CES 2020

Amazon expanding Fire TV into FCA, BMW vehicles

BMW and FCA will be adding Amazon's Fire TV to forthcoming vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Amazon is partnering with automakers to expand the eyeballs viewing programming on their popular Fire TV streaming and live TV digital media player. The company is partnering with BMW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to add Fire TV to a variety of vehicles.

"Adding Fire TV to future BMW vehicles represents a big step in bringing the best of streamed entertainment to our products," said Fathi El-Dwaik, Vice President User Interaction, Business Line My Car and Business Line My Life, BMW Group. "With Amazon's approach, and with the help of Garmin, we are able to innovate and create a unique and special experience for BMW cars, providing the consistency of content and customer experience that Fire TV provides in the home. We look forward to working closely with Amazon to bring Fire TV to future vehicles."

The online retailer is touting the ability to drivers to utilize their Alexa voice assistant product hands-free in the vehicles alongside a touch screen with offline capability and playback to experience Fire TV content. Users will be able to enjoy shows recorded with Fire TV Recast or saved locally on a Fire TV device.

The devices will be able to stream content via the vehicle's Wi-Fi or LTE connection.

It is likely that the Fire TV capability will only be available to second-row screens. BMW and FCA haven't said which vehicles the technology will debut in but it's likely to be crossovers and minivans, which are inherently more family-friendly.

FCA is the parent company of the Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo auto brands. BMW's brands include BMW, Rolls-Royce, and Mini.

There is no word yet on whether of not the technology will expand to PSA vehicles when FCA and PSA complete their merger.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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