Archives For Toyota

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Handout photo from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Manufacturers are really keen on making self-driving cars a reality!

When we’re driving, we want to DRIVE. But certainly it would be nice to let the computer take over during bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic.

We won’t get there for a while, but Toyota and Audi showed off the state of the technology at CES last week with some demos.

Nevada has already legalized autonomous vehicles for public roads, issuing Google the first license of its kind last year.

More companies undoubtedly will follow suit.

These computer-controlled vehicles use visual indicators, artificial intelligence software (which is what they’ll use to take over the world!), GPS and various sensors to navigate their way.

Check out more on the robot-driven cars from CNET here.

Credit: YouTube.

Credit: YouTube.

There’s no end to the technical wizardry on the near-horizon for new cars.

Toyota’s U.S. division head, Jim Lentz, announced that the company is working on gesture control for certain functions in the vehicle. Make a motion with your hand and you can adjust the volume of the radio, for instance.

Hopefully the system won’t misread your hand movement when you give in to road rage, if you know what we mean.

Believe it or not the engineers are currently testing this technology on a skateboard!

However, they’ve also have been developing an Insect, Smart Insect, that is, with on-board motion sensors.

It’s all pretty trick.

Get the details on the wave-of-a-hand ride from The Wall Street Journal below:

Future Driving: Controlling a Car with a Wave of the Hand?

2012-07-24 16.01.04

Think those reminders to teens about not texting and driving are working?

Well, probably not.

Asia’s largest automaker (Toyota) and the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found in a new study that teens are 26 times more likely to send texts while driving than their parents expect.

A whopping 69 percent of teens regularly drive with their peers and no adults. About 54 percent said they use a handheld mobile phone while driving.

All this tends to point to more unsafe behavior behind the wheel.

On the flip side of this story though is the anecdote about a teen who drove his Mustang off a cliff and survived, thanks to his iPhone. He wasn’t talking or texting but after the accident occurred, his father was able to locate him by tracking down his phone through AT&T.

The car was totaled and he had to have brain surgery but apparently he will be all right.

Check out the Automotive News story on the teen texting report on here and see the Mustang and the surviving teen story from Jalopnik here.

The Honda Civic was hammered in a recent Consumer Reports review.
Credit: Wikipedia.

It’s a very interesting time for carmakers.

General automotive technology has reached a high level of quality, making for a very level playing field. There are so many fine vehicles at practically every price point that consumers’ buying decisions are less determined by traditional criteria.

It even has Autoblog wondering about its role in the decision-making process for shoppers.

Bloomberg reports that people basically ignored Consumer Reports’ negative review of the new Honda Civic and bought nearly a quarter-million cars through September, putting it back in position to take over the top spot in the compact car segment from Toyota and GM.

What do you think, is the automotive press relevant anymore?

Read more about the press being completely irrelevant!

Check out the full Autoblog story here and the Bloomberg story here.

The Chevy Aveo, or Sonic.
Credit: Wikipedia.

For you dealers: You want to know what kind of cars you’re likely to work on in the future?

It’ll probably be a subcompact or compact.

Now you may say that owners of those types of vehicles wouldn’t want to spend the extra money on aftermarket gear because they bought smaller cars in order to save their loot in the first place! An analyst at TrueCar.com says that’s no longer the case.

Take a look at the Cruze, Sonic, the Fiat 500, the new Dart, along with the already established models in the category. What you see aren’t necessarily only economy cars. They could easily be seen as stylistic choices, if you will.

Laugh if you want … but major hallmark brands like Honda, Chevrolet and Toyota are cashing in on small cars — which, according to AutoNews.com, are helping push the biggest sales month in four years and are also capturing the biggest segment of the U.S. auto market since 1993.

(Let’s face it, soaring prices at the pump haven’t helped this trend, either.)

The U.S. automakers aren’t slacking, although Honda and Toyota still lead the small-sized pack. AutoNews.com was quick to point out that Chrysler’s Fiat set a second straight monthly record, Ford rolled out more small cars than any other September in a decade, and GM’s Chevy last month won the subcompact segment with the Sonic and the compact with the Cruze.

Read more about the “Small Wonder” car trend from AutoNews.com below:

Small Car Sales May Capture Largest U.S. Share Since 1993