Archive for the ‘Automobile Trends And Tech’ Category

What’s the Deal With Bird’s Eye View Cameras?

Posted on: December 5th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

car bird's eye view cameraCar Bird’s Eye View Camera – What The?

Automotive technology is evolving quickly, and there are no signs of it slowing down. Some of the advancements may be flashes in the pan, while others are bound to stick around for the foreseeable future. Tech that makes a driver’s life easier and safer is almost always a sure bet, and one more recent development from Toyota promises to do just that – but what’s really the deal behind this kinda-crazy-cool piece of tech? Let’s look a little closer and see how it can help you avoid auto body repair.

What the Heck is a Bird’s Eye View Camera?

The car bird’s eye view camera was created to give drivers a seamless, high-def, panoramic view of the surroundings of the vehicle. It can do this in both overhead and moving views, providing a new level of vehicle-camera integration. The panoramic images are created using four cameras – one in the front, one on each side mirror, and one on the rear (this is the one drivers are probably most familiar with, as it’s been employed in backup cameras for years now). What the display shows vary based on what you have the car shifted into. In park, it displays a 360 overhead view as well as can show you the 360 “see-through” view. When in reverse, it continues to show the overhead view while also showing the traditional backup camera view. It also offers different displays and features for when you’re in drive and neutral as well.

How Can it Help Drivers?

Bird’s eye view cameras have the opportunity to give drivers a better perspective of the space around them. This is likely to come in most handy when navigating tight spaces and uncertain turns. Sometimes, the rearview mirrors and looking at your surroundings just doesn’t give you the full picture of your space and your vehicle. Especially in tight spaces, it can be difficult for drivers to maneuver, and collisions with retaining walls, tight corners, and unexpected objects happen regularly. This technology offers the potential to lessen those collisions greatly.

Do You Need One?

As with most more advanced vehicle technology, the answer here is no. You don’t strictly NEED this tech in order to drive safely. However, if you’re a driver who struggles with spatial awareness and has found yourself with vehicle damage thanks to a tight space in the past, it might be worth considering investing in a vehicle with the tech. We’re always a fan of automotive technology that keeps drivers safer on the roads and in tough driving situations.

Should I Trust the Tech?

New technology usually has some glitches to work through, and though each piece of tech is thoroughly tested before it’s released to the masses, it’s hard to learn what needs to be fixed until it’s been used on the roads by a large number of people. It’s fair to have a small amount of reservation, as the bird’s eye view is created by compiling images from 4 different cameras seamlessly, and not by a little drone following you around from above your vehicle everywhere you go (thank goodness!) That means there’s math involved in creating the composite image you see on your screen, and anywhere this is the case, there’s a chance that things can go wonky. Think about the panoramic photo setting on your phone camera. If something moves while you’re taking the picture, it can look completely wrong in the finished product. We don’t anticipate issues of that level with this tech, but it’s always a good idea to trust your vehicle’s technology with a grain of salt. No number of cameras are an adequate substitute for proper training and practice driving a vehicle in all types of situations.

What do you think of this interesting advancement in vehicle tech? Would you purchase a vehicle featuring the bird’s eye view camera?

Lane Paint – Can We Do Better in Colorado

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Better lane paintBetter Lane Paint

As your auto body shop, if there’s one thing we hear complaints about in Colorado often, it’s the lane markers. Any time it rains, it gets difficult to see them, fast. But the question is, are there better lane paint solutions? To find out, we did a little digging into how the lane markers are created now, and whether or not it’s the best option for our state and the safety of our drivers. Here’s what we found out.

Reflective Paint

While some critics have said they don’t believe that CDOT uses reflective paint on their lane markers, turns out that’s just a myth! They do, in fact, use a reflective paint on all their lane markers. So if that’s not the answer to why the visibility on the lane markers fades so drastically in a solid summer/fall storm, then what could it be?

The Winter Compromise

As it turns out, the culprit to blame is winter. Because Colorado tends to see some solid snow action every year, many lane markers are placed on the road in a slight indent, so that when the plows are out in the winter they don’t scrape the paint off. Because of this, when we get a solid rain, the little inlets fill up with water, making the reflective paint harder to spot. It’s a compromise that was made to keep the lane markers lasting longer and therefore creating an efficient use of taxpayer’s money, but the trade-offs can be frustrating for drivers.

What Can We Do?

Unfortunately, there’s not much to be done, because the CDOT makes these decisions after considering a number of factors, including best utilization of the funds available. However, if you’re worried about being safe on the road when those markers get less visible, we urge you to consider being more aware of your surroundings. Just like you would do if a winter storm hit and the lanes got wiped out, following the flow of traffic around you and adjusting to create lanes together is a good way to go. As long as you know what’s happening around you, your eyes are on the road, and you’re taking everything as it comes, at a reasonable speed to keep you safe, you should be ok. Even though it can be frustrating, understanding the reasoning behind some of the decisions made for us Coloradans on the road can help ease the frustration and better prepare you to be the safest driver possible. And hey, that’s never a bad thing.

What’s Shaping Up for 2019 Vehicles?

Posted on: September 12th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

2019 Auto Trends2019 Auto Trends

2019 models are starting to roll out now, and more vehicle trends and innovations will be revealed in the coming months, but if you’re wondering what’s on the horizon for the latest and greatest in automobile technology, here are some of the biggest 2019 auto trends manufacturers are aiming to make their mark in with new models.

Self-Driving Cars (Surprise, Surprise)

This is becoming a more and more prevalent reality – which is crazy, considering it feels like only yesterday we were rolling our eyes and saying “Sure, Jetsons,” but it seems that self-driving vehicles are a technology that’s going to stick around, despite some pretty serious bumps in the road. As with most technologies, this one probably has a ways to go until it’s ready for mass availability, but it’s certainly becoming more readily available, and rideshare services like Lyft and Uber have even started utilizing self-driving vehicles in their fleets.

Sleeker Design

Cleaner lines, sleeker designs, and sexier silhouettes are a star feature in a lot of 2019 models. Of course, all manufacturers have different plans for different vehicles and the main functions of those vehicles, but there’s no denying that the sports car feel is coming back for a lot of vehicles, especially sedans. If you’ve been waiting for that sleek, sexy car of your daydreams, 2019 may be the year for you.

Next Level Inter-Connectivity

From WiFi to Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity, most manufacturers are taking in-vehicle connectivity to the next level. It’s more than basic Bluetooth connectivity now, it’s turning your vehicle into the mini-computer powerhouse that your smartphone is, all accessible from the dashboard. Connected cars are becoming central hubs for traveling workers, or even road tripping families who want to take their entertainment and productivity on the road to the next level.

Accident Prevention

With automatic braking systems, steering assist, and lane-centering technologies, among other safety features, the future of automobile tech is looking toward keeping drivers safer on the road when the unexpected happens. Which, hopefully, means less need for auto body repair.

This is just a taste of what’s to come, and we’re excited to see the developments, especially in accident prevention and safety features. As tech capabilities increase, a vehicle’s ability to correct when human error or a moment of mental unawareness puts you in a scary situation will increase as well, which is a huge positive. That, alongside convenience features and the progression of self-driving technology, is making the future of automobiles an exciting place to look forward to. What would you like to see happen in automotive tech in 2019 and beyond?

Self-Driving Setback

Posted on: August 2nd, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

self drivingIn the world of automobile technology advancements, self-driving technology has been on the lips of, well, just about everyone for awhile now. Even though the tech is promising and theoretically could make the roads a safer place make for less auto body repair when all the kinks are worked out, there’s a long way to go before the concept is problem-free. And in the meantime? Well, some bad stuff is capable of happening.

Self-Driving Cars – All the Rage

It’s the hottest trend in automotive tech right now, and for good reason. It has the ability to keep roads safer, help account for human error faster and more accurately than a human could, and see things that would normally be considered in a driver’s “blind spot.” There’s a lot of good that can come from a finely tuned self-driving system, but as with most hot topics, there’s a darker side, too.

When Self-Driving Goes Wrong

As was evidenced by the recent self-driving Uber crash that took the life of a cyclist in Arizona, self-driving vehicles are not foolproof, and still require the “backup driver” or human to be paying attention. It makes sense – technology fails about as often as people, do, really. Even if a particular bit of technology is reliable most of the time, it still has a margin for error. In many cases, these errors don’t put human life at risk, but in the case of self-driving vehicles, with so many vehicles (and humans inside of them) on the road every day, the risk is much higher, and the consequences much greater.

Consequences

The worst happened in Arizona – and while the investigation is ongoing, there seems to be a consensus that the human driver could have stopped the crash from happening had they been paying more acute attention to the road when the self-driving technology failed. The thing about self-driving tech is that it’s customizable – so though there are features for automatic braking when unexpected hazards arrive, but those features can also be turned off. And even when they aren’t, self-driving technology is not an excuse for drivers to be more distracted on the road or ignore their surroundings completely. After all, as we’ve discussed, the technology is capable of failure, and human intervention is still often needed in certain situations.

What’s Next?

At the end of the day, humans have been behind the wheel much longer than technology. The recent deadly crash in Arizona is just a reminder that this particular technology has a ways to go, and it may never fully replace the watchful eye of a human driver. As a result of the crash, Uber has pulled their self-driving vehicles and is re-examining their strategy around the emerging tech. Even if your vehicle has self-driving capabilities, this is a solid reminder that your attention on the road and the vehicles around you is still very much needed. How do you feel about self-driving vehicles?

Make Your Car a Chameleon?

Posted on: July 6th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

unique car customizationsUnique Car Customizations

Vehicles are about more than just performance. After all, who doesn’t like to feel as though they are riding around in serious style? But when it comes to unique car customizations, there are endless options out there beyond simple car painting. You can do just about anything you could dream up with your vehicle. If you’re into getting a little more color into your vehicle’s world, you’ve got a few options, and with the constantly evolving world of automotive tech, some of them are pretty exciting.

Wrap

You’ve probably seen the vehicles driving around with elaborate graphics and brand design on them, right? Well, the good news here is that a lot of those cars are simply featuring a wrap, which is something that anyone can order if they want. Do your research on some of the best vendors near you, and dream up a colorful combination of things to put on your vehicle in a slightly less permanent way. Though it’s not an easy process, wraps can be removed with a heat source, a little experience, and a lot of patience. The removal process is much easier if you’ve chosen a professional and reputable company to create and apply the wrap in the first place, so choosing a good company is key.

LED Interior Lights

Maybe you’re looking for something a little less gimmicky without giving up the wow factor. Installing colored LED lights on your vehicle’s interior is a great option. You can even install LED kits that allow you to change the color when you’re ready for a change. This particular mod can be the one that keeps on giving, making you feel like you’re stepping into a new car every time you change the colors.

Color-Changing Paint

As far as exciting and colorful mods on the block, color-changing paint is the fairly new kid, and it has a lot of people excited. The technology is still emerging and will likely be refined, but there are a couple of ways you can go about achieving this look if it’s something you’re interested in. There are paints that change color at a specific temperature, and there are also paint technologies like ChromaFlair that allow the color of the vehicle to change depending on the way the light hits it and at which angle you are viewing the car from.

Like we said, there are countless ways to modify your vehicle to make it look exactly how you want, inside and out. If you’re looking for a colorful option or one that has people turning their heads whenever you drive by, these are worth looking into. What are your favorite vehicle modifications?

How to Build a Road Trip Playlist

Posted on: April 27th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

Road Trip PlaylistsCreating Road Trip Playlists

Road trip season is just around the corner, and with good road trips come good road trip playlists! But let’s get real, not all playlists are created equal, and if you’ve ever been on the listening end of a poorly constructed playlist on a long road trip, you know the consequences can be miserable. So how do you make sure your playlist will keep you and your car guests happy, dancing, singing along, and most importantly – keep the driver awake at the wheel? Here are a few of our keys to creating the perfect playlist for even your longest road trip.

Variety

It’s the spice of life, right? You never want too much of the same thing on your road trip playlists. Shake it up with different genres, or different artists within the same genre and pick from a wide range of song types to keep things interesting, your ears happy, and the whole car pleased with the ambiance you’re creating. Also worth considering is the makeup of who will be accompanying you on the road trip. Taking into account your guests’ musical preferences can help add more variety to the list and ensure that everyone gets to hear at least one of their favorite tunes while you’re on the road.

Solid Jams

Isn’t half the fun of curating the perfect playlist getting to rock out? Solid jams are the ones that everyone knows all the words to. You know, like…Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive,” for example, or Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” These are also known as the classics and are an absolute staple to a long road trip playlist. Sometimes there’s just nothing better than throwing it back and rocking out when you’re driving on a seemingly endless highway (may we also suggest AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” if you’re having to drive through Nebraska….) and are miles and miles away from the nearest rest stop.

High Energy

This goes back to our whole “no falling asleep at the wheel” rule, but keeping the energy up in your playlist keeps the energy up on the road. And when the Red Bull wears off and your eyes start to feel a little heavy, a perfectly timed high-energy anthem can bring you right back to the land of the living – and the stoked – to be headed wherever you’re headed.

Occasional Chill-Out

We know, we know, Barney Stinson says a good mix should be all rise, but we subscribe to the more common belief that a truly exceptional mix should rise and fall. After all, if you’re listening to a lot of music that lies within the same tempo range, there’s a chance your ears – and thus your brain – could tire of it eventually, leading to more fatigue, which is the exact opposite of the point. Throwing in some chill-out tracks help keep your playlist balanced and give your ears time to chill, chat, or just enjoy the dulcet tones of your favorite singer-songwriters without being overwhelmed by jams and high-energy hits.

Stay in Your Vocal Range

What is the point of a road trip playlist if you can’t belt. it. out?! There isn’t really one, we would argue, as half the sheer joy of a road trip is, indeed, scream-singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. It helps, in order to truly maximize that “I sound better in the car” paradox that exists in the car and the shower, to have a bulk of the songs on your playlist be within your vocal range. Now, we’re not saying you can’t push your limits – after all, having a variety of musical keys helps keep the flow of the playlist interesting and unique, but if you’re anything like us and love to pretend you’re getting that golden ticket on American Idol in your car, you’re gonna want some tunes you can feel totally comfortable singing your heart out to.

The bottom line with road trip playlists is this: keep it fun, keep it interesting, and keep it exciting. Test your musical boundaries and throw some new bands or genres on there to expand your horizons, but stick to what you know you love for the bulk of it. And most of all – jam out and drive on!

Cool Car Tech from CES

Posted on: February 27th, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

ces car tech 2018CES Car Tech 2018

There’s nothing like stepping onto the floor of CES and stepping immediately into the future. And that’s exactly what happened this January in Vegas. The far-out, futuristic tech was all over the place, promising the vehicles of the future to be a lot more Jetson-like than we’ve seen in recent years. But some of the coolest pieces that will likely be making their way into the mainstream over the coming years? Here are some of our favorites.

Alexa Voice Integration

Alexa seems to be making her way into all the facets of our lives these days, and now being on the road is no exception. BMW, Ford, and Hyundai already have Alexa integration in some of their newer models, and now Toyota and Lexus are hopping on the personal home assistant bandwagon. This integration means that on your way home from work you can adjust your thermostat, turn lights on or off, preheat the oven and more before you even pull into the garage. Talk about making life easier.

Biometric Security

There have been tons of advancements in car-key technology, from keyless entry to remote start and so on, but with recent advancements in biometric security measures, your next car key may very well be your eyes. One of the wildest pieces of technology at the event this year was a vehicle that scans irises before turning the vehicle on. James Bond spy tech look out, we’re coming for you! This added level of security means a vehicle won’t turn on if you’re not an authorized driver, but it also leads to a level of convenience you might not have considered before. By adding retina scans, your vehicle could soon have the ability to adjust everything automatically for each individual driver. Seat, steering wheel, and mirror position could adjust when it detects which authorized driver is behind the wheel.

Artificial Intelligence

Though there’s no timeline for when this tech might actually hit cars beyond the conceptual phase, Toyota went next-level with an artificial intelligence experience that aims to get you more involved with where you’re driving, even on long trips. The AI talks with drivers about nearby landmarks, activities, and restaurants, etc. creating an immersive experience. Toyota plans to demo some version of this car timed with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Self-Driving

Ok, ok, so this isn’t a new concept, we know. But the pace at which it’s making its way to mainstream in small ways is worth noting. Varying driver-assist features like lane departure adjustments and automatic braking are fast becoming standard in so many vehicles. It’s just the beginnings of the automated car future that we’re likely heading toward.

The long and short of it is this – there’s a lot to get excited about in the automotive space these days. An industry that has always done it’s best to innovate but has stayed pretty much the same for a long time now is finally seeing massive, booming innovations in technology and we are so excited to see what comes of all these futuristic concepts.

Best Ski and Snowboard Racks

Posted on: February 2nd, 2018 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

best ski racksBest Ski Racks

It’s pretty much the height of ski and snowboard season here in Colorado, and while there wasn’t much snow at the beginning of the season, the mountains are pretty solidly covered now, beckoning ski and boarder bums from all around the state to try their hand at a fresh pow day in style. Getting all your equipment up to the resorts with you isn’t always the easiest task, so we’ve compiled some of the best ski racks and snowboard racks to help you find the right fit for you and make your trips to and from the mountains this winter that much easier.

Thule Ski and Snowboard Racks

This is a classic favorite and considered among the best ski racks for good reason. Thule makes products that last, and do a ridiculously good job of holding your equipment safely and in style. With solutions like their popular universal flattop 6-rack that allows you to affordably (and reliably) hold up to 6 pairs of skis, leaving you plenty of room in the car for any other supplies you might need. From ski racks to board racks to boxes and more, Thule is one of the most trusted names for those who love the outdoors in Colorado.

Yakima Ski Racks

Right up there with Thule, you’ve probably seen Yakima countless times in the parking lot at the resorts. Yakima has some of the best cargo boxes on the market, specifically designed to fit skis, snowboards, and allow space for all the extras (like poles, botos, and snow-covered clothing you don’t want dripping all over the seat on the drive home). Their trusty racks, boxes, and more come in a wide range so you can find the perfect fit for your family or friends.

Inno Ski Racks

One of our favorite products from Inno is the dual-angle ski-rack that works with vehicles without crossbars. This particular rack mounts to the sidebars only so there’s no crossbars needed. Plus, the angle of the rack adjusts to accommodate bigger bindings. Inno makes a number of great products with flexibility and usability in mind, so if you’re on the market for a unique solution to your skiing and snowboarding rack woes, they might be the perfect fit for you.

Rhino-Rack Ski Racks

One of the coolest 2-board or skis solutions out there, Rhino-Rack’s 2-Ski/Board Rack is perfect for those lovebirds who like to hit the slopes together all the time. It’s a smaller rack and if you’re planning on expanding your crew anytime soon it might not be the best forever-solution, but it’s hard to beat the price and convenience. Plus, the buttons are so easy to press you don’t even need to take your gloves off, and who doesn’t love saving a few extra seconds in the race to the chairlift?

We steered away from specific product recommendations in this list only because depending on your vehicle, your sport of choice, and your family size, your needs might be totally different. But these 4 companies offer some of the best and easiest-to-use rack systems out there so you can rest assured that they won’t mess up your car or your gear – talk about a win-win!

Lastly, we all know that getting up to fresh powder can be treacherous. Stay safe getting up there and if you happen to need auto body repair or dent repair (yes, dents happen when removing skis), we have your back. Call 303-344-2212 or contact us online.

How Does Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Work

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Webolutions Hostmaster No Comments

What is ESCThere are a lot of features in every car that helps make it safer without our even knowing half the time. With winter on the horizon, a lot of drivers’ minds turn to what can keep them safe when the roads get slick. 4-wheel drive and winter tires are a couple of the more well-known ones, but Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and traction control are two important safety features that most cars come equipped with that work hard to keep you as safe as possible in low-traction conditions. But what the heck are they, and how do they really work? As your auto body repair shop, we decided to take a closer look.

What Is ESC

ESC is a computerized technology that detects loss of steering control and works to reduce traction loss. When ESC detects an issue, it will apply the brakes individually to help “steer” the car where the driver intends it to go. The technology isn’t intended to improve a vehicle’s cornering performance, simply to decrease loss of control.

Is it Important?

ESC is an extremely important safety feature. In fact, according to safety experts, ESC is the most important factor since the seatbelt in preventing auto accident fatalities. It’s so effective that the government stepped in to mandate stability control be included in all vehicles after 2012. In some cases, ESC may even cut power in order to steer the car in an intended direction when traction loss is severe, but for the most part the goal is to slow spinning tires in order to give them a better chance at “grabbing” ground or “biting” into a surface to help your vehicle regain traction.

What’s the Difference between ESC and Traction Control?

Though they serve similar functions and have similar approaches to your safety and accident-avoidance, ESC and traction control are actually different systems within your vehicle. Traction control uses the brake systems in your car to force power to a wheel that needs it. It’s the thing that sounds like a ratchet when it’s activated and you’re slipping and sliding. Whereas stability control uses the brakes to actually control the direction of your vehicle.

If you’re driving a 2012 or newer, your vehicle definitely has these systems in place, automatically working to keep you and those around you safe on the road. If you’re driving a car that was made before 2012, you very well may still have these systems, but it’s a good idea to check and see if a) you have them and b) if they are activated. If, despite these safety features, you find yourself in an accident and need auto body repair, we’re here to help with fair prices and expert staff. Give us a call at 303-344-2212.

Best Ways to Track Your Sports Team From the Car

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

sports in carFollowing Your Sports In Car

Football season is underway once again and with it comes all the frantic tracking of your fantasy team players, your favorite teams, and as many games as you can possibly cram into your week. But what about when you’re on the road and your ultimate rival teams are going head to head? You can’t miss it, but it’s also illegal to be watching those games on your phone if you’re behind the wheel. So how do follow sports in car and while the go? Here are a few of our favorite options.

XM Radio

One of the best, easiest, and most customizable options for keeping tabs on your teams while you drive is XM radio. There are endless combinations of channels you can put together to make sure you never miss a game, but NFL radio is probably one of the most popular choices for football fans out there. MLB radio is a great option for those baseball fans trying to catch all the post-season action before it’s gone, too. If there’s a sport you’re trying to keep up with, you can bet XM radio has a channel dedicated to it.

Local Sports Radio

If XM radio isn’t in your budget and you aren’t into all that newfangled car technology, that doesn’t mean you can’t still keep up with your favorite teams. Just about every area you’ll drive through is likely to have a sports station. You can look into what those stations might be before you hit the road or you can just scan through the stations as you drive. You’re bound to stumble upon some highlights or maybe even the most exciting moment of the game you’ve been dying to hear about. It’s a little more russian roulette than some of the options, but for the frantic sports fan, it’s still a way to keep tapped into the sports information highway while you’re on the, well, real highway.

Integrated bluetooth apps

With the increased technology available in most cars, you might even have the ability to ask your dashboard what the scores are without having to lift a finger. If you’re driving a newer vehicle, it’s worth looking into what apps might integrate with your car to help keep you in the know no matter when you’re traveling.

Just because you’re on the road doesn’t have to mean you miss your favorite sports moments or any of the action. While you’re cheering on your favorite teams and players, don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road and stay safe. After all, as much as we love all you of, we really don’t want to have see you for any auto body repair.