Self Motorvated: The Advent of Self-Driving Car Technology

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You may not be aware of this but just this month President Obama signed a $305 billion transportation bill that contains grant money for research and development of self driving vehicles.  With a stroke of a pen, the United States federal government became the largest investor in a discipline of mechanical science that has the potential to permanently transform the transportation landscape as we have known it for the last century.

Self-driving technology is not a new concept. Companies like Google and Tesla have spent countless hours and dollars in researching and developing robotic counterparts to human drivers. Many automakers have incorporated a simplified version of this technology into a growing number of modern safety features like self-braking, self-corrective steering, and even self-parking features. As helpful and even life saving as these safety features may be, a car that can stop itself when it senses a potential accident is a far cry from a car that safely take you from point “A” to point “B” completely autonomously.

You may read this and wonder why the push for self-driving automobile technology. Well the answer to that question can be summed up into one word: safety.  With an estimated 32,000 lives claimed by traffic accidents across our nation every year, the demand for creating safer vehicles has become a predominant one in the automotive industry and one that automakers, state governments,  and now the federal government have/has made a priority.

While modern safety features in today’s vehicles have provided an entire generation of drivers and passengers unprecedented safety, automakers are constantly in search for the next innovation that will provide their customers with the safest product on the market. Those in favor of autonomous automobiles can easily make the case for this fledgling robotic technology. This is especially true when you factor in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics that found over 90% of the reported automobile accidents in the nation involved human error.

Of course the idea of relinquishing the wheel to a robot is not an universally attractive prospect. Despite the overwhelming statistical data, many people prefer to remain in control of their vehicles. As understandable as that concept is to relate to, it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the improvements in traffic flow (as well as safety) with computerized navigation at the helm.

Regardless of individual feelings on the matter, you can expect advancements in self-driving vehicles to become a reality in the not-to-distant future.  As always, Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC will be here to keep you informed of this and any other news that may impact the most important commodity we have; our customers.

Raising The Bar: GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate

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When the “Denali” trim line was first introduced in the 1999 model year, few could have predicted the runaway success the nameplate would have over the following decade.  The Denali was an upgrade from the standard model designs in every sense of the word. From exterior improvements like 16″ DICKIE polished aluminum wheels and upgraded front fascia and side body panels to a cabin filled with top-of-the-line materials and tech that would make NASA engineers jealous, the Denali made an immediate and permanent mark on the automotive industry.

Fast forward fifteen years and GMC is once again raising the bar with their newly announced 2016 Sierra Denali Ultimate line. GMC recently introduced their latest addition to their best-selling trim package at the Los Angeles Auto Show and if the buzz its unveiling is any indication, GMC’s got another hit on its hands. Offered initially on their four-wheel drive Sierra 1500 Crew Cab models the Denali Ultimate package features some pretty awesome upgrades:

22″ chrome or black-insert wheels

Sunroof

Tri-Mode Power Steps

Lane Keep Assist

IntelliBeam automatic headlight controls

Integrated trailer brake

Body color bumpers

Chrome exhaust tip

Factory-installed spray-on bed liner

High-performance LED headlights

All new Denali grille

GMC LED signature lighting

Premium soft-touch interior materials

Aluminum trim

12-way power adjustable front leather bucket seats

Heated seating and leather-wrapped steering wheel

Bose premium sound system

Wireless phone charging

Power rear sliding window with defogger

Remote keyless entry and vehicle starter system

Remote locking tailgate

Power adjustable pedals

Rear-vision camera with dynamic guidelines

and much, much more…

As you can see, there is plenty to love about the new Sierra Denali Ultimate line of vehicles and when they start rolling into GMC dealerships across the nation, you can bet Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC will have them. Make your plans to test drive the all new 2016 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Ultimate and put yourself behind the wheel of the ultimate dream machine.

To Grandmother’s House We Go: Holiday Traveling Safety Made Easy

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As hard as it is to believe, the holiday season is here and for many of us, that means one thing: road trip. While you’re making your plans to visit friends and relatives, Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC would like to offer the following suggestions to insure your holidays are truly happy ones.

WINTER IS COMING

Living in Houston has many benefits, not the least of which is the mild winters and the typically non-wintery driving conditions. Unfortunately, the lack of snow or ice on the roads can be a double-edged sword as most Houstonians do not have much experience driving in regions where winter comes with road hazards of every imaginable shape and size. So, before you set out on your journey to grandma’s house, be sure to prepare yourself for wintery driving conditions.

  • Plan ahead by checking weather forcasts and plotting your course wisely
  • In the event of any major wintery conditions, always remember main highways and freeways will always be cleared first so plan to use these as much as possible.
  • Make sure your mobile device is charged up in the event of an emergency
  • Be sure your vehicle has emergency supplies (batteries, first aid kid, road flares, etc) before you set of on your journey.
  • Above all else, be sure you are familiar with the many driving techniques and specialty supplies for driving in wintery conditions.

REST FOR THE WEARY

Yeah, we know. Making time for a nap when you’re getting ready for a family trip is about as realistic as retiring on your privately owned tropical island.  That said, nothing makes a road trip seem more like eternal damnation than driving while worn-out. While planning out your itenerary, it would be a great idea to schedule some downtime or even a 15 minute power nap before you start rolling.

 BRAKE FOR BREAKS

Speaking of ‘power naps’, taking breaks during your road trip, especially when you’re tired, is a fool-proof way to cure bobbleheaditis.  We know the temptaiton of trying to shave off a few minutes from your travel time, but if the choice is saving a few minutes or saving lives, we’re pretty sure we know which side of the ledger you’ll want to be a part of. If your family is anything like ours, we’re sure they’d rather you arrive a little late than not at all. So, factor in some time for breaks or even an overnight stay at a hotel if you find yourself unable to continue on the journey safely. Better to crash at Motel 6 than anywhere else along the road.

NO NEED FOR SPEED

Another safe driving tip, especially in the winter time, is to watch your speed. Giving plenty of time and distance between your fellow drivers is always a good driving policy, especially when you’re driving in unsafe weather conditions. As challenging as it may be to keep it under 80 mph, its always a good idea to maintain safe rates of speed. We know your family won’t mind if you didn’t break any land speed records as long as you arrive at your destination safely.

DRINK RESPONSIBLY

If the adult beverages are flowing freely at the family gathering, be sure to plan ahead for the return trip. Set a designated driver or simply plan to stay until you’ve recovered from the revelings. Traffic statistics have shown the average number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities rise over 30% during the holiday traveling season. You can prevent yourself and your family from becoming a part of those statistics by planning ahead and celebrating wisely.

FINAL THOUGHTS

We hope these tips will help you in your holiday planning so you can insure you and your loved ones have many more holiday road trips in the future. Just use your common sense and plan ahead and we can all have a very happy 2016. Your friends at Finnegan Chevrolet Buick GMC want to wish you and yours a wonderful and safe holiday season…

(c) 2013 Finnegan Auto Blog