News

Updated Tesla Model X falcon wing door frustrates owners

A software update of the complex computer-controlled gullwing doors on Tesla’s Model X may have created a bigger problem than the one it solved. In an update this past week, Tesla says it adjusted a set of sensors inside the car doors that helped detect whether something was blocking a …

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Auto, technology industries clash over talking cars

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cars that wirelessly talk to each other are finally ready for the road, creating the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths, improve the safety of self-driving cars and someday maybe even help solve traffic jams, automakers and government officials say. But there’s a big catch. The cable …

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General Motors innovation could rewrite service business

Imagine a customer arriving at a dealership’s service drive with the diagnostic work completed, the faulty part identified and the warranty repair approved before a service writer even greets the driver. You don’t have to imagine it. It’s happening. This spring, General Motors quietly introduced a new feature for its …

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Complex Car Software Becomes the Weak Spot Under the Hood

Shwetak N. Patel looked over the 2013 Mercedes C300 and saw not a sporty all-wheel-drive sedan, but a bundle of technology.

There were the obvious features, like a roadside assistance service that communicates to a satellite. But Dr. Patel, a computer science professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, flipped up the hood to show the real brains of the operation: the engine control unit, a computer attached to the side of the motor that governs performance, fuel efficiency and emissions.

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Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet

A Columbia University law professor stood in a hotel lobby one morning and noticed a sign apologizing for an elevator that was out of order. It had dropped unexpectedly three stories a few days earlier. The professor, Eben Moglen, tried to imagine what the world would be like if elevators were not built so that people could inspect them.

Mr. Moglen was on his way to give a talk about the dangers of secret code, known as proprietary software, that controls more and more devices every day.

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