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Technology with a Human Touch

While there are too many scenarios to chronicle the inconveniences of manual car doors, there is an unsung hero working behind the scenes with automakers to resolve these issues for good.

Magna is one of the world's largest suppliers in the mobility space, and chances are, you probably have never heard of them, but likely experienced their technologies in one form or another. The power liftgate technology Chrysler debuted on the minivan 20 years ago, for instance.

Most people don't think about the auto supply chain, yet Magna designs and manufactures these systems, plus a lot more. And, as we look to the future, the company is sitting at the helm of mobility technology -- the intersection of Silicon Valley tech, automotive and smart manufacturing sectors.

Referring back to the everyday "door struggles," the innovative supplier has a solution for those too -- with SmartAccessTM, an advanced powered door system.

Compared to a traditional manual door, advanced powered doors are customizable and easier to use. Engineers at Magna explored door applications with their HaptronikTM technology -- which is a revolutionary motion control software that enhances user experience and ensures that the door will feel the same way all the time in any condition -- to expand the use cases of the manual door.

So, those slammed fingers or dinged cars? Magna's SmartAccessTM doors can dictate the speed at which doors open and close -- thankfully, helping prevent a gust of wind from deciding the fate of little fingers or the car next door. Magna is even developing an "ice breaker" feature for frozen doors.

While automakers and suppliers develop futuristic ways for people to get from point A to point B over the next 50 years, there are everyday, simpler problems that are being resolved with ingenuity in the present. SmartAccessTM was designed to create an intuitive experience for a variety of car owners. From helping an elderly person or individual with disabilities open a heavy door, to a single parent herding kids into the back seat with the convenience of a hands-free option, SmartAccessTM propels the average driver into the future today, using technology with a human touch.

Protect Your Skin and Eyes from Unseen UV Rays

In fact, driving is a significant source of exposure to UV rays, according to the International Window Film Association (IWFA), a nonprofit organization.

Automotive window films can provide an important layer of protection against harmful UVA rays, which do pass through unprotected window glass.

Medical research has shown that drivers in the United States have an increased risk of developing skin cancer on the left side of their faces and on their left arms as a result of exposure to UVA rays through car windows.

All quality window films block 99 percent of UVA rays and can help to reduce the risk of being exposed to the sun's harmful UVA rays. But the dark glass that is popular in many vehicles today may not provide sufficient UVA protection unless it has also been treated with a window film, according to the IWFA.

Some key benefits of automotive window films:

  • Protecting yourself. Window films not only reduce your skin and eye exposure to UVA rays, they may also enhance visibility and reduce eye fatigue while driving, and many films reject more than 50 percent of the sun's heat to help you stay cool on hot summer drives.
  • Protecting your car. The sun's rays that penetrate car windows can have a similar impact on your car's interior as on your skin. Window films help reduce the fading and cracking of upholstery. In addition, window films can enhance the ability of the side and rear window glasses to hold together in the event of an impact or accident, as well as frustrate a smash-and-grab burglar.

Protective automotive window films can be installed quickly and easily, usually in a few hours by a professional window film installer. To further assist consumers and professionals, the IWFA has developed a guideline to explain the visual quality that should be expected after installation of an automotive window film tint.

Visit www.iwfa.com for more information and to find a window film business in your area.

Maaco Celebrates Golden Anniversary with Ray Ban Giveaway

(NewsUSA) - Maaco, the iconic American body shop, is celebrating 50 years of affordable auto body paint and repair with a Labor Day giveaway -- 50 pairs of gold Ray Ban sunglasses.

The contest will run from Monday, August 15, through midnight on Sunday, August 28, and is open to anyone in the United States. Entrants are invited to share their plans for Labor Day weekend and how they would enjoy sporting their new Ray Bans via the contest website. The 50 lucky winners will receive a pair of gold Ray Ban sunglasses following the closing of the contest.

“We’re hosting this golden giveaway to show our appreciation to our customers, for their decades of support,” says Chris Dawson, president of Maaco. “Over the last 50 years, customers have come to depend on us as the one to call whenever it’s time for a fresh paint job on your car or when life inevitably brings its dents, dings and scratches on your vehicle.”

Maaco was founded in 1972 by Anthony Martino, with a single shop in Wilmington, Delaware. The company now includes more than 400 independently owned and operated franchises across North America where expert technicians have repaired more than 20 million vehicles over the past 50 years.

Maaco has made a name for itself as a standout auto repair franchise because of its best-price guarantee and lifetime warranty on services performed and through servicing car fleets for large and small businesses and government agencies.     

Maaco also offers contactless procedures and an online cost estimator tool to help make car repair quick, easy and safe.     

Maaco’s gold, platinum, and diamond certified centers pass rigorous approval processes each year. These centers include experts with specialized training in repair of specific models, including Audi, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen and Lexus. These certified centers are designed to repair specific models to meet or exceed factory standards.     

“Throughout these 50 years, our dedicated franchise family has remained committed to providing the best -quality repair at an incredible value, and that’s why Maaco has such loyal customers,” continues Dawson. “It’s an honor to be a part of this iconic brand, and I can’t wait to see our communities celebrating alongside us as they sport their golden shades for the Labor Day long weekend.”     

The winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, August 31. They will be notified through email and must respond within five business days to claim their gold Ray Bans.     

Visit MaacoGoldenGiveaway.com for more information and complete contest details.

Hidden Lighting Illuminates the Path for Tomorrow’s Safer, More Stylish Vehicles

(NewsUSA) - One of your next vehicle’s most crucial safety features may not even be visible until you need it. A first-to-market product called “Breakthrough Lighting” offers consumers new ways to personalize and interact with their vehicles while helping improve safety through greater visibility.     

Global automotive supplier and mobility technology company Magna has developed the innovative lighting solution. It is featured on a thermoplastic liftgate known as Litgate. The lighting solution can be used communicatively or functionally -- and its “coolest” feature is arguably that it remains discreetly hidden until it needs to signal for something and illuminate. Compare that to today’s lighting elements, which are always visible on your car’s exterior, even when not in use.     

The sophisticated lighting offers unique designs and customizations using various patterns, colors and shapes, providing a creative way for car companies to re-brand and style the vehicles of the future.     

In addition to enabling more creative styling, Magna’s technology offers exciting opportunities with the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles.     

For example, the technology can light up the word “autonomous” to tell other drivers what mode your self-driving vehicle is operating in, or a battery symbol in red to conveniently notify you that your EV (electric vehicle) is running low on charge.     

The ability for communication outside of the vehicle becomes ever more important as autonomous vehicles proliferate.     

We’ve all experienced walking up to an intersection, and just as we start to cross the road, a vehicle approaches the corner intending to turn right, yet doesn’t signal. Cue the apologetic wave from the driver insisting the pedestrian cross.     

Today, this common situation is resolved by way of a simple hand gesture between two people, but imagine if that car were driving itself. How would the pedestrian know the car’s intentions and whether it was safe to step into the street?     

As our society gets closer to integrating fully autonomous vehicles to our roadways, miscommunicated intentions can result in severe accidents on the road -- especially for those on foot.     

In 2020, nearly one in six traffic deaths was a pedestrian death, with 77% of pedestrian fatalities occurring after dark. Seeing and being seen are critical to helping all road users avoid tragic crashes.     

Through clearer communicating and signaling between drivers and others on the road such as pedestrians, bicyclists and e-scooter riders, Breakthrough Lighting reinvents the function of your vehicle’s exterior lighting, while enhancing its overall appearance.     

Magna has the unmatched ability to imagine and develop automotive technologies under one roof, and continues to leverage its in-house engineering power to address real-world transportation challenges to help make roads safer places for all.

Next Wave of Electric Cars Have Better Batteries

(NewsUSA) - The auto industry continues to market electric cars as the "next best thing," and the newest generation of electric vehicles (EVs) are more than up to speed.

Although widespread adoption of EVs took some time to find its footing in the United States and was slow to get off the ground, more car shoppers are seeing the benefits of EVs and hybrids. Several improvements in the latest models have helped overcome some hurdles that might have made buyers hesitant to embrace EVs.

Some of the key features consumers want include:

  • More power. Consumers want increased range and fast charging. The battery life of newer electric cars allows for several hundred miles on a single charge.
  • More style. Car buyers don't want to sacrifice comfort and style, and manufacturers are rising to this challenge with roomy designs equal to those of conventional cars.

"Consumers are ready to switch to electric vehicles," according to Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader.

"Things they consider when thinking about buying an electric vehicle include reduced environmental guilt, less time refueling, and never having to change your oil again," he says.

One example of the latest in EV technology is the EV6, auto maker Kia's first entry into the battery-powered vehicle market.

The EV6 features an ultra-fast 350-kilowatt charger that enables the car to go from a 10 percent to 80 percent charge in less than 18 minutes, ready for up to 210 miles of range.

It's also designed with a distinctive Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) feature that enables use of the battery as a mobile power source for multiple applications, according to the company website. Other advances include both rear wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive, as well as two battery sizes, 58.0 kWh and 77.4 kWh.

The latest battery technology meets consumers' need for speed with the 576 HP power to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.5 seconds. The style factor is there, too. The EV6 channels the design of current crossover vehicles with a four-door sedan body and seating for five passengers. The EV6 is scheduled to debut in early 2022.

Visit kia.com for more information about the latest in electric vehicle technology.

 

3 Reasons to Try Mobile Tire Installation This Winter

(James Taylor) - If you're thinking of traveling this winter, you may want to consider replacing your tires.

Until recently, tire replacement involved wasting a day at the shop, haggling over the prices of a very limited selection and impatiently waiting for your vehicle to finally be serviced.

Here are three reasons to try online ordering combined with mobile tire installation.

  • Mobile tire installation offers a wider selection of replacement tires. Tire replacement is frustrating because there is usually a limited selection of tire brands for your vehicle. You warily arrive at the tire store unprepared and are often pressured to buy on the spot with limited information and no third-party research. Conversely, mobile tire installation allows you to find the right tires online and have your selected mobile installer bring and install your tires at a time and place that works for you.
  • Mobile tire installation is convenient and efficient. Going to the tire shop takes time. If the tire shop is busy, replacing all four tires can take up several hours of your day. Mobile tire installation, on the other hand, can be scheduled on your time, wherever you are -- whether that's your home or office. You won't need to take time off work, hire a babysitter or lug your kids across town.
  • Mobile tire installation is affordable. Many convenience-based services come at a premium, which often leads consumers to stick with traditional methods. Traditional tire installers may charge $20 to $30 per tire. Surprisingly, mobile tire installation can save you money. For instance, Tire Rack's mobile tire installation service charges just $25 per tire with the potential for more savings and a greater selection of quality tires.

So how does it work?

  1. Order new tires online at TireRack.com and select mobile tire installation at checkout.
  2. Schedule your installation appointment at a time and place that works best for you.
  3. Experienced technicians bring your tires right to you and install them on site.
  4. Relax and go about your day!

Haggling over the price of a limited tire selection and long wait times are a thing of the past. The next time you take the coin test and discover you need new tires, you may find yourself having your tires replaced at work or at home while enjoying time with your family and friends.

 

Better Batteries Make Electric Cars More Convenient

(NewsUSA) - The electric car trend shows no signs of slowing down, and the next generation of electric cars are more than up to speed. Although widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) got off to a slower than expected start in the United States, more car shoppers are seeing the benefits of EVs and hybrids. Several improvements in the latest models have helped overcome some hurdles that might have made buyers hesitant to embrace EVs.

Some of the key features consumers want include:

- More power. Consumers want increased range and fast charging. The battery life of newer electric cars allows for several hundred miles on a single charge.

- More style. Car buyers don't want to sacrifice comfort and style, and manufacturers are rising to this challenge with roomy designs equal to those of conventional cars.

"Consumers are ready to switch to electric vehicles," according to Brian Moody, Executive Editor for Autotrader.

"Things they consider when thinking about buying an electric vehicle include reduced environmental guilt, less time refueling, and never having to change your oil again," he says.

One example of the latest in EV technology is the EV6, auto maker Kia's first entry into the battery-powered vehicle market. (Click here to view video).

The EV6 features an ultra-fast 350-kilowatt charger that enables the car to go from a 10 percent to 80 percent charge in less than 18 minutes, ready for up to 210 miles of range.

It's also designed with a distinctive Vehicle-to-Load (V2L) feature that enables use of the battery as a mobile power source for multiple applications, according to the company website. Other advances include both rear wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive, as well as two battery sizes, 58.0 kWh and 77.4 kWh.

The latest battery technology meets consumers' need for speed with the 576 HP power to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.5 seconds. The style factor is there, too. The EV6 channels the design of current crossover vehicles with a four-door sedan body and seating for five passengers. The EV6 is scheduled to debut in early 2022.

Visit kia.com for more information about the latest in electric vehicle technology.

 

Helping Cars See Dangers That Humans Can't

(NewsUSA) -Imagine this. You are driving through a dark tunnel on a stormy night with the glare from rain and headlights making it difficult to see. What if your car could see for you and detect a motorcyclist who's waiting out the rain on the side of the road in the tunnel? Well, the good news is that the mobility tech company, Magna, is the first company to design a digital radar technology that can do just that.

ICON Radar offers drivers an added layer of safety and security on the road. Your car might already have sensors that flash in your rearview mirror when a car is in your blind spot, or that beep when someone passes behind you in a parking lot. ICON Radar takes this kind of vehicle-sensing technology to a whole new level. It can scan a car's environment 50 times faster than the blink of a human eye. And because it's digital, the signal is sure to be strong and reliable -- such as cell phones when they shifted from using analog signals to digital ones.

A vehicle with ICON Radar can actually scan the environment around your vehicle in four dimensions: distance, height, depth and speed. That helps it see objects such as a shredded tire on the road ahead of you, or that motorcyclist hiding from the rain in that dark tunnel. When obstacles are detected, drivers get an alert so they can take evasive action and safely steer clear of the danger.

This technology can detect an object just 12 inches high from 164 feet away, a pedestrian more than a football field length down the road and another car ahead of you from more than three football fields away.

It can also separate objects and detect if a person or bicyclist is next to a guardrail or a motorcycle in between two semi-trucks.

We can all use some help staying safe on the roads. Magna is bringing new technology to the road to do just that as we head down the path toward full autonomy.

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