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Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

PostHeaderIcon This is Why Volvo Is Famous For Its Safety

If you have a weak stomach, you might want to take a deep breath first before proceeding. The video you’re about to see is pretty brutal, not because of something that happened, but because of something that could have happened had it not been for a driver’s alertness and an automaker’s state-of-the-art technology. In so many words, a distracted child crossed a street without looking, only to find himself in the crosshairs of an oncoming Volvo semi-truck. The scene was playing out like a house of horrors, until salvation stepped in in the form of Volvo’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system.

In a split second before what would’ve been a nightmarish collision, the truck driver managed to slam the brakes hard enough to trigger the AEB system, sending the truck screeching to a dramatic halt. The intensive braking was strong enough to create g-forces that literally pushed the nose of the truck forward with the lower end of the front bumper barely scraping the road. Fortunately, the erring child had enough wits about himself to also run away from the truck, preventing what would’ve otherwise been a heartbreaking end to the young boy’s life.

There really is something to be said for all the advancements in automotive technology to see it work in front of your eyes. I personally don’t know if the driver or the AEB system deserves a bigger share of the credit, but I’ll settle for equal-billing. Let it be said though that Volvo’s new braking system played a huge role in saving a young boy’s life. More than any award or positive review, seeing it function the way it’s supposed to be in a literal time of distress is the ultimate vindication for an automaker’s constant pursuit of advanced safety technologies.

References



Read more Volvo news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing

The Ford F-150’s skin might be made from recycled beer cans, but the full-size pickup scored very well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s barrage of testing. Since it debuted in 2015, the current F-150 has scored a “Good” in all crash tests. But, things aren’t all rainbows and butterflies for the half-ton pickup. The 2018 F-150 is too short-sighted to earn the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+. The reason: it can’t see well in the dark.

The IIHS rates the F-150’s headlights as “Poor” in all five of its tests.

Both the base halogen headlights in the lower-trimmed F-150 and the LED headlights in the more expensive models scored a “Poor” in visibility testing. The halogen lights’ low and high beams fall short in straightaway visibility on the left and right sides of the road. The low beams only give 149 feet of visibility on the right, and 89 feet on the left and the high beams only shine 412 feet and 317, respectively. In curves, the headlights perform even worse, providing an average of only 102 feet of visibility with the low beams and 148 feet with the high beams in the four different curve tests done by the IIHS.

Jumping up to the LED headlights don’t help the situation, though they perform a tab bit better. The low beams shine 323 feet on the right and 168 feet on the left, while the high beams shine 544 feet on the right and 428 feet on the left. In turns, the LED low beams illuminate an average of 135 feet ahead, and the high beams shine an average of 163 feet ahead. The unfortunate trade-off for the better performance is excessive glare for oncoming traffic with the low beams. They exceed the IIHS’ glare threshold between 94.8 and 187.9 percent. That’s not good.

There’s more to this story below.

Safety Ratings Are Big For Customers


The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing - image 740101

It’s odd why Ford didn’t do any better. The IIHS has been testing headlights since 2016, and the F-150’s new-for-2018 front-end styling should have accounted for the evaluation. Of course, Ford isn’t the only automaker scoring low on this new test, but Ford certainly had the chance to make it right with the F-150’s 2018 refresh.

Sadly, the headlights have cost the 2018 F-150 the IIHS’ coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. The F-150 would have earned this rating for 2018 thanks to its new Front Crash Prevention technology. The optional Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go scored a “Superior” in the IIHS’ testing. The truck automatically and completely avoided rear-end crashes at 12 mph and 25 mph.

Still, the 2018 Ford F-150 earns the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award, which is one level down from the Top Safety Pick+ award. And, aside from the headlights, the only other test criteria that didn’t meet a perfect score of “Good” was the ease-of-use of the rear-seat LATCH system, which earned a “Marginal.”

Headlights


The 2018 F-150 Earns Big With IIHS Safety Ratings – Except For One Thing - image 740111
Trim level(s) XL trim
XLT trim
Lariat trim
Low-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
High-beam headlight type Halogen reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? No
Overall rating P
Trim level(s) Lariat trim equipped with 502A package
Raptor trim equipped with Raptor Technology package
King Ranch trim
Platinum trim
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? Yes
Overall rating P
Trim level(s) Raptor trim
Low-beam headlight type LED reflector
High-beam headlight type LED reflector
Curve-adaptive? No
Automatically switches between low beams and high beams (high-beam assist)? No
Overall rating P

2015 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Small Overlap Crash Test

2015 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Side Impact Crash Test

References

Ford F-150


2018 Ford F-150 - image 700449

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150.

Ford F-Series


2017 Ford Super Duty - image 648458

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Super Duty.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Says 2011-2017 Explorers Are Safe, But Will Fix Them Anyway

The Ford Explorer recently made headlines due to exhaust fumes entering the cabin and making people nauseous. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received more than 2,400 reports on the issue, with at least 41 citing injuries and three reporting crashes due to the ill effects of the carbon monoxide fumes on the 2011 through 2017 Explorer. However, investigations by the NHTSA and Ford turned up no significant changes in CO levels in the cabin. Well, except for Police Interceptor models. Ford says the issue stems from aftermarket up-fit companies leaving unsealed holes from the installation of police equipment. Still, Ford says it will fix any of the 1.3 million affected Explorers at the owner’s request, despite Ford calling the vehicles safe.

Ford’s voluntary service is free to Explorer owners regardless of the warranty status or vehicle mileage. The fix includes reprogramming the air conditioner, replacing the liftgate drain valves, and inspecting the sealing of the rear of the vehicle. Ford dealerships will begin offering this service starting November 1, 2017, and will continue through December 31, 2018. Of the Explorers built in that 2011 through 2017 timeframe, roughly 1.3 million are in the U.S., 84,000 are in Canada, and 24,000 are in Mexico.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

It’s interesting that Ford is offering to inspect and replace parts on these 2011 through 2017 Explorers despite it claiming the vehicles are safe. Perhaps Ford is taking the high road and catering to its customers’ feelings of security and safety.
Or, Ford could know there is an issue and is trying to downplay the situation. Who knows? Speculation aside, it certainly is a sign of good faith for Ford to voluntarily inspect and replace items on every 2011 through 2017 Explorer in North America.

What do you think? Is Ford trying to scoot by or is the automaker making an honest attempt at consoling its customers’ fears of carbon monoxide poisoning? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Ford Explorer


2016 Ford Explorer - image 578432

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Explorer.


2017 Ford Explorer – Driven - image 728384

Read our full driven review on the 2017 Ford Explorer.

PostHeaderIcon See How The 2018 Range Rover Velar Withstands Crash Testing

The new 2018 Range Rover Velar recently went headlong into Euro NCAP’s crash test barriers and emerged a five-star winner. The new SUV not only earned a perfect overall score but managed an impressive 93 percent in adult protection and 85 percent in rear-seat child protection. Even those outside the Velar are well-protected thanks to its active braking system that detects both vehicles and pedestrians. Between the active brakes and the Velar’s front end design, Euro NCAP awarded it a 74 percent in pedestrian protection.

Compared to the current benchmark, the Volvo XC90, the Range Rover Velar does very well, only falling short a few percentage points in both adult and child protection. Impressively, the Velar outscores the XC90 in pedestrian protection by two percentage points. When the then-new 2015 XC90 was evaluated by NCAP, it scored a 97, 87, and 72 percent in the adult, child, and pedestrian protection categories. What’s more impressive, Alfa Romeo’s new SUV, the 2017 Stelvio, scored right up there with the Volvo, getting a 97, 84, and 71 percent in each respective category. So, the Range Rover Velar might not be the absolute best-ranked SUV by the Euro NCAP, but it certainly does a bang-up job in protecting its passengers.

Of course, the NCAP tests also include evaluating active safety assist features and how well they help avoid an accident altogether. Keep reading for those results.

Continue reading for more information.

Active Safety To The Rescue

The 2018 Range Rover Velar’s standard Autonomous Emergency Braking system scored a 72 percent in preventing a front-end collision. The system works by giving the driver an audible and visual warning when a crash is about to happen, and in most scenarios, will begin to slow the vehicle down. In many situations, the Velar will bring itself to a complete stop without the driver’s input.

“The 2018 Range Rover Velar’s standard Autonomous Emergency Braking system scored a 72 percent in preventing a front-end collision”

The video above shows the Velar coming to a complete stop from 40 kph (25 mph) when it approaches a stationary car. The same test at 60 kph (37 mph) brought the same results of a completely avoided collision. The AEB system also brakes for and avoids run-ins with pedestrians. The system automatically stops the Velar and avoids a pedestrian from 40 kph. From 50 kph (31 mph), the Velar did strike the pedestrian, but its AEB system lowered vehicle speed to only 20 kph (12 mph). Splitting the difference, the Velar’s AEB system completely avoided the pedestrian from 45 kph (28 mph).


See How The 2018 Range Rover Velar Withstands Crash Testing - image 738181

See How The 2018 Range Rover Velar Withstands Crash Testing - image 738189
“The system automatically stops the Velar and avoids a pedestrian from 40 kph”

By comparison, the 2018 Alfa Romero Stelvio scored a 60-percent in the safety assist category though it avoided every crash. It lost points since it doesn’t offer a driver-selectable speed limiter or warning system – something the Velar comes standard with. The 2015 Volvo XC90 takes the cake, however, scoring a perfect 100 percent in the NCAP’s safety assist testing.

References

Range Rover Velar


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Velar - image 707469

Read our full review on the 2018 Range Rover Velar.

Land Rover Range Rover


2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e - image 737721

Read our full review on the 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e.

PostHeaderIcon 5 Ways iPhone’s Face ID will Change the Way we Drive

If you went back to 1984 when Apple released the very first Macintosh computer and told Steve Jobs that Apple’s creation would eventually lead to us carrying around hand-held computers with excessive amounts of computing power called the iPhone, he probably would have laughed in your face and kicked you in the nuts. Yet, on June 29, 2007, the very first iPhone was released, and the inevitable battle between Android and IOS was officially in the works. Aside from getting thinner and more powerful, the iPhone really hasn’t changed that much. Things got shook up not that long ago when the 3.5mm headphone jack was done with, but outside of computing power, battery life, the sheer size and weight, it’s pretty much the same. With the introduction of the iPhone X, however, we get a new feature known as Face ID and, while it’s received some criticism so far, it seems to be finding more favorability over time.

With distracted driving and just playing on your phone while in the car becoming an increasingly annoying and dangerous issue from which there is no escape, it’s time we find a way to combat it from the base level. As such, the TopSpeed staff has sat down to discuss how something like Face ID could change the way we drive in the future. Maybe it will deny you access while moving, or penalize you when attempting to circumvent the system while driving. Maybe it will allow all people in the car to have access to the infotainment system via Apple CarPlay. Or, maybe it will be used to detect how you’re feeling and change various aspects of the vehicle interior like lighting or temperature. Well, we’ve explored a little bit of all this, so check out what each of us think below then fill us in on your thoughts in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear what you all think!!!

Apple’s New Face ID Could Help Regulate Distracted Driving!


5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive - image 736241

It’s an entertaining thought, and one that could actually work…

By:Robert Moore

It never fails. You pull out of your driveway, and I bet you don’t get two blocks from your house without seeing at least one moron with their phone affixed to their face as they attempt to negotiate a mildly busy residential street. As that 22-year-old girl veers gently toward the curb, almost taking out a Mazda and scaring some old senior citizen to death, you think to yourself, “it just gets worse by the day.” And, your thought would be correct. You know, texting and driving wasn’t as big a deal when you could text with one thumb and had the letters and sequence memorized for each word. Nowadays, we’ve devolved in terms of phone size and are back to toting around bricks yet again. By the time the Samsung Note 10 comes out, you’ll need a carrying bag to haul the thing around just like those old-school cell phones 20 years ago. Back to the topic at hand, these bricks of phones that we carry have become a electronic version of death just waiting to strike whenever that screen turns on with an idiot behind the wheel. Apple’s new Face ID, however, could put an end to that, but how???

“You know, texting and driving wasn’t as big a deal when you could text with one thumb and had the letters and sequence memorized for each word”

Well, folks, the answer is simple. You’re going to unlock your phone with your face, right? Well, that same camera can identify you in the driver’s seat (or verify your position in the car against your speed based on GPS location) and could, quite literally, deny you access to unlock your phone until you stop the car. Take this scenario, for example. You’re cruising down the highway and decide to check Facebook. Well, when you hold your new, overpriced, and outdated iPhone X up to your face, you get nothing but a voice command that says “please pull over to unlock your phone.” Or, perhaps the message will say “Please pay attention to the road.” Of course, now I’m imagining scenarios where Siri actually gets a bit of an attitude and says something along the lines of “this is the fourth time, quit being an idiot and wait until you get home.”

On that note, Siri could even lock you out of your own phone until the vehicle is no longer moving and verified by GPS that you’re off the road after too many attempted violations. A small piece of code that could literally make it impossible to use your phone while the car is in motion would work wonders, and there’s a temporary lockout if you try too many times. Hell, Siri could even automatically lock the phone if you’re in the driver’s seat and the car starts moving – and all of the sudden, deaths from distracted driving drop by 50 percent. So how about it, Apple? Ready to do the right thing?

Could Face ID Finally Free Passengers to Multi-Task in Apple CarPlay?


5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive - image 736244

A solution for those not behind the wheel

By:Mark McNabb

After reading Robert’s thoughts on the new Apple iPhone X, the Face ID feature, and how it relates to distracted driving, I’m left hoping Apple does employ the facial recognition software to prevent a driver from using the phone from behind the wheel. While that might suck for some, it should help cut distracted driving crashes by a good percentage. And though it’s not as important, Apple could also use the technology to identify a passenger in a vehicle and unlock multi-tasking features within Apple CarPlay.

“A user also cannot control streaming music on the infotainment screen without switching the iPhone’s current app to the music service”

Currently, Apple CarPlay limits the use applications while plugged into a car’s CarPlay enabled infotainment system. For example, a user cannot read and reply to text messages on the phone if it’s doing also running CarPlay on the infotainment screen. A user also cannot control streaming music on the infotainment screen without switching the iPhone’s current app to the music service. In other words, someone can’t play games or surf on their iPhone while someone else controls the song choice on the car’s infotainment screen without interrupting the phone user’s game or browsing.

Lets say Apple does develop the Face ID system to locate an occupant within a car and restrict/permit use of certain applications while in motion, it would make iPhone users far more likely to play by the rules while making CarPlay use skyrocket. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. What’s more, Apple could use the iPhone’s location to determine where the driver should be sitting; the left side for North America, the right side for Europe. How cool would that be?

Facial Recognition To Better Suit Your Mood


5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive - image 736245

Custom settings, automatically

By:Jonathan Lopez

I’ve heard that something like 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. The way you move, the way you hold your body, and critically, facial expressions are all ways to say a lot, even if your mouth is saying just a little. To humans, interpreting this sort of stuff is natural, almost subconscious. You can usually tell how someone is feeling just by looking at them. A scowl or big smile is all you need to see, making phrases like “I’m angry” or “I’m happy” practically redundant.

With that in mind, technology like the Apple Face ID could be adapted to myriad purposes, including interpretation of the driver and passenger’s mood. Yeah, it’s not an explicit application of the current state of the tech, but just hear me out.

“Technology like the Apple Face ID could be adapted to myriad purposes, including interpretation of the driver and passenger’s mood”

What if the technology could be used to adapt specific onboard systems to better suit your mood? For example, let’s say you’ve had a rough day at work, and you’re feeling a bit on edge. Scratch that – you’re feeling pissed off. Odds are your face would be communicating that (mouth all bunched up, furrowed brow, flared nostrils, etc.). If your car could identify your mood via facial cues, it would be able to adapt accordingly – kick in the back massager, turn on some relaxing music, maybe lower the interior light levels. Maybe the onboard systems could even do stuff like soften the throttle response, steering ratio, and automatic transmission shift points to even out the ride as you angrily hammer in the inputs.

Conversely, let’s say you’re in a great mood. The car could respond with some upbeat music and brighter ambient lighting, possibly even setting the suspension up for a sportier ride and changing the navigation to run through your favorite back road.

If stuff like this were implemented in commercial passenger vehicles, it would deepen the relationship we enjoy with our machines, moving away from the doom and gloom that so many autonomous naysayers seem to harp on. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion.

No to Face ID!


5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive - image 736243

Can you tell I’m not a fan?

By:Kirby Garlitos

I don’t want to be the contrarian here, but I think I have to be this time. Time to put on my Grinch mask and shoot down Apple’s Face ID. First of all, I think it could change the way we drive, but not for the better. In fact, I think it could lead to more accidents on the road. Sure, I understand the technological advancements involved in making this feature come to life. It’s good to see Apple finally sitting up from its couch (presumably made from hundred dollar bills) and start doing something new for a change. But I’m not buying the narrative that the Face ID feature is revolutionary and cuts the chances of us getting into road accidents. I will reserve the right to change my mind if everything that Rob says comes to life, but at this point, I’m not letting Scotty beam me up on this one.

“If you’re driving a car and you want to use the feature, you’re going to have to literally put the phone in front of your face for the function to work”

My big issue with Face ID is that it’s is not that simple to use. For instance, if you’re driving a car and you want to use the feature, you’re going to have to literally put the phone in front of your face for the function to work. It would’ve been cooler if the technology can detect your face while it’s sitting in a cup holder, but it can’t do that. Some people might argue that a phone holder on the dashboard is a solution, and while that would be correct, the feature also involves the driver having to swipe the screen up to complete the locking process. That means in that scenario, he’s going to have to reach for his phone, look at it, and then use his one hand to swipe up on the screen. Easy? Far from it, actually.

Here’s my next point. What’s the guarantee that Face ID can capture your face in one attempt and immediately unlock your phone? The answer: there is none. Apple itself botched the demo of the Face ID when it was launched! Remember that? Apple shareholders do because the stock prices of the company fell when that boo-boo happened! If you want further evidence of how reliable Face ID can be, look no further than Touch ID. I’ve been an iPhone user for God knows how long, and I can tell you that I stopped using Touch ID a long time ago. Why? Because it’s not reliable to begin with. More often than note, it still asks me to put in my passcode, which defeats the whole purpose of the Touch ID to begin with. I don’t think Face ID is going to be a better solution.

It’s a new trick for the iPhone and I’m sure that’s going to get a lot of people excited. But in the end, I think it’s still a long ways away from being the kind of revolutionary feature that Apple is already making it out to be.

It Could, But There’s a Catch!


5 Ways iPhone's Face ID will Change the Way we Drive - image 736242

It won’t happen anytime soon

By:Ciprian Florea

When it comes to safety behind the steering wheels, there are a few things we need to be honest about. The most important is that humans are prone to use their phones to talk, text, and check out their social media profiles. We’re so hooked on living our lives through mobile devices and Internet that it has become a major safety issue. And I’ll be honest here and admit that I’ve done it a few times. And unfortunately, I know a lot of people that got into accident for using the phone behind the steering wheel.

So yeah, I guess Apple’s new Face ID could be used to regulate distracted driving. But there’s more to this story than “hey, let’s integrate this feature with our cars and block access to the phone while the cars is moving.” Robert’s idea of a system that locks you out of your phone and tells you to watch the damn road is as funny as it is necessary — and it could be implemented quite easily — but things aren’t as simple as that. Because we live in an era when phones aren’t just means to keep in touch with our loved owns, but also a crucial devices for business. So I’m most certain that a lot of folks won’t take kindly to having no access to their mobile phone while driving. Let’s face it, there are time when the phone rings and you have to answer it. And sometimes, like when you’re on the highway, you can’t just stop to take a call.

“We need a set of regulations before Face ID becomes the app that prevents distracted driving”

So this basically means we need a set of regulations before Face ID becomes the app that prevents distracted driving. It’s also necessary that Apple develops a solid version of its new gadget, because we’ve seen it fail a few times. Trying to insert a password while driving isn’t the safest thing to do and defeats the purpose of Face ID.

As far as regulations go, it’s somewhat useless if only iPhone users get restricted from spending time on their phones while driving. So this Face ID thing needs to become a global function that’s offered in all phones. And all phones need to have special software to limit access to internet and apps when connected to a car. Bottom line, while Face ID could enhance safety at the wheel, it will take a few years to see something like this become the norm. It’s something we need to see happen, but it’ll take a solid cooperation between all major phone manufacturers as well as carmakers. And we know how that goes, just at how slow we are toward making the car industry a green, more sustainable business.

References


2021 Apple iCar - image 688456

Read more Apple news.

PostHeaderIcon Alfa Romeo Giulia Ranks Well in IIHS Crash Tests: Video

The Alfa Romeo Giulia might be all new for the 2017 model year, but it passed the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s regiment of crash tests like an old pro. The Italian-American performance luxury sedan did so well, in fact, it earned the IIHS’ coveted Top Safety Pick+ award – the highest honor available.

The 2017 Giulia earned the IIHS’ highest grade of “Good” in all of its crash tests. These include the small front overlap, moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints. On the active side of the Giulia’s safety equipment, it has an optional front crash prevention system. It earned a “Superior” rating by completely stopping to avoid rear-ending a vehicle from 12 mph. The system also reduced the Giulia’s speed by an average of 24 mph in the IIHS’ 25-mph frontal crash prevention test. The IIHS’ new-for-2017 headlight evaluation also show favor to the Giulia and its optional curve-adaptive headlights – a test that many vehicles have difficulty in scoring well. It’s worth noting that both the optional front crash prevention system and curve-adaptive headlights must be included on a Giulia before it can be considered a Top Safety Pick+.

And while the 2017 Giulia did extremely well in the IIHS’ tests, it didn’t pass with a perfect score. Its LATCH, child seat anchor system, scored only a “Marginal,” one grade up from the lowest score of “Poor.” The Giulia also has an interesting caveat when it comes to safety. Only models built after May of 2017 qualify for the Top Safety Pick+ award since initial crash testing revealed issues in the front-end structure, door hinge pillar, and door sill areas. Alfa Romeo quickly addressed these issues.

Despite its checkered start and hard-to-use LATCH system, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia proves to be a very safe vehicle by the IIHS’ standards. It’s also an immensely fun sedan to drive, especially so in its Quadrifoglio trim. You can read our full review of the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia small overlap IIHS crash test

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia moderate overlap IIHS crash test

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia side IIHS crash test

References

Alfa Romeo Giulia


2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia - image 676897

Read our full review on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia.


2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - image 656141

Read our full review on the 2017 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio.


2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Coupe - image 725561

Rad more Alfa Romeo news.

PostHeaderIcon Side-Impact Crash Test Shows 2018 Volvo XC40 is a Winner

Volvo has a reputation to uphold – one based on keeping its passengers safe during a crash. To that point, the Swedish automaker has already published a video showing the all-new 2018 XC40 undergoing side-impact crash testing. Keep in mind this video is hitting the web the same day Volvo is debuting the luxury crossover in Milan, Italy. Needless to say, safety is taking a front seat.

The video depicts Volvo’s internally conducted crash testing. The automaker has done this for years to reassure its engineers and corporate brass that a vehicle will behave as expected when tested by independent agencies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not much would be worse than a botched crash test to damage Volvo’s legacy of crash survivability. Thankfully, it seems Volvo has nothing to worry about with side-impact testing; the video shows both dummies protected by side curtain airbags and adequately restrained by seat belts in this 50-kmh, 31-mph test. Intrusion into the cabin is minimal and even the glass shards are diverted away from the dummies’ faces thanks to the airbag. The driver has even more protection thanks to a torso airbag that inflates from the seat’s side bolster.

The new XC40 will see big production numbers as it’s a key player in Volvo’s plan to boost its global sales by nearly 50 percent to 800,000 by 2020. It joins the new XC60 and the two-year-old XC90 in Volvo’s SUV lineup, along with its S90 and S60 sedans and V90 Cross Country and V60 wagons. Here in the U.S., the 2018 XC40 will begin arriving in showrooms in March 2018 and ordering books are already open. Volvo has set a $33,200 starting price for its smallest crossover – not a bad deal considering the XC40’s swanky interior, long list of safety features, and its high-tech powertrains.

References

Volvo XC40


2018 Volvo XC40 - image 733015

Read our full review on the Volvo XC40.


2014 Volvo S60 Polestar - image 482912

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PostHeaderIcon Small Pickups Fall Short of IIHS’ Top Safety Pick Awards

Modern trucks are vastly safer than older vehicles, yet the Insurance Institutes for Highway Safety continues to move the bar. As such, four variants of the most popular mid-size pickups fail to meet the independent agency’s highest rating for crash survivability and headlight performance. Eight pickups were tested, including both extended and crew cab versions of the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier.

Of the eight trucks tested, four did not earn the IIHS’ best rating of “Good” in the front small-overlap crash test. These are the extended cab version of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, along with both cab configurations of the aging Nissan Frontier. The GM twins both earned an Acceptable rating, while the Nissan only earned a Marginal. The Frontier continued to score low in both the structural category and in the possibility of the driver sustaining lower leg and foot injuries. That’s not surprising considering the Frontier is 12 years old, having last been redesigned for the 2005 model year. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Toyota Tacoma Double Cab earned a Good overall rating and a Good rating in each sub-category except for an Acceptable rating in potential lower leg and foot injuries. Even still, the Tacoma lacks any front crash prevention systems, excluding it from the IIHS’ Top Safety awards. Only the GM twins offer any such system, and even it only alerts the driver rather than stopping the truck, earning it only a Basic rating. Lastly, not a single mid-size pickup scored better than a Poor rating in headlight performance. It is understandable, though, as the IIHS only began testing headlights for the 2017 model year.

Continue reading for charts of the IIHS ratings.

PostHeaderIcon Those Rear Seat Belts Are Actually Very Important

You know those straps on your rear seats that look suspiciously like seat belts? Well, they’re actual seat belts, and you might be inclined to start using them because – shocker! – they can save your life. It’s not a groundbreaking revelation by any means, but what’s surprising is that not enough people can be bothered to actually use them, especially during short trips or when people are riding in a taxi, a ride-hailing service, or someone else’s car.

Putting some facts behind it is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which says that four out of five people don’t wear seat belts when they’re seated in the back seat. The IIHS got to that result after surveying adults 18 years and older between June and August 2016. Of the 1,172 respondents that completed the survey, 91 percent say they use their seatbelt when they’re sitting in front, either as the driver or the passenger, and only 72 percent say they use their seat belts in the back. The risk of not wearing seat belts in the back is very real, especially during crashes. In one instance, a rear seat passenger who isn’t wearing a seat belt can kill the front occupant during a crash if he ends up pushing him further into the steering wheel. The IIHS demonstrated as much in the video with crash test dummies and the results, as you can imagine, are horrific.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon In a Connected World, Even your Favorite Car Wash is Vulnerable to Hacking

Connected cars have already raised a lot of concerns when it comes to cyber security. Remember back in 2015 when those guys from Twitter and IOActive hacked a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and took control of its onboard systems? In fairness, FCA issued a recall shortly thereafter, but that’s not the point. Later on, in 2016, it was found that most Volkswagen’s built after 1995 could be remotely hacked to allow a hacker to unlock the doors and gain physical entry.
And, let’s not forget about those two guys that got arrested for hacking and stealing 30 Jeeps using nothing more than a laptop and some stolen software. Brand new VW’s now have their own unique keys and entry codes, and FCA has issued a fix for their problems, so why is this relevant? Because hacking isn’t just limited to cars. Think about this – it’s Sunday, you’re in the car wash, and getting ready to emerge from the exit with a freshly cleaned ride. All of the sudden: BAM – the doors shut, and one of the robotic arms starts hitting your car repeatedly, breaking the windows, damaging the body, and getting you wet at the same time.

Sounds pretty wild right? Well, as it turns out, it’s quite possible, and it was recently proven by a group of security researchers who presented their findings at the Black Hat hacking conference in Vegas last week. The system in question is known as the PDQ LaserWash, which just so happens to be a pretty popular system and is used across the U.S. The systems are connected to the internet and run on a version of Windows CE. The exploit has been known about for a couple of years, but it wasn’t until recently that a facility in Washington State allowed the research group to try it out. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow the team to record their results, so there’s no video of what’s actually going on, but the team says they were able to easily guess the default master password and use an “attack script” to control the car wash. In their test, they didn’t strike the vehicle with any components of the carwash, but they did lock the bay doors and demonstrated that it could be done. The team has notified the Department of Homeland Security, and PDQ is reportedly working on a fix for the exploit.

PostHeaderIcon 2017 Tesla Model X Gets 5-Star Crash Rating From NHTSA

Tesla might be having issues making profits and launching the Model 3 sedan, but it’s clear the young automaker can build a safe SUV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just awarded the 2017 Model X with a 5-star rating in every crash test category and sub-category. That makes the Model X the first SUV to ever earn a 5-star rating across the board. What’s more, the NHTSA’s findings show occupants have the lowest probability of injury in any SUV it has ever tested, with a 93-percent likelihood of walking away without serious injuries.

NHTSA testing includes three main areas: frontal, side, and rollover crashes.
Further broken down, the frontal crash testing includes a 35-mph, full-frontal crash into a solid barrier. Side impact testing includes both impacts with another vehicle and with a stationary pole like a tree or telephone post. Rollover testing includes both the likelihood of a rollover and the roof’s ability to remain structurally intact. Not only did the Model X earn 5 stars in the roof crush test, the NHTSA was unable to educe a rollover, even during its dynamic rollover test. Tesla claims the Model X’s aversion to tipping lies in its low center of gravity provided by the battery packs mounted under the floor.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Next-Gen Test Dummies Could be of the Plump Variety

Obesity seems to be an epidemic that’s slowly taking over the world. Here in America, 33 percent of the population is said to be obese, with the average weight for men climbing 21 pounds to 195 and the average weight for women climbing 20 pounds to 166 over the last 50 years. That’s actually a pretty big deal. Some of it can be attributed to the overwhelming amount of unhealthy fast food available, while at the same time, we Americans love to eat, which doesn’t help the situation.

Be that as it may, the U.S. isn’t anywhere near being the most obese place in the world with places like American Samoa, and Nauru coming in first and second, respectively. Even Tonga, Palau, and Kuwait beat us out, but we do land in the top 20, just above Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. But, that’s not the point of the video you’re about to watch. The point is that the world is getting fat enough that crash dummy manufacturers are now working on developing dummies that are fat.

How fat? Well, we don’t know for sure, but a few years ago, Humantics was developing dummies that weighed upward of 270 pounds, so it’s not necessarily a new concept. Either way, ABC’s Good Morning America ran a segment that gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the next-generation of test dummies that will soon be tasked with telling us how safe future cars are – even for those who are overweight.

With that said, go ahead and click play to learn more about it and see just how big the next-gen test dummies might be.


PostHeaderIcon Watch the 2018 Volvo XC60 get Demolished for Safety's Sake

Ah the crash test – it involves slamming a brand new car into an object to determine how well it holds up during an accident. There’s the small frontal overlap test, the moderate overlap test, the side impact test, and rollover test, among others. Well, the all-new 2018 Volvo XC60 just underwent the full barrage, getting slammed seven ways to Sunday. And it turns out (not surprisingly, really) that Volvo built an exceptionally safe crossover.

The videos below show the testing methods, as well as the mechanical carnage involved. The high-speed, slow motion film captures details not otherwise seen by the naked eye. The shots are almost beautiful in nature, though hauntingly eerie when considering those dummies represent real people like you and your family. That realization makes knowing the XC60’s good performance that much sweeter.

You won’t hear IIHS, NHTSA, or NCAP scores for these tests, however. These were actually done in-house by Volvo at its Stockholm-based Safety Center long before the XC60’s debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

For those who don’t know, Volvo is on a mission to have zero fatalities or serious injuries in its new vehicles by 2020. It’s a lofty goal, but one that’s far less self-serving than most long-term goals automakers make.

Anyway, for those wanting to see the XC60 in action, click past the jump for the videos.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Mustang's Failed NCAP Testing Proves Safety Comes Second

Last month we covered the story about how the 2017 Ford Mustang miserably failed Euro NCAP testing, earning the worst rating out of the 15 recently tested vehicles: two out of five stars. It did worse than a number of models, including models like the Hyundai Ioniq, Audi Q2, and even the SsangYong Tivoli. It’s a bit surprising, but testing showed that there is a high chance for upper-body injury and head injury for rear passengers during frontal crashes and a high possibility of whiplash for rear passengers in side-impact testing. Front passengers are also at risk of injury thanks to those airbags that don’t inflate properly. Meanwhile, a similar U.S.-Spec model performed fairly well during IIHS testing, with “Good” ratings for Moderate overlap, side impact, roof strength, head restraints, and seats, to go with an acceptable rating for small overlap testing. So, what separates the U.S.-spec and Euro-spec models? A serious lack of equipment and it proves that the blue oval has its sights on something other than safety.

The two-star NCAP rating can be blamed on the lack of safety equipment for rear passengers, semi-autonomous safety technology, and the fact that the front airbags that didn’t deploy properly. See, the Euro-spec model doesn’t get things like a forward-collision warning system or other safety features like lane-keep assist or pre-collision assist – all things that are standard or available on U.S.-spec models. There are no rear seatbelt pretensioners or load limiters which means lots of body movement for rear passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident. One child test dummy was even found to have slid under the seatbelt during a full-width frontal test while the other smacked his head on the interior trim.

So far, Ford has remained largely silent on the issue but, according to NCAP, has said that orders placed after May 2017 will be for the facelifted 2018 model that will include pre-collision assist with pedestrian protection, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and a lane-keeping aid. It’s great that Ford wants to rectify the situation with the facelifted model, but what does the failed testing of the current model really mean?

Keep reading to connect the dots that led to this failed safety test


PostHeaderIcon Out of 15 Cars Tested by Euro NCAP, the Ford Mustang Scored Worst

The facelifted Ford Mustang did pretty well here in the U.S. when the IIHS put it through the paces at its crash test facility. It scored “Acceptable” in small overlap testing, and “Good” it moderate overlap, side collision, roof strength, and head restraints and seats testing. But, Ford fans over in Europe are stuck with the pre-facelifted model for a bit longer, as it didn’t perform all that well in Euro NCAP’s crash testing, scoring just two stars out of five when everything was said and done. In fact, out of the 15 cars recently tested by NCAP, including models like the Volvo V90 and S90 duo, the Audi Q2, Hyundai Ioniq, Suzuki Ignis, and even the SsangYong Tivoli, the 2016 Mustang was the absolute weakest link.

Now, before we get into the results, I want to make note that the Euro version of the Mustang doesn’t have all of the same equipment that’s found on the U.S. version, including things like seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters in the rear and a Forward Collision Warning system, among others, so that two-star rating isn’t completely representative of how safe the Mustang is, but it’s troubling nonetheless. Where the Mustang really failed was in relation to rear passengers, where the lack of pretensioners and load limiters play a huge role. In full-width frontal testing, rear test dummies showed significant potential for injury to the upper body, and thighs. Rear seat dummies also showed a high possibility of whiplash during a rear impact. Rear sitting children also have the potential for head injury during lateral impact and torso injury during frontal impact.

Front seat passengers saw mixed ratings during the Frontal Offset Deformable Barrier testing with the driver having adequate protection over most of their body, with the neck and thigh protection rated as good. The front passenger saw adequate protection for head and lower legs, while having good protection of the neck, torso, and thighs. During rear testing, front seat occupants received a marginal rating for whiplash protection. It should also be noted that the front driver and passenger airbags didn’t inflate properly on frontal offset testing, which also led to such a low rating. During the full-width front test, the rear passenger slid under the seat belt while the rear child dummy smacked his head on the interior trim during side impact crash testing.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Uber: The Rebels of the Self-Driving Car World

Change is inevitable, and while we may not like certain changes, we eventually get used to them and adapt accordingly. One prime example of this is self-driving cars. Right now, we’re at a turning point where self-driving cars are being tested and we, as a society, and learning more about them every day. As the years go on, they’ll get better, and will ultimately be accepted. But, some companies seem to think they can usher in a new evolution of driving without complying with certain mandates. Tesla has been under fire for some time about its process of introducing autonomy but has ultimately complied with regulations. Uber, on the other hand, seems to think that it’s beyond governmental regulation and gives the California DMV and Mayor Ed Lee, a big “F You” when it was told to cease and desist the testing of its self-driving Volvo XC90s.

Like any other company testing higher levels of autonomy on California roadways, Uber has been asked to obtain the proper permits before it can legally test its self-driving vehicles. Uber has failed to do that thus far, and it doesn’t look like it will anytime in the near future. In a recent statement, Uber said, “we respectfully disagree with the California Department of Motor Vehicles legal interpretation of today’s autonomous regulations, in particular, that Uber needs a testing permit to operate its self-driving cars in San Francisco.”

To put things simply, Uber’s argument is that since there is someone behind the wheel to take control that the car is not fully autonomous and is similar to Tesla’s autopilot technology. Of course, Uber’s autonomous XC90s don’t have this requirement, so its reasoning doesn’t exactly hold water. And, if you know the California government, you know it feels the same way. For now, the government is threatening legal action and Uber is promptly giving them the bird at every turn. And, there’s the case of the XC90 that ran a red light last week. Uber blames the person behind the wheel and has suspended them, but that seems to justify California’s request to get the necessary permits. Obviously, these XC90s can drive without the driver paying attention – otherwise, that video of the XC90 running a red light wouldn’t exist – and it also proves that Uber’s self-driving technology is far from ready to take on the roads by themselves.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon NHTSA Issues Recall Of Jaguar F-Type SVR Because Of A Suspension Bolt

Recalls happen in the auto industry far more often than most people realize. It could be any number of things affecting any kind of model, but if the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration deems it necessary, these recalls are going to happen time and time again. I say this because Jaguar has announced a recall of its most exotic model, the range-topping variant of the F-Type sports car, the F-Type SVR, over faulty suspension bolts.

Actually, the only defect is a single suspension bolt that connects the rear lower control arms to the knuckle assembly. The specifics of the defect wasn’t mentioned, only that if the bolt “fails,” the entire rear control arm assembly may separate from the car, resulting in a “loss of control and increased risk of a crash.”

There’s something sneakily hilarious about a recall for the Jaguar F-Type SVR being implemented because of a single suspension bolt, but the ramifications of not heeding the recall are certainly no laughing matter. As such, the recall for the 23 F-Type SVR affected units in the US, built between February 2016 to August 2016 US, should be treated with utmost importance.

The recall is expected to begin on December 19, 2016, although Jaguar will also notify affected owners ahead of schedule. Like always, owners are urged to bring their F-Type SVRs to their local dealerships, where the bolt will be replaced at no cost to the owner.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon A New Round Of Recalls Are Coming For Certain BMW M Models

Recalls are a hassle, but when one recall leads to another recall, that’s when things get annoying. Unfortunately, that’s the predicament certain owners of the BMW M2 Coupe, M3 Sedan, M4 Coupe, and M4 Convertible are now facing after BMW North America announced a new round of recalls for 2015 to 2017 model years of the aforementioned models, all because BMW dealerships messed up on a repair involving the rear differential during a previous recall last January 2016.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), BMW dealers used the same rear sub-frame bolts to replace the rear differential on the M cars. The problem with that is that these bolts were designed to be used only as one-time-use fasteners, as per the automaker’s own vehicle assembly process. If they’re used more than once, there’s a good chance that the “clamp force may not be achieved when torquing down the bolts,” resulting in the possibility of them loosening as they wear out. When that happens, the car’s handling and control could be compromised, which could then lead to the possibility of a crash taking place.

All told, 66 units are potentially affected by the new recall, including five M2 Coupe made from May 31 to June 20, 2016; 32 M3 Sedans manufactured from June 17, 2014 to June 13, 2016; 26 M4 Coupes built from May 2, 2014 to June 14, 2016; and three M4 Convertibles assembled from May 29, 2015 to May 27, 2016. Fortunately, no incidents have been reported concerning the condition of the affected models.

It must be said though that the NHTSA has absolved BMW dealerships of any blame for the fresh round of recalls. Apparently, BMW didn’t give specific instructions to use new rear sub-frame bolts, which could’ve led to dealership engineers using the same bolts to replace the differential.

The recall is expected to begin on October 24, 2016. In the days leading up to it, BMW will be notifying affected owners and certain dealerships of the impending recall. The latter is expected to replace the affected rear sub-frame bolts with new bolts without owners incurring any costs.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Meet the Vitronic Speed Enforcement Trailer

Vitronic is a company that specializes in what I would call traffic technology. They sell and distribute technology to assist in traffic enforcement and even things like toll and vehicle identification systems. If you live in Europe, you’ve probably seen, or maybe even fallen victim to, one of its average speed or red light enforcement solutions. Vitronic also has another speed enforcement system that you should be on the lookout for, but this one can be moved easily and will likely pop up in places you would never expect it.

The image you see above is what the enforcement trailer looks like. I know you’re probably saying “that’s not like any trailer I’ve ever seen.” And, you would be right. For starters, the wheels and tongue of this trailer tuck away and hid inside its thick outer shell – that shell is bulletproof, by the way. It can operate uninterrupted for five days, but that doesn’t matter because law enforcement can replace the batteries on site if needed. The device uses LIDAR technology to detect the speed of vehicles across multiple lanes at the same time, and sure will snap a picture of your vehicle and plate, should you violate the posted speed limit. Once a violation has been detected and a picture taken, all the available data is then wirelessly transmitted to local law enforcement.

If you think that something like this can be easily stolen or destroyed, think again. As I said before, the wheels and tongue stash away inside the bulletproof body when it is deployed. Being bulletproof means you can’t easily render it useless. Smashing into it probably won’t do much either. That leaves physical tampering, right? I wouldn’t try that either. This this is rigged to alert local law enforcement should someone try to gain unauthorized access to it. So, unless you know the ins and outs of the device itself, chances are you’ll still be neck deep trying to break in while the boys casually roll up behind you – not a good situation.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon Believe it or Not, Red Light Cameras Save Lives

Automated traffic cameras have been used for more than 20 years as a way to catch those who choose to disobey traffic signals or posted speed limits. It’s nothing new, but ever since they have been put into use, it has raised privacy concerns for those who are leery of big brother watching in on them. Be that as it may, the IIHS is reporting that red light cameras do, indeed, save lives. In fact, the IIHS claims that “red light camera programs in 79 large U.S. cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014.” Now that is a pretty big deal.

Adrian Lund, the President of IIHS, said, “We know we have a problem: people dying at signalized intersections because of people running red lights. We know red light cameras are part of the solution.”

IIHS reports that there were at least 709 deaths and some 126,000 injuries caused by people running red lights in 2014. Furthermore, those who disobey the traffic signals are the minority of those killed in such crashes – meaning those who have the right away are often the ones injured or killed in such accidents. In 2011, an IIHS study showed that large cities with red light camera programs in use between 2004 and 2008 saw significant decreases in per capita rates of fatal crashes at intersections with traffic signals.

The biggest problem is that some cities have been pressured to disable red light cameras over privacy concerns. As such, the IIHS has reported that those cities experienced 30-percent more fatal red light running crashes per capita. Those cities that have turned on red light cameras have seen a 21-percent drop in fatal red light crashes per capita. To put it simply, it has been found that red light camera programs – especially those that are well advertised – have a significant impact on whether or not people choose to obey traffic signals.


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