Tag Archives | Cars

Czech Town Upset That Porsche Museum Overlooks Namesake’s Nazi Past

PIC: Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche at right (PD)

PIC: Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche at right (PD)

Ferdinand Porsche may be celebrated as the designer of the Volkswagen and for the car line that still bears his name,  but there are some who would prefer to forget that the engineer joined Hitler’s SS in 1937 and served as the head of  the Fuhrer’s tank commissioner. He knew Hitler personally and used slave labor to build the Volkswagens requested by the dictator.

Veterans and Jewish groups say that an “exhibition” (formerly designated as a memorial) built in Porsche’s birth place (Vratislavice nad Nisouto, Czech Republic) to honor his legacy has brushed over his SS past and relationship with Hitler.

Via RawStory:

But not everyone in this modest locality of nearly 8,000 residents northeast of the capital Prague felt comfortable trumpeting their native son.

Last year, a new team voted into city hall could no longer ignore growing protests that Vratislavice — in an area annexed by Nazi Germany in the late 1930s — was “memorialising” a man who had worked for Adolf Hitler.

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How Your Car Is Tracking You

Photo: usien (CC)

Photo: usien (CC)

Got a new car? Like the GPS navigation? Live traffic updates? The Detroit News describes how high tech in vehicles puts drivers’ privacy up for grabs:

Every time a motorist slides in behind the wheel, odds are that car or truck is gathering information: How aggressively the driver accelerated, whether the speed limit was observed, how hard the brake pedal was applied. And beyond driving habits, where and when the car was driven, what route was taken and whether the seat belt was buckled.

Few laws or regulations address ownership of data collected by infotainment and navigation systems in dashboards and by electronic black boxes under hoods. Auto data privacy is the industry equivalent of the Wild West, according to automotive industry and law experts.

Should drivers expect information collected by their cars to be private? Can police or other government agencies get their hands on recorded data after a crash to review drivers’ whereabouts if they’re suspected of a crime?

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Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey Investigating Car Hacking

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 6.12.56 AMSenator Ed Markey is trying to determine the extent to which modern cars are vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

Imagine someone setting off an airbag in a car by tricking the sensors into believing it had come to a sudden stop. Or driving a car into oncoming traffic. Or just stealing location data.

“I write to request information regarding your company’s protections against the threat of cyberattacks or unwarranted invasions of privacy related to the integration of wireless, navigation and other technologies into and with automobiles,” wrote Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, in a letter to Daniel Akerson, CEO of General Motors, earlier in December. Markey sent similar letters to 19 other major car manufacturers, asking about the defenses car electronics contain against these intrusions.

Read the rest at Raw Story.

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Rebuilding Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car

Dymaxion car photoThe legacy of Buckminster Fuller, one of America’s greatest minds of the 20th century, lives on, largely due to the dynamic Buckminster Fuller Institute and its annual Challenge, which awards cash prizes to inventors working in the same vein as Bucky. Others work independently to complete Bucky’s ideas, including Jeff Lane, who is building a Dymaxion car, based on Fuller’s 1933 prototype. David K. Gibson reports for BBC Autos:

Some concept cars influence decades of automotive engineering. Some concepts never catch on. Some simply catch fire.

The Dymaxion car, designed by the visionary US architect and all-round polymath R Buckminster Fuller, may be the rare prototype for which all of these things are true.

“It’s full of unique and different technologies,” says Jeff Lane, director of the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. “It was a failure commercially, but it tried lots of different things that have had big influence on car design.” It was a big enough influence on Lane that, 80 years later, he’s in the final stages of recreating Fuller’s first prototype.

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In Almost Every European Country, Bikes Are Outselling New Cars

new-passenger-car-and-bicycle-sales-2012-_chartbuilder_custom-52ce0e51cc669b1c7267930f2f65dda1c5ceb3ba-s3-c85

ACEA, COLIPED, via NPR

Could it happen in the United States, at least in dense urban areas? NPR reports on the exploding bicycle sales in Europe:

We know that Europeans love their bicycles — think Amsterdam or Paris. Denmark even has highways specifically for cyclists.

Indeed, earlier this month, NPR’s Lauren Frayer reported that Spain, which has long had a love affair with cars, is embracing the bicycle: For the first time on record, Lauren noted, bicycles outsold cars in the country.

But it’s becoming a Continent-wide phenomenon. More bikes were sold in Italy than cars — for the first time since World War II.

This prompted us to look at the figures across the 27 member states of the European Union for both cars and bicycles. New-car registrations for Cyprus and Malta weren’t available, so we took them out of the comparison.

Here’s what we found: Bicycle sales outpaced new-car sales last year in every one of those countries, except Belgium and Luxembourg.

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Defcon Hacker Conference To Detail How Moving Cars Be Remotely Sabotaged

defcon

From now on, are all notable car crashes suspicious? Engadget reports:

Famed white hats Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are preparing to unleash a 100-page paper at the annual hacker conference in Las Vegas, and notably, hacks that overtake both Toyota and Ford automotive systems will be positioned front and center. The information was gathered as part of a multi-month project that was funded by the US government, so note that the specifics of the exploits will not be revealed to the masses; they’ll be given to the automakers so that they can patch things up.

Using laptops patched into vehicular systems, the two were able to force a Prius to “brake suddenly at 80 miles an hour, jerk its steering wheel, and accelerate the engine,” while they were also able to “disable the brakes of a Ford Escape traveling at very slow speeds.”

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Brazil Announces National System Of Mandatory Radio-Frequency ID Chips For Vehicles

Brazil’s new roadway surveillance system, the administration of which apparently involves private contractors, is dubbed SINIAV, and involves installing antennae at strategic points across the country to detect details of all passing cars via windshield-mounted RFID chips. On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow explains:

In Brazil, a new regulation requires drivers to add radio ID tags to their car windshields, which broadcast “vehicle year or fabrication, make, model, combustible, engine power and license plate number.” This will be read by checkpoints throughout the country, and centrally processed and retained, in a system called Siniav.

The administration claims that this system will be “confidential and secure” because its contractors will sign confidentiality agreements.

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Nevada To Issue Red Licence Plates For Robot Drivers

robohjStarting this year, check the plates color to know whether the driver of another vehicle is human, or other. Singularity Hub reports:

Other states like Hawaii, Florida, and Oklahoma may follow Nevada’s example, paving the way for robot cars to operate all across the United States.

An extended campaign in Nevada by Google has led to a new host of provisions which will allow automated cars to legally drive in the state. Starting March 1st, 2012 innovators like Google can officially apply for a new kind of robot driver’s license. Automated vehicles will be able to travel the same streets and highways as human drivers, with only a red license plate marking them as robots. Once research on those automated cars is complete (which may take years), the Nevada Department of Motorized Vehicles will issue them a neon green license plate – an indication that the robot drivers are good to go.

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Dynasphere, Forgotten Vehicle Of The Future

Could the Dynasphere have replaced the car? Probably not, but it’s still fun to dream of an alternate world in which it did. Via the Museum of RetroTechnology:

The Dynasphere was invented Dr. J. H. Purves. In the picture below, the son of the inventor is at the controls, and apparently having some difficulties in steering; leaning this monowheel to one side is clearly not going to be easy. The Dynosphere was reported to have reached 30 mph on this run…[and] was said to have weighed 1000 pounds. One eye-witness states: “As a lad one day in the 1930s I went to the beach and saw a man trying to drive a huge wheel across the sands. It wasn’t very successful and wobbled about … I have always wondered what it was or whether I imagined it.”

dynawheel

More on: Museum of RetroTechnology

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