Expect Next-gen Kia Optima at New York Auto Show

All-new Kia Optima concept

The Optima is vital for Kia’s American success–that is clear, considering it has been the Korean automaker’s best-selling model in America for three consecutive years. It’s time for an all-new model.

You know how it goes. Only a teaser image here and there, with the planned reveal to be at the New York Auto Show in April. The drawings and renderings tell us that the design itself is heavily borrowed from the Sportspace concept that was shown in Geneva.

The Kia Optima was introduced just five years ago and is built globally, with plants around the world–including one in Georgia. The fourth version of the Optima is coming soon.

Can’t wait for the new installment? The 2015 Kia Optima still has plenty to offer. 

A Lesson in Car Hacking: What Drivers Need to Know

In this age, hacking is very relevant. And it poses serious threats to our digital lives. Cars are now vulnerable as well. Maybe not the old ‘67 Ford, but today’s modern vehicles are essentially computers on wheels. Most of the American public may not know much about this world of car-hacking–pens and pads out friends, welcome to Car Hacking 101.

It began with German researchers who found a flaw in BMW’s remote-services system that allowed them to access the telematics units in vehicles. To put it more simply another news story covered by 60 Minutes demonstrated that technicians could remotely infiltrate a Chevrolet Impala and override functions as critical as acceleration and braking. In a more current report, a US Senator revealed that most automakers are not prepared to handle these hacks.

This all can be quite concerning, but knowledge is the first step:

What Has Changed?

Sure, the exterior changes to cars are easy to notice, but what’s on the inside is a great deal more tricky. New cars generally employ more than 50 microprocessors known as electronic control units. ECUs control a host of functions, including airbag deployment, navigation, throttle control, braking, and much more.

What is Car Hacking?

In this context, it is unwanted or unauthorized cyber invasions into a vehicle that alters the state of the car. From eavesdropping and unlocking car doors to overriding driver inputs and controlling vital functions such as braking, steering, and acceleration, once inside, the hacker can get to almost anything.

How Does It Work?

Little did you know, there are more gateways in your vehicle than just the side doors. Any service or part of the car that has the capacity to communicate with the outside world can serve as an entry point for hackers.

The most at-risk equipment in the vehicles is the computing power behind your infotainment features, especially when smartphone connections are an option. It’s not just your infotainment system. Bluetooth and smartphone connections certainly are vulnerable, but there’s also areas you may not have considered–diagnostic devices, dongles, and even tire pressure monitoring systems.

What Is Happening?

You’re not behind, don’t worry. Car hacking is fairly recent. Seeing that, in just 2010 researchers at the University of Washington and California-San Diego published their findings, which demonstrated how they could compromise a regular car through hacking.

2013 rolls around, and Dr. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek manipulate a Ford Escape and Toyota Prius and share their research with the public.

More recently, dongles that plug into OBD-II ports have been targeted. An Israeli-based research firm, Argus Cyber Security, has remotely exploited a device that provides driver feedback. Then researchers also found a dongle that Progressive Insurance was using to collect insurance data from customers.

Is It Really That Big Of A Deal?

There’s been no real-world incidents that have harmed drivers in any way. But there is the potential that they could. Car hacking shouldn’t be taken lightly. Hackers are becoming more familiar with more advanced terrain. In a digital world, there are unknown dangers in almost everything we do–it doesn’t stop us from doing these things of course, but at the very least, we should all be aware of what dangers we may find ourselves in with a simple click.

7 Ways to Avoid Road Rage

We’ve all had our fair share of road rage–especially here, in Massachusetts, a place known for its aggressive driving. Not to be confused with bad driving. No matter what they call us, we know how to drive–we just do it with a bit more passion than others. Despite the many jokes about a Mass driver’s temper, road rage isn’t a game and it can lead to some serious situations. Cool off with these seven ways to avoid road rage:

 

  1. Just, get over. If someone is bothering, riding, tailgating you (however you may say it) then move. Driving becomes incredibly simple once you just avoid the people causing you frustration. It may take a bit more effort on your part, but, believe me, it’s worth it.
  2. Say sorry. Hey, you’ve been in the wrong once or twice too. Gesture an apology, then the other person will have gotten angry for no real reason…and look silly.
  3. Time is delicate when you have jobs to do, places to be–yea, we get it you’re important. Give yourself more time. Plan ahead and account for things to not go your way (often they won’t).
  4. Empathy. You’ve made a mistake before. You are, by no means, a flawless driver–neither is anyone else. Put yourself in their shoes, cut them a break. It’s good karma.
  5. Music choice. If you are prone to angry fits on the road, get some good music. Don’t fiddle with radio stations you don’t like. Find something that’ll make your ride enjoyable.
  6. See, the horn wasn’t intended to be used at leisure. It’s to alert other drivers of a potentially dangerous situation. So, no you can’t pull a 30-second-long-beep at that one guy for cutting you off.
  7. Don’t glare. Let’s not overdramatize the situation. They know they messed up. Or even if they don’t, menacing eye contact and angry gestures will certainly not improve the situation.

 

Now for the serious stuff. Some surprising facts about road rage:

 

  1. Aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of traffic fatalities.
  2. A firearm is involved in 37% of aggressive driving incidents.
  3. Out of 10,000 road-rage incidents committed over seven years, there were 218 deaths and 12,610 injuries recorded according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


Focus on getting where you need to go. Apply these tips the next time you drive, and you’ll likely end up with a better experience than before. There’s already several feet of snow clogging up our streets, do we really need to get into each other’s way too?

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