Industry News for Automotive Techs: October 29 - November 4

Every week we compile recent industry news and interesting reads that shouldn’t be missed. Here’s the digest for October 29th to November 4th.

Toyota Working on Smart Phone Key

Getaround Toyota Smartphone Key

You’ve got to drag around so much stuff nowadays; wallet, cell phone, car keys, scaldingly hot cup of coffee... It would be nice to eliminate at least one of these items from your daily routine (coffee isn’t going anywhere). Toyota gets it, and that’s why they’ve come up with an idea to lighten your load - a smartphone key for your car.

Working with car-sharing company Getaround, Toyota has introduced a smart key box that sits inside the car to unlock and enable use of the vehicle. This all works via a smartphone app. So far, Toyota plans to limit the app to people who previously used Getaround to sign up for the shared-use car.

The idea is to provide a more secure way of renting cars. Hopefully, one day this technology will trickle down to the consumer market and we’ll be able to ditch the ten pounds of keys we lug around.

Excited about Toyota’s smart phone key? Read more about it at Automotive News.

The Future of McLaren

McLaren 675LT Duo
Image: McLaren Automotive

Most modern sports car manufacturers have been diluted through the ingress of minivans on steroids (otherwise known as SUVs) and four-door sedans. McLaren plans to go against the grain by committing to producing only true, purpose-built sports cars.

Rumor has it that Apple has their eye on the automaker, hoping to acquire it to produce advanced autonomous and/or electric vehicles. For now, however, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt says they have no plans to make the merger.

What they plan to do, though, is stay independent and keep producing sports cars, one of which may be electric in the future. That’s right, McLaren has begun development of an all-electric performance car, but it’s ETA is still a ways off. Regardless, we’re all for a Tesla vs. McLaren drag race.

Learn more about McLaren’s future over at SAE.

DMCA Car Hacking

If you’re like us, you probably never knew it was illegal to play doctor with your car’s brain. Up until this point, it has been illegal to tamper with your cars onboard computers. The reason for this is that, according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, your car’s software doesn’t belong to you, because it is the intellectual property of the manufacturer.

As of last Friday, however, the U.S. Copyright Office made the determination that tinkering with the ECU in your own car is legal. The amendment made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is only good for a year, which means by 2018 this issue will be controversial again. Of course, automakers don’t like this decision and they’ll be waiting to dispute it when possible. Until then, tinkers and makers will sleep easy knowing they’re staying on the good side of Johnny law.

If you’re thinking about hacking your car, you might want to check out more information on this subject over at IEEE Spectrum.

Fire Delays Ford from Releasing Sales Figures

Ford Headquarters Dearborn
Image: Wikipedia

The day Chevy fans have been waiting for has finally come - Ford has gone up in flames. Well, not really, but the basement of Ford’s Dearborn, MI headquarters did have an electrical fire. This affected the data center where sales figures are stored, meaning Ford will have delay releasing its October sale numbers for a week or so. Oh, the anticipation!

If you actually care about Ford’s sale figures, or want to learn more about their electical fire, check out Auto Blog.

Chevy Showcases New Performance Parts at SEMA

Chevrolet Camaro SEMA 2016
Image: Chevrolet

Chevy showed off their new racing swag at SEMA, in the form of performance parts for the Camaro, Cruze, Colorado and Silverado. The Camaro gets all kinds of goodies including an upgraded air intake, new exhaust system and better brakes. There’s also an available lowering kit and stiffer suspension bits available for the taking. The Cruze gets a similarly upgraded air intake and exhaust, as well as a lowering kit and upgraded suspension.

When it comes to the pick ‘em up trucks, Chevy is offering an extra 10 horsepower for the 5.3L and an additional seven ponies from the 6.2L. These rigs also get an upgraded air intake and exhaust, as well as new accessories, such as floor liners, tonneau covers, bedliners, side steps, and fresh sets of wheels to pimp yo’ ride.

Want to add some bling to your Bowtie? Read more about the new parts over at Motor 1.


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