the average price of a new vehicle topping $36,000, it makes more sense to buy a quality used car or truck. However, when buying a used vehicle, you have to more research to ensure you are getting a quality vehicle for the price. Below, we have listed 8 important steps you should take when buying a used vehicle.

1. Research the vehicle’s fair price
Once you have decided what vehicle you would like to purchase, you will want to know the fair value price of the vehicle. Helpful free guides can be found online such as Kelly Blue Book and Cars.com. The price of the vehicle will vary by the mileage and the condition of the car. For instance, if the vehicle has low mileage, then you can expect to pay more for the vehicles.

2. Read the vehicle’s long-term reviews
You can find a number of long-term reviews of any vehicle online. You will want to check for any common major repairs of the vehicle during the first three or four years of ownership. Also, check for a history of recalls, crash test ratings and overall customer satisfaction with the vehicle.

3. Get the vehicle’s history report
Once you have found the specific vehicle, you will want to get a history of that vehicle. All you need is the vehicles VIN number. You can usually find the VIN number on the driver’s side corner of the windshield where the glass meets the dashboard. If you cannot find the VIN number there, then you can check inside the driver’s side door post. If you are considering a private sale, ask the vehicle’s owner for the VIN number. From there, you can get a Carfax report which will give a complete history of the vehicle including crashes, recalls major repairs and ownership history.

4. Carefully inspect the vehicle’s interior and exterior
Once you have checked out the vehicle’s history, you will then want to inspect the vehicle for yourself. First, inspect the vehicle’s exterior to see if there any major dents or blemishes. Check to see if the front and rear headlights are working and check the condition of the tires. On the inside of the vehicle, you will want to check the wear on the seats as well as the condition of the electronics.

5. Go for a test drive
After inspecting the vehicle, you will want to go on a test drive. Check for noises as the vehicle accelerates and breaks. Also, check how well the vehicle accelerates into traffic and how well the vehicle turns.

6. Check for leaks
After you have taken the vehicle for the test drive, check to see if the vehicle is leaking any oil or other liquids. You will want to look under the vehicle and monitor for leaks for at least a couple of minutes after driving it.

7. Check for any repairs
Minor repairs may not be on the Carfax report. So you may want to check for any minor repairs done by the owner. Common repairs are usually done around the bumper area and around the doors where dings and small dents are common.

8. Have a mechanic inspect the vehicle
After you have checked out the vehicle for yourself, you will want to take the used car to a garage to have a mechanic do a full inspection. A mechanic will have a dealer level scan tool that can check every mechanical and computer component on the vehicle. The mechanic can also visually inspect the vehicle, at an expert level, to let you know every that needs to be known about the vehicle.

Obsolete car

Automotive Planned Obsolescence

The car industry is becoming more disposable as car manufacturers look to juice the highest profit-margin possible. Due to the specialization of auto repair, few shops are capable of carrying out the extensive make and model repairs needed to keep autos on the road. This is especially true if the owners have been tight on money from unexpected bills or unknowingly neglected maintenance. Factory manuals are difficult and expensive to come by for most models. If you find any service repair information, it typically ends with advisement. It suggests that you consult a qualified professional to repair your auto beyond the most basic checks. Needless to say, obsolescence is a problem.

The Origins of Planned Obsolescence 

Automakers have been building obsolescence vehicles since the Dark Ages to force consumers to buy a newer vehicle. General Motors (GM) initiated the marketing strategy of aesthetic obsolescence in 1924 to overtake Ford’s edge as the top auto producer. The new generation Volkswagen Jetta is the perfect example of planned aesthetic obsolescence. You can now easily distinguish this seventh generation model from the former by simply looking for the stunning sculptured body lines running along with the side windows. Adding any sort of special features to make a new model line stand out will typically create an inferiority complex for owners of the aging models.

Ironically, Volkswagen had originally mocked the idea of planned obsolescence by explicitly mocking the term in marketing materials. The Doyle Dane Bernbach marketing campaign alleged that Volkswagen does not believe in planned obsolescence and that there was no purpose in publishing a picture of the new 1962 Volkswagen because it remained the same. This was almost satirical, considering the fact that Volkswagen appears to implement this more than most other manufacturers today.

The Perfect Modern Example of Planned Obsolescence 

Volkswagen had specifically engaged in contrived durability problems with its infamous 1.8T engine that burned out turbos and engines with its problematically small oil sump. On top of this, it appears many dealers were instructing the customers to run the engines on conventional oil. Other car manufacturers had employed similar techniques.

The concept is simple. You tweak the parts in an auto to require such an exceptional level of maintenance that they will fail unless serviced by a guru. This frees up the service bays at the dealerships for the routine maintenance of new vehicles that the poorly paid technicians are able to earn sufficient hours on. Volkswagen’s require a special tool for just about everything and are starting to build engines that cannot be rebuilt. Many Volkswagen repairs require expensive factory only parts that can run into the hundreds of dollars for a small piece of plastic.

Auto body Collision Repairs Being Phased Out 

The elimination of bumpers from vehicles has made it more cost-effective to simply replace many luxury vehicles. For example, when they get into a small fender-bender accident the car is more likely to be replaced than fixed. More and more automakers are turning to aluminum to lighten the frames for higher fuel efficiency. Volkswagen was infamous for cheating fuel efficiency.  They created a program that would trick the EPA as another form of juicing every dime out of a sale.

Putting it All Together 

Perhaps this is why Volkswagen is the world’s largest auto manufacturer. They have pulled out every trick to fool consumers into giving them the profit-margins they desire. Instead of revamping an auto to expensively produce a new generation, the car manufacturers can simply outmode internal technology. Making it difficult for SmartPhone users to integrate their latest apps.

Electric vehicles are the next generation of obsolescence. Owners will be shocked when they are told they’ll need to replace their battery at a price of $15,000. These prices can fluctuate wildly as manufacturers blame contrived shortages in certain materials like Boron. This is what recently happened. The reality is that electricity is produced by unregulated coal plants. Therefore, stop and think before you go buy a new electric car. Consider the bigger picture. Finally, Think about what models you can bank on for easy long-term maintenance from an independent garage.

Performance upgrades

Vehicle’s Performance: Simple Tips For Improving

Now that you have done the research, gotten the financing and left the dealership in the technologically advanced automobile you wanted. Your focus has now switched to the vehicle’s performance. While having a great looking car is nice, the ultimate way to judge a vehicle is on its performance. That includes the way it rides, it’s handling, acceleration, traction, braking, safety, fuel efficiency and more. For the average person, when they buy an automobile, the ultimate test of whether or not they made the right choice is how well the vehicle performs.

Ways To Improve Your Vehicle’s Performance

If you’re satisfied with your car, but simply want better performance, there are several things to do. One of the options is to upgrade to a performance suspension. This could simply mean adding one or two new components to the suspension system your vehicle currently has or upgrading key components like the springs, struts, shock absorbers, linkages and anti-sway bars and raising or lowering your vehicle’s suspension. Additionally, this can lead to faster acceleration, better handling, a smoother ride, improved cornering, enhanced braking, and better overall performance.

Adding Air Springs

One performance suspension upgrade that’s growing in popularity is replacing a vehicle’s conventional metal springs with air springs. These newest advancements in spring technology use cylinders of air to absorb the vibrations coming from the wheels. The compressed air creates a smoother, more pleasant driving experience. The air springs, which are placed between the body of the car and the wheel, dramatically improve the comfort level of the occupants of the vehicle and the performance of the automobile.

Upgrade The Exhaust System

The most effective modifications you can make to an automobile to improve its performance is to upgrade its exhaust system. By ditching the restrictive stock pipes that come standard on most automobiles and replacing them with a more powerful performance exhaust, your vehicle will receive a massive boost that will result in it having more horsepower, increased torque and better fuel economy. Automobile owners have a wide range of performance exhaust systems from which to choose that can improve the performance of their automobiles almost instantly and maintain those gains for as long as they own the vehicle.

Add A Cold Air Intake

Proper airflow is vitally important for an automobile to perform at its best. The more air the engine gets, the more power it can produce. Plus, cool air gives the engine an additional boost. Common modification car enthusiasts make to their vehicles to improve their performance is to install a cold air intake. As you drive, the cold air intake force-feeds the coolest air possible into the engine of your vehicle. You will experience an immediate surge of power that your vehicle never had before. An additional benefit of adding a cold air intake is your fuel efficiency will improve as well.

Install A High-Flow Fuel Injector

Adding a high-flow fuel injector is a surefire way to increase your vehicle’s horsepower and take its torque into overdrive. High-flow fuel injectors improve the performance of your automobile by maximizing the fuel delivery and atomization. This simple fuel system upgrade allows your vehicle to get all the fuel it needs when it needs it. This results in a smoother, more powerful performance no matter the type of automobile you have. Upgrading your vehicle’s fuel system by using a high-flow fuel injector. This will replace the one that comes on your vehicle and gives it a lot more power.

Upgrade The Air Filters

Believe it or not, changing your air filter makes a big difference in the performance of an automobile. By simply replacing the standard air filter in your vehicle with a high-performance model, you will see a significant uptick in the horsepower and torque your vehicle is able to deliver. Plus, top-of-the-line air filters are also designed to improve fuel efficiency and prolong engine life. It is a well-kept secret among automotive experts that simply changing to a better air filter is one of the least expensive ways to improve the performance of an automobile.

Buy Better Spark Plugs

High-quality spark plugs deliver serious, measurable results. This type of spark plug ignites fuel faster and helps your engine to enjoy more efficient fuel combustion. And getting this type of performance boost doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, performance spark plugs only cost a few dollars more than standard ones.

All these are great ways to improve your vehicle’s performance. Finally, for more great tips and information about car maintenance and auto repair visit our blog!

Pre-Owned Vehicles

A Glut of Used Cars Are Lowering Pre-Owned Vehicles Prices

If your current vehicle is starting to become expensive due to age and mileage and you’ve begun to think about buying a new pre-owned vehicle, you’re in luck. It’s a buyer’s market out there due to a trend that started in 2016 and shows no signs of abating just yet. The reason behind the glut of used vehicles and an accompanying dip in prices is that consumers are returning their leased cars to dealerships and signing new leases.

The off-lease supply of vehicles has nearly doubled since 2012 and is expected to rise by another 25 percent over the next two years. The reason for this upward trend in the supply of used vehicles as the most leases last an average of 36 months. When the lease term ends, most consumers trade up for a new vehicle and the off-lease vehicle is checked, cleaned up and goes onto the dealer’s lot for resale. The auto industry is bracing for a record 3.6 million vehicles to come off lease in 2017, glutting the market even further, while that figure is expected to increase to more than four million in 2018.

Why Leasing Has Become Popular

The number of new vehicles leased instead of purchased outright by consumers reached a record 4.4 million in 2016. When the economy started to turn around, sales of new and used cars increased for seven consecutive years, a phenomenon that has not been seen since the 1920s.

Leasing has become popular for one reason: the price of monthly payments. Most consumers base their ability to get a vehicle based on how their loan will fit into their monthly budget. In the wake of the recession, most auto manufacturers made it much easier for consumers to lease a vehicle. Let’s say your budget allows for a $600 monthly car payment. Buying a vehicle outright may get you a $30,000 Ford sedan, however, if you lease a vehicle, you may be able to get a $40,000 BMW for $560.

If that value starts to decline, then lease payments will increase. If leases become more expensive, then that option will become less attractive for consumers. In 2016, leasing accounted for about 25 percent of total vehicle sales.

Murky Sales Picture Ahead

Both Edmunds and Autotrader believe that leasing contracts will decline in 2017. Autotrader also believes that sales of new cars will also drop from 2016’s record 17.5 million units, a statistic that many dealers indicate has begun to bear out during the first several months of 2017. Analysts also believe that many buyers are likely to cross-shop new vehicles against the glut of late-model used cars coming off leases, some of which will become certified pre-owned vehicles that have an average price that is about $1,500 higher than similar cars.

Prices Already Declining

The auto industry is already seeing evidence of a decline in prices across the board. Ford Motor Company has already adjusted its profit forecast for its financial division downward by $300 million due to sluggish sales in the first quarter of 2017. In the second half of 2016, used vehicle prices declined each month, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. If prices continue to decline, the situation may lead to losses across the auto industry.

Morgan Stanley paints an even bigger reduction in used vehicle prices. A recent report indicates that prices could fall by as much as 50 percent over the next four to five years. Another unexpected factor is the shift in the car rental market where firms are facing stagnant growth, weak pricing and too many cars going unused on the rental lot. These vehicles, too, will eventually go to auction, impacting the market even more.

What If You Want a Pre-Owned Vehicle?

Certified pre-owned cars generally apply to vehicles that are six years old or less. For the next few months, that extends back to the model year 2011, however, you may have difficulty finding an older vehicle. Automakers simply didn’t manufacture as many units from 2009 to 2011, the height of the recession for the car industry, so you may have difficulty finding that less expensive vehicle that still has more safety features than the 10- or 15-year-old car you may now own. However, if even only a portion of the price decreases in the used market occur, you may not have to worry. Keep a close eye on the pre-owned market. You may soon be able to buy more car for your money. Pre-Owned Vehicle.

Lastly, we look forward to servicing your vehicle here at Carolina Auto Service.  We are located at 1418 South Stratford Road Suite C Winston-Salem NC 27103.

Crash Safety Test Ratings

What Do Crash Safety Test Ratings Mean?

No one ever wants to buy a car thinking that they are going to wreck it. Yet, those crash test safety ratings that you see on so many television ads these days have permeated our consciousness. Chances are, you have considered that the next vehicle that you buy should have a high safety rating. While it’s obvious that four-star and five-star ratings are preferable, just what do those ratings mean?

Who Conducts Crash Tests?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conduct their own battery of tests to determine structure integrity and risk of injury to vehicle occupants. Both have valid methods, but their methods differ, so it is wise to look at the results from both.

The NHTSA tests front, side and rollover crashes using crash test dummies. Vehicles receive one to five stars based on how much protection is provided. Frontal impact tests occur at 35 mph, while side-impact tests are performed with a sedan-sized barrier that moves at 38.5 mph. Rollover assessments determine how well a vehicle prevents occupants from being ejected from a car and how well the roof protects them.

Beginning in 2011, the NHTSA instituted more stringent tests that included:

  • Crash test dummies of different sizes
  • Simulations of crashes into a pole or tree
  • Injury assessment to various body parts
  • Identifying advanced crash avoidance features

The Crash Test Process

NTHSA also added an overall safety rating in the same year to give consumers an at-a-glance assessment of a vehicle’s safety.

The IIHS conducts crash tests that complement those performed by the NHTSA. Looking at the ratings from both agencies can give you a better picture of a specific vehicle’s crash-worthiness.

Frontal offset and side-impact crash tests are two IIHS staples. The agency places an adult male dummy in the front seat. Then crashes only one side as it believes most drivers will try to avoid an incident. For side-impact crashes, the IIHS uses a barrier that is the size and shape of an SUV or a pickup truck. Smaller crash dummies are also in side-impact crashes as smaller individuals are more likely to suffer head injuries. This test is mean to simulate a T-bone crash that occurs at an intersection.

The IIHS also conducts tests that measure roof strength, rear crash protection, and head restraint ratings, bumper evaluations, and electronic stability control to give you a fully rounded idea of vehicle safety. For roof safety, the IIHs crushes a vehicle’s roof in a special machine, which measures how much force is required to collapse the roof by five inches. for seat and head restraint ratings, the seat is put on a sled with a dummy strapped in. The sled is move to mimic a rear-end collision.

Forward collision warning and automatic braking are also test by IIHS. One test occurs as 12 mph and the other occurs at 25 mph. For both, the vehicle drives into an inflatable barrier at the test speed and is evaluate by how well it slow or prevents a collision.

What Does Everything Mean?

NHTSA uses a star system, with a single star suggesting a poor crash test performance and five stars indicating an outstanding one. Five stars indicates a low incidence of serious injury in a given test. The overall NHTSA rating evaluates all three major tests combined.

IIHS ratings assigns vehicle different ratings: poor, marginal, acceptable and good. Depending on performance, vehicles can either receive a Top Safety Pick designation or, for an outstanding job, a Top Safety Pick+ designation, which is a step above. When it comes to safety, however, you can never be too careful. Look at the details from both tests for vehicles you are considering and make your own decisions as you will have the most possible information. Crash Safety Test Ratings are an important figure to know before purchasing a car. We hope this article has helped you make an educated decision when purchasing.

Lastly, we look forward to servicing your vehicle here at Carolina Auto Service.  We are located at 1418 South Stratford Road Suite C Winston-Salem NC 27103.

hackers

Will Hackers Target Autonomous Cars?

More drivers are growing accustomed to operating vehicles equipped with sophisticated computerized systems (i.e. Autonomous Cars)  A public debate has arisen about potential problems associated with the merger of high tech and standard cars. The possibility of self-driving automobiles will soon become a significant daily presence. Also, in many places the lent urgency to concerns regarding hacking. After all, whoever imagined online visitors would need to protect personal computers against threats such as viruses?

Government Concern

Agencies within the United State government have already issued warnings about automotive hacking issues. For instance, earlier this month the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a set of preliminary recommendations for manufacturers creating products for the new industry entitled: Federal Automated Vehicles Policy.

This initiative from the U.S. Department of Transportation called upon companies building self-driving vehicles and autonomous cars components to make safety a very high priority. It also urged developers to share information with one another in order to promote the creation of compatible systems.

Developing Anti-hacking Technology

Promoting interoperable automotive computer systems might expedite the development of the autonomous car industry. For instance, the chip maker Nvidia on September 28, 2016 revealed a new “supercomputer” automotive chip for vehicles called a “system-on-a-chip” or “SoC”. It aims to replace many individual vehicle processors.

Debuting its invention at an Amsterdam technology conference, the manufacturer indicated the new device, which it will market as “Xavier”, will comply with automotive standards while expediting advances in the use of automated vehicle camera technology. Other tech companies researching self-driving vehicles have sought to develop specialized platforms to help car makers design artificial intelligence components into vehicles more easily.

A Public Backlash On Autonomous Cars

Few people like to consider the possibility of hackers hijacking a vehicle. Also, spreading viruses capable of disrupting sophisticated navigation or remote sensing technology. Yet recently a Chinese security firm demonstrated it could hack into a Tesla Model S vehicle located 12 miles away. The testers managed to intercept the operation of electronic features. This includes the braking system, the dashboard screen display, and even the electronic door locks! Imagine finding yourself locked inside your own vehicle because a hacker intercepts your auto’s computerized systems?

Indeed, some recent polls indicate reluctance on the part of most Americans to surrender the steering wheel completely to an autonomous cars. Some 80% of respondents in one survey want to retain the option of humans assuming control over the vehicle, if necessary.

Anti-Hacking Measures For Autonomous Cars

Meanwhile, a new startup called Karamba Security recently raised $2.5 million in seed money to begin developing and marketing technology to help secure automobiles against hackers. It produces technology that prevents foreign code from changing manufacturer settings. And on electronic control units, small computers located with many sophisticated automotive systems. The Israel-based firm believes its products will also hold great applicability for drones and industrial robots in the future.

With some automakers glibly assuming the public will consent to become passive passengers and not owners of autonomous vehicles, valid concerns about automotive hacking appear reasonable. In order to gain widespread acceptance for autonomous vehicles, self-driving car manufacturers will need to meet high standard for safety!

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Carolina Mobile Auto Service in Winston Salem North Carolina offers regular automotive inspections and qualified repair services. Visit us at 1418C South Stratford Road, or call ahead to make an appointment by contacting (336-765-8599).

Automatic-emergency-braking-technology

Recent Innovations Promote Safer Driving

During the past decade, automakers have made significant strides in incorporating sophisticated sensing capabilities into vehicles. As automation gains wider acceptance in society and the “Internet of Things” develops, car designers have begun applying some advanced robotic technologies to help promote easier, safer travel. Safer driving will help everyone on the road.

Although many innovations remain available as upgrades in 2017 models, just like air bag technology a few years ago some of these currently advanced systems may soon become widespread. Consider a few important recent breakthroughs:

Rear View Cameras

Already a standard features in several 2016 models, rear view cameras provide valuable assistance to drivers in many situations. Most people steering in reverse gear from a garage onto a busy street or backing up a vehicle to attach a trailer hitch in unfamiliar surroundings find the assistance of a rear-view camera useful.

Automakers urge customers not to depend completely upon rear view cameras. While it still remains important to look backwards before placing an automobile or truck into reverse. The presence of cameras in a growing number of vehicles has likely already contributed to safer driving. Some recreational vehicle manufacturers embraced this technology years ago.

Forward Collision Alert Technologies

A few automakers have begun utilizing sophisticated sensors to notify drivers when forward collisions appear imminent. This type of system issues an alert if the car approaches another vehicle too rapidly. The technology may prove especially valuable in reducing fender benders caused by tailgating. Drivers also benefit from these advanced warnings while driving in heavy snow or fog.

Although not infallible, this innovation will likely reduce automotive accidents involving pedestrians, too. Some manufacturers have even programmed vehicles to automatically slow or brake when a forward impact becomes inevitable. The reduction in speed could reduce injuries during collisions.

Lane Shift Alerts

One of the most promising sophisticated new warning systems notifies a driver whenever the vehicle makes an unexpected lane change. Drifting out of the lane of traffic poses a significant threat to safety in situations in which a driver becomes drowsy and experiences brief periods of “micro sleep”. In fact, studies have established that sleepy drivers frequently nod off for a few seconds at a time, periods when the vehicle may veer dangerously into oncoming traffic or drift off the roadway.

By issuing an alert when an unanticipated sudden change in trajectory occurs, these alarm systems may cause distracted or drowsy drivers to pull over and rest. The new technology appears to hold some significant safety benefits. Still optional in most models, the ability of drivers to receive alerts from “smart” vehicles monitoring lane changes will likely prevent accidents in the future.

Night Vision Cameras

Although still very expensive and limited in application mainly to luxury automobiles, optional night vision technologies have become more popular. A driver of a vehicle equipped with this feature enjoys the ability to use cameras in the car to survey the surroundings with the same sophisticated infrared systems employed in night vision goggles.

Potentially, this technology will benefit people traveling after dark, especially in poorly lit areas. Every year, deer and other wildlife crossing onto roadways precipitate car accidents. Night vision cameras enable drivers to detect wildlife, roadway obstructions or parked, broken-down vehicles more effectively. The technology also will help provide advance notice of pedestrians walking along the side of the road or crossing streets in poorly illuminated areas.

Surround-View Cameras

Some 2016 vehicles , offer a complete sophisticated surround-view monitoring system. Drivers can obtain a 360 degree perspective by examining a computerized diagram on the vehicle’s display screen.

This innovative system promises to reduce accidents associated with “blind spots” as drivers change lanes in busy traffic. This computer technology still requires alert driving, of course, yet it does promise to promote greater highway safety as it becomes more widespread. We hope this article gives you safer driving tips.

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For a full range of auto repair services, or for emergency roadside assistance, contact Carolina Mobile Auto Service at (336)765-8599. We serve the Winston Salem, North Carolina tri-city area!

Carolina Auto Service