Just for Fun 42

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What’s News: GM car sharing pulls out of some markets

Maven, the car-sharing service owned by General Motors, is ending operations in several major North American cities. According to The Wall Street Journal, the mobility brand will wind down service in eight of the 17 cities in which it operates, including Boston, Chicago, and New York City. Maven will continue to operate in Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Toronto.

More here
“We’re shifting Maven’s offerings to concentrate on markets in which we have the strongest current demand and growth potential,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Human Error and the Crash

 

car-accident-2789841_1920People worry about the rise of self-driving cars but it seems like most people struggle to negotiate the road with normal cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 94% are due to dangerous choices or errors which people make when they are behind the wheel. Whether they are blatantly dangerous or are revealed to be so after hindsight must be worth looking into though.

The statistics divide things into “distracted driving,” “drunken driving,” or “driving while drowsy.” Possibly a crash might be caused by a combination of factors which no one can get to the bottom of. Some of which might be natural, such as ice on the road, stormy winds etc. Certainly, there are days when it pays to be more vigilant.

The errors can be divided into five types:

  • Recognition error
  • Decision error
  • Performance error
  • Non-performance error
  • Other

Distraction is usually regarded as a recognition error. Deciding to speed or do another illegal maneuver or not anticipating what other drivers will do is known as decision error. Performance error is losing control of the vehicle or pushing the car too far. Non-performance is another name for drowsiness and falling asleep. 8% of car accidents were caused by miscellaneous human error or “other”.

drink-driving-808790_1920Something which seems on the rise is drugged driving. There are warning signs of drunk or stoned driving you might watch out for, such as a driver weaving in and out of the traffic. Or it may be that a driver goes far too slowly, though that could be down to a number of factors, the weaving is more obvious a sign.

The problem with many drivers is that driving consists of many tiny micro-tasks which all need to be obeyed to keep the car on the road. If something changes then there could be a problem. It may be something the brain has yet to process or it could be something that is making the person behave in a reckless manner.

Teens age drivers are most likely to behave irresponsibly, and they win high insurance premiums as their only prize. It’s likely a combination of being less experienced drivers (not knowing how to react to a situation) and less experienced decision makers.

So what can you do to reduce the risk? Well, you’ve likely heard a lot of ideas that, while technically sound, are really difficult to carry out. Things like:

  • Never drive with someone to distract you?
  • Never drive late at night?

You can’t really avoid every situation that is inherently unsafe. Perhaps the bigger shift needs to happen in our thinking. Many people don’t think they are doing anything which might cause an accident, and that’s when it gets you.

Although self-driving is said to wipe out death by human error it is unlikely to be widespread any time soon. The same can be said for laws about what lanes trucks use, or sensors to detect pedestrians. The kicker has pondered these efforts before and we generally recommend actually trying things out before making sweeping changes because computers have yet to prove themselves as better decision makers than humans in the driving seat.

What’s News: Tesla AV system active during crash!

A Tesla Model 3 had Autopilot active in the seconds before it crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver, the National Transportation Safety Board reported on Thursday.

Jeremy Banner was driving his Model 3 on a divided four-lane highway in Palm Beach County, Florida. As the car approached a driveway, a semi truck pulled out in front of the car, making a left-hand turn from the driveway to the opposite travel lanes.

Original story
The Tesla was moving at 68mph (110km/h) and slid under the truck’s trailer. The trailer sheared off the top of the car, killing Banner. The vehicle continued down the road for another 1,600 feet (500m) before coming to a rest in the median.

“Preliminary data show that the Tesla’s Autopilot system… was active at the time of the crash,” the NTSB reports. “The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision. From less than 8 seconds before the crash to the time of impact, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.”

The NTSB says that preliminary data suggests that neither the driver nor the Autopilot system made evasive maneuvers…

What’s News: Ford stays course w/ hybrid, not going full EV

Ford got into the hybrid game relatively early with the 2005 Escape, the first hybrid SUV. The automaker believes other automakers are underestimating hybrids today as they rush to all-electric vehicles, Ford vice president of powertrain engineering Dave Filipe said.
All-electric vehicles are much more expensive than hybrids, and require charging infrastructure that’s not available everywhere. Ford believes those factors will keep hybrids in the picture for many years to come, even as EVs become increasingly common.

Original story
Hybrids play a key role in Ford’s touted $11-billion investment plan to reduce its vehicles’ fuel consumption and emissions.

It’s also likely that EVs aren’t seen as practical for police vehicles which is a market Ford would like to continue to court.

Facebook – A Driver and Car Seller’s Guide

Screenshot 2019-04-30 17.05.41

 

Some people believe the relationship between internet technology and the car is simply that the internet has reduced the need for personal car ownership. However, this doesn’t take into account how the internet and social media can be used to sell cars, or to help car enthusiasts to connect with each other.

Selling on the Internet

Many traditional local car magazines have gone online also, which is cheaper than print but increases the pool of competitors greatly. Take for example autotrader.com which was a series of local papers is now competing with the likes of auto.com or even generalized online shopping sites like craigslist.org. eBay actually bridged the gap between it’s general site and the specific needs of the auto industry 10 years ago with it’s eBay Motors.

Many dealerships are putting their entire inventory online and then using social media simply as a tool to draw shoppers there. Social media excels at building and reinforcing brand identity and loyalty so it’s a good chance for dealerships to try to overcome the bad reputation often associated with that class of business.

Selling on Social Media

Selling on Facebook is not the first port of call for something as important as a car. As with selling any product or service on Facebook it helps to grow your potential market, it also makes answering potential questions from your clients a breeze. As a bonus, your communication will automatically be cell phone friendly.

Advertising on Facebook is easy and so far very affordable compared to other forms of marketing. Facebook even has a special person who can list your cars for you, although this is probably not available to the non-dealership seller. Although Facebook is connected in a business sense to Instagram there is as yet no specific way to use Instagram for your dealership. Maybe this will change in future years?

There are many warnings about scams on Facebook, not unlike most marketplaces these days. The general advice is to pay cash for every transaction and never go to a place alone, especially if you believe yourself to be particularly vulnerable. Tell someone where you’re going in any case. Never pay for a car you have not seen.

 

Facebook and Cars (not selling)

Other people may use Facebook just to post blogs rather than sell cars, such as Auto.com. There are pages for specific types of car where you might choose to chat about what is good and what is bad about your specific vehicle. The most popular in terms of likes is both Mercedes Benz and BMW with 20 million likes.

This savvy use of Facebook builds goodwill with potential customers and creates that community effect. Essentially, they leverage Facebook for what it’s good at and keep their sales to themselves.

For those who aren’t car sellers, we can still use Facebook to look at other car related items. A search for “satnav” for example will bring up satnavs being sold in Facebook Marketplace, threads about satnavs from your history and articles posted about satnavs on Facebook.

If you go the Facebook Groups category you can find hundreds of satnav related groups you might like to join up to. As with anything, the more you put into Facebook the more it is possible to get out of it. Alternatively, you might like to look up Facebook Videos to see satnavs in use, though it seems rather similar to YouTube.

Looking for something like kit cars might be more troublesome, as you obtain details for how to make toy cars from kits, emergency car kits, Bluetooth kits for cars and so on. “Kit car” works better and make works better still, say something like “Lomax kit car.” As with anything you need to experiment in order to get the best result.

This has just been a short introduction; there should be a number of features you can take advantage of on Facebook for your car buying and car selling needs. It’s an active market and there is plenty of useful stuff out there.

What’s News: bigger is safer

A new study suggests bigger is better when it comes to car safety.

Online automotive marketplace and research outfit iseecars.com took fatal accident reports from NHTSA covering 2013 to 2017 models and combined them with information from its used car sales database to come up with a ranked list of vehicles with the most occupant fatalities per billion miles driven.

At the top is the Mitsubishi Mirage at 10.8, followed by the Chevrolet Corvette (9.8), Honda Fit (7.7), Kia Forte (7.4) and Chevrolet Spark (7.2), with the average for all vehicles at 2.6. A total of 14 models had fatality rates that were double the average or more, using the iseecars.com methodology, and all of them are either small cars or sports cars.

The subcompact Mirage is one of the most inexpensive vehicles on sale today, with a starting price of $14,945. It was rated Poor on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s driver’s side small overlap crash test in 2014, but that was improved to Marginal in 2017 with engineering updates aimed at addressing the deficiency.

Original story