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what year did adaptive cruise control come out Q&A Review

Since Tesla has demonstrated full autonomous driving and is already shipping cars that can be fully autonomous under certain conditions, why do so many still say that self-driving cars are impossible?

Have you ever driven in a fog? How about a blizzard? How far ahead are you looking when you’re making decisions about changing lanes? How much visual and auditory data are you able to process while driving? How long does it take you to make rational judgments in the face of never-before-encountered situations? Have you ever seen a car on the road without its headlights on? Have you ever made judgments about avoiding a car that was acting unusually? How did you know it was unusual? Those are all the kind of things that render my Tesla with Full Self-Driving (FSD) more dysfunctional and less intelligent than the worst of human drivers. Now, I want Tesla to succeed as much as anyone, since I own a Model X with Full-self Driving (FSD) capability. But even with all of Tesla’s vaunted data collection, especially without LIDAR, I don’t expect to see real-life functional FSD anytime soon, and the idea of having a network of Teslas replacing Ubers driven by human drivers is still science fiction IMHO. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised to see it in the 30 years of life I hope to have left, but when I let my car drive itself, the number of things it gets wrong is way more than I’m willing to tolerate. It can’t even get close to changing lanes when I would expect it to change lanes. It turns itself off so often that I rarely turn it on. It can’t handle snow. It can’t handle severe rain. It can’t handle fog. It can’t handle driving around town. It can’t handle construction areas or detours. It can’t handle lane-changes when you have to get even the slightest bit aggressive, so I can’t trust it to be in the right lane to take the right off-ramp if traffic is heavy. Even though Tesla just gave me the promised CPU retrofit and my 2016 Model X can now see stop signs and stop lights, driving around town on Autopilot is still more of an exercise in mindfulness in learning a new way of driving than relaxing or helpful. What it does handle to my satisfaction (even delight) is freeway traffic with the lane-changing turned off. In other words, Adaptive Cruise Control and Steering Assist - same as other luxury cars. So I want to believe FSD is possible, but as a technologist, I just don’t see it UNTIL some company masters multiple integrated technologies, including cameras, radar, LIDAR, GPS, AI, neural networks, motion sensing, surrounding-vehicle-communications, roadway sensors, and who knows what else. My impression is that we’ll need to see a lot of overlapping, cooperative technologies coming from government entities making the roadways supportive of FSD, and private companies making the cars. I certainly don’t see Tesla being anywhere near ready for prime time, given the fact that they can’t even figure out how to replace the hardware (CPU, GPU, and perhaps cameras) in my December 2016 Full-self Driving Model X as promised and paid for. (Note: The CPU and GPU have been replaced as of Q1 2021. I paid for the GPU and Tesla replaced the CPU because my car already had the FSD upgrade.) I’m actually glad that they’re not making me a guinea pig for their testing. I was a Microsoft beta tester for Windows from the mid-80s for 30 years, and all they had to do was figure out how to keep their OS from crashing. They couldn’t even do that. It wasn’t until Windows XP that they managed the feat, so I’m not really expecting to see FSD until I’m so old and feeble I’ll actually need it.

How did Adaptive Optics (AO) technology get started, who was involved, and how were they first applied to astronomical telescopes?

Note:, This answer is about the ,history, of adaptive optics, not a technical discussion of how it works. I apologize for any confusion the Quora bot caused by merging these questions from time to time. How did Adaptive Optics (AO) technology get started, who was involved, and how were they first applied to astronomical telescopes? Disclaimer,: Some of the history of adaptive optics is still classified and so is a dozen years of my life, so, unfortunately I can’t discuss that, and that’s unfortunate, because a lot of the development of adaptive optics into practical use that led to astronomical wide-spread use occurred there. Adaptive optics can clear up atmospheric turbulence allowing ground-based telescopes to see with Hubble clarity. History Every answer on adaptive optics must mention Archimedes. The use of a large number of mirror segments each controlled by a simple technique is, of course, the source of legend if not myth. Polished metal shields could easily have accomplished the feat with a simple hole in a flat shield that could have been used to align the Sun’s spot on the ground through the hole with the line of sight to the ship viewed through the same hole. The history of determining that this myth is “plausible” is recounted here: ,Mythbusters were scooped — by 130 years! (Archimedes death ray) Horace Babcock first proposed using adaptive optics in 1953, but the state of technology was not up to the task at the time. He proposed using a thin oil film bombarded with an electron beam to modulate the phase. (This was a technique used in projection TVs at the time.) Several people working at Itek produced an elegant system for compensated imaging. Some of these people started their own companies. Some notable examples: John W Hardy - ,worked much of the optics and physics ,Adaptive Optics for Astronomical Telescopes James Wyant, (WYCO) made a wavefront sensor from a white light shearing interferometer using photomultiplier tubes https://wp.optics.arizona.edu/jcwyant/ Julius Feinleib, (Adaptive Optics Associates) worked the system aspects and advocated Hartmann sensing for the wavefront sensor, and he introduced the idea of a laser guide star Rich Hutchin, (aka Richard Hudgin) (Optical Physics Company, Incorporated) developed a lot of theory associated with the shearing interferometers In the late 1960s, work had progressed on lasers to the point that very powerful CO,_2, lasers were being tested as possible anti-missile weapons. Almost since the beginning of the laser, the Army was interested in its use as a missile defense. A high energy laser was being tested on ALL (Airborne Laser Laboratory) to defend against cruise missiles. One of the obvious problems was that the CO,_2, laser beam was absorbed enough by the air to cause heating which in turn caused thermal lensing. This whole process was called thermal blooming. That and the fact that the laser beam wavefront was not so great coming out of the laser led to a sudden renewed interest in adaptive optics. The Air Force turned to MIT Lincoln Laboratory for help. ,Darryl Greenwood, and ,Chuck Primmerman, pondered the problem, scoped out what needed to be done, worked out some of the equations, and published a couple of papers. What followed was a COAT system (Coherent Optical Adaptive Technique) and Hughes (O’Meara and Pearson) worked on the HICLAS deformable mirrors (HI power Closed-Loop Adaptive System). This system was not based on wavefront sensing. It was a multi-dither approach that resulted in limited bandwidth and for targets that were a good distance away, had severe latency issues. Darryl Greenwood Chuck Primmerman A history of adaptive optics at MIT LL was published in the 1992 Lincoln Laboratory Journal here: ,https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7f7c/dde589652e8b49e81441bc4d6664caa9cf02.pdf Jim Pearson, came to Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in the late 1970s and deformable mirrors (HICLAS) started to be produced there. COAT work was being done there in the field at the XLD (experimental laser device) test range in the late 1970s in support of future use on ALL-like programs. Jim Pearson Meanwhile, the Air Force was imaging satellites such as Skylab from its AMOS (Air Force Maui Optical Station) high on Mount Haleakala. They recognized that adaptive optics technique, which they called “compensated imaging” could give them better images of satellites, and potentially be used to discriminate ballistic missile post-boost objects optically from the ground. This history of this is given in a Lincoln Laboratory Journal Article here: ,http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/12_2devcoherentlaserradarv.2.pdf The HF/DF chemical laser was quickly outpacing the CO,_2, laser and was being planned for the DARPA Triad, a space based laser to defend against ICBMs. To correct the outgoing wavefront of the laser and segmented giant telescope mirror, adaptive optics were used sampled by Holographic Optical Elements placed on the primary mirror. A lot of ground testing of this system, including ALI (Alpha-Lamp Integration experiment) continued up to the end of the 1990s. It was successful. This work was led by ,Fritz Benning (Rockwell/Hughes), and ,Sam Williams (Lockheed/Hughes). Fritz Benning Sam Williams Meanwhile, Darryl Greenwood and Chuck Primmerman wrote a history of adaptive optics at MIT LL here: ,https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/1920/0000/History-of-Adaptive-Optics-Development-at-the-MIT-Lincoln-Laboratory/10.1117/12.152685.full There is an out-of-print set of adaptive optics papers edited by Jim Pearson here: ,Selected Papers on Adaptive Optics for Atmospheric Compensation The table of contents of this publication is an interesting index to who was working on adaptive optics. I should mention ,Dave Fried, and ,Glenn Tyler ,(The Optical Sciences Corporation) as having developed a lot of theory related to the atmospheric turbulence characteristics and the requirements on an adaptive optics system to correct images or laser beams to a particular accuracy. Glenn Tyler (tOSC) In April, 1981, compensated imaging was used from The Air Force Malabar site to examine shuttle tile damage on STS-1 for NASA. A couple of photos were mistakenly released to the press and were shown on the news Saturday morning. They were quickly and quietly withdrawn, having caused unwanted attention to the Air Force capabilities. In 1981, Julius Feinleib was thinking about the problem that a relatively bright natural star is needed as a reference to use to measure the wavefront needed to do the adaptive optics correction. It occurred to him that if a suitable star is not present, a bright laser could be focused on a layer of atmosphere and the Rayleigh scatter could be used as a reference for the wavefront sensor. This idea was immediately classified. The idea was put to use at Starfire Optical Range by the Air Force under the direction of Bob Fugate. The original laser guide star at Starfire Optical Range in the 1980s. In 1985, Julius Feinleib and several of his staff got a patent on adaptive optics systems. Filed: December 6, 1985 Date of Patent: April 12, 1988 Assignee: Adaptive Optics Assoc., Inc. Inventors: ,Thomas Gonsiorowski,, Julius Feinleib, ,Peter F. Cone,, ,Andrew J. Jankevics,,, Kelsey S. Nikerson,,, Lawrence E. Schmutz,, ,Anthony Vidmar,, ,Allan Wirth The problem with adaptive optics at that time was that you needed a reasonably bright star, say 10th magnitude, within an arc second or two of what you wanted to image. At that point, using a laser beam as an artificial “guide star” (LGS = Laser Guide Star) became the norm. The Air Force was quietly doing this at places like Sandia Optical Range, later named Starfire Optical Range in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 1983, ,Bob Fugate,, the director of the Starfire Optical Range, achieved closed loop operation with a laser guide star. In 1985, Foy and Labeyrie independently introduced the laser guide star idea in open literature. This caused a little stir at the Air Force because the subject was classified (but the authors did not know that), but the paper did not receive a lot of notice. (Foy, R. and A. Labeyrie (1985). Feasibility of adaptive optic telescope with laserprobe. ,ASTRON. ASTROPHYS,. 152:29-31) In 1991, Fugate was successful in getting compensated imaging and laser guide star work declassified. An avid amateur astronomer, Bob was passionate about the impact that this would have on astronomy. It was a long and difficult path for getting the declassification, but the Foy and Labeyrie paper helped, and the value to astronomy was immeasurable. Bob Fugate A NEW GENERATION OF HIGH RESOLUTION OPTICS WITHOUT ADAPTIVE OPTICS An imaging technique that does not use adaptive optics is getting a lot of attention these days. It is called multi-frame blind deconvolution. Raw telescope image and restored image Image of Hubble Telescope from the ground using blind deconvolution Blind Deconvolution See also: ,https://www.photonics.com/Articles/Adaptive_Optics_Taming_Atmospheric_Turbulence/a25129 Issue | New Scientist, (requires subscription) EDIT: Here is an interview with Bob Fugate that I was unaware of until 4/11/2021

Would buying a used 2004-2006 VW Phaeton W12 be a horrible idea?

Nick Nguyen,, I would like to disagree with your answer. I live in Canada and have previously owned a 2004 Volkswagen W12 Premiere Edition (Imported from the U.S.). 1) The W12 "Premiere Edition" was a special batch-built group of cars brought over to North America for the Phaeton product introduction in the late fall of 2003. I think these cars were originally priced at about $88K. 2) If you ordered the exact same vehicle, but with a different paint colour (thus making it a 'regular' W12 purchase, not a "Premiere Edition"), list price of the car was about $101K. 3) The W12 Premiere Editions, along with many of the in-stock V8 Phaetons, were not exactly hopping out of the North American showrooms in the summer of 2004, so VW came out with some very aggressive subsidies to the dealers to help them move the product. As a result, there was a flurry of sales of new W12 Premiere Editions for about $70 to $75K in the late fall of 2004. Let me address a few things that you have stated that is incorrect. "It's an incredibly complex car that has aging electronics- for instance, adding an auxilliary input or ipod interface is nearly impossible." A kit made by DICE electronics is available for $120.00. You lose the CD Player function but you can plug in an iPod or AUX. "It's incredibly luxurious in some ways- for instance the trunk hinges on the W12 were manufactured by Campagnolo" Don't forget that the trunk/boot is power operated which will lift up by pressinng the VW logo on the back (Same as the Bentley Continentals - B logo). "It has CD based navigation that doesn't display street names in map view (and it's deeply integrated into the vehicle electronics and isn't replaceable)." It is a CD based navigation. You can purchase a TOMTOM Update disk (The last one I purchased was a 2013 from a BMW 7 series) which works perfectly fine. As well, it also displays the street names on the Nav. "Luxury features like cooled seats, adaptive headlghts, and adaptive cruise never made to the Phaeton in the US either." You get 6 adjustable cool settings on the Phaeton. There are NO adaptive head lights (Currently owning a vehicle that has Adaptive headlights, it's not a deal-breaker) and you can retrofit adaptive cruise control from the European spec Phaeton as all the connectors are on the vehicle. As well, you can also retrofit the keyless push-button start for around $350.00 from the EU spec Phaeton to NA spec Phaeton. "Try to get one with the four place seating package.", These exist but are almost impossible to find in a W12. "the Phaeton was a car created to thank Dr. Ferdinand Piech for his efforts turning the VAG brands around." This is not true at all. Back in the old days, there was a strict retirement policy at Volkwagen set at age 65. As a big bang, Piech wanted to create (in his words), "the best car in the world". Volkswagen having purchased Bentley in 1998, they wanted to create a new vehicle to refresh the model line. However, if Bentley absorbed the entire cost of the research and development of a new car, their books will only record losses. Volkswagen absorbed the cost of developing the Bentley Continental and badged it as the "Phaeton". Otherwise, to address the OP's question. If the ,starter motor, goes, you may as well replace the water pump as well. Being an engine-out operation, It takes 24 hours worth of labour the remove the engine then an additional 2 hours to replace the starter motor. If you live in temperate climates, you may have to look at replacing the ,valve cover gasket, ($1000.00 job). Tire pressure monitoring sensor will always go, (You can disconnect the sensor module). 2 Batteries. The Phaeton has an ,AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat Battery ,- Not aftermarket available $220.00) battery in the left compartment (Powers everything in the car except for starting the vehicle) and the, Starter, battery on the right side. My very mediocre massage seat died (Didn't bothered to look into replacing as it will cost thousands to replace). Brake pad wear sensors,, these have to be replaced with brand new parts ($200.00 for set of 4) or you can just disable it (What I did). Wheel alignment ,(Only available at VW dealerships) 3.5 hours of labour for the job. Low beam bulb (HID), ,to replace the bulb, you will have to remove the bumper. 2 Hour labour charge. Spend $200.00 on the proper OEM bulb and not $80.00 like I did (Died within 3 months). Performance Figures:, V8: 0-60 mph: 6.6 seconds Top Speed: 135 mph (governed) EPA City: 15 mpg EPA Highway: 22 mpg W12: 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds Top Speed: 135 mph (governed) EPA City: 12 mpg EPA Highway: 18 mpg I averaged 8-14 MPG in my W12. Get ready for 300-400KM (190-250 miles) range at $80 fill ups. Overall, If you have to ask, you can't afford it. I've had another owner tell me that in the 2 years of ownership, he spent close to $19000 in repairs (Covered by his extended warranty) over a 2 year span. Mine was around $8000 (Including windshield replacement - $1300.00) over the span of 8 months. My Opinion of W12 vs V8:, The V8 is the more affordable option (less maintenance and just as fast). The W12 is the smoothest engine I have ever owned. If I were to do it over again, I would still purchase the W12. With another family member owning a Bentley Continental GT Speed and a Flying Spur, I would say that the Phaeton is closer to the Bentley (Same chassis) than the A8 L and much more luxurious over the A8 L. Another Opinion of W12 vs V8 (,Pros, Cons, General Comparison Discussion,:), I suppose I have a pretty unique perspective on this question, as I currently have a 2005 V8 and a 2006 W12. My 2005 is coming off lease and will be returned in two weeks. It has 47,000 miles and I just got home from a 4 day trip from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe and back. I took the V8. It performed great in high temperatures and about 100 miles of solid 90 mph driving (hey, the 5 is a fast interstate).The V8 is different in three dramatic ways from the W12. It is louder (some would say this is good, others would say not so - I just say very different - throaty vs. turbine is an excellent way to describe it). I enjoy the engine sound in the V8, but after driving the W12 now for a few weeks (it has been at ,OEMpl.com, for a number of mods - new spec fog lights, Euro spec chrome trim on front bumper, brake powder coating, new rims, keyless start and a couple of other goodies) I have grown to appreciate the quiet nature of the engine. Somehow, the raw sound of the V8 gets the blood moving, though, in a way the sound of the W12 doesn't, but it is subjective. The second item is the transmission. I am a huge fan of the V8 - I have enjoyed every minute of driving this car, but I do feel as though the W12 transmission is smoother and more seamless. Although the V8 is still silky smooth, in purely relative terms, it "hunts" a lot more than the W12 does. The shifts are also more noticeable. Again, this is subjective. I would say the V8 leaves the driver feeling a bit more engaged since the W12 is so silent and you just don't notice is working through the paces. Third, is speed. I tend to drive fairly aggressive. I enjoy accelerating hard on some occasions, but not every time. Under normal driving conditions, there is not a huge difference is you just go half throttle. However....there is a difference. It is subtle and hard to explain. The W12 simply "launches" in a way the V8 doesn't. The V8 has to work harder to achieve the same results - obviously HP and torque come into play here, but with the W12, you really "feel" the difference, even at moderate acceleration. I think you have to constantly drive one and switch to the other as I have for the last month, to really appreciate this. The torque curve is also much flatter in the W12 and this is where the speeds from 80+ really make a difference. There is a great 2 mile stretch near LAX with no onramps and I have hit the limiter on both cars many times. I can say, without a doubt, and with respect to my V8 comrades, the W12 is just in a different league at speed. I would struggle to justify the 30k price difference in a brand new purchase, but the engine dynamics and power are really amazing and I appreciate the extra juice the W12 offers. I did pay a premium on my W12 but I think it is worth it (that being said, I don't really know what the price of a 2006 V8 with 16k miles would be). Also, I do not notice any particular handling difference between the two. I do think the stereo sounds better in the W12 due to the lack of engine noise (settings are identical in both 270 watt systems). Two different cars, both in a clas of their own. Also, no one will know what it is, no one will care about how nice of a car it is and occasionally, a VW owner will park next to you. Just off the top of my head, feel free to ask me any other questions for me to add.

What are the most popular features in new cars? What feature would you insist on when buying a new car?

Cars today are loaded with amazing features. Some of them are even worthwhile: Rear-view camera. These have been around for a while, but it’s really nice to have another view of your six, especially for something with a high rear sight line like a long-bed pickup truck or van. Adaptive Cruise Control. Cruise control is great until you get behind someone that’s not going exactly the same speed or not using cruise control at all. Adaptive cruise control uses radar to adjust your speed to pace the car in front of you from a safe following distance. A solid advance in cruise control technology. Collision avoidance. Using the radar signal from the adaptive cruise, some cars offer this feature which will jam on the brakes, I mean, safely stop the car when it senses that a front-end collision is imminent. This is where I start to question things — I want to see years of safe operation before I give total braking over to the computer. Lane Departure Warning/Correction. This can just be a warning light and tone when you veer out of your lane in some cars, functioning much like the rumble strips on the side of the highway. In other cars, the computer will take over the steering and guide you back into the center of your lane. This makes me nervous too, at least as an early adopter. Navigation and Information Displays. This is one feature I’d definitely avoid. A lot of the new cars have all (or at least too many) controls integrated into the radio display screen, which now resembles a tablet display. It makes sense your navigation controls would be here — but the heat and air conditioning controls? The seat heaters? What happens when your radio dies, or you want to install an aftermarket unit? A friend with a new F-150 pickup cracked a taillight loading firewood. Just a minor cosmetic blemish on a new truck… until water seeped in and shorted some circuitry inside. Then his windows wouldn’t roll down, his air conditioning no longer worked; the only saving grace was that the truck did start and drive. The repair was nearly $700, on a new truck under warranty. So… call me a skeptic when it comes to new technology. Under the hood we have some new trends, too. Small turbocharged engines. This is an interesting development, and there’s no evidence to suggest it’s a bad idea, although conventional wisdom says a larger engine not working as hard will last longer. Some of them do run alarmingly hot, too. You could fry an egg on the hood of a Fiat 500 Abarth. But if the manufacturing and materials are up to it, it’s not a problem. Time will tell. Direct (fuel) injection. Most direct injection engines have a nasty habit of building carbon deposits on the intake valves and inside the ports. Toyota seems to have solved the problem in a new dual-injection system, but this is a “feature” that more often than not turns into a bug. CVT Transmissions. Another new technology (to cars) that’s achieving mixed results in both reliability and driving experience. There are no discrete gears, the infinitely variable drive ratios are determined by the speed of the engine and the load on the wheels. This results in a “rubber band effect” where you give the car gas, then a little more, then a bit more, and finally the “rubber band winds up enough” and the car starts to move. Some manufacturers have tried to obscure the presence of a CVT transmission by offering five or six software-simulated forward gears. To be clear, I don’t think any of this technology is bad, just new and unproven by time and millions of consumer-driven miles. My advice is to buy used cars about three years old. By that time there’s some record and indication of their reliability, and trouble spots or particular configurations to avoid. You might save a bit on early depreciation, but you’ll notice that nice cars with an excellent reputation for reliability hold their value up to and above “high book” value.

What are the uses if we introduce robotic technology into cars?

We bought a new 2017 Subaru Impreza a little before Christmas. I use it for commuting to work. I had a 10-year-old Kia before, and I was interested in getting a car with all the new bells and whistles that are now available, so I did quite a bit of research beforehand and picked the Impreza as the best car under $30K which had the most new safety features. The Impreza has what Subaru calls ,Eyesight, technology. It uses two cameras mounted on either side of the front mirror. So it even looks a bit robotic with its two “eyes”: With the two cameras spaced that far apart, it has potentially better depth perception than we humans do. It uses these for its adaptive speed control, lane departure warning and lane steering assist, and emergency front braking features. Not quite self-driving (it complains if I take my hands off the steering wheel for too long), but pretty close, at least on freeways and thoroughfares with lane markings. If I’m not paying attention, and let the car start to drift out of my lane, it will turn the steering wheel back for me to center the car within the lane. I can override that with some more force — for example if I meant to change lanes and forgot to turn on my turn signal. (If I use my turn signal properly, it doesn’t try to resist a lane change.) As a safety feature, both front and rear emergency braking are available. But the most useful feature is the adaptive cruise control — once I am on the freeway, I just turn it on and don’t have to put my foot on either the accelerator or brake pedal until I get off at my exit for work — it faithfully follows the car in front of me (if any), speeding up or slowing down (applying the brakes and slowing to a standstill in stop and go traffic if necessary and then starting up again). It has a screen that shows when it sees a car in front and is following it: The brake lights on the rear car in the diagram (representing my car) will turn on when the car is applying the brakes on its own. The system works pretty well, but seems best on a freeway. On an arterial street, where the speed limit is say 45, if there are no cars directly ahead of me, but there is a car a block ahead stopped at a stop light, it seems to take too long to lock on to the stopped car and approaches it too fast for my liking. In that case, I almost always put the brakes on manually before it decides to. Same thing off-ramps exiting a freeway. I have only once had the car put the brakes on in any emergency situation, saving me from potentially rear-ending a car in front of me. It generally beeps and displays a pop-up message well before it is going to put the brakes on by itself in a possible emergency situation. This is different from when it applies the brakes as part of the adaptive cruise control, where there are no messages. I use these “robotic” features as much as I can — even in city driving. I can’t wait to see what else is coming own the road, so to speak.

What is it like to ride in an autonomous car?

As a retired Auto Company executive I have had many great experiences diving unusual prototype and pre-production vehicles. I have been blessed to be an insider on many trends in automotive including Electric vehicles, Fuel Cell vehicles, Telematics and Autonomous. I had multiple opportunities to ride and drive in Googles first Autonomous vehicles that used our auto companies models adapted to their technologies. The secret sauce of what ran Google’s vehicle was always a closely held secret and I never asked nor was I told anything proprietary. What I can say is that my first drive of their Autonomous vehicle made it into my top ten highlight reel of a pretty cool career. The first experience was about a 15 mile drive on freeways and city streets— the drive was closely monitored by Google staff. At the time as is today the vehicle was in regular diving mode— when all things were safe and ready the Autonomous mode was engaged. The vehicle accelerated to the posted speed limit— what was so surreal was my feet were flat on the floor and hands were resting on my lap. The drive itself was a normal ‘run to the store errand like drive’ but this time the vehicle was in complete control . Speeding up, stopping, passing, lane changes, red lights, green lights, exit ramps all handled as if a driving instructor was at the wheel. Sounds a little boring but my heart was racing. This experience was years ago. Since then many auto companies have come out with technologies that are the precursors to Autonomous . Technologies such as Adaptive cruise control, Lane keep technology, Automatic braking, Blind spot monitoring. When you experience one of these technologies where your car automatically speeds up, brakes or warns you— you are experiencing what I had years ago, but maybe not to the degree that I did. When Autonomous is ubiquitous in our society it will change so much.

Google has been testing autonomous cars for years. How did Tesla just come up with autopilot and include it in cars just like that?

Google has been testing ,self-driving,, ,fully autonomous,, ,driver-less,, cars. Ones in which you can sit, tell it where to go, and it goes - figuring out navigation, turning, understanding stop signs and traffic lights, allowing pedestrians to pass, indicating when changing lanes, speeding up and slowing down as necessary and appropriate to speed limits, road conditions, and other traffic - without you getting involved in any of those things. Google, and other autonomous car manufacturers need to be able to test It thoroughly, in all sorts of conditions, and gathering all sorts of data to help make it do what It does better. And it needs an entirely new category of regulatory approval. Hence the extensive testing - we are seeing real world testing now, but they would have done so much more testing in the lab over the past few years. Tesla’s autopilot, despite its name, does none of those things, except for the speeding up and slowing down based in traffic. Autopilot is essentially what is known as adaptive cruise control plus lane guard in other cars. When enabled, it keeps you going at a constant speed, unless the traffic in front of you is going slower, and it ensures that you stay in lane. Autopilot does not change lanes or turn for you. Autopilot can slow down based on large obstacles, but does not understand impending road hazards like balls or dogs heading your way. Autopilot does not understand stop signs or traffic lights, or police instructions. Autopilot requires you, the driver, to be in control of your car at all times. It is an assistive technology for the driver, not a replacement for the driver. And as such, falls within existing regulatory boundaries.

When will self-driving cars be available to consumers?

In short, I think in 20 years. Before I explain why, lets sort out the 5 levels of autonomous driving. Level 0: ,The driver controls it all: steering, brakes, throttle, power. Level 1: ,At this level, most functions are still controlled by the driver, but a specific function (like accelerating) can be done automatically by the car. For example with lane assist that keeps the car in lane without touching the steering wheel. Or the use of the adaptive cruise control that once you set it to a speed behind a car, it can follow the car in front with their exact speed. If they speed up, your car will speed up automatically while keeping your hand on the steering wheel. Level 2:, Here, at least one driver assistance system of both steering and speed is used under certain conditions, like cruise control and lane-centering. At this point, the car can auto-brake. For example Volvo’s City Safety technology assists in reducing or avoiding traffic accidents at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph) in vehicles using City Safety Generation I. Later models using City Safety Generation II can stop at 50 km/h (31 mph). All cars sold by Volvo Cars with a Model Year of 2014 or later is equipped with City Safety Generation II. What this means that if you are cruising in the city at low speed, the car can detect an object in front that it will likely to hit if the driver doesn’t brake. At a certain point the car itself will intervene and brake the car automatically to a standstill to avoid the crash, while the driver is not having their foot on any pedal because let’s say they used cruise control in the city. Or for example Teslas that have the autopilot software are able to perform lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, and are able to be summoned to and from a garage or parking spot. There are other cars as well that can for example change lane and automatically speed up for an overtaking on a highway by only using the turn signal to change lanes without having a foot on the pedals. The driver must still pay attention to driving conditions at all times and take over immediately if the conditions exceed the system's limitations for example not following the lane due to missing paint on the side and the car starts to go straight to the side of the road. Level 3: ,Drivers are still necessary but are able to completely shift functions to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The driver is still present and will intervene if necessary, but is not required to monitor the situation in the same way it does for the previous levels. For example the new Audio A8 can creep through highway traffic jams at speeds below 37 MPH / 60 KMH. But at this level, drivers still need to take over control if the system turns off automatically under certain conditions. This is the most unsettling level between car and driver because the car can request feedback from the driver for their presence. For example by beeping to turn off, if the driver doesn’t touch the steering wheel proving their presence in seconds. Level 4:, A Level 4 car can handle most normal driving tasks on its own, but will still require driver intervention from time to time. For example during poor weather conditions, or other unusual environments. Level 4 cars will generally do the driving for you, but will still have a steering wheel and pedals for a human driver to take over when needed. For example a driver in theory is able to not pay attention to traffic and read a newspaper, they still need take over control if the car indicates almost immediately. For example the car arrives with auto-driving to the end of a lane that was closed and need to switch lanes but there is oncoming fast traffic and the car needs full stop, because it can’t make a hard acceleration to fit into a small gap. Imagine the feeling while reading a newspaper or drinking the morning coffee when the car suddenly accelerates hard and everything goes flying in order to fit into the gap. Level 5: ,At this point, humans are the ‘package’ that needs delivering. The car can drive itself anywhere, anytime, under any conditions. Any human intervention in the driving at all is not Level 5. Sticking with the above example, the car would stop at the end of the closed lane and wait for the ideal time in order to change lanes. I had to look up these 5 levels to be correct and used ,this, and ,this, site. With the 5 levels clarified, in my opinion, it will still take a lot of time when cars will be allowed to drive fully autonomously. Even at Level 4. In order to have a car drive themselves anywhere, a tested and proved technology is needed. That is the ‘easy’ part. There are cars already tested in traffic by Uber or Google and the technology might be fully available in 2–5 years time, the hard part will be to create the legal background for autonomous cars. For example, would the insurance company pay any damage if the autonomous car runs off the road due to missing paint on the side that the car’s electronic sensors would use as guides for keeping the car in lane? What would be the legal consequences if a car is traveling at the top of the allowed speed limit in the city and suddenly there is a ball rolling onto the street in a time frame that the car’s electronic knows the car can’t stop in 6 meters or so but needs to steer in a direction to avoid the ball. After the evasive maneuver, the car might get a puncture for clipping a curve or something. Would an insurance company pay for it? If no, why not? If yes, why? What is the limit of the insurance coverage? As far as I know, these systems don't know the substance of the object in front. It might be a human, an unattended baby carriage, or a soft ball that if the car hits would cause no damage whatsoever. It might be the case as well that not all cities will have the means to transfer their landscape into this very well regulated playground for autonomous cars. Thinking of having a regulation by the city, making sure that the road side paint’s color will always be above 70% opacity so the car’s sensors can detect it. But who enforces and checks that metric and how, for the vast amount of roads in the city? How to detect if some tire rubber gets that amount form 70% to 20% due to any acceleration or braking? How will the city detect it? How quickly should the city repair it? And if any accident happens until that time? Who will cover the costs? To what extent? The creation of these legal guidelines will take the most time in my opinion and even though when they will be ready, they might not be implemented in all cities at once, but in separate ‘autonomous-driving’ friendly cities that have the required infrastructure to support such a car’s operation. There is a long way to go. I would not be surprised if the technology would be ready in 3 years but fully self-driving cars available in the market in 20 years. As a conclusion, there will be cities, regions, states or countries that would allow self-driving cars at a point, other that will follow suit, and others that won’t. And at this point, I did not mention the human motives (financial, habitual) for driving autonomous car. How much time did it take for people to mentally make the decision to buy hybrid or full electric cars instead of ‘normal’ cars with only an engine running on benzine or gasoline? 18 Years from the first generation Toyota Prius and people are just getting the hang of it and start to get familiar with such technologies. So there is the consumer mindset factor as well of how safely would I feel in a car that drives itslef. In fact, a question that could be related to yours is why there is no fully automatically operated passenger air planes? Planes can fly themsves already.

What’s the one big no-no that will make you walk out of an auto dealership?

Lie. There are a number of ways this can go. Some of them are obvious (as have been shown in other answers) some of them are really subtle. I’m going to talk about a number of these tactics that I have witnessed, what made me leave certain dealerships, and what made me buy from others. I will say, if I’m able to make an absolute steal out from under a dealer, I’ll do that, even if they are super shady, but that is the exception, not the rule no matter who you are. Some examples of dealers I won’t ever deal with again: Used car dealership attached to a mechanic., These are already often scam machines. But even the ones that aren’t can be quite… problematic. The classic story of the used car salesman making fake blunders and accidental offers and then “sticking to them” is common in these kind of shops, but this one was special. I took a subaru hatchback (don’t remember the model) stick shift for a test drive. I went up and down the local roads, and for the life of me couldn’t find 2nd gear. I found first, third, fourth. I’m to this day convinced that the collar was damaged and 2nd gear was no longer available on that transmission. I brought it back and said it was interesting that he was asking about $500 over KBB’s best price since it was so clearly in bad shape. I was able to list off about 2 dozen repair items just standing there, and that was before I had my mechanic take a look at it. His answer: “My cars run well. Their bodies are old, and may have some cosmetic issues, but they’ll treat you right.” Uh huh… the cosmetic issues were nothing. I found out later that this mechanic specifically bought cars at auction, got the engine running and made sure nothing was leaking, and then sold for a small markup on the cost to do those things. Actually book value or anything else never factored in. That’s why I was able to buy a 10 year old Taurus off of him for 1/2 of KBB that lasted me another good 4 years at reasonable repair cost. Because I knew roughly what to look for, I was able to find the diamond in the rough on his lot. But from that answer, I knew I would not trust him one bit, and made sure I paid with a cashiers check (instead of the cash he was hoping for). Used car dealership associated with nearby major dealership., I didn’t know the association at the time. My brother was looking for a car, and I was along with him since his knowledge of cars started and ended with “Oil change every 3k miles and add fuel when the light comes on.” Every car we looked at had issues. It took me a bit to realize these were all trade-ins which no mechanic had touched. They had simply been bought as a trade-in and moved to this lot. The salesman was pretty offended when I kept listing the major current mechanical issues (and the approximate cost to fix the obvious stuff) of each car after we test-drove it. He told me that they probably didn’t have the car I was looking for after the third such incident. Instead of looking at their stock and finding something in better shape (which I don’t know if they had) he just shooed us out of the dealership. Well, if you don’t want someone who knows your product is shit, I guess I will go somewhere else. And now, the dealership that I will probably return to time and time again: Honest, upfront, list price on the windshield, on the computer, and on the printouts, as well as first year taxes and KBB value., Ok, this dealership had their shit figured out. First of all, they are a no-haggle shop, but they have earned it. They showed you outright that they were selling at or below market value. More importantly, they were often well below. But you know what the best part is, not once did they make me feel like just a number. So let me tell you about my buying experience. The aforementioned Taurus had sprung it’s third coolant leak in 6 months. It was done. It was time for it to go. I had gotten about 40k miles out of it, and overall it had almost 250k (I think I sold it at 230k). It was a good car, but it was ,done,. So I went to this dealership because I know they had treated my brother well (another story). I went in with a running car which I could continue to use for the next 2–3 weeks if I needed to. In short, I did not need to buy right now. I knew that, and that freed me from being at risk of any “sticking” tactics, though they didn’t use any. I walked in the door to the dealership and was quickly greeted by one sales person who apologized that she was busy but would get me someone asap. Before I fully processed that, she had found me another sales person who walked up and asked how he could help. I told him that I was considering replacing my at this point very old vehicle with something a little less old. He smiled, and said, “let’s go take a look at what we have. What kind of budget are you thinking today?” Great start, standard sales practice, figure out what I can/cannot/will not buy. I shared with him my nominal on-hand sum as well as that I was willing to consider financing for the right car. My credit isn’t great but I thought it was probably good enough for this, but I’ve never financed a car before. His answer was to pull up 2 groups of cars. He pulled up cars that with license and title, we could drive off the lot in cash. He also pulled up cars that we could finance and helped us do a quick and dirty monthly payment estimate based on our credit scores. And with that we narrowed the field of financed cars down a bit as the top end ones were just too much (though we could have afforded them, we like having extra in our budget). We asked if he could run the finance application so we could get a more firm answer on monthly payment (since APR is highly variable) and he seemed surprised, but did so without issue. The finance guy came over, with a list of loan offers from various banks, complete with a number of price point / monthly payment / period options for each. This was the best part, some banks were offering better short term loans (low apr if short commitment) while a few others were offering better long term loans. In short, we had a pick of options, and we settled into a rough range of what we could do with the monthly budget we were comfortable with. The salesguy pulled up the list and said, “So, any of these interest you?” There was never a “are you going to buy something now?” or even an expectation that we would test drive. After a bit, we settled on a nice shiny red Nissan Sentra that was 2 years old, CPO, and was in our budget. We went for a test drive and I came back with a kind of mixed feeling. My wife asked what was wrong, and I said “nothing in particular, it’s a good car, we should probably go for it.” The sales person however, also picked up that I wasn’t quite happy with it. He said that he didn’t really want to sell me a car that I wasn’t excited to buy if he could help it. I appreciated the thought but tried to assure him that it was nothing and that it was a good car and I thought it was a good fit for us. He said something about “But not a great fit,” and at that moment I knew I would be buying from this guy, even if it wasn’t today. He was so much more worried about me being happy with the purchase than his commission that he was determined to figure out why. (Note, this dealership uses a unit-count commission, a sale is a sale for them). Finally he worked out of me that I was a little sad that the environmental controls were fully manual and not the automatic ones that I knew some higher trims of that model had. He chuckled a bit and said that yes, that was actually the lowest trim for that model and that it lacked basically all of the “optional” features. He went back to his list and pulled up one car which we had put aside because it was over our determined budget. It was over by $100. To this point we hadn’t discussed our trade-in. He asked about the trade-in and could we use that to push our budget up. I said maybe, but really didn’t want to, and was also concerned because I knew I wanted to purchase the extended warranty. He said, “let’s take a look at this car. I know the price is higher, but let’s start with ‘is it the right car’ and then we’ll get the finance guys involved and see if they can work some voodoo.” I was hesitant because I know that voodoo often means things that actually become more expensive. That said, we looked at the car, and I lit up immediately. It had a bunch of features that I had kinda in the back of my mind wanted, but didn’t dare think I could afford while being reasonable about budget: Navigation Adaptive Cruise Control (They called it Intelligent Cruise Control I think) Blind Spot Monitoring and reverse cross traffic alert Automatic emergency braking. And yes, fully automatic, dual zone, climate control. Ok, I wanted that car. I wanted it bad, but knew it was out of range. So he brought in his manager and one of the finance guys and they took down information about my trade-in. They went in the back and ran numbers and it took them probably 20 minutes but they showed up with an offer. They had pushed the loan term to 65 months (instead of the usual 60) so that our budget had more room. They tacked on the extra warranty, which means I have tip-to-tip full coverage warranty now that will last well past the finance terms. They also went ,over ,KBB on my trade-in despite knowing that it was on its last legs. They did a number of other things that brought my total purchase down (apparently the warranty is negotiable). I also found out that since the car had been registered only 6 months prior, it didn’t need new plates and the registration was cheaper. So I ended up being able to hang onto $100 of what I was originally going to spend up front, got financing below what I wanted monthly, all with terms I was agreeable to. But did I get swindled? No. I did the math on the difference in expected residual value between the two vehicles (never mind which one I wanted) and it is expected to rise, not fall. So my car will be worth more at the end of 65 months by more than the difference in total money spent than the other car would have been. In short, I drove off the lot in a 11 month old car that I was very happy with and got a fair deal in the process. Not only that, but when my budget was stretched, even though they knew that I had more room to stretch it if needed, they made a point to meet my monthly budget goal while helping me get the car I wanted. That is a good dealer. Did they push some more expense to me to do it? Yes, and they were honest up front. They actually showed me the final total with interest of 4 different terms (including 3 year which was never really an option) that included the one they had gotten for me. They showed me how much more I would be paying total to keep my budget where it was. ,I was empowered to make a decision with information,. And that is why I will return to them. They cared more about empowering me to make a decision than shoving a car down my throat, and in the end, that is why they sold me a car. Edit: ,A couple of people have asked for the dealership. It was Morrie’s Nissan in Brooklyn Park, MN. They have a number of other branded dealers throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and all of them, I’m told, have similar experiences. Their service center is also pretty decent but in my opinion nothing terribly special. They sell everything from used cars up to 150k miles to brand new. Their various branded dealers will sell CPO where possible. The extended warranty company they use is a standard national warranty brand which can be serviced at almost any repair shop.

What is a Tesla Model X like?

Imagine plugging in your X at night and beginning each new day with an easier-on-the-batterypack charge of 90% (231 miles). You quietly back out of your driveway comfortably looking down and basically straight ahead at a massive and vivid rear view in your screen. Nice! Then you quietly move on the street listening clearly to perhaps your music recorded (on a usb chip you've created … I have nearly 1,000 songs) or your phone, streaming, fm radio. Sweet! You come to a stop sign and just lift your foot from the accelerator and the car slows down smoothly and as firmly as if you had applied brakes … to a near stop … but without any grinding or real wear on your brake pads. Now imagine that kind of single-pedal driving for all manner of slowing down also for hills and curves. Whaaat? You easily look up at stop lights through a masterfully tinted massive sky-embracing view windshield. Think of every patch of interesting clouds, tall trees, hills and mountains, soaring birds … all and always there to enjoy like … Wow! Now there's a vehicle that you need to get in front of, perhaps to make an exit or get by on a two-lane road. Say it's a long truck and you really would like to get safely by as quickly as possible. You pull out and push down on the pedal and within 2 seconds you're literally going at least 20 mph faster. Hold the pedal down if you really need to and you'll be hitting 90+ by the time you get by that truck. Holy cow!! ( And … basically no one will ever be able to accelerate on you to make things more difficult to pass!) As you travel your car location is superimposed with a moving red triangle on a colorful google-earth quality map showing roads and geographic features. Whether driving with or without either adaptive cruise control or autopilot…multiple camera eyes are constantly looking in all directions to keep you informed and safe. Now you can feel much more comfortable taking in a wider view of scenery outside or the 17" screen. Now you can see more clearly what you're passing by. It's more interesting, informative and enjoyable. You're always discovering new things. Neat! Now you've driven past many a gas station without pumping gas or emitting a single hydrocarbon into breathable air. And, at a Supercharger at a nice location, you can stretch, shop, eat or rest a bit. Ahhh … you push a preset and your seat reclines to where you can take a little snooze, snack, enjoy great music, news … or get info on your internet-connected screen. Blood pressure … take a break! Ahhhh! As you travel along you see a car or truck belching blue or black smoke. You see a dust storm churning or smoke in the air … or feel smog stinging. You touch your screen to biohazard and the interior air is filtered through a huge HEPA filter. It's only fresh air you draw in. Sweet. Now you're at a restaurant and someone has parked so close to you that you and/or family/friends can't get in without a real hassle. Hummm. You use your smartphone's Tesla app's "summon." Now you can slowly and surely have your Tesla back itself out … till you stop it … and easily get in. (And if your guests have a hard time getting down and into sedans, those Falcon Wing doors make getting in and out a pure delight.) Whew! Oops … you've traveled nearly 5,000 miles. Did you make an appointment to get oil and filter changed and have other "suggestions" thrown at you? Wait. You don't have an engine needing oil, filters or belts, etc. A yearly check will do … for tire alignment check and perhaps windshield wiper replacement. Relax! Oh, man. You have your dog, other pets (or groceries/plants, etc.) in the car and it's a hot sunny day. You want to shop or eat out but fear them getting overheated. No way. Before you leave the car you touch your screen to keep the interior quietly climatized (cooled … or warmed!) … or select “dog mode” where, on your screen is displayed an announcement that your pet is safe and comfortable!! Indeed, wherever you roam you can check/regulate the interior temperature in your Tesla with your smartphone. You may check its location, see where it is virtually moving on a map and note how fast it’s going. When it’s parked you can flash its lights, open its doors or start it if you misplace your key fob! Really? Worried about someone damaging your car? Turn on “Sentry” and have a phalanx of cameras ready to sense movement and record negative behaviors. Nice! Did I forget to include the fun easter eggs? The interesting games you can play? The access to the internet? Furthermore, Tesla will be giving you helpful updates of various kinds from time to time right where you live … over the internet. Amazing! Driving a Tesla X is a positive experience every time you drive. Everyone who drives and loves to drive should seriously consider the quality of life it brings. But did I forget the 5 star safety rating, low-center-of-gravity-flat-cornering? Drive one and I know you’ll be addIng to this list! Enjoy!