CES 2011: Blue Link is Hyundai's answer to OnStar

Hyundai Previews Innovative, Intuitive and Safe Telematics Technology

Hyundai is set to challenge the conventional wisdom in the auto category again in 2011 with the introduction of an all-new telematics platform – Blue Link®. Hyundai’s in-vehicle infotainment system makes new, thoughtful features, enhanced ease-of-use and intelligent packaging options more accessible.

More than thirty different features will be available at launch including unique applications such as a maintenance reminder which helps drivers identify and schedule service, an “eco-coach” that improves efficient driving, restaurant ratings and remote door-lock/unlock capabilities. Blue Link’s thoughtful features continue with remote start, which allows you to warm or cool your car before driving; geofencing, which can send a text if a driver has ventured outside prescribed boarders; and vehicle slowdown to help police recover a stolen vehicle.

Adding to the industry’s most comprehensive suite of new-vehicle protection, Blue Link Assurance includes technologies like automatic crash notification and assistance, SOS and advanced roadside assistance as part of Hyundai Assurance. Hyundai Assurance already offers 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable bumper-to-bumper warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, 5-year complimentary Roadside Assistance, and a job-loss vehicle return program.

“Blue Link combines safety, service and infotainment into a complete package that simplifies drivers’ lives,” said Barry Ratzlaff, director of customer satisfaction and service business development, Hyundai Motor America. “We’ve studied how drivers rely on smart phones and navigation systems as a link to the outside world. Blue Link brings that connectivity to the car with technology like voice texting and POI download, turn-by-turn navigation, and vehicle health reporting. In typical Hyundai fashion, we’ve developed package options that are both thoughtful and cost-effective.”

Drivers will not have to wait long for the arrival of Blue Link on Hyundai models. Debuting this spring on the popular Sonata sedan, Blue Link will be offered as standard equipment. In addition, Hyundai will announce a second exciting Blue Link-equipped, youth-focused model shortly, which will also be available before summer. Hyundai expects Blue Link to be available across the majority of the lineup by the 2013 model year.

For more details on Blue Link, please visit www.hyundaibluelink.com or visit booth number 1820.

Study: Making roads safer has led to bored, risk-taking drivers

A new study from researchers in Australia may have dug up one of the reasons why drivers exceed the speed limit on their way to work. According to the Toronto Sun, a new study has found that drivers who are bored behind the wheel are more likely to put the right pedal to the floor. Researchers at Newcastle University asked drivers to answer a few questions about their driving habits and found that 31 percent of those behind the wheel are inattentive and dangerous. More surprisingly, 35 percent of those polled were classified as enthusiastic and attentive. These are the motorists that enjoy driving, but go faster when their stimulus levels decrease. The study also found that 21 percent of those polled dislike driving and move slower, while members of the smallest group, just 13 percent of the total respondents, were branded slow and safe.

Interestingly, researchers concluded that the influx of devices designed to make driving easier has led to the impression that operating a vehicle is akin to a chore. Rather than making drivers safer, the gadgets have actually led to increased inattentiveness. Basically, the perception of safety has increased the likelihood of risk taking.

Sounds like it’s high time that vehicles made drivers fear for their lives once again. In all seriousness, the researchers have apparently recommended adding more turns to roads and incorporating shared space to force drivers to pay attention, among other actions.

[Source: The Toronto Sun | Image: Alexander F. Yuan/AP]

Seatbelt use up to 85% nationally, 1 in 7 adults still don't buckle up [w/poll]

CDC Study Finds Seat Belt Use Up to 85 Percent Nationally
Still, 1 in 7 adults do not wear a seat belt on every trip

Almost 6 out of 7 U.S. drivers surveyed report that they always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle, according to a study released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seat belt use has become the national norm in most states, though rates of self-reported seat belt use vary widely from state to state, with a high of 94 percent (Oregon) and a low of 59 percent (North Dakota).

Still, every 14 seconds, an adult in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries.

“A simple step that most drivers and passengers in the United States already take-buckling their seat belts-cuts in half the chance of being seriously injured or killed in a crash,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. “Yet, about 1 in 7 adults do not wear a seat belt on every trip. If everyone in the vehicle buckled up every time, we could further reduce one of the leading causes of death.”

The study was in Vital Signs, a section of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The study found that states with primary seat belt enforcement laws, where police officers can pull cars over and issue tickets solely because drivers and passengers are unbelted, have higher rates of seat belt use than states with secondary enforcement laws, which only allow officers to issue tickets to drivers who have been pulled over for violating another law. States with primary enforcement laws had an overall seat belt use rate of 88 percent, whereas states with secondary enforcement laws had an overall seat belt use rate of 79 percent. The national average for seat belt use is 85 percent.

If the secondary law states had achieved 88 percent belt use in 2008, it would have resulted in an additional 7.3 million adults buckling up.

Though 1 in 3 U.S. adults lived in states with secondary enforcement laws in 2008, residents of these states accounted for 49 percent of the unbelted drivers and passengers on U.S. roads. Nineteen states do not have primary enforcement seat belt laws.

“As seatbelt use increases and more states pass primary enforcement laws, we are seeing crash-related injuries decline,” said Linda Degutis, Dr. PH, MSN, director of CDC’s Injury Center. “This indicates that primary enforcement laws, paired with vigorous enforcement programs, get more people to wear seat belts. We know that buckling up can make a life-saving difference.”

For the study, CDC researchers analyzed two national sources: 2009 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program data on non-fatal injuries treated in emergency departments nationwide and 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data on self-reported risk behaviors.

To help increase seat belt use and protect more people on the road, CDC supports:

* Primary enforcement seat belt laws that cover all drivers and passengers of appropriate age and size, regardless of whether they are sitting in the front or back seat of the vehicle.

According to previous research by CDC and others, everyone is encouraged to take the following steps:

* Use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short.
* Encourage everyone in the car to buckle up, including those in the back seat.
* Make sure children are properly buckled up in a seat belt, booster seat, or car seat, whichever is age- and size-appropriate.
* Have all children ages 12 and under sit in the back seat.

CDC is also releasing “Policy Impact: Seat Belts,” one in a series of briefs highlighting key public health issues, and important science-based policy actions that can be taken to address them. Through this new publication, CDC supports state-based efforts to strengthen seat belt policies and prevent crash-related injuries and deaths. (www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/seatbeltbrief)

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone on the roads, every day. For more information about seat belts and motor vehicle safety, please visit www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety and www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns.

Retrofit your car with the anti-sleep pilot monitor

A group of Danish designers have come up with an aftermarket device engineered to help drivers keep tabs on their level of fatigue. Called the Anti-Sleep Pilot, the hockey-puck sized piece of tech calculates just how tired the driver is by monitoring a total of 26 different parameters. Multiple profiles can be stored inside, and each driver is made to take a brief test to determine their own personal risk of falling asleep at the wheel. From there, the Anti-Sleep Pilot issues occasional alertness tests wherein the driver is required to touch the device on command.

The Anti-Sleep Pilot also makes use of an accelerometer and a clock to determine how fast the vehicle is moving. If the driver becomes too fatigued, visual and audio warnings will emanate from the device until the driver stops for a ten-minute break. We’d suggest getting a coffee…

It’s worth nothing that the Anti-Sleep Pilot does not use cameras to track the driver’s eyes, unlike other systems currently on the market. Right now, the Anti-Sleep Pilot is only available to Danish customers, but buyers of other nationalities can pre-order the device for $250. Check out the device’s site for more information.

[Source: Gizmag]

Report: Ferrari 458 driver rams, beats up Fiat 600 driver for not allowing him to pass

“My Italian car can beat up your Italian car” is likely the next bumper sticker for one Italian man… after he gets out of jail. According to the Daily Mail, a 32-year old Ferrari 458 Italia driver is in trouble after coming down with a serious bout of road rage. A Fiat 600 would not get out of his way on the roads near Rome, so he did what any insane person would do, and decided to ram the hapless Fiat repeatedly. Once the Fiat pulled over, the unnamed Ferrari driver switched from car fighting to fist fighting and began pummeling the other driver. He wasn’t alone, either, as a passenger in the Ferrari aided in the fisticuffs.

A passing off-duty cop stopped to break things up and backup arrived to haul the two Ferrari fighters off to jail. After searching the car, police found over $30,000 in cash and are attempting to figure out where it came from. According to the report, neither man is a stranger to the police and they’re both in custody for assault, criminal damage and resisting arrest.

[Source: Daily Mail]

Disposable traffic cones, an idea whose time has come? [w/video]

You don’t really think about traffic cones very often, unless they are forcing you into a detour or stuck in your wheel well because you missed that last apex. Though we may not think of them, they’re all around us, and one man wants to make them disposable.

Two things that Guy Griffith knows: he is a horrible website designer, and he loves inventing. His current product is a clever disposable traffic cone, and it’s apparently gotten the attention of the White House. It’s almost a shame Griffith didn’t get to talk to the previous administration, because should he have gotten hold of then-President George W. Bush himself, the call may have resembled a Saturday Night Live sketch come to life (watch the video and you’ll catch our drift).

Critically, Griffith’s cones are not simply cheap ($2.95/piece) and designed to fall apart after one use, they appear to be strong and durable despite being made from paper and industrial-strength staples (you weigh down the cuff with sand to keep them from blowing away). For anyone that’s ever outfitted a racetrack or construction company with cones, you know that the orange rubber pylons are surprisingly expensive, and they’re heavy to lug around, so Griffith might just be on to something.

If you question the strength of Griffith’s pointy items, then click past the jump to watch the video all the way through to the end (and then be sure to watch a second video on his website).

[Sources: SafetyCones.net, YouTube]

Video: Glee star Jane Lynch teaches text-ed


LG Mobile Phones revs up parents with final LG Text Ed video, promoting safe mobile phone use behind the wheel

SAN DIEGO, December 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ – With recent studies citing that mobile distractions such as texting can be even more dangerous than drinking and driving, parents are looking for answers on how to best educate and promote responsible mobile phone use to their teens.

As part of her role in the LG Text Ed campaign, an educational program aimed at parents, Jane Lynch shot a series of entertaining and educational viral videos for LG Mobile Phones about mobile phone misuse. With the goal of educating parents about the importance of talking to their kids about responsible mobile phone use, the LG Text Ed video series addresses issues such as “sexting,” mobile harassment and text etiquette, while helping parents learn how to use mobile phones to communicate better with their kids. In the series finale, Jane drives right to the point and addressees the potentially damaging consequences of texting while driving.

In an eye-opening study conducted by LG Mobile Phonesi, 70 percent of teens accuse their parents of texting while driving, while only 44 percent of parents actually admitted to the behavior. In a similar study conducted by the Pew Research Center, presented during the Federal Communication Commission’s recent Generation Mobile Forum, 40 percent of teens said they’ve been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. In the texting while driving video, Lynch confronts a classroom of parents about their own texting and driving bad habits and urges parents to model good behavior for their children. Using humor to get to the heart of the issue, Lynch helps parents help themselves by putting the phone away in the car and encouraging their kids to do the same.

“With 45 percent of teens admitting to texting and driving, it’s more important than ever that we provide parents with the tools to educate and promote safe and responsible driving habits,” said Tim O’Brien, vice president of consumer and trade marketing. “Through LGTextEd.com, parents have a centralized resource they can use to help keep their children safe when it comes to mobile phone use.”
Through the LG Text Ed Web site, www.lgtexted.com, parents can educate themselves about the dangers of texting while driving as well as learn strategies to use to help protect their children. Parents can also view the full Jane Lynch series including the newest Texting While Driving video on the Web site. LG also encourages parents to visit the LG Text Ed Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LGTextEd, where users can talk to one another, post questions and check up on Lynch’s latest classroom lessons.

LG Text Ed with Jane Lynch
Bringing her trademark intensity and flair to the LG Text Ed campaign, award-winning actress Jane Lynch is working with LG Mobile Phones to raise awareness about risky mobile phone behavior. In a series of comedic vignettes, which can be viewed on www.LGTextEd.com, Lynch tackles issues such as sexting, texting while driving, mobile bullying, and other questionable teen behaviors. At the end of each video, Lynch directs parents to LGTextEd.com where they can find professional advice and guidance to help promote safe and responsible mobile usage among their text- and tech-savvy families. Lynch, a new mom herself, masterfully employs her artistic abilities and the result is a video series that is both humorous and thought-provoking.

LG Text Ed
The LG Text Ed program, which was launched in early 2010, offers parents a number of articles, tips, videos and other content so they can educate themselves on the dangers of mobile phone misuse, employ strategies to help protect their children from potential problems, and discover how they might be modeling their children’s mobile phone behavior. Parents can find additional information on the LG Text Ed initiative and mobile phone misuse by visiting www.lgtexted.com.