New Model New

2021 Hyundai Sonata gets minor modifications for new model year

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata has some key safety and security improvements.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

One year after a complete redesign, most models stay relatively the same for another year. The Hyundai Sonata isn't bucking the trend.

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata will now be available with 19-inch alloy wheels, Safe Exit Warning and a six-way power-adjustable passenger seat. The wheels come wrapped in 245/40 R19 Pirelli P Zero tires, which deliver all-season traction control. The tires are designed with a variable size tread pattern to minimize noise inside the cabin of the Sonata SEL Plus. Several features have been implemented in the tires to compact aquaplaning including circumferential grooves and lateral sipping.

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hyundai will now offer the model with Pirelli tire.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Safe Exit Assist has been added to Sonata SEL, SEL Plus, and LImited trim levels. It uses existing blind spot monitoring technology to warn the driver and passengers if oncoming traffic is detected while the car is parallel parked. The audible and pop up messaging (in the instrument cluster “Watch for Traffic" is displayed) in an effort to prevent back-seat passengers from stepping out into traffic, and possibly harm's way.

"The 19-inch wheels and tires make a beautiful looking car look and perform even better," said Scott Margason, director of product planning, Hyundai Motor North America. "After listening to our early 2020 Sonata buyers, we were quickly able to add power height adjustment to the passenger seat on the Limited trim. In addition, across the lineup we've added Safe Exit Warning that gives drivers a second set of eyes to let them know if it's safe to open the doors on the driver's side of the vehicle when parallel parked on a busy city street."

Hyundai will continue to offer the same engine, powertrain, and features options for buyers. Each model will be backed by the company's extended warranty and come with the Hyundai Complimentary Maintenance program, which includes oil and filter changes plus tire rotation at normal factory-scheduled intervals for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Hyundai will begin selling the 2021 Sonata at dealerships this August.

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Frightening security

Boston Dynamics' robot to patrol Kia factory

The robot is being tested as a security patrol unit.

Hyundai

Breaking into an auto manufacturing facility was already a very bad idea, but new security tech being tested by Hyundai Motor Group makes it downright terrifying as well. In addition to cameras, sensors, and armed security guards, would-be burglars at a Kia plant in South Korea now have to face off with a semi-autonomous robot dog.

The Boston Dynamics quadruped robot, named Spot, is being tested as a safer and more effective way of providing security patrols to the plant. The dog is one of several robots designed and tested by the firm, which has long terrified the internet with its physically capable electronic beings.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robot The robot uses various sensors to detect danger and intruders.Hyundai

If you haven't seen it, the Boston Dynamics robot dog is frightening enough on its own, so it's an excellent choice to provide factory security. The robot uses an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR to detect people around it, and can monitor high-temperature situations and fire hazards. It can be controlled remotely through a secure webpage, which allows personnel to see what's going on in the factory without putting themselves in danger.

The robot is capable of navigating tight spaces and can identify issues not visible to the human eye. It's also able to semi-autonomously navigate its environment, and has been developed with task management and deep learning-based vision technology. Boston Dynamics says that its tech can be expanded to other types of robot platforms.



The robot dog is currently in the pilot stage at Kia's plant in South Korea. It will be used to support late-night security patrols and increase safety for workers. Hyundai Motor Group will assess the robot's effectiveness and suitability for the job before expanding its use in other industrial sites.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.


U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research automotivemap.com


The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.


Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images


What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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