Archive for the ‘Automobile Trends And Tech’ Category

The Flying Car! [VIDEO]

Posted on: May 25th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

flying carThe flying car will be on the road in the near future! In fact, that was said back in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair. Well, we don’t know about you, but we still have yet to see a car flying around out there unless you catch a Jetsons re-run or Back to the Future.

However, that could be changing. A Slovakian company, AreoMobil, plans to make flying cars commercially available in the next 24 months.  They have been rapidly ramping up and modifying several prototypes, just in time for their formal announcement couple of weeks ago.

It looks as though their flying car is an elongated vehicle that is road ready with stowable wings. When released to the public, the flying car will be priced more for luxury car enthusiasts. The price on this car is also luxury pricing at around $1.3 million. The vehicle will be a two-seater with a 435-mile range. The take-off speed will be 81 miles per hour, which will require a good stretch of open road (good luck if you are stuck on I-25). The top air speed will be 124 miles per hour and it comes with an autopilot function. And, yes, you will need a pilot license to operate this vehicle.

But, we have heard about the imminent release of flying cars before. In fact, a company called Terrafugia promised delivery of flying cars in 2011 shortly after receiving FAA approval. They are now saying they hope to deliver their vehicles this year or next.

So, do not be surprised if the actual flying car is pushed off a couple years. In the meantime, we will go back to watching the Jetsons.

How to Use this Information

While the flying car may, or may not, be here in a couple years, we do know a thing or two about the cars that stay on the ground. If you have need of auto collision repair, dent repair or other auto damage, give us a call at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Cars that Talk To Each Other

Posted on: April 14th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Vehicle to Vehicle CommunicationsVehicle to Vehicle Communications

Anyone who has seen the movie Cars knows that cars can talk with one another. In fact, Lightning McQueen sounds a lot like Owen Wilson! Also, KITT from Knight Rider had the ability to talk, too. But, apparently, other vehicles are learning to talk with another with vehicle to vehicles communications. As your Aurora auto body repair shop, we take a look at vehicle to vehicle communications (V2V) and what it means for drivers.

What is Vehicle to Vehicle Communications

All kidding aside, V2V is not KITT or Lightning McQueen. But, it is a new technology that the Cadillac CTS sports sedan is offering. It allows these cars to share information with other nearby cars (and their drivers) on nearby driving conditions. This includes communicating information about weather, speed, sudden braking, traffic congestion, accidents and more. This is a wi-fi like technology that is rolling out and will expand. The plans are that it will become standard on every new car.

Why V2V Communications?

The objective behind V2V, real-time communications is to help keep drivers safe. The theory is that it will help keep drivers be more aware of conditions that are beyond their line of sight. Eventually, it could be the key to the concept of car “platooning” which will all for packs of cars that are in communication with one another to drive closer together without slowdowns or accidents.

However, the real breakthrough in this technology is in warning of impending collisions. While many cars use radar to warn drivers of nearby objects, they only work a few car lengths ahead and cannot see through the nearest obstruction. With V2V wi-fi like connections among cars, nearby vehicles are, essentially, network together, so the cars can warn the drivers of impending danger that is further away or that is obstructed.

Adoption Will Grow

The adoption of this technology looks like it will grow. While the 2017 Cadillacs will have few cars to talk to at the start, current studies on the technology look very promising. Testing on has been taking place for over five years, and it actually seems to be more widely accepted that V2V is, at this stage, more reliable than autonomous, self-driving vehicles, which rely on sensors and cameras that have been shown to be fooled by weather. So, while you may not yet have a car that can drive you two work, you could have a car that is networked with other cars that help keep you safe.

How to Use This Information

Even if you, eventually, drive a car equipped with V2V technology, there will still be accidents. You will still need to stay alert and rely on your own senses. And, if an accident occurs we can have your car fixed and looking new. Call us at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Lane Departure Warning Systems – How Do They Work

Posted on: March 14th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

lane departure warning systemsWe have all seen the commercials where a sleepy driver starts to drift and swerve into the other lane. And, to add drama to the situation, there is an oncoming car! But, miraculously, the car alerts the driver about the impending lane departure so they can avoid disaster. Sounds like science fiction. However, these lane guidance systems do just that and they are on several makes and models of this year’s vehicle. As your Aurora auto body shop, we have the in’s and out’s of how these lane departure warning systems work.

Three Versions of Lane Departure Systems

  • Lane Departure Warning – This is the most common and entry level version of the technology. This system only warns you that you are about to drift into the other lane. As a result, the driver has to take action and steer the vehicle back into the center of the lane.
  • Lane Keep Assist – This system kicks in when the car drifts too far. Then, the car will steer back into the lane, but it is up to the driver to re-center the car.
  • Lane Centering Assist – This is the latest and most advanced of these lane departure warning systems. This system is more proactive and keeps your vehicle centered as long as you have your hands, at least, lightly on the steering wheel.

How Lane Warning Systems Work

Most systems utilize a camera that is mounted high up in the windshield. The camera captures a view of the road, up to 150 feet ahead of the vehicle. The camera picks up on the painted lane markings on the road. If the camera senses that the car is drifting away from the center of the lane, the car will then warn the driver. Depending on the model and make of the car, the warning can be hepatic feedback from the steering wheel, or a visual cue on the dashboard, combined with an audio chime.

If you do intend to switch lanes, and you have lane assist or centering assist, the driver does override the system. The driver simply must steer slightly harder, but not much. The system then recognizes that you are intending to switch lanes.

Are Lane Departure Systems Reliable?

Keep in mind that lane departure systems are not 100% accurate. As they use the lane markers on the road, it can have difficulty if driving on roads where the painting is faded or been washed away. Unfortunately, here in Colorado, that happens a lot given our road clearing operations in the winter months. Also, in rain and snow, when visibility is limited and lane markings are obscured, the system will not be able to alert the driver.

Also, on sections of the highway where there is an exit, the right lane marker does go away temporarily, forcing the systems to try and pick up the right lane marker further ahead. In early systems, this would sometimes create false notifications, but newer systems are better at accounting for highway exits.

How to Use this Information

All in all, these systems do work pretty well and continue to improve. And, they are worthwhile to look into from a safety perspective, as a lot of fatal accidents are the result of lane departure and swerving off the road. If, however, you do happen to get into an accident and need auto body repair, please let us help. Call us at 303-344-2212 or get ahold of us online.

Buying an Electric Vehicle?

Posted on: February 13th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

buying an electric vehicleSo, you are thinking about buying an electric vehicle. That is great! There have been a lot of advancements in just the past couple of years when it comes to electric vehicles. And, certainly, here in Denver, we are seeing a lot of charging stations popping up to accommodate electric vehicles. As your Denver auto collision repair experts, we have explored some items to consider when buying an electric car.

Electric Vehicle Incentives

When buying an electric vehicle, there are special incentives available to you for purchasing an electric vehicle. Some are tax credits and others are purely perks. However, there are some tax credits that are up to $7,500 depending on your vehicle. Also, some places offer free or preferred parking for electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Battery Myths

There are some myths that within a few years of purchasing an electric car that the battery will fail and owners must pay a fortune to have it replaced. And, sure, there are some outliers where that may have occurred, but most electric vehicle batteries are stable and last a long time. Yes, there will be slight decreases in battery range as the car ages, but most manufacturers have battery warranties in the range of eight years and 100,000 miles. Most of these warranties also include battery replacement in cases of above average range reduction.

Electric Vehicle Tips – Install a Home Charger

While some studies show that electric cars have a lower total cost of ownership than gas-powered vehicles, sometimes they do not account for the need to have a home charger installed which can cost about $1,000. If you do get an EV, you will want an off-board charger installed as it can deliver 240 volts of electricity which greatly reduces charging time.

Electric Vehicle Range Considerations

Most electric vehicles will get you about three miles per kilowatt-hour. Of course, that varies depending on your car and how you drive. But, for most EVs, a fully charged battery will get you about 80 to 100 miles. That is adequate for about 90 percent of you who live and work in Denver. You will find that you need to plan trips a little bit more and be more aware of those impromptu trips.

How to Use this Information

When it comes to electric vehicles, you will need to weigh your lifestyle and driving habits to ensure they are the right fit for you. You will alway want to consider gas versus electric and see what works for you. But, for many people, they are a great choice and save you at the pump while being more environmentally friendly.  That being said, if you find your electric vehicle in need of auto body repair, whether from a collision or hail damage, give us a call at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Head-up Displays Coming to a Car Near You

Posted on: January 12th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

head-up displaysOnce thought to be reserved for fighter jets, vehicles on the road now use head-up displays (HUD). However, unlike fighter jets these HUD systems do not come with missile lock and targeting capabilities. But, they are still cool and useful! Today, your auto body repair experts look at these systems and some of their features.

How Head-up Displays for Auto’s Work

HUD systems simply use the windshield as a screen upon which to project important vehicle information. This information is projected on the lower section of the windshield, just below the driver’s usual line of vision. This enables the driver to keep their eyes up and on the road while still being able to observe vehicle information. Proponents of such systems claim this will help increase safety as the driver will not need to shift their head to view information on the dashboard or entertainment console.

What Information is Displayed in the HUD

Head-up displays are intended to provide crucial information to the driver, all in an easy-to-read form. This can include instrument read out, navigational directions, music information, as well as who is calling on the phone. However, some new features of HUD are great in situations where there is poor visibility, such as fog or falling snow. Since HUD systems are often connected to car radar systems and infra-red sensors, they can also display road markings to assist the driver in low visibility situations.

What Vehicles have HUD

Head-up displays started to emerge more regularly on 2016 option lists. And, as expected, the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW have such options on many of their new lines. Currently, HUD is more of a luxury feature more common on premium makes and models. However, like all things, it is anticipated in the next couple of years that most car manufacturers will have HUD options available. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that only a few cars offered heated seats and satellite radio, but now they are fairly common.

The vehicles currently on the road that have HUD options are:

  • BMW 7 Series – Shows speed limit, exit lane images, navigation, and phone call information.
  • Volvo XC90 – The nice thing about this system is it can be customized to the driver’s preferences (including location and height of projection) based on the driver’s saved seat settings.
  • Chevy Corvette Stingray – No surprise here as this car looks like a jet fighter on the ground!
  • Mazda 3 – Yep, Mazda has HUD in its mid-level S Touring trim and sedan styles. Their HUD system also includes blind spot and rear cross traffic warnings.
  • Others include Lexus RX, Jaguar XF, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class

How to Use this Information

HUD systems will become more and more common. And, we do hope they will improve safety and reduce accidents. But, accidents will still happen. If you find yourself in need of body work or feel your car could use some new paint, give us a call at 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

Best Car Apps 2016

Posted on: December 21st, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

car appsThe smartphone has taken over every facet of our lives. And, that includes, for better or worse, the time we spend driving. And, while we all know that you should not text and take calls while driving (as it could lead to you needing collision repair), we do know that many vehicles today have entire onboard systems that integrate with your smartphone. Today, there are so many great apps for driving, that we thought we should run through some of our favorite car apps.

Top Car App #1 – Waze

If you drive anywhere around town, especially as a daily commuter, you need Waze. Waze is a great navigation app that has GPS. But, it plots your route based on current traffic and from reports submitted by users. For example, if you are trying to get from work to the kids’ school and there is an accident on the freeway causing backups, Waze will direct you away from the problem and plot the fastest route. You can connect the app to your calendar so it can pull up locations of events very quickly. Plus, you can save favorite locations so you can plot your course with a push of a button. And, if you see something on your routes, such as an accident or a police officer, you can alert other users with just a push of a button.

Best Car App #2 – GasBuddy

If you are on the lookout for cheap gasoline, and who isn’t, then GasBuddy is for you. GasBuddy has long been one of the best car apps out there with millions of downloads. Not only will GasBuddy show you where the cheapest gas is based on your current location, you can also submit gasoline prices and help update their user community. If you are a U.S. user and regularly submit gas prices, you can win $100 worth of gas or earn other awards.  And, while you may not think that five to ten cents a gallon don’t make a difference, it can equate to huge savings over the year.

Best Car Apps # 3 – Spotify

If you like to listen to music while driving, then you may want to add Spotify to your smartphone. In fact, some vehicles have connected features already for Spotify, or you can depend on the old reliable aux port on your car’s stereo. With Spotify, you can listen to any artist or album, as long as you are connected to the internet. If you subscribe to Spotify, you can enjoy all your music commercial free. Regardless, with Spotify, you can create your own playlists that are perfect for that long road trip or simply handling your I-25 commute.

Top Car Apps # 4 – iCarMode

If you are an iPhone user, iCarMode is among the best car apps you can find that makes navigating your phone while driving more manageable. Use iCarMode to only serve up the apps and functions you need while driving. And, it turns your apps into simple, big buttons making it easy to activate anything on your phone while driving. The simplicity of the interface helps keep you more focused on the road versus fumbling with your phone.

Best Car Apps # 5 – Dashdroid

Essentially, Dashdroid is iCarMode, but for Android smartphones. It offers a similar, clean interface with big button shortcuts to access music, contacts and it responds to voice commands, which is great when you wish to make a phone call.

How to Use This Information

When it comes to smartphone apps for driving, above all we want you to be safe. So, like any app, while driving, do keep focused on the road. And, if need be, do buy a smartphone holder for your car so you can easily reach it and examine it without looking down or having to reach for it. But, we also know that accidents do happen. If you find yourself in a fender bender, call us at 303-344-2212 or contact us online. Our auto body repair team will get your car fixed and looking like new in no time.

Solar Panel Roads – Coming Soon

Posted on: November 18th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

solar panel roadsWe live in a time of constant innovation and sharing of ideas. And, nowhere is that more apparent than in alternative energy. As the world becomes more aware of our diminishing energy resources and global warming, there are a lot of new and interesting ideas out there. One of those includes the idea of solar panel roads. Yes, using roads to harness the sun for clean energy.

While, to some, this sounds a little far-fetched, the truth is that this technology is already being tested. Indeed, it has a way to go before we see our roads transformed into solar roadways, but it is an active technology that is gaining momentum as these tests come to fruition.

These solar panels are hexagonal and are already being laid over a sidewalk new in Conway, Missouri, along Route 66. While this is only a small test, there are several others taking place. One test will be opening very soon in Idaho and another in Baltimore. Also, two European agencies are testing this technology. So, solar panel roads could be here sooner than we think!

Depending on the outcome of the test, if Colorado were to adopt the technology, it could be very helpful to drivers. One of the solar panel designs incorporates heating coils so they will melt away snow and ice. So, there could be little to no reason to use plows on those roads. Also, the panels have LED features that will light up to provide drivers with lane markers and actual messages.

Some people are critical of the design as they are made of glass. Many folks fear that the glass will reduce traction and become very slippery when they are wet. Or they thought it would crack, especially in cold weather. But, in a European test on a bike path, they found that at first, people would avoid the solar panel. However, as time went by, even in wet, cold and wintery weather, people still walked or rode their bikes over them and there were no reports of slips or falls.

With this testing underway, solar panels roads could, indeed, be part of our future. But, the realities and engineering to pave our roads with solar panels would be an immense undertaking. That will be the biggest hurdle, at this point, to overcome. That being said, governments are coming around to the lifetime cost of the infrastructure when they see the potential revenues coming from the energy-generating roads.

How to Use This Information

In the meantime, we don’t have roads that are solar powered. That means no automatic snow-free roads, so slips and collisions will continue. If you find yourself in need of auto body repair, please give us a call at 303-344-2212 or schedule an estimate appointment online.

How Self-Parking Systems Work

Posted on: October 27th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

How Do Self Parking Cars Work?

Do you break out in a cold sweat when you need to parallel park your car? Or, have you intentionally driven a good distance past your destination to avoid having to parallel park on a street? Well, if you are parallel parking challenged (and who isn’t?) you may want to consider a car with a self-parking system. As your auto repair experts, we have learned a thing or two about these systems. So we thought we would give you a little self-parking 101 on how they work.

We have all seen the commercials, especially the one with Jim Gaffigan, that demonstrate using a self-parking car.

You get the gist; some vehicles today actually do a very good job of parking themselves. However, what some people may not know is that the driver is still in control of the vehicle’s speed. While most people need about six feet of additional room beyond the size of their vehicle, some self-parking system advertise that they can pilot your car into narrower spaces than us humans are able to do so.

How Self-Parking Systems Work

To park, you simply engage the self-parking system and drive your car up to and parallel to the car behind which you would like to park. But, the car will tell you how far to pull forward and will give you a signal as to when to stop.

You then shift the car into reverse and let go of the steering wheel so the onboard computer can take over. All you do now is let up on the brake and control the speed with the brake. The computer will control the power steering and take your vehicle into the parking space.

Then, when the car is backed far enough into the parking space, another signal tells you to shift into drive. Again you release the brakes and the car will adjust perfectly to the space.

All this is controlled by a system of sensors tied to an onboard computer. The sensors are typically on the front and back of the car so they can detect objects. Then the signal from the sensor bounce off objects and the system calculates distance as it is maneuvering.

How to Use This Information

We anticipate that more and more people will buy cars equipped with such systems, especially as we do live in an urban area where parallel parking is normal. In the meantime, we all know that parallel parking is tricky and can lead to bent bumpers, dents, paint scrapes, and frayed nerves. If you have need of repair from parking gone bad, we can help! Call us at 303-344-2212 or schedule an estimate appointment online.

Self-Braking Systems and Their Realiability

Posted on: September 21st, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

self-braking systemsCars seem to be getting smarter. Or, one may argue, that we as humans are…well you know. But, we have all seen those commercials touting advanced self-braking systems that help you avoid collisions. Our favorite commercial is the dad driving his daughter to the school and she insists on being dropped off far away from the front of the school. Then, they get cut-off and their car immediately stops and the daughter gets out of the car, still far from the school’s entrance. She is relived and dad is left wondering what just happened.

While they make for great TV ads, some cars do not come equipped with these systems. Many, especially SUVs, do come with sensors that alert you of nearby objects, but they will not stop your vehicle. Trust us, we have seen brand new vehicles come into us for auto collision repair because their owners wanted to see if their car would stop automatically. Guess what, they don’t. They only beep.

The truth of the matter is that vehicles with self-braking systems still do not stop. In fact, many cars with these systems are not even designed to stop. According to a recent report from AAA, they found that two-thirds of Americans that are familiar with these systems believe that automatic braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention. The reality is that these systems vary widely in their performance and many are simply not designed to stop the car. Some are designed to only slow the car, which only serves to lessen the severity of the impact. It is important to understand the capabilities of your automatic braking system if you currently have one or are in the market to purchase a car that comes equipped with it.

Self-Braking Systems Test Results

In actual testing of 2016 models that are equipped with self-braking systems, the results were interesting:

  • Systems designed to prevent collisions reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems designed to only lessen crash severity (79 percent speed reduction versus 40 percent speed reduction)
  • With speed differentials under 30 mph, 60 percent of systems designed to avoid crashes were successful
  • Systems intended to lessen crash severity were, surprisingly, 33 percent successful in actually avoiding collisions at speeds under 30 mph
  • When going outside their limitations (travelling at 45 mph) and avoiding a stopped vehicle, systems designed to avoid collisions only succeeded 40 percent of the time.
  • Those systems designed to lessen severity of a crash, travelling at 45 mph, were only able to reduce vehicle speed by 9 percent

Regardless, any reduction in speed is going to help reduce injury. In fact, at 30 mph, reducing speed by 10 mph can reduce the energy of the impact by 50 percent. That is why 20 of the top automakers that represent 99 percent of all vehicles manufactured are committing to making self-braking systems standard by 2022.

How to Use This Information

While self-braking systems are becoming more common, remember that they are different. And when driving outside of their parameters and at higher speeds, they are not likely to avoid a collision entirely. They may help slow you down to keep you safer. Regardless, if you experience a collision and need an auto body repair estimate, contact us online or call at 303-344-2212.

Electric Cars vs Gas Cars: What is Best For You

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

electric versus gasBuying a new car is a process of weighing needs, wants, various features and, of course, price. Once upon a time such decisions hinged on the look of the car, color, size of the engine, power, and stereo system. Today, we also weigh environmentally friendly factors very heavily and that includes electric versus gas powered. But, which option actually performs better? Your auto collision repair experts at Accurate Auto Body service all sorts of vehicles – from electric to hybrid and your standard gas powered vehicles. So, we have the lowdown on what performs better out there on our Colorado roads.

Distance Needs

If you are weighing an electric versus gas powered car,  it will largely depend on your needs. For example, it takes a little more planning when you drive an electric vehicle (EV) as it will need to be charged more frequently than filling up a gas powered car. But, the majority of people in the US drive less than 35 miles per day, and a fully charged EV will go between 70 to 130 miles on a full charge. However, that is significantly less than gas powered cars which average about 250 to 300 miles between fill-ups. So, if you are someone who has frequent and longer trips, then you may be better suited for a gas powered car. If you just live around the city and you spend most of the time driving from home and work here in the immediate Denver area, an EV may be right up your alley.

Cold Weather Performance

Let’s face it, it can get cold here in Denver during the winter. That is why we all love our heated seats and steering wheels. When it comes to vehicle performance in the snow, there are reports of many EVs struggling. For example, to make the cabin warm, gas powered cars simply pull excess heat from the engine block into the car. You essentially have the engine providing you with heat. However, an EV has no engine. So, it has to supply heat through an electric heating system. That heating system draws more energy from the car’s battery when it is cold, reducing how far you can drive on a charge. Also, when EV batteries get cold, they have seen greatly reduced performance in how far you can go on a single charge. Some car manufactures, like Nissan, have added a heating unit to sit by the battery to help keep it warm during cold weather and help boost its performance. But, that extra battery heater also draws power from the same battery, which does reduce overall cold weather performance.

Snow and Ice Driving

EV vehicles are designed to be light. This helps get them the maximum performance and mileage on a single charge. However, that lighter design can compromise traction in snow. Also, they are designed for maximum torque and their traction control systems can work against them when on snow and ice. The purpose of their systems are to prevent wheel slip and loss of traction, but EV motors provide maximum torque from zero rpms. On ice and snow, this maximum torque can cause the wheels can spin easily and skid. So, on snowy Colorado days, if you are an EV driver, it could be best to work from home or take RTD into work.

 Environmentally Friendly and Cost Savings

Without a doubt, an EV is more environmentally friendly than gas powered cars. People have tried to point out that when you have an EV, you are trading in using oil for coal (as coal is used for a lot traditional electricity) to power your car and as a result you are not reducing CO2 and green-house gases. Or they try to point out that your electricity bill will skyrocket. But, the fact is studies have shown significant reduction in CO2 pollution with EV. This is especially true in the West where more and more of the power grids are made up of hydro and wind powered electricity. Plus, more and more coal power plants are being substituted for more environmentally friendly power which continues to further reduce the already small carbon footprint of an EV. Further, others have claimed that the batteries of EV cars are bad for the environment. However, EV’s lithium ion batteries have more valuable and recyclable metals compared to internal combustion vehicle batteries. Lastly, when it comes to savings, the average EV owner reported only a $500 increase in their yearly power bill. Based on driving about 15,000 miles per year, an EV can save an average of $1,900 compared to what they would have spent on fuel to drive the same distance.

 How to Use This Information

Again, deciding between electric versus a gas powered car will greatly depend on you. If you need something that will ensure you have better and more reliable performance in cold weather and on snow, a gas powered vehicle will better meet those needs. If you are looking for efficiency, green-friendly and you simply drive around town, then you could use an electric vehicle. What we do know is, if you have any need for auto body repair, dent removal or paint, we can help. Call us at 303-344-2212 or reach out to us online.