Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Driving Range: Self-Driving Cars

Dani Ben-Ari

Those who grew up watching the TV show “Knight Rider” and dreamed about owning their own self-driving cars, may now find that those dreams can come true thanks to a new bill signed by California Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown that paves the way for driverless cars in his state.

According to an AP report, that bill will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways. Brown signed it at the headquarters of Google, Inc., which has been developing autonomous car technology and lobbying for regulations. Self-driving cars are already cruising California and could be sold commercially within the next two years.  Who knows, you might even need a driver’s license at all by 2040, if the trend catches on.

In the meantime, Google’s fleet of 12 computer-controlled vehicles (mostly Toyota Priuses) equipped with self-driving technology has logged more than 300,000 without an accident while the computer controlled the cars. The only documented accident with one of the Google vehicles was a fender bender that took place while a human was in control.*

The cars use a combination of technologies, including radar sensors on the front, video cameras aimed at the surrounding area, various other sensors and artificial-intelligence software that helps steer. While Google is currently the most visible company working on these types of vehicles, similar projects are in development at other organizations, including Caltech.

According to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, “the cars could address a variety of current transportation issues. First and foremost, he said, “The self-driving cars would be safer than human-driven cars. They also could ferry around people who are usually unable to drive, such as blind people, as well as those with other disabilities, as well as people who are either too young or too old to drive, not to mention those who become too intoxicated.”

Brin also went on to describe how a car that drives itself can significantly reduce traffic by chaining together with other self-driving vehicles and using highways more efficiently. “Drivers wouldn’t be limited to listening to NPR and honking during their morning commute; instead they could use that time to be productive, like the millions of people who take public transit currently do. In addition, self-driving cars would be able to drop you off at work and then pick up another person instead of idling in a parking lot. If you did opt to own your own car, it could park itself in the most efficient way possible.”

Still, there are numerous legal and technical problems that would have to be resolved before the cars are commonplace. Asked who would get the ticket when a driverless car runs a red light, Brin replied, “Self-driving cars do not run red lights.”
*Both Nevada and California laws require the cars to have a human behind the wheel who can take control of the vehicle at any time.




New: Latino Auto Club

The Latino Auto Club will launch the first annual Hispanic Automobile Summit Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Detroit, Mich. It will bring together Hispanic Auto Dealers, Suppliers. Media and Community Organizations to focus on:

  • Latino access to dealerships
  • Latino access to supplier contacts
  • Community service and Latino non-profits
  • Latino media access to advertising and marketing contracts.

For more information contact: the non-profit Millennium Community Builders at 813-599-6361.

autoTRADER.ca to assist college students

AutoTRADER.ca is gearing up to assist thousands of young Canadians who are packing up dorm essentials and heading off to university. Many students are tempted to try and find an affordable ride While buying a used vehicle can help alleviate the heavy price tag, a recent study conducted by autoTRADER.ca found that more than half of Canadians opted for style over safety when purchasing a car as students. This can be especially risky for those in the used car market where research is critical. Students are generally unable to afford a new car and a used car often provides much-needed transportation, and can also be stylish– if they know what they’re looking for.

Based on the autoTRADER.ca study, over half of surveyed Canadians strongly agree that having access to a car during university/college years allows students to do and accomplish more. Considering a student’s tight budget, over 40 per cent of Canadians favored milk crates over furniture costs and reported they would even surrender beer money in order to save for a vehicle. However, the first mistake first-time car-buyers often make is not doing their homework before getting behind the wheel. The study revealed that 66 per cent of Canadians felt that style trumped safety when purchasing a car, and not paying attention to the features that would make a used car last. Fifty-eight per cent of first-time buyers also chose form over function, opting for a car that would increase their social profile on campus, rather than a roomy or environmentally-friendly ride.

According to Ian MacDonald, Consumer Marketing, autoTrader.ca, “in reviewing the autoTRADER.ca search data, we can see that image is clearly an important consideration for young adults when it comes to buying a car.” He states “we want to make sure that young Canadians are making informed decisions when it comes to first-time car-buying, helping them choose a vehicle that they’ll be proud to drive, while being equipped with modern safety features that can keep them safe.”

AUTOTRADER PROVIDES USED CAR PURCHASING CHECKLIST

In an effort to assist young Canadians in purchasing their first used car, the car buying experts at autoTRADER.ca compiled a checklist that ensures no critical steps are missed when it comes time to making the big decision:

  1. First things first, establish a realistic budget and take care not to be carried over it. Students should take care to have a close look at living expenses including accommodation, food, clothing and miscellaneous fun. Once those are calculated, what remains can be spent on a car payment, fuel, car insurance and maintenance. autoTRADER’s Car Payments Calculator can help make this process a smooth one.
  2. Identify and prioritize what you want and do the research. Although style if tempting, reliability is arguably the most important factor as you are likely to be buying an older car and the costs if something goes wrong could add up. Reading consumer and professional reviews on sites such as Autos.ca whilst determining transportation needs as well as fuel efficiency, seats for carpooling, safety features, and yes, style, will help buyers pinpoint the right car faster and easier.
  3. Take a good look at the car. Ensure the fluids are fresh, the lights and brakes are in excellent working condition, and check the frame isn’t rusted. If you can get it to a trusted mechanic for an inspection, it’s worth the time. If not, make sure you cover the basics using autoTRADER’s Used Car Buying Tips section. Used cars can feel just as modern as new ones if they’ve been looked after.
The autoTRADER.ca team recommends the following vehicles as a   starting point. Each achieves a good balance of style, safety, affordability   and reliability:
Subcompact Car: Honda Fit
Subcompact SUV: Scion xB
Compact car: Mazda3
Compact SUV: Kia Soul
Compact Sporty Car: Acura RSX

Assisting students in identifying their wants and needs when purchasing a car, autoTRADER.ca ensures that they will find a vehicle that is not only affordable, practical and safe but stylish, as well. With more cars than any other website available on autoTRADER.ca, first-time buyers are able to choose the car most suited to their requirements.

TRADER Corporation is a trusted Canadian leader in online media, managing automotive consumer marketplaces and publications. The company’s primary online destinations include: autoTRADER.ca™, autoHEBDO.net™, Autos.ca and BuySell.com.

autoTRADER.ca offers The Most Cars in One Place™, with the largest inventory of new cars and inventory of used cars in Canada, available via our website and mobile applications. Visitors buy or sell cars, trucks or other motorized vehicles quickly, easily and conveniently. Buyers can search based on vehicle model, make, colour and geographic location to find the deal that is right for them. Autos.ca is the online destination for auto enthusiasts, featuring car news and car reviews from well-known automotive journalists. Follow autoTRADER.ca on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AutoTraderCanada or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/autotrader_ca.