The Road Ahead
The coming car-to-car communications requirements are just a sample of
what is in store for drivers.
"Cars in need of repairs will call a repair center for instructions and
do the repairs themselves." Not a high priority in the industry, it is
just a fall-out of the growing "internet of things," as reported by
Janna Anderson in the Club of Amsterdam Journal for February 2014. She
is the Director of the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University
and lead author of the Pew Internet & American Life Project "Future of
the Internet." In that same issue a "Wickipedia For Robots," posting
describes a "RoboEarth as a World Wide Web for robots: a giant network
and database repository where robots can share information and learn
from each other about their behavior and their environment. The goal of RoboEarth is to allow robotic systems to benefit from the experience of
other robots, paving the way for rapid advances in machine cognition and
behavior, and ultimately, for more subtle and sophisticated
human-machine interaction." Still more in the same issue on cars and the
future is a description of urban mobility shaped and facilitated by the
Internet to link all forms of transportation in ways that save travel
time, energy costs and congestion.
Of course there is a downside to this
progress as Neil Winton describes in his European Perspective column in
the Nov. 30 Detroit News. He says: "Cars that are driven by their
computers will have massive social and industrial ramifications, and
they will be ubiquitous by 2025. In addition to pluses he notes that
taxis, bus companies, railroads and short-haul airlines will lose
business. And, he says that when it becomes obvious that car
computerization works, short-term rentals will boom and bring sleepless
nights to carmakers.
Change begets change that begets technology,
distribution and content ceaselessly interacting to expand
and intensify our communications. Brian Sena, commenting
on this phenomenon in Marketing Daily says it has given
rise to "info-lust ... the insatiable desire for
information." This lust puts pressure on media companies
like Facebook to chase the new class of consumer, The
"info-sumer." Witness the $19 billion Facebook paid for
WhatsApp, a 55-person mobile messaging startup that
caught the fancy of young people.
According to Steve
Smith in Mobile Insider, analysts find it difficult to
justify the price by using conventional metrics but, "as
it did with its Instagram purchase, Facebook is fighting
user ennui with the social network by buying the next
big thing." And it shores up an area where Facebook was
weak: mobile messaging.
Mobile video traffic on the
Internet will grow 14 times in the next four years,
according to Cisco, Daisy Whitney reports in
Insider. Poynter News writer Rick Edmonds says the
Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal
are making timely moves to digital video programs
because audiences are moving from desktop to mobile,
where video accounts for a much larger share of news
consumption, up to 50 percent according to one study.
Advertiser demand is robust and expanding, and the going
rates ($25 per thousand impressions is typical) are
multiples higher than what static banner ads command."
Edmonds believes "the top national news organizations
are still building their franchise on comprehensive
reports and editorial judgment but they also want a
piece of the action in personal brands like those Andrew
Sullivan or Josh Marshall have built on digital-only
Oren Harnevo writing in Marketing Daily,
believes, "As video moves beyond TV and has become an
essential tool in the digital world, brands can connect
with their customers and use data to make storytelling
more personal and impactful. They can use data to create
engaging narrative, dynamic sound and interactive
graphics to convey a brand message. This is great
progress, but digital video ads have only scratched the
surface of their potential. The big opportunity lies in
the ability to use data to tell a different and more
relevant story for each individual consumer."
The growth in the number and speed of 24/7 Internet
outlets magnifies the demand for content Ė a demand that
is intensified by an increasing ability to identify and
target individual audience preferences, providing
opportunity for more content providers, including
bloggers. Once questionable sources they, are now
accepted. In fact, "Bloggers who are accused of libel
are entitled to the same rights as members of the
mainstream media," Wendy Davis reports in Online Media
Daily. She quotes from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
ruling on the subject: "The protections of the First
Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a
trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional
news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest
disclosure, went beyond just assembling othersí
writings, or tried to get both sides of a story."
The Chevy Spark was the only mini car to get passing marks among
11 tested recently by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,
according to David Shepardson in the Detroit News. Stating
the obvious, the headline read, "Small cars fare badly in crash tests."
Shepardson provides a thorough description of the four evaluations in
the test and rankings of the 11cars checked . . . MotorAuthority
reports the 50th Anniversary of the introduction of the FIA
version of the small block Cobra, the 289 FIA Cobra,
prompts a continuation series by Shelby American. Only 50 will be
built on order, starting at $94,995. See
If the price seems too high you may want to check out 24/7 Wall
Streetís list of "The
10 Cities Where No One Wants to Drive" by Alexander E.M. Hess
and Thomas C. Frohlic. While the title is an overstatement,
it is based on households without a car (New York City has the most
(56.5%), quality of public transportation, including bicycles,
walk-ability and other factors such as weather and fuel costs. And, it
would seem to support the slight trend away from car ownership and the
prospects for GoCar and other "drive 'n drop" enterprises which
are said to be a real threat to carmakerís employment and sales.
Tesla took no chances with its recent cross-country drive of two
Model S sedans. Instead of the usual press test drivers, they relied on
Tesla employees to demonstrate that, thanks to the network of 85
Supercharger stations the company has installed along the nationís
freeways, the classic road trip can be accomplished in an electric car,
Fossils & Photons reports in a reprint of a San Francisco
Chronicle story by David Baker. . . For those that bought
into the idea young Americans are losing their interest in cars, Paul
A. Eisenstein reports in the Detroit Bureau that a study by
Deloitte LLP reveals itís the economy that dampens the
Millennials' enthusiasm for a set of wheels. Only one in ten of the
Gen-Yers surveyed said they donít plan to ever lease or buy a car.
Most of the others hope to afford one in the next three years.
Craig Fitzgeraldís recent posting in the Bold Ride tells
of Germanyís version of the U.S.A's AAA, the 19 million-member
ADAC, going vastly astray when announcing the results of voting for
Germanyís favorite cars. When audited by accounting firm Deloitte,
the actual vote total was less than 10% of the number announced and some
of the favored cars didnít make it to the top five. Volkswagen,
Mercedes-Benz and BMW returned the awards they did get.
Fitzgerald wryly notes our simpler way of bestowing these types of
awards, "ad dollars result in awards from some of the most influential
magazines in the country."
Ford Added to Self-driving Cars Research List
Research groups for launch of hands-free cars have added Ford to their
ranks with the Fusion brand as their test model.
This team also includes Stanford University, State Farm and
charter partners, with a leader being Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief
This team, said Mascarenas in a launch statement, is working on
providing test cars with "common sense responses to driving situations
via sensors to realize what is ahead in traffic and make evasive
measures if needed."
The newly expanded team will field self-driving cars by 2020 if not
sooner. Four states allow such cars to operate - CA, FL, MI and NV. State
Farm is drawing up insurance clauses to facilitate testing of the
hands-off cars and the first team to engage in such testing already has
begun on-road testing, with University of Michigan partners being
Toyota, University of California, Nissan and a scoop report on the
project in The New Yorker magazine.
Insurance policy clauses on driver liability accidents and injury
clauses should pose challenges unheard-of in the insurance industry,
according to U of M researchers and the Center for Automotive Research,
also based in Ann Arbor.
Among the projects GM's new CEO, Mary Barra, has worked on are the ones
involving hands-free navigation, which is progressing at GM's tech
center in Warren, MI.
She plans to visit GM facilities worldwide and encourage development
programs like the one concerning driving without hand controls.
The Center of Automotive Research is deeply involved in "self-driving"
as well as digital connectivity and perfected safety programs, and Barra
benefits from her long associations with GM engineers and designers.
She is a graduate, moreover, of GM's College in Flint, MI, and is one of
the corporation's first CEOs with technical know-how.
It's quite a stretch to defend self-driving as free from the risks 100%.
But millions of the world's drivers will receive greater mobility with
these safer drivability systems.
Neff has left Autoblog.com as its Editor-in-Chief after over nine years in that position.
He is succeeded at AOL, the siteís parent company, by Sharon Silke Carty, who also succeeded former AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief
David Kiley and who is now in charge of both properties. I am exploring many new opportunities, am available for consulting and can be reached at
email@example.com . . . Paul Barry replaced Karen
Gamble at the Vicksburg Post. Send auto news to him at:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
.When Joe Tetherow signed off at
Toyota after 40 years in automotive PR, he really did go off the
clock. His photo, expected months ago, arrived the day after AW
reported his retirement in the January 2014 newsletter. . . . David
Wallens is an added contact at Classic Motorsports Magazine.
He can be emailed at:
email@example.com . . . If you are having trouble
emailing someone at Consumer Reports try first initial last name
at consumer.org . . . . Send news for the Del Rio (TX) News
Herald to Publisher
. . . With Gerald Scottís departure, email
firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . . .Donald Farr of
MONTHLY, Jeff Smith of
CAR CRAFT and John Cappa of FOUR WHEELER are among the
reported 100 employees let go by Source Interlink between its
Irvine, El Segundo and Florida offices. Its Modified magazine has
ceased publication as well Bill Metten reviews
cars for The Hunt, one of three upscale magazines by the
publisher of Main Line and Delaware Today. His email
email@example.com. Kevin A. Wilson is a busy
freelancer so trying one of the outlets where his work appears is not as
firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . Ted Kade, editor of Auto
Restorer Magazine, can be emailed at:
email@example.com . . .
Jeff Voth, who writes for
Autonet.com has a new email address:
Jeff@exhaustedmedia.com . .
. Kara Philp is the editor of Arizona AAA. Her email is:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
Maguire has replaced Mike Caddell as the print & digital
production editor for AAA Mid-Atlantic. She can be emailed:
JMaguire@aaamidatlantic.com . . .
Kristen Gray has departed The Afro-American and news
should be sent to executive editor Avis Thomas-Lester at:
email@example.com . . .Damon Lavrincís
new email is
firstname.lastname@example.org . . . . Zach Bowman is now a web
editor for RoadandTrack.com . . . . Diaro Las Americas in
Miami is now owned by Venezuelan Associates. Email should be sent
email@example.com Allison Berry is the
automotive writer at the Galveston News. Email her:
. . . Senior Editor Philly Murtha has departed J.D. Power
Associates and Syvetril Perrymen at:
is the contact. If you have trouble emailing radio host David
Finkelstein in St. Louis, try
. . . Sean Bugg no longer writes Gears column for The
Metro Weekly and news should be sent to Randy Shulman at:
. . Freelancer Bryan Joslin has a new email:
. . . . Kelley Blue Book road test editor Joseph Santohas
left the company and managing editor Jason Allan is handling his
mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Former
Orlando Sentinel auto writer Greg Dawson has left the paper.
Send auto news to:
email@example.com . . . Freelancer Mike Twistís
new email is:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Lafayette Hightower,
and the MotorMan column are gone from the San Gabriel Valley
Tribune. . . . Carter Macleod supplants Rachel E. Smith
at U.S.News. Email:
email@example.com . . . Dana Hull is an auto contact for the San Jose Mercury News
and Contra Costa Group.
Glenn F. Campbell
2014 Geneva Motor Show,
Press Days, Geneva Switzerland
2014 Geneva Motor Show,
Public Days, Geneva Switzerland
APA/SAE Luncheon, Detroit, MI
Automotive PACE Awards,
SAE World Congress, Detroit,
New York Int'l Auto Show: Media Days,
New York, NY
New York Int'l Auto Show: Public Days,
New York, NY
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