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UBER DEPLOYS SELF DRIVING TAXIS IN PITTSBURG By Allen L Phillips UBER announced in late August that it will begin testing driverless taxis in Pittsburg in September.  UBER's self-driving research lab is based in Pittsburg and the city offers many challenges to the technology with its many bridges, tunnels and hills, in addition to GPS confounding one-way streets and narrow roads.  And then there's the weather.  If driverless taxis can succeed in Pittsburg, they can succeed almost anywhere. An UBER engineer will be in the driver's seat ready to take over in case things go wrong, but otherwise the fleet of Fords and Volvos will be capable of driving themselves.  Riders will have the option of whether to use the self-driving cars but UBER will be offering the rides free as an inducement. The engineers in the cars will not be allowed to speak to passengers.  The goal, says UBER, is to wean us off of having a driver in the car.  ... read more

Fiat Crysler Autos Recalls 1.9 Million Vehicles

Sept. 16, 2016—Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Thursday that it is recalling 1.9 million vehicles worldwide for an airbag defect, according to a report from Automotive News.  The defect has been linked to three deaths and five injuries.  The defect may prevent deployment of airbag and seat-belt pretensioners in a collision. Affected vehicles include the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, Jeep Patriot and Compass from model years 2010-2014. Roughly 1.4 million of the affected vehicles are in the U.S. The recall is similar but not identical to a GM airbag-related recall last week. The FCA issue relates to an occupant restraint control module and front impact sensor wiring when the vehicle is involved in a certain type of collision. These two recalls are t ... read more

GM Recalls 4.3 Million Vehicles

Sept. 12, 2016—General Motors has issued a recall for nearly 4.3 million vehicles over a software defect that could prevent airbags from inflating during a collision, according to a report from Reuters. The default has been linked to one death and three injuries thus far.  The recall affects cars, trucks and SUVs from model years 2014-2017, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Corvette, Silverado 1500 and HD, Tahoe, Suburban and Cadillac Escalade.  GM said a software update at dealerships will fix the issue.  This is the latest airbag-related recall GM has issued recently, including the recall of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 due to an ignition-switch defect. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) may also force GM to recall another 4.3 million vehicles for potentially defective Takata airbags. GM has already recalled 2.5 million vehicles for defective Takata inflators.  Did y ... read more


The gang at Del Mar Auto will take a much needed four day weekend for the Labor Day holiday.  We will be closed Friday, September 2nd through Monday, September 5th. We will be back to business as usual on Tueday, September 6th. We hope that all our faithful customers will enjoy a happy and safe Labor Day holiday


By Allen L Phillips Presently, when you have your car repaired you pay sales tax on the parts but not on the labor.  Likewise your plumber charges you tax only on the parts he uses.  Your tax accountant does not charge you tax on his or her services.  Likewise your computer repairman.  SB-1445 would change all that. The stated intent of SB-1445 is: 1)  Provide tax relief to middle and low income Californians while "simplifying" the personal income tax and mitigating the reliance on top income earner's tax revenues.  They say such reliance has led to much instability in tax revenues due to economic cycles.  (Note that "simplifying" is ambiguous and no more detail is provided in the bill.) 2)  Broaden the tax base imposing a "modest" sales tax on services in the interest of producing "more stable revenues".  Health care services, education services, child care, rent, interest, and services provid ... read more


By Allen L Phillips A recent traffic fatality in Florida, while still under investigation, appears to have been caused by the driver not paying attention while his Tesla was on "autopilot".  The beta-test system on the Tesla warns drivers each time it is activated to pay attention so that they can take control of the car in an emergency.  The car's limited sensors failed to "see" a white truck and trailer rig crossing the road in front of it. This situation is exactly what the nation's city transportation planners want to avoid and, therefore, have recommended an all or nothing approach to driver assist technology in urban centers. The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) is an organization that represents 46 major cities in North America.  There are thirteen member cities on the west coast, from Vancouver, BC in the north to San Diego in the south.  In late June NACTO released a policy statement on automated ... read more


We will be closed Friday, May 27th through Monday, May 30th for Memorial Day. Please feel free to leave a message by phone or make an appointment on our website. Thank You for your Business. Al & Todd Phillips  


Companies all over the world are developing technologies for driverless cars.  Google is most visible having built some of their own cars as well as adapting existing cars for testing purposes.  You can view their promotional video at https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/.  The news media recently reported that one of Google's driverless vehicles had a fender bender with a bus while driving in traffic in Mountain View, Ca., where Google is based.  Google accepted responsibility and modified their software to correct the problem.  This was not the first accident involving a self driving car - there have been a few - but it was the first time the car was at fault. This illustrates one of the main reasons for developing driverless cars - the assumption that they will be safer.  The driverless car follows rules programmed into the computer augmented by GPS and sensors to "see" what is going on around it.  It doesn't get distracted by ... read more


The article below from the U-T San Diego says it all.  VW is given a deadline to respond, postpones 2015 financial reporting. U.S. JUDGE TURNS UP HEAT ON VW - MARCH DEADLINE... | midnight Feb. 26, 2016 | Updated, 8:07 a.m. Reuters A federal judge turned up the heat on Volkswagen on Thursday, setting a March deadline for the German automaker to state whether it has found an emissions fix for 600,000 diesel vehicles that is acceptable to U.S. regulators. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco said he wants a definitive answer on the status of a fix by March 24. Noting that VW had admitted in September that its vehicles on U.S. roads were using software to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution, Breyer said time was running out. "Six months is long enough" to determine if this is a fixable problem, Breyer said. "This is an ongoing problem." The U.S. Justice Department last month sued Europe's biggest automaker for up to ... read more


By Allen L Phillips In the 2011 State of the Union address President Obama called for 1 million electric cars to be on the road by 2015.  He wasn't talking about hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius but pure electric cars with no gasoline engine.  Now with 2015 in the rearview mirror only about 330,000 are on the road with almost half of those in California. Government is making a huge push with our tax dollars to drive consumers toward electric cars.  Federal spending is expected to reach $7.9 billion by 2019, including $2.4 billion in grants to companies making the lithium-ion batteries which power the cars.  (It's worth noting that those billions have not yet resulted in any substantial advances in battery technology.)  Additionally, there is a $7,500 Federal tax credit on the purchase of an electric car plus California rebates up to $2,500 car.  So why are sales lagging?         Initial cost is a ... read more

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