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Monday
Feb232015

Autonomous Cars and Winter

With all the current talk and opinions from pundits on autonomous cars. 

Ever wonder how these vehicle would behave in winter, or even inclement weather? 

The current driver aids shut down when the climatic conditions are not auspicious or block certain sensors. 

Smart Cruise Controls in a driving rain stop functioning, and will alert the driver. Obvious that snow is even worse. 

We all know, at highway speeds a good amount of snow, slush accumulates on the front (bumper-grille) of any vehicle.

Lane Departure is the same, if the sensors no longer see the lines on the road to verify the location of the vehicle.

Fascinating that in Canada all the conversations of autonomous vehicles overlook the reality that we have snow, slush, feezing rain for several months of the year. The highway (401) that connects the 2 most populous cities (Montreal-Toronto), as well as one of the busiest border crossing further west (Detroit) in winter is always affected by unpredictable conditions. 

Will autonomous systems comprehend climatic and snow/ice/slush conditions better than humans? What do you think?

At some point in time we will have autonomous vehicles in Canada, that will be fully autonomous for 6 months of the year. 

 

 

 

Saturday
Feb212015

Cutlass Banshee

An off road Cutlass...

 

 

 

Friday
Feb202015

Vroom Room

Good Morning

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment.

Yes...one week to go and its month end.

Another yes...its been frigid this week.

In case you did not know the Strada mission statement "Passion in everything that we do. We don't follow we lead..."

This week we inadvertently noticed that we must have disrupted some sort of insecure established order in the Canadian autospehere. It probably started with our review of Canadian Sales 2014 which garnered appreciable attention last month. In hindsight we must have rattled and disrupted a few "sand boxes", while inciting some folks to raise the level of their game.

Fascinating to see the perspective of some folks when it comes to thought leadership.

If you are of an age that you remember Isky (Iskenderian) camshafts take a look...here.

When the price of oil and gas dropped like a rock all the talk was of how much money consumers were going to save. It was a shortsighted perspective. At the time we mentioned that consumers would save money at the pumps, and would have to spend it for other items primarily food.

In the meantime, the CDN dollar has dropped like a rock, while prices at the pump are at $1.02 a liter (oil companies are comfortable at >$ 1.00), and prices for food with the lower dollar are heading for the roof. Save it at the pump, spend it for food.

Not to brag but we were saying that from the outset...while everyone else was focused on the savings at the pumps; and what it would do for the economy.

Our usual old cars from the Kuwait Concours d'Elegance 2015...impressive photo gallery.

 

 

 

Thursday
Feb192015

Cold and Cars

At times you have an epiphany of sorts...the other day we had one.

If you remember mechanical cars, with carburetors, ignition points to name a few. You surely remember the colder it got, the more challenging it was to start a car (vehicle) in the morning.

With advances in technology, be it fuel injection, improved ignition systems, we have quickly forgotten the challenges of a cold start, and the initial effects of cold on a vehicle.

Some things never change, and when its appreciably cold (minus 25-30 C) for a few days and you pay attention, cold continues to have an impact on a vehicle.

In no particular order:

Aluminum Engine Block: Contracts a bit more than steel, creating more friction on a cold start.

Oils: Even synthetic, still increase in viscosity from a good cold soak, be it motor oil, transmission, power steering.

Plastics: From decades ago, they crack and groan, a good reminder that its cold.

Starting a modern vehicle is much easier, as well as letting it warm up...the engine stays on fast idle for a shorter period of time, and obvious makes a few additional sounds.

Once you start moving its the same decade old experience.

Automatic Transmission: the oil is thicker the transmission shifts are slower.

Brakes: The brake fluid is cold, the brakes take a moment longer to apply, and release.

Power Steering: If its an old school hydraulic power steering, its stiff, its only half power for a while.

Thermostat: Once the thermostat open the engine temperature sinks like a rock.

Sounds: The familiar cold sounds of creaking here, cracking there.

Block Heater: Even with modern cars if temperatures are lower than minus 30 C, a block heater will be useful.

Technology: Interesting that the technology behaves quite well in cold temperatures.

Warm Up: We still believe that wen its minus 25 C its a good idea to warm up a car for a few minutes, to put some initial heat in the engine, and get components turning. What do you think?

We could keep on going...it struck us that when it comes to cold and cars some things simply do not change.

 

 

Wednesday
Feb182015

Dare Greatly

A compelling Cadillac video...Dare Greatly.

With quotes from "The Man in the Arena"

Is this the "reset" moment for Cadillac?

We sure hope it is...