New Tesla Model S While Driving

Car hacking has been a big concern lately. After a Wired article demonstrated how security researchers could remotely disable a new Jeep Cherokee by worming into the car’s infotainment system, automakers are under increased scrutiny over their digital security. Now, security researchers have reportedly figured out how to take control of one of the most tech-heavy vehicles on the road today: The Tesla Model S.

According to a Financial Times report (which can only be accessed through a subscription), researchers Kevin Mahaffey and Marc Rogers were able to completely disable a Model S as it drove along at low speed. Reuters quotes the researchers: “We shut the car down when it was driving initially at a low speed of five miles per hour [. . .] All the screens go black, the music turns off and the handbrake comes on, lurching it to a stop.” Mahaffey and Rogers will present their findings at the Def Con cybersecurity conference on Friday.

Wired goes into greater detail, explaining how the hackers were able to

Are You Working on Self Driving Cars at the University

Google may be winning the race to self-driving cars, but Uber isn’t giving up. The University of Arizona has announced that it will be partnering with the ride-sharing behemoth to help with the development of optical systems for its self-driving car.

Thanks to the deal, the University of Arizona will be the new test-bed for Uber’s prototype mapping vehicles and Uber will donate $25,000 to the university’s College of Optical Sciences. On top of all that, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed an executive order “supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles in Arizona,” according to a release from the Arizona Governors Office.

Previously Uber had been rumored to be partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to open a robotics lab in Pittsburg, where Uber’s prototype cars have been spotted already. It’s unclear if this deal is instead of that one, or in addition to it. After all, self-driving cars require optics research and robotics research. It may not be long before Uber can get rid of those pesky humans it needs to drive the

Check and Fill Tires

While it may seem like a mundane task, inflating tires is much more crucial to your car than you may think, and it results in a safer and more economical experience on the road. Your vehicle’s handling also will be greatly improved as the larger a tire’s inflated footprint, the more responsive and comfier the ride balance will be.

Because it’s National Tire Safety Week, it’s the perfect time to check your car’s tires.

Before starting

To find your tires’ proper inflation level, look for a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb. It displays the vehicle weight restriction and tire information. The info is also found in the maintenance or car-care section of your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Don’t refer to the sidewall markings on your tires, which in part specify the maximum tire pressure — not the recommended pressure.

Unless your tire is visibly flat, don’t judge tire inflation just by looking at it; you have to use a tire pressure gauge to get the correct pounds per square inch reading. There are three types of tire-pressure gauges: digital, internal slide and dial. Prices range from $5 for a

Know more about wheels balanced

Smooth driving is a balancing act that requires getting the wheels and tires to rotate at high speeds without vibrations. That’s not a slam dunk; a dirty little secret about wheels and tires is that they usually aren’t perfectly round, even when brand new. What’s more, their weight often isn’t evenly distributed, so they’re heavier in some spots than others.

Either issue can cause annoying vibrations. Out-of-balance tires can also cause rapid tire or suspension wear, so it’s not just about ride comfort.

That is why when new tires are mounted on wheels they’re spin-balanced to detect vibrations. Some vibrations can be eliminated by rotating the tire on the wheel so the heavy or “high” spot is in a different location that better matches up with the wheel. Small weights are attached to the wheels with adhesives or clips to counteract the heavy spots and provide a smooth ride. Over time, though, the weights can fall off. If that happens to a front wheel, you may feel vibrations through the steering wheel that typically become more pronounced as vehicle speed increases.

Many tire dealers include free lifetime rotation and balancing with new tires (something you should ask about before buying). Tire rotation is

High Mileage Engines Worth

Most major oil brands market oil made specifically for engines that have more than 75,000 miles of wear, claiming that additives help reduce engine wear and provide anti-aging benefits. They are often a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oils, and they typically cost at least a couple of dollars more per quart than conventional oils.

But are they worth the extra dough?

Some oils may be more beneficial than others because they contain conditioners purported to rejuvenate seals to prevent or stop oil leaks, a common ailment in engines with a lot of miles on them.

Internal seals and gaskets become brittle and shrink as they age, allowing oil to seep by. Sometimes this becomes visible as oil stains on a garage floor or as streaks of oil on lower engine parts. When valve-guide seals wear, oil can leak into combustion chambers and the engine will literally start burning oil. With small leaks, blue smoke from burning oil may not be visible from the exhaust, but your oil level will probably drop below the full mark on a regular basis.

The seal conditioners found in some high-mileage oils may reduce or eliminate small leaks and seepage by rejuvenating seals to their original size and

Justin Wilson Dies After Being Struck

Late in today’s IndyCar 500 miler at Pocono, Andretti Autosport’s Justin Wilson was struck by debris from Sage Karam’s Dallara. He has been airlifted to Lehigh Valley Network Cedar Crest Hospital. No further information is known at this time, but this post will be updated when further official word on his condition reaches us.

The race was not red flagged, it was restarted for eight laps, allowing Wilson’s Andretti teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay to take the win.

Google may be winning the race to self-driving cars, but Uber isn’t giving up. The University of Arizona has announced that it will be partnering with the ride-sharing behemoth to help with the development of optical systems for its self-driving car.

Thanks to the deal, the University of Arizona will be the new test-bed for Uber’s prototype mapping vehicles and Uber will donate $25,000 to the university’s College of Optical Sciences. On top of all that, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed an executive order “supporting the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles in Arizona,” according to a release from the Arizona Governors Office.

Previously Uber had been rumored to be partnering with Carnegie Mellon University to open a robotics lab

Hydrogen Prototype on Looks

BMW’s hydrogen strategy is starting to take shape. The company has been working on hydrogen-powered cars since 1984, but for a long time the focus remained on the internal-combustion engine. The efforts, first shown in a 7-series in the mid-1980s, culminated in 2006 in the V-12–powered Hydrogen 7. Now the company has switched to a different tack.

While those early vehicles were fun to drive, they suffered from the inefficiencies of super-cooling the liquefied hydrogen, and the hydrogen vaporizing in storage. Around the turn of the century, BMW began to research the hydrogen-powered, fuel-cell electric vehicle as an alternative to the hydrogen-powered combustion engine. The result of that research is the matte-black, two-seat sports car you see here, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the i8.

Built atop an early prototype architecture of the i8 plug-in hybrid, this “eDrive Hydrogen Fuel Cell Prototype” is powered by a completely electric, 272-hp powertrain. The passenger compartment of the fully functional, 125-mph-plus sports car uses many i8 components, but the space typically occupied by the rear seats is instead taken up by the hydrogen-electric powertrain.

The car was assembled in BMW’s prototype shop, and it lacks

Plastic Carbon Fiber Gears Could Be a Viable Alternative

Researchers from Gifu University in Japan might have developed a worthy metal gear replacement from two unlikely materials: plastic and carbon fiber.

Metal has long been used in cars because of its toughness, but a new plastic gear made with carbon fiber handles the pressure just as well. The researchers first identified which part of the gear is the weakest. Turns out it’s the teeth that connects to its core. So, they lined it with carbon fiber to strengthen that part, which gives it the same stamina a metal gear has.

Initial tests are promising because the gears hold up just as well as the metal gears do.

This plastic and carbon fiber gear has two major advantages over metal. The first is cost because it’s substantially cheaper than metal. Second, it’s much lighter so if it could help a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and increase its speed.

If all goes well, the gears could be commercialized by 2017. Sadly, it will take a few years after that before they hit the road because of regulatory approvals.

New car model for self driving

New research from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute indicates that self-driving cars are more frequently involved in accidents than conventional vehicles. For every million miles driven, autonomous cars had an average of 9.1 crashes, compared to 4.1 for conventional vehicles according to data for Google, Delphi, and Audi autonomous vehicles between 2012 and 2015 and the total accident rate of conventional human-piloted vehicles in 2013.

However, this data amounts to 11 total crashes for self-driving cars. All of these involved Google vehicles (which have been undergoing testing for much longer) but most importantly, the self-driving cars were not at fault in any of the accidents.

“One might conclude that self-driving vehicles are more dangerous, but I don’t think the data actually show that right now,” Brandon Schoettle, one of the study’s authors, told NBC. “They appear to be more likely to be involved in crashes in general (though not at fault and always being hit by conventional vehicles), but the injuries that occurred were less severe, and all minor so far.”

Schoettle went on to point out that no fatalities have occurred in accidents involving self-driving vehicles, and there were no severe crashes such as head-on collisions.

Which software Let Cars Cheat Emissions Tests

The VW Group is coming under scrutiny from the EPA for equipping 482,000 diesel cars from 2009 until 2015 with software that would only have the cars meet emissions regulations when they were being tested.

When the cars were not in a test environment, the EPA says that the device was turned off and the cars are producing 40 times the pollution they were during the tests when being used on the roads. The defeat device is not something that was described by VW to the EPA before the cars went on sale, which is another violation. Apparently, the device had two modes, with one mode that would detect when the car was being tested and restrict the emissions, and another that detected road driving and would have the car producing far more emissions than during emissions testing.

The EPA says VW admitted that the device existed when they were threatened with not being allowed to sell 2016 model year diesels in the US.

New research from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute indicates that self-driving cars are more frequently involved in accidents than conventional vehicles. For every million miles driven, autonomous cars had an average

Electric Race Car Concept

The mystery is no more. Tonight in Las Vegas, right on the strip and just before the beginning of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, Faraday Future—that secretive autonomous electric-vehicle company backed by a rich Chinese investor, loaded with top talent from across the automotive industry, and claiming to revolutionize the car business—has unveiled a new modular platform, more details on its relationship with Chinese technology company Letv, and its first ever concept car. It’s a fanciful sci-fi race car. It’s also the exact car that was leaked, twice, earlier today, but now we have a whole bunch more details on the car and the company’s plans.

First off, the platform. Because, well, that’s the only thing about the FFZero1 concept that’s real at this moment. Faraday has developed its own variable electric-vehicle architecture, a modular platform that it will use for a variety of cars. Faraday says the platform will be outfitted with all the hardware it needs for full Internet connectivity and autonomous driving.

Similar to a Tesla, the batteries will be positioned across the floor of the platform, creating a low center of gravity and increasing stability. However, Faraday says it’s developed a new battery structure that uses units the company calls strings—rectangles of connected battery cells that run the width of the vehicle’s floor.

Tips for Replacing Car Mirrors With Cameras

The dream of replacing car mirrors with cameras and displays continues, even though federal safety regulations prohibit the total transition from glass to, uh, backlit glass. BMW is the latest to jump onto the digitized-mirror bandwagon, albeit with a clever twist.

Unlike digitized rearview-mirror concepts from Cadillac and Nissan, not to mention the dozens of concept cars over the years with separate displays depicting left, right, and central rear views, the BMW i8 Mirrorless concept being shown at CES has just one display. Fairly large at 11.8 inches by 3 inches, the screen is mounted where a traditional rearview mirror would be, but it stitches together the feeds from three cameras to offer a panoramic and blind-spot-free view of what’s behind and to the sides of the car.

As BMW puts it, the “image of the traffic behind the car covers a greater viewing angle than could be observed using the interior and exterior mirrors. No adjustment of the camera is necessary.” Beyond a better view, the potential advantages of going digital run deeper. Exterior mirrors are bulky and unkind to a vehicle’s aerodynamic performance, while their internal workings—heaters, blind-spot warning lamps, turn indicators, and power-adjustment mechanicals—add weight. Erase those and replace them with

Emerges After Massachusetts Reservoir is Drained

Typically, a car found at the bottom of a lake would arouse some concern or suspicion. But when a rusted, crumpled Fiat became visible in the mud of Foss Reservoir in Framingham, MA on Monday, it elicited little more than a shoulder shrug from officials.

The MetroWest Daily News reported that an old Fiat, if the hub caps identify it correctly, rests on the bottom of the reservoir, nestled between the Mass. Pike and Rte. 9. While it typically rests under millions of gallons of the state’s reserve drinking water, a recent effort to kill invasive weeds by lowering the water level has left the car in plain view.

In November, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) drew down the Foss Reservoir and some others in the area in hopes of freezing the little water left to kill invasive weeds.

Bringing the water level down about 10 feet, the MWRA revealed the car that has made the lake a home for about 40 years, MWRA representative Ria Convery said.

“(The car has) been there for a very long time,” Convery said. “I’m surprised it took someone this long to notice.”

Convery said the MWRA

Daredevil Break Speed Record on Largest

Earlier today, Guy Martin broke the world speed record for riding a motorcycle around a Wall of Death. He hit a top speed of 78.15 mph after initially breaking the record with a speed of 70.34 mph on his first run.

Motorcycle riders who fly around large wooden bowls at carnival events so they can creep up onto a completely vertical surface—known as a Wall of Death—pull some significant g-forces. They risk getting motion sickness or blacking out, and at the speeds Guy Martin rode today, a rider could even lose consciousness completely.

“They don’t call it the Wall of Death for nothing,” Guy Martin told the U.K.’s Mirror. “The biggest risk is crashing off the top. That’s when it gets really messy. I’d end up in the rafters. There’s no way that ends well.”

Guy, a motorcycle racer and general thrill seeker, rode the biggest Wall of Death in the world to set the new speed record. He needed to hit 60 mph and descend to a safe stop to break the record, but he accelerated to just under 80 mph.

To seemingly defy gravity and ride on a vertical wall, motorcyclists only need to

An Urban and Active Pickup Lovers Dream

The mid-size truck market is surging in popularity. Their car-like handling, better miles per gallon, and truck bed utility all make them an ideal companion for urbanites who deal with tight parking and are more likely to carry a mountain bike or surfboard as opposed to hay bales and horse tack. The Chevy Colorado is taking aim at the reigning mid-size truck champ, the Toyota Tacoma, and producing trucks that are ready for adventure straight from the dealer.

According to Chevy, 1 in every 3.5 midsize trucks sold is in the Western region, so they’ve drilled deep into what motivates buyers in Southern California. They chose to demonstrate this by providing us with an opportunity to load up the trucks with surfboards and skis and go for a surf session in the morning and then drive to Big Bear for an afternoon of skiing. The truck performed admirably, and after a long day of activities and a total of 5 hours in the seat we still felt refreshed driving the Chevy Colorado back down the mountain.


Truck owners often lament the process of choosing and buying racks and cargo accessories for their new rigs. Third party

The Perfect Road Trip for You

The long-awaited machine has finally arrived. Sort of.

Thursday night at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthrone, CA, Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Model 3 to the world. Promised back in summer of 2014 as a $35,000 EV that would be accessible to far more drivers than could afford previous Teslas, the 3 is here.

We knew the 3 would look like a more squat version of the big Model S, but what’s particularly striking upon your first glance at the car is that Tesla has foregone the grille entirely. The S and X grilles are entirely cosmetic, since an EV doesn’t actually need one. Still, it’s a bit jarring to see the smoothed-over front end. They other styling details, from the big rims to the red color of the debut model, are typically Tesla.

As expected, Musk promised the Model 3 would arrive at the end of 2017, though production delays like those that have affected previous Tesla rollouts could push that back into 2018. Earlier today Tesla Motors began taking $1,000 reservations from customers to get on the waiting list to buy the EV. At event time, 115,000 people had signed up,

The Progress of Self Driving Cars

It was the crash the auto industry knew was coming but still feared.

The death of a driver who was using Tesla Motors’ semi-autonomous mode could add to the public’s apprehension of driverless cars even before they reach the road in big numbers. Most major automakers and technology companies, including Google and Uber, are working on fully autonomous cars, and have worried that a highly publicized crash could hurt those efforts.

Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died in the accident May 7 in Williston, Florida. According to a Tesla statement issued Thursday, the cameras on Brown’s Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes. Brown didn’t take control and activate the brakes either, Tesla said.

Brown was an enthusiastic booster of his 2015 Tesla Model S and in an April video he posted online he credited its sophisticated Autopilot system for avoiding a crash when a commercial truck swerved into his lane on an interstate.

Automakers and analysts have said they need to be careful as they introduce more and more semi-autonomous features, from automatic

Vehicles globally for defective air bags

Toyota announced Wednesday it is recalling 1.43 million vehicles for defective air bags and another 2.87 million vehicles for faulty fuel emissions controls.

Toyota Motor Corp. said it has not received any reports of injuries or fatalities related to either recall. Some 932,000 vehicles are involved in both recalls, so the total number of affected vehicles is 3.37 million.

The first recall for defective air bags affects Prius hybrids, Prius plug-ins and Lexus CT200h vehicles produced between October 2008 and April 2012 — 743,000 vehicles in Japan, 495,000 in North America, 141,000 in Europe, 9,000 in China and 46,000 in other regions.

The faulty air bags are not related to recent massive recalls of Takata air bags that have ballooned to millions of vehicles and affected nearly all major automakers. In Wednesday’s recall, Toyota said a small crack in some inflators in the air bags on the driver and passenger sides may expand, causing the air bags to partially inflate.

The air bag manufacturer, Autoliv Inc. based in Stockholm, Sweden, said it is cooperating fully with the recall. It said in seven incidents, side curtain air bags in Prius cars partially inflated without

Promises Cars With No Steering Wheel

We’ve known for a while that Ford plans to change how it sells cars. It announced a little while back that it now sees itself as a mobility company, and it’s been slowly rolling out parts of a plan it calls Smart Mobility. Today, Ford advanced its Smart Mobility plan even further, announcing that it plans to offer fully autonomous cars within the next five years.

At a press conference today, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that by 2021, it will offer autonomous cars that have no steering wheel or brake pedals. And the focus of this project isn’t on personal car ownership. It’s on ride-sharing.

Other companies like Google, Nissan, and Toyota have previously set 2020 as their goal for full autonomy, while Tesla has a more accelerated plan. It’s hoping to get there by 2018. But the focus on ride sharing appears to be pretty standard across the industry. General Motors has invested heavily in Lyft, and part of Tesla’s new master plan involves a fleet of Teslas for owners to share.

The shift from privately owned cars to shared cars will certainly change the auto industry, and it has plenty of insiders

Badass Raptor Truck to China

Sometime soon, at a port near Beijing, a cargo ship will arrive and drop off a small fleet of Ford Raptors, the first F-Series trucks ever to make landfall in China. There, they’ll spend their time soaring over majestic dunes in the Gobi desert and blazing across the steppe. (OK, they’ll probably end up sitting in traffic in Shanghai, but at least their owners will have a commanding view over the sea of black Buicks.)

No matter: the point is, there will soon be Raptors roaming China, each of them painted painted red, white and blue, with the Declaration of Independence airbrushed across the rear window. OK, again, not really. But that may as well be the case, because these are Raptors—a badass, all-American off-road machine.

Ford isn’t saying exactly how many trucks it is exporting or exactly what they’ll cost, which make us wonder: Why make this announcement, anyway? Well, perhaps Ford wants to make a point that it sells cars in China—not just the Raptor, but also other goodwill ambassadors like the GT and Focus RS. That’s really the gist of the story: People in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactured a bad-ass luxury item, people