Posts Tagged ‘motoring’
Sweden is set to willingly welcome 100 self-driving Volvos in the world’s first large-scale autonomous driving project. The Swedish government think cars that drive themselves will be good for the whole of society and aren’t at all concerned about fast moving, autonomous death cylinders moving around the streets, filled with drunk Swedes.
The project that will begin in 2014 and use around 50km of roads with the first robot cars in Gothenburg by 2017.
However, as this involves a load of Volvos, it is incredibly difficult to get excited about the whole thing. If anyone dies during this experiment, it will inevitably be through boredom. Why can’t Subaru or Ferrari do one of these tests? 130mph cars with no driver is clearly going to be more fun that Volvos that bring their own leather stringback driving gloves.
Anyway, Volvo technical specialist Erik Coelingh said that the aim is for the cars to be able to handle all possible traffic scenarios by themselves, which means tackling commuter routes, leaving the traffic flow and finding a safe spot if the driver is unable to regain control.
The ‘Drive Me’ project focuses on how driverless cars bring societal and economic benefits through improving traffic efficiency and road safety.
Wonder if drivers will still angrily shout at cyclists in their sleep? Or will the cars do that for them too?
In Britain, it’s more expensive to run a car than anywhere else in the world. Yes, your little Honda Jazz costs more to run than Justin Beiber’s pimp mobile, or Bret Michaels’ souped up RV full of dirty ladies.
On average we pay £3453 a year to stay on the road, which is a grand more than the Americans and the French, and £2000 less than the Chinese, who are scooting about on the cheap and living it up.
Webuyanycar.com took motoring costs from 21 countries and found that we shell out 27p a mile on average – paying more for fuel, tax and insurance. And of course, the thing we’re spending the most on is petrol. A whopping £2256 a year goes on filling the damn thing up.
Only Denmark and Switzerland came close to our prohibitive car costs. But the cheapest place to run a car is Saudi Arabia, where it costs the princely sum of £237.32 a year to own a car. But of course, they do have all the oil. And women aren’t allowed to drive, so that cuts costs for the oppressed ladies straight away.
Do you want a depressing table of costs? Thought so. Happy motoring!
1. UK £3,453.66
2. Netherlands £3,370.42
3. Switzerland £3,321.80
4. Italy £2,966.69
5. Portugal £2,914.63
6. Germany £2,856.04
7. France £2,538.82
8. USA £2,425.36
9. Spain £2,421.87
10. New Zealand £2,387.20
11. Australia £2,128.24
12. Canada £1,828.65
13. India £1,805.94
14. Russia £1,727.82
15. Japan £1,628.38
16. China £1,315.12
17. South Africa £1,280.18
18. UAE 672.01
19. Qatar £527
20. Argentina £269.92
21. Saudi Arabia £237.22
According to MPs, motorists who appeal against what they believe to be an unjust parking ticket should still be given a 25% discount, even if they lose their appeal. This idea has come about in a bid to help drivers to feel more at ease when challenging tickets and would put an end to the process that gives you a discount for paying it immediately, whether you’re guilty or not.
There should also be a 5 minute ‘grace period’ before having a ticket slapped on the windscreen and that CCTV should be stopped from spying on motorists to stop everyone from being looked at like they’re ‘wallets n wheels,’ they added.
Not only that, we shouldn’t have to appeal against parking tickets where tribunal adjudicators have noticed repeat problems, such as poor signage and the like.
In essence, it looks like this is an attempt to put an end to cowboy councils and parking firms who are rinsing everyone. To bring some kind of fairness and transparency, councils could soon be asked to publish annual parking-charge reports to show where their income comes from and how it is being used, according to a report by the House of Commons’ Transport Select committee.
The use of parking charges and fines specifically to raise revenue is “neither acceptable nor legal”, said its chairman Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who added: “There is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it’s essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency.”
“Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this come from on or off-street parking charges. It’s right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding.”
“A 25 per cent penalty charge discount should also be introduced for motorists who pay within seven days of losing any appeal to a parking tribunal. Local authorities currently offer a 50 per cent discount if motorists pay their penalty charge within 14 days, but remove this benefit entirely from motorists who appeal to a tribunal.”
AA president Edmund King said: “The AA receives many complaints about parking enforcement and we believe that some of the measures in this report would help to ease the situation. In particular we welcome the five-minute grace period as many drivers are petrified that rushing into the corner shop for change for the pay & display will cost them dearly.”
“Offering a 25 per cent discount to those who lose appeals is a step in the right direction but we still feel that the full discount should be offered.”
A report commissioned by the government has suggested raising the age of driving to 18. In an attempt to cut road accidents and Fast and Furious races in pimped Vauxhall Novas, it also suggests a 12 month ‘Learner Stage’ which will involve 100 hours of driving practice during the day and 20 hours at night.
The report, from the Transport Research Laboratory, even recommended a curfew for young drivers between 10am and 5pm, unless they have an adult over 30 in the car with them (or their Mum, gripping the dashboard and wiping her sweaty brow with a vanilla Magic Tree.)
Statistically, teenage drivers cause 20% of accidents on UK roads, and young men aged between 17 and 20 are seven times more at risk of causing an accident than male drivers in other age brackets. Stephen Glaister from the RAC welcomed the proposals, saying:
‘Young people are four times more likely to die in a road accident than as a result of drink or drugs. Circumstances conspire against young drivers. Their youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix which means one in five will have an accident within the first six months of passing their test.’
But are teenage drivers any less stupid at 18 than they are at 17?
You know how cars are getting bigger and wider? And the bigger the car, the more likely it’ll be driven by someone with no spatial awareness, possibly playing Fruit Ninja on their phone while Bluetoothing their mum?
Well, add that to the charmingly outmoded small spaces in UK car parks, and you’ve got yourself some bumps and scrapes – costing drivers £500million a year. According to a survey by Halfords, cars have widened by 16% in recent years, while parking spaces haven’t changed for 20 years. The result is that 10 million drivers a year are scratching their paintwork trying to force their gas guzzling behemoths into spaces that just weren’t designed for them.
38% of drivers said they thought parking spaces were too small, naming supermarkets and train stations as the worst offenders. And some argue that local councils are deliberately make parking spaces smaller to maximize profit – and that Department of Transport guidelines for the size of parking spaces have been the same since 1994.
So what’s the solution? Make car parks really enormous until they cover the EARTH? Make cars even bigger, until they resemble monster trucks that can crush smaller cars in their wake? Or perhaps buy a smaller car that doesn’t look like a wanker’s tank – and try to be considerate enough not to drive it into the side of other people’s motors?
The watch is designed for drivers of the various Nissan Nismos… but what does it do?
Well, using a Bluetooth low-energy connection, the watch gathers data from the car, including speed, efficiency information, fuel consumption and all that. Nissan says the telemetry data will then show drivers their track performance.
It’ll also monitor driver health, such as heart rate and all that jive.
You’ll be able to charge it through a Micro-USB port and Nissan reckon the battery will last for a week. In the future, these Nissan watches may include technology about electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms and monitor your skin temperature.
Just what you need when you’re driving to work, farting along to your Michael McDonald CDs.
They’ve also found that drivers are having to use savings, hammer their overdrafts and borrowed from friends and families to pay for fuel.
The AA report says: “Four pump price swings in the past 18 months, each temporarily adding up to £5 to the cost of a small tank of fuel, have forced one in six drivers (16 per cent) to raid savings, owe money to the bank, pawn possessions or take out a payday loan.”
“A further 20 per cent have seen fuel price surges push their budgets to near breaking-point.”
AA president Edmund King said: “Fuel price desperation has created a new and sinister twist to the phrase ‘driven into debt’. Our survey has exposed the heavy impact of fuel price surges and which groups of drivers are particularly vulnerable.”
“Last week, we laid bare the consumer backlash to rising fuel prices, showing that yet another pump price swing crashed UK petrol consumption in July down to winter levels. This survey moves the microscope from the forecourt to the home and finds unsettling evidence of fuel market-inspired deprivation.”
“Young drivers with little capital to fall back on and who are likely to be on lower pay scales are clearly suffering the most – one in 50 of them have put themselves in real financial danger by taking out a payday loan. But, they are not alone.”
“But the survey reveals that one in 50 of middle-aged AA members, aged 35 to 44 years, have also turned to high-interest lenders to counter crippling fuel price surges. These drivers are probably saddled with family costs and mortgages or high rents, and their predicament is even more disturbing.”
Surrey Police, for some reason, have taken it upon themselves to start rapping. Being the po-po, they’re not rapping about making it rain on strippers or anything fun like that, rather, the dangers of driving in wet weather.
This humorous message was in relation to the cheerily horrific 130-car pile-up on the Isle of Sheppey Crossing in Kent yesterday, with several motorists taken to hospital.
A snazzy new central London skyscraper, known as the Walkie Talkie, is responsible for baking a man’s Jaguar as he parked across the road from it. 20 Fenchurch Street, which is covered in glass and cost £200 million to build, reflected the sun’s rays right onto the car, much to the dismay of owner Martin Lindsay.
The car was only parked for an hour in Eastcheap, but its panels buckled and the wing mirror melted due to the strength of the heat.
Other car owners have also stepped forward to complain, including heating engineer Eddie Cannon, who parked his Vauxhall Vivaro van in the same parking bay.
‘The van looks a total mess,’ he said. ‘Every bit of plastic on the left hand side and everything on the dashboard has melted, including a bottle of Lucozade that looks like it has been baked.’
The 37 storey skyscraper, designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, has a concave shape that reflects the sun’s rays, and has been renamed the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ by hilarious London wags wiv hearts of gold. But Mr Lindsay, who runs a tiling company, was not amused.
‘They’re going to have to think of something,’ cried Mr Lindsay, picking bits of liquefied plastic off his pride and joy. ‘I’m gutted.’
But is it a design fault, or the revenge of an ANGRY GOD? The jury is out.
Cardiff topped the survey for driver behaviour and scored 97% for politeness with Birmingham and Sheffield in second and Coventry and Glasgow completing the top five.
Factors taken into account were a driver’s likeliness to thank other drivers, stop for pedestrians at crossings and giving way at junctions.
The worst drivers were found in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, with Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh also scoring low because they’re all filled with impotent rage and the men have small penises.
With that, the survey found that woman drivers were more polite than their male counterparts and, unsurprisingly, drivers of small and medium cars were much better behaved than van drivers.
Here’s the league table:
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a foldable, compact electric car, which could answer a lot of pollution and parking problems.
In-Soo Suh, Associate Professor of the Graduate School for Green Transportation at KAIST and his research team introduced a prototype micro electric car called ‘Armadillo-T’.
The Armadillo-T, like its animal namesake, tucks itself away, shrinking its 2.8 metre size down to almost half, 1.65 meters. It’s a four-wheel drive, all-electric and, when folded up, takes up only one-third of a 5-meter parking space.
It has a smartphone-interfaced remote control, which means the vehicle can turn 360 degrees, which will help when parking into tiny spots.
Professor In-Soo Suh said: “I expect that people living in cities will eventually shift their preferences from bulky, petro-engine cars to smaller and lighter electric cars. Armadillo-T can be one of the alternatives city drivers can opt for. Particularly, this car is ideal for urban travels, including car-sharing and transit transfer, to offer major transportation links in a city. In addition to the urban application, local near-distance travels such as tourist zones or large buildings can be another example of application.”
Many things cause car crashes – stupidity, texting, not paying attention, – but it would appear that the worst offender of all is…flip flops.
Yes, not only are flip flops are vile, but they’ve been proved to reduce braking times, and could be responsible for over 1.4 million accidents in the UK alone. In a poll carried out by Sheila’s Wheels, 1 in 3 people said they had driven wearing flip flops, and 27% of drivers admitted they’d got their foot caught under pedals or had near misses as a result.
More than half the 1055 motorists who took part in the survey also said they’d like to see tougher guidelines about the kind of footwear that’s suitable to drive in. And the worst driving shoes were (in order of danger): Flip flops, bare feet, wedge heels, espadrilles and sandals.
Of course, some surveys are dodgier than others, and guess what? Sheila’s Wheels have developed a special shoe cover with extra foot support which you can keep in your glove compartment and attach to the bottom of your flip flop before you drive. They’re calling it ‘the ultimate summer car accessory.’
Hmmm. How about (as it’s nearly autumn, anyway), you just bin your stinky £3 Asda flip flops and wear another pair of shoes that don’t cause you to mow down pedestrians and die?
Just a thought.
Motorists hogging the middle lane or tailgating will get three points on their licence and a £100 on-the-spot fine, while driving without a seatbelt and using a mobile at the wheel will end up in a £100 fine, up from the old £60 penalty.
Anyone driving with no insurance will now face a £300 penalty. If you do all of the above at the same time, you’re buggered.
Police have also been given powers to issue on-the-spot fines to drivers found using the wrong lane on a roundabout or not giving way at a T-junction.
The Government are hoping these plans will stop careless or dangerous driving, provided of course, there’s enough police to call upon to patrol and enforce these new rules, which come in as of today.
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.”
“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”
Another day, another scam – except this one is particularly evil. Motorists are being warned about a new insurance scam nicknamed ‘Flash for Cash’, where gangs are flashing their lights to let people out of junctions and then crashing into them on purpose.
Criminals usually target expensive cars, but also – because they’re lovely that way – they’re ploughing into the back of vehicles driven by old people and women with children in the back. As Neil Thomas from the Asset Protection Unit explains, they like to pick on people who won’t fight back.
‘Perhaps single females in the car with children in the back, perhaps doing the school run. Where they know there’s going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene. The children are going to be upset.’
There’s already an established scam, known as ‘crash for cash’ where the scumbags slam their brakes on (often with tail light bulbs removed), causing innocent motorists to crash into the back of them.
However ‘flash for cash’ is trickier and harder to prove, as it’s a case of the innocent motorist’s word against theirs. Gangs are making thousands per accident through false personal injury claims, loss of earnings and repair claims – and it’s costing insurance companies around £392 million a year.
So, forget goodwill, courtesy and all that crap. If some dodgy-looking geezer flashes their lights you to let you out, ignore them.
Thanks for making the world a better place, criminals.
Road safety charity Brake, along with DVLA and insurance company RSA, reckon that regular eye tests for drivers could cut the number of casualties on UK roads by around 3,000.
A survey of 1,000 drivers found 26% have not had an eye test in the last two years and that more than one million drivers have never had one, aside from a driving instructor asking them to read a licence plate when they were doing their lessons.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: “Being able to see properly is fundamental to being a good driver. Your eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing, and at the wheel that can be lethal.”
This campaign comes on the back of the death of Cassie McCord who was killed in Colchester when an elderly driver mounted a pavement and hit her in February 2011. The driver had failed a police eye test, but officers were unable to persuade him to hand over his licence.
Cassie’s mother Jackie told Sky News: “They spent two hours coercing him, trying to get him to surrender his licence voluntarily, but he refused. He got in the car three days later and killed Cassie.”
The subsequent campaign resulted in “Cassie’s Law” which now enables the police to remove someone’s licence from someone within minutes, rather than the old process that took days. The upshot of this could now result in drivers needing to take some personal responsibility and get regular tests.
What do you think?