Get Ready - The Age of the Robocar is Upon Us

image

Once upon a time in the 80s, a kid named Marty McFly hopped into a time traveling DeLorean and paid a visit to 2015 - a distant age filled with all sorts of insanely futuristic things like weather control, hoverboards… and flying cars. Now that 2015 is just around the corner, you may have asked yourself: “Where’s my flying car?” The reality is, the future dreamed up by a group of Hollywood writers for Back to the Future II was a bit overly ambitious. But that’s not to say that transportation isn’t poised to take a quantum leap forward in the form of fully automated, driverless cars.

For a visual example of this, take a look at this video that shows the prototype self-driving car from Google. This is a project that the ubiquitous Google has been working on for years, and one that many now say will revolutionize the world of commuter travel in the very near future.

Already, a number of major auto manufacturers - including Ford, Volvo and BMW - have jumped on the bandwagon and are working on refining the technology that’ll make it possible for people to settle into their cars, program their desired destination, and let the vehicle do the driving. Self-driven cars will even be able to park themselves, shaving precious minutes from everybody’s daily haul.

Convenience is only one factor; safety is another.  Considering driver error and poor judgment are responsible for the vast majority of car accidents in the world, the idea of a fleet of computerized cars delivering us to our destinations could potentially save millions of lives per year.

Lives and time are not all that could be saved by an automated transportation system. By virtue of the fact that they will be fully automated, driverless vehicles will likely evolve into smaller, more intimate versions of mass transit - enabling travelers with similar destinations to share rides. Like smart elevators, people could enter in their destination remotely before being assigned to a car with others who are heading in the same direction. The possibilities for increasing efficiency are endless.

Environmental proponents see automated vehicles as a win-win that will result in far fewer cars on the roads emitting pollutants, and infrastructure planners view this as an opportunity to save billions on roadways, which will otherwise need to expand indefinitely to accommodate more cars.

The IEEE Spectrum lays out a convincing argument as to why cars with driverless technology will be an option by the year 2024 - and possibly mandatory within another 20 years of that. But not everyone is as optimistic about “robocars” taking over fully. Lux Research projects that self-driving cars will be an $87 billion industry by 2030, but it believes none will have reached “full autonomy” by then.

With a slew of cars already on the market offering accident-avoidance features like front crash protection and blind spot detection, there’s no denying the intent of auto manufacturers to offer vehicles that significantly cut down on the risk of human error. Whether or not this will lead to a world where driver’s ed is no longer required learning is anybody’s guess.

And whether the future holds a world where cars drive themselves or they continue to be driven by humans, Openbay will be here to repair and maintain them. While your car may be a robot, you’ll still need a real, live person to work on it, and Openbay will help you find and book repair and maintenance work at a trustworthy shop and at a fair price.

What do you think about the possibility of a transportation infrastructure driven entirely by “robot” technology? Should automated vehicles eventually be mandatory - or would this infringe upon our uniquely American traditions? We’d love to hear your feedback. Share your opinion in the comments box below.

Image Credit: Fox Totorus, Flickr.com

image

We caught sight of this vanity plate last week. Maybe happy, thankful people are drawn to drive Nissans? Hmmm…
If you saw this on the road, would this stop you from tailgating, or driving aggressively? Do you like taking directions from a license plate?
Would this remind you to take a breather, maybe even to look on the bright side and be thankful, or would it wind you up?  
What do you think of vanity plates? If you had your way, what would yours say?
Want to know what we’re grateful for? Openbay, which saves us time and money on booking car repair. Don’t believe us? Ask Men’s Journal, which says we’re a Top 10 App for Your Car.

We caught sight of this vanity plate last week. Maybe happy, thankful people are drawn to drive Nissans? Hmmm…

If you saw this on the road, would this stop you from tailgating, or driving aggressively? Do you like taking directions from a license plate?

Would this remind you to take a breather, maybe even to look on the bright side and be thankful, or would it wind you up?  

What do you think of vanity plates? If you had your way, what would yours say?

Want to know what we’re grateful for? Openbay, which saves us time and money on booking car repair. Don’t believe us? Ask Men’s Journal, which says we’re a Top 10 App for Your Car.

Ooooh — looks like someone isn’t using ESC, and is gonna need new tires. …
Remember: if you need your vehicle (Ferrari or otherwise) serviced, use Openbay’s web and mobile app. It’s the only place to comparison shop for and book auto repair and maintenance nationwide. Openbay is one of Men’s Journal’s Top 10 Smartphone Apps for Your Car!

stageauto:


Drift en Ferrari 458 Italia
http://www.stage-auto.com/stage-de-pilotage-ferrari-458-italia.html

Ooooh — looks like someone isn’t using ESC, and is gonna need new tires. …

Remember: if you need your vehicle (Ferrari or otherwise) serviced, use Openbay’s web and mobile app. It’s the only place to comparison shop for and book auto repair and maintenance nationwide. Openbay is one of Men’s Journal’s Top 10 Smartphone Apps for Your Car!

stageauto:

Drift en Ferrari 458 Italia

http://www.stage-auto.com/stage-de-pilotage-ferrari-458-italia.html

The What, How & Why of ESC, Your Car’s Inner Control Freak

image

ESC helps avoid wicked skids like this one.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a technology that goes by a variety of different names, depending on the manufacturer. Ford owners know it as AdvanceTrac. GM drivers will likely be more familiar with the term Stabilitrak, which they cleverly refer to as the car’s control freak. Some call it Electronic Stability Control (or ESP, “for electronic stability programme” – we use ESC & ESP interchangeably; they refer to the same technology).

Whatever you call it, it’s an essential technology that’s been around since the mid-90s, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Between 2008-2010, an estimated 2,000 lives were saved due to ESC, so the NHTSA mandated that the technology be required for all passenger vehicles in the United States by 2012.

What Is It?

In short, Electronic Stability Control detects if your car is skidding and kicks in a handful of automatic controls to help you regain control.

ESP is usually activated in the event of two potentially life-threatening circumstances: understeer and oversteer. Both understeer and oversteer typically take place when the road is wet, but can still occur in dry conditions. 

  • Understeer occurs when you turn your steering wheel to aim in a certain direction, but the car stays on its own path because of a loss of traction.
  • Oversteer, as you might imagine, is the exact opposite - when you turn your steering wheel and road conditions cause your tires to turn sharply - and can result in a spinout.

How Does ESC Work?

Because most drivers are unaware that their tires are losing traction until it’s too late to make manual corrections, ESC uses computerized technology that constantly monitors the direction of the tires and the movement of the steering wheel. If the car’s ESC sensor notices any discrepancies between the intended direction and the movement of the car’s wheels, it deploys braking on certain wheels to slow a vehicle down and correct its direction before a wipeout occurs.

Why: The Effectiveness of ESC

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), ESC was shown to cut the risk of rollover by 70 percent. Even though rollover occurs in fewer than three percent of all reported accidents, they’re the most deadly – rollovers account for more than 30 percent of all car accident deaths.

Don’t Abuse It

It’s important to remember that just because your car has Electronic Stability Control, this isn’t an invitation for you to drive recklessly. ESC doesn’t enhance your car’s ability to take corners quickly, and under severe conditions may not always work. You should always practice safe driving techniques, especially under wet road conditions.

Have you ever experienced understeer or oversteer on a vehicle with ESC? Ever been in a rollover accident and wished your car had been equipped with stability control? Tell us your experiences by leaving your comments in the box below.

Remember: when it’s time to have your car repaired or maintained, use Openbay’s mobile and web app to comparison shop for and book your serviceMen’s Journal recently listed Openbay as a Top 10 App for Your Car.

Image credit: Nic Redhead, Flickr.com

image

 

Feeling a little frisky? Boston’s South Station responds, “Oh behave!” with this sign, advising against any Skyfall-style James Bond stunts.  
If train personnel are killing your mojo and you’d rather drive, remember where to get your wheels fixed up… Openbay, of course! 007’s fellow cool guys over at Men’s Journal rated Openbay among “Top Ten Apps for your Car.” Aston Martins are welcome.

Feeling a little frisky? Boston’s South Station responds, “Oh behave!” with this sign, advising against any Skyfall-style James Bond stunts.  

If train personnel are killing your mojo and you’d rather drive, remember where to get your wheels fixed up… Openbay, of course! 007’s fellow cool guys over at Men’s Journal rated Openbay among “Top Ten Apps for your Car.” Aston Martins are welcome.

BetaBoston Covers Openbay Winning “Innovative Tech of the Year: Mobile App”

image

BetaBoston covered Openbay’s “App of the Year” win at last week’s annual #MTLCAwards.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

"From what I’ve heard… partnerships are not only gaining the company more users nationally — Openbay has users in all 50 states  —but also transforming Openbay into the ubiquitous resource for enterprises that rely on automobiles.

Ubiquitous.  We like that word!

Thanks, as always, for your support. Go Openbay!

Release: Openbay Wins Innovative Tech of the Year, Mobile App

image

Openbay’s Founder & CEO, Rob Infantino, gives Openbay’s acceptance speech at Mass TLC’s Tech Leadership Awards 

Openbay Named 2014 Innovation of the Year, Mobile App Winner at 17th Annual Technology Leadership Awards

September 12, 2014, Boston, Mass. – Openbay today announced that the company was named the Innovation of the Year, Mobile App winner by the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) during the 2014 Technology Leadership Awards. Openbay is a web and mobile app that helps consumers to comparison shop for and book automotive repair and maintenance service nationwide.

MassTLC announced the finalists during its 17th annual awards gala last night in the Grand Ballroom of Boston’s Westin Waterfront Hotel, attended by more than 750 executives, technologists, investors, media, analysts and other members of the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, as well as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who received the 2014 Commonwealth Award. Technology Leadership Award Winners were chosen from among the best of the region’s tech industry in 16 categories. Click here to view the full list of winners online.

“The 17th annual MassTLC Leadership Awards shines a spotlight on the vibrancy of the state’s position as both pioneer and leader in technologies that are fueling Massachusetts’ economy and changing the world,” Hopcroft said. “Openbay should be proud of being recognized as among the elite innovators from the Bay State’s deep talent pool.”

“The genesis of Openbay was from a personal and unpleasant experience when I brought my car in for service at a Boston dealership. I sought to prevent this experience from happening to others,” said Openbay’s founder and CEO, Rob Infantino. “Building this specialized online marketplace from the ground up has been a labor of love. It could not have happened without the Openbay team’s talent, passion and focus on the user experience. We are humbled to be recognized as a leader in innovation. We’ll celebrate the win, then will continue working to grow and improve the Openbay network.”

Winners were selected in each category by an independent panel of judges comprised of executives, investors, analysts, media and thought leaders in each of the 16 respective categories, including: CEO of the Year, CTO of the Year, Emerging Executive of the Year, Private Company of the Year, Public Company of the Year, Start-up to Watch, Innovative Technology of the Year – Big Data, Innovative Technology of the Year – Cloud, Innovative Technology of the Year – Education Technology, Innovative Technology of the Year – Healthcare and Life Sciences, Innovative Technology of the Year – Internet of Things, Innovative Technology of the Year – Mobile Applications, Innovative Technology of the Year – Mobile Technology, Innovative Technology of the Year – Robotics, Innovative Technology of the Year – Sales & Marketing, Innovative Technology of the Year – Security.

About Openbay

Openbay is a web and mobile app that is transforming the way consumers repair and maintain their vehicles and the way automotive service professionals transact business with consumers online. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. and is privately held. Openbay’s investors include Google Ventures, a16z seed, Boston Seed Capital, Stage 1 Ventures and several individual investors.

About The Mass Technology Leadership Council, Inc.

With more than 550 member companies, the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. More at www.masstlc.org

# # #

image

Openbay Wins “Innovative Tech of the Year, Mobile App” at Mass TLC Leadership Awards Gala

image

Great news this evening — Openbay won the Mass TLC award for Innovative Tech of the Year, Mobile AppThe winners for the 2014 MassTLC Leadership Awards program were chosen from almost 300 submissions for their exemplary leadership and excellence in the Massachusetts technology community.

Our founder & CEO, Rob Infantino, was at the awards gala to accept the honor, and the whole Openbay team is thrilled with the recognition.

We’ll have more details to share in the morning, but couldn’t resist a late night celebratory post.  Thank you to all for your support!

image

Doggie Seatbelts? Where Have We Been?!

image

A friend recently visited us in her gorgeous new BMW 5-Series and we were shocked to see an entire seat taken up by an enormous throne of safety for her teeny-tiny Morkie (that’s a Yorkie + Maltese for the uninitiated), Sophie.

For years we’ve known about the importance of children’s car seats and the mania with which they must be installed and changed.  We’re all over that.

But this dog car seat thing we’d missed entirely.  Apparently Forbes got the memo last year. Maybe we’ve been living under a rock?  Wonder what else we’ve been doing wrong?

Do you use one of these newfangled things to transport your family pet?  If not, what do you do to keep Fido safe on the road?

image

Image credit: Sophie’s conscientious owner, @Jes_Lyon

For those riding in Thai taxis, here’s a hilarious graphic of the no-nos for passengers. Think they left anything out?
Think you know what all this means? Let us know in the comments section!  We’ll send an Openbay promo code towards $10 of car repair/maintenance to anyone who can decipher, or who attempts to figure out all the fresh and forbidden activities. … 
Don’t forget to download Openbay, named Top 10 Best Smartphone Apps for Your Car by Men’s Journal.

For those riding in Thai taxis, here’s a hilarious graphic of the no-nos for passengers. Think they left anything out?

Think you know what all this means? Let us know in the comments section!  We’ll send an Openbay promo code towards $10 of car repair/maintenance to anyone who can decipher, or who attempts to figure out all the fresh and forbidden activities. … 

Don’t forget to download Openbay, named Top 10 Best Smartphone Apps for Your Car by Men’s Journal.