© 2023 by John R. Quain

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Built in New York City

January 15, 2020

This year's CES 2020 tech show was a much more muted affair than in (many) years past. There was no single killer product, and there was a lot of waiting for future technologies--microLED, a smart home standard, quantum computers. On the automotive side, CES was still very much a car tech show, but many companies were treading more cautiously or not offering rides in autonomous cars at all.

Nevertheless, out of the 4,000-plus c...

October 25, 2019

In a year when the autonomous vehicle business has hit a big reset button, consensus is growing among designers that self-driving cars just aren’t perceptive enough to make them sufficiently safe. So now engineers are considering using more sophisticated sensors and technology — tech that can see through rain and even look underground.

“There are still deficiencies in the sensor suite,” said Bobby Hambrick, chief exec...

July 31, 2019

Last week's announcement that Bosch and Mercedes-Benz would begin the first government approved deployment of a fully-autonomous driving function--valet parking--was no doubt a milestone. But more important, hidden within the news were 4 interesting lessons for automakers and those working on self-driving cars.

The initial debut of the "automated valet parking" will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Museum parking garage in Stutt...

February 1, 2019

While some car companies like Ford are thinning their model lines, others like Honda are filling them out trying to offer a just-right Goldilocks vehicle for every type of buyer. To wit, the new 2019 Honda Passport, a cute ute that the company wants you to know can handle rough terrain, too.

Honda is pitching the 5-seater compact SUV against the likes of Nissan's Murano, Ford's Edge and Toyota's 4Runner. The Passport is a more...

January 22, 2019

"Go slow." Yeah, you don't have to tell me twice. It's the first time I've ever driven a full-blown, road-hogging, fully-loaded (78,000 pounds!) tractor trailer. So I'm taking it easy.

Why is Daimler letting me take a massive semi-tractor trailer out for a spin? I don't have a Class B commercial trucker's license, and while I've driven everything from a Lamborghini Huracán to a Rolls-Royce Wraith, I've got no experience with bi...

January 14, 2019

"It's really an autonomous car show now," Valeo's CTO, James Schwyn, told me one evening at this year's CES consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas. And he was not being hyberbolic.

Nearly one third of the convention center in Las Vegas was given over to automotive tech this year (not counting the smart cities area), plus all the parking lots surrounding the center, at least three separate hotel venues and the Las Vegas Mo...

October 19, 2018

With every new model, Volvo refines its semi-autonomous safety technology, and the snazzy 2019 Volvo S60 is no exception.

Snazzy? A Volvo?

Volvo has established itself as not just a safety but also as a technology leader in the automotive space. Along the way, the automaker has also spiffed up its vehicles, smoothing out its lines, bolstering its interiors, and delivering premium sound from the likes of Bowers & Wilkins. The 201...

September 17, 2018

Can we squeeze one more model into the luxury compact crossover category? Cadillac thinks so and has just introduced its all new bouncing baby Caddy, the 2019 XT4.

August 31, 2018

Honda wants to remind buyers its Pilot likes to play in the dirt (and the sand and the snow).

For the launch of the 2019 Honda Pilot the automaker is emphasizing more of the SUV aspect of its crossover this go-round. I took it through a bumpy course that Honda set up in California, nearly tipping the Pilot over with wheels spinning in the air (to show off its torque vectoring), stopping in and taking off from a sand trap (to de...

June 21, 2018

Historically, luxury compact crossovers have gotten a bad rap, probably because the sine qua non of the category was initially the Lexus RX, a quieter, gentler crossover. But times and tastes have changed, as evidenced by the all new 2019 Acura RDX, which brings improved performance and more refined technology to the category. (Oh, and at a reasonable price.)

The 2019 Acura RDX design is more muscular, without becoming muscle-b...

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Amazon Bets on EVs

September 20, 2019

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CES 2019: Self-Driving Cars Dominate

January 14, 2019

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2011 Ford Edge Sport:

Tussling With New Technology

Should the driver adapt to the car or should the car adapt to the driver?

One might think that advances in technology would favor the driver, but not everyone would agree after spending time with Ford’s technologically tricked-out 2011 Edge Sport. Certainly the virtue of its MyFord Touch, one of the most advanced in-car computer control systems, is that it offers owners plenty of options. But that is also its vice: there are too many options.

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