Ford is working with neuroscientists to develop brain-scanning technology that can more quickly detect when drivers are getting tired or distracted.
Why it matters: It's crucial that drivers stay engaged behind the wheel, even as cars become more automated. But there's mounting evidence that people get complacent using driver-assistance features like Tesla Autopilot, which is why federal safety regulators are investigating the systems.
Driving the news: Ford scientists in Europe are working with medical researchers at Uniklinik RWTH Aachen in Germany to map brain patterns to driver’s reactions.
How it works: Study participants complete a driving simulation while their brain activity is scanned by an MRI machine. A mirror allows them to see the simulation on a screen inside the MRI machine.
What they're saying: "We believe that by capturing this data we could one day be able to generate unique physiological driver fingerprints so that drivers of the vehicles of the future can be prepared to react and to intervene immediately in case it is required," said Professor Klaus Mathiak M.D. Ph.D., head of Psychoneurobiology and lead consultant for Psychosomatic Medicine, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen.
Starting today, drivers can use the long-awaited, new Interstate 49 Bella Vista bypass, which links 265 miles of interstate between Fort Smith and Kansas City, Missouri.
Why it matters: If you've ever tried to drive south from north Bella Vista (a constant thorn in Alex's side), you know you have to allot plenty of time to sit in traffic that lets up as soon as you get on the interstate or to Walton Boulevard.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is one of those "neither fish nor fowl" vehicles: It's an SUV crossed with a pickup truck — and I love it.
The big picture: Truck devotees will complain that the 4-foot-bed is too short, or that the Santa Cruz can't haul a giant RV or motorboat. (For the record, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.)
Details: The Santa Cruz drives like a crossover SUV, which isn't surprising, since it's based on the same basic underpinnings as the Hyundai Tucson.
One of my favorite features was the Santa Cruz's lockable, roll-up metal tonneau cover.
Other goodies: The Santa Cruz Limited also featured a 360-degree camera system, heated and cooled seats, a premium Bose sound system and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Santa Cruz comes with a full suite of standard safety and available assisted driving technologies.
The bottom line: The Santa Cruz starts at about $24,000, which is higher than Ford's new Maverick compact pickup. And at $39,720, the Limited AWD I drove seems downright expensive.
The cruise line industry is in the midst of a PR campaign of a lifetime: “It’s safe to come aboard, we promise.” A sign it’s working: Carnival, a mega-operator, said bookings for this time next year already top pre-pandemic levels.
Why it matters: The industry was an early epicenter for COVID-19 outbreaks. Its comeback hinges on how comfortable people feel aboard the ships.
I've spent the past week on a joyride, tooling around town in a crazy-fun, three-wheeled mashup between an electric car and a motorcycle — an "autocycle" if you will — called the Arcimoto FUV.
Why it matters: If this is the future of mobility, sign me up!
The big picture: Arcimoto, based in Eugene, Oregon, wants to lead a shift to sustainable transportation — cleaner, smaller vehicles that help reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.
Details: Like the Polaris Slingshot or CanAm Spyder, Arcimoto's FUV has two wheels in front and one in back.
How it works: The battery sends power to an electric motor on each of the front wheels, providing the instant torque that makes driving it so much fun.
My thought bubble: I work from home and don't really need my car as much as I used to. This seems like a hip and handy alternative for errands around town.
What to watch: The company says it has more than 4,000 "pre-orders" and has delivered 230 to date.
What's next: Arcimoto's goal is to scale production within the next couple of years with help from a loan under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.
With rental cars in short supply, enterprising car owners have amassed their own small fleets of automobiles, renting them out to travelers at a premium.
A snapshot: If you need a car in Boston for a weekend in mid-October, you can rent a Ford Fiesta hatchback from Budget for about $500 — or pay the same for a Maserati Quattroporte from Turo.com, a car-sharing site.
United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.
Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.
The outlook for global automakers and suppliers continues to worsen, amid heightened risk from supply chain disruptions, including the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage.
Driving the news: IHS Markit slashed its forecast for global light-vehicle production in 2021 by 6.2% — about 5 million vehicles. It's cutting even deeper — 9.3% or about 8.45 million vehicles — for 2022.
The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.
Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.