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How Does the Auto Navigation System Function?

How Does the Auto Navigation System Function?

Satellites Orbit Earth Non-Stop 24/7

High above our heads, a network of about 30 satellites continually orbit the earth. The US government initially put the system in place for military use. Today, it’s used by military and civilians alike to drive our auto navigation systems.

Somebody Is Always Watching

No matter where you are on the planet, at least four satellites can “see” you at any time. Each one continually receives and transmits data to and from units on Earth. A receiving unit might be a SatNav, mobile phone, or GPS.

The auto navigation system in your car continually sends and receives radio signals from those four satellites with eyes on you. Three of the radio waves are used to triangulate your location, and the fourth helps verify the accuracy of the data.

Once the auto navigation unit “knows” where you are, it uses software to place your image on a map. This image shows on the display that you see inside your car.

The Development of Auto Navigation

Porsche Cayenne Navigation System - Interior of Vehicle - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift
Porsche Cayenne Navigation System – Interior of Vehicle – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

Before 2000, the government kept the civilian and military navigation systems separate. The data used by US forces could pinpoint a location within 22 meters. The civilian version was much less accurate. It was about five times less precise. This discrepancy kept the public from picking up on military data.

However, in 2000, the civilian population gained access to more accurate data by executive order. It was after that order that auto navigation began to take off.

What Does the Future Hold?

Satellite Navigation: HOW does it Work? | Headsqueeze – BBC Earth Lab – YouTube

Today, it’s possible for car navigation systems to determine your location within 13 meters. They can also send, receive, and process data so fast, that the process is virtually seamless. In fact, the process is becoming precise enough to allow the development of self-navigating cars.

Who knows where auto navigation will take us in the future?

Lamborghini Diablo GT: Engineering Feat of the Late 90s

Lamborghini Diablo GT: Engineering Feat of the Late 90s

The 1998-2001 Lamborghini Diablo GT

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Front - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Front – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

In the 1990s, the Lamborghini Diablo was an iconic sports car that arrived in a ton of different variations. From 1998 to 2001, Lamborghini brought about the Diablo GT. The Lamborghini Diablo GT is a very limited production car with only 80 units in Europe. The Diablo GT differs from the other models due to its race orientation. This car didn’t only differ in minor aspects, but major as well.

6.0-Liter V12 with 575 Horsepower

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Rear Engine Bay - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Rear Engine Bay – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

The original base Lamborghini Diablo model has a 5.7-liter V12 with 485 horsepower and 428 lb.-ft. of torque. On the other hand, the Lamborghini Diablo GT has a larger 6.0-liter V12 engine. This larger V12 produces 575 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. This equates to 90 additional horsepower and an increase of 37 lb.-ft. of torque. Furthermore, the engine works in combo with a 5-speed manual transmission. The Diablo GT can reach 60 mph in around 3.5 seconds as well as a top speed of 215 mph. Unlike the other Diablo models, the buyer had the option of choosing gear ratios on this transmission. Lastly, the car has RWD for lower weight in comparison to AWD.

Exterior Alterations from Base Diablo Model

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Side - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Side – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

On the exterior, the Lamborghini Diablo GT differs from it’s predecessors. Overall, the car features more aggressive bodywork including carbon fiber, a steel roof, and aluminum doors. The styling difference begins with the black carbon fiber front air dam, large brake ducts, and a central vent for the oil cooler. The front fenders are wider than the base Diablo with small NACA style corner vents. Inside the front trunk, a large air extractor withholds the space. Alone, these changes are enough to make this car stand out from the other Diablo models.

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Rear - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Rear – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

On the rear end of the Lamborghini Diablo GT, the bumper and lamps were removed entirely. In place of the bumper, there is a carbon fiber diffuser. The back-up and fog lights were relocated into the tail lamps. Furthermore, there is a shielded large center-mounted exhaust pipe system. The rear also has a differing engine lid and a rear spoiler. On the roof, there is a large central ram air duct. Lastly, the car wears special 3-piece Oz wheels.

A Race Car Style Interior with Technological Options

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Interior - Pinterest - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Interior – Pinterest – EuroDrift

On the interior, the Lamborghini Diablo GT also differentiates itself from the base model. The interior begins with carbon fiber panels in its stripped-down appearance. Secondly, there is race-spec bucket seats with 4-point seat belt harnesses. Thirdly, there is a smaller steering wheel meant for racing. On the optional side, there is an Alpine LCD screen for GPS as well as a bumper-mounted back-up camera. Surprisingly, AC is a feature of the Diablo GT, unlike many other race inspired vehicles. Lastly, air bags are included but can optionally be omitted by the buyer’s request.

Original MSRP of Around $300,000

Lamborghini Diablo GT (16/80) loud sound: backfire, hard revving and accelerating! – nonsolonoia – YouTube

The Lamborghini Diablo GT is quite a rare and unique collector car. Initially, the MSRP of the Diablo GT was around $300,000 USD. Furthermore, being only limited to Europe, a few Diablo GT models were imported into the U.S. and some were even converted to meet US road-legal specs. Most units remain in Europe but if lucky enough, one may be spotted at a car meet in the U.S. In conclusion, the Lamborghini Diablo GT is a RWD V12 beast that showcases the end of 90s sports car era.

Lamborghini Diablo GT - Wide View Rear - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift

Lamborghini Diablo GT – Wide View Rear – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

Top Five Advanced Radar Detectors for 2016

Drivers use radar detectors as a means of detecting radar signals from police to be aware of speed trap zones. Some radar detectors function on the most basic level, while others sport many bells and whistles. GPS enabled radar detectors are very popular on the market today and allow for additional information.

How much time you spend on the road will probably determine which radar detector is right for you. Below is a list of higher-end radar detectors and what you can expect from each.

  1. Escort Max360
  2. Escort Passport 9500IX
  3. Whistler CR90
  4. Cobra SPX 7800BT
  5. Beltronics Stir Plus

 Escort Max360

Escort Max360 is a superior radar detector that comes with an interactive Smartphone app, security, and simple setup features. This advanced protection device boasts all the features that one would expect from a high-end detector.

The lightning-fast focal point of DSP (Digital Signal Processing) allows the device to find radar signals faster and more accurately than other models.  With five levels of filtering options, this radar detector allows you to customize the sensitivity of your device. Three driving modes and speed-based sensitivity keep it functioning properly, no matter the conditions. Results show on a high-resolution graphic display with directional arrows. Also, it includes a smart cord mated with a mute button and built-in alert lamp.

 Escort Passport 9500IX

Escort is one of the most popular brands in the industry. The Escort Passport 9500IX radar detector boasts smart technology and superior features that pinpoint the radar signal in a quick manner. This radar detector comes with both a windshield and dash mount. Also, it is compatible with the award-winning and exclusive app, ESCORT Live. With radar frequency filtering options, this device eliminates false alerts permanently by using frequency and location.

The radar detector provides coverage options with K, X, SWS (Safety Warning System) radar capability, International Ku, combined with rear and front laser detection. Additionally, it introduces an Auto Sensitivity option which raises the range based on increasing speed.

 Whistler CR90

If you have been looking for a laser radar detecting device at a pocket-friendly price, then this is it. The Whistler CR90 is a radar detecting device that comes with unique features and advanced technologies. It then detects laser signals using the Laser Ally, Atlanta Stealth Mode, and LTI TruSpeed S laser brands.

This radar detector includes the ability to monitor driver alertness and also offers warnings if drowsiness is suspected. The Traffic Flow Signal Rejection and other filter modes help minimize false positives.

Finally, this new radar detector comes with additional functionality, including the ability to detect different types of laser guns. It can even detect red light cameras and fixed speed cameras.

 Cobra SPX 7800BT

Cobra is a leading brand that offers an extraordinary radar detector, also known as Cobra SPX 7800BT. It is one of the most efficient police radar devices on the market. This sensor comes with an OLED mini screen as well as monitoring features for the newest radar guns.

The Cobra’s iRadar app also provides a rotating map along with zoom functions. The map allows you to see the road, possible radar locations, and live traffic data features.

 Beltronics Stir Plus

The Beltronics Stir Plus sports a laser and also a full band searching option. Along with this, it then alerts you to approaching red light cameras and fixed photo radar. Filters prevent known false signals in certain areas.

With the auto scan feature, the device eliminates the need to shift between highway and city modes. Moreover, the Beltronics Stir supports the detection of pop mode radar.

All of these devices boast advanced features. In addition to notifying you of impending speed traps, they also expose the presence of fixed cameras. Maps that show live traffic conditions make the commute much easier. Any of these devices is sure to impress you with what an advanced radar detector can do. Also, a radar detector may be the difference between a smooth commute or a speed trap ticket.




How to Prepare Your Car for Long Road Trips

Long road trips can be both exciting and fun. With proper preparation, you can avoid boredom and delays. Download a good playlist and make sure you have a few games for the kids. Packing a small cooler with drinks and snacks means fewer stops. Also, your car needs to be in tip-top shape for a long journey.

A long road trip is a serious test for your vehicle. Even small problems such as out-of-balance tires or worn windshield wipers can cause trouble. Here is a basic checklist that you can work through before setting off on your trip:

  1. Check the Fluid Levels in Your Car
  2. Examine Your Car’s Battery
  3. Replace the Air Filter
  4. Check Tires & Tire Pressure
  5. Pack Owner’s Manual & Tools

 Check the Fluid Levels in Your Car

There are several different fluids in your car that keep it running smoothly. All of them should be topped off before taking any long trips. It’s also a good idea to carry extra oil and coolant in your car for emergencies. A list of fluid levels to check in your car include:

  1. Brake Fluid
  2. Coolant
  3. Oil
  4. Power Steering Fluid
  5. Transmission Fluid
  6. Windshield Wiper Fluid

Check the Engine Oil

Engine oil should always be checked while the engine is cold. To check the engine oil, pull out the dipstick, wipe it with a paper towel or a clean rag, and then insert it back into the reservoir. Pull out the dipstick again to check the level, make sure it’s close to the “FULL” mark. Change the engine oil if it appears too black or if it is getting close to the time for an oil change. Many modern vehicles have electronic oil level gauges which can simplify this process but it is always good to double check.

How to Check the Transmission Fluid

Unlike oil, transmission fluid has to be checked while the engine is warm and idling. Make sure the car is parked on a level surface. Set the hand brake and pull out the transmission fluid with the engine idling in neutral. Wipe off the dipstick with a cloth or and insert it back.

To check the fluid condition and level, pull out the dipstick again. Clean transmission fluid is a pinkish-red or red color. Under high load and temperature, the transmission fluid oxidizes and becomes brown. Change the transmission fluid if it appears too dark, especially if you will be towing a trailer. Be careful not to overfill the transmission fluid. Too much is just as bad as not enough.

Examine Your Car’s Battery

Check the condition of the battery visually. Replace it if you find any cracks, acid leaks, or any other damage. It is important to ensure that the battery terminals aren’t corroded as that invites trouble.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any simple way to figure out the exact life of a battery (unless you search through manufacturer’s battery manuals). Sometimes, the battery will die unexpectedly without any prior signs. The best way to check your battery’s life is to put the car in auxiliary mode. Turn the key to the “on” position but don’t turn on the engine. Look at the volt gauge on the dashboard. A car battery needs to be around 12 volts to effectively start the engine. A battery usually lasts from two to six years, depending on the manufacturer and model. Most auto parts stores will test your battery for free.

Replace the Air Filter

Replace an old air filter in your vehicle before a long road trip. A dirty air filter reduces power and increases fuel consumption. There are many of YouTube videos showing how to change an air filter, or you can take it to the shop. Air filter replacement is easy and inexpensive.

 Check the Tires & Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is one of the most important things that you need to check before a road trip. The recommended tire pressure is located inside the driver door, on the sidewall of the tire, or in the Owner’s Manual.  Have your tires balanced if you feel a vibration at high speeds. Check the tire tread and replace them if it seems worn. Patched tires may be able to handle a long road trip but there is never a guarantee.

Pack Owner’s Manual & Tools

Don’t forget to keep the owner’s manual of your vehicle in the glove box. From how to change a flat tire to the location of the jack and how a trailer is towed, the manual contains pieces of highly useful information which could be of great help on the trip.

It also includes instructions and information about how to top off the engine oil, how to jump-start the vehicle in case the battery dies, how to change the bulb of the headlight, and more. Most manuals can be downloaded if you no longer have the original. Alternatively, you can get one from your local dealer.

Besides the owner’s manual, you need to pack a few basic safety items. Every car should have a good spare tire, an emergency warning triangle, flare, jack, and lug wrench. If you don’t know how to change a tire, you need to learn before your trip. You never know when you will need to change a tire. The other option is to pay a road assistance business for the job but this usually includes a wait time of up to an hour or more.

You also need jumper cables, duct tape, a gas can, and a basic set of tools. Having these on hand can keep you from getting stranded on the side of the road. Don’t count on your cell phone. There are many places that don’t have service. Plan in advance and your trip should go off without a hitch.

Other Tips and Warnings

  • Familiarize yourself with the vehicle and its equipment, especially if you plan to drive a rental car.
  • Minimize sudden starts/stops and don’t carry unnecessary weight. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will consume for the drive.
  • Don’t wait for the gas gauge to sit on “empty” before refueling. As soon as the pointer falls to a quarter of a tank, start looking for a gas station, especially if your trip involves traveling on unfamiliar roads.
  • It is highly important to ensure every person seated in the car buckles his/her seat belt. It will not only keep you safe, but some places have strict laws concerning seat belts.
  • Consider using a GPS for navigation. It can help keep you from getting lost.




How Does a Radar Detector Work: Technical Perspective

How Does a Radar Detector Work: Technical Perspective

Radar Detector Basics

Radar is frequently used by police to identify how fast a vehicle is moving. Police will often use radar detectors to identify speeding vehicles. In return, drivers can purchase radar detectors to let them know when radar is being used on the roadways.

One of the main jobs of radar detectors is to warn drivers that there is a radar device in the vicinity. When the radar detector alerts a driver of a radar presence, the driver will usually inspect their speed and adjust it accordingly to avoid the risk of a ticket. To better understand all of the benefits of using a radar detector, it is helpful to know their functionality.

The Internal Workings of a Radar Detector

A radar speed gun incorporates both a radio receiver and a radio transmitter. The transmitter’s job is to oscillate an electrical current that enables the voltage to go up and down. The electromagnetic energy generated by this travels as an electromagnetic wave through the air. The transmitter includes an amplifier that works to increase the electromagnetic intensity. The transmitter also includes an antenna which broadcasts the energy into the air. Meanwhile, the radio receiver finds electromagnetic waves in the air with an antenna in order to convert them into an electrical current.

A radio wave emitted by a radar device moves at the speed of light, and when it hits an object it bounces back to the device. The time taken by the radar device to measure the speed of a moving vehicle depends on the distance of the vehicle but the difference of time is miniscule.

Wave Frequencies

When a radar gun is used to detect the speed of the moving vehicle, the wave frequency of the signal returned is changed because the vehicle is moving. If the vehicle is moving towards the radar device, the distance and time for the return signal to travel is reduced, while the frequency of the radio wave increases. The radar device used for determining the speed of the car uses that change in frequency to determine speed.

Usually, radar detectors identify the radio wave bandwidth of any radar device used by police and inform the driver. Essentially, the detectors pick up the specific frequencies of the radar devices used to identify speeding cars. Often, radar guns pick up radar radio waves before the vehicle comes within visual range.

Factors Affecting the Range of the Radar Detector

According to a Car and Driver study, loss in detection range significantly occurs when the car has a windshield embedded with metallic or commercial tint films. The range of radar detection depends on these two treatments. You find these films in high-end imported products, Everclear windshields, Instaclear windshields, and GM products. The radar detection capability of vehicles with these products drops by 95 percent.

GPS Radar Detectors

The recent developments in GPS technology have given radar detectors an increased functionality. A radar detector with GPS calculates the location and speed of the vehicle by using a GPS satellite network. The GPS system also allows for companies to provide additional services such as decreased false alerts and high-risk zone alerts. These comprise some of the biggest advantages of GPS radar detectors. Radar detectors without GPS strictly rely on the radio receiver to signal the driver of any incoming radar waves.

Some GPS detectors can adjust their sensitivity according to the speed of the vehicle. This means that users do not need to manually switch between city and highway modes. Moreover, radar detectors with GPS can also alert the users when they are traveling over the standard speed limit. Some of them provide alerts for speed cameras, speed trap locations, and traffic lights. The GPS radar detector will usually warn the driver of a radar signal with enough time to adjust the vehicle’s speed. Some of the radar detectors allow the user to access a downloadable database of known enforcement and camera locations.

Radar Detectors with Smartphone Compatibility

The advancement of technology has created a number of ways to integrate the radar detector with a smartphone. Users can find apps for Android and iOS platforms that enable the radar detectors to send mobile alerts when approaching a known enforcement area. Some of the apps even allow the users to highlight enforcement areas on a map in order to alert other drivers nearby. You can also find radar detectors with Bluetooth on the market for an easy smartphone connection.

Summing Up How a Radar Detector Works

Essentially, radar detectors are radios programmed to pick-up the wave frequencies used by radar guns. The detector allows the driver to stay informed of a speed trap location as well as allows for the driver to adjust their speed if required. Radar detectors are legal in almost every state, however, in the District of Columbia and Virginia, it is illegal to use radar detectors.



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