February 2, 2021

Autonomous System Supporting Human Assisted Transport (ASSHAT)

Better journalism for driving Tesla automobiles.

What is autonomous vs what is reacting to a human request ?
Experienced driving enthusiast Alex "144" Roy is the master at deciphering PR hype that bamboozles many experienced and otherwise credible tech reviewers.

Does a "lane keeping" system center the car in the lane or only take action when the car strays from the lane ?

Does an "emergency braking system" act upon detecting when that the driver is attempting an emergency stop or that there is an obstacle in the car's trajectory ?

how the media gets Tesla wrong the David pogue edition

Continue reading "Autonomous System Supporting Human Assisted Transport (ASSHAT)" »

April 2, 2020

Uniden R7 playlist

  1. How to update firmware on r7
  2. Vortex FAQ 2019 remote mute at 5:08
  3. Vortex set up and configure GPS-stamp your favorite traps GPS User Marks 4:22
  4. Vortex Uniden R7 fw 1.29

See also RD Forum

April 13, 2019

A quick drive across Europe ? Those days may be over

It's over. The era of European grand touring--the pursuit and enjoyment of elite speed across the face of the continent in powerful cars, the classic driving vacation--is finito. I've tried: From Wales to Croatia, from southern Italy to northern Scotland, and definitely not central France.

I'm worried about my car-loving friends, though. Europe's nearly airtight enforcement of speed limits threatens whole empires of make-believe: brands like Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG; aftermarket tuners and tire makers; and all the businesses that swim like remoras next to big, expensive cars (detailing, insurance, auction houses, road- rallies). Their businesses all hang on a myth, the promise of Europe as a driving playground, which it hasn't been, really, since the 1960s.

'Europe's near-airtight enforcement of speed limits threatens whole empires of automotive make-believe.' -- Dan Neil.

April 8, 2018

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions

Traffic flow measured on 30 different 4-way junctions, a great animated dataviz.

March 5, 2018

Human-Driving Manifesto

The first five points of Alex Roy's Human-Driving Manifesto are on point.

1. We Are Pro-Human, in pursuit of life, liberty and freedom of movement, by any means that does not infringe upon the safety of others.

2. We Are Pro-Technology, but only as a means, not an end. Technology is only as good as our understanding of it, and an incremental approach will save more lives in the near and long term while mitigating the second order consequences of an all-or-nothing approach.

3. We Are Pro-Safety, through a combination of improved drivers education, deployment of Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS)--such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) & Forward Collision Warning (FCW) Systems--and Parallel automation.

4. We Support Raising Driver Licensing Standards. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Earn it, keep it. Abuse it, lose it. Periodic retesting is essential. Education must include familiarization with the capabilities and limitations of new safety technologies.

5. We Support Defined Safety Standards & Transparency. "Safe" and "safer" must be defined, and claims by autonomous vehicle manufacturers and providers must be backed up by data shared publicly. If and when self-driving cars meet a regulatory safety standard, their deployment cannot infringe the public's freedom of movement.

October 21, 2017

Nevada recently implemented a new 80 mph speed limit on a 130 mile stretch of Interstate 80 northeast of Reno

Nevada now joins the exclusive club of states that permits speeds of greater than 75 mph on a few rural highways and interstates, which includes Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

-- Kristen Lee

August 1, 2017

Olga Cook story, west side highway tragedy

The husband of cyclist Olga Cook, who was killed by a drunk driver last June at the intersection of West and Chambers Streets, is suing the City of New York, the State of New York, the Hudson River Park Trust, and the Battery Park City Authority over her death.

Ms. Cook was run over at approximately 8:00 pm on the evening of June 11, 2016 when a white Ford truck, driven by a 26-year-old Samuel Silva, traveling southbound on West Street, made an abrupt right turn onto westbound Chambers Street, and struck Ms. Cook, who was riding north along the Hudson River Park Greenway.

Olga Cook,the 30-year-old newlywed and triathlete who was killed by a drunk driver while cycling in Battery Park City on June 11, 2016.

"There were 17 prior crashes at just this location, in the years preceding Olga's death," says attorney Daniel Flanzig, who is representing Ms. Cook's husband, Travis Maclean. "And five of those incidents also resulted in serious injuries. And there have been multiple deaths of cyclists at other locations in the Hudson River Park's bike path."

Continue reading "Olga Cook story, west side highway tragedy" »

May 7, 2017

An insurance bill for damage to the vehicle that hit her ?

For the first time in her life, Nako Nakatsuka felt hopeless. On April 6, 2014, the typically upbeat biochemistry grad student and member of the UCLA triathlon team had been making a left turn off Santa Monica Boulevard on her road bike when a car drifted into the turn lane and hit her from behind.

But it wasn't the crash that got to her--it was what came in the mail a month later: an insurance bill for damage to the vehicle that hit her, along with the threat of a lawsuit.

Continue reading "An insurance bill for damage to the vehicle that hit her ?" »

October 26, 2016

trolley problem

The "trolley problem" was first introduced in 1967 by Philippa Foot, a British philosopher.
The trolley problem is a simple if unpleasant ethical thought puzzle.

The trolley problem is not a test on the current tests for human drivers.

July 10, 2016

Autodesign, 1980 - 2010, four-door fastback 'coupe'

BMW will sell you an X6 "coupe" which, properly speaking, should be called the X6-11 because it looks exactly like a Citation X-11 with the nose from a Pontiac Grand Am welded on as an afterthought.

In retrospect, it's fairly obvious why somebody would trade in a '79 Granada for an '84 Accord: You got twice the gas mileage and more than twice the longevity at virtually no cost in usable interior room. That's a practical, sensible decision.

It's not nearly as easy to understand why someone would trade a 2011 Accord for a 2016 Pilot or CR-V. There's a substantial price penalty to be paid for the "upgrade" to a crossover or SUV. Fuel economy suffers. Tires and brakes wear out quicker and cost more to replace. The handling of any lifted vehicle is always much, much worse than that of the car from which it's derived. Look at it this way: If you knew with absolute certainty that your morning commute tomorrow would feature a flatbed losing its cargo on the road ahead of you, scattering cars and trucks in every which direction while you tried to steer and brake your way to safety, would you rather be driving a Camry or a Highlander? A BMW 530i or a BMW X5? A Porsche Cayman, or a Cayenne?

To choose a crossover instead of a car is to willingly give back virtually all of the advances that American buyers gained when they went from Granadas to Accords. And what do you get in return? It can't be that customers demand all-wheel-drive; that was offered in everything from the Camry to the Tempo back in the Nineties and very few people stepped up to pay the extra money. Most of the "SUVs" I see on the freeway nowadays have an empty hole where the (optional) rear differential would go anyway.

-- Jack Baruth has won races on four different kinds of bicycles and in seven different kinds of cars. Everything he writes should probably come with a trigger warning.

June 13, 2016

Google's Self-driving car

Google self driving car report; WashPost on how the era of self driving cars will change more than cars.

April 9, 2016

Sleep for empathy, cognition, and safe driving

Not getting enough sleep is a big problem.

Randomized controlled trials show that people who are sleep-deprived can see decreases in their empathy. More than one such study has shown that sleep deprivation can leave people more sensitive to pain. Sleep deprivation can hurt cognition, and it is associated with many, many car accidents.

Sleep for empathy, cognition, and safe driving.

September 8, 2014

Simplified cockpit for busy driver

Much as regulators and automakers have rushed to deal with the flood of distractions that invade the automobile -- GPS displays, Internet radio, e-mail and even Facebook apps -- there is a growing effort by engineers to build cars that gauge the difficulty of situations and recognize a driver in distress. Then the car would react, delaying all but the most urgent alerts, sending phone calls to voicemail and freeing the driver to focus on the task.

The study of driver workload management -- some would point to the irony in this reaction to a situation partly created by automakers themselves -- is progressing alongside the efforts of the planners who dream up new generations of infotainment features. A foundation of workload study is the Yerkes-Dodson Law, a theory developed in the early 20th century that plots workload and performance on a bell curve.

There can be trouble at either end -- an inattentive, underworked driver may be as much a risk as an overworked driver who cannot handle the combined sensory inputs and driving chores. In the middle is the ideal, a driver functioning at optimum level.

Systems that detect driver drowsiness, like the Mercedes-Benz Attention Assist feature, can prompt a driver to be more alert, but driver overload is harder to manage. N.H.T.S.A. has issued voluntary accessory-design guidelines in an effort to reduce distraction, but given consumers' hunger for gadgets, managing those distractions to reduce workload may prove a better solution.

As safety groups press for restrictions on phone conversations and messaging in the car, the urgency to find a solution will only increase, experts say. Studies of driver workload have a long history, but a milestone came in 2003 when the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a unit of the Transportation Department -- in conjunction with Delphi, the giant parts supplier, Ford Motor and several universities -- began a research project to quantify distractions and driving situations as a way to generate workload estimates.

Paul A. Green, a University of Michigan research professor, said in a telephone interview that the Volpe study stimulated research. Today, automakers and universities are developing technologies that will let them measure the level of driver stress and the response to the pressure. That data could be used by a management system that would delay calls, alerts, text messages and warning lights at the times when the driver's workload was peaking and the stress level was high.

Continue reading "Simplified cockpit for busy driver" »

February 21, 2014 motorist alternate side parking

Wherein "Do not park here" is revealed to be "park on other side of street":

August 25, 2013

Peak car

city, state and federal policies that for more than half a century encouraged suburbanization and car use -- from mortgage lending to road building -- are gradually being diluted or reversed. "They created what I call a culture of 'automobility,' and arguably in the last 5 to 10 years that is dying out," Ms. Sheller said.

New York's new bike-sharing program and its skyrocketing bridge and tunnel tolls reflect those new priorities, as do a proliferation of car-sharing programs across the nation.

A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The millennials don't value cars and car ownership, they value technology -- they care about what kinds of devices you own, Ms. Sheller said. The percentage of young drivers is inversely related to the availability of the Internet, Mr. Sivak's research has found. Why spend an hour driving to work when you could take the bus or train and be online?

From 2007 to 2011, the age group most likely to buy a car shifted from the 35 to 44 group to the 55 to 64 group, he found.

Continue reading "Peak car" »

March 26, 2013

Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety

The researchers interviewed all the drivers, gathering information about various health and lifestyle issues, including caffeine consumption over the past month. The study was published online in BMJ.

After adjusting for age, driver experience, distance driven, hours of sleep, naps, night driving and other factors, they found that drivers who consumed caffeine were 63 percent less likely to be involved in a crash.

Results Forty three percent of drivers reported consuming substances containing caffeine, such as tea, coffee, caffeine tablets, or energy drinks for the express purpose of staying awake. Only 3% reported using illegal stimulants such as amphetamine ("speed"); 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy); and cocaine. After adjustment for potential confounders, drivers who consumed caffeinated substances for this purpose had a 63% reduced likelihood of crashing (odds ratio 0.37, 95% confidence interval 0.27 to 0.50) compared with drivers who did not take caffeinated substances.

According to the lead author, Lisa N. Sharwood, a research fellow at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, this does not mean that caffeinated drinks are the answer for road safety.

Continue reading "Caffeine May Boost Driver Safety" »

September 9, 2012

Uber #2

Taxi officials say that Uber's service may not be legal since city rules do not allow for prearranged rides in yellow taxis. They also forbid cabbies from using electronic devices while driving and prohibit any unjustified refusal of fares. (Under Uber's policy, once a driver accepts a ride through the app, no other passenger can be picked up.)

Cabbies using the Uber app receive a smartphone loaded with its technology, which tries to predict areas where rides are in high demand. The driver nearest to a requested pickup location receives a notification and is given 15 seconds to respond.

Travis Kalanick, Uber's chief executive, rejected criticisms that the service violated city rules against prearranged yellow-taxi rides. "Prearrangement means it's basically on behalf of a base," he said in an interview. "We're not working with a base."

David S. Yassky, the chairman of the commission, said only that the city had "led the country in terms of putting new technology to work for riders" and noted that the commission was currently requesting proposals for a smartphone-based payment system.

At the meeting, officials raised concerns about a regulatory issue that would prevent Uber from processing credit cards for taxi rides, according to Mr. Kalanick.

Mr. Kalanick said he had agreed to make the app's new services available for no charge for the next week, so that riders could "get a taste of the future," while the two sides try to resolve the regulatory concerns.

Uber is one of several start-ups, like Taxi Magic and GetTaxi, trying to profit by connecting drivers and passengers more efficiently. Another company, Hailo, said it had already registered 2,500 drivers to use a similar service that it planned to unveil in the coming weeks.

Continue reading "Uber #2" »

June 13, 2012

A highway that is running at peak capacity has only 4.5 percent of its surface area occupied.

Traffic jams can form out of the simplest things. One driver gets too close to another and has to brake, as does the driver behind, as does the driver behind him -- pretty soon, the first driver has sent a stop-and-go shock wave down the highway. One driving-simulator study found that nearly half the time one vehicle passed another, the lead vehicle had a faster average speed.

All this leads to highway turbulence, which is why many traffic modelers see adaptive cruise control (A.C.C.) -- which automatically maintains a set distance behind a car and the vehicle in front of it -- as the key to congestion relief. Simulations have found that if some 20 percent of vehicles on a highway were equipped with advanced A.C.C., certain jams could be avoided simply through harmonizing speeds and smoothing driver reactions.

One study shows that even a highway that is running at peak capacity has only 4.5 percent of its surface area occupied. More sophisticated adaptive cruse control systems could presumably fit more cars on the road.

-- Tom Vanderbilt

September 25, 2011

Honda losing its way

My family has owned four Civics over the last 20 years. Every month I pay $347.66 on my daily driver, a Civic Si sedan I bought new back in 2008. With this new, indifferent Civic, alongside the hulking second-generation Pilot sport utility; the Insight, a cut-rate Prius clone; and virtually all of the current Acura models, Honda seems intent on eradicating its own distinctiveness.

Where is the Honda that built the sophisticated Prelude sporty coupe, the intuitive S2000 roadster, the overachieving Integra Type R and the world-beating NSX supercar? The Honda where keeping things simple also meant better quality, thoughtful detailing, exquisite engineering and delightful mechanical operation?

I want that Honda back.

Continue reading "Honda losing its way" »

June 5, 2011

Middle class economy car: make less than $85k, drive an economy car

famous Prius owners just like driving a 50 m.p.g. hybrid even if they could commute via yacht and helipad. And even for many middle-class converts, the Prius's $26,000 median price is hardly a burden: Toyota figures the average Prius household pulls in nearly $83,000 a year, which is rather high for an economy car.

Those figures help to illuminate Toyota's logic behind the 2011 Lexus CT 200h. Is this deluxe hybrid hatchback a better car than the Prius? You bet. Is it really worth an extra $7,000 or $8,000? For a bargain hunter, no. But for a certain well-heeled, light-footed buyer, the Lexus should be a painless stretch.

The CT 200h won't quite match the Prius's mileage, but at a robust 44 miles per gallon in my own combined city and highway driving, it's close enough. And despite its pokey Prius-based hybrid system, the Lexus gives people good reasons to move up.

The CT is more luxurious, more quiet and feels more solidly put together. And its distinctive design, inside and out, may attract two types of customers: bored Prius owners who want something new, and people who crave high mileage but wouldn't be caught dead in a Prius, for either its econobox vibe or its granola image.

Continue reading "Middle class economy car: make less than $85k, drive an economy car" »

August 2, 2010

Hamptons on $40 a day: all you get is parking

Choosing a favorite Hamptons beach is not unlike choosing a favorite child. Still, two beaches were among the top 10 named this year by Stephen P. Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. Coopers Beach (in Southampton) captured the No. 1 spot, beating out beaches in Florida and California. And Main Beach (in East Hampton) took fifth place. Both are wide and clean and -- very important -- sell food. Many beaches require seasonal parking permits, though visitors can park at Coopers Beach for $40 a day. Parking at Main Beach is $20 a day, but weekdays only; on weekends visitors must walk or ride bikes. (Details the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau's Web site,

July 5, 2010

Avertisseur radar "radar warning": Vive le Navx, a la trapster

Navx is a €1m a year French company whose business is speed radar location databases. In France, it is illegal to sell or use selling radar detectors, devices that pick the microwave or laser radiation emitted by speed guns and automated cameras. But providing speed trap location data is lawful. In fact, the French Interior Ministry maintains a public database for fixed radars. And companies such as Navx, or various GPS makers supply location information for mobile radars.

-- Frédéric Filloux

August 16, 2009

Texting while walking: dangerous at any age

We've all heard that driving and texting is dangerous, but Dr. Milteer (Dr. Regina M. Milteer, a pediatrician in Fairfax, Va., and member of the Academy of American Pediatrics council on communication and media) warned that pedestrian accidents have occurred because children were texting as they crossed the street and were not aware of their surroundings. And even though it may not be as hazardous to use cellphones while sitting at the dinner table or mingling with friends, it is just plain rude.

Continue reading "Texting while walking: dangerous at any age" »

April 4, 2009

55 and careless

On the drive home, a state trooper on the Pennsylvania Turnpike pulled (former President) Truman over for careless driving. He had been blocking traffic in the left lane, cruising along at 55 miles per hour with a line of cars behind him.

Continue reading "55 and careless" »

February 14, 2009

Radisson 2009: tour du nord 2009


Google Maps

Flicker Set; example; DuctTape.

Motoring File



Continue reading "Radisson 2009: tour du nord 2009" »

December 15, 2008

Crashed exotic cars ?

Vodcars reports:

So where does that leave us? With the Ford GTs, the FXXs, the Pagani Zondas, the Carrera GTs, and of course, with the true historic classics like the E-Type Jag. These are the real exotics, and guess what--they had better be driven hard. Anyone who has ever met me knows that when it comes to cars, I have lost a few nuts and bolts in my head. I love to drive, even if it's in an aging Nissan 240, a car that somehow got me from NY-SF in 39 hours last month. Cars are meant to be driven. They should have rock-chips and bugs splattered across their front hoods. Seeing an exotic in this fashion gives me pride; it shows that the car is living up to its name and the owner knows how to treat her (Or him if it's named the Bismarck). So obviously, these cars will tend to break more, even crash more.

crash exotics

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March 5, 2007


Fast Lane Daily portal of driving and automotive blogs.

February 27, 2007

Labrador Pictures

MINI Arctic drive 2007: Labrador.


More pictures:
NHRef, CZMini.


February 21, 2007

Nain, Labrador sees the MINIs

Nain reports CBC’s Tony Dawson had some video of the cars
zooming and zipping around Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
The clips were shown on Here & Now.

January 6, 2007

BMW 335i, 328ix, but no 335ix ?

Comment on the joy of all wheel drive.

December 13, 2006

Road conditions, Highway 500

Road Conditions, see Hwy 500:

Quebec Border to Wabush
Wabush to Churchill Falls
Churchill Falls to Happy Valley-Goose Bay

October 19, 2006

MINI Arctic Expedition 2007

MINI Arctic Expedition 2007 planning.

  • Fundy / Gaspe Loop
  • Maritimes / PEI / Gaspe / Quebec City
  • Labrador + Quebec City
  • Return to Newfoundland


  • 2006 Exotic drive NY/NJ
  • Tri State 48HRS
  • 2006 Newfoundland
  • 2005 Radison, Quebec

  • October 3, 2006

    NY traffic lawyer for speeding tickets

    I was not speeding: traffic lawyers and ticket fixers in NY and NJ:

    The National Motorists' Association NY referrals.
    Frank Desousa at
    fax (877) 742-2268
    ph (877)965-3237
    Fax them your ticket, they phone back with a free consultation.
    NYTraffic Lawyer
    A former NYC Traffic Court Judge
    NYC speeding tickets a specialty
    -------- aka Michael Spevack
    recommended at SQC
    Casey W. Raskob: has personally lobbied for the 65 mph limit in Albany
    and at numerous Traffic Safety Conferences in New York State and
    elsewhere. With the National Motorist’s Association he has testified
    before the New Jersey State Senate and NY/NJ Port Authority on
    motorist’s issues. Self-description; recommended on NE Mini.

    September 13, 2006

    North American Pylon

    northamericanpylon gossip about autocross competition.

    August 25, 2006


    NY BMW CCA's forums and latest news.

    The New York BMW Car Club of America.

    August 4, 2006

    DUI, DWI: attorney or driver ?

    Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
    criminal charges ?

    Attorney fees or driver's wages ?
    A lawyer or a cab.

    A wonder that people of means drive themselves.
    Latest example: Pete Coors.

    Continue reading "DUI, DWI: attorney or driver ?" »

    June 18, 2006

    LIE Conditions

    L.I.E aka I-495, the Long Island Expressway conditions.
    Queens, Nassau, Suffolk to Riverhead.

    May 12, 2006


    STL BMW CCA aka STL BMW Club gave a great technical event: Gateway Tech.

    November 26, 2005

    I-64 exit 11 (MO)

    A new exit from I-64 in Saint Charles County, MO.
    Click on picture for full size photo pop-up.
    GoogleMap of area.

    I-64 westbound, Chesterfield, MO.

    Missouri River bridge, from Saint Louis County northwest into Saint Charles County.

    Continue reading " I-64 exit 11 (MO)" »