|AAA Distracted Driving Study|
AURORA, Ill. -- Hands-free technologies might make it easier for motorists to text, talk on the phone, or even use Facebook while they drive, but new findings from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
The distracted driving research found that as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians. This is the most comprehensive study of its kind to look at the mental distraction of drivers and arms AAA with evidence to appeal to the public to not use these voice-to-text features while their vehicle is in motion.
With a predicted five-fold increase in infotainment systems in new vehicles by 2018, AAA is calling for action as result of this landmark research. “There is a looming public safety crisis ahead with the future proliferation of these in-vehicle technologies,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “It’s time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars, particularly with the common public misperception that hands-free means risk-free.”
Cognitive distraction expert Dr. David Strayer and his research team at the University of Utah measured brainwaves, eye movement and other metrics to assess what happens to drivers’ mental workload when they attempt to do multiple things at once, building upon decades of research in the aerospace and automotive industries. The research included:
Using established research protocols borrowed from aviation psychology and a variety of performance metrics, drivers engaged in common tasks, from listening to an audio book or talking on the phone to listening and responding to voice-activated emails while behind the wheel.
Researchers used the results to rate the levels of mental distraction drivers experienced while performing each of the tasks. Similar to the Saffir-Simpson scale used for hurricanes, the levels of mental distraction are represented on a scale:
“These findings reinforce previous research that hands-free is not risk-free,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Increased mental workload and cognitive distractions can lead to a type of tunnel vision or inattention blindness where motorists don’t see potential hazards right in front of them.”
Based on this research, AAA urges the automotive and electronics industries to join us in exploring:
AAA also is using the findings to promote dialogue with policy makers, safety advocates and the auto industry to ensure that these emerging in-vehicle technologies won’t lead to unintentional compromises in public safety. As part of this effort, AAA has already met with safety advocates and provided copies of the report to CEOs of all major U.S. automakers.
“This study constitutes the most in-depth analysis to date of mental distractions behind the wheel. AAA is hopeful that it will serve as a stepping stone toward working in collaboration with automakers to promote our shared goal of improving safety for all drivers,” said Darbelnet. “Specifically, these increasingly common voice-driven, in-vehicle technologies should be limited to use for just core driving tasks unless the activity results in no significant driver distraction.”
|Auto Aftermarket Industry Expected to Grow Through 2016|
Auto Aftermarket Industry Expected to Grow Through 2016
May 16, 2013—The U.S. automotive aftermarket industry is expected to grow 3.4 percent annually through 2016 to $263.8 billion, according to a channel forecast model sponsored by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA).
This growth would add $32.6 billion to the economy.
According to AASA president and chief operating officer Bill Long, the forecast model shows that growth in population, employment and income will lead to an increase in the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven. In turn, this would result in long-term aftermarket growth.
"The forecast model demonstrates that despite strong new vehicle sales, historic high gas prices and a flattening of miles driven, our industry is poised for steady growth," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO of AAIA. "Why? The average age of vehicles is 11.3 years, the oldest ever, and the age mix of vehicles continues to favor older vehicles, creating a robust sweet spot for service and repair."
IHS Global Insight created the forecast model using data collected from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Federal Reserve Board and U.S. Census Bureau, as well as IMR and Polka Data, and proprietary IHS economic analysis and forecasting models.
|Automakers Targeting Ads to Internet Surfers|
Automakers Targeting Ads to Internet Surfers
LOS ANGELES -- The digital age has spawned effective ways for auto marketers to swipe customers from competitors.
By monitoring the online shopping habits of millions of consumers, marketers can place online ads in front of shoppers quickly and precisely.
“If you go to Edmunds and shop for a RAV4, and then you go to Sports Illustrated, I can hit you with an ad on Sports Illustrated for the Tiguan two hours later,” says Kevin Mayer, vice president of marketing for Volkswagen of America.
He says an online campaign designed to win over Toyota RAV4 shoppers for the VW Tiguan compact crossover helped boost the Tiguan’s February sales 20 percent from January.
Online research traffic for the RAV4 spiked after Toyota’s Super Bowl campaign for the vehicle. To capitalize on that surge, VW ran conquest ads for the Tiguan that targeted users who had researched the RAV4, Mayer says.
Mayer and other auto marketers have taken advantage of the digital data trail most Internet users leave on the Web. Less than a decade ago, marketers used more guesswork than they do now to place ads online. Marketers launching an SUV, for instance, might have placed ads on Web sites geared to outdoor enthusiasts. While that still happens, data now help automakers target consumers for whom online ads will be the most relevant.
“It’s a new world,” Mayer says. “There are so many different tools coming in that allow you to do so many different things.”
Big Data, Big Bucks
Data-driven ad targeting is part of the growing online advertising spending in the auto industry. Automotive advertisers spent about $4.39 billion on Internet advertising in 2012, up from about $3.49 billion in 2011, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual report released last month. The report was compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Online marketing researcher eMarketer projects auto industry spending on online advertising will top $5.01 billion this year.
And data-driven ad targeting -- in which companies gather, manipulate and repackage information from consumers’ Internet activities -- enables marketers to pinpoint their messages.
For instance, VW’s Mayer says VW can also concentrate ads in ZIP codes where online shopping traffic is heaviest, and in areas near VW dealerships with plenty of inventory.
Mayer says the data can identify consumers whose online shopping behavior indicates interest in a vehicle but who are still deciding whether to buy.
“If they’re exhibiting shopping behavior that indicates that they’re not quite sure, we can hit them with an incremental offer,” Mayer says. “When we draw them in, we have aggressive offers on our dealer sites designed to actually bring them into the showroom.”
Search engine marketing, in which Google and other search tools are used to sell products, also can help win over consumers who are shopping other brands. Subaru, for instance, reduced inventories of the 2013 Forester crossover prior to the arrival of the redesigned 2014 model by increasing pay-per-click advertising on Google in the first quarter.
Subaru bought key words for competitive vehicles such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 so that links for the Forester appeared at the top of the critical first page of Google search results for competing nameplates. The links were designed to lure shoppers from the competition, asking the shoppers, for instance, to “Compare CR-V vs. Forester.”
Phil O’Connor, senior manager of media in Nissan North America’s marketing department, says data about consumers’ online behavior help Nissan pick the right pitch for the right customer.
“If we feel like they’re weeks away [from a vehicle purchase], we’ll send them product messages. If they’re very close, we’ll send them incentive messages,” O’Connor says of the ads.
“On top of that, we’ll know that they have a propensity to lease based on this set of characteristics, so we’ll dynamically build an ad that says here’s an Altima and here’s our $189-a-month lease, and we’ll serve it to them, and this all happens in real time.”
One way Nissan and other advertisers can reach customers is through advertising networks, which are companies that gather available advertising space from many Web sites and connect that space with advertisers.
When a shopper lands on one of a network’s sites, computers analyze available data about the consumer’s browsing history on Web sites within that network. Advertisers bid to get their ads seen by consumers with desired browsing characteristics.
Mobile Ads, Too
In the final week of December, Dodge Dart traffic on Chrysler’s Web site more than quadrupled from earlier in the month after marketers added conquest ads to the Dart’s online campaign.
Amy Peet, senior manager of digital marketing at Chrysler Group, says conquest ads were placed in front of shoppers considering Dart competitors such as the Honda Civic or Ford Focus.
She says the conquest ads complemented online search and display ads that ran earlier in the campaign to raise awareness of the Dart.
Peet says her team partnered with Millennial Media, a mobile advertising and data analytics firm, to help find consumers who were prime targets for the Dart.
Ads on smartphones and tablet computers linking to the Dodge Dart home page were served to consumers who were shopping competitors and to consumers who were near a Dodge dealership.
“The data have become so rich that we’re able to know what people’s search habits are, what their shopping patterns are and what type of message will resonate with them,” Peet says.
Exactly how these so-called segment intenders were identified is something of a trade secret for the third-party firms that often work with automakers on online ad campaigns, Peet says.
“They said we can target people who are shopping in the small-car segment,” Peet says. “People will not tell you exactly how they find these guys in audience targeting.”
Peet says such data-supported targeting is more efficient than the online display advertising done three to four years ago, which involved more guesswork.
In effect, Pete says, “We’re able to buy more impressions with the same amount of money because we’re able to more effectively reach the right customers.”
Chrysler says its targeted ads are 20 to 40 percent more effective in getting a response -- such as leading a viewer to visit a Chrysler Web site or watch a video -- than ads that aren’t targeted.
Despite the targeting possible today, the development of so-called Big Data is in its relative infancy, marketers say. Getting the most valuable data and putting them to use is still a big challenge.
“A lot of people think that there’s this pile of data and that it’s optimizing on its own,” Peet says. “That’s a utopia that everybody wants to get to.”
|EPA nominee to face questions about air-conditioning refrigerant approval Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/11/epa-nominee-to-face-questions-about-air-conditioning-refrigerant-approval/#ixzz2SjZYa4SH|
EPA nominee to face questions about air-conditioning refrigerant approval
Environmental Protection Agency administrator nominee Gina McCarthy will likely face tough questions today about her responsibility for the EPA’s promotion of an automotive air conditioning refrigerant known to cause engine fires in Mercedes-Benz tests, according to the Daily Mail. A hearing on McCarthy’s nomination is set for Thursday.
McCarthy is currently the EPA’s air regulation chief. She was primarily responsible for moving forward with a plan to reward US automakers who used a refrigerant known as “HFO-1234yf,” one EPA staffer said. The new refrigerant resulted in less emission of green-house gas into the atmosphere than other refrigerants such as FREON and the current industry standard R134A.
McCarthy said that the HOF-1234yf “helps fight climate change and ozone depletion.” Yet, her office never mentioned the harmful consequences revealed in tests conducted by Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.
During testing in December, Daimler engineers found that small leaks of HOF-1234yf turned a car’s engine compartment into a blaze. The refrigerant combined with the air-conditioning compressor oil spraying across the engine block, produced a hot composition of toxic gas, easily resulting in flames.
The gas mixture included hydrogen fluoride, a corrosive compound known to cause blindness and skin deformity when humans are exposed. The industry’s standard refrigerant produces a nonflammable leak. The explosion also resulted in hydrofluoric acid, a deadly substance that is so corrosive that exposure to a a body part the size of one’s palm can result in death.
According to Professor Andreas Kornath, a chemistry researcher at the University of Munich, told the Daily Mail that “The chemical is, due to its flammability, too dangerous for use.”
The Society of Automotive Engineers disagrees. Based on their tests, General Motors put the new refrigerant in 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS models. Daimler, which had installed the refrigerant in hundreds of its 2013 SL-roadsters, recalled them after performing its own tests. German automakers Volkswagen/Porsch and BMW also refuse to use the refrigerant.
Daimler’s report suggests that a head-on collision in which the refrigerant line is severed would produce an inferno. Daimler spokesman Matthias Brock told the Daily Mail that the EPA had spoken with Germany’s environmental agency about the tests.
Under McCarthy’s authority, the federal government provides special credits toward achieving the required Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards. The EPA made a provision accepting the new refrigerant as an acceptable partial substitute for cars with low fuel economy to increase their average numbers.
“Trading a refrigerant swap for fuel-economy credit would never have happened without [McCarthy],” tan EPA source is quoted as saying.
|Auto repair training can mean good pay for workers without a college degree|
At $9 an hour, Michael Nunez’s part-time job changing oil and aligning front ends at the Lexus of Louisville dealership off Blankenbaker Parkway doesn’t sound like the path to a middle-class career.
But when he goes full time at the dealership this month, fresh off completing a two-year training program at Jefferson Community and Technical College, Nunez expects to earn $17 an hour — about $35,360 a year. He could make up to $50,000, he said, depending on the volume of work coming into the dealership.
“I feel like I have things pretty well lined up,” said the 24-year-old Doss High School graduate, who also works part time as a UPS forklift driver to support his fiancee and 18-month-old son.
With almost a dozen industry certifications under his belt, Nunez is the kind of automotive technician — “mechanic” has fallen out of favor as the jobs require more expertise — that dealerships and repair shops increasingly are clamoring for.
With help from the Greater Louisville Automobile Dealers Association, JCTC is expanding its auto technician offerings with the goal of producing more highly skilled workers like Nunez. Within four to eight years, the community college hopes to have six times more space for auto programs in a new, $47.7 million center for auto technology and advanced manufacturing near Broadway and First Street.
“It seems like the technician base here in town is aging, and the slack is not being picked up by the younger generation,” said Greg Daunhauer, president of Byerly Ford and chairman of the Greater Louisville Automobile Dealers Association.
Nationally, the biggest demand is for advanced skills such as using computer diagnostic equipment, said Tony Molla, spokesman for National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, which administers the industry’s certification tests.
“It is easier to find a warm body to change oil than it is to find someone who can diagnose and repair a sophisticated automotive computerized control system,” he said.
As part of a 25-year-old partnership between JCTC and Toyota, students like Nunez get paid internships in the service departments of Toyota or Lexus dealerships while learning about cars in a garage/classroom at JCTC’s technical campus at Eighth and Chestnut streets.
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