Every week we compile recent industry news and interesting reads that shouldn’t be missed. Here’s the digest for October 15th to October 21st.
Ambitious Tinkerer Creates Home-Brewed Autonomous Car
An Australian IT professional is enjoying celebrity status amongst car and tech geeks after creating his own autonomous car. Keran McKenzie used an Arduino micro controller, a small computer popular amongst DIYers, as the foundation for his system. To scan the road ahead, he replaced the ultrasound sensors in his car’s front bumper with five cameras. These sensors send information to the Arduino, which in turn, forwards the information to a master processor in the engine compartment. McKenzie says the total cost of autonomizing his Ford Focus was only around $770. Look out, Google, this Aussie is coming for you.
Jeep Previews Grand Wagoneer and Next Generation Wrangler
The original Jeep Grand Wagoneer made a statement with its faux wood cladding slathered inside and out. What exactly that statement was, we’re not sure, but people loved the big SUV both then and now. That’s why the fact that Jeep plans to resurrect the Grand Wagoneer is big news. It’s rumored that the Grand Wagoneer will be based on the Grand Cherokee platform and feature premium luxury appointments – enough to justify its rumored price tag of $140,000. Sounds like a fancy cowboy Cadillac, indeed.
Jeep also teased off-road fanatics with a glimpse of the next generation Wrangler. From what could be seen, the appearance of the new rig won’t change much from the outgoing model, and will certainly retain its trail-ready capabilities.
Automotive Hackers Want Money, Not Chaos
As cars’ computerization and digital connectivity increases, they have become more vulnerable to cyberattacks from hackers, as highlighted in several high-profile cases, like when hackers took control of a Jeep from miles away. However, many malicious hackers are hardened criminals who could care less about pulling pranks and wreaking havoc with your vehicle - they’re all about the money.
Security experts believe automotive hackers will exploit vehicles to steal dough in a variety of ways. Some examples include remotely opening the doors for theft purposes, charging driver’s ransom for the control of their vehicle, and cracking into connected cell phones to retrieve financial information. Certainly as cars become less mechanical and more digital, automakers will need to step up their cybersecurity measures to thwart vehicle hackers.
Ram Rebel TRX Concept Has Ford Raptor in its Sights
Up until now, the beastly Ford Raptor hasn’t had much competition. It’s the only truck to come right off the dealership lot in full desert racer attire. Now Ram threatens to give Ford a run for its money with the introduction of the Rebel TRX Concept.
The burly rig features all kinds of off-road goodies, including front and rear bypass-type performance shocks with 13” of travel, big fender flares, skid plates galore, and 37” tires. Under the hood you’ll find a 6.2L supercharged HEMI V8 delivering 575 hp. This grunt gets transferred to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. Finished with light bars, side-exit exhaust, and two spare tires in the bed, the TRX certainly looks the part.
Lisle Introduces Turbo Air Test Kit
Nowadays, there are more gas-guzzling big block engines in the junkyard than on the road. Downsized turbocharged engines are the wave of the future. Lisle recognizes this, which is why they introduced a new turbo air test kit. This handy piece of equipment helps locate leaks in the turbo system by plugging the outlet side of the turbo and intake inlet. In addition to a pressure gauge, shut-off valve and pressure regulator, this kit also includes six adapters that allow it to fit most turbocharged engines.