We learned all about Microsoft Sync at CES, and have lots to share. Sync is integrated software that’s factory-installed in certain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars. It allows you to control your cell phone and music player via voice recognition. Once your cell phone is “synced” with the software and your contacts are transferred, just press the button on the steering wheel and speak your command, such as “Call Mom.” Mom is immediately dialed, and you can talk to her without ever touching your phone. What’s also cool is that you can control your entire music library via voice as well, just by saying the name of the artist, song, album or even playlist. Just sync up your iPod (except the Shuffle), iPhone, MP3 player or even a thumb drive, and you’re good to go.
The Jaguar XKR was just too special to pass by. It carries a MSRP of ~$90,000 and is the elitest of the elite. With 420 horsepower and a 4.2 liter V-8 engine, we assume you are going to rule the road with this one as it can hit a top speed of 155 mph and accelerate to 60 in 4.9 seconds. It was the luxury that we just couldn’t get past. Reach up and the ceiling is all kid leather. You don’t just get new car smell in this car. It figuratively screams, “I am so rich!” The seats and steering wheel adjustments are so exact, even the shortest of us fit. A couple of interior shots after the jump. All we can say is that this is the car we want to be buried in.
Read More | NAIAS 2008
We headed for the NAIAS in Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit yesterday and were surprised at how little was going on, but greatful because we showed up on an industry “crowd” day so there wasn’t a lot of hype. Even before you get in the main floor, you notice that the Chinese cars weren’t allowed in with the American cars, so we wandered over to a couple of them before going inside. One of these is the TX4, created here as a taxi. This is what LTI refers to as a “multifunctional classic business car.” Included in its advantages is u-turns without 3-point turning, ABS for anti-lock, and basic comfort for passengers.
Read More | NAIAS 2008
Magellan has premiered their newest GPS unit for autos, the 5340+GPRS, the first GPS unit with Google Local Search. Users can search their area for events, businesses and services, receiving real-time results from Google based upon the user’s current location or a specified location.
The wireless GPRS service also enables the unit to deliver up-to-the-minute information on traffic and weather. Additionally, users planning trips in advance can send addresses or other information directly to the unit using the wireless service. In case a change to an itinerary is needed while the trip is in progress, third parties can send changes to the unit using the Magellan website.
Like the rest of the recently-introduced Elite line, the 5340+GPRS features voice command, a USB port and 6 million points of interest. It also features a 533 MHZ S-Media 3362 processor and and a 5-inch WQVGA widescreen. The Maestro 5340+GPRS will be available for puchase in March for and estimated $1299. Full press release available, after the break.
Hybrid Technologies removes internal combustion engines from cars and turns them into electric vehicles. Founder Richard Griffiths is trying to convince people to think of battery power as a high-end option. High-end indeed. Griffiths takes such cars as the Chrysler Crossfire, the PT Cruiser, and MINI Cooper and makes them hybrid. The result will be a $65,000 MAXI Cooper, which can run 120 miles on a charge and go from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds.
Here’s the rub. Griffiths plans on initially selling his electric cars through Wal-mart at a starting price of ~$35,000.00. We are not sure what that means unless he believes that the shopping place of the “everyman” will convince us to spend twice the cost. We have two questions. If the cars do not sell at that inflated price, will Wal-mart roll back their prices? And if so, will the cars be made in sweat shops like most of their clothing?
Read More | MSN
If you saw the movie “2 Fast 2 Furious,” you will probably recognize the electromagnetic system that can stop vehicles. Researchers at Eureka Aerospace are creating a device that is about 7 x 3 feet and weighs 200 lbs. Attached to a car or aircraft carrier, it sends out pulsing microwave radiation to disable the microprocessors that keep the car engine going. Chief Exec James Tatoian says that the system may be available for security purposes within 18 months. That gives us less than two years to beat out those speed traps or buy a car made before 1972, which was when electronic control modules were first placed in them.
Read More | ABC
This past weekend, the Defense Department’s Urban Challenge 2007 took place in the desert between LA and Las Vegas. Driverless, the computer-run vehicles had to maneuver around neighborhood streets and obstacles at a deserted AF base. Although “Junior,” Stanford’s 2006 Volkswagen Passat station wagon diesel, crossed the finish line first, the grand prize went to the Tartan Racing team, based on safety as well as speed. Stanford was second, followed by team Victor Tango. This time, 6 of the 11 finalists crossed the finish line. We can see why the military would be interested in this technology, especially when you consider its shock value application. Check out a video we shot of the Carnegie-Mellon team qualifying for the DARPA event.
Read More | USA Today
When General Motors contacted us about bringing us up to their Proving Grounds in Milford, MI, we jumped at the chance at getting to visit what we figured would be an awesome place. We were right - General Motors’ Milford Proving Grounds was the industry’s first dedicated automobile testing facility when it opened in 1924. It covers 4,000 acres, and over 4,800 staff work in its 107 buildings today. The proving ground includes the equivalent of 132 mi of highway-quality roads for vehicle testing. Some roads are open only to drivers who have passed special performance driving training.
We got a first-hand look at the new StabiliTrak technology that GM will be making a standard feature on all their vehicles in a couple of years, which aims to give drivers a lot more stability during sudden turns and avoidance maneuvers. In addition, GM gives us some tips on how to maintain control of your vehicle, even in extreme (and often unsafe) conditions. Check out the video for all the goods, and leave us any driving tips you may have in the comments.
We have all made some of those traffic errors and gotten tickets that might have been ignored with the proper bribery. The Anti-Ticket Donut is designed for those occasions. When the police officer asks you to produce your registration and license, reach right into your glove compartment and offer him/her the chocolate ($8.75) or sprinkled ($9.95) treat-in-a-tin. Of course, the donut is made of plastic, but we figure you can always stop at Krispy Kreme for the real thing if you are heading towards a known speed trap. Besides, it would make a great gift for your uncle, Chief Wiggum.
Read More | Product Page
By 2009, if they are done dealing with the UAW, GM will be equipping its new vehicles with a system that will aid police to remotely stop high-speed chases. In cooperation with OnStar, who can already track devices and help cops find stolen vehicles, it will also issue a signal that remotely slows the car down to idle speed. OnStar is free initially for owners of GM automobiles that have them built in, but must pay for the service beginning with the second year. OnStar says that about 60% continue to subscribe after that first year. In light of the price of new vehicles and fuel, we are not surprised that many decide to opt out and spend the extra on gas.
Read More | OnStar