Cooley On Cars
Episode 13, Blow then start: The future of alcohol & driving.The alcohol detector in your car's future, our favorite cars from the Geneva auto show and top ways to add tech to your current car.
-We went to Geneva and came back feeling anything, but neutral about what we saw. Connected car, a phrase on everyone's lips. We'll find out what that actually means. And show you the top 5 ways you can bring your old car into the 21st, time to check the tech. We see cars differently. We love them on the road and under the hood, but also check the tech and are known for telling it like it is. The good, the bad, the bottomline, this is CNET on Cars. Hello everybody, I'm Brian Cooley and welcome to CNET on Cars. The show is all about high tech cars and modern driving. And there are few places in the world as good for indulging both of those as the Geneva motor show every year so we sent Wayne and Antuan there to bring back the best, hopefully, literally. -I'm Wayne Cunningham. -And I'm Antuan Goodwin. -And we are here at the 2013 Geneva auto show standing in front of the new Bentley Flying Spur. It's actually the second generation of this car. Big luxury vehicle, it's got the 6 liter W12 engine, big fast sedan. That's what Bentley does, big fast vehicles. -You know who else does have big, fast vehicles as well? Maybe not fast, but they're trying to Rolls-Royce. -Oh, yeah. -They actually just debut the Wraith at this show and the Wraith basically is based on the Ghost's platform. -They had the nice fastback designs. -Yeah, yeah, that sort of like coupe like roof line that everyone has been kind of using since Audi debut, the A7. But it actually 2 doors. They are the sort of coach doors that open backwards, 0 to 60 and 4.4 seconds and something that wave as much as a small boat. That's kind of impressive. -Okay, but you know it's faster when-- -But you knew Ferrari, they just actually unveiled a new limited edition, only 499 units are gonna make, and you know what it's called? -What it's called? -La Ferrari. -That's the horrible name. They made [unk] that will define that. -Well, the La Ferrari is actually a hybrid too when you-- -Okay. So, it's all sorts of like affronts to God right now. -Oh, yeah, it's got-- I mean, as far as the sports car appearance, this thing just blows all people's mind. It's got a digital instrument faster. -Okay. -It's got a hybrid ride system. -All right. -So, actually they attached an electric motor to their big 6.3 liter V12 and they say that's 62 miles an hour, somewhere under 3 seconds, I have no idea. -Okay, that's impressive. That's impressive and it's kind of explosive, only a couple of hundred made, but I've got a car that's even more explosive than that. It's way over our shoulder here at Lamborghini's booth. It's the Lamborghini Veneno. They're actually only making 4 of this. -4? -They're only selling 3 and they're already sold out. -Well, yeah, forget 3. I'm sure there are plenty of people to be like, well, probably not too many people. -Not too many people can afford the $3.9 million price tag for the 750 horsepower vehicle that's based on the Aventador. So, it's gonna a little bit more horsepower, it's got a fully carbon fibre body and it's been completely re-sculpted. The whole thing is just a mess of wings and vents and diffusers and spoilers. It's one of the most aerodynamic cars that Lamborghini has ever made, top speed of 220 miles per hour. We've been talking about a lot of very expensive cars, none that I can afford. So, let's go take a look at a car that I really like that I might be able to afford and that they will be selling in the U.S. All right, let's look. So, here it is, the Alfa Romeo 4C. When I saw the concept of this car, I was really excited. And this one is actually got to be coming in to the U.S. -Oh, really? -Yeah. And so it's just really light weight. They say like 2000 pounds. That's extremely light for today's cars. 1.7 L direct-injection turbocharged engine, -All right. -240 horsepower. I mean, that sounds like fun, doesn't it? -All sounding good, and it looks like it's also mid-engined, so I mean this is a pretty, inexpensive mid-engined, high powered, rear-wheel drive car with me. What's not awesome about that? -Yeah. Well, there's a couple of things that are not awesome about it actually. Look at these headlights, okay? They look bad. They're weird. They're kind of look very insect like and a little weird. -Yeah. But I think you're nitpicking like one thing with an otherwise beautiful car. -They need a lens over there or something that I don't know if I can walk out with this car everyday and say like, "Yeah, that looks good." But you know leave it to the after market or, you know, you can maybe look at something a little bit different if you're looking for like a pretty, inexpensive sports car because the Chevy Corvette convertible was actually just announced at the show so the same 450 horsepower, 450-pound feet of torque, 7th generation Corvette that we saw in Detroit. Now, it has a pretty awesome retractable cloth top. What's interesting is that Chevrolet said they didn't actually have to like add any sort of like structural rigidity to the vehicle. It was built from the ground up to be a convertible so it's not any heavier. That's awesome. So it's that awesome? It is that awesome. On the other hand, we've got some other convertible conversions here at the show that maybe weren't designed to be convertibles from the ground up. I'm talking about the FT-86 Open concept. This is based on the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ to where the GT86 if you wanna go all the way-- -Yeah, all of those cars. -Yeah. You know, I love the handling of the FR-S, BRZ, GT86. I don't really like the looks of that FT-86 Open now. -Yeah, it kind of looks a little incomplete. They actually haven't actually shown us of what the car looks like with the top up. It doesn't look really bad, but I know you're not a fan of 2+2 convertibles. -No, I mean, they look like tubs whenever you get the, you know, a roadster convertible is fine, but whenever you get, you know, like 4 seats with a convertible top, then you just have a big tub of bath tub kind of thing. I mean, you know, Toyota is actually also showing off another car that's really awesome and totally different. It's the car that I wanna drive the most. Let's take a look at that. -Okay. -You know, that down there is the Toyota i-Road concept. It's an interesting little car. -Yeah. I don't know if it's really a car since it's only got 3 wheels. -That's kind of a trike so it's got 2 wheels in the front. They're both powered by 2-kilowatt electric motors, 1-wheel on the back. And it's actually the wheel that does the steering interestingly and I was watching the Toyota people demonstrated and it actually has this really cool feature called Active Lean. So what happens is when you really crank the wheel and start getting into a turn, the front wheels give you a little bit of camber so the vehicle leans into the turn. It's really awesome and it looks like a lot of fun. -That's a one seater and it's a motorcycle, right? -Two-seater. You get the tandem seating. There's a second seat behind the driver for your junk or your significant other, whoever you want to take around with you. -That's not a car. It's not a car. VW does have a car called the XL1. It's 261 miles per gallon. It's what they're saying. -Okay. I'm impressed. Go on. -Yeah, so small 2-cylinder diesel engine made it to like electronic motor. They actually made it 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers with this car. It's a plug-in hybrid that goes about 30 miles under electric power by itself and then it can go I guess a lot more [unk] 'cause they have been talked too much about it, but if they do say 12.7 seconds to 60 miles an hour which is not fast. -So pretty much what you're telling me we've gone from super cars that do single digit [unk] to this Volkswagen that [unk] about half a minute, right? -Yes. La Ferrari to the La XL1. -Yeah, it did pretty much cover the entire game. -Well, I'm Wayne Cunningham. -And I'm La Antuan Goodwin and that about wrap it up for this 2013 Geneva motor show. -Our full coverage from Geneva by the way is at cars.cnet.com. We've got a lot more where that came from. Now, one kind of tech I know you don't want in your car is the kind the court puts there, an alcohol detector. That's not rolling CNET style. And yet, you may have one in your car soon. I'm not saying you're a drunk, I'm saying that the laws around this technology are changing and that's of big interest to the smarter driver. We're at San Francisco auto repair center where they are one of the few license installers and maintainers of the current state of the art of alcohol detection ignition interlocks. Okay, here's today's technology. Here's the SmartStart System installed in this vehicle. This is sort of a handset of a head unit with a display and place where you blow in. It connects through this middle coily cord to a logger box, a brain box basically, which is up on to the dash. Here's how it works. I turn the key to on 'cause I wanna go drive somewhere. Of course, the system has to okay them and you just see it initializes for a moment. It says wait. Now it says blow. Here we go. It's analyzing me now and I got a pass. I had to blow and then when it gave me a tone signal, I had to make a humming sound while blowing. Now, why is that? So that you haven't hooked up a balloon or a tank of air to this thing. You got to do something that basically only a human can do. As I drive, it's gonna keep prompting me for random retests. There is a vision in the future of having alcohol detection in every vehicle from new. It's part of something called DADSS, the driver alcohol detection system for safety, partly backed by the Federal Government. Now for alcohol detection to be in every car and be acceptable to the car-buying public, it has to meet 3 criterias actually. First of all, it's got to be nearly imperceptible. Most of us would never do this every time we drive no matter what the safety benefits for society. Second of all, it's got to work quickly. This is a bit of a timely process. And third, it has to be foolproof, but also has to have a little leeway for real world living. One envision technology is a touchpad on the steering wheel perhaps that shines infrared light on the surface of your skin reflecting from just deep enough to show blood alcohol concentration in your body. Another technology is breath-based like we've seen today, but not with the device you blow into rather the car would automatically sample the area around the driver in the car testing for exhaled indicators of alcohol impairment. Those two technologies as amazing as they seem are actually being demonstrated right now in the labs. They are real. The bigger hurdles come in three other areas. First, preventing the passenger or another person from sitting in for a drunk driver to start the car, facial recognition tech could help there. Second, calibrating whatever technology is used to allow someone with let's say 0.07 to drive, but not someone with a 0.08. That is giving tacit consent to drive after some degree of drinking, quite different from the sort of don't drink and drive mantra that we operate under today. And third, another issue will be the confluence of what DADSS technologies' learns and the automative black boxes that are soon to be required in every car under Federal regulation. Will the readings from the alcohol testing system be stored in the black box? And if so, for how long and who can see that? Our partners at State Farm are encouraged about what could be a potential breakthrough in drunk-driving technology by something like DADSS whatever technology is used. And they point to a frustrating number that makes it worth pursuing, some 10,000 people every year dying in drunk-driving accidents in the U.S. That number has been coming down, but not much below that level. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thinks 7000 of those deaths could be prevented by a technology like DADSS once it propagates in the market. Coming up, what exactly is a connected car, our car tech 101 as CNET on Cars continues. Welcome back to CNET on Cars, I'm Brian Cooley. You know, in less than 2 years, connected cars have gone from something you did by mounting a Mac mini and an air card in your trunk to something you can barely escape in the showrooms. But the flavors of what a connected car is are many and sometimes confusing. So, that's why it's our car tech 101. -Connecting to OnStar. -The first connected cars most of us encountered had OnStar, famous for crash notification, stolen vehicles slowdown and unlocking your car when the keys are in it made driving seemed kind of scary. But today, connected car tech OnStar included as much happier things. To remember them, just spell CNET, C is for communication that used to mean just hands-free calling. -Hi, mom. -But now, you can get text messages display or even read to you. -Where are you? We thought you would be here by now. -Send back a reply with a push of a button. -I'm a little bit late, I better let them know. -There's Twitter in the dash, Facebook and Yelp Reviews. Clearly, your car isn't the quiet refuge it once was. N is for navigation. GPS powered turn-by-turn maps. Those are almost given now, but add-in live internet search to find your destination, satellite view of the map itself, and when you find the destination on your computer, no need to jot it down, just send it to your connected car. E is for entertainment, streaming audio from Pandora, Mac, Spotify, TuneIn, and others either replace broadcast radio or just do it one better. Dealt into the dash or stream wirelessly from your phone and streaming video in the backseats seems a lot more promising than those dumb DVD system. And T is for telematics, remotely locate, start, block, charge your car, even set boundaries for ware and how fast it should be driven by your kid, all from a phone app in many cases. Now, at this point, you may be thinking so many ways to die. Distraction is where one more piece of connected car tech will come into play. That's autonomy. Self-driving cars that can communicate with each other, pavement sensors, smart traffic lights and data centers, to do all the tedious driving that is probably 90% of all your time behind the wheel, that's why cars get connected. How they do it? Comes in a couple of flavors. First, tethered, very common. This is where your smartphone and its 3G connection are the bridge between your car and the internet. Toyota's Intune System is just one example. But there's also integrated, much less common, but growing. Audi and BMW were the pioneers and actually building 3G connectivity into the car, no phone needed. And GM just announced it will build 4G into most of its 2015 cars to provide a fast connection for the services in the dash as well as create a wi-fi hotspot in the car. When we come back, the top 5 ways to roll CNET style in the car you already own when CNET on Cars continue. 1952, when General Motors invents the autronic eye automatic headlight dimming system. This sci-fi looking eyeball on a stick was mounted on the dash and a photoelectric cell inside detected light ahead and switched off your high beams accordingly, sometimes at work just until the other guy dipped his lights and then would flick yours back on, sort of a road rage starter kit. Today, automatic high beam tech is hot again and much more consistent as lane departure cameras now do double duty spotting on coming headlights with a microprocessor doing image recognition to make sure that is indeed a car coming or just a reflective sign or maybe a passim with really big eyes. Welcome back to CNET on Cars, I'm Brian Cooley. You know, we review all of the new tech app cars here at CNET, but I also realized most of you are not in the market for a car in a given year. You like the car you've got. You just wish it didn't feature a casette deck. So, I've got a top 5 that's aimed just at you. Top 5 ways to tech app your car, the one you already owned. We cover a lot of new high tech cars here at CNET, but I know most of you are not in the market for a new car. You've already got one. You just wish it didn't have a casette deck. I think we've got you covered with our top 5 ways to tech app your car, the one you already owned, let's go. Number 5, a car app gateway. You know, you've drooled over how some of the new cars have apps that let you locate them, remote start them, unlock the doors and more, you can add that to your car with a kit like the Python DSM250 or some others. It cost about 300 bucks, but you'll probably double that once you pay for wiring adaptors and some dude to put it in. And if you install one in each of your cars, they also show up on the app at once, which makes you look like a bowler. That's cool. 5 to 7 bucks a month service fee, not so much. Number 4, a DSP audio processor. I know you never heard a one of this. Most people haven't. They combine a new app and a digital signal processor, a DSP in 1 box that intercepts your stereo sound on the way to your speakers and makes it sound a whole lot better. JBL's MS8 is a good example. It does a sound map of your car which included sampling microphone and uses an LCD controller to set it up. Then, it delivers perfect EQ5.1 surround, lots of great volume and an aux jock, all from your current existing sound system. The downside is it cost 800 bucks and doesn't add Bluetooth streaming or any of the other modern inputs. That's where number 3 comes in, a Bluetooth input adaptor. You want this. It lets you stream stereo audio from your smartphone or tablet to the aux jock in your dash without wires. These devices typically include hands-free calling as well. Belkin's adaptor is a good example at under 50 bucks street and like a 5-minute install. The downside is Bluetooth streaming doesn't sound as good nor work as simply as an old $3 cable you got at Radio Shack. Number 2 is OnStar FMV. That stands for, for my vehicle. Cute, not really. This is a rear-view mirror with Onstar services built-in. It replaces the mirror that's already in your car and then you've got help when you crash into a tree, Bluetooth hands-free calling, a vehicle locator, turn-by-turn navigation, concierge services all that stuff. The mirror price is come way down. It's like under a 100 bucks now installed, but the service each year is $200 or $300 if you want turn-by-turn navigation. And no matter how much you pay, OnStar FMV doesn't let you do remote start, lock, unlock, any of that stuff we talked about early. Before I take you to number 1, there's the possibility you already have the best way to tech app your car. Your modern smartphone, let's face it it's a killer infotainment and nav device with typically great voice command and scads of driving apps. And nowadays, the displays are big too. But I bet you mount yours on a flimsy piece of crap suction cup on the windshield which is illegal in most states anyway, so get your phone a great car mount. Look at the PanaVise InDash line Dakota mounts or the ProClip series for something solid and cleanly installed that makes your phone feel like car tech, not just tech that happens to be in the car. Okay, the number 1 way to tech app your existing car is probably a double-din receiver, the flagship units pack a punch. The top models from Pioneer and Alpine give you a big touchscreen, all the modern input sources, voice command, turn-by-turn nav, hands-free calling, even an optional rear-view camera. Oh yeah, and they've got a CD player for when you're taking your grandparents to dinner. The downside is the cost. The Pioneer AVIC-Z140, for example, costs about 650 street and installation could almost double that. Thanks for being here for CNET on Cars. If you got any comments, questions or suggestions, send them right at me on Cars at cnet.com right to my inbox. And feed links are at cnetoncars.com, iTunes and RSS, go get them. See you next time.