Information Technology

Automakers vs. tech firms in a battle to use airwaves in talking cars

7:04 am U.S. ET | Feb. 19, 2014
Auto and technology companies are battling over a slice of coveted radio waves, with carmakers arguing the potential for lifesaving crash-avoidance systems should take precedence over more Wi-Fi for Web data and video.... Read More »



Can laws stop distracted driving if we won't?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 17, 2014
Sen. Jay Rockefeller has reason to be frustrated. The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, is supposed to be making sure that federal laws keep the roads safe. Yet Americans keep getting killed because they won't stop looking down from the road to check text messages and play with the high-tech gizmos built into cars.... Read More »


New smart maps boost mpg

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 17, 2014
A company called Here, the auto industry's biggest supplier of navigation maps, is preparing to roll out the next generation of route guidance: so-called smart maps that can help drivers save fuel and avoid accidents.... Read More »


Head-up displays for the masses

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 17, 2014
Head-up displays, once confined to sports cars and luxury vehicles, are starting to penetrate the mass market. This year, 38 vehicle models available in the United States have standard or optional head-up displays, according to, up from 13 models five years ago.... Read More »


No center stack screen? No problem

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 17, 2014
Designers have been trying to devise a center console screen that could display infotainment apps without distracting the motorist. Audi's solution: Ditch the screen altogether.... Read More »



Google poised to have strong presence in connected car

Feb. 14, 2014 06:15 CET
There will be more Google in your next car. That was the clear message automakers gave at the recent International CES, the world's largest consumer electronic fair in Las Vegas.... Read More »



Crash avoidance is a noble idea

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014
The government is suggesting that perhaps the first step in creating a safer automotive environment would be to install transmitting devices in all vehicles sold in the United States, the first step toward enable vehicles to communicate with one another to avoid accidents. What may be a noble suggestion is probably an impractical solution to automotive collisions.... Read More »



The sales game has changed, and dealers are split on the right mix of tech, speed, personal touch

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014
Most people in the industry believe that dealership salespeople need to be better trained. But as technology transforms car selling, there’s little agreement on what that training should focus on.... Read More »



Don't backtrack on technology

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 10, 2014
Regarding "Car controls are just too complex," Letters to the Editor, Feb. 3: I couldn't disagree more. I am 72 years old and will not purchase a vehicle that does not have the latest technology.... Read More »


BMW's MPA line: Zoom, on the cheap

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 8, 2014
BMW is bringing a new performance line to the United States that gives vehicles more horsepower and a sportier feel. But the cars won't get the total revamp BMW gives its range-topping M high-performance models with the throaty engines and high price tags.... Read More »


More auto brands upgrade Web site technology for all devices

2:47 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 7, 2014
More than 20 percent of auto manufacturers have launched Web sites that implement responsive design technology -- technology that allows shoppers to view the same Web site content across tablets, smartphones and desktop computers.... Read More »


Rockefeller warns automakers, suppliers to cut risk of in-car mobile technology

5:19 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 6, 2014
An influential senator, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, warned automakers and technology executives on Thursday that he'll propose regulating in-car use of mobile phones to Internet-connected entertainment and information systems unless they do more to reduce driver distractions.... Read More »


U.S. regulators pave way for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, safety technology

8:29 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014
After years of research into vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology, federal regulators declared that the time has come for cars to talk to each other to improve safety. Federal regulators will soon begin working on regulations requiring new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States to be equipped with wireless chips so they can communicate over the airwaves, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said today during a press conference today.... Read More »



Car controls are just too complex

12:01 am U.S. ET | Feb. 3, 2014
Having been in the auto repair business for more than 50 years and having recently retired as an automotive radio talk show host, I have heard many people express exasperation over the changes in electronics and cabin controls.... Read More »



Technology takes a lot of training

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 27, 2014
Today's automobile is packed with technology, more than most customers understand. As cars and trucks become more complicated, manufacturers and dealers are going to have to provide more training for customers.... Read More »


Audi sees iPad app as major sales tool

7:01 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 24, 2014
Audi wants young car buyers to feel more comfortable at its dealerships. Executives think there's an app for that.... Read More »


Ford teams with universities on automated driving research

1:03 pm U.S. ET | Jan. 22, 2014
Ford said today it is launching a new research project into automated driving technology with two top universities in the United States.... Read More »


Suppliers tune in to antenna boom

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Antennas traditionally are unglamorous, low-cost and low-tech parts. But the rush to go wireless has made them a critical, if unsung, necessity for today's high-tech cars. The shift highlights a big growth sector for suppliers. But it also poses challenges for designers trying to pack the often-unwieldy antennas into a vehicle.... Read More »


Will Google Glass distract a driver?

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Is Google Glass a clever way to transmit collision warnings to the motorist? Or is it just another potential distraction -- best employed before or after a trip? The auto industry is about to find out.... Read More »



Gesture controls: Give me a break and a knob

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 20, 2014
Henry Bzeih, the chief technology strategist for Kia Motors America Inc., patiently guided me through the various controls at the International CES, the consumer electronics show here. They all worked well enough, but I began to wonder about all this technology when we tried out the gesture controls -- using hand motions to, say, turn the stereo volume up.... Read More »


BMW takes a chance with i3's ultrathin seats

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 19, 2014
The BMW i3 has gotten considerable attention for its electric powertrain and carbon fiber body structure. But more groundbreaking innovations -- BMW's vision of eco-friendly urban transportation -- can be found in the cockpit. Check out those thin-profile front seats, which weigh only half as much as those of a 1-series sedan. Next, check out the i3's door panels, which are made of kenaf, a hemp-like natural fiber.... Read More »


BMW works on hands-free lane changes

Jan. 17, 2014 06:01 CET
In a bid to commercialize hands-free cars, BMW and supplier Continental are preparing a large-scale road test involving dozens of vehicles.... Read More »



Faurecia, Magneti Marelli team up to capitalize on booming, lucrative HMI sector

Jan. 16, 2014 06:15 CET
Suppliers Faurecia and Magneti Marelli have joined forces to challenge rivals such as Continental, Delphi, Denso and Harman in the booming and lucrative sector for human-machine interface applications.... Read More »



Software -- the new battleground

12:01 am U.S. ET | Jan. 15, 2014
Automakers, taking cues from gadget makers such as Apple, are developing cars to receive software updates that include new tools or even improve fuel efficiency, much in the way an iPad gets new capabilities with each successive operating system. It is a big change -- and a potential saving -- for an industry used to spending heavily to revamp aging models.... Read More »


Software -- the new battleground

Jan. 15, 2014 06:01 CET
Automakers, taking cues from gadget makers such as Apple, are developing cars to receive software updates that include new tools or even improve fuel efficiency, much in the way an iPad gets new capabilities with each successive operating system.... Read More »


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