Episode 53 – Autonomous Accidents and Apple Cars
The automotive podcast that’s going to spend way too much time talking EV’s and autonomous vehicles on this episode. Thanks Joe Biden! Not really, it’s a well-known fact that all politicians suck and EVs will likely become a legislative mandate at some point here in the U.S., but that’s another show.
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We also heard some good remarks from a customer who used Bessler Welding for a frame repair on an FJ Cruiser
Race, Daily Kill
For the triumphant return of our #RaceDailyKill segment, we picked some of the most radical domestic sport sedans of the mid-to-late 90’s.
Have these aged well? You make the call.
|1996 Ford Taurus SHO||1994 Olds Aurora||1999 Chrysler 300M|
|Ford’s round oddball third-gen Taurus SHO gets a makeover and more cylinders.
Engine: 3.4-liter 32v V8 (235hp)
Trans: 4-speed auto w/OD
0-60mph: 9.4 sec
¼ mile ET: 16.9 sec @ 84.1 mph
|A radical design by GM. Will these stand the test of time? Does anyone care?
Engine: 4.0 liter 32v V8 (250hp)
Trans: 4-speed auto w/OD
0-60mph: 9.5 sec
¼ mile ET: 17.5 sec @ 85 mph
|Chrysler’s hope for a world-class cab-forward sport sedan. They still look fairly fresh.
Engine: 3.5 liter 24v V6 (253hp)
Trans: 4-speed auto w/OD
0-60mph: 7.3 sec
¼ mile ET: 16.1 sec @ 84.1 mph
Eric: Race the Ford, Daily the Chrysler. Kill the GM.
Daryl: Race the Aurora, Daily the 300M and kill the screwball SHO.
What would your picks be with this #RaceDailyKill lineup? Let us know at email@example.com
Treehugger 2.0, the Toyota 4Runner trail rig that suffered an untimely demise, was purchased at auction by Fort’s Toyota and the pieces will be used to bring another 4Runner up to snuff. More on that in the very near future.
Eric and Mr. Stahl’s camper purchase was delayed due to a wet floor. Could this be considered a rain delay?
The Mk3 Supra needs to be sold and the Celica got a new radiator. Winter is coming.
Eric also finished up some light work on the recently-purchased ’96 Toyota Tacoma. It’s ready for more yard work. Is Eric?
Speaking of trucks, Eric is still looking for a tailgate for his Tundra… Car-Part.com might be the ticket.
It was a pleasure working on Gabe’s ‘27 Chrysler 60-Series roadster. After a steep learning curve and some patience, we got it fired up after a long slumber.
Half the fun is learning about how things were assembled back in the day, and how each automaker did things differently. Now I need to work on my own broken stuff.
TWISM [This week in social media]
Tesla Camera Captures Man Faking Accident, Would-be Scammer Gets Arrested
Dashcams have become vital due to scammers, who claim drivers hit them and then demand payment for their ‘injuries’.
While these types of incidents are commonly associated with countries overseas, one such attempt was recently caught on camera in Slidell, Louisiana.
In a Facebook post, the city’s police department said they were called to a gas station parking lot on September 3rd by 47-year-old Arthur Bates Jr., who claimed he was hit by a Tesla. When police arrived on the scene, the man allegedly told officers the driver of the Tesla backed into him and knocked him to the ground, causing back, leg and neck injuries. An ambulance was called and Bates went on to claim the driver fled the scene following the accident.
Officers eventually tracked down the driver, who said Bates was trying to pull a scam. Luckily for them, the entire incident was caught on video and police quickly determined “Bates was lying and staged the entire event.”
As you can see in the clip, Bates approaches the Tesla from the side and apparently stands next to its bumper. As soon as the driver begins backing out, Bates jumps in front of the moving car.
Thankfully, the driver manages to stop before hitting Bates. Undeterred, Bates appears to slam his knee into the car before falling to the ground and casually resting his foot on the vehicle. The driver then gets out to talk to Bates, who is still laying on the ground, before leaving.
Given the video evidence, police confronted Bates who allegedly “admitted to fabricating the entire event.” He was subsequently arrested for False Swearing with the Intent to Cause an Emergency Response, which means he could now be on the hook for a fine of between $100-$1000 and up to five years of imprisonment.
Apple’s self-driving car fleet has experienced two accidents within a week of each other.
As reported by MacRumors, two of Apple’s self-driving cars have been in minor accidents this month. The California DMV posted reports of each accident this week showing that, in both cases, someone rear-ended Apple’s cars while they were idle in traffic.
The first incident [PDF] occurred in San Diego, California in the Hillcrest area on August 19. The Lexus RX 450h was stopped in traffic and was hit by a Hyundai. The accident was described as minor with no injuries.
The second accident [PDF] occurred on August 23 in Cupertino, California, right near the Apple Park campus. The vehicle with Apple’s self-driving equipment was in manual mode and it was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended by a Subaru Outback.
Thankfully each accident was minor and in neither case was it the fault of Apple’s self-driving cars. This is great news as, if it went the other way, it would be quite worrisome for anyone who is interested in eventually purchasing the company’s rumored electric Apple Car
BONUS: AutoBlog by Ronan Glon
Sony Vision-S electric sedan: Is Sony going to build a car, or what?
Sony surprised us all when it unveiled a concept car named Vision-S at CES 2020. The electric sedan runs and drives, and it looks nearly ready for production, but the Japanese firm still hasn’t decided what to do with it.
“We don’t have a concrete plan at this time because our current phase is a research and development phase. We have to investigate what is our purpose in contributing to mobility service. That is our basic idea, and we have to continue the R&D phase,” Sony executive vice president Izumi Kawanishi explained to Automotive News.
Sony’s position is a little enigmatic and not all that regular. Rewind to January 2021: it said that it had “no plans to mass-produce or sell [the Vision-S],” though it didn’t rule out moving into the automotive sector later on. And yet, for a company that publicly plans to steer clear of the car industry, it has spent what sounds like a substantial amount of money to build and test its first prototype. It enlisted the help of contract manufacturer Magna-Steyr to make the car a reality, the project began in 2018, and it is putting the prototype through its paces on European roads, so it even went through the trouble of getting it registered. On paper, it sounds like Sony is much further along than Apple.
One possibility that has often been floated is that Sony merely wants a fully functional platform in which to test in-car entertainment solutions. Autonomous cars, shuttles, and trucks are ostensibly around the corner, and drivers will need to find ways to pass the time once they become passengers. While this sector remains at the embryonic stage, it could be worth billions of dollars if optimistic predictions about self-driving technology merging into the mainstream in the near future are accurate. Who better than Sony to grab a slice of it? It invented the Walkman, launched the PlayStation, and sells a full range of televisions. It’s intricately linked to the entertainment industry.
“We have a lot of content — movies, music, and gaming — and we have to utilize that content and technology in the vehicle. In order to build such entertainment space in the vehicle, we need to understand the opportunity and build the right cabin system,” Kawanishi noted during the same interview. Wouldn’t a simulator have been cheaper?
As it stands, Sony is cautiously watching the automotive industry from a distance. Whether you’ll one day be able to commute in a Sony or merely enjoy the latest PlayStation game on your way to work still remains to be seen.
An airborne Tesla that plowed through a house in Florida and killed 2 people reportedly did not have Autopilot engaged
Grace Kay @ business insider
The accident caused two fatalities and left three other people seriously injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The car was fully airborne when it crashed through the house, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of a Palm Harbor home, video footage of the scene shows.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that officials had said the Tesla had not been using its Autopilot function at the time of the crash.
The software, while controversial, offers access to add-on features that can help prevent accidents like this.
GM invests in Oculii, radar software maker for self-driving cars
Source: Automotive News
General Motors’ venture capital arm has invested millions of dollars in Oculii, a U.S. startup maker of software for radar sensors used in self-driving cars, Oculii co-founder Steven Hong said.
GM can use Oculii’s low-cost software to boost the resolution of radars and scale up its partially automated vehicles and full self-driving cars, he told Reuters in an interview.
The investment is a “fantastic signal they’re serious about the technology and bullish about radar in general,” said the Stanford University graduate who founded Oculii with his father, Lang Hong, an engineering professor at Wright State University.
He declined to disclose the financial details.
Tesla Inc. eliminated radar sensors from its volume models this year, rekindling questions about the safety and performance of its advanced driver assistant system.
Radars, which measure the distance between objects, enable a car to accelerate or brake to match its speed with that of the vehicle in front. Radars also work well in adverse lighting and weather conditions.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has called additional sensors like lidars and radars “crutches,” doubling down on cheaper cameras and artificial intelligence for its driving automation system.
Saturday night car accident caused by street race, one suspect arrested
PEORIA (WEEK) – One man has been arrested after a late-night accident in Peoria Saturday.
At approximately 11:03 p.m., Peoria Police responded to the area of Sterling and Reservoir regarding a two-vehicle accident. Preliminary information indicated a black sedan was racing another vehicle, possibly a white sedan, northbound on Sterling when a third vehicle was struck by the black sedan.
The driver of the black sedan, 31-year old Darien D. Davis, was arrested for Reckless Driving, Street Racing, Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident, and No Seatbelt. The suspected white sedan fled the area.
All three occupants of the victim vehicle were transported to a local hospital with serious injuries, including one individual with life-threatening injuries.
Peoria Police Traffic Investigators are seeking anyone with information regarding this accident
including the identity and whereabouts of the white sedan and its driver.
The accident remains under investigation.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Officer Jared Moore of the PPD
First Customer Vehicle Rolls Off The Rivian Production Line
Rivian’s first customer vehicle has rolled off the production line Tuesday morning.
Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe tweeted a series of photos of an R1T surrounded by employees.
“Our team’s collective efforts have made this moment possible,” he tweeted. “Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”
Rivian has faced multiple delays in recent months.
Deliveries were supposed to begin in June, but that was pushed back to July.
In July, rollout was delayed again, this time until September.
Last month, Rivian also announced its intention to become a publicly traded company, hoping for an IPO around Thanksgiving.
BONUS: Electek Rivian battery story
Deliveries of the R1T are scheduled to begin this month, with Rivian just waiting for government approval to start putting trucks on the road. Rivian says that “all configurations will be available for delivery starting January 2022.”
Rivian also plans to offer a smaller “250+ mile pack” for both vehicles, though the company has not yet announced the timing on availability for that configuration.
Oddly, the ratings between the two vehicles are almost identical but the SUV has a slightly higher range (<1%) and slightly lower efficiency (~1.4%). The differences are small enough, though, that it could just be a quirk in the testing process or a rounding error.
These numbers make the R1T and R1S among the least-efficient electric vehicles available (just a tad better than the Porsche Taycan Turbo S), but to be fair, they are also the largest electric vehicles. So this was to be expected. At 70mpge, they are still above three times more efficient than gas-powered pickup trucks and large SUVs.
As the first electric truck to get an EPA rating, this gives us an idea of where future electric trucks will land in terms of efficiency. If the R1T consumes approximately 480Wh/mile, we can project similar consumption from the Tesla Cybertruck, Ford F-150 Lightning, GM Hummer EV, and so on. Thus, in order to get a ~400 mile range, those trucks will need a battery pack approaching a whopping ~200kWh. The largest EV battery packs on the road currently are around 100kWh.
Moment of Musk
Musk tweets again, this time calling foul on proposed tax credit expansions that exclude Tesla.
- First, he doesn’t get invited to the White House, and now, union lobbyists are hurting Tesla. Musk claimed via Twitter on Sunday that the EV credit expansion proposed by U.S. Democrats was written by lobbyists representing Ford and the United Auto Workers.
The proposed expansion could increase EV credits by quite a bit, in an effort to offset the cost of electric cars by up to $12,500. That’s a lot of money, and it might help drive the adoption of EVs. So, this should be a win for electric carmakers and drivers alike, but criticism of the expansion claims that it gives an unfair advantage to electric cars from Ford, GM, and Chrysler … union-made ones that is.
Of course, that rules out Tesla’s cars since the carmaker has resisted efforts to unionize its production plants. It also rules out EVs from Toyota and Honda, which have both also taken exception to the proposed EV credits, per Electrek.
Cars of the Weak
*Includes Bonus Rabbit Hole Segment
Inspired by “The Barefoot Contessa”. Ava Gardner drives a 1950’s Fiat 1400 convertible when she becomes the wife of the Duke. Her friend and mentor, Humphrey Bogart didn’t have a cool car.
I then went on a quest to find this car and find that you can buy a few 1400’s in the states, but you will never find a convertible. Apparently, this little car, known for its reliability and chassis made it a great candidate for secondary companies to make convertibles and special editions.
Like this one: 1953 Ghia Transformable (Convertible)
I then went on a quest to find a cool old Italian convertible for my virtual collection. If I could find one that still smelled like a dirty-footed, gypsy-dancing Ava Gardner… well, that would be a bonus. I will be taking that dirt on the floorboards to forensics for scanning later!
Oh, one last vision of the car. Check out this car at the Petersen Museum.
This dramatic 1952 Fiat 1400 by Vignale was so highly-regarded that it was selected to appear on the cover of the February 1953 issue of Motor Trend magazine and was later driven on screen by Kirk Douglas in The Racers. What automobile would you like to see on the cover of Motor Trend today?
I hereby present my Car of the Weak.
1968 Lancia 2800 3c Flaminia Touring Convertible – Price on request
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in ’63, Lancia presented all the versions of the Flaminia with an engine boosted to 2.8 liters which, in the case of the Touring versions , reaches 150 hp.
This decidedly more elastic engine gives the Flaminia Convertible an evident improvement in recovery and a top speed of 193 km.
The 3C name derives from the 3 carburetors it was equipped with starting from the production of 1961.
Technically, the Convertible undergoes the same changes that affect the Coupé and also the bodywork does not undergo any changes, so much so that the new 2800 differs from its sister minor only due to the addition of the “2.8” specification on the trunk lid.
The Flaminia Convertible 2.8, produced until 1964, remained available until October 1968 to dispose of part of the unsold units produced.
Even today, the Flaminia Convertible remains a car much appreciated by fans of the brand and today more than ever expresses its entire original class.
The car is on display at our showroom in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
1915 Buick C25 Touring Car – $29,998
Source: Volo Museum Auto Sales
This car is 106 years old, and looks like a really nice older restoration. Costing $950 when new, the C25 touring was a premium motorcar but not to the level of a Cadillac or Packard. Solid construction with a 28-horsepower 4 cylinder engine.
Leather seats, a gear-driven speedo and 33-inch tall white walls seal the deal.
I blame Gabe for this.
Thanks as always for listening to our show.
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