Author: Chris Monterose

Top Car Technologies Coming In The Next 10 Years

Cars aren’t the same as they were ten years ago, and they certainly won’t be the same as they are today ten years from now. New technologies will make vehicles better—perhaps even so much so that even the best lemon law attorney won’t have much of anything to do! Read on, and discover how automobiles might be changing over the course of the next decade.

Cooled Seats

We’ve all ridden in or heard about cars with heated seating before, but what if the opposite were possible as well? It could be true with the advent of air-conditioned car seats, a technology whose inclusion has eluded automakers up until recently.

With the inclusion of a breathable fabric on the car seats, air can now circulate and cool the occupant of said seat. The flow of air can be aided by a system of fans positioned underneath each seat, which also helps to vent air away from the occupant as well.

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

You might have also heard this term before in its abbreviated form—V2V Comms. This technology is poised, according to the NHTSA, to allow cars on the road to “wirelessly exchange information about the speed and position of surrounding vehicles shows great promise in helping to avoid crashes, ease traffic congestion, and improve the environment.”

Down the road, bicycles and pedestrians might even make use of this technology, allowing motorists to detect them more easily and avoid deadly accidents.

Front-View Cameras

We already have rear-view cameras, why not stick some in the front too? Now, this might seem like a superfluous addition at first, but think about the extra utility that most drivers will be able to get out of one of these. With a 180-degree field of view, motorists will be able to detect pretty much everything in their surroundings. If nothing else, that should make it much easier to avoid accidents and feel more confident while you’re out and about.

Smart Headlights

Imagine headlights that adjust light levels on their own? Such is the promise of so-called “smart headlights.” If implemented on a wide scale, these could automatically detect oncoming traffic and then adjust brightness to avoid blinding other drivers while still allowing you to see the road. Once again, the potential to reduce accidents makes this attractive technology.

AR Dashboards

You might actually find the first iterations of this technology in use on some high-end luxury vehicles. Augmented Reality (AR) dashboards project a heads-up visual display over the windshield of the vehicle that can keep the driver informed about their speed, heading, and other important details. More advanced functionality could even allow for the controlling of onboard entertainment systems, maps, communications, etc.

Vehicle Autonomy

Perhaps the crown jewel of vehicle enhancements, the dream for many automakers now is to create a fully autonomous vehicle and get it out on the road. We’ve already seen some manufacturers push toward Level 3 autonomous vehicles, and with the right legal frameworks in place, it’s only a matter of time until those Level 4 and 5 vehicles finally hit the road.

Technology Trends Shaping The CNC Machining Industry

CNC machining is a modern manufacturing mainstay. The process, which traces its roots back to the first numerical control machines of the 1940s, has only risen in popularity since its inception, and over the coming years, there are a number of new developments on the horizon. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of those new trends, technologies, and innovations that will be shaping the CNC machining industry for the foreseeable future.

Cost Savings Through Mechanical Enhancements

There are a number of improvements coming to CNC machining that could help control costs. Take, for example, the increasing number of axes included on modern CNC machines. 

In the past, 3-axis machines were the standard, which allowed  the bed to move linearly along two axes while the spindle translates up and down along the third axis. 

Now, with the introduction of 5 and 6-axis machines, whole new levels of maneuverability are possible, which means that the components produced by CNC machines can be even more intricate and precise. And it’s not just the complexity that’s improved—having more axes helps to reduce the production times on jobs, which, in turn, can help cut down on costs. 

More Robotics Means More Versatility

The use of robots isn’t exactly new to CNC machining. Recent innovations, however, are going to transform the nature of the industry and help improve efficiency. A prime example is a creation known as “collaborative robots,” or “cobots.” These robots are designed to work with human operators and augment their productivity. 

Cobots can be programmed and trained, and from there will aid their human coworkers and help improve the versatility of the organization employing them.

Better Training Will Create A Better Industry

As tools and technology change, so too must the skills of workers throughout the industry. Manufacturers realize this, and are increasingly investing in solutions that can better train employees to do their jobs. Software integration in CNC machining equipment, for instance, can help to guide operators through various processes until they become second nature. 

These better-trained workers will commit fewer errors and work at quicker rates, so even if the startup costs of improved training are substantial, the long-term savings of both time and money for the manufacturer make the investment well worth it.

The Rise Of Manufacturing As A Service

Manufacturing as a service (MaaS) makes use of the outsourcing of specific tasks and responsibilities to another party, which, implemented properly, can generate a whole host of positive effects. Companies utilising MaaS are more agile, more productive, and are able to drive down costs through a reduction in labor expenses. 

With so many associated benefits, it’s likely that we’ll see an increase in the number of companies making use of MaaS. Especially in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, where organizations are looking to expand their networks, mitigate supply chain breakdowns, and find solutions for precision manufacturing. Fictiv is a digital manufacturing ecosystem that rapidly delivers custom parts on-demand, to help companies accelerate new product introduction.

Continued Expansion Of The Industrial Internet Of Things

Manufacturers have been able to use the Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) to network some of their machines, send/receive data, and remotely monitor/manage operations. This ability for machines to communicate without a human operator can help make manufacturing processes safer and faster, while simultaneously improving quality.

There will likely be a greater adoption of these systems in the coming years, combined with the integration of process automation and other methods to improve efficiency and cut waste.

Using Gaming Technology Can Dramatically Change The Car Industry

You might be wondering what the video gaming industry and the car design industry have in common, or how the two could work together to create new and exciting car designs. As it turns out, their shared interest lies in a program called Unreal Engine. This technology is bringing these two industries together in some amazing ways.

What Is Unreal Engine?

Unreal Engine is the world’s top real-time 3-D creation tool for designing games, architecture, simulations, automobiles, and so much more. With this ground-breaking program, you can create realistic 3-dimensional images of anything your imagination can come up with. It’s being used by the film and television industry to create images that are indistinguishable from reality.

It’s been used for years to create cutting-edge graphics in popular games like Fortnite and even remakes of old classics. Now other industries are taking notice, and among them is the car industry which will use the software platform to design hyper-realistic 3-D images of concept vehicles.

How the Video Game Platform is Being Used in the Car Industry

Although computer-aided-design has been around for over 20 years, the car industry has relied on clay models for showcasing new car designs all this time. This not only was more time consuming, but made it difficult to share creations with people across the globe. However, this 3-D technology allows for simpler creation of ultra-realistic images.

Car designers can also use the

Unreal Engine to showcase their newest creations in life-like 3-D movie quality scenery, like those in blockbuster movies. Advertisers can more efficiently and safely place the newest car in any location or situation they can dream of. 

For example, Volkswagen recently did a commercial in the Hyperbowl in Germany using LED walls to create a backdrop that looked exactly like a real location. It was a stunning display and an excellent way to advertise new concepts.

The use of virtual technology also allows manufacturer’s and agencies to examine crash test data in response to new and proposed safety features. These models are a far way’s off from full implementation, but could potentially help save lives as Unreal Engine continues to be adopted.

The system would need input from experts like this San Francisco car accident attorney and top safety organizations like the NHSTA to reach an appropriate level of accuracy. This end of the collaboration is yet to be seen, however.

How the Unreal Engine Technology Can Help the Consumer

One of the coolest features for the potential car buyer is being able to customize and virtually test drive your vehicle from the comfort of your own home. Imagine being able to choose the style, color, and safety features of your car model and then the environment to test drive their choice. 

What Does the Future Hold?

For now, the possibilities are endless. Not only are engineers and designers able to create new vehicle concepts, but even the average consumer can create designs as well. You don’t need technological know-how either, Unreal Engine offers courses in how to get started using this software engine.

In a one-hour course, Paul Kind will teach you how to jump into your first interactive experience. You’ll learn the basics of getting started with the program to begin creating stunning virtual worlds brimming with detail.

As for the car industry, only time will tell how this new collaboration will unfold. One thing’s for sure, though, consumers can expect to see a brand new car buying experience in the near future.

Proving PTSD after a Car Accident Claim

When it comes to car accidents, physical injuries are often the first thing that comes to mind. However, these events can also leave lasting emotional and mental damage ranging from mild emotional distress all the way to diagnosable Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In fact, the American Psychological Association states that car accidents are the leading cause of PTSD for non-military Americans. Emotional and mental damage are equally as debilitating as the physical injuries one suffers in accident but can be more difficult to diagnose. Here’s how to prove you have PTSD after your car accident claim.

Diagnosing PTSD

You’ll need your primary care physician to help you diagnose this condition before you can prove it to your insurance company or in court. However, it’s up to you to watch out for the signs and symptoms. Knowing the red flags of PTSD is the first step in getting help. They are:

·         Anxiety over being inside a vehicle

·         Nightmares about getting into accidents

·         Recurring flashbacks about the accident

·         Insomnia

·         Sudden irritability

·         High blood pressure

·         Fatigue and body aches

·         Feeling “jumpy”

·         Difficulty working or concentrating

Showing Proof

With your symptoms identified, the next step is to visit your doctor for a diagnosis. If you’re working with legal aid, like this car accident lawyer in San Francisco, then you may want to talk to them first. A lawyer can recommend a doctor or specialist for you that will get you the proof and help you need.

From there, the challenge is getting your insurance company to work with you. These companies are notorious for covering the least amount of damages possible after an accident, which makes proving PTSD after a car accident claim difficult. To do so, your lawyer will need to prove the following:

·         The other driver’s owed you a duty of care and failed to do so

·         The other driver was acting negligently or carelessly

·         Psychological trauma led to lost wages, pain, and suffering

·         Your PTSD symptoms are a direct result of the car accident

Your insurance company will want to see your medical history, which your lawyer will help you gather and provide. Expect your insurer to use any prior mental illness against your claim. While it is unfortunate, especially on top of your emotional distress, your legal aid will help you fight your case.

Seeking Help

While it’s vital that you gain the financial compensation you’re entitled to, it’s equally as important that you address your PTSD and seek psychological help. Unlike physical injuries, PTSD isn’t something that heals on its own.

After your diagnosis, your doctor or lawyer can recommend psychological professionals. Therapy and counseling are the most useful tools for overcoming PTSD and its symptoms. This condition is one you have to work through, one step at a time, until you regain control over your mind and your life.

On the plus side, proving your PTSD to your insurer and in court will ensure that your treatment is paid for and that can you recover any lost wages from time off work. It might be a long road ahead, but seeking the compensation you deserve makes it that much easier.

Lowes Under Scrutiny for Recent Sexual Harassment Claims

Lowe’s came under scrutiny this week over a lawsuit filed with the Solano County Superior Court in California. The lawsuit shows a troubling pattern of male-on-male sexual harassment, alleging numerous causes of action against the retail giant.

Both the Lowe’s Home Center and 1751 E. Monte Vista Ave. store are involved in the lawsuit, with the claimant’s attorney stating egregious harassment that would have been, “difficult to imagine being ignored had the victim been female. Here are the details so far.

Male-On-Male Harassment

Harassment is often thought of in the context of male aggressors and female victims, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Any man can harass another man just as one woman could do to another. Unfortunately, complaints like these made by male employees are rarely taken seriously.

The case has been picked up by a San Francisco sexual harassment attorney, first filed by Kelly Armstrong on behalf of the victim who has chosen to withhold their identity due to the nature of the case. The attorney has been very outspoken about the reality of male-on-male harassment often being swept under the rug.

The Case

The Reporter obtained a copy of the 17-page complaint filed Tuesday, which the court has acknowledged. It alleges a hostile work environment, failure to prevent harassment, and even retaliation against the employee, all of which violate California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The document also alleges wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy. Armstrong has spoken about how Lowe’s management repeatedly ignored numerous complaints with excessive detail about a growing culture of sexual harassment within their Vacaville store.

The complaint explains that employees spread rumors about John Doe having sexual relationships with other employees, that he gave some STDs, was having group sex, and even that he slept with another female employee.

It also talks about an employee named Mark Fox, an assistant store manager. Fox, according to the complaint and written testimony from Armstrong, repeatedly made inappropriate comments to Doe ranging from describing his genitals to photographing Doe in the restroom while at work and sharing them with other employees.

A Lack of Action

Doe reported each and every instance to Vacaville store management as well as corporate management, but Lowe’s failed to act on those complaints according to the court filings. When addressing Vacaville manager Dave Berlin, Doe was told to drop the issue and threatened with termination.

Doe took the complaint to Lowe’s Associate Care Center, but was then threatened by Fox with physical violence. Armstrong alleges that this was overheard by a department manager but that nothing was done. Doe then requested to be transferred and took a leave, but was denied the request.

What’s to ComeThe court has acknowledged the complaint, which means testimony is the next step. The court will then have to decide if the case moves to trial. In the meantime, Armstrong is urging anyone from the Vacaville location to come forward as a witness. She’s also encouraging any Lowe’s employee to speak up about harassment when they see it.

Aluminum is Primary Choice for CNC Machining

No material is perfect for every CNC machining situation. To be useful, the right material must check off all of the necessary boxes for your particular job. If you are manufacturing a part that must be highly conductive, for instance, it may be that only copper will do. Likewise, if you need a material that absolutely resists corrosion, you might need to go with titanium.

One metal, though, tends to tick off more boxes than any other: aluminum. Aluminum has a number of useful characteristics. It is a relatively affordable metal, and is lightweight but also extremely durable. As it happens, aluminum is also especially well-suited to the CNC machining process. In fact, with so much going for it, it’s no surprise that aluminum has become the go-to metal in CNC machining.

Aluminum’s Qualities

Many CNC aluminum properties make it ideal for industrial manufacturing. To begin with, it is non-toxic, which means it is safe enough to be used to manufacture cooking appliances and utensils. It is non-magnetic, which makes it perfect for electrical shielding in computer products. Aluminum is also non-sparking and is excellent at absorbing both sound and shock, all useful qualities in automotive engineering. 

In fact, one of aluminum’s best qualities is its versatility. On the one hand, for example, aluminum conducts heat well. At the same time, it is also an excellent heat sink, meaning heat can be drained away from it rapidly. And finally, because of its reflective properties, it can also be used to repel heat and light.

Aluminum’s most important property is its high strength-to-weight ratio. Aluminum is exceptionally light—only about one-third the weight of steel. Yet, many aluminum alloys are, pound-for-pound, stronger than steel. Aluminum is also resistant to corrosion and, unlike steel, and shows increased strength at low temperatures. In fact, its lightweight durability has made it an essential material for the military and in industries like aerospace.

Perfect for Machining

Aluminum also has qualities that make it particularly suitable for the CNC machining process. 

First, aluminum’s malleability and low density make it easy to shape. Additionally, aluminum chips easily. Together, these two properties make aluminum easy to work with, which ultimately means you can produce better final products at a lower price. In fact, aluminum prototypes made with CNC machining can reach tolerances of up to .01 millimeters. With that kind of precision, part production becomes repeatable. 

Best of all, aluminum is among the most cost-effective metals you can work with. It has a low raw material price to begin with; it saves additional money because it is so easy to work with; and because it is 100% recyclable, little money is lost to waste. In fact, aluminum can be recycled for just 5% of what it takes to produce initially. 

Many people look to aluminum first when they are considering their CNC machining projects simply because it is so cheap to purchase. After all, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs. In most cases, people wind up choosing CNC aluminum because it has so many valuable qualities

Improving the Banking Experience With Customer Value Management

For many, everyday interactions with their bank are a headache, to say the least. Poor customer service is “rampant” in major financial institutions, and according to experts like the Harvard Business Review, that’s because it’s profitable for them to hassle their clientele to the greatest degree allowable.

News like that might make any hope for improvement seem pointless, but beleaguered customers might be able to take solace in the potential benefits of customer value management. Applied to banking, it might be enough to spark some serious change to the entire customer experience. Here’s what you need to know.

Customer Value Management Explained

In short, customer value management (CVM) refers to the techniques that companies can use to manage the value journey of their customers — the series of steps they’ll take from initial contact to eventually doing business with the organization.

Successful CVM encompasses many elements, but one of the most critical, in this context, is how businesses are incentivized to build perceived value by providing quality to the customer. Let’s next take a look at ways in which this concept might be used to drive changes that add value to the customer experience in banking.

How Customer Value Management Intersects With Banking

One of the most effective ways in which banks can apply the ideas of CVM to their customer experience is through improved personalization. It’s well-known that the more tailored they perceive their treatment, the better customers typically perceive it to be. 

By getting away from a “one size fits all” approach and trying out some targeted interactions, banks can better engage their customers and help make the experience that much more enjoyable. For instance, personalized product and service recommendations delivered at critical points in the customer journey, or a precise cross-sell opportunity that aligns with a customer’s life goals can go a long way to making them feel valued.

There’s also the idea that proper implementation of CVM can help interactions between banks and customers feel less like cold transactions and more like friendly interactions. Garnering good will like that makes customers more likely to stick around and even recommend a financial institution to their friends and family.

Interactions like these don’t just arise from nothing, however. In order for customer value management to become effective, banks also need to prioritize data gathering and customer analytics. This will allow them to pinpoint the unique needs of their clientele, then start making the necessary adjustments to fulfill those needs with the type of care that positively impacts their overall experience.

Unforgettable Cyber Attacks — So Far

Ask any computer crime attorney or cybersecurity expert, and they’ll tell you that there are serious dangers lurking out there on the net. Criminals across the globe are always looking for ways to instigate that next big incident, and these following examples illustrate just how devastating the ripple effects can be when they succeed.

The Baltimore County Schools Ransomware Attack

Back in November of 2020, Baltimore county school records were hit hard in a cyber attack that affected student transcripts, ID numbers, state test scores, and more. 

Many of these records were completely destroyed or corrupted beyond repair, and the school system had to put a pause on remote learning classes for over 100,000 students. 

The school district’s reticence to share details about the exact nature of the attack means that little else is known beyond the fact that anonymous hackers hit the school system with some kind of ransomware and that the recovery efforts will take some time to complete.

The SolarWinds Hack

SolarWinds provides various IT management services to a wide range of big organizations. In late 2020 it was discovered that hackers managed to infect their servers, gaining the ability to inject malicious code into their software updates and then spread those to clients.

This left big names vulnerable to external data modifications, data theft, and unauthorized remote access to internal devices and software. Organizations affected included the Pentagon, Department of State, Homeland Security, Department of Energy, and even the Treasury. The extent of the damage could make this one of 2020s most severe breaches overall.

The Advantech Ransom

Holding data hostage is a common tactic for cyber criminals, and this is exactly what happened when hackers breached the systems of IOT manufacturer Advantech in November of 2020. 

The hackers demanded quite the sum, 750 Bitcoin (equivalent to more than $14 million), and claimed that the amount of data they stole from Advantech was well beyond the snippets they had leaked on their site. No word on whether or not that ransom was paid.

The Marriott International Breach

If it feels like Marriott’s name and cybersecurity breaches are starting to become a common occurrence, that’s because the 2020 infiltration of their data stores was the second in just as many years. Cyber bandits made off with the information on some 5.2 million guests, though the hotel chain says that it was nothing as payment info or personal IDs. 

Instead, Marriott claims, the thieves were only able to get away with contact details and some customer loyalty account information. No passwords, PINs, or extremely sensitive details were stolen, if the hotel’s management is to be believed.

Top cars that are almost self driving

The idea of self-driving cars is quickly becoming a reality. However, fully autonomous vehicles are still a way off. Experts are working on developing better AI technology in combination with GPS and camera systems, but this process is going to take a few years to work out. In the meantime, these are the top cars that get as close to self-driving as possible. 

Levels of Autonomy

First, it’s essential to understand the varying levels of autonomy drivers can expect. Regular cars without any assistive features count as level 0, while level 1 cars include assistive technology ranging from braking to steering. 

Level 2 can control both steering and speed at the same time, but only for short periods without driver intervention. Level 3 cars are fully autonomous in most systems, but they rely on driver assistance to complete their tasks. Reaching level 4, a vehicle only needs the destination put in. A driver can still take over control of the vehicle, but doesn’t have to. 

At level 5, absolutely no driver intervention is necessary for the vehicle to complete its tasks. If you suffered damages after a serious car accident, it’s easy to see how these levels of autonomy can help in reducing the number of crashes across the world. For now, however, most vehicles never pass level 3. 

2019 Toyota RAV 4

Coming in at just over $25,500, the RAV 4 has always been a popular choice from Toyota. In 2019, however, this model received the Safety Sense 2.0 pre-collision system and a redesign. It’s autonomous features include:

  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road sign detection
  • And lane tracing assist

2019 Nissan Leaf

At just under $35,000, the Leaf is Nissan’s flagship for new technologies. Outside of the base model, each comes with the option to add the company’s semi-autonomous driver assistance package. These features include ProPilot:

  • Steering assistance
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Front-facing cameras and sensors

2019 Tesla Model 3

It’s hard to talk about self-driving cars without mentioning Tesla. While their Model S remains one of the best on the market, the Model 3 comes at a much more affordable price and is still packed with features. Driver assistance technology includes:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning 
  • Side collision warning
  • The Enhanced Autopilot system which steers, accelerates, brakes, and changes lanes

2020 Volvo XC60

Volvo has long been known for investing in the latest tech, but the XC60 pushes the envelope yet again. This compact SUV includes a plethora of advanced features as a standard, as well as an optional Pilot Assist system that can help accelerate, brake, and steer. Standard features include:

  • Scanning for imminent collision risks 
  • Pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection
  • Brake assist
  • Evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions
  • Alerting drivers who are not fully awake

2019 BMW 5 Series

The prestige of BMW now comes with advanced features in the 5 Series model. Standard equipment includes adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and front and rear parking sensors. Upgrade to the 540i trim to receive key fob parking assistance for use outside the vehicle and Traffic Jam Assist that allows the car to cruise in a stop-and-go fashion.