safety

Google driverless cars prompt robo safety worries

Google driverless cars prompt robo safety worries

Google's driverless cars being let loose onto the roads of Nevada has re-awakened concerns around robot vehicle security, with experts unconvinced that the increasingly complex kit is safe from malware. Fears around the future vulnerabilities of cars left to guide themselves, though perhaps not of significant concern today in Google's small-scale trial, nonetheless persist given the likelihood of commercial implementations of self-driving hardware, with researchers pointing to a mixed track record in locking down infotainment and other systems in "dumb" cars to-date.

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Fisker Karma blamed for Texas blaze

Fisker Karma blamed for Texas blaze

Green car company Fisker's tough year is about to get worse, with news that one of the luxury Karma EVs is being blamed for a house fire that consumed a garage and two other vehicles. The $100,000 car was less than two months old, the chief fire investigator in Fort Bend County, Texas, told Autoweek, and is being treated by officials as the cause of the blaze; however, Fisker insists that no final report has been made, and that the Karma may not be to blame.

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Advanced millimeter-wave radar to detect pedestrians and cars at intersections

Advanced millimeter-wave radar to detect pedestrians and cars at intersections

Panasonic has announced an interesting new advanced in millimeter-wave radar technology for automotive uses. The new radar technology is designed to detect pedestrians and vehicles in low visibility conditions at intersections. This type of radar can see clearly at night and in rain or snow. It can also see very well against strong direct sunlight, which can blind drivers.

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Alcohol-testing cars less than a decade away

Alcohol-testing cars less than a decade away

Vehicles that refuse to start unless the driver passes an alcohol breathalyzer test are closer than previously believed, with cars that check for intoxication tipped to hit the market within the next decade. Systems using both traditional "breath tubes" and new fingertip sensors are already in the pipeline, the WSJ reports, with manufacturers working with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) having "made more progress, faster, than we expected," according to Rob Strassburger, vice president for vehicle safety at the AAM. Yet while driver and passenger safety is the obvious concern, not everyone is keen on their car playing watchdog.

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Don’t bring flaming BMWs indoors warns government

Don’t bring flaming BMWs indoors warns government

Safety regulators in the US have warned owners of certain BMW 5- and 6-series cars that they should park outdoors after a fire risk in over 367,000 vehicles was identified, though BMW insists only one incident has actually been recorded. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that a battery cable in certain 2004-2010 BMWs may have been incorrectly attached, with the possibility of overheating and even fire, even when the car is not in use. The issue affects 1.3m cars worldwide.

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Laser liquid scanner could rescue water bottles from pre-flight trash

Laser liquid scanner could rescue water bottles from pre-flight trash

Having to dump your bottled liquids as you go through airport security has become a frustrating addition to flying headaches in recent years, but the awesome power of lasers could soon ensure your flask contains Evian not napalm. Cobalt Light Systems has cooked up the INSIGHT100, a laser scanning system that can differentiate dangerous substances from safe ones while they're still in their container, opening the aircraft doors to water bottles, perfume and toothpaste.

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Apple brings in Fair Labor Association to audit suppliers

Apple brings in Fair Labor Association to audit suppliers

Apple has requested an "ethical manufacturing" check of all its final-assembly suppliers, with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) investigating Foxconn, Quanta, Pegatron and others for signs of worker mistreatment or unsafe conditions. The FLA will look at working and living environments, health and safety provisions, compensation, working hours and communication with management, Apple has said; "We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment" CEO Tim Cook said of the independent assessments, which come after the company was singled out for criticism over poor treatment of supply chain employees.

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2013 GM Acadia gets first center airbag in the industry

2013 GM Acadia gets first center airbag in the industry

Air bags have been in vehicles for many years now, and while they have undergone changes over the years, they are undeniably saving lives in accidents. It's common today to have both driver and passenger side airbags. In the backseat, many vehicles even have side curtain airbags for the backseat passengers near the doors. Where airbag protection has been lacking has been from the center for the front seat occupants. GM is changing that with the addition of a center airbag for front seat passengers to its 2013 Acadia models.

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Apple CEO “outraged” at “offensive” factory claims

Apple CEO “outraged” at “offensive” factory claims

Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded angrily to allegations that the company knowingly used manufacturing partners guilty of labor abuses, telling staff that "we care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain" and calling the accusations "offensive." Cook blasted the NY Times report in an internal email to Apple employees, spilled to 9to5Mac; "Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us" the CEO wrote. "As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are."

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Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet's electric-powered Volt has been cleared by US federal safety investigators, with the plug-in car deemed to present no more significant fire risk than its gasoline-powered counterparts, and leaving Chevvy with the unenviable task of re-marketing the vehicle. "No discernible defect trend exists" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said of the Volt, going on to highlight General Motors' improvements to the structure of the car and the battery cooling systems. The investigation - perhaps uncomfortably public for GM - will educate new NHTSA guidelines on dealing with electric car safety.

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