Sunday, 22 June 2014

Car GPS - 3 Benefits Apart From Finding Your Location

Most people are very thankful to have a car GPS system installed in their vehicles because it helps them navigate with a great deal of ease. These high tech devices help drivers find places that are hard to locate because of unfamiliarity since they mark the location of the vehicle on a road map. Like most people who use these devices, you are sure to appreciate this feature which is after all the main benefit it offers. However, you will also be glad to know that a car GPS system also offers many more benefits. Needless to say, all GPS systems do not necessarily offer the same features and their prices vary accordingly.
Some of the additional benefits offered by vehicle GPS devices include:
1. Alerting of emergency services in case your vehicle breaks down or is involved in an accident. This can prove to be a lifesaver in certain situations, especially when the people in the car are not able to call for help themselves. This is generally a paid service but plenty of people feel that it is a worthwhile investment for very obvious reasons.
2. Helping the law enforcement authorities locate your car in the event that it has been stolen. The police will be able to track your car's movements with absolute accuracy thanks to its GPS device. This will also help minimize the damage to your car since you'll be able to get it back from the criminals before they have had a chance to strip it of its valuables.
3. Providing you with information about nearby places of interest. If you generally spend time looking for restaurants, hospitals, ATMs, gas stations and the like then your GPS device can be programmed to pop up information about nearby places that you seek. It will also give you directions to reach the place in addition to the estimated driving time; all extremely useful information that can help you to drive better.
Make sure that you select the best possible car GPS system for your vehicle based upon the features that it offers. Be sure to select a device of the right size so that it does not take up too much place on your car's dashboard. Price is also a very important factor to be considered. The many options available in the market these days ensure that you will be able to find the right device at the best possible price.

By Manzoor Mohammed

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

What Is the Right Parking Barrier for You?

Whether you own an apartment building, office building or you just want to keep your parking space free of unwelcome visitors, then you need to look at the different parking barriers available on the market today.
There is a choice available, though each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Ideally you want a solution that will restrict visitors from parking in bays not allocated for them, eliminating the risk of the parking bay owner arriving only to find there isn't anywhere for them to put their vehicle.
One of the most frustrating things apartment owners, tenants and office tenants find is that people visiting in their local area take advantage of their parking space, reducing how far they have to walk. This is one of the most frustrating experiences when you come home after a long day at work and can't even put your car in your own parking space.
Many buildings have installed remote-controlled building entry, which only enables those with a remote control to drive into the parking area and put their car in their own bay. While this has proved successful in most instances, there are still those within the building that will allow friends to park in the building, taking up someone else's bay.
If you are one of those people who spend their time writing on other driver's wind screens and leaving notes on stranger's cars, because they have taken your space again, then you need to speak to your building manager to come up with an alternate solution.
One of the methods introduced by many buildings throughout the world was individual parking barriers. These require vehicle owners to get out of their vehicle, lowering the barrier and then enabling to drive into their bay with ease. The gates lock in place with a key system or padlock, reducing the risk of anyone else stealing the bay.
Of course these parking barriers come with their fair share of disadvantages, including driver safety. The driver has to exit the vehicle to lower the gate, this gives room for car theft, especially when drivers leave their keys in their vehicle. This is on older buildings and is already being replaced by modern options to make sure drivers are safe each time.
Then there are the remote-controlled parking barriers, which are placed on each person parking bay, such as the parking systems. These barriers used a high range infrared remote control which lowers the gate as the driver drives up to their bay. It eliminates the risk of the driver having to get out of the vehicle, while keeping the bay vehicle free from unwelcome drivers.
These offer a host of advantages including the fact they give driver safety and they effective in pricing.
It is advisable to do your research before grasping any of these parking barriers. In some cases landlords or building owners need to give approval for personal parking barriers, so this is something that you need to keep in mind.
If it gets approved, make sure you discuss your options with the building owners, showing them photographs of the product you want to use. This way you can place the order and have it installed without having to remove it because you didn't go through the proper channels.
Finally, only buy from a reputable company that offers a reliable parking solution to meet your needs, whether you're looking to protect your bay at home or at the office. Many landlords are understanding about the situation you find yourself in on a regular basis when visitors steal your bay for their own convenience.

By Natalie Ayash

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

What Is Geofencing and How Is It Used for IVMS?

Geofencing is a technology that defines a virtual boundary around a real-world geographical area. A geofence can be dynamically generated-as in a radius around a mine site or office, or a geofence can be a predefined set of boundaries (i.e. school zones or neighbourhood boundaries).
Geofencing is an integral part of In Vehicle Management System (IVMS) (also known as GPS tracking or Telematics) hardware and software. It allows system users to draw zones around places of work, client sites and high risk, dangerous or secure areas. Geofencing can be a valuable tool. Examples of situations where it may be utilised include:
  • Formally mark 'no-go' zones
    Example: Could be used to ensure employees avoid construction zones or environmentally protected areas.
  • Create speed awareness
    Example: Speed limits can be associated with certain areas such as a school zone or worksite.
  • Record entry, exit and duration within certain zone
    Example: May be used to verify that driver routes are followed or that certain KPIs are met.
  • Block high risk/dangerous areas
    Example: Aids employees in avoiding unsafe areas such as a train line or explosive area at a mine site.
  • Theft Prevention Tool
    Example: When a car is parked with the ignition off, it can be programmed to put up a geofence. Should the vehicle move from that geofence the user or operator will be notified.
Notification Integration Options
There are many ways that geofence-related notifications can be incorporated into an IVMS system.
  • Events and notifications can be programmed to be automatically sent via email or SMS to multiple parties. Various criteria can be set up (i.e. when an employee enters or exits a certain area a notification is sent to the operations manager, or if a no-go zone is breached, management is notified)

  • IVMS can be connected to trigger an audible or visible warning in-cab to create driver awareness (i.e. if a driver enters a high risk area, they will be warned with a flashing light or buzzer)

  • In high risk areas IVMS can be programmed to report more often for added safety and security
Electronic notifications usually includes the time, date and location that the virtual boundary was crossed, allowing for an immediate investigation or response to the situation.
Geofencing Benefits
Aside from just being a way to track activity within a specific geographical location, geofencing is a powerful tool for:
  • Improving driver safety and awareness
  • Establishing driver accountability
  • Streamlining daily operations
  • Increasing overall company productivity
  • Tracking inventory and high valued assets
By Harmony Sanderson 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Benefits of Parking Systems

Businesses and building owners use parking systems on daily basis to protect reserved parking spaces. Such barriers are designed to cut the risk of visitors using bays which is reserved for tenants, apartment owners, offices and more.
One of the most frustrating things experienced by a parking space owners is getting to their bay to find someone else has taken claim to it. This is a waste of your time as you go from apartment to apartment or office to office trying to find the culprit. This usually ends in you having to find alternative parking, even though you've paid for your space.
There are some advantages associated with parking systems, which is why they are introduced in different buildings and parking areas around the world. You see them more and more in office buildings and apartment buildings and many hospitals use them for their doctors and surgeons parking, enabling them to park and get inside in the case of emergency without having to drive around to find somewhere to park their vehicle.
One of the biggest advantages to parking systems is their price. These are price effective solutions that are guaranteed to keep your tenants happy. One of the biggest complaints received by business owners is the parking situation, especially in busy areas.
Another benefit is the amount of time it saves the parking bay owner. When you get home at night and find someone else has taken over your parking bay, you waste so much time running around looking for them or trying to find another bay to park your car. This is not only frustrating, but is also a complete waste of your precious time.
These products offer vehicle safety, which is very important in today's environment. Many of such are designed with a barrier that lifts into place, enabling the driver to maneuver into the bay and then put up the barrier in front of their vehicle, eliminating any risk of anyone trying to steal the vehicle.
Because most of such parking systems come with remote-control access these days, it improves driver safety dramatically. In the past these parking barriers were manually lifted or put down, resulting in drivers having to leave their vehicle to lift or lower the system. With remote control, the driver remains in their vehicle until they are securely parked, once parked they are able to get out of their vehicle and go where they need to go.
Many of these parking systems available on the market today are visually appealing, they are not ugly pieces of metal that are in place and barely used. They are stylish and modern, blending in with the aesthetic appeal of the building without compromising on the functionality they give.
Another of the many benefits of these parking systems is how they cut frustration and anger for those who own the parking spaces. If you are paying good money each month for your own private parking space, then you shouldn't have to find another bay to park in after a long day at the office. Because of how these barriers protect the space, drivers can arrive, enjoy remote-controlled access to their bay and park with minimal frustration.
Finally, these barriers are easily identifiable, immediately advising other drivers that the bay belongs to someone else. Putting up a small sign with a name on it or placing a "reserved" painted on the floor doesn't have the impact you need to drop strangers from taking advantage of your bay. It is imperative that whatever solution you choose is noticeable to all other drivers who may inclined to take advantage of your space.

By Natalie Ayash

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Top 4 Tips For Selecting The Best Dashboard Cameras

This day and age we have all sorts of drivers on the road trying to get to places as fast as possible. They consist of young, old, insured, and uninsured people. It's now more important than ever to protect yourself from bad drivers as well as scam artists. We've all heard the horror stories about the people who back their cars in to another car and then claim they were rear ended.
A great way to protect yourself is by installing a dashboard camera. These have become common accessories now with the everyday driver. Fortunately, the cost of these cameras has dropped where they are affordable for most everyone now. Below I have listed a few tips for selecting the best dashboard cameras.
Loop Recording
The last thing you want to do is spend your time going through and deleting videos where nothing important happened. Therefore, it's best to choose a camera that comes with a feature where once the memory is full it will start back at the beginning and record over old videos.
Optional Hardwire
The best dashboard cameras allow for hard wiring to the vehicle's battery. This prevents the need to plug it in each time you go for a drive. It also allows the camera to start recording when the car's cranked. I particularly like this because it's just my luck that an accident would happen the day I forgot to plug the camera in.
Motion Detection
Public parking is treacherous to a person's car. I've been on both sides of the fence here. I've had my car sideswiped while parked and I've accidentally backed in to a parked car. A good dashboard camera will have a parked mode where it'll start recording when it detects motion regardless of your car running or not. If someone backs in to your car in a parking lot, the camera will record their license plate if they take off from the accident.
Quality Video
No matter which camera you get, make sure that it records HD quality video. This is the only way to know that you will consistently see license plates or street signs in the recordings. Also, if you find yourself needing to use the recorded video as evidence you won't have a questionable image.
When selecting the best dashboard camera these are a few important features to look for. Features that I have listed above are what make them easy enough for everyday use without taking away from your normal driving activity. You'll be able to find a camera with everything listed here without breaking the bank. Your safety is certainly worth a product that will do well when it's needed.

By Wes Holyfield

Tips For Choosing Replacement Tires For Your Truck And Trailer

No matter how carefully you drive or how cautiously you choose your routes sooner or later you are going to have to replace your existing truck and trailer tires. If you are an owner operator then you know that this is a very costly event and you do need to take time to select just the right type, brand and design of tire that matches your typical driving experience.
The type of tire that you use should be designed for your type of driving. In addition you need to consider the position on the truck or trailer for the tire. Generally there are three positions that are possible and they are designated as an all positions tire, a drive axle or a trailer axle tire. In addition, since these same tires can be used for different types of vehicles they are also rated for long haul, regional, on/off road, urban and off road. Different tire companies may have different designations, but they will equate to the same purpose.
Steer Tires
Steer tires are designed for the tractor and create a smooth ride and easy handling. These are the tires that help you corner and turn while maintaining good traction and grip on the road. Steer tires can actually be used in all positions but they absolutely should be used for those all-important front tractor tires.
The tread design of steer tires is also unique. It is always designed to move water away from the tire in a ribbed type of channel design. This helps with keeping the tire on the road during cornering.
Drive Tires
The drive tires are the workhorses of your tires and they need to be designed to provide outstanding traction while also being incredibly durable. These tires, unlike all position or trailer tires, should only be used on the torque axle for maximum efficiency and better fuel economy. However, if you are always on very hard surfaces, never on soft gravel, dirt, sand or snow, and if you typically drive on dry road conditions you may be able to avoid these specialty tires and go with all position options.
You have a range of different options from rib radials to lug or block patterns. Again, for relatively dry driving conditions on hard surfaces rib radials are the best and most efficient choice. Rib radials have a lower rolling resistance, which means they allow you to go further without the need to use fuel to keep moving.
Generally the drive tires will wear the fastest of all the tires on the truck because of the torque and the force that they exert on the road to get the rig moving. This is definitely not the set of tires you want to skimp on when it comes to quality.
Trailer Tires
Trailer tires are designed to roll freely and resist the pressure and friction during braking. They are also designed with thicker sideways to minimize the risk of damage due to rubbing on the curb as you pull up to park. They are not designed for traction or for torque and should not be used in the steer or drive positions for safety reasons.
Many of the top lines of trailer tires now are designed to be puncture resistant or to have construction options that help then stand up to contact pressure, withstand heat better to help minimize the degradation of the tread over the miles and to also prevent the tire from becoming extremely rigid in cold weather. Puncture resistant trailer tires are also a consideration and are used by many large fleets as a cost and time saving option for long haul routes as well as short deliveries.
Maintaining Tires
While this seems obvious it is critical to make sure that all tires are the same size on your truck and trailer and that they are rated for the size of the load that you are carrying. It is also highly recommended that on a tandem axle if one tire goes flat or needs to be replaced, also change out the remaining tire with that cycle, don't wait to change it out with the other side. This is because when one tire goes flat the remaining tire on that side is carrying all the weight, potentially resulting in structural weakness that may not be obvious from the outside but may lead to another flat just down the road.
Always check the inflation recommendations on the tires and fill up when the tires are cool, before you have driven the truck and trailer. Avoid running with tires that are not inflated to the recommended pressure as this is considered by tire experts to be the most common cause of tire failures on the road.
While there is no hard and fast rule, most truckers will find that all tires will need to be changed out every three to five years. While you can gauge this by the tread and wear it is also a good idea to keep track of the miles and change out tires proactive. Remember that the cost of a flat on the road, especially in bad weather and road conditions, can really add to your tire budget. Always take care of yourself and your safety on the road by having the best tires possible on your truck and trailer.

By Ryan Grifford 

The Lotus Esprit V8 Sports Car

A review of The Lotus Esprit V8 Sports Car, covering development, important features, and technical data of this the twenty fifth model in the Lotus range.
In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at the Lotus Esprit V8, one of an elite group of classic cars, which was manufactured during the period 1996 to 1997.
The Lotus Esprit V8
After years of much thought since the mid 1980's, Lotus finally decided to fit a V8 engine into the Esprit's mid-engined chassis, together with a new interior, uprated clutch, improved gearchange, and a modified rear wing that was now mounted higher up.
The Lotus Esprit V8 sports car was launched in March 1996 at the Geneva Motor Show, and was seen as the replacement of the Series 4 Esprit and the Sport 300.
The need for such a change had its roots in new tighter emission control regulations in the US the result of which would have, almost certainly, prevented the existing 4-cylinder Turbo variant from complying.
It was powered by a Lotus 3.5 litre, 32 valve, V8, all aluminium, twin turbocharged engine, using Garrett T25/60 turbos.
This engine, developed by Lotus, was designated the Lotus 918, and produced 350 bhp, with a top speed of 175 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 secs, and a 0-100 mph time of 10.1 secs.
This was a huge improvement over the 4-cylinder Turbo, and positioned it on a par with its arch rivals the Ferrari F355 and Porsche 996.
The 918 engine originally developed 500 bhp, but was detuned to 350 bhp in order to prevent damage to the Renault transmission linkages, which were not able to cope with such output.
It was fitted with the same Renault five speed gearbox as previously, but no charge-cooler (intercooler) was added.
It retained the same ABS braking system, sported even larger wheels, and proudly displayed a V8 badge next to the rear lights.
The wood and leather interior was replaced by a more minimalist approach, including the use of push buttons within a redesigned centre console.
However, it still retained, from previous models, a necessary struggle to enter or leave the car.
Rear vision was still poor owing to the size of the rear spoiler.
In late 1997, the V8 model was presented in two slightly different specification formats, designated the Special Equipment (SE) and GT models.
The performance of each was virtually unchanged, with both displaying a restyled interior.
However, the SE variant was offered with more luxurious appointments.
The Lotus Esprit V8 GT
In October 1997, the Lotus Esprit V8 GT sports car was introduced at the London Motor Show.
It was powered by the same engine, and offered the same stunning performance as the V8, but without some of the more luxurious fitments, such as leather seats and air conditioning.
As a result, its weight was reduced by about 50 kg, and the price tag was lowered by around £10,000, which made it more attractive at just under £50,000.
There were a number of changes to this variant, which included:
  • A racing clutch was added to make operating the clutch much easier
  • The gearbox selector mechanism was modified to make it quieter and more precise
  • The anti lock braking system was overhauled
  • The rear wing was removed
  • The leather seats were replaced by composite racing seats from the GT3
The Lotus Esprit GT3
Also in October 1997, the Lotus Esprit GT3 sports car was introduced as an entry level Esprit, and with the luxurious fittings present in the V8 variant having been removed.
It was powered by the same Lotus 920, 2 litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged, charge-cooled engine, that had been used in previous models targeted at the Italian market.
It developed 240 bhp at 6250 rpm, and 216 ft/lbs of torque at 3750 rpm, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 secs, a 0-100 mph time of 12.9 secs, and a top speed of 162 mph.
Some of the features of the 1997 GT3 included:
  • There was no aerofoil mounted at the rear
  • "GT3" insignia were positioned along the bottom of the doors
  • Seats came from the Sport 300
  • It used the same lightweight ABS braking system as the V8
  • It was fitted with the Delco multipoint fuel injection system
This marked the end of the Lotus Esprit V8
Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:
Which Lotus Sports Car is Your Favourite?
However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of Lotus sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1952 to 1996.

By Peter Radford