Are racing car drivers an endangered species? If so, then Roborace could be the beginning of the end. Slated to kick off next year, this new racing championship will pit driverless electric cars against each other in a round-the-world series. The aim is to provide a competitive platform for the autonomous driving technology that is being developed by automotive and tech firms, as well as universities.
Roborace is being developed in a partnership between the electric racing series Formula E, which is currently in its second season, and investment firm Kinetik. It will form part of the support package for the Formula E Championship, with races taking place at the same circuits prior to each Formula E race.
Ten teams will compete in the Roborace championship, each with two driverless cars. The running of one team will be crowdsourced by a community of software and technology enthusiasts, and experts from around the world. All the teams will use the same car , but will be able to alter its software to gain a competitive advantage over the course of
Fall presents ideal time for car service and maintenance
As the holidays approach, motorists should make certain their vehicle is up to the rigors of winter travel. Autumn has traditionally been a busy time for carcare activities. Whether you do your own maintenance or depend on the pros, fall service let’s you undo the wear and tear of summer’s tough conditions while getting ready for colder weather ahead.
The following tips from the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) should give you a road map to fall car care. According to officials at ASE, “Cold weather will only make existing problems worse. A breakdown, while never pleasant, can be deadly in the winter.”
First things first
Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters air, fuel, PCV, etc.
Put a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note, too, that a gas tank that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming.
Change your oil and
What do you do if you’re driving down the motorway and 500 meters ahead of you there is an accident? Now there is an app that tells your car to stop. It does it in half the time of any of the applications, and in contrast to the systems already available on the market, not only does it act on what can be seen from your car but also on what is happening miles away.
According to the researchers from the University of Bologna (Italy) who designed the app, this automatic accident detection system could reduce the number of vehicles involved in pile-ups by up to 40 percent. For now, at least, that’s what it does on paper and in computer simulations, as is described in an article published in the scientific journal Computer Networks.
Road tests will be carried out this summer, on the streets and highways of Los Angeles, around the campus of the University of California. Here, together with engineers from Toyota, other scientists are also working on the system hardware. And it is not by chance that this project has aroused such interest in the shade of the palm trees along Sunset Boulevard. There is much more than
The Volkswagen Group has been in a lot of hot water since the “dieselgate” scandal began. When it came to light that VW had been using a “defeat device” on its diesel vehicles to circumvent official emission testing procedures, the company quickly admitted to its wrongdoing and has been working to comply with regulators and find a fix. In Europe, that fix may be very simple. This week, the German authorities accepted the small technical change and software upgrade proposed by VW.
The software defeat device that the Volkswagen Group (which includes VW, Porsche, Audi, and others) used to cheat regulations was implemented on several of the company’s diesel vehicles globally. In Europe, two of the engines under investigation are a 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter diesel labeled EA 189. These utilized engine software that detected when the vehicle was being compliance tested and changed the output metrics in order to win approval. Thus the recorded nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were compliant despite being much higher than allowed during normal use.
Volkswagen has proposed a simple engine change and a software fix that would force the two EA 189 engines to be compliant with European emissions regulations. The proposal has secured the approval of
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be an ASE-certified automotive technician, consider this: In the span of one career, automotive engine technology alone has advanced from purely mechanical devices that need periodic adjustments to sophisticated, computer-controlled systems that can actually compensate for normal wear.
The same can be said for virtually every major system on today’s vehicles, from brakes to transmissions. And the technicians who service and maintain our vehicle fleet have had to learn it all. In fact, to be an ASE-certified automotive technician today is to commit to a lifetime of training just to keep abreast of changing technology.
Maintenance more necessary than ever before
Modern vehicles are wonders of engineering. In just the past decade, maintenance intervals for things like spark plugs, emissions and cooling systems have been stretched out to 100,000 miles in some vehicles.
But the need for periodic maintenance hasn’t changed. In fact, given the longer life expectancy of today’s vehicles, the need for periodic maintenance has never been greater if you expect to get the most from what has become the second biggest investment most individuals will ever make.
To protect this investment and to get the maximum reliability and safety from the vehicle you
There are more vehicles on U.S. roads than ever before. With an estimated 240.5 million cars and light trucks crowding our roads as of 2011, your safety and that of others is at risk when your vehicle isn’t stopping and steering at its best. Reducing your vehicle’s stopping distance by just an inch or so could make the difference between a minor scare and a major fender bender.
Crowded roads aren’t the only concern. The roads themselves are often in a sorry state of repair. Portions of our highway system (including many bridges) haven’t seen much in the way of maintenance or repair since they were built.
In cold climates, the freeze/thaw cycle enlarges cracks and holes in the pavement. In sunnier spots, the heat, heavy cargo hauling and years of neglect take their own toll on roads. The result can be a moonscape of potholes that can affect the handling of your vehicle. Bad roads can cause suspension components, so vital to steering control and handling, to grow old before their time.
But you don’t have to be an automotive expert to keep your vehicle’s stopping and steering systems safe. An ASE-certified brake service technician is trained to diagnose problems and identify
Finding a competent auto technician need not be a matter of chance. Much of the guesswork has been eliminated, thanks to the national program conducted by the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With more than 300,000 currently certified professionals, the ASE program is national in scope and has industry-wide acceptance and recognition. ASE-certified technicians and parts specialists can be found at every type of repair facility, from dealerships, service stations, and franchises to parts stores, independent garages, and even municipal fleets.
Certification Benefits Motorists
ASE certifies the technical competence of individual technicians, not repair facilities. Before taking ASE certification tests, many technicians attend training classes or study on their own in order to brush up on their knowledge. By passing difficult, national tests, ASE certified technicians prove their technical competence to themselves, to their employers, and to their customers. What’s more, because the ASE program is primarily voluntary, ASE certification becomes a self-selecting credential that weeds out the incompetent. And while ASE does not certify repair shops or police individual business practices, it stands to reason that those shop owners and managers who
The future is closer than you think. Manufacturers are offering “clean and green” vehicles today. Motorists can now purchase a variety of “super low-emission vehicles,” known as SULEVs – from dealers around the country. SULEV gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles from Toyota and Honda are selling briskly, and many more offerings are coming. Alternate-fueled vehicles – those that run on natural gas, propane, ethanol or methanol – are also considered clean vehicles and are commercially viable. These alternate fuel vehicles, or AFVs, may be more suitable for car, truck and bus fleets where centralized refueling is available, but they’re definitely low on emissions and offer real maintenance and fuel savings.
For purists, ZEVs, or zero-emission vehicles, are available on a limited basis (mainly in California or in the South). Typically they are battery-electric powered. Some individuals are using EVs as commuter cars or neighborhood vehicles, but most battery-electric vehicles are used for stop-and- go mail and courier delivery, meter enforcement, etc. They’re also found in gated communities, on campuses, at zoos, parks, etc. These vehicles are typically charged overnight or recharged between trips; they offer considerable fuel and maintenance savings along with zero on-road emissions. But because of their limited range, EVs
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the non-profit organization that tests and certifies the competence of individual automotive repair technicians, knows a thing or two about selecting a vehicle repair facility.
Whether you are new in town or you are just looking for a new shop, the experts at ASE offer some guidelines to help take some of the anxiety out of your search:
- Look for a repair facility before you need one; you can make better decisions when you are not rushed.
- Ask friends, co-workers and associates for recommendations.
- Consult local consumer organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and chambers of commerce, about the reputation of the shop. Inquire about the number, nature and resolution of complaints.
- Search online for business reviews and visit the shop’s Facebook page if one is available. You can learn a lot about a business and its team by reading social media.
- Look for a tidy, well-organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays. You likely won’t find hospital-clean conditions, but consider whether the facility’s image and level of professionalism meet your needs.
- Don’t make your selection based solely on location convenience.
- Determine if the
Springtime Auto Tips
Spring is one of the prime times for auto maintenance. That first wash-n-wax on a warm Saturday afternoon is liberating. Winter’s gloom (to say nothing of grit and road salt) is literally washed away. Take out the snow shovel, the gloves, and heavy boots and store them ’til next season. Surely summer can’t be far away.
Some preparation now will help ensure that your summer driving plans go as smoothly as you envision then now. ASE offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready for summer.
- Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.
- Have hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc. corrected before hot weather sets in.
- Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically.
- If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for repair facilities that employ ASE-certified automotive technicians.
- The tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a qualified auto technician.
- Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced by a qualified technician to reduce the likelihood of more costly repairs.
- Change the oil and oil filter as specified in owner’s manual. (Properly dispose of used oil.)
- Replace other filters (air,
Preventative maintenance now can help ensure worry-free driving this winter
The vacations are over, the kids are back in school and cooler evenings have begun. Take advantage of the lull to prepare your vehicle for the winter ahead, advise the pros and the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Breakdowns, never convenient, can be dangerous in cold weather period.
The following tips from ASE should give parent and student alike a road map to fall car care.
First things first
Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules. There are usually two schedules listed: normal and severe.
Have engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather will make existing problems worse. Replace dirty filtersair, fuel, PCV, etc.
Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note, too, that a gas tank that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming in the first place.
Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles or so) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.
The cooling system
Ten Tips for SUV Owners
It’s a rare motorist who doesn’t have strong feelings about today’s sport utility vehicles. Love ’em or hate ’em, one thing is certain-just like their automobile cousins, SUVs last longer, operate more efficiently, and command a higher resale value when they are properly maintained and serviced.
For those too busy or too overwhelmed by modern vehicles to perform their own maintenance, the pros at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer some advice on choosing a repair establishment:
- Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
- Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.
- Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
- Look for a neat, well organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
- Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions.
- Look for posted policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
- Ask if the repair facility usually handles your type of repair work.
- Start off with a minor job and progress to more complex work if you are
Gas-Saving Tips for Your Auto
While it is always wise to conserve natural resources, the recent price of gasoline has made even the most wasteful people think twice. Whatever your motivation, here are some gas saving tips from the pros at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
Monitor tires. Under inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels waste fuel by forcing the engine to work harder. (Let the tires cool down before checking the air pressure.) Out-of-line wheels, as evidenced by uneven tread wear, should be aligned by a professional.
Remove excess weight. Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle. Store only essentials in the trunk. Less weight means better mileage.
Consolidate trips and errands. Some trips may be unnecessary. Also, try to travel when traffic is light so you can avoid stop-and-go conditions.
Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family.
Observe speed limits. Speeding decreases your miles per gallon.
Drive gently. Sudden accelerations guzzle gas. Anticipate traffic patterns ahead and adjust your speed gradually.
Use windows and air conditioning wisely. Your mileage should improve if you keep the windows closed at highway speeds, since air drag is reduced. This is true even with the air conditioning on-assuming that the system
It’s Easy Being “Green”
Motorists can do their part to help the environment by practicing a few ‘earth-friendly’ car care habits, note the experts at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). It all comes down to timely vehicle maintenance and non-aggressive driving.
Here are specific suggestions from ASE:
- Slow down. Speeding and hard accelerations waste gasoline. Use cruise-control on highways to maintain a steady pace. When waiting for friends or family, shut off the engine. Consolidate daily errands.
- Lighten up. Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle to reduce weight.
- Don’t pollute. Dispose of used motor oil, antifreeze/coolant, and old batteries properly. Some repair facilities accept these items. Or call your local government. Keep the engine running at its peak-a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Replace filters and fluids as recommended by the owner’s manual.
- Get pumped. Keep the tires properly inflated and aligned. Under-inflated tires waste fuel by forcing the vehicle’s engine to work harder. Moreover, properly maintained tires last longer, saving you money and lessening the burden at landfills.
- Know your limitations. If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, find a good technician. Ask friends for recommendations. Check the reputation of the repair shop with your local consumer
Car owners know they should keep their vehicles in good operating condition, but often they do not know where to turn for dependable service or what to look for in a repair shop.
Some choose a repair shop based solely on its convenient location or an advertised special. Not the best move, according to officials with the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, also known as ASE. “Look for the ASE sign,” says Tony Molla, vice president of communications at ASE. “It indicates the repair shop employs one or more ASE-certified technicians.” Molla emphasizes that finding a competent auto technician need not be a matter of chance. Much of the guesswork has been eliminated, thanks to a national program conducted by ASE: “Qualified technicians are the backbone of any repair establishment,” he adds.
ASE tests and certifies automotive professionals in all major technical areas of repair and service. With more than 300,000 currently certified professionals, the ASE program is national in scope and has industry-wide acceptance and recognition. ASE-certified technicians and parts specialists can be found at every type of repair facility, from dealerships, service stations, and franchises to parts stores, independent garages, and even municipal fleet yards.
Certification Benefits Motorists
Technician certification organization ASE surveys show a well-maintained vehicle not only lasts longer, it retains more of its resale value.
With a sluggish economic recovery and today’s consumers watching their finances carefully, it’s no surprise that the average age of vehicles in the United States is more than 11 years old, according to automotive research firm R.L. Polk and Co. With motorists holding on to their vehicles longer than ever before, maintenance takes an even greater importance in keeping roads — and people — safe.
The cost of neglect
“It’s tempting to avoid car maintenance in tough economic times, but that’s not a financially sound method to manage the big investment you’ve made in your vehicle,” notes Tony Molla, vice president of communications for the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). “Surveys of our certified technicians show that a well-maintained vehicle lasts longer, retains more of its resale value, pollutes less, and gets better mileage than one that’s been neglected — to say nothing of being safer to operate.”
According to the pros at ASE, neglect causes components to wear out faster than they would otherwise (poorly aligned tires, for example) and can result in minor problems growing into more expensive