Sunday, 26 March 2017

Not über Intelligent

Or even über artificial intelligent.

This BBC story tells of how Uber has pulled its self-driving cars from the roads after an accident which left one of the vehicles on its side on Arizona.

Looks nasty:
The car itself looks nice though - it must really pay to be an Uber Driver if they can afford new Volvo SUVs - especially with self-driving technology.

Uber have stated that the car was in self-driving mode at the time.

The allegation in this case is that another driver "failed to yield".

Which is why I don't like the idea of self-driving cars.  Most drivers rate themselves as having above-average driving skills.  This is actually impossible but even the best driver in the world cannot do anything if someone else acts unexpectedly and hits them.  The way things stand at the moment - self-driving cars still need someone behind the wheel to take over in the case of an emergency.  In which case that person has to be fully alert at all times to what is going on around them - I know I would want to be!  But that completely negates the point of a self-driving vehicle.

I'm quite concerned in this case as to how the car ended up on its side - was it travelling too fast?  - did it clip the kerb? - did the driver panic when the other car was suddenly in its path?

We know SUVs tend to topple a lot easier than normal cars but even so.

Is this what is known as doing a bit of taxi driving on the side?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Edd's Gone!!!

And I don't mean Edd The Duck.    

No, I mean the only other "Ed" who spells his name with two D's - Edd China:
I was going to do a posting today about Sunday's Top Gear - I had a couple of ideas and was definitely going to mention my favourite quote of the show:

"The Suspects are Joey from Friends and a bald guy in a bad suit."

or maybe I was going to complain about them dissing the Dolomite Sprint...

...which led into Rory Reid driving the most famous car on TV (if you watch car shows) - a Mark I Golf GTi carrying Reg. number A651FEJ:

Here's Jeremy with it:
and here it is on Car SOS:
This may well be it again but I'm not going to find the episode in the second series of Wheeler Dealers - Trading Up to find out:
It's not appeared on For The Love of Cars yet though.

And here we arrive at the big news story of today:

Discovery today announced established automotive expert Ant Anstead is the new co-host and master mechanic on the global hit series WHEELER DEALERS. After 13 seasons, longtime co-host and lead mechanic Edd China has decided to leave the series to pursue other projects. WHEELER DEALERS will continue for a season 14 later this year with current co-host Mike Brewer who will now be joined by Anstead. Ant Anstead is the former host of the Channel 4 series “For The Love Of Cars”


Or I could have gone with...

"Opel cleared of diesel emissions cheating by French authorities" Autocar story today which comes just after it was announced that Opel was to become part of the PSA Group which is part-owned by the French authorities.

No - the Edd news is much bigger.  A bit like him.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Seems a Bit Harsh on Warwick Davis

According to the BBC, car-buyers who are small will pay more for Road Tax.

The headline clearly states, "Vehicle Excise Duty: Small car buyers face higher costs"

Now I'm a big fan of Warwick Davis - I'm not into Star Wars so I don't think of him as an Ewok but I loved the spoof documentary he starred in, "Life's Too Short" - there's a brilliant bit where he confounds a psychic by not knowing anyone whose name begins with "J" although this is my all time favourite clip of the show (warning - don't watch this if you're a bit straight-laced)

He's also appeared on Top Gear:
But, of course, I'm being mischievous (pronounced mischievious).

The article is about buyers of small cars - not car-buyers who happen to be small. Basically, anyone who buys a smaller, more efficient new car after April 1st will be worse off (in terms of percentage paid for Road Tax) than those who buy bigger, less efficient cars after that date.  There will also be some hefty initial charges on purchase.

And yes, I do know that there is no such thing as "Road Tax" - it is called "Vehicle Excise Duty" (VED) and is a general charge supplementing Government coffers based on pollution etc.  It never went to pay for upkeep of the roads - although that is one good thing coming out of these changes - money will go back into tarmac.

It is a very complicated system that is being introduced now, read the article if you want to learn more but, fortunately, any car registered up to that date (including mine) will still go by the older only slightly complicated rules.

This will have an impact down the line of cars registered before that date probably being worth more than those after.  Dealerships will probably pre-register a load of vehicles for this very reason.

Chaos will ensue.

What do you think, Warwick?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cool As FXXK

The Arctic Circle is pretty cool.

Or downright freezing.

And that is where they are testing the next iteration of the Black Cab.
Why? - I hear you ask.

Why? - I also hear BBC Transport correspondent Richard Westcott ask.

But he doesn't actually answer the question in that video.

Although he does in this article.

There are two reasons apparently:
  • the manufacturer tests all new vehicles in extreme temperatures to see how they perform.
  • it wants to sell it in polluted cities all over the world, including Moscow, which can get a little chilly in the winter.
This cab won't contribute to the pollution due to it being electric - with a little range-extender to keep it going.

Anyway, black cabs in cold places brings us, rather neatly, round to the new series of Top Gear:
and Rory Reid driving a black cab, in minus temperatures, with no heating, in Kazakhstan.

Chris Harris got to drive a Ferrari FXXK at Daytona
and boy did he enjoy it.

But, if only 40 were built, why did his have a number 54 on the side?

And nobody mentioned Chris Evans.

I thought they could have had a light-hearted dig like The Grand Tour boys did.  Chris himself mentioned how the newspapers said it was "better without the annoying one".

There was a mention in Extra Gear about the orginal test track being back with "all tarmac" but nothing was said about Mr.Evans.  There was a noticeable cheer from the studio audience when it was announced that the original track was back.

I agree with the studio audience and, much as I do like Chris Evans, I agree with the newspapers that it was "better without the annoying one".

Or maybe just a little cooler.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Old News

I really like Wheeler Dealers.

And on Facebook, I have really liked Wheeler Dealers.

But most of their posts point at a website called

And, while I think it does have some interesting articles on there, it is really very rarely that I will click on one.  Mainly because the website itself can only be described (by me at least) as very tacky due to the awful clickbait advertising you get on there:
And if you're using a geriatric laptop like mine, the page takes forever to come up.

I  guess this advertising must have some effect because while I am never tempted to watch the video that billionaires in my locality don't want me to watch or to find out which celebrity I wouldn't expect to be dead is actually dead while a picture of a non-dead celebrity is luring me in - there must be enough people out there who do click on them to justify their presence.

Any road up, the musclecarszone article that Wheeler Dealers on Facebook pointed me at today didn't seem to add up - so I clicked on it.

Apparently, "This Lady Has Been Driving The Same 1957 Chevrolet Car For 53 Years! 116,000 Miles On The Odometer"  - which is the article in the Screenshot above.

However, it doesn't take a Degree in Statistics (sad but true - I have a degree in Statistics) to realise that a 1957-bought car 53 years later only takes us to 2010.

For some reason, have taken a YouTube Posting from six-ish years ago, taken the commentary to be the text, and published it as a new story.

It is an interesting story.  I watched and enjoyed an old lady talking about her old car.  It's a Bel Air - not that the article tells you that - presumably because the YouTube Posting doesn't tell you that.

But it ain't new news.

I suppose that at least it also isn't fake news.

But either way, come on Mike, give us some real news (and without the dodgy ads - I don't care that at least 12 celebrities don't wear panties - honest!)