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Why Are Car Thermometers So Inaccurate?

"Unfortunately, your car's thermistor is also not very helpful in the winter. Because it isn't accurate to always distinguish between above and below freezing, it can't help you figure out if the road may be coated with black ice. With all these limitations, car thermometers are a fun toy, but not very useful if you actually are looking to find out the temperature. You're better off checking the weather on your phone. As long as you're not currently driving, anyway."

Here’s How Much Businesses Pay To Get On Those Big Blue Exit Signs

"If you own a business that falls into one of these groups—attraction, pharmacy, camping, lodging, food and gas—and your business is located near a controlled-access state highway, then you’re eligible to get your company on the big blue sign. This could be a great opportunity to bring in more customers."

"But not everyone is eligible to display their firm’s logo; that’s because the state’s requirements are rather strict, specifying things like distance from the highway, operating hours, required amenities, and number of parking spots available."

Ford to Ride-Sharing Firms: Our Service Centers are Ready and Waiting

"Ford Motor Company may soon press dealership service centers to prioritize maintenance and repairs for ride-sharing fleets and their employees. This comes after the company’s decision to expand its in-house shuttling firm, known as Chariot, and as its long-term plan to bring an autonomous ride-sharing solution to market by 2021 takes shape. But Ford also knows rival companies can be a strong source of revenue. Omnicraft, anyone?

Even moderately sized cities have several thousand Uber and Lyft drivers, and Ford’s CEO of Smart Mobility Raj Rao thinks they represent an untapped resource. He believes service centers should go the extra mile for them, even if it means some dealerships have to stay open 24 hours to provide swift turnarounds. "

A year of digging through code yields “smoking gun” on VW, Fiat diesel cheats – Ars Technica

"That legal assessment of the defeat device scandal seems to have held up as the researchers analyzed the cars’ code. The VWs and Audis in question checked for a number of parameters at startup, and if a lab test was a possibility, the car would start with that assumption, enabling full emissions controls. The code permitted the car “to operate... as if two distinct personalities took turns controlling the vehicle,” the paper’s authors wrote.

The paper also notes that the researchers tested the diesel Fiat 500X because it used the same Engine Control Unit from Bosch as the Volkswagens and Audis did. There was no mention of the “acoustic condition” in the Fiat’s function sheet, but some undisclosed code was discovered controlling how the car regenerates its NOx Storage Catalyst (NSC).

“Unlike the Volkswagen defeat device, the FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] mechanism relies on time only, reducing the frequency of NSC regenerations 26 minutes 40 seconds after engine start,” the paper notes. In a normal system, the NSC reduces NOx emission by trapping it in a catalyst and then regenerating the catalyst as it gets full.

But regeneration hurts a car’s fuel economy numbers and puts a lot of load on the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). “By reducing the frequency of NSC regeneration, a manufacturer can improve fuel economy and increase DPF service life, at the cost of increased NOx emissions,” the researchers explained."

A Design Engineer Explains Exactly Why Your Car Is So Boring

"So next time you get in your car, look around. Think about the things you do and don’t like about your car. Realize that nothing in your car exists because one engineer didn’t get enough sleep and decided to put that USB charger just out of your grasp. Designing a car is an immensely complex, exhausting process and each part has its own story. Try to understand how all those stories come together to make one coherent, attractive, quality, affordable, safe vehicle, and you’ll understand the challenge of my job."

TZ Bridge deck panels to be reused

"The 61-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge, scheduled for demolition this summer, is going to live on in Orange County.

In a new twist on reuse-reduce-recycle, the county has asked the New York State Thruway Authority for 14 of the 150 prefabricated deck panels that will be salvaged from the bridge before it is dismantled.

“We have one bridge – the Corwin Bridge - already in design to accept the panels,″ said Chris Viebrock, the county’s public works commissioner.

The bridge, which carries County Route 11 (Mount Hope Road) over the Shawangunk Kill in the Town of Mount Hope, is getting an estimated $690,000 makeover. The panels will shorten the construction timetable and shave the cost.

Viebrock, praising the Thruway for making the panels available, said he is also evaluating the feasibility of using them on three other bridges as well as two crossings on the new extension of the Heritage Trail between Goshen and Middletown."

Shared Autonomous Vehicles Could Still Increase VMT

Conventional wisdom assumes there will lots of cheap oil for the coming fleet of autonomous vehicles. Or that coal-fired powered plants, generating electricity will replace the need for cheap oil. But will it?

I still think in many ways we are at the twilight of the fossil fuel-era. Many of the predicted fossil fuels won't become a reality, because most of them are marketing gimmicks.

And I'm not sure that autonomous vehicles are all they are cracked up to be? Will computers ever be smart enough to react to potholes, pedestrians, deer, fog and other drivers? Even if they are safer then humans, will people trust a system that still causes carnage on the highways?

I don't believe there will ever be autonomous vehicles in mass. I think motoring is in it's final years, and we should enjoy it while it's still a thing.