Google joins with GM, Honda, Audi for Android-powered cars

Google has launched a partnership with carmakers General Motors, Audi, Honda, and Hyundai, as well as with chipmaker Nvidia, to bring the Android operating system to vehicles in 2014.

The group, called the Open Auto Alliance, aims to marry Android's widespread use and app support with openness and customization, according to the group's announcement Monday, the opening day of CES 2014.

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"The OAA is dedicated to a common platform that will drive innovation, and make technology in the car safer and more intuitive for everyone," the group said. … Read more

2014 Honda Civic hits the lot with built-in Siri

iPhone owners who pick up a 2014 Honda Civic will be able to chat with Siri without taking their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road.

Siri will be a key ingredient of Honda's new Display Audio in-car technology when the Civic goes on sale Wednesday, the automaker has announced. Drivers with Bluetooth-connected iPhones will be able to activate Siri by holding down a Talk button on the steering wheel, eliminating the need to tap on or hold the phone.

People behind the wheel can perform a variety of tasks via Siri, such as listening to … Read more

Honda Civic runs iPhone nav

Many drivers find the navigation apps on their phones work better and are more up-to-date than those built into their dashboards, yet relying on a handset for turn-by-turn directions can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Honda hits the sweet spot with its new HondaLink app, integrating navigation from the phone into a car's built-in LCD.

Although different initiatives exist to emulate smartphones in the dashboard, the only example currently available from an automaker comes in the Chevy Spark and Sonic. Drivers of those models can buy the BringGo app and use it as the navigation engine, integrating it with … Read more

Are super-compact EVs the ride of the future?

TOKYO -- How would you fancy riding around in something that can go 30 miles on a charge and costs around $1?

Super-compact electric vehicles have been on roads in Japan for a while, and more models are coming out as major automakers experiment with architecture and features.

Some look like golf carts or even the gas-powered tricycle mopeds commonly used for pizza and other deliveries in densely populated Japanese cities. … Read more

Honda Accord chosen as the 2014 Green Car of the Year

LOS ANGELES -- It's that time of year again, where the Green Car of the Year is announced at the LA Auto Show. This year, the honor goes to the the Honda Accord, chosen from a field of 5 finalists that included the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Mazda3, and Toyota Corolla.

The Accord was chosen for its because it offers a reasonably efficient conventional gasoline model, up to 50 mpg from its hybrid variant, and an impressive 115 mpg combined equivalent from its plug-in hybrid model. The Green Car Journal's panel, which is responsible for choosing the … Read more

Honda steps forward with walking assist device

Honda's latest foray into the world beyond cars and bikes may sound like a bit of a leap, but it's the next logical step in the company's line of personal mobility devices.

The Walking Assist Device, which we took a look at back in 2008 but ultimately dates back to 1999, has evolved from an interesting concept that might make walking a bit easier to the subject of a new clinical trial that might help stroke patients improve their mobility.

Honda announced last week that it is currently testing its battery-powered device at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. As with its humanoid bot ASIMO, Honda says its Walking Assist Device uses cooperative control tech the company developed over the course of studying the human gait. Using readings from hip angle sensors of the patient's natural gait, a control computer activates motors to improve the symmetry of the timing of each leg lift and to promote a longer stride. The simple design includes adjustable belts to fit over differently-sized people and clothing.… Read more

The mild and wild custom debuts of SEMA 2013

LAS VEGAS -- The SEMA Show is always a bit of a madhouse, and the 2013 SEMA Show was no exception. There are thousands of parts to customize with for as far as the eye can see. There are suppliers for custom headlamp LEDs, premium paints, vinyl wrap, and speakers and wheels bigger than what makes practical sense.

But what we're interested in are the custom cars that are built from these parts. The show is crammed with hundreds of cars, many of which are commissioned or showcased by the automakers themselves using blends of OEM accessories and third-party … Read more

2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe gets more bark, more bite

LAS VEGAS -- I was a big fan of the 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe, so I wasn't disappointed when, for the 2013 model year, the Si Coupe went unchanged, despite the many revisions that the Civic Sedan and Civic Si Sedan received as part of the "emergency refresh" of the 2013 model year.

Unveiled today at the 2013 SEMA Show here in Las Vegas, the 2014 Honda Civic Si Coupe finally gets its refresh, bringing it in line with the four-door variant but with styling twists of its own.

The 2014 Civic Coupe gets new headlamps … Read more

No electrics among Green Car of the Year finalists

Every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Green Car Journal announces the winner of its Green Car of the Year award. As a teaser to this year's announcement on November 21, the publication released its list of five finalists for the prize.

This year's finalists are:

Audi A6 TDI BMW 328d Honda Accord Mazda3 Toyota Corolla

The Audi A6 and the BMW 328d represent diesel-fueled cars, a technology that has improved quite a bit in cleaner emissions and general drivability. Green Car Journal includes the Honda Accord for its new direct injection engine and hybrid variant. The … Read more

Experiencing the future of transportation at Ceatec 2013

While crazy, conceptual gadgets are always a highlight at Japan's Ceatec, some of the most interesting devices at recent iterations of the show featured something unusual: wheels. While Japan's Tokyo Motor Show has always been a haven for tech-riddled concept machines, many companies are choosing to show off their forward-thinking rides at Ceatec, which takes place a few weeks earlier and is frequented by virtually every major Japanese company in the technology space.

In 2013 it was the auto companies taking up more space than any other. Even Sony's massive booth paled in comparison to the sprawling … Read more