Night Systems

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It’s not just the darkness, but fog, smog and even the glare of light can prevent you seeing nearby obstacles. Introducing the automotive night system which can detect objects you wouldn’t see with mere headlights and alert the driver to them. Given its potential to improve safety and how long we’ve had the basic technology it may come as a shock that it only dates back to 2000. That means it came in about the same era as  Sat-Nav, which is also handy, but not a safety concern.

As with most innovations night systems were first installed in the luxury brand and even now hasn’t become a standard safety feature in mid-cost vehicles. The first car to employ an automotive night system was a Cadillac de Ville.  This style of Cadillac was originally developed in the 1950s, but it has undergone several generations of improvement.

From the start, the goal was to make automotive night system passive and intuitive so that they didn’t provide more distraction than a driver simply concentrating on the road ahead. All the systems employ an infrared beam to pick up on objects which the human eye would miss. The main difference in the systems is how it alerts the driver.

Less passive systems were introduced by  Mercedes and Toyota, which produce a black and white image for the driver.  The Mercedes can only use this function when you are going at 28 mph, presumably because you are less likely to be killed by a car traveling below 28 mph. (But honestly who  wants to be hit at any speed?)

You might think that as people aren’t used to black and white images that it might hard for a driver to know when to react. The people behind the DS Night Vision have thought of this. Its sensors give a red border around any objects that may be a potential danger, and then adds a yellow border if the danger changes to critical.

The BMW has a pedestrian detecting device which flashes a caution symbol if its infra-red senses that a pedestrian is in the driver’s “eye-line.” In recent years they added an animal detection device. If an animal is in the vicinity a number of LEDs will start flashing.

Should you discover something called “active vision” it means it only works on nearby obstacles. Far away obstacles can appear grainy in this type of footage, which isn’t necessarily a problem as such obstacles can generally be ignored.

Naturally the idea of creating a live stream in front of you to show you how the road is looking seems an obvious evolution. However, it’s currently thought to be too distracting.  As drivers become more accustomed to technology in cars its quite possible we’ll see this innovation soon.

As this is the latest in tech it will remain quite expensive for some time, to the detriment of the pedestrian and maybe other drivers. This isn’t, from a tech standpoint, much different than ordinary surveillance devices. Night vision comes standard on baby monitors these days. The safety of others seems to come secondary to price, which isn’t how other safety features have been prioritized. The court of public opinion can shift swiftly so perhaps we’re one bad night accident away from a handy new standard safety feature.

Best of the Web: Chevy mid-engine.

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  • It’s officially official: the next-generation 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will make the switch to a mid-engined layout.
  • The new Corvette C8 makes its debut July 18, 2019, and will go on sale by the end of the year.

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At long last, General Motors is admitting that the Corvette will reach another generation and has confirmed that the car—yes, the real, bona fide 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8—will make its official debut July 18. We’ve spilled plenty of ink (and pixels) about the upcoming C8 for the past five years (not to mention our relentless and breathless coverage of the idea of a mid-engined Corvette spanning several decades), and now Chevrolet is finally ready to talk about it as well.

Best of the Web: Jeep wins French Award

 

While many of us in North America think of the Jeep® Renegade as the entry-level offering bring people into the Jeep brand, the reality is that the Renegade is a huge part of the brand’s global presence. This past week in Europe, French magazine SUV Crossover, published by Éditions Larivière gave the new 2019 Jeep Renegade their “2019 Urban SUV of the Year” award.
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Running a Profitable Race Track

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The most traditional method, of course, is ticket sales. But that’s just scratching the surface.

To examine how a racetrack operates let’s look at one of the more popular race tracks in the country; Daytona International Speedway. You can get a decent idea on how such a track makes its money by studying who it caters for. Although it is usually publicized as a NASCAR race track, especially the worldwide renowned Daytona 500 there are many different races that it hosts, including ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) and SCCA (The Sports Car Club of America) as well as Moto America Superbike and bike events with  Motocross.

auto-racing-583032_1920It cannot rely on simply one track but the largest one is a tri-oval shape, similar to an egg with a pointed base. The reasons for the shape was to create the best sight lines for spectators and in so doing create the best event.

For fans, there are “access all areas” style events where the garages and all the background activity is on show to the general public. They generally include live entertainment and various displays. It’s all just another way to make the facilities work.

Another income stream comes from giving bachelor/bachelorette party’s couple of circuits around a racetrack. These usually come in two levels amateur or advanced.f1-1605909_1920.jpg

If golf courses can offer pro-shops where you can buy equipment or talk to a pro about your game, then race tracks can and have upped their simple gift shop to offer in-house performance tuning and fabrication services to private consumers.

It is not just racing that creates capital from the site; there have been a number of football games for the local team which has also occurred here. Flexibility is everything in running a business.

Best of the Web: Ford Issues Recall

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Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday issued a safety recall for roughly 327,000 trucks over potential issues with the vehicles that can lead to overheating or fires.

The announcement affects Ford F-150 trucks from 2015 to 2019 and Super Duty vehicles from 2017 to 2019 that were inspected and serviced after a separate December recall spurred by potential fire concerns.