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Automakers working to transform data from cars into secondary revenue streams (carbuzz.com)
169 points by reaperducer on Sept 26, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 147 comments

_And you can start testing [that] by sending them different kinds of advertising to see some kind of behavior in the [listening] patterns.” These are insights that are then quickly shared throughout GM’s various divisions. _

What the actual fuck. It's a car that you've paid several tens of thousands for.

Google pestering you for personal data in return for '''''free''''' services is terrible because they are a monopoly, but in a sense we're to blame by expecting not to pay money for maps, mail, search. But this is about a car, on average one of the most expensive things a person owns.

Makes you wonder... How will we look back on this day and age 40 years from now?

> you wonder... How will we look back on this day and age 40 years from now?

The cynic in me wants to say we will look back and wish our things still had off buttons.

I'd be happy if my next car had physical buttons. Putting everything on a screen you must look at is one of the most distracting and dangerous things I can think of. I've yet to see a digital display I like better than buttons and dials for volume, tuning, and temperature control.

I'm surprised consumer reports and the like isn't giving all cars bad reviews for that.

Late last year a study funded by AAA was published. [1] [2]

__For example, the Tesla Model S 75 enabled internet usage on the 17-inch LCD touch screen that allowed the driver to perform a large number of tasks that were not driving-related (e.g., checking and composing Facebook posts)

It's insane how much of a problem distracted driving is with mobile phones right now. I can't see "improving" cars by making them "smart" helping.

[1] https://www.caranddriver.com/news/eyes-off-the-road-study-co... (props to them for linking to the actual study rather than vaguely summarizing the paper)

[2] Actual study. PDF warning: https://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/wp-content/uploads/20...

Airplanes (those with a Garmin G1000 specifically) do it perfectly- a nice large non-touch screen that has manual buttons and backup vital instruments.

> I'd be happy if my next car had physical buttons.

Some constructors are coming back from the "no physical button" fad. At least for the things you should able to use while driving. The problem is the development cycle there is not in weeks or months but multiple years.

  one of the most distracting and 
  dangerous things I can think of
No worries there. You won't actually be driving your own car by then. It'll be driving itself.

Seems like the self driving aspect should have hit before the car-full-of-distractions aspect.

I don't believe that this is actually happening for at least 50+ years. And by that point, indeed, I won't be driving myself, but for slightly different reasons.

I work in the same building as Waymo. They’re very serious about self driving. I don’t know anything about their operations internally or how well they can handle inclement weather, but I think 50+ years is overly pessimistic. Self driving cars work today in clear driving conditions. Personally I feel like it may be more than ten years until we see them everywhere, but maybe it would be less. 50? That’s just silly. I don’t think it’s such a technical challenge we couldn’t solve it sooner.

I mean in the 60s there was a famous project where the idea was to "solve" image recognition, with an estimate of few months tops. It's 2018 and the best of the best image recognition algorithms will say with 99% confidence that a sofa in a zebra print is in fact, a zebra, and our technological leap from 60s is just unimaginable. We have so much more computing power, yet we can't crack it fully. I feel like autonomous driving is the same - it's going to be amazing in some general cases, but it's going to fall apart at any normal situation that can happen on the road - and it's those edge cases which will take decades to work out fully and reliably. So yes, I genuinely don't believe that we will see a fully autonomous vehicle that can work in any conditions, on streets of San Francisco as well as rural Ukraine equally well and without any human input.

Sure, they will not be deployed universally but they will soon be common for interstate trucking and taxis. Also expect to see different adoption in the US than Europe and Japan (like Norwegian and Japanese cell networks vs the US). Needless to say, I agree rural Ukraine may have different needs than San Francisco. But that has nothing to do with adoption in San Francisco. Adoption does not have to be 100% to be significant.

The cynic in me says we'll feel about it exactly as we're told to feel about it.

Or the dissenting voices will be filtered/silenced.

"Citizen! Your opinion does not agree with groupthink. You will be driven to a reeducation center."

> It's a car that you've paid several tens of thousands for.

Just going to show that paying money for something doesn't guarantee that you aren't also the product.

40years? try 10years when everyone will be using ride-sharing companies that have all sort of cameras and the passenger doesn't have any expectation of privacy to begin with.

The choice is about who collects all the data from all the cams and things around you - The Party (China), The Gov (UK), or the Corporations (US).

Why not all three? Everyone has showed up to the data party in the US as far as I can tell. Even the political parties are independently hoovering up data for their campaign strategies.

Well, the cooperation is a key.

> During the 2012 campaign, Barack Obama’s reelection team had an underappreciated asset: Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. He helped recruit talent, choose technology, and coach the campaign manager, Jim Messina, on the finer points of leading a large organization. “On election night he was in our boiler room in Chicago,” says David Plouffe, then a senior White House adviser. Schmidt had a particular affinity for a group of engineers and statisticians tucked away beneath a disco ball in a darkened corner of the office known as “the Cave.” The data analytics team, led by 30-year-old Dan Wagner, is credited with producing Obama’s surprising 5 million-vote margin of victory.


That doesn't explain the 10 million vote margin of victory for Obama in 2008.

In the US the government tracks everybody, and they're probably better at it than in the UK. Remember Snowden? He didn't work at Google. Both the government and opportunistic companies track everything they can.

To be fair, Snowden said that the UK was collecting far more information on its own people than the US was.

He already said the UKs surveillance apparatus was terrifying in comparison.

Or a corporation that is legally required to delete the footage a few days later and can only process it to resolve customer complaints and to bill damaged cars (EU).

The more interesting question is what are you going to do about it?

I simply don't buy cars that spy on me.

as an engine mechanic by trade, Ive seen the 4G trend in cars ramp up over the past 5-6 years and its more than a little startling.

From what i hear in the customer service office up front, info-tainment universally sucks. There isnt a single manufacturer that hasnt turned the radio and air conditioner into some sort of rube goldberg machine. the switches on the steering wheel also adhere to absolutely no standard, so drivers are either turning the volume up on that classic rock song they love or setting the cruise control to plow through an intersection.

To add insult to injury, these systems are all needlessly expensive. a knob or a button will last ten times longer than a screen, especially if the vehicle is light truck/small business or god forbid, a family wagon/minivan.

The thing about the 4G interface software is that originally it was a powered accessory in the vehicle, but these days its an integral component. that means if it goes out, or you remove it, the car throws a code in the ECU and a light shows up on the dash. Why? internal combustion doesnt require 4G. in fact most drivers one would argue are better on the road without cellular networks.

If you want to avoid this weird 1984 wonderland of cars that spy on passengers, go for an older car. Mileage rarely matters anymore for cars 2006+, and platforms from manufacturers can remain the same for a decade. That means the only thing that changes is the interior cloth or shape of a button. I drive a 2005 Dodge Charger RT, and the only two people who know the music I like are my dog and my husband.

I drive a newer car (2018 Camaro SS 1LE) and only Apple and I know what music I listen to. Even without disabling OnStar.

Rather than living with an older car, I think we should tackle issues like this head-on, since they're not going away. Legislation, or just making a shitstorm for the manufacturer, stuff like that.

In this case didn't GM specifically ask people to opt-in anyway? As long as it's overt, and not in some fine print somewhere, I don't think it's that big a deal.

One could see driving an older car as a opt-out, and boycott. As fewer cars sell, the company to first realize the problem and the market stands to windfall. All this tracking is why I can't stomach the tesla fanboying on HN, we should know better than to celebrate 3rd party control of your car.

That seems unrealistic, though. People who buy cars based strictly on practicality just get something newer when their old one starts to be a hassle. They're not going to be too interested in buying something else older just to send a message to the manufacturer.

Another case where the masses just don't really care that much and those of us who do get to pay the price. And ... while I say that, I admit I haven't disabled the OnStar on my Camaro. Buddy of mine with exactly the same car did but he's a bit more paranoid than I am, and the monthly "how shitty of a driver are you" message from OnStar creeped him out. Whereas it just made me want to try harder to make the score lower (it's like golf, yes?? ;-)). Now, if they start sending the data to my insurance company, then I'm yanking out the LTE immediately.

Most 2017 and newer Toyota and Lexus vehicles have Verizon 4G cellular embedded inside. It doesn’t have a monthly fee. The Corolla and the Tacoma are one of the only ones at the moment that don’t include a DCM and don’t have embedded cellular. They just piggyback off your phone’s cellular connection.

In no way would cruise control force an attentive driver to blow through an intersection. You hit the brake and cruise control stops. If you didn't hit the brake, you weren't paying attention and you would have go through it anyway.

Having controls on the steering wheel are much safer than having someone blindly reaching for a knob or touchscreen. How many crashes have happened because someone has looked down and taken a hand off the steering wheel to adjust the volume knob? It only takes a second for someone to pull out in front of you or for a pedestrian to step out into the street. The less you need to take your hands off the steering wheel and the less you need to look away to control other things, the less you'll be looking somewhere and doing something else when that critical moment happens.

Sure, the lack of standards suck. I drove a loaner this past weekend because my car was at the dealer getting work. The new car had similar steering wheel controls but some of the lever switches did things in the opposite direction. But after driving with it for a day, I got used to it and that was that. They aren't too complicated that it takes years of study to figure out. Look at the manual. Try it out while in park and you'll be fine.

The grandparent was using a type of figure of speech called hyperbole which is an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally.

> Mileage rarely matters anymore for cars 2006+

What happened in 2006 that made them less vulnerable to wear and tear?

Is there any index of spyware free devices/products? Or I guess I should say products that haven't been caught including spyware yet. This is getting absurd.

I often think the same thing. There needs to be a UL type company that certifies a product or service isn't spying on you.

> There needs to be a UL type company that certifies a product or service isn't spying on you.

We are the gears that make our world go around. Live the change you want to see.

Counterpoint: Pay me and I'll do it!

Is this a request for investment? I would be happy to help. Feel free to contact me.

Approximately 1.5 million NGOs operate in the United States. There is no even up-to-date list of OpenWRT capable home routers. Or of not phoning home (to Chinese cloud) CCTV cams.

> Approximately 1.5 million NGOs operate in the United States

.. what does that have to do with anything?

There are dozens of NGOs trying to save you from genetically modified crops, or raising awareness about chemicals in your soap, or fighting day and night to save cockroaches from extinction. The only one that absent is the NGO that would make a list of goods spying on a customer and bring it up on some website. Isn't that funny?

Mozilla kind of started one last year although I don't know if it's still maintained.


What about Free Software Foundation?


Well, you could start one?

I would have thought this was within the remit of the EFF, but then so are a lot of other things.

Wouldn’t the list of config files in openwrt itself work?

For Uncle Joe? I doubt it.

Two recent purchases that I specifically avoided internet connectivity for:

—Eufy RoboVac 11S - Robot Vacuums

—Coway Airmega 300 - Air Purifier

I recently had a discussion about the iRobot Roomba line. I don't need a vacuum connected to the internet, yet every vacuum in the Roomba lineup now has an internet connection. Why? I cannot see a benefit to the consumer.

Anyways, I think this is a fantastic idea and have started to put a list here together here. Any other products I should add?


every vacuum in the Roomba lineup now has an internet connection. Why? I cannot see a benefit to the consumer.

Well, they do make pretty neat wifi coverage maps of your home. But I guess they could do that without actually going online.

For cars? Anything old and "unconnected" would qualify.

Yeah. At some point those pre-everything-connected era devices will fall out of the market, though

Not for certain cars, however, as it seems you can still buy just about any part, new or even enhanced, for common 50s-70s American cars --- which don't even have a computer.

It's useless.

For example, I can say to you now that apple, google and samsung devices are very high on spyware. Would you even start considering replacing your phone?

Yes i would. So, no it isn't. I wish Nokia stayed on the n900 path. Good phone that one.

The list would be extremely useful. And would drive paying customers to companies that are less crooked. Race to the top is a thing, it happens. Encouraging it is a good idea.

It's useful if there is an alternative. In terms of phones, you have to go so far down the stack you almost have to build it yourself out of bits of hardware before you get one that isn't actively spying on you all the time.

Yes... But what with?

Consumer choice for smartphones seems to be at an all-time low, when it comes to software. (Hardware seems as diverse as ever, with a few exceptions, such as the actual modules for talking to the cell towers.)

You have iOS, Android... And a few small OSs which only work on very specific hardware, that tends not to be available after a year or two.

What I want from a phone is fairly limited, which I think makes me more flexible, but I can't really find anything that doesn't spy on me.

* Calls


* Phonebook

* Email (IMAP will do)

* SSH (with key support)

* Web browser

Anything I can find is either spyware-riddled, probably backdoored, or so out of date that purchasing it makes it as expensive as a flagship phone.

I run LineageOS with the F-Droid store.

The baseband is still untrustworthy, but I think that's about as good as it gets.

lineage os uses kernel and drivers as binary blobs from the oem themselves. not to mention most images ship with gapps anyway.

I didn't know the kernel and drivers are not open source, although I do of course run an image without gapps.

cough https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/ cough

Just because the majority of people use devices that disrespect their privacy doesn't mean that I have to. Even on the Android side of things, there are varying degrees of privacy-respecting ROMs that you can flash to try and curb the amount of spyware that your phone has.

It's narrow, not useless.

No, but I am already choosing to switch it off, install far less, and not always take it with me. Keep on trucking to "Tracking: everything, everywhere, always, across devices" and I'll be back on a dumb phone and second hand iPod.

Thanks to the GDPR importing everything electronic from Europe is starting to sound like a good idea.

Importing from China directly would be cheaper.

Europe gets a lot of its consumer electronics, even the big brand names like Sony, from a company in Turkey that manufactures in Spain, Poland, and I think Germany.

We need a better way of disabling this physically - by removing the 4G/LTE connectivity in cars.

Remove connectivity, and that data collection is moot.

I'm looking to buy a car in the coming months / year - and I've narrowed it down to the C43, S60 and G70 and all those cars come with "connected features" that I have no need or want for. (find your car anywhere, unlock and remote start your car, send maps to your car, set climate control, check fuel/servicing etc. via an app / website). I partially blame Tesla for starting this trend.

It's absolute madness that we have cars companies that generally don't know a ton about software building technology that's generally insecure, will not be updated and mass producing it at scale and being used by 10000s (or even 100000s) of people worldwide. This is a recipe for a easily avoidable disaster waiting to happen and people who've paid 10s or 100s of thousands of $ are the victims. (and ofc they'll use this as an excuse to add more tech instead of less making it a house of cards - Eg. Oh you want secure features - guess what? we've added 4G/5G/LTE support. oh we'll also take in all your data to pay for it anyways).

> We need a better way of disabling this physically - by removing the 4G/LTE connectivity in cars.

> ...

> It's absolute madness that we have cars companies that generally don't know a ton about software building technology that's generally insecure, will not be updated and mass producing it at scale and being used by 10000s (or even 100000s) of people worldwide.

This! This a thousand times!

Last year I bought a new car, and one of my main deal-breaker criteria was the presence of an LTE modem. I don't want an internet-connected computer-on-wheels built by a company that has no idea how to build secure software and that doesn't have an engineering culture that's compatible with security. There's a too-large chance that they'll mess up and someone would ransom my car for a bitcoin (in the best-case hacking scenario).

It was tricky to figure out what cars had network connections, since the salespeople don't understand the technology, just the sales pitches. The questions that worked best for me were "Does this car have connected features such as remote door unlocking available?" followed by "If I want those features after I buy the car, will I have to take it back to get something installed?" Some cars, like Subarus ship without the connected car features, but the dealership can enable them remotely once you sign up for the monthly charges. That means their cars have an always-on LTE modem.

IMHO, it's going to take at least ten years for 1) car companies to learn the hard way how to develop secure software* and 2) develop a reliable and safe self-driving car that works in my climate. I figured now was the time to buy one of the "last good" cars that I could drive until this stuff is sorted out.

Turns out the one I got has a Android center console that's rootable through a well-known method, but at least I have to manually connect to a Wifi network for that to happen. And, frankly, who does that?

* IIRC, Microsoft took a similar path, first having comically insecure software, to taking security seriously, to actually getting good at it.

can I ask what make/model you settled on?

Is it as simple as physically disconnecting the car's modem, or wrapping its cell antenna with an RF-blocking material?

I have done similar things to other devices, so I can give you a rough outline of what to do (assuming you are in the USA). By law, anything that transmits/receives a wireless signal must go through FCC testing, and what I have seen is they usually make this a card with a standard I/O port (much easier to get one card through the FCC process than a bunch of them). Look up the "FCCID" in the owners manual, and you can go to the FCC website and find exactly what you are looking for. The next thing you need to do is actually find it, and that will probably be the most painful part. But once it is found, you can simply remove it.

I had to do something similar to a sound system I owned. For some reason, they added Bluetooth with absolutely no authentication, so anyone in range could pair to it. I just removed the Bluetooth adaptor (it uses I2C and/or SMBus to communicate with the rest of the system).

We need an ifixit site to help owners that care about such things.

You had a great point (about FCC) and I'll see if I can do something about this for the cars I plan on getting.

I like the idea of an ifixit site for things like that.

If I were to hazard a guess, the actual modem you are looking for if in the dash, as it seems that is where the "entertainment brains" are.

Not necessarily, the modem, or telematics unit can be anywhere in the car and communicate with the infotainment system and other modules through a data network just like you can have the cable modem in your attic and a an ethernet cable to your desktop.

Yes. It varies from car to car, but as someone with a new GM vehicle I can say it's definitely feasible to disable OnStar. And contrary to what someone else up-thread suggested, it throws no codes if you do.

> cars companies that generally don't know a ton about software building technology that's generally insecure

Why do you think this is insecure? Because its cars?

> I partially blame Tesla for starting this trend.

Ford. Ford started with Sync. Mentioning Tesla is a outsider move.

Why would you think billion dollar fortune 500 companies wouldnt hire programming and security experts?

> Why do you think this is insecure? Because its cars?

Because of the engineering culture. As an example, I've interviewed at GM for software positions and i've interviewed at actual tech companies for similar positions and their process, questions and answers all show how different software is thought of by upper management.

it's changing ofcourse, but it's slow and in the mean time people will get hurt.

> Ford. Ford started with Sync. Mentioning Tesla is a outsider move.

Ford started it with Sync. But no one cared about Ford. You don't see youtube videos of excited people claiming their Ford can be remotely started via an app on their phone for example. It was a sales/marketing pitch by Ford.

Tesla on the other hand...brought the your car is a phone on wheels concept to the masses and popularized it to the point that other car companies feel the need to add it all to cars whether they have the skills or not. (not that Tesla is any better, as that recent post by an ex-engineer showed)

> Why would you think billion dollar fortune 500 companies wouldnt hire programming and security experts?

This is like asking why Equifax would not hire programmers and security experts yet they as we all know...even after that massive data breach, Equifax has yet to change their culture or process or hiring.

> not that Tesla is any better, as that recent post by an ex-engineer showed

Link to post please?

I've worked at a company which could be described that way (in aerospace). I know by experience that they're terrible at this.

They're not a software company, so not only do they lack experience, they lack the company culture. As a PG essay once pointed out (in the context of American car design), if your manager lacks knowledge of a thing, then they also lack knowledge necessary to identify a competent expert to hire.

The company is world-class at systems integration. If you want a giant component built in Italy to mate with a giant component made in Japan, they can manage to deliver the specs, have them built and tested independently, shipped to their factory floor, and joined perfectly. And repeat the manufacturing process, every day, for years.

If you suggest that the database should use a transaction for saving a crucial piece of data, they're lost. They've got internal policies that work great for bolts and wires (standardize all the things!), but suck for software (every software system must use the same database system, which we selected 30 years ago, i.e., it's no longer maintained). Specs are written like hardware specs which will change only minimally (we need a larger bolt), but of course they change all the time in significant ways (need to add a new core feature to the software which will require a completely different schema). Release cycles are literally measured in months, and they have a culture of hard public deadlines, so most problems simply can't get fixed in time, even if they're identified.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that car companies are having problems with software.

Well, I can tell them how I listen to the radio... as soon as ads come on, I turn it off or tune to another station, and return no sooner than in 5 minutes once the ads are done. That is when I listen to the radio at all, which is rare for this exact reason; mostly it's just my own music via Bluetooth.

"The automaker is executed tests of some 90,000 drivers across the Chicago and Los Angeles areas from November 2017 through to January 2018 after those drivers gave permission for their data to be processed in this manner."

How was the permission gathered? If it’s anything like what Toyota does then it’s a mailer that you must respond to to opt out.

Hyundai wouldn’t let me buy a car without agreeing to data collection.

So how does that work if you sell the car? They'd be tracking the new owner without permission.

It could be in the original agreement that if you sell the car, you can only sell to someone who also agrees to being spied on.

I mean, they could try putting the onus on the seller.

They could try, but ultimately Hyundai is spying without permission. Hyundai could sue the original owner for damages that arise from not being able to spy, but I'm guessing they'd go ahead and keep spying when they shouldn't. The original owner can't be held responsible for that.

That could have been for crash reconstruction black box. Which will be (is??) federally mandated now.

For a while VW (and the Germans) were the only holdouts.

Was the car so good that you couldn't find another one that didn't collect your data?

Don't buy Hyundai.

I'd like to see the IRB report, and the human studies application, and the informed consent form for this study.

When I was a kid I was promised flying cars by 2015.

The industry chose otherwise and gave us spying cars.

I'm glad I have a 2006 car without any of this crap with a Pioneer head unit that has no Internet access (although it can bluetooth connect to my phone; but just for audio/calls).

Needing to update maps using an sdcard doesn't seem like a limitation at all to me. It's a big advantage! I control when my stereo makes updates .. and my stereo doesn't track me!

At a minimum, it's nice to read this tracking relies on the 4g wifi from OnStar to be active (included in the higher-tier of their paid service). Nice, because I've cancelled their service. However, even after you've cancelled OnStar, there is still basic tracking enabled, but not this radio non-sense.

If they're going to sell our listening habits and whatever else, then at least they can give us the wifi for free.

After getting a GM/Chevy recently, it reminded me of removing the bloatware on a cheap Windows laptop, except in this case, I didn't have the option to install a fresh OS. It comes bundled with free trials of OnStar and Sirius, both of which employ tactics to keep you onboard. Sigh...

I am filled with despair that this is normalised behaviour now. I can't honestly think what its going to take to back off from this direction - younger generations aren't cognisant of the risks enough to want such tracking to be illegal, are they?

What's it going to take to put these heinous actions in the grave?

What tactics do SiriusXM employ to retain you? When my trial expired, they just sent me a few snail mails begging for money. Easy enough to bin.

Sirius was email, snail mail, and phone calls -- standard stuff, but over the top.

OnStar required calling to cancel. They provide a web UI where you can add a new payment method but you can not remove all payment methods or cancel. Once you've convinced the person on the phone that you want to cancel, a new option to remove your payment method appears in the UI. The person on the phone didn't tell me to go back to the UI, I was just paranoid and saw it by accident.

I'd read enough horror stories on consumer affairs with, for example, people still being charged after they canceled.

I wonder if at some point there is going to be a market for fully built kit cars - that is, newly built cars, but without electronics that phone home.

They're called "hot rods", and there's always been a small market for them. Depending on where you live the legal requirements to get one licensed vary from "easy" to "impossible", but it won't be cheap.

It is only expensive if you make it expensive, car mechanics are not that complicated. It is only expensive if you either buy expensive parts or have somebody else do it for you because it takes time and they are taking on the liability of any modifications they did along with licensing requirements to do such things commercially.

Home built vehicles can be registered just about anywhere as long as they have headlights, taillights, and a license plate light.

No engineer's certificate?

Friend and I are fairly obsessed with "older" Dodge diesel trucks.

By older, I mean early 90s. They have tripled in value in the last decade.

Very minimal electronics (has an ECU, cruise control, power doorlocks and windows), and easy to work on.

You can also buy salvaged Tesla parts and make your own vehicle...


>Friend and I are fairly obsessed with "older" Dodge diesel trucks.

So you hate getting a value for your money almost as much as the Toyota guys then?

How are those cute miniature ball joints holding up? Frame splice rusted out yet?

> They have tripled in value in the last decade.

I think you mean that the 1000lb dowel eating turd with a stupidly stupidly thin cylinder head casting that occupies the space under the hood has tripled in value in the last decade. The trucks themselves are sub par. The increase in value is because all the ones that don't have a Cummins have long since been scrapped so the ones remaining are kinda, sorta worth a couple bucks.

Regardless, Cummins 12v (and 24v) engines are so expensive that unless you can't read a wiring diagram or need weight up front for a pulling truck you're probably better served with a 6.0 LS

(Yes I'm being intentionally contrarian here but you know there's a grain of truth in what I'm saying)

Neither of you are wrong.

Aah, yes, the pre-DEF diesel trucks. Quite possibly the one class of vehicle I'd be more than happy to see removed from the road with whatever legislative overreach required.

Yeah, I'm kind of fed up with trucks spewing columns of foul-smelling black soot out of their tailpipes right at my car. Sorry if that makes me rude.

If a 90s diesel is spewing foul-smelling black soot then it's 1. poorly maintained 2. illegally modified (those guys are pricks).

Also DEF, urea, is a NOx control mechanism and does nothing for the particulate matter.

Ironically, NOx emissions legislation must increase particulate emissions and worsen mpg (Less NOx needs lower T, lower T means more incomplete combustion, poorer combustion means particulates).

So DEF is an attempt by engine manufacturers to meet NOx emissions without increasing particular matter and destroying mpg.

But you'd use gov't overreach and not solve anything directly (obviously, indirectly, you'd get rid of ill-maintained and illegally modified trucks... but that's poor legislation)

Running on WVO?

I doubt there'd be a demand. We are the vocal minority here on HN. I think it's more likely people like us will buy older cars with non 4G/cell based head units.

We won't be able to buy such cars also in next 10-20 years as by then every manufacturer would have included partial or complete data gathering on their units. If they are doing it so should I so I can stay in business is the concept being followed. This can only be controlled through strict laws, and that is a sorry state of affairs anyway. :(

Low volume manufacturers are exempt from a lot of regulations from what I know. So there'll probably always be a space for someone to make a low-tech car, just not to sell it by the hundreds of thousands.

I see 30 year old cars on the road - daily drivers - reasonably often. They are probably maintained by the owner who now knows it inside and out.

The average millionaire drives a 15 year old car that they bought new (According to "The millionaire next door"). If you actually maintain your car you will discover that they last a lot longer than most people give them credit for. Some years you put more than the car is worth into it, but other years just an oil change.

Right, its not about if the repair is more expensive than the car. Its whether the repair is cheaper than the payments on an equivalent but newer car.

Of course we all like a new car. But is it worth the extra money. Folks have a different threshold where they'll give up on ol Barney.

This concern, "chipped cars" is going to be played over and over. It all goes to some variation on "(chipped) people are too X to have that responsibility aka write access to their chips".

The closed hidden operating systems hiding in every baseband and major CPU are winning their war on general purpose computing. It's a problem.


By the 3x the cost of the same car - but with the source code (Linux 2.6.1 with binary blobs) for washer and wipers.

Perhaps GM can also use their super fancy studies to realise that having owned my car for 8 years I can recite the navigation system's safety notice from memory and don't need it to be displayed every single time I use it. I don't even use it for navigation most of the time, I just like it to display the name of the road I'm currently on or sometimes my current map position. Having a message pop up that I need to dismiss is so annoying.

It's a total clusterfuck of an UX.

Maybe it’s required by law since my mother’s VW and now Subaru print a similar message each time as well.

I imagine it is some best-practice CYA suggested by corporate lawyers. It does not happen on my Tesla

You bought a first gen, expect that American cars will have the newest technology at a cost.

It was untested at consumer levels at the time.

I'm sure if you got a 2017 this problem would be fixed.

EDIT: To be clear on what is factual- American Cars are known in the industry to implement new tech before everyone. This isnt an AMERIKA IS BEST, this is how these companies actually act. Euro goes for style, Japanese go for old school reliability. These are not opinions, these are styles and market niches.

A car built in 2009 is going to have 2009 technology. The first vehicles with screens are going to have UI problems and be slow.

In 2017 this is unacceptable.

This is what happens when people are treated as "consumers" to be extracted from. The current debt-based economy encourages this kind of behavior.

I can only find one other source for this news and there's no press releases that I can find. Perhaps someone with access to advertising trade journals could dig something up?

https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/news/general_motors_gene... won't load for me.

Edit: got it - http://gmauthority.com/blog/2018/09/gm-studies-drivers-radio... - The automaker’s director/global digital transformation, Saejin Park, said at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data & Measurement Conference that the new insights can help serve up better ads.

“The automaker is executed tests of some 90,000 drivers across the Chicago and Los Angeles areas from November 2017 through to January 2018 after those drivers gave permission for their data to be processed in this manner.”

Hey, we’ve updated TOS, accept to continue using this service!

I would love to know the details of exactly how those drivers gave permission, and what the alternative was if they wanted to decline.

It’s enough to make you want to go build a house on Walden Pond and live there alone forever.

Come on up to Alaska/Yukon! You won't regret it.

Even after living there for only 4 years it was always extremely jarring to go to Vancouver once a year and catch a train or bus with all the advertising on every surface, people buried on their phones, consumerism, pollution, etc.

"X is a beautiful place with low population density and you can get away from most of the world's problems" is exactly the message you shouldn't be broadcasting if you want X to stay like that.

I guess you get a little more leeway with the Yukon because it's so far away from major population centers.

...and it's often past -40

I know what you're saying, but the phenomenal thing about the Yukon is that if people don't like the isolation, or the cold, or whatever, they simply leave. Not a person lives there that doesn't love it, and that is part of the reason it's fantastic. I have never heard a person complain about it, or talk about going somewhere else, or say "I wish I was in xyz right now".

Not even metaphor.


The news mediums do a great job with the FUD. It's how they keep you watching their ads. Gotta stay in business somehow.

The real estate around Concord and Lincoln is quite expensive. And there is no "alone" there- Walden Pond is quite popular, all year 'round.

Metaphorically. I wouldn’t really choose somewhere so famous for seclusion.

I can't listen to radio while I'm driving. I'm feeling it drains my attention and I feel like I need 100% of it while I'm driving.

As an car enthusiast, driving represents freedom and escape, quite hard to do when you're tethered with this connected junk.

GM should name their next model "The Abyss" - "when you stare at it, it stares back at you".

Seems like so much of the tech/business ecosystem is now centered around spying on you. Your OS, amazon's echo, social media, laptops, etc.

"GM still isn’t entirely sure where this research will lead them, or what exactly it plans to do with the information."

Sounds like they were sold a fancy tracking concept without any actual practical applications.

Who listens to radio anyway? Just use spotify et al, no ads. Sure, spotify tracks my music preferences too, but I don't see any harm in that, it just makes the experience better.

and then ignore all that and shove Drake down your throat anyway

Haven't had that (I actually had to google Drake, never heard of him). It probably depends on how you use the service, I never use the front page or top charts functions.

> It probably depends on how you use the service

Not... Really.

He was placed on the cover of every album for the front page, top charts, and a hell of a lot of other playlists as well [1], including playlists that didn't feature him (half of playlists, according to Reddit detectives).

It was so bad, that Spotify was issuing refunds [0], because they basically had one artist take over the whole site.

As my anecdotal example of the insanity of the promo, I had Drake featured in playlists for Symphonic Metal. From Nightwish to Drake... Is a hell of a transition.

[0] https://twitter.com/notkaranarora/status/1013862692396781568...

[1] https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/ds67rbqvl3...

>Nightwish to Drake

We really are living in a dystopia now aren't we?

...and still not as terrifying as this old news from three years ago: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transp...

Are there any startups/new players/existing players that are building cars (2017/2018) that are energy efficient (electric/hybrid) and don't violate your privacy by phoning home?

There is no such thing as bad publicity? The article is a marketing piece in any case. There is no actual analysis but lots of nice product photos.

This modern tracking stuff will get used for a genocide before we ban it, I guarantee. Previous totalitarian states couldn't have even dreamed of this kind of shit.

yeah, definitely made the right call opting to restore an 89 Bronco II. i have a lot left to learn about it, but at least its simple enough for me to understand and ford parts (even for old cars) are plentiful.

People still listen to the radio?

Everyday. Being able to turn my car on, have the station already set and not use any sort of data I have to pay / account for is irreplaceable. I also get a variety of information from the morning talk show that I wouldn't have otherwise heard or learned about for the metro area. You also might not believe this but there are also people still using cable for television, crazy I know.

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