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The Connected Car and Godzilla Attack

Godzilla Attack -- picture courtesy of Slate

The “Internet of Things” and “The Connected Car” sounded like bright promises when they were around the corner but now that they are nearly upon us, some doubts begin to arise. For example, John Mello reports in that digital road signs in the San Francisco area recently began flashing “Godzilla Attack.” Likely a harmless prank, as Mello notes, yet the implications of inert devices becoming interactive include malicious as well as mischievous hacksters, glitches and failures.

In J.D. Powers’ 2014 Initial Quality Study, new technologies were the chief source of complaints by purchasers of totally new or redesigned cars. The self-driving car and its accompanying technical accoutrements are not likely to be fail-safe out of the box. And now, Automotive News reports a proposed bill in Congress would open up the exclusive connected car frequency band to other wi-fi uses. Your refrigerator could shut off your car’s power steering. Then there is the distracted driving peril that comes with new digital toys. Although, contrary to intuition, a study for the U.S. Federal Highways Agency, reveals digital billboards are basically safe, according to Erik Sass in Media Daily News. He says the study revealed drivers were slightly more likely to look at digital billboards than standard billboards, but for the most part didn’t look at either type of billboard for more than two seconds — the minimum threshold for distracted driving. Good news for drivers but not so good news for sellers of outdoor advertising. In any case, not as distracting or startling as the roar of a posse of Harley-Davidson motorcycles overtaking you on the highway. Possibly one reason Harley has an electric motorcycle prototype traveling the nation this summer in an effort to gauge consumer interest.

The Washington Automotive Press Association reported it succeeded in persuading Toyota to reverse the change in its media test drive agreement that would have put the loss-payable burden on the driver. Other auto press groups also expressed their concerns about the change that comes up every few years or so. . . On June 18, 24/7 Wall Street listed “The Ten Cars Americans Don’t Want To Buy.” Based primarily on True Car’s report of the average time a new car spends on a dealer’s lot after he or she takes delivery, the ten and their days spent are: #10- Scion, 90.2; # 9- Dodge Avenger 96.5; #8- Lincoln MKS 97.0; #7- Chevrolet Tahoe 101.5; #6 – Chrysler 200 102.5; #5 -Jaguar XK 102.7; #4-GMC Yukon 112; #3- Cadillac Escalade 115.5; #2- Mitsubishi Outlander 117.1; #1 – Volvo S60 155.5. . . . For those who like to watch automobiles jumping and have the time here’s a visual thrill from GOPro. . . . And for those who want to check out Lebron James’ auto bonifides, BoldRide Daily provides this photo review of his collection:

LeBron James standing next to his Ferrari. More pictures at BoldRide.