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You Can Add In A Stereo, Change The Tires And Now Modify Your Cars Software

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – What better way to make sure your car drives like you want it too than to change the software of the car.

Car owners and computer security researchers can modify automobile software without incurring some U.S. copyright liability, according to new guidelines issued this month that had been opposed by the auto industry.

The Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, agreed with fair use advocates who argued that vehicle owners are entitled to modify their cars, which often involves altering software.

Automakers including General Motors, and other companies such as John Deere, opposed the rules. They said vehicle owners could visit authorized repair shops for changes they may need to undertake.

However, U.S. copyright officials decided that altering computer programs for vehicle repair or modification may not infringe a manufacturer’s software copyright.

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New Automotive Technologies Opens Window Of Opportunity For Samsung

SEOUL – Who could have foreseen a future where we can answer a call by driving, with one single command or play your favorite song because you asked the car to? Electronics and technology is changing rapidly when it involves car, which is why the tech companies want to enter now.

Samsung Electronics and group companies are making a belated push into the business of supplying technology to carmakers, while rivals are already lining up lucrative deals with an industry that is notoriously difficult to enter.

Data compiled by Thomson Reuters IP & Science shows the world’s top smartphone maker and other Samsung Group tech affiliates are ramping up r&d for auto technology, with two-thirds of their combined 1,804 U.S. patent filings related to electric vehicles and electric components for cars coming since 2010.

The analysis did not include filings made after 2013 due to a lag between filing and publication.

They haven’t yet landed significant business, and Samsung Group declined to comment on strategy, but the lure is obvious.

Automakers already incorporate or are developing technologies to enhance safety and provide better smartphone connectivity and entertainment systems, creating an opening for tech companies to break into a market for software, services and components that is worth around $500 billion, ABI Research analyst Dominique Bonte said.

“There are two trends: the car becomes a connected software device, and the entire mobile and ICT ecosystem is getting very interested in playing a part in that evolution,” Bonte said.

That is particularly welcome as demand for smartphones, TVs and computers slows, but Samsung is arriving late at a party where some of the best partners are already taken.

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A Non Gas Future Is Closer Thanks To Toyota

DETROIT — Every car company is striving towards a completely electric vehicle where we will not need any more gas to power it. Toyota has moved this dream one step closer to reality due to their action plan.

Toyota said that it intends to cut the average emissions from its vehicles by 90% from 2010 to 2050. That means conventional gasoline-only vehicles will be a small minority of its products as hybrids and fuel cells will become mainstream powertrains.

“You may think 35 years is a long time,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise told reporters in Tokyo. “But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary.”

Separately, a non-partisan group seeking to reduce America’s dependence on oil formed an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force to promote battery-based self-driving vehicles and clear the regulatory path to their deployment.

Both events come in the wake of Volkswagen’s scandal over the use of a “defeat device” to fraudulently meet emission standards on its diesel engines. They also come before next month’s United National Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Low gas prices in the U.S. have causes sales of gasoline-electric hybrids to fall 17% this year through September, but the U.S. has committed to cut its 2005 greenhouse gas emissions up to 28% by 2023. China has pledged to nearly double the portion of its energy mix generated from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

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Tempers Sore When It Comes To Finding Plugs For Their Electric Cars In California

SAN FRANCISCO — There is hope that some day will be a completely electric vehicle that runs without needing any gas, but to do so there needs to be more places to charge them.

Of all the states, California has set the most ambitious targets for cutting emissions in coming decades, and an there

Important pillar of its plan to reach those goals is encouraging the spread of electric vehicles.

But the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner.

The bad moods stem from the challenges drivers face finding recharging spots for their battery-powered cars. Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition. Electric owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots. The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafes and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars — will their owners have enough juice to make it home? — and manners often go out the window.

In the moments after Don Han plugged in his Nissan Leaf at a public charging station near his Silicon Valley office one day this summer, he noticed another Leaf pull up as he was walking away. The driver got out and pulled the charger out of Mr. Han’s car and started to plug it into his own. Mr. Han stormed back.

“I said, ‘Hey, buddy, what do you think you’re doing?’ And he said, ‘Well, your car is done charging,’ ” Mr. Han recalled. He told him that was not the case, put the charger back in his own car and left “after saying a couple of curse words, of course.”

Such incidents are not uncommon, according to interviews with drivers and electric vehicle advocates, as well as posts from people sharing frustrations on social media. Tensions over getting a spot are “growing and growing,” said Maureen Blanc, the director of Charge Across Town, a San Francisco nonprofit that works to spread the adoption of electric vehicles. She owns an electric BMW and recently had a testy run-in over a charging station with a Tesla driver.

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Merger Between Popular Car Companies Possibly On The Horizon

With the race to perfect new types of cars heating up more everyday with the dream of autonomous driving and a fully connected vehicle, it is no wonder that rival companies may start to work together to get ahead of other companies.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (FCHA.MI) boss Sergio Marchionne said on Sunday that seeking a tie-up with General Motors (GM.N) was a “high priority” and such a deal would also be the best strategic option for its U.S. rival.

GM’s board rebuffed a merger proposal from the Italian-American carmaker earlier this year. That has not stopped Marchionne from wooing his bigger competitor as he seeks to reduce the number of players in the industry and share the prohibitive costs of building greener and more intelligent cars.

“That discussion remains a high priority for FCA,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the Formula One Italian Grand Prix in Monza, northern Italy.

He did not want to discuss the next steps FCA might take or their timing, but said a merger with GM would “be the best possible strategic alternative for us and for them. General Motors does remain the ideal partner for us and we represent a not easily replaceable alternative for them.”

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  8 New Ways To Take Your Road Trip Up A Gear

 

When packing your car to head out on a family road trip, do you have everything that is needed, or are you missing some key new items to make it even better. You’ve got your phone with its battery at 100 percent. You’ve got great playlists to get you down the road. You’ve even got a proper emergency kit full of essential tools in case of trouble on the road. Now all you need is something that will make it easy to sift through your music, mount your phone at eye level, and keep you from getting that speeding ticket.

iBolt Command Remote ($35)

Call it the magic button for your car. This Bluetooth button adheres to your dashboard using an adhesive strip, then syncs over Bluetooth to your phone. You use it to issue voice commands to your phone, such as skipping a music track or asking Siri for directions, so that you don’t have to take your eyes or hands off the wheel while you drive.

Cobra DSP 9200 BT Radar Detector ($400)

The price tag on this small windshield-mounted adapter might seem high if your only goal is to avoid speed traps; other radar detectors come a lot cheaper. But Cobra has packed in handy extra features here. Once it’s installed and synced to the Cobra iRadar app on your phone, the detector scans for lasers, radars, and cameras, and notifies you by voice prompts as you drive. Other users can flag caution areas. The app also lets you control your music, get directions, and locate your car.

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Do You Use Every Safety Feature?

While automakers are spending billions of dollars loading up their vehicles with technologies of all kinds, many owners are not using them and would rather use their smartphones instead, according to the first-ever J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report.

The market research firm found that at least 20 percent of new vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features that DrIVE measured. For the consumer, this means they are paying for something they are not using, said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.

The report looked at driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership and was based on responses from more than 4,200 owners and lessees of 2015-model-year vehicles.

Features that owners did not use

43 percent—In-vehicle concierge feature such as OnStar.
38 percent—Mobile connectivity, such as a factory installed Wi-Fi hot spot.
35 percent—Automatic parking system, which aids in either parallel or perpendicular parking with limited interaction by the driver.
33 percent—Head-up display.
32 percent—Built-in apps such as Pandora.

“Tired and impatient, car buyers just want to get out of the dealership, often without becoming fully oriented with all of their new car’s features,” says Tom Mutchler, Consumer Reports’ automotive human factors engineer. “But many high-tech features aren’t immediately obvious or intuitive, especially when trying to decipher their use for the first time when driving.”

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4 Differences About Tesla That Makes It So Successful

Tesla constantly reinvents the idea of how a car company should be through these 4 tactics.

Tesla Motors ranks No. 1 on FORBES’ new list of the world’s most innovative companies.  And, the differences between Tesla and a Detroit carmaker, or one from the rest of the world for that matter, are easy to spot.

Reading through this story accompanying the list, by Jeff Dyer, a professor at Brigham Young University’s MarriottSchool of Business, Hal Gregersen the executive director of the MIT Leadership Center and Nathan Furr, an assistant professor at INSEAD, I spotted four ways Tesla differs from its automotive competition.

1) It constantly tears up its assembly line. To me, the experts buried the lede, as we say in the journalism world. Deep down in their story, the authors write, “Most automakers lay out their shop floor once to minimize costs and plan model lines that will remain unchanged for several years. Tesla’s production engineers are continually changing the layout of the factory to learn as much as possible.”

That’s something no mass market car company can afford to do. But according to the writers, Tesla learned the benefits of staying nimble early on, with its first car, the Roadster. It tried to establish a global supply chain similar to that of a typical car company, but Tesla wasn’t ready for that setup, and having manufacturing spread out over the world led to massive coordination problems.

That said, Tesla is starting to standardize is production practices as it adds capacity for the Model S sedan and the upcoming Model X. The manufacturing world will be scrutinizing what happens with Tesla stops making constant changes and settles on a production system.

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Best vehicles for families

Every family is different and has different needs when it comes to their vehicles. If you and yours are the outdoorsy types, an SUV may be the best way to go. Urbanites might benefit from a minivan or sedan. Those in between, well, that’s what crossover SUVs are for. The good news is that the days when station wagons were the only choice for families are long gone. The market has responded to these different circumstances with a plethora of shapes and styles to suit virtually any need. Of course, determining the best of these choices is what we do, so we gathered together 23 of the latest and greatest different vehicles from a variety of manufacturers to determine which made the cut. We started with last year’s finalists, and culled those that were either due for imminent replacement, or which had been clearly surpassed by newer vehicles in the segment. To that, we added new vehicles that had come out since last year — including a couple of redesigns — voted on candidates, narrowed the field, carried the one, and ultimately landed on the vehicles you see here.

The final field included three minivans, four compact SUVs, four midsize SUVs, two full-size SUVs, two full-size sedans, and three midsize sedans, the kinds of vehicles that usually come to mind when thinking about family cars. However, this year we also included cars from other categories. First were two full-size pickup trucks, unconventional choices to be sure, but roomy, comfortable, and with seemingly endless cargo space, they were definitely worthy of consideration. On the other end of the spectrum were three compact cars, often the first choice of anybody on a budget.

It came as no surprise that two minivans — the 2015 Honda Odyssey and the 2015 Toyota Sienna — made the family car final cut. The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder and new 2015 Toyota Highlander midsize SUVs also appear on our list of finalists. The Honda CR-V was joined by the new Subaru Outback on our list of small SUVs, and all three midsize sedan candidates — the 2015 Honda Accord, 2015 Hyundai Sonata, and 2015 Toyota Camry — made the cut. The 2015 Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan makes its second appearance, too. In the realm of small cars, both the 2015 Honda Civic and surprisingly flexible 2015 Kia Soul won out. On the other end of the size spectrum, both the 2015 Ram 1500 and new 2015 Ford F-150 full-size trucks we tested were deemed worthy of family duty. Finally, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe made the list.

Read more here.

Car buying tips from a former car salesperson

Everyone has their own car buying tips and tricks but they’re not all credible. A former car salesman of 12 years shares his top tips for buying your next car based on his experience and expertise.

1. If you’re in no rush to buy a car, the end of a model year is a great time to get a deal. Determining when this is for a particular car can be difficult, but if a dealer has two years of a new vehicle on its lot (say, 2014s and 2015s), chances are the older ones are going to be priced to move. The last week of the year is another good time to buy. You’ll find lots of specials and manufacturer incentives at both times of year.

2. If you’re looking to get information on a car or talk about a deal, but you aren’t quite ready to buy, a weekday afternoon is a great time to go visit a dealership. You’ll get more personal attention than you would on a busy weekend.

3. Don’t be afraid to listen to dealership suggestions. I’m not talking about bait and switch, but salespeople offering really good alternatives. When I sold cars, it was common for people to come looking for a particular model because of its low sticker price, but then drive out with a nicer car at the same or a lower price, thanks to the special programs and incentives that they didn’t know existed.

4. If you’ve already picked out a car from a dealership’s online inventory and worked out a price, do as much of the deal paperwork you can get over the phone. In many cases, you can be in and out of a dealership in less than an hour if you started the deal-making process online and over the phone. Why sit around in a showroom if you can avoid it?

5. Test-drives are still an important part of car buying. Bring along the people who will regularly ride in the car with you, if possible. Have them try all the seats. It’s better to learn that your teenage son doesn’t fit in the backseat before you buy the car, not after.

6. When you’re trying to negotiate a lower sales price, give the dealership a reason to discount the price. If you’ll use the service department, say so. If you’ll refer friends, be sure to say that, too. If you’re likely to give a perfect survey or buy a future car from them, share that with the dealership, too.

Read more here.

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