Oct 24, 2014 | Last Updated 18 mins ago
  • Porsche 919 Gives Racing a Twist with Unique Steering Wheel Design

    Just like most vehicles, a basic race car features a simple, lightweight, suede-covered steering wheel that tells the front wheels where to go. However, as racers move up the racing ladder, they find the instrument more than just a mere directional tool. It starts to become covered in wear paddles, switches, buttons and contain levers to increase or decrease traction control, modify braking pressure, signal directions back to the team and control speed in pit lane, among other things. This is what the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car has, making its steering wheel as complicated as every one might think. The design of the sports-prototype racing car’s steering wheel is not round. In fact, it closely resembles something that can be found in the cabin of a spaceship. It also cleverly takes on the shape of a...

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  • Can 3D Printing Cut Costs in Auto Parts Production?

    Additive manufacturing (AM), which pertains to a process by which digital 3D design data is used in building up a component in layers by depositing material, offers multiple aerospace applications. This industry is characterized by short production runs of costly parts. Thankfully, AM—more commonly known as 3D printing—can lead to a lower overall cost compared to the cost of high-priced tooling for a traditional subtractive production process. However, AM techniques in the auto industry have been mainly focused on prototyping to boost R&D efficiency and reduce product-to-market time delivery, rather than on...

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  • Porsche First Automaker to Use Vatican Venue

    The 600-year-old Sistine Chapel in Vatican is famous for its beautiful frescoes painted by the renowned artist, Michelangelo. It also plays host to the papal conclaves for selecting a new Pope. The chapel is a historical landmark that receives over 25, 000 visitors from all over the world on a daily basis. However, now the chapel is in the news for being turned into a venue for a Porsche event. This will make Porsche the first automaker to rent out the chapel for a corporate event. Porsche will not use the chapel to showcase its performance in motorsports. Instead, the Porsche Travel Club will be hosting a classical music concert at the chapel performed by a choir from the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. This will be followed by a meal at the Vatican Museum in the midst of masterpieces by Raphael and Michelangelo. The Porsche Travel Club organizes tours and events across Europe for ...

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  • Freescale Debuts Smallest Tire Pressure Monitoring System Ever

    Tire pressure plays a crucial role in the life of a tire and the fuel efficiency of a vehicle. Driving on underinflated tires can cause the tread to wear out faster and increase the rolling resistance. It also increases vehicle emissions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 23,000 accidents and 535 deaths occur every year in the US alone due to flat tires or blowouts. Ideally, every motorist should have a tire pressure monitoring system to monitor the pressure of his tires and keep them in an optimum condition. Many countries over the world including Japan, the United States, Taiwan and China have begun moves to make it mandatory for new vehicles to have TPMS. IHS iSuppli estimates that TPMS will account for over 25% of the total pressure measurement market for automotive sensors by 2015. Freescale Semiconductor has just launched what the company claims is the world’s smallest tire pressure monitoring system. Named FXTH87, it is 50% smaller than other competing products and is the smallest integrated package TPMS solution available. It weighs in at just 0.3 grams. In addition to being relatively small in size, the FXTH87 uses less power and integrates numerous functions in one package as it comes with an integrated pressure and temperature sensor, RF transmitter and low frequency receiver, dual-axis accelerometer and an integrated MCU. The FXTH87’s dimensions are 7 x 7 x 2.2 mm and the low RF power consumption of 7 mAa makes a significant contribution to increasing battery life. The single- and dual-axis accelerometer options lend greater accuracy and are highly useful to OEM manufacturers for more precise tire localization and universal interoperability. The integrated MCU and dedicated firmware offer the largest customer flash memory at ...

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  • First MECOTY Award Gives Public Chance to Choose their Favorite Car

    Organized by Custom Events, the first edition of the Middle East Car of the Year, MECOTY will give the public a chance to choose the winners. The awards have been instituted with the purpose of giving new car buyers an idea of the best car in each category before they proceed with their purchase. It is for the first time that an award of this type has an element of public participation. According to the organizer, the first edition of MECOTY received a tremendous response, both from motoring enthusiasts and industry professionals across the region. A jury drawn from renowned motoring journalists across the Middle East including Sultan Hamdi, MBC anchor and former Middle East Rally Champion selected the top two cars in each category from the nominations received and announced the results on October 15. Members of the public can vote for their favourite car by visiting the Facebook page of MECOTY at www.facebook.com/mecoty/app_787545841283941. The voting began on October 18 and will end on November 10. All car manufacturers will actively promote their brands and urge their customers to vote for their models through their ...

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  • Michelin Launches the First ‘full wet’ Competition Tire for Historic Cars

    Michelin has considerable experience when it comes to historic cars and motorsports. The company in fact has a complete collection of tires for classic cars and has a global website dedicated to classic cars named michelinclassic.com. The website provides customers with all they need to know about tires for classic cars ranging from expert advice on the right tires for their car to details of the nearest retailer stocking these tires. Now, the company has announced that it has extended its historic and rally range with the launch of the PB20 tire, the first tire for classic cars that can withstand heavy rain. The new Michelin PB20 has been specially designed for rainy weather with a new pattern that is compatible with irregular asphalt surfaces even in extremely wet weather. Its tread pattern has a high grooving rate (“sea-to-land” ratio) and due to the nature of the compound used, the tire delivers exceptionally good grip and high levels of safety. The PB20 tire is available in two sizes – the 18/60-15 version for wheel rims between 5.5 and 7.5 inches, and the 23/62-15 version for wheels having a width between 8.5 and 10.5 inches. As many historic cars have tires in different sizes for the front and the rear, both tire sizes can be used in combination. The tire will be available at all specialist Michelin Collection dealers. Like all tires from Michelin’s Historic Motorsport collection, the new MICHELIN PB 20 tire is also ‘e’-approved and can be used throughout Europe. The tire will make its competition debut at the 2014 Tour de Corse Historique and will be ...

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Cooper Tire Adds New Discoverer SRX to Range of Luxury SUV Tires

The Al Habtoor Group has come up with an innovative service concept in partnership with the well known retail chain, Lulu Group. Taking your car for a minor or major repairs or even to get its regular maintenance check no longer needs to be a chore for which you will have to find extra time that you do not have. Lulu customers in Ras Al Khaimah will now benefit from having the facility of getting their car serviced while they shop, eat or get entertainment in the RAK Mall, which is owned by Line Investments & Property LLC, one of the subsidiaries of Lulu Group International. The SpeedFit Auto Clinic which was officially opened in RAK Mall, is the first such facility located within a shopping mall in the UAE. Staffed by expert technicians who can provide your car with all kinds of services ranging from tire maintenance and oil change to brake repair, customers will be spared the hassle of sparing time to drive to the nearest service center to get their car fixed. Customers do not need prior appointments and the facility has extended working hours to suit the needs of all clients. The state-of-the-art facility was inaugurated in a grand manner in the presence of key executives from both organizations including Karl Hamer, the Managing Director of Al Habtoor Motors, Hussain Jamal, RAK Mall Manager, Neil Coolledge, the General Manager of SpeedFit and other senior officials. With the addition of this service center, SpeedFit now has facilities at 42 different locations throughout the GCC region. SpeedFit Clinic serves the needs of all kinds of vehicles including SUVs, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The Al Habtoor Group has ambitious plans to make SpeedFit the leading fast-fit company in the Middle East, and will shortly expand the current network to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Karl Hamer, the Managing Director of Al Habtoor Motors, described SpeedFit Clinic as an important initiative that would change the retail experience in the region. He said customers will no longer have to endure the long waiting lines and hours of boredom at a service station while ...

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Cooper Tire Adds New Discoverer SRX to Range of Luxury SUV Tires

Over the past 100 years, Cooper has proved its expertise in designing, manufacturing and marketing tires for all types of passenger cars and light trucks. The company has a special range of high performing all-season tires. The latest addition to this range is the Discoverer SRX, which has been designed especially for luxury SUVs and crossovers. The most notable features of this tire are its superior highway traction and exemplary handling giving vehicles the ability to provide customers with a smooth and comfortable ride. The tire comes with Cooper’s innovative Wear Square technology which was first seen in the Cooper’s CS5 Touring tire. It has a visual indicator incorporated into the tread design which permits users to assess the state of the tread with just one look. The Wear Square passes through five stages depending on the wear of the tread. The first stage is a fully square design and when the tread is close to the legal minimum tread width of 2/32s of an inch, it reduces to an exclamation point. The Wear Square has six reference points on both the inside and the outside of the tire to alert drivers about uneven wear or problems with the ...

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Tips to Handle a Joyride Gone Wrong

We often hear and read online about unfortunate incidents like carjacking, robbery and accidents that happen to others. These result in loss of property and even loss of lives. However, we give such incidents serious thought only when they happen to us or someone we know, Yet, the fact remains that street crime related to car drivers and passengers is quite common and few of us have the knowledge to deal with it when we face it. While a cool head, presence of mind and quick thinking can help immeasurably when faced with a crisis, learning techniques to deal with danger gives us a head start if we encounter such a situation. A flat tire, for example, is something most drivers will relate to. Many of us will recall incidents of being stranded on a road while we either wait for help or spend time changing the tire. At night, or in a tunnel, it can be ten times more serious, since it is not only dark, but traffic also thins as time progresses. This presents an ideal opportunity for carjacking, robbery, or even kidnapping.

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Experts Claim Voice-recognition Software As Distracting as Hand Held Devices

Using hand-held devices while driving is not only potentially dangerous, but it is also a legal offense in many countries. With the introduction of voice-recognition software, drivers thought they had found a safer alternative. They could now multi-task while keeping both their hands on the wheel. These hands-free devices were expected to keep drivers from getting distracted while on the road. However, the results of a recent study published by the AAA Foundation prove that voice recognition software can be just as distracting as hand held devices. According to the research, the technology – even though easy on hands – adds to a driver’s mental distraction. Most of such software, for example, calls for highly specific words to follow instructions, demanding a certain level of cognitive attention. This can take a driver’s mind off the road, at least for a few moments. Sometimes, it can even take longer for a driver to find suitable words to word his request than to punch the needed buttons with his hands on the machine. One of the biggest problems, according to J. Peter Kissinger, the President of the AAA Foundation, is that most drivers are unaware of this distraction. Lulled into a sense of safety by the knowledge that they are using a hands-free device, they tend to be less guarded and only realize the full consequence of their distraction when they face accidents. The study also found that users perform best on systems that require the least amount of time to complete their request. Complexity of the task was another factor. While simple tasks, like changing a radio channel are less taxing, menu-based functions require far more mental involvement. The make and the model of the software also contribute towards reducing or increasing the level of distraction. Using software that best decreases the risks of distraction can go a long way in reducing accidents. According to AAA, Toyota’s Entune leads on that front. Calling the results for Toyota, “a best-case scenario”, the Foundation found that Entune provides a relatively smoother voice-based interaction with a simple design interface thus placing a lighter cognitive burden on the driver. On the other hand, Chevrolet MyLinkinfotainment system's voice-recognition technology lost points on the basis of its poor performance. But it was Siri-based interaction that proved to be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to accidents. According to the AAA, out of the 36 participants in the research, two of the three simulators crashed were by those using Siri. The research holds the inconsistencies in the software responsible for this. For example, Siri would sometimes give two different responses to apparently identical queries. In other instances, Siri demanded specific phrases and failed to comply when the demand was not met. Researchers also realized that many participants eventually gave up trying to convey their wishes to the machine. They suggest that instead of repeated attempts that can lead to frustration, perhaps the safest thing to do is for drivers to perform the task manually. Kissinger advises manufacturers to focus more on these hands-free devices to overcome their shortcomings. At the same time, he warns drivers to exercise caution when using these devices. Irrespective of what makers claim, this technology needs to be refined a lot more before it becomes safer than hand held devices.

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Industry Experts Give Overview of Upgrading Modern Cars with ICE Gear

Music makes the world go 'round, and depending on its quality, any road trip can be more fun and exciting. No wonder, there is a never-ending quest for car audio innovation nowadays, and there are several associations that make this possible. However, the big question in today’s industry is whether modern vehicles can still integrate aftermarket in-car entertainment (ICE) systems. This is what the fifth session of...

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Gold Plated Miniature Aston Martin Fetches Price of GBP 55000

When an Aston Martin car sells for £55,000 ($90,000), there is little reason for surprise. It is an Aston Martin, after all. But what made this auction newsworthy is that, the model was a scaled down version of the actual car. And this was no ordinary model; it was a 24-carat gold-plated DB5! Fifty years ago, Aston Martin DB5 made its grand entry on the big screen as superspy James Bond’s car of choice in the famous in the movie, ‘Goldfinger’. The ‘Bondmobile’, as it is fondly remembered, remains to date the most popular Bond car to grace the silver screen. Any Bond fan will recall the thrill of the silver-birch DB5 zooming across the screen accompanied by powerful special affects that made the viewers’ hearts race. Interestingly, when Ian Fleming wrote ‘Goldfinger’, he chose the DB Mark III for James Bond. However, the movie makers decided to use the DB5 instead since it was Aston Martin’s latest model at the time of filming. During the filming, two Aston Martins were used; one which was the original DB5 prototype, and another car for stunts. A year later, the same car was used in another Bond movie, ‘ThunderBall’. To celebrate the golden anniversary of the Sean Connery movie, the 1:3 scale replica of DB5 was auctioned online, after registering interest from around 19,000 viewers from 129 countries. The model was snapped up by one Robert Tyrell, a farmer from Abingdon in Oxfordshire, England, who is also a huge Bond fan and collects classic cars. The scaled down replica was created by Proposhop at Pinewood studios and signed by the legendary Bond Production Designer, Sir Ken Adam. The real-life features that gave the DB5 model a ‘blast from the past’ feel were the radio-controlled machine guns, the rotating license plate and the bulletproof shield – it was the movie version come to life! Proceeds from the sale were channeled to National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) by Christie's and EON Productions. The sale became one of the highlights of the five lots which raked in a total of £136,800 for the cause. The other highlight was the Goldfinger Seamaster, 'Aqua Terra' wristwatch, which sold for an incredible amount of £70,000.

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New Aluminum Alloy Heralds Advent of Lightweight Tires

Over the years, tiremakers have labored to develop lightweight wheels. Such wheels are especially in demand in the freight industry, and companies have been focusing on ways to meet this demand. Hence, when Alcoa launched the lightest wheel in the industry, it made big news. The Alcoa Ultra One weighs 40 pounds and is the outcome of a newly developed alloy, Magna Force by the tiremaker. The wheel – with aluminum as the base product – is 47 percent lighter than a steel wheel of the same size (22.5 inches x 8.25 inches). Not just that, but it can save up to 1400 pounds per rig. Interestingly, this is the first time a wheel alloy has been changed in 45 years. Now the property of Alcoa, the Magna Force alloy was created in the company’s Technical Centre outside of Pittsburgh. With this development, aluminum has now become the new buzzword in the tire industry. And why not? To begin with, wheels made from aluminum alloy are resistant to corrosion, which means they do not rust. This automatically reduces maintenance and operating expenditure since they do not require stripping and repainting. When you apply this to a fleet, this translates into a considerable saving. Moreover, the wheels are at least six times brighter than their counterparts. This means better and cleaner presentation, which helps to bring in more advertising revenue from those who want to market their products on trailers. The true worth of such a wheel is appreciated in carriers because with a lighter wheel, the trailers can take on more load before reaching their maximum weight limit. Often it happens that trailers have space left over after loading cargo, but they cannot be filled any further because they have hit the local requirement for weight load rating. Minus the dead weight of the wheels, trailers are now in a position to carry much more cargo.. The idea is fast gaining in popularity, especially in European trailer industry, where around 90 percent of fleets have converted to wide based wheels. In the US, however, fleets are still not open to such a major change and prefer to remain traditional at this point. It could be probably due to the fact that when you switch from a dual application to a wide based application , it is difficult to take a U-turn,, since there are too many tires and wheels.

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Safety Tips for Commercial Tires

Tire safety is a subject that cannot be stressed enough, whether it is for drivers or technicians. The wheels that carry the load of a vehicle need to be designed with extra precautions, and similar care should be taken when inflating and mounting them. Those working in the industry are aware of the dangers related to the inflation process. However, surprisingly, many people do not practice safety procedures, though there have been many cases of serious injuries and even deaths when proper procedures were not followed. This is especially important when dealing with big tires and a few basic tips can make a world of difference. First and foremost, comprehensive training should be given to all technicians for thorough understanding of safety measures. They should also be provided with the right tools. Most importantly, every shop that deals in commercial tires should have an inflation safety cage. A tire should never be inflated while resting against on a wall or on the floor. Filling a little air to seat the tire is fine – around 20psi to 40psi – but for full inflation, it has to be inside a cage. Safety cages are particularly useful if a tire bursts during the inflation process, because they can bear the brunt of the explosion and reduce the impact significantly. Technicians should always ensure that the cages are in workable condition, and should be replaced if they are cracked or corroded. The placement of a cage is equally important and given the risk of potential explosion, it should never be fastened to the floor or a wall. Similarly, technicians should not stand too close to the cage while inflating a tire. They should position themselves at least three meters away and use a remote inflation system with a clip-on chuck and an extension hose. They should also wear safety goggles during the procedure. Techs should take extra care to ensure that during the inspection, the tire and wheel are kept inside the cage. As a safety precaution, they should stick to the use of a remote inflation system even when topping up tires on a truck. Moreover, a tire should be completely deflated before it is demounted. Prior to mounting a tire, it is essential that it undergoes a thorough examination. Technicians should ensure that the wheel is not bent, cracked, or rusted. Also, when cleaning the bead seat , they should always use a non-inflammable lubricant. Moreover, the tire and rim must be of the same diameter, or else the tire bead could break. Since fitting a tire on a vehicle is a routine job for technicians, over time they may get to be a little careless in their approach to safety. However, once again, attention to safety measures is just as vital, especially when dealing with trucks. The jacks – whether hydraulic or air/hydraulic – used to lift trucks should be in good working order and should be regularly examined for damage. Likewise, a jack should always be placed on solid ground and should never be of lower capacity than the weight of the axle it is lifting. Technicians must also ensure that parking brakes are set and that chocks are put on the opposite side. Lastly, a jack stand and mechanical pins should support the axle. Although these safety procedures may seem overwhelming, the fact remains that a few steps can save tires and vehicles from damage. More importantly, it can save lives and reduce the risk of injuries to people involved in the procedures.

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