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OPLIN 4Cast #651: Cars are speeding into the future, but can we keep up?

Posted in 4cast, and cars

When I saw my first backup camera in a friend’s car, years ago, I was stunned. I assumed she was wealthy (she wasn’t) and thought that kind of feature was limited only to those with significant amounts of cash. Fast-forward several years, and backup cameras are nearly a standard feature. Even *I* have one, now. Once in a while, I force myself to back up the car using only mirrors, for fear that I will simply forget that hard-earned skill. (But, not-so-secretly, I prefer the camera.) What other new features are going to be standard soon?

  • Toyota will add automatic engine shut off and auto-park to all new vehicles [Engadget] ”  If a vehicle is left running for a predetermined amount of time, the engine will automatically shut off. If a driver exits a vehicle without putting it in park, it will automatically shift and/or apply the parking brake.”
  • Hydrogen Cars Replacing Teslas as Eco-Conscious Hollywood Obsession [Hollywood Reporter] ” Costing less than a Tesla Model S or X while providing equivalent range, hydrogen cars — or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) — use an on-board fuel cell that combines hydrogen (from a fuel station) and oxygen (from the air) to power an electric motor. With zero carbon emissions, an FCEV has only one byproduct: a few ounces of water puddling under the tailpipe while parked. “
  • Cars are still dumber than phones, but here’s how automakers and tech companies are boosting their IQ [Digital Trends] ” The shift is long overdue, because motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with the infotainment system programmed in their car’s dashboard. That’s why millions of drivers use third-party apps like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which completely override the native software. This puts the systems that automakers have spent millions on out of sight and out of mind. When it comes to technology, why are cars so far behind smartphones and laptops? “
  • ‘Fallout Shelter’ is coming to Tesla cars [Engadget] ” To play Tesla’s eclectic line up of games, users will have to keep their car in park — which is probably for the best for everyone. The vehicles will support PS4 and Xbox controllers, though racing titles will be compatible with car controls. Gamers will be able to use their steering wheel to control their virtual racer and use the brake pedal to slow down in the game. The accelerator will be off-limits for safety purposes. “

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