The gadget-laden Acura RL has long been a favorite here at CNET Car Tech. As one of the first cars to offer a navigation system with real-time traffic data, and an active collision mitigation system, the current generation RL was ahead of the pack in terms of cabin and drivetrain technology. However, as we found in our recent review of the 2007 RL, the model has started to show its age. Acura is remedying that with the release of the 2009 RL. The 2009 RL comes with a new body style, a more powerful engine, and some more pioneering cabin … Read more
GMC takes a major step in reimagining the SUV with the Denali XT concept unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Although this concept uses a pickup truck style body, all of its tech innovation can be applied to an SUV, a class of vehicle that includes the current production GMC Yukon Denali. Unlike traditional SUVs, which consist of a body bolted onto a frame, the Denali XT is built on a unibody architecture, similar to how today's cars are built. Unibody vehicles are considered to have better handling, and a more comfortable ride. However, they are not considered … Read more
At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai showed off a purpose-built fuel cell vehicle called the i-Blue. Hyundai has been developing a fuel cell powertrain for several years using its Tucson SUV as a test vehicle. As a purpose-built vehicle, Hyundai was able to place the fuel stack under the floor, making for better weight distribution. Hyundai classifies the i-Blue as a crossover utility vehicle, although it uses a 2+2 seating arrangement, which would put it on the small side for a crossover. As a concept, it employs futuristic-looking driver controls and instrumentation, complete with a 3D heads-up display … Read more
Volkswagen rolled out its new Routan vehicle at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, reinforcing Chrysler's idea that the minivan is alive and well. Frankly, we don't care for the conventional minivan look of the Routan. The minivan segment was pioneered by Volkswagen way back in 1950--with the Type 1 Transporter, or microbus--so we would expect something more interesting looking than the Routan. The Routan offers minivan amenities in the form of three rows of seats, with second row captain's chairs, and 32.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Without the third row seats, there is 83 cubic … Read more
Chevrolet launched a new crossover vehicle at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, but from its specifications, it sounds more like an SUV. The Traverse has three rows of seating, plus cargo space, although the automaker insists that it drives like a much smaller car. We like that it uses a six-speed automatic. It also has some interesting tech options, such as Bluetooth, that shows GM isn't as bound to OnStar as it has been in the past.
Bringing new meaning to the term "remote office," Ford Motors on Wednesday announced a set of high-tech features for its F series trucks and E series vans, including the 2009 version of the F-150. The announcement was timed to the first of two media preview days for the Chicago Auto Show, which is open to the public from February 8-17.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Every ATM snaps your mug, and each time you get into a taxi your photo is recorded as well. According to the BBC, our images are captured an average of 300 times each day. While we've grown used to these security cameras in our malls and at stoplights, the influx of surveillance cameras in our public spaces should be of great concern to everyone.
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago has 560 crime cameras that are actively monitored for criminal activity. In London there are more than 10,000 cameras. These so-called "crime cameras" have multiple roles: they are intended to provide evidence of crimes when they occur, they are meant to deter criminals, and they are a reminder that Big Brother is watching.
CHICAGO, Ill.--This might just be the perfect city for a Second Life convention. At least this out-of-towner thinks so.
When you think about it, a good number of Chicago's urban planning quirks have quite a bit in common with the aesthetics of some of Second Life's more popular "sims." It's because parts of the city are so planned--as though they were created with a few well-thought-out mouse clicks that could easily be tweaked and improved. The business and shopping districts are peppered with bright displays of greenery and flowers, the streets and gardens in … Read more
CHICAGO, Ill.--They call it the Windy City, but I don't think travelers to this weekend's Second Life Community Convention in Chicago were expecting tornadoes to get in their way.
The Midwest was smacked with thunderstorms and flooding on Thursday, with winds in one storm hitting 70 miles per hour, and a tornado (albeit not a very big one) running amok and even entering the grounds of Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
I, for one, was scheduled to take a 4:25 flight out of New York's JFK Airport that would (allegedly) touch down at 6:15 … Read more
In a couple of hours, I'll be off to Chicago to cover a different kind of social media: the third annual Second Life Community Convention (SLCC), a gathering of over 800 enthusiasts of the virtual world. It's a phenomenon that saw a dramatic rise and subsequent backlash in the past year, touted by media and business first as a revolution in communications, marketing, and socialization and then as an enormous three-dimensional ghost town.
So what's going to happen at the first SLCC to take place in Second Life's "post-mainstream" age? We'll see. I'… Read more