3 Steps Towards Automated Vehicles

It is exciting to see that Nissan is leading the way with autonomous vehicles .  While I do think we are a long way from complete automation, the benefits to the everyday driver are already evident. There are automation technologies available today that are pieces of the autonomous puzzle.

Adaptive Cruise Control – The Adaptive Cruise allows the drive to set a speed and the vehicle will accelerate and brake as needed. Lasers are used to measure surrounding objects and vehicles. For example, if you set your cruise at 65 MPH on the interstate and you come up on a vehicle going 55 mph, the adaptive cruise slows the vehicle down to 55 mph and keeps a safe distance from the vehicle. If you steer into a lane with no traffic ahead or the vehicle going 55 mph pulls off, the adaptive cruise goes back up to 65 mph. The driver only has to steer. The braking and accelerating are completely automated.

Accidence Avoidance – This is typically packaged together with Adaptive Cruise Control. In the event that the driver is not paying attention and a vehicle in front of them is either stopped or traveling at a significantly reduced speed, the vehicle will alert the driver that an impending accident is possible and if the driver doesn’t react the vehicle will preemptively brake to either avoid or minimize the speed at impact.

Around View Monitor -Cameras, cameras, cameras – Nissan has a technology called Around View Monitor that allows the driver to see completely around the vehicle on the screen. With these cameras and lasers from above the driver can see completely around the entire vehicle.

Many of you will have read about Google self driving vehicles. While they have been involved in a few accidents, the accidents were always the other drivers errors.

The engineers, that are working on autonomous vehicles, biggest challenge is trying to figure out the unpredictable nature of humans. We are still at least a decade away from fully autonomous vehicles being mainstream.  However, we are becoming safer every day as engineers develop ways to help us overcome our shortcomings. Technology will help the vehicle react when we take our eyes of the road, are not paying attention, talking or texting on a phone, or any number of situations that make our roads dangerous.

3 Tips About Your Credit Score

Monken Blogger – Lance Marcum

What is a credit score?
According to Credit Karma, “A good credit score is crucial for financial success. A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage, loan or credit card. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved as well as what interest rate you are charged. A good credit score is generally considered to be 720 or higher. Lenders, however, can each have different standards for what they consider to be a good credit score, so it‘s important to keep building your score to receive the most favorable interest rates and highest rates of credit approval.”

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1. What does my credit score need to be to purchase a vehicle?
Generally speaking, if someone has a credit score under a certain level, they will need to have someone who is willing to co-sign with them. It’s difficult to assign a number as there are many variables that go into a credit score. A co-signer is someone that goes on the loan with the buyer. The person with the higher credit score helps the person with the lower score to get approved at a lower interest rate. Sometimes banks will require more money down from a buyer with a lower score in order to minimize the risk of both the buyer and the loan institution. As you can see from the chart above, 600 and above scores will generally get loans without the assistance of a cosigner. Banks also look at what is called “debt to income”. Ideally, they like to see that debt to income is below a certain percentage before approving the loan, regardless of credit score.

2. How do I find out my credit score?
If you have a credit card, they generally offer a free credit report when logging in to your account. Sites such as creditkarma.com also offer free credit reports that do not affect your score by showing up as an inquiry.

3. How can I improve my credit score?
A number of things will help to improve your credit score. Among them are making payments on time and getting rid of any collections that may be on file. In addition, opening a credit card and paying the bill in full each month helps to establish credit (for example, put all of your gas purchases on the card and paying it off at the end of the month). Discipline is the key to all of this. Spend less than you make and pay bills consistently and your credit score will generally improve.  It is important to remember that a great credit score isn’t necessarily an indicator of being in good financial standing, it could just mean that a person has lots of borrowed money that they pay consistently on.