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Honda’s New Driver-Assistive Features Could Be Headed Your Way

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In its pursuit of a collision-free society, Honda has announced a few updates for its ‘Honda Sensing’ advanced driver-assistive systems. With the goal of a collision-free society, Honda Sensing is a suite of active safety features that begins with two types of sensors – you can also think of these sensors as intelligent ‘eyes,’ so to speak.

The first sensor is a millimetre-wave radar located inside the front grille, while the other is a monocular camera mounted on the upper, inside part of the front windshield.

Bear in mind however that these aren’t all ground-breaking technologies. Premium carmakers such as Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, to name a few, have different names for similar technologies, but what’s discussed here is a range of products which Honda will specifically be introducing to the Honda Legend sedan in Japan initially (end 2014), and then across its other models.

The recently-launched US-market 2015 Honda CR-V has also recently benefitted from a few new ‘Honda Sensing’ features, specifically the Collision Mitigations Braking System (CMBS), Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW).

But having only recently updated its millimetre-wave radar and monocular camera to better detect pedestrians and objects ahead, more functions have been added to Honda Sensing’s capabilities to prevent collisions with other road users, and of course, pedestrians.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the eight key functions of Honda Sensing:

COLLISION MITIGATION BRAKING SYSTEM: Using the two sensors, CMBS can detect oncoming vehicles ahead, and initiate audio and visual warnings. Should a driver ignore this, the car will gentle apply the brakes on its own with a further sensory warning. Hard braking is followed if the CMBS system determines that a driver has ignored all warnings. If a driver does react and takes action to swerve sideways into another lane, CMBS will warn drivers via audio/visual warnings and even a vibration on the steering wheel to warn a driver to take further collision avoidance steps. If an impact is inevitable, CMBS will apply the maximum braking force automatic to help reduce the impact/ damage of the collision.

PEDESTRIAN COLLISION MITIGATION STEERING SYSTEM: With both sensors used, PCMSS constantly monitors for pedestrians alongside the vehicle, on the sidewalk, for example. Should the system detect that either the car is straying too closely to the sidewalk, or if a pedestrian is walking too closely to the road, audio and visual warnings are first issued to drivers. If ignored, the system will steer the car slightly in the opposite direction to avoid contact.

ROAD DEPARTURE MITIGATION: Using just the monocular camera, RDM continually keeps its eyes on the lane boundaries, and uses visual and vibration warnings to let drivers know if the vehicle strays from a lane. RDM can also apply minor corrective steering inputs, but will apply the maximum brake force is it assumes that a driver has strayed too far off the lane, potentially off the road.

LANE KEEPING ASSIST SYSTEM: On highways where it’s easy to drift between lanes without notice, LKAS will issue a vibration to the steering wheel to alert drivers, and if ignored, can steer the car back into its own. This feature only kicks in at speeds above 65km/h.

ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL WITH LOW-SPEED FOLLOW: Active, ACC can follow a car in front at a set distance – applying the brakes or accelerating forward when necessary to maintain the gap. New here is the Low-Speed Follow function, which means that the adaptive auto cruise can even operate in stop-start traffic conditions, all the way down to 0km/h.

TRAFFIC SIGN RECOGNITION: Using the monocular camera, TSR can ‘see,’ and display road signs on the Multi-Information Display or Heads-Up Display system.

FALSE START PREVENTION FUNCTION: If the millimetre-wave radar detects an object ahead of the car while the vehicle is stationary, it will prevent drivers from accelerating ahead, and issue audio and visual warnings, along with vibrations in the accelerator pedal.

LEAD CAR DEPARTURE NOTIFICATION SYSTEM: If you don’t take notice of the car ahead of you moving off from a standstill position, audio and visual notifications will sound off to alert you.

McLaren Lets Us Inside The Fearsome P1 GTR

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Time for some mouth-watering stuff folks: remember the monstrous F1-inspired McLaren P1 GTR that was revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance back in August (2014)? Liked what you saw? Well, here’s a first look at the car’s interior to go with that.

McLaren tell us that what you see here is an F1-inspired steering wheel, which itself is said to be particularly inspired by the 2008 championship-winning MP4-23 F1 car that Lewis Hamilton drove.

The steering is packed with various driving mode switches and controls, giving drivers the ability to fully adjust and setup the characteristics of the car without taking their hands off the wheel. Buttons for the DRS (Drag Reduction System) and the IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) are located on the steering as well.

McLaren P1 GTR

Lightweight DTM-style seats and full six-point motorsport harnesses are used, and is said to be custom-made to fit individual drivers. The seats are also mounted directly to the chassis, which not only improve feel (if you needed any more), but also allow the P1 GTR to shed some weight by not needing mounting brackets.

A lot of the regular P1’s interior is obviously stripped out, but McLaren says that air-conditioning has been retained, in an attempt to give drivers a bit more comfort during the “physical experience” of driving a P1 GTR.

The McLaren P1 GTR is still being tested by the British carmakers, with one specific test only just completed in the extreme desert heat at the Bahrain International Circuit. McLaren also mentioned that it will be conducting a P1 GTR Driver Programme, which will allow potential customers to not only race at various circuits around the world, but also have full access to the McLaren Technology Center in Woking and the team’s various driver training programmes.

McLaren P1 GTR

McLaren will provide each driver with a full race team of their own, with six drive events planned for the first year of this programme’s implementation.

For the rest of us, there’s a look into what life of the rich and famous is all about.

Refreshed Nissan Serena S-Hybrid Gets Cheaper, But At What Cost?

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We were made aware of this car’s coming earlier in August this year, following a report published by the RHB Research, and now, it all looks like it’s coming to fruition. Edaran Tan Chong Motor (ETCM) – the local distributor of Nissan vehicles here – has opened the bookings for its facelifted Nissan Serena S-Hybrid.

Yes, there’s a new face and a few more changes to the interior, which we’ve shown you recently, but the biggest news at this point is that this is going to be a locally-assembled (CKD) vehicle, unlike the fully-imported one we’ve had so far, which hailed from Japan.

Pricing for the car is estimated to be below RM140,000, which is some RM9,500 less than the pre-facelift CBU model. However, there seems to be a second even more expensive variant that ETCM will be introducing, a Premium Highway Star, which is estimated to be below RM150,000. This effectively adds on all of the MPV’s potential options, which include:

  • 10.1-inch roof-mounted LCD panel
  • 6.5-inch multimedia navigator with rear-view camera, DVD player, iPod, USB and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Roof spoiler
  • V-Kool Elite Security
  • Combination leather seats
  • Door visor

Changes to the exterior design of the car show a new set of 16-inch alloy wheel designs and the facelift’s revised front grille, new LED headlamps with auto-levelling and rear LED combi brake and tail lamps.

There are no changes to the car’s hybrid powertrain (2.0-litre MR20D  engine, XTRONIC CVT, S-Hybrid system), so it appears that the same 15.2km/litre fuel-consumption is retained, along with the car’s 147PS and 210Nm of torque.

Cabin wise, the three-row seating and its 14 possible configurations are maintained, but carefully examining the spec-sheet shows that auto air-conditioning has been removed the second row seats for the CKD model, replaced with a simpler automatic fan speed control type unit without the digital temperature display and control. The second row seats themselves are a 40:20:40 split, with options to slide and recline, with the multi-purpose center seat still in place. The rear bench is a 50:50-split, able to fold and flip-up for more cargo space. Combination leather seats are reserved for the Premium variant, with the base model getting fabric upholstery as before.

Where safety is concerned, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Hill-Start Assist and dual front airbags are all that are mentioned. For now, it looks like ETCM are omitting a lot of the Serena S-Hybrid facelift’s improvements we saw in the Japanese-spec model, which included: Lane Departure Warning, Around View Monitor, Moving Object Detection and more.

Nissan Serena S-Hybrid

Other equipment highlights of the car include:

  • LED headlamps with auto-levelling
  • Intelligent Key (keyless entry)
  • Engine push-start button
  • Multi-graphic instrument cluster
  • ASCD Cruise Control

You can learn more about the new Nissan Serena S-Hybrid here:

Honda’s Bosses Take Unprecedented Pay Cuts, Sorry For Latest Recall In Japan

By 2 days ago 0 comments

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The President of Honda Motor Co., Takanobu Ito and 12 other Honda executives will be taking a pay cut for the next three months following the company’s recent spate of recalls.

President Ito will be taking a 20 percent cut in his salary while Chairman Fumihiko Ike and Executive Vice President Tetsuo Iwamura, and ten other executives will be taking a 10 percent cut.

“We have inconvenienced many customers, and we’re deeply sorry,” Honda spokeswoman Akemi Ando to the Japanese press yesterday.

The move is unprecedented in Honda’s 66-year history. Although several major American media outlets link the pay cut to the recent spate of airbag recalls by Honda and Toyota in the US, the two events are unrelated. The recalls in the US are due to a batch of defective parts made by airbag supplier Takata.

“The decision has nothing to do with the millions of recalls related to potentially deadly air bags made by Takata Corp.,” said Ando.

Honda also said it had appointed Senior Managing Officer Koichi Fukuo to oversee quality improvements across the organization, the first time it has created such a role.

Honda said today it will recall 425,825 Jazz, Vezel and N-Wgn vehicles in Japan, including hybrid variants of the Jazz and Vezel. The recall is to rectify flaws in ignition coils and electrical circuits. The company hasn’t received any reports of injuries or deaths, it said.

This will be the fifth recall for the Jazz Hybrid. The Jazz Hybrid, also known as the Fit Hybrid in Japan, was first recalled in October 2013 to rectify issues related to the control system of its new seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This was followed by two more recalls for a similar transmission-related problem in December 2013 and February 2014. The model was again recalled in July 2014 to reprogram the engine’s computer.

This article was first published on our sister-site LiveLifeDrive.com.

Hyundai Changes The Way You Open Your Boot… Again

By 3 days ago 0 comments

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Hyundai has just introduced an updated version of its Santa Fe SUV, offering a revised electronic steering, a retuned suspension and a new Hands-Free Smart Liftgate.

Starting with the automatically-opening liftgate, and you can take those words literally: rather than have to swipe your feet under the car or use any hand gestures, Hyundai’s solution simply opens the liftgate if you stand there long enough with your key fob on you. You may want to be a lot more careful about where you stand with your key fob, in the future.

If you may have previously noted a steering too void of feeling, Hyundai’s electric power steering system has benefitted from a new 32-bit microprocessor which addresses this. Hyundai is keen to point out that its ‘Sport’ mode is a lot firmer than before.

To suspension matters, and both ends of the car is treated. The front benefits from retuned front wheel bushings, and increased wheel bearing and lower control arm bushings have been added to improve ride qualities. Hyundai also tells us that the rear suspension has also been tuned, but it wasn’t specified to what extent.

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Powering the US-market Hyundai Santa Fe is still a carried forward range of engines, including a two naturally-aspirated engines (2.4-litre four-pot, 3.3-litre V6), and a turbocharged 2.0-litre option. You get these paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is available in the States in two wheelbase lengths (2,700mm and 2,800mm) as either a five- or seven-seater. In Malaysia, it’s the shorter wheelbase for us, with seven seats.

Just How Fast Is A Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D 2.2L For FIA Records To Tumble?

By 3 days ago 0 comments

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Still subject to the FIA’s thorough approval (homoglation) processes, Mazda has just achieved quite a massive feat with its range of SkyActiv diesel engines – breaking 20 FIA speed records with its Mazda 6 SkyActiv-D 2.2: a car just like the one we recently tested in Malaysia.

With the general premise being that diesel-powered vehicles have poor high speeds, Mazda sought to prove the world otherwise in a 24-hour test took place at the ATP oval test track in Papenburg, Germany, with 23 participating drivers from seven EU countries – including professionals, journalist and car enthusiasts.

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