Is your Wifi in Italy fast enough to let you FaceTime? Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
All new could be all wrong if your buying a new car. Buyers of the latest and greatest are more often than not, are The unofficial guinea pigs for Automakers If often takes a few years to get the bugs out of all new car. Last week, Consumer Reports released their annual new-car reliability ranking. The culprit in some of the newer models seems to be the infotainment systems, the complex nine and ten speed automatic transmissions and the new Turbo Charged engines.
In this report there seems to be a trend. Some Vehicles with new technology: engines, transmission, infotainment systems have dropped in reliability. Highly rated brands like Buick, Honda, Tesla, and other reliable name plates have seen steep drops from 2017. Older lower rated cars like the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300 with designs that date back to 2006 have risen in reliability. In some cars, like the Tesla nearly every function is handled via the infotainment system. In those cars, some owners complained about freezing screens, preventing them from changing station, to adjusting the temperature. Some systems like Chrysler’s give you the option of using knobs or the screen.
The Ford Fusion, one of the best built domestic vehicles, have seen its ratings fall due to problems with Ford’s new Sync 3 system. The second generation Buick LaCrosse enjoyed a good repair history. The third generation introduced in 2017 was all new with a new 8 speed transmission, buyers of the third generation complained about a rough transmission.
Each year, Consumer Reports sends a questionnaire to its members to learn about issues that they’ve had with their cars over the past year, and the severity of those issues. In their latest survey , CR got info on over 500,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2018, gathering information bout problems that owners have had in twelve key areas, including engine internals, accessory drive, cooling system, transmission internals, drive train, fuel system, electrical system, brakes, climate control, exhaust, in-car electronics, and others.
In a quest to build lighter, more fuel efficient cars. Automakers have turned to smaller turbo charged four cylinder engines and complex 8, 9 and 10 speed transmissions. Four cylinder engines that are as powerful as the old mighty V8 engines. Ford has replaced large displacement V8 for smaller displacement engines in their trucks and large SUV’s. The massive 5800 pound Ford Expedition Max is powered by 3.5 (213 cubic inch) turbo charged six cylinder engine generating 400 horsepower and 480 pound feet or Torque. Chrysler’s, 5.7-liter (345 cubic inch) HEMI V8 engine produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. To give you a sense of size, the first Ford Mustang was a six cylinder was 200 cubic inches.
Nearly all manufactures foreign and domestic has made major changes with all new engines, transmissions, infotainment systems. To put things in perspective, for nearly twenty years most of the automatic transmissions built were four speed transmissions . Twelve years ago, six speed transmissions were common. Four years ago, eight speed transmissions came to market. In the last few years 9 and 10 speed transmissions have come to market. Every manufacturer is now building smaller displacement turbo charged cars for the first time. Longevity for the most part is unknown.
According to Consumer Reports, this new technology has damaged the reliability of some brands. Buick, the most reliable American brand fell 11 spots from 2017 to 2018. Tesla also dropped sharply.
Honda, a brand known for its reliability also dropped sharply in Consumer Reports Ratings . Honda, added turbo charge engines to some of its current generation Civics. The new Accords has new 9 and 10 speed transmissions, all new turbo charged engines and new infotainment systems. As a result the all new Accord, one of the most reliable cars was down graded to average.
Honda’s Odyssey minivan is no longer recommended and Consumer Reports says, the Clarity line of cars apparently has “electronic glitches” that bring it to “much-worse-than-average.
Consumer complaints about the 1.5 Turbocharged engine in Honda’s best selling CR-V to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could lead to major recall. Honda says ,A fix will be issued by dealers by mid-November and will be covered under the vehicle’s warranty. Honda will also preemptively fix 2019 CR-V models before they go on sale, although it does not yet say what exactly the fix entails.
Toyota’s to my eye aren’t necessarily sexy, they aren’t exciting to drive. But they sure are reliable. There are more twenty, and thirty year old Toyota’s on the road than nearly any other car.
Unlike Honda, most of Toyota engines are naturally aspirated. The company hasn’t rushed to turbos. The company still build 6 speed transmissions. Last year it added 8 speed transmissions to the Camry and Avalon.
The magic started early on. On auto production lines in Europe and American the lines buzzed on. If there was a defect, it was handled after the car rolled off the line. At Toyota, workers could stop the entire production line if they realized anything was wrong. Management could fix the problem before it was an issue down the line.
Slow and Steady
One of the first infotainment system came from Ford,designed by Microsoft it was called Ford Sync. In 2008, it was optional on nearly every Ford or Lincoln vehicle. With a push of a button, one could make a phone call, change a radio station, change a CD track by a voice command.
By 2010,a more complex system was introduced called “My Ford Touch” This system allowed the user with the aid of touch screen to read text messages and more. While it was very profitable for Ford, it was an utter failure, with owners saying that it crashed and was unreliable. There were several attempts by Ford to repair the system but they were not successful. JD Power said “My Ford Touch” had a negative effect on Ford’s overall reliability. Consumer Reports suggested buyers avoid the system entirely. Despite all the negative press, the public wanted this expensive option.
Automaker went all in adopting this new technology. Toyota didn’t. It was one of the last carmakers to adopt the technology.
And that is the theme or secret sauce to Toyota. While the other automakers rush new technologies to market. Toyota and Lexus (Toyota’s luxury division) is slow and conservative. Unlike other automakers adding new engines and other technology to all models across the line, they gradually add new engines, electronics and transmissions to the product line. The trade off is superior reliability.
If your buying a new car you may just want to keep it simple and stay clear of the infotainment systems. All of the cars will have Bluetooth, that will allow hands free calling. You may even consider installing an after market stereo from establish brand like Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood and JVC. This would require some modification to your car. They all have bluetooth and the trade off is in most cases superior sound, and better electronics. Many of these units have back up cameras, navigation and your steering wheel controls will control these units.
If you must have a infotainment, the best are from Audi, BMW, Hyundai/Kia/Genesis, and Mercedes Benz. Chrysler has a conditional recommendation. Prior to 2018, their U-connect system was considered one of the best in the industry. However, some software additions has made the system buggy with occasional screen freezing. We suspect they will work the bugs out in 2019. The worst of the worst, is Volvo. The company has built award winning and compelling cars with some of the BEST interiors in the industry . However, like many luxury cars infotainment system if you want a Volvo you do not have any other option.
Other vehicles on the caution list includes the Honda Accord and Civic. Honda has a solid reputation. With new turbo engines and transmissions, have resulted in a decline in ratings. However, in a couple of years we think they will have worked out of these issues. Tesla’s Gull wing Model X has been an disaster,doors, rattles and electronic issues. The Model S air suspension and door handles has problematic for the company. The popular Model 3 isn’t as complex as the other models two and more expensive models and so far its most reliable vehicle.
For Donald Trump, there isn’t anything more beautiful than a large building with his name on it or several buildings with his name on it, all over the world.
Trump Tower Moscow failed and from we understand Mr Trump was very disappointed. The Chinese Government understands Presidesnt Trump and what brings him joy. The Chinese Government is extending a $550 million dollar loan to state-owned construction firm ,Metallurgical Corporation of China. The company planning to build an Indonesian theme park that will feature a Trump-branded golf course and hotels.
Donald’s son’s Eric and Don Jr help bring this project together. The project began before his election.
This is a win for all parties. The Trump Organization, Indonesia and the Chinese government who gets the soul of America, for five hundred and fifty million dollars.
Yesterday , the President said, he wanted to help China, the country ,he said was raping the United States. Its important that we help China secure those jobs.
ZTE is China’s number two smartphone maker Last year, the US imposed a seven year moratorium on ZTE after the government learned the company’s role in moving US made technology to Iran and North Korea .
Many of ZTE phones are built around US made Qualcomm chip on the Android platform. Making it difficult for the Chinese company to sell phones without the american software.
Alarm bells went off yesterday after the President announcement. As the Intelligence community warned that ZTE’s technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat.
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Trump “Should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.”
In a tweet, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said “The problem with ZTE isn’t jobs and trade, it’s national security and espionage.”
The Pentagon banned ZTE phones, the FBI urged American Citizens to steer clear of products fron ZTE and Huawei.
The absurdity of his new position on China isn’t lost on us mere mortals.
His desire to compromise the security of our country to expand his personal empire makes Russia more plausible.
But what does our intelligence community know? What Donald Trump knows is that his Indonesian Hotel and golf course will be one of the best in the world.
“Change the name from Goldfinger to “TrumpFinger”
More hospital in the UAE are now turning to robotic surgery to perform some of the most complex and dynamic procedures. But will advanced artificial intelligence in the medical field soon replace the hands of real-life doctors in the country?
“Robotic surgeries have more control over the precision of the incision, minimal blood loss, less risk of infection, faster recovery and less pain for the patient,” said Dr Shabeer Nellikode, Managing Director, Universal Hospital.
He told Khaleej Times that artificial intelligence can achieve what man cannot achieve, in various aspects in the medical field.
Dr Nellikode said that Universal Hospital was one of the first to use robotic pharmacy dispensing back in 2012, which allows error-free drug count – something that a human may not always be guaranteed to do ever-so precisely.
Moreover, the hospital is also launching a child-sized robot this year, which Dr Nellikode said will immensely help children with autism.
“There are a lot of children with autism spectrum disorder in the UAE. The child-sized humanised robot will be able to play with children with autism and support them.”
He pointed out that autistic children will interact and feel closer to the robot than with humans, because the robot will carry similar characteristics to them.
“The children will be interacting with ‘people’ who do not have a taboo to play with them.”
Dr Nellikode stressed that although artificial intelligence and robotics are taking center stage in the medical field, they will not necessarily replace doctors.
“But a doctor who is using artificial intelligence and robotics will definitely replace a doctor that doesn’t use them,” he added.
He said he is looking forward to more forward-thinking softwares that can help save human lives.
“The top causes of death in most countries are cancer, nerve related illnesses and cardiovascular diseases.”
However, he said that there is a clinical research conducted on artificial intelligence, which may help save millions of lives in the future.
“We will soon have a robot detecting hypertension, by simply looking at the eye of the patient.”
Moreover, he added that every year, millions of monograms are being done in the UAE, and to analyse, archive, evaluate and come up with a conclusion is impossible for a human, which is why artificial intelligence is necessary.
“A human interface is simply not strong enough to save data, with so much precision and error-free conclusion.”
Dr Jorge Guzman, Chief of Staff, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times that since its opening in 2015, the hospital has so far conducted a whopping 148 robotic cases.
In March this year, surgeons performed the UAE’s first robotic hysterectomy surgery, allowing the patient to be up and walking, just hours after surgery.
Dr Guzman said that the rise of robotics and connected devices has allowed doctors to treat diseases more effectively and monitor people’s health both in and out of the hospital.
He pointed out that healthcare technology continues to develop apace in the UAE.
“One of the most interesting developments from a patient’s perspective is connected devices. These allow us to monitor patients remotely and in real time.”
This device helps doctors by providing a large amount of data to help diagnose and manage the patient’s condition.
Moreover, Dr Guzman said that the clinic’s unique remote heart monitoring programme has helped save lives of patients.
“We’re now able to monitor our heart patients’ vital signs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving them peace of mind and allowing us to intervene much earlier if they begin having symptoms.”
From a surgical point of view, in addition to robotic surgery, 3D printing has already helped doctors plan and prepare for surgeries.
“We can print a 3D model of a patient’s heart based on detailed scans that allow our surgical teams to plan exactly how the operation should go.”
“This means shorter operations and fewer complications in the operating room, improving outcomes for patients and meaning that we can treat more patients.”
Furthermore, technology now enables doctors to see and manage their patients remotely via telemedicine. Patients are increasingly able to receive care from their doctors at a distance and at their own convenience.
“Technology has had a positive impact on people’s lives and health. This is especially important as we contend with rising levels of lifestyle diseases.”
Dr El Zaqui Ladha, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, Bareen International Hospital, said he is looking forward to witnessing the growth of robotic surgeries in the UAE.
“Today, a doctor in Dubai can operate on a patient in Oman,” he said.
However, he stressed that the cost of a robotic surgery is extremely high.
“This is the big factor that is blocking us from moving forward to robotic surgery.”
“I don’t think the hospitals are using robots at the full capacity, because the learning curve is difficult, and it still needs a doctor to conduct the surgery.”
Dr Ladha said there also needs to be more improvement in softwares.
“The softwares need to be more intelligent and able to analyse the emotions of people, as well as their status at work and at home, because so much is linked.”
“When a patient has a health issue, this issue can be related to various factors in his life.”
He stressed that as with any technology, the risks in using robotic procedures are alive.
“There are risks of having a robot breakdown due to the software system during an operation – just like how your computer might suddenly breakdown while you are in the in the middle of work.”
However, Dr Ladha does see robotic surgeries growing in the UAE’s future.
“Robotic surgery will certainly be our future, because that’s where we are heading towards now.”
All the people involved are Proud Republicans most of whom HE appointed
Attorney General Jeff Sessions who recused himself for the Russia Probe. Robert Muller is a Republican ,Deputy General Rod Rosenstein
Last January, Jeff Sessions appointed Geoffrey S. Berman to the office of the Southern District in New York . This office executed the search warrants and seized the privileged communications from Michael Cohen. Mr. Berman is a former law partner of Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor and a supporter of Mr. Trump.
Update: Geoffrey Berman was recused from the investigation before FBI agents raided Cohen’s offices and home. Last year, President Trump personally interviewed Berman for the position. A President doesn’t normally interview potential candidates. Trump Tower is in the Southern District. Berman donated $5400, to Trump’s Campaign.
I’m not sure if President Obama or Hillary Clinton ever met Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen knew her well enough to give her $130,000 just because. He even took out a loan to pay her. To get that loan, did he tell the bank, the money was for renovations or Stormy?
After weeks of being silent about the weather. Last week the Prez told the press he didn’t know any thing about a payment to Stormy?
Bank Fraud? Wire Fraud? Campaign Finance Violation?
Banks don’t usually require much explanation from customers about how they use such credit lines. However, Cohen may have been asked to provide explanation for the large-dollar transfers he made when he moved the money to a shell company and then to a lawyer for Daniels.
To obtain a search warrant, prosecutors must convince a federal judge that agents are likely to discover evidence of criminal activity.
The Prez may have put the investigation into high gear when he said, he didn’t know anything about any payment to Stormy. Leaving his mouth piece, vulnerable and possibly jeopardizing Cohen’s freedom and his career. The problem for the prez, should he fire Muller, this investigation will continue.
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
“Electric cars are disasters. They are evil.”
Not something you’d hear every day, certainly not from a powerful executive in the auto industry.
Yet those are the words of Ha Bu-young, head of the Hyundai motor union, both the largest and the most powerful union in South Korea.
Ha made the comment in an interview with the Reuters news service last week, published on Monday.
His concern is jobs, specifically the well-paid auto industry jobs that have lifted auto workers in the country to higher salaries and more generous benefits than those in most other industries.
General Motors blamed high labor costs and declining sales for its decision to close an assembly plant in the country, one of those it acquired 15 years ago when it bought the bankrupt Daewoo operation.
Ha estimated that electric cars could destroy 70 percent of the jobs at Hyundai under a worst-case scenario, though that figure is far higher than estimates from union bosses in other countries.
In late 2016, Michael Brecht, chief of the Daimler works council, said the number of workers required to build internal-combustion engines was “roughly tenfold” the number required for electric motors of similar output.
The UAW in the U.S. weighed in last October, after new Ford CEO Jim Hackett called for a 30-percent reduction in the “hours per unit” to assemble electric cars.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence to find out how much it (electrification) means to us,” said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, head of the union’s Ford department
He said the union and the automaker had agreed to work together to understand the answer to that question.
Another challenge for auto unions is the value represented by powertrain components versus the rest of the vehicle.
Today and likely well into the future, the single most expensive component of a battery-electric vehicle is its battery pack, which may be $6,000 to $9,000 for a 60-kilowatt-hour pack even once cells reach $100 per kilowatt-hour.
But the electrode film for those cells is made not in the automotive industry but by giant battery companies like Panasonic, LG Chem, and AESC.
So even if cells and battery packs are assembled locally, as they are at the huge Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, the high-value electrode film comes in from somewhere else where auto-industry unions have no representation.
That is, parenthetically, why one-third or more of a 2018 Nissan Leaf is still deemed content originating outside North America—because the electrode film is shipping in from Japan.
Automation and outsourcing have steadily eroded the number of hours and workers required for a new car, even as cars grow in complexity, though the remaining employees work in far less grueling conditions than did their forebears.
But Ha may not be too far off-base in worrying that auto-union membership will shrink the ranks of the union. He just resorted to stronger language than other union bosses have to date.
On Tuesday, the nation was temporarily distracted from the State of our union and watched the successful launch of Falcon Heavy, the world most powerful rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp (Space X) wants the reduce the cost of space travel. One day it hopes transport humans to other planets.
The Founder and CEO of the company is Elon Musk is an immigrant from South Africa. He is also the CEO of Tesla, the company that single handedly made electric cars cool. On the top of Falcon Heavy was a Tesla Roadster.
The 46 year old billionaire became a US Citizen in 2002