Car brands should make emergency auto braking standard

The data related to the number of cars sold in 2017 that featured automatic emergency braking systems wasn’t especially surprising, but one truth seems to emerge: they are, perhaps obviously, far more common in brands that provide auto braking as standard equipment across the bulk of a model’s trim lineup. If it’s an option, and especially if it’s restricted to a package exclusive to an upper trim level, people will skip it.

Toyota sold the largest number of vehicles with automatic braking – 1.4 million cars out of 2.5 total – which is indicative of the fact that many of its cars and crossovers come standard with it as part of the company’s Toyota Safety Sense package. That number should also go up in 2018 as the new Camry comes standard with Toyota Safety SenseGeneral Motors was next, selling 551,777 vehicles. This is somewhat of an outlier as safety tech is almost always optional on GM’s volume-selling vehicles, however, it’s also widespread and available throughout most of their models’ trim levels. Read more

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Kia and Hyundai cars will feature AI assistants in 2019

Hyundai and Kia have never failed to represent in the use of modern technologies for their vehicles. They have reputations as early adopters of in-car tech, and that’s truer than ever now that voice assistants are becoming a practical reality on the road. Both companies aim to include AI assistants in their upcoming cars from 2019.

Hyundai and Kia have been working with SoundHound to create an Intelligent Personal Agent (based on Houndify) that both makes proactive suggestions (such as reminding you of a meeting) and offers remote control of both your car and your home. This sounds a whole lot like what other voice assistants do, but the car brands are counting on support for “multiple-command recognition” as the ace up their sleeve. If you tell your car to check the weather and turn on the lights at the same time, it’ll do both instead of scratching its head like so many other AI helpers. Read more

Christmas gifts: Elderly couple stopped with 27kg of marijuana

An elderly couple is facing felony charges in Nebraska after police pulled them over and discovered the unwrapped Christmas presents they planned on delivering to their friends and family in Vermont and Boston were actually just 27kg (60 pounds) of weed.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, were on their way east from their home in northern California to visit family for the holidays when they were pulled over by sheriff deputies in York County, Nebraska. The deputies, after catching the whiff of the strong scent of marijuana, say that they asked the driver about the smell, and were told that there was contraband in the truck. After receiving consent for a search, the deputies took a look around the Toyota Tacoma and eventually — with the help of the county’s canine unit — found all of the bud, alongside multiple containers of concentrated THC. Read more

Dodge introduces the world’s fastest Christmas tree

Winter holidays are right around the corner, and so last-minute shoppers are going to be in a serious rush to get all the items they need, especially Christmas shoppers that haven’t even put up a tree yet. Those seriously late folks may want to invest in a Challenger Hellcat because apparently they can go an incredible 174 mph with a Christmas tree strapped to the roof.

In the company’s latest video, John Hennessey explains they came up with the idea of creating the world’s fastest Christmas tree so they reached out to Dodge to see if they had a Challenger SRT Demon available. Dodge didn’t but the company happily sent over a Challenger Hellcat Widebody. During a baseline test, the Challenger was able to hit a top speed of 177 mph (284 km/h) with the makeshift roof rack but not the tree. When the tree was added to the roof, it didn’t have much effect on the car’s performance as the model was able to hit a top speed of 174 mph (280 km/h). Read more

Adolf Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz is going up for auction!

In most cases when you hear about rare cars being sold with famous past owners, you assume that those previous owners are movie stars, singers, or racing drivers, but not dictators like Adolf Hitler. But that’s exactly who owned the 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Open Tourer, and you can be listed on the owner history, too, since the vehicle will be auctioned on January 17. 10 percent of the sale price will be used for education about the Holocaust and preventing another one.

 

The car was commissioned by SS officer and chauffeur for Hitler Erich Kempka. It was used as a guest car for visiting dignitaries, and for big Nazi parades. It was used in those parades between 1939 and 1941. Considering the car would be used to transport Hitler, it was outfitted with additional protection. Armor plating was fitted to the sides and bottom of the vehicle. The windshield is bullet resistant, and an armored panel can be raised up at the back behind the seats if a greater threat was determined. Read more

Dealers ask for a compensation for recalled cars

Recalled vehicles are increasingly landing on dealers, but automakers aren’t required to compensate them for lost revenue and extra expenses. Dealers are counting on state lawmakers to change that. Even though stop-sales usually affect just a fraction of a dealership’s used-cars inventory.

There is no law to adress the problem on used vehicles under a stop-sell recall , but Federal law requires automakers to give monthly payments equal to 1 percent of the value of any new car that can’t be sold because of a recall. Read more