Sam joins Leo to clear the air over why President Trump had to evoke the Defense Authorization Act to get automobile manufacturers to switch to making ventillators for the pandemic. Sam says GM didn't refuse to help, it's just a huge task to make a switch from making cars to making medical equipment. And using the DAA enables the government to clear several hurdles too enable them to make medical equipment that will pass FDA regs. You can just flip a switch.
Sam joins Leo to talk about a study by IAmRoadsmart, which studied the use of touch screens in modern cars. They wanted to see driver reaction times using smartphone projection systems like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. The study found that drivers' reaction time was greatly diminished, even while using voice commands. In fact, the cognitive load produced a reaction time was worse than driving drunk or while high. 12-21% vs. 27-53% for Android Auto/Carplay. The evidence is clear that using a touchscreen in your car has significantly more dangerous than driving under the influence.
Goodyear has invented an airless tire that promises not to get ever get flat. There are spokes going out of the hub of the wheel, and it extrudes material that acts as your tire. It's based on how spiders weave their webs with silk. When your wheels run out of material, you simply reload the capsule. You can also pop in a different blend for cold weather or warm weather. It probably won't see the road until the late 2020s, but it's still pretty cool.
Sam joins Leo to talk about Bed 3, the third generation electric vehicle by General Motors. GM believes that the Bed 3 will be the electric vehicle platform that will take the generation propulsion architecture mainstream. Bed 3 will also eliminate the use of cobalt in the battery system and make it easier for servicing and reuse.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the upcoming final report about a Tesla Autopilot crash that killed its driver. Tesla blamed the driver, an employee, and there is evidence he was playing a game on his phone and not paying attention. The NTSB agreed but said there was plenty of blame to go around. The NTSB said that Tesla shares part of the blame because the automaker did not incorporate active driver monitor systems that they recommended after the last fatal crash.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the latest over the air updates by Tesla. Tesla recently removed auto drive from a used car bought by a user, which caught a ton of bad press. Tesla's position was that the upgrade was attached to the driver, not the car itself. But eventually, they relented and gave the new owner back the advanced feature. This is why Sam advises people to buy an electric vehicle based on what it can do today, not what it may do down the road because new features will likely be required to pay a fee to enable.
Sam is back with Leo to talk about a new car cockpit design which has a steering wheel that receeds into the dashboard when the car drives autonomously. The new design also uses the actual surfaces of the car to act as car stereo speakers. Any surface you can get to vibrate can transmit sound thanks to actuators. You can even embed them in the seats. The potential also exists to create "sound bubbles," which would let you listen to something, while other passengers are listening to something else.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the news that Cadillac has designed a gorgeous OLED display system for their Escalade SUV. They're made by LG and consists of three separate displays, including two touch screens. Leo says that one of the problems though with OLED is the burn-in problem. If you're going to have a car for 10-15 years, how are they doing to deal with that? Sam says that LG is probably using pixel shifting to battle the burn-in problem. As for an upcoming electric vehicle by Cadillac, that likely won't happen for at least five years.
General Motors is resurrecting the old HUMMER brand name and will soon be releasing an electric pickup truck with that name. But it won't be a separate car line, but a model. You'll get a glimpse of it during today's Super Bowl. It isn't anything too futuristic in its design either, favoring a traditional pickup look. There will also be coming out with a Ford F150 electric truck, and one from Fisker. Then there's that Tesla Cybertruck. Sam says it'll be interesting how well an eTruck performs since the range is going to be the big issue.
Sam is back to talk about self-driving cars like the Chevy Cruise Origin. The car will have no controls of any kind and will essentially be controlled with an app. Sam says there will be dual sliding doors on either side and will be modular to swap various configurations. It'll also be rated for a million miles.