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Is it illegal to use the Apple Watch while driving?

Posted Sep 17th 2014 11:29AM

Apple Inc. Reveals Bigger-Screen iPhones Alongside Wearables

In conjunction with the typical Internet feeding frenzy that goes hand in hand with the announcement of each new iPhone, Apple has been cited in countless headlines this week after its debut of its new Apple Watch on September 9. The so-called "smartwatch" is far from an industry first – Samsung, Motorola and Pebble all have models on the market, and who can forget 2003's Fossil Wrist PDA? – but as per usual, Apple's entry is garnering more than its fair share of media attention.

The Apple Watch ("iWatch" to many) has also raised interest of a more ominous sort from certain regulatory bodies. Last week, multiple automotive outlets in the United Kingdom ran stories quoting officials from that country's Department for Transport as saying that use of an iWatch while driving would carry the same penalty as use of a mobile phone. For the Brits, then, getting nabbed checking an alert on one's wrist might mean the same 100-pound fine (about $160) that was instated last August.

For the Brits, getting nabbed checking an alert on one's wrist might mean a $160 fine.

If that seems like a strong response to a product that won't even hit the market until next year, UK road safety research body the Institute of Advanced Motorists would like to have a word. In a recent release, the IAM unfavorably compares the use of a smartwatch while driving to its studies of smartphone use, suggesting that such watches might demand two-handed use by drivers with "constant alerts" requiring "regular attention" from those behind the wheel.

Now, as right-hand steering wheels will tell you, the British and we Americans don't always see eye-to-eye on traffic code. With the exception of a few challenges to the legality of driving with Google Glass, distracted driving laws in the US haven't seemed to move past the paradigms of smartphones, hands-free headsets and texting.

Distraction.gov compiles a list of the distracted driving laws from state to state in the US, which really run the gamut from no bans at all (Montana), to primary offenses for the use of handheld phones, all texting, and any cell phone use whatsoever for bus drivers (California).

Most states have some laws on the books regarding texting while driving, however, as its consumption of visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver is the most negatively engaging.

Importantly, a lot of distracted driving laws also use the term "handheld" in their prohibitions. A smartwatch might not require the use of your hand any more than a traditional watch does, though many (Apple Watch included) will use touch controls for some features. It's logical that some of the "handheld" laws might transition to smartwatch use, though it's still pretty difficult to understand how these bans might be enforced with any consistency.

We reached out to representatives at the US Department of Transportation and others for comment, and have yet to get a statement, but the truth seems to be that this is an area that is still just being considered for study. As ever, the legal code will trail technology despite the best efforts of all involved. One thing seems pretty clear even now, though – we're all better drivers with both hands on the steering wheel.

News Source: IAM.org.uk, Distraction.gov, Auto Express

Image Credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images

2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe configurator is ready to get personal

Posted Sep 17th 2014 11:00AM



If you are in the market for a luxury coupe but would prefer it to be American, then you are in luck because the configurator for the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe is now online.

Prices for the Cadillac start at $38,990 (including the $995 destination fee) for the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, or $46,145 for the 321-hp, 275-lb-ft 3.6-liter V6. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual on some 2.0 models or a six-speed automatic on both of them, and they can be ordered with all-wheel drive for $2,450 to the four-cylinder or $2,600 to the 3.6.

One thing that Cadillac does especially well here is giving customers a plethora of models and options to choose from. Trim level choices include standard, luxury, performance and premium for the four-cylinder or luxury, performance and premium for the V6. There are also 10 colors available, five of which carry an extra premium of $495 or $995. Upgraded interior packages for $1,295 add improved trim and leather, as well.

The two major option packages for the ATS Coupe are Cadillac's Cue Infotainment, the price of which varies with the various trims and is standard on premium models. There's also a Driver Assist Package for $3,035 that adds adaptive cruise control, collision preparation with brake assist, automatic braking, rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert and lane change alert.

If you like the angular looks of the ATS sedan but just wish it had two fewer doors and a touch more style, then go build an ATS Coupe to see what you think.

News Source: Cadillac

Image Credit: Related images copyright 2014 Steve Siler / AOL

Holden celebrating V8 Supercars legend Craig Lowndes with special Commodore

Posted Sep 17th 2014 10:15AM

Holden Commodore SS V Craig Lowndes Special Edition

Craig Lowndes is a household name in Australia. One of its most accomplished domestic racing drivers, Lowndes has racked up an impressive array of checkered flags over the course of his 20 years on the grid, and now Holden is celebrating his career with a special-edition muscle car you see here.

The Craig Lowndes SS V Special Edition Commodore is based on the flagship Redline performance model, which means a 6.0-liter V8 churning out 351 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque in a four-door sedan similar to the Chevy SS. But for the Lowndes edition, GM's Aussie division has applied special stripes, badges and more, with exact specifications and pricing yet to be revealed. But it will also invite buyers to special events with Lowndes and his Red Bull Racing team.

For those of us who don't follow Australian racing, Lowndes has had an impressive career. He started out 20 years ago when he won Australia's Triple Crown of motorsport in his rookie season, taking the Australian Touring Car Championship (now known as V8 Supercars), the Bathurst 1000 and the Sandown 500 all in his first year. Over the course of the two decades since, Lowndes has taken three championships, five Bathurst wins and a record 97 race wins to become one of Australia's most victorious racing drivers – driving for Holden since 1996.

News Source: Holden

Citroen and Ines de La Fressange Paris show off two new concepts

Posted Sep 17th 2014 9:31AM

Citroën DS3 Ines de La Fressange Paris Concept

Citroën DS3 Cabrio Ines de La Fressange ParisCitroën is taking some inspiration from the famous Parisian style with two new, chic concepts based on the DS3 (above) and DS3 Cabrio (right) with input from the fashion house Ines de La Fressange Paris. There aren't any actual mechanical tweaks to them; they just show what the cars could look like with a dash of haute couture.

The DS3 hatchback gets a spray of Ink Blue, satin-finish paint with a slightly contrasting Onyx Black roof, and its Cabrio sibling wears gloss Perla Nera Black body with an Infinite Blue softop roof. Other than the colors, they share a ton of other features with Ines Red mirror caps, 17-inch wheels, an Ines de la Fressange Paris emblem on the center pillar and a subtle Aéropostale red, white and blue trim strip wrapping around the back. They're both handsome vehicles, but it's hard to understand why some extra paint and trim make them concepts.

Inside, the two of them are identical, and their blue, white and red color scheme echoes the French flag. Compared to the relatively subtle exteriors, the dashboard is covered in eye-piercing Ines Red with the company's emblem. The seats are covered in Granite Blue leather with white stitching to get all of the colors in there. The Aéropostale trim strip also gets used again on the seats.

Both DS3 concepts will make their world premiere at the DS World Paris on September 17, and they they'll also be on display at the Paris Motor Show in October. Scroll down to read the full announcement about these stylish Parisian hatches.

News Source: Citroën

ATS gives up on De Tomaso, moves to Canary Islands

Posted Sep 17th 2014 8:44AM

ATS Sport

Those truly schooled in the history of Italian sports cars will recognize the letters ATS. They belong to Automobili Turismo e Sport, an outfit formed after the great "Palace Revolution" at Ferrari in the early 1960s. ATS folded a few years after that, but recently resurfaced some 50 years later under new caretakers. And now it's changing hands again.

In correspondence with Autoblog, ATS chief Gianluca Gregis revealed a number of changes in store for the resurgent niche automaker. For one thing, it has new investors, which means new money for new projects. For another, it's leaving Italy – shifting from its current base of operations in Borgomanero to a new facility in the Canary Islands. The move to the Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco means easier shipping to locations around the world (including North America) and certain tax incentives as well.

In the process, however, ATS is jettisoning some dead weight. It was set to take over De Tomaso after Gian Mario Rossignolo failed to make a go of it, but has now withdrawn its bid. It's also sold its most recent Leggera roadster program to another automaker, yet to be identified. From its new base of operations, ATS intends to focus primarily on track cars like the recently upgraded LMP-style ATS Sport (pictured above). Meanwhile development of the proposed ATS 2500 GT, we're told, moves apace.
Related Gallery2015 ATS Sport
2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport2015 ATS Sport

Image Credit: ATS

Peugeot heirs go back to the grind after losing automaking business

Posted Sep 17th 2014 7:58AM

FRANCE-ECONOMY-PEPPERMILL

The Peugeot family has long been the largest shareholder in the company that bears its name. But PSA Peugeot Citroën – one of Europe's largest automakers – recently launched a capital campaign that saw it sell large chunks of shares to overseas investors, decreasing the Peugeot family's stake from 25.5 percent to 14.1 percent. The move meant that the Peugeots are no longer in control of Peugeot SA (PSA), so now they're looking to other interests. Like pepper grinders.

If you've ever traveled to Europe, you may have seen a Peugeot pepper grinder on the tables of finer restaurants. The Peugeot family started out making pepper grinders, coffee mills and bicycles in the early 1800s before it got into the car business, but like Volvo cars (which is owned separately from Volvo trucks) or Husqvarna motorcycles (which has nothing to do with the home appliance and power tools operations of the same name), the Peugeot pepper-grinder business has nothing to do with the automaker.

The family recently began diversifying its assets and this past June regained control of PSP Peugeot SAS, the company that makes the grinders. Now that the carmaking business is out of its hands, the family is putting its nose back to the grindstone and focusing on the peppermill operation.

According to Bloomberg, the company's new chairman Jean-Philippe Peugeot and chief executive Philippe Rapacz have a turnaround plan in place that will target medium and upscale customers with its premium pepper grinders while dropping the PSP Instruments tooling business that was loosing money.

News Source: Bloomberg

Image Credit: Sebastien Bozon / AFP / Getty

Xcar goes analog with the Ferrari F40

Posted Sep 16th 2014 8:00PM

Ferrari F40

We will forever be in love with the Ferrari F40. From its blunt-force appearance to its 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine living and breathing perilously close to the driver's head, the F40, the last model designed and built with input from Enzo Ferrari himself, has been and likely always will be the Ferrari of Ferraris for automotive enthusiasts who grew up in the 1980s.

All of this raises an interesting question: is the Ferrari F40 the best supercar of all time? A case can certainly be made, and after watching – and, just as importantly, listening to – all 17 minutes of blood-red Italian glory from Xcar, you're going to have to try long and hard to convince us that anything could be sweeter than this particular Prancing Horse.

Watch the video above, aptly titled Analogue Animal. You owe it to yourself. So go ahead, sit back, turn up your speakers and click play.

News Source: Xcar Films via YouTube

What you missed on 9.16.14

Posted Sep 16th 2014 7:30PM

Daily U-Turn

Bugatti VeyronBugatti Dynamic Driving Experience

Ever wonder what it's like to have so much money that you can literally buy anything you want? What would that be like? Our man Basem Wasef gets to play the part of the rich distinguished gentleman as he learns what it's like to be courted by Bugatti, and it sounds just as amazing as you would expect it to be.





robotic car Do we need a Federal Robotics Commission?

In case you hadn't noticed, today's cars and trucks are incredibly complex pieces of machinery with an ever-increasing bevy of computer programming baked in. And that's a trend that isn't going to be changing any time soon. Does the US need a Federal Robotics Commission to monitor such future tech as driverless cars?




Bentley Mulsanne SpeedBentley Mulsanne Speed is a monster of torque

Torque. It's good. In fact, it's great. Torque is the force that gets a car's wheels moving, and the more of it an engine produces, the more smoke its rear wheels can create on their way to pushing a car forward. So, how much torque is enough? How about 811 lb-ft at just 1,750 rpm? Yes, Bentley, that sounds like *just* enough.




Top Stories

Congress skewers NHTSA's investigative competence

Watchdog Agency Missed Chances To Uncover GM Defect, Report Says

Posted Sep 16th 2014 6:58PM



NHTSA's incompetence played a role in allowing the General Motors ignition switch crisis to go undetected for years.

Five months after the top official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promised to reform the federal agency charged with keeping motorists safe, it remains mired in dysfunction and inaction.

A report from the House Energy and Commerce committee released Tuesday found that NHTSA's incompetence played a role in allowing the General Motors ignition switch crisis to go undetected for years, and says that the agency continues to lag behind in its efforts to improve its performance.

"There is no evidence, at least publicly, that anything has changed at the agency," the report said. "No one has been held accountable and no substantial changes have been made. NHTSA and its employees admit they made mistakes but the lack of urgency in identifying and resolving those shortcomings raises questions about the agency's commitment to learning from this recall."

Following the release of the report, David Friedman, now NHTSA's deputy administrator, appeared before a Senate committee investigating the agency's role in the deadly GM problem. Senators wanted to know how the agency missed warning signs and failed to appreciate critical pieces of information in a decade-long string of missteps and missed opportunities that prolonged discovery of an ignition-switch defect responsible for killing at least 19 motorists.

Image Credit: Associated Press

Renault Eolab is a hyperefficient, conventional-looking answer to VW's XL1 [w/video]

Posted Sep 16th 2014 6:29PM

Renault Eolab

Watch out Volkswagen, Renault has your number. Debuting at the Paris Motor Show in a few weeks, this Renault Eolab concept aims to match the German automaker's XL1 space pod's fuel economy – without its out-of-this-world styling and offbeat packaging. The VW, which gets its name from its ability to go 100 kilometers on one liter of fuel (about 260 miles per gallon), will no longer be the only vehicle able to be that miserly with fuel use, at least on paper.

The B-segment Eolab (we keep typing Ecolab, like the hygiene company) uses a combination of low weight thanks to materials like magnesium and aluminum, careful aerodynamics and an updated version of Renault's Z.E. [Zero Emission] hybrid gas-electric powertrain to be so frugal. In fact, the car weighs just 400 kilograms – 880 pounds – which is crazy light and means less energy is required to move it down the road. The battery part of the Eolab's PHEV powertrain will offer about 37 miles of range. In all, Renault says there are "100 new, realistic technological developments" in this showcar that could come to upcoming Renault vehicles.

Sadly, Renault is calling this cool concept "an innovative showcase with an environmental core" for now, but we'd love to try one in the real world. We're eager to learn more about this car, and we look forward to hearing Renault officials expound on how a car like this could be mass produced within the next 10 years. For now, we'll just take a look at the video below.
Related GalleryRenault Eolab
Renault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault EolabRenault Eolab

News Source: Renault

Ford unveils next-gen S-Max in Europe

Posted Sep 16th 2014 5:46PM

2015 Ford S-Max

Let's get this unfortunate though important tidbit out of the way right off the bat: The Ford S-Max isn't sold in the United States, and it's not coming here, at least not anytime soon. And so it's with our European friends in mind that we share this information about the next-gen S-Max (previewed about a year ago in concept form) that is set to debut all across Europe next year and will be shown off at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Now, moving on...

As with the first-gen S-Max, the new model will boast seating for seven passengers, along with a decent amount of storage space, all packed into a relatively reasonably sized package. Powering the front wheels (or optionally all four) will be the buyer's choice of EcoBoost gasoline-turbocharged or turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines along with automatic and manual transmission options. Included in the mix is a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost with 160 horsepower, though the 240-horse 2.0 is likely to be seen as the headliner.

There are all kinds of new technologies on offer, ranging from Adaptive Steering to Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeams, and it's all housed inside new, more sleekly designed bodywork riding atop a chassis with new suspension architecture designed to make the S-Max a people-hauler that's still fun to drive. For all the details, we suggest you scroll down below to read through Ford's official press release.
Related Gallery2015 Ford S-Max
2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max2015 Ford S-Max

News Source: Ford

Watch this sportbike rider snatch up a GoPro at maximum lean

Posted Sep 16th 2014 5:01PM



As much as we'd love to offer up the disclaimer, "Professional rider on a closed track," we can't. As it turns out, rider Derek Molle snatched up a GoPro camera lovingly left between the yellow lines on the J turn on Mullholland, according to the video's description on YouTube.

That being the case, we'll leave you with this disclaimer instead: "Do not try this at home." To which Mr. Molle himself adds:"You will crash." Check out the video of Molle above as he grabs the GoPro off the ground while leaned over and dragging a knee, and stay for the video selfie at the end.

News Source: RNickeyMouse via YouTube, Asphalt & Rubber

Dodge Viper saved from crusher by students, but will it last?

Posted Sep 16th 2014 4:31PM

1992 Dodge Viper

The saga of the Washington state community college hoping to keep its allegedly pre-production Dodge Viper out of the maw of the crusher is going strong. Not only does the school still have the car, but there's a chance that the college might even get to keep it.

The whole situation flared up in March when the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA, received a notice from Chrysler Group that requested that the school's Viper be destroyed. The automaker had loaned the muscle car to it about a decade ago to use for educational purposes in its auto tech classes. With the Dodge growing long in the tooth, "it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students," the company said in its press release on the matter.

However, the college balked at destroying its Viper, despite the fact it had signed a contract with Chrysler Group to do so. The school further claimed that its car was incredibly special because it was a pre-production example and just the fourth one made back in 1992. Although, as we pointed out at the time, the photos of the school's vehicle showed a coupe that looked like a newer Viper GTS.

In a recent followup from Fox News, things appear to be tenuously positive for the college. It's negotiating with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to find a way to get ownership of the Viper. A company spokesperson said for Fox's story, "We continue to pursue an amicable resolution of the matter." Until there's a final verdict, this muscle machine is safe as an education tool to teach students how to wrench on its big V10. Hopefully, we won't have to watch this Viper get crushed.

News Source: Fox News

Tony Stewart case to be presented to grand jury

Posted Sep 16th 2014 3:42PM

Federated Auto Parts 400 - Qualifying

Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future.

With that quote, Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo has signaled to NASCAR driver Tony Stewart that the case against him in the matter of the death of fellow racer Kevin Ward, Jr., will be an ongoing concern.

According to the D.A., specifics of the information presented to the grand jury, including who is called to testify as a witness and what evidence members are shown, is confidential. The public in general will have to wait until the jury's "determination has been made" before hearing what the status of the case will be.

Stewart, who has been described as cooperative by investigators up to this point, has released a statement indicating that he will continue to cooperate as required in this next phase of proceedings. NASCAR has chimed in as well, stating that Stewart will be allowed to continue racing.

News Source: USA Today

Image Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty

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