Archive for Modern Transport

Is Your Car On The Recall List?

Posted in America, Britain, Canada, European Union, Germany, Modern World, News, Traffic, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 04/05/2016 by floroy1942

With the massive recall of cars of various makes across the world it is evident that manufacturing ‘ain’t what it used to be’.

Takata Airbag Failures - Up To 2015

Takata Airbag Failures – Up To 2015

After the Takata airbag recall, which to date numbers 28.8 million and with a further 40 million suspected units, car manufacturers have been inundated with vehicle recalls for one problem after another.

When you look at the annual recall figures the numbers are astounding: Ford: 434,000 vehicles, General Motors: 4.8 million vehicles, Toyota: 6.4 million vehicles, Nissan: 1 million vehicles, Volkswagen: 160,351 vehicles, Honda: 900,000 vehicles, Tesla: 29,000, BMW: 232,000 vehicles. These are the figures from 2015 and it makes you wonder if its worth buying a car at all.

This year the numbers are far exceeding the totals for 2015 with the Volkswagen and Mitsubishi scandals among other things. Volkswagen recalls have already gone through the roof this year, what with the emissions scandal. As you can see from the photo, only one CEO has resigned. For me it should be all of them.

It is worth remembering that Volkswagen also covers companies controlled by them such as Audi, Seat and Skoda. So far as Mitsubishi is concerned, they have manipulated fuel usage figures inflating mileage results on at least 625,000 vehicles.

One thing is sure, this year many more recalls will happen for one reason or another. It makes me wonder if its worth buying a car at all, perhaps we should go back to the horse as a form of transport.

We are So Very Sorry!

We are So Very Sorry!

The main reason for all these problems is in my view manufacturers wanting to cut production costs just so they can make more profit. There can be little doubt that the age of proper quality in manufactured goods is long gone. Even if you buy an i-Phone these days the projected life is just three years, that is presuming you have no problems within that time frame. So what does that tell you?

When I worked for Rank Xerox many years ago as a quality control inspector, it was my job to tour the production line and carry out tests on various parts that would be built into machines. On many occasions I found defective parts and wanted to have them removed so they wouldn’t end up in copy machines. Each time I was over-ruled by the production managers and the parts still went into the machines. I believe today the situation is far worse.

Takata Airbag Exploding

Takata Airbag Exploding With Shrapnel

It has been shown that some bad parts contained in cars like the Takata airbags, can actually kill or seriously injure the driver. In other cases defective brakes, steering, and even cruise controls have been responsible for deaths.  Thankfully they are very few, but many people have been injured by defective car parts.

Manufacturers don’t care if they get sued by the relatives of drivers who get killed by faulty parts, why should they, for the payout out is probably less than 0.00000001% of their total profits for the year!

Is it not time that governments started clamping down on manufacturing by insisting that these companies get back to the old system of proper quality control? They still call it ‘quality control’ today but it is a shadow of what it once was because the almighty profit must come first. Companies today don’t care a damn if what you buy breaks down so long as it lasts longer than the guarantee period.

The Truth Of It All!

The Truth Of It All!

My wife bought an Apple laptop some time ago and she had endless problems with it. Apple changed it three times for a ‘supposed’ new one which in actual fact turned out to be one that had been refurbished.  It would seem that companies will do just about anything these days to increase their profits. And when you look at it closely, it’s all about making the ‘fat cats’ fatter!

So what of the future? Well, the way things are going at present it looks like it will only get worse!

Roy.

Self Drive/Electric Cars? – No I Don’t Think So!

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, European Union, Human Rights, Insanity, Modern World, News, Traffic, Travel with tags , , , , on 25/01/2016 by floroy1942

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the main accent seems to be on driverless cars as people become more and more fascinated by them. We are hearing pundits say that they are the transport of the future, but to be honest I doubt it, at least not in the form currently envisaged. It’s just like the electric car that many people say will be the main mode of transport in the coming years. Sorry but I don’t believe a word of it.

Survey

Survey

First of all, let us take the driverless car that is supposed to revolutionize our future transport system. Can you honestly believe that in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Beijing and all the other major cities in the world known for their massive traffic jams, that people will travel around these cities in a driverless car. Not a chance.

With a human at the wheel a vehicle will get through dense traffic far quicker than if it is automated. All such cars must have certain safeguards built into the system to prevent us humans from being hurt in an accident, so you will never see an automated vehicle pushing its nose into a stream of traffic at a junction for example. To get through traffic jams today you have to be cheeky, or you will never reach your destination, and that is something automated cars are not good at.

They may be fine for travelling from Madrid to Paris or from New York to Las Vegas for example, but that is not something the majority of people do every day. In cities and towns most people use the car to get to and from work so it is clear that will be the main usage, and I just don’t see the driverless cars catching on for this purpose.

To me what is far more likely is a completely automated system of  passenger transport with no cars on the road at all. It would be like an automated taxi service where you call up a small automated vehicle, give it a destination and it takes you there. Just like in the sci-fi movies.

Charging

Charging

When it comes to electric vehicles I think they are even more unlikely in great numbers. The electricity generating companies in many parts of the world are currently struggling to satisfy the power requirements of major cities across the globe, and yet, people think that electric vehicles as a mode of transport will take off. I can tell you now that ain’t likely to happen folks.

Even if we had only fifty thousand electric vehicles in London the power companies would not be able to keep pace with the demand, and that applies across the world. As we all know, electric cars are severely limited in their range due to the necessity of recharging the batteries, and the simple fact is we do not have sufficient power generation resources to have millions of electric vehicles charging every day.

But this is not all, for what do we do with the car batteries when they are no longer needed? They are not exactly environmentally friendly are they, and as electric cars have accidents or get scrapped what do we do with the batteries?

Last but not least, has anyone worked out the pitfalls with car insurance in these scenarios? No! I thought not!!!

I’m afraid that when it comes to the all-electric vehicle the demands will be too much, and don’t forget the massive electricity bills you will have to pay each month.

Flying CarThere is just one more mode of transport that is circling in the background, and that is the flying car. This I find totally impractical for the simple reason that every owner would be required to follow a course to obtain a flying licence. But more to the point, such a thing would be very dangerous. Can you imagine cars taking off and landing on roads and flying willy-nilly across the skies. It would be impossible to maintain a flight plan system for car drivers which would mean chaos, and they would be falling out of the skies like leaves from a tree.

It all sounds very fine, but none of this will come to proper fruition now or in the future. The future will be a lot different. Who knows, we may run out of oil first, and then we will end up back in the Middle Ages.

Roy.

Self-Drive Cars – Are They Viable?

Posted in America, Britain, England, Europe, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , , on 17/01/2013 by floroy1942

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is normally all about the latest innovations in electronics, but there have been some interlopers this year that have drawn significant interest – namely cars, or to be more exact, self-driving cars.

Sergey Brin Of Google

Sergey Brin Of Google

It is widely presumed that at some future time you will be able to read the local newspaper or catch up on some work while driving to the office. If you are hung-over from last nights party you could even get some extra sleep, but for today however, its still science fiction.

After reading some reports on the development of self-drive cars it becomes clear that we still have a long way to go despite the fact that Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. of California has signed a Bill allowing driver-less cars in the State after riding in a Prius upgraded by Google and ‘driven’ by co-founder Sergey Brin.

BMW On The Road

BMW On The Road

There can be little doubt that the technology is available today for the production of these vehicles, but at the moment the hold-up is that its not quite ready for the job because no-one wants to drive around in a car that has antenna’s sticking out all over it. Given time however, these problems will be overcome and we will see the first versions going into production. In my opinion it may take another ten years but the time is fast approaching.

The big question in many people’s minds is: Would you trust your life to a box of electronics built into your car?

Pilots In The Cockpit Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

Pilots In The Cockpit Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

We have for many years had the technology for pilot-less planes that will take-off, fly you to your destination and land without any human intervention, but the truth is, no-one wants to fly in an airliner that does not have a pilot at the controls. In the back of most people’s minds there is the fear that something may happen that is outside the scope of a box of electronics to fix. Many passengers still don’t realize that apart from the take-off and landing the flight is controlled by the ‘box of tricks’ in the electronics bay anyway. Apart from the final 200 feet or so landings can be automated where bad weather does not allow the pilot to see where he’s going.

Toyota Lexus Experimental Car

Toyota Lexus Experimental Car

So what about cars? Your daily commute to work or the wife’s shopping trip could be fully automated but would you step into such a car knowing that although you sit in the drivers seat you are nothing more than a passenger? I believe in the majority of cases the answer would be: No way! As humans we like to feel we are in charge and its our decisions that count so to hand over control to a bunch of circuit boards and wires would indeed be a big step. I can well foresee that eventually we will get over our phobia’s but it will take a long time and we will need a lot of convincing.

Could Be A Problem!

Could Be A Problem!

Several auto manufacturers have been experimenting in this area including Toyota, Ford, BMW, Audi and Lincoln and much progress has been made, most of it in the right direction thankfully. Driver-less cars have been tested on our roads for a very long time, and the funny thing is, no-one has ever noticed even though the manufacturers have notch up thousands of miles. One thing is for sure it won’t have been the idiot tail-gating you on the motorway!  

All manufacturers hope driver-less cars will greatly reduce the number of accidents on the worlds’ roads, which is admirable. As you can imagine, where the car goes will be dependent on a sophisticated navigation system that ensures you end up in the right place. Its no good you wanting to go from Las Vegas to Chicago and end up in Ontario Canada.  

One Task Left To Us Humans!

One Task Left To Us Humans!

I’ll leave you with one last thought: Will driver-less cars also fill their own petrol tank when required or will that mundane chore be left up to the human passenger?

Roy. 

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