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Auto News

Amazing Need For Speed Spoof Brings ‘NFS: Most Wanted’ To Life

Given that street racing in cars is illegal in most countries blessed with a well-evolved road network, recreating a street racing video game in real life should be impossible. Thankfully not so for the creators of what is a magnificent tribute to Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

This amazing homage features the correct on-screen graphics, the proper cutaway camera angles, a shot-by-shot copy of the pre-race pose-off and even uses a real version of the 2005 game’s hero car; a BMW E46 M3 GTR.

Put together and published to YouTube by Владислав Чекунов, this brilliant day-brightener was filmed at legal speeds and then accelerated in post-production to approximate the sense of speed in the game. A cheeky speedometer graphic posts the big numbers you expect to see, while a map in the bottom left follows the road layout you’re seeing the M3 navigate.

Authentic music choices and other car-stars like an A80 Toyota Supra and a Mazda RX-8 add to the early-noughties ambiance. For extra game-inspired giggles there’s even an ‘undercover’ police Mustang, which attempts a chase but is shaken off by the rapid GTR. We love the attention to detail throughout the video; arguably this third instalment is the best one of the series so far.

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Racing

Goodwood Festival of Speed postponed

Goodwood’s popular Festival of Speed event is the latest motorsport fixture to be postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The 9-12 July event normally attracts around 200,000 spectators and features a hillclimb competition, along with countless demonstration runs and a wealth of static displays.

On Tuesday, Motorsport UK – motorsport’s governing body – announced that all event permits would be suspended until the end of June at the earliest.

But Goodwood’s organisers have now taken the decision to postpone the Festival of Speed amid the current uncertainty over when restrictions on mass gatherings imposed by the UK government will be lifted.

“Over the last few weeks, we have been working together with everyone involved to understand the viability of the Festival of Speed going ahead in July,” said the Duke of Richmond.

“Due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus threat and not knowing whether the situation will have significantly improved by then, we sadly need to postpone the Festival of Speed in July.”

The event is now set to take place in either late summer or early autumn.

The Festival of Speed is the second of Goodwood’s three main motorsport events to be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, after its Members’ Meeting – which was due to take place this weekend – was also postponed.

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Car Reviews

Need For Speed: Heat Review: The Best Need For Speed In Years

Even for its most dedicated fans, the Need for Speed video game franchise’s legacy exists on shaky footing. Since Need for Speed Carbon‘s release in 2006, successive new titles in have struggled to live up to the earlier games’ appeal. Recent offerings such as Rivals and Most Wanted left fans looking back and wanting more. The latest NFS installment, Need for Speed: Heat, is a much-needed return to form.

Now, let’s back up for a second. I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t MotorTrend review real cars? Yes, we do. But, when we wrap up those super-hard duties—hey, someone‘s gotta put Ferraris and stuff through their paces—we go home, flick on our game consoles, and kill time just like the rest of you. Given how we’re car nuts, you can probably guess the types of games we get into. And besides, we review plenty of car stuff that isn’t strictly, well, cars.

With a little extra time on hand lately, I downloaded the latest NFS installment for $59.99 on Playstation 4 and got to playing. The title is also available for Xbox One and PC. Having been playing NFS titles since the Nintendo GameCube was a thing, I’m happy to report that with Need For Speed: Heat, the series has, at long last, satisfied this life-long fan once more.

Set in Palm City, a fictionalized version of Miami, the world of Need For Speed: Heat includes a proper downtown area, a sprawling port, and even a NASA-like base with a rocket ready for take-off. The in-game story revolves around you, a wannabe hardcore racer, the Rivera family, and your fight to get to the top of Palm City’s racing scene. Lucas, a former racer himself, acts as your mechanic while Ana is your proverbial partner in crime. She ropes you into races and drives the story, all in an effort to get into “The League,” a group of Palm City’s most elite racers.

The League has access to the sweetest rides and have the baddest reputation. But where The League sits on one side of the law, Lt. Frank Mercer, a crooked cop who runs a specialized task force to hunt down street races, resides on the other. Heat‘s story sees your character push Mercer to take ever more drastic action to thwart your efforts until he goes a step too far. Eventually, his chop shop and car exporting side businesses are exposed, and it’s up to you to take him down.

The story itself is a little plain, and the game’s campaign mode is pretty standard arcade racing stuff and takes around 10 hours to complete from start to finish. Even so, it’s fantastic compared to the aimless nonsense of NFS: Rivals, and finds a way to keep its players wondering what’ll happen next. Enjoyable as the campaign mode is, I wished it were both longer and filled with more races and surprises. That said, the storyline isn’t really why you buy Need for Speed: Heat. At the end of the day, it’s all about the cars, and this is where Heat truly shines.

The roster of vehicles available to you is, in a word, expansive and includes everything from the Lamborghini Diablo to the Ferrari 458 Italia, and from the 1969 Camaro SS to the Volvo Amazon P130(!). The level of customization is diverse without being overbearing. The body kits are based off of what’s available in the aftermarket—meaning if you want a widebody kit for your Nissan GTR, there’s nothing stopping you. You can even turn your 488 GTB into a 488 GT race car, if you’re so inclined.

You can also modify your cars’ performance, dropping in clutches, engines, brakes, new wheels, tires, crankshafts, turbos, suspension bits, and more. You also can adjust and tune several chassis and powertrain aspects. If you like drift races, modify your ride to suit the twistys. If you prefer the straight and narrow, make your car as fast as you can for the normal street races. Race during the day to earn cash and race at night to earn rep—just make sure you can get away from the cops.

The controls are easy to master, and as with every other Need for Speed game, they take little time to get truly comfortable with. You can also fine tune your car by adjusting how much downforce it has and how sensitive it is to turn-in. The developers even bothered to get the displacements for every in-game cars’ engines correct. That’s a level of attention to detail we’ve never seen before in a Need for Speed game, and the car nerd in me genuinely appreciated those little touches.

Heat has something for everyone. It’s not as edgy or gritty as NFS: Underground 2, and it doesn’t offer as much customization as Carbon did—which, looking back, hasn’t been matched by any game since then. That said, it is a move in the right direction for the NFS franchise as it finally steps out from under the shadow of the ho-hum versions that came before it. Heat can finally live up to the greats. All publisher Electronic Arts has to do now is not screw up the next one. Then we’d really be getting somewhere.

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Car Reviews

UK speed cameras explained

Everything you need to know about UK speed cameras, the types, how they work and what to look out for


Speed cameras are firmly on the UK motoring map, whether you think they're a good thing or not. Those that use them would prefer they were known as safety cameras, as they're designed to make UK roads safer, but whatever you want to call them, recent fake news reports about cameras on motorways like the M1 and M25 being set so they snap more motorists breaking the speed limit, show that they can still be misunderstood. This guide helps you to know what to look out for where UK speed cameras are concerned.

With police forces battling reduced funding, especially for road policing, speed cameras play a vital role in keeping a watchful eye on UK roads. Combined with local safety camera partnerships, they are a good visual deterrent and a reminder to check your speed when driving. Some motorists see them as a revenue earner, though, as they can only catch speeders and are unable to spot unlicensed drivers, uninsured cars, drink and drug-drivers or general bad driving like road traffic officers are able to.

• Best speed camera detectors

History of the speed camera

The first speed camera appeared in the UK in 1991 on the M40 motorway in West London. The cameras used rolls of film, which had to be developed and processed, and this also meant that there was a limit on how many speeders they could catch – it's thought that the first camera used up its 400-exposure roll in 40 minutes after it was first switched on.

Over the years, new tech has been introduced, including forward-facing cameras and digital technology – so there's no more need to change rolls of film, and means live cameras can be operated 24/7, uploading images directly to a central control room. Average speed cameras have also been introduced to monitor vehicle speed over longer distances, rather than just in one location, while traffic light and wrong-turn cameras have also been introduced.

We've also seen the introduction of cameras that no longer need a flash to snap speeding vehicles at night, while the latest mobile cameras operate over far longer distances than before. In this instance, if you're speeding, the mobile camera could well have spotted you long before you've spotted it.

UK speed camera types explained

Here's our guide to the different types of camera used on UK roads, and later we tell you what to expect if you think you've been caught speeding. The most common cameras in the UK are Gatso and Truvelo speed cameras, but there are more than a dozen different types of speed camera in use on UK roads in total. So without further ado, here's what you should be looking for.

Gatso speed cameras

The Gatso was the first type of speed camera seen in the UK, and it's still the most common type you'll find. First introduced in 1991, the Gatso – short for Gatsometer, the name of the Dutch company that makes them – is a rear-facing camera. That means it faces up the road and takes a picture of the rear of a speeding vehicle, so it can catch motorcycles as well as cars, vans and trucks.

A Gatso camera is easy to spot, as speed cameras must be painted yellow by law (in Scotland they have yellow and red diagonal stripes), although they can be obscured by road signs, street furniture and poorly maintained hedgerows. Gatsos are usually mounted at the side of the road on a pole, although they can also be used in mobile units or on overhead gantries, such as you'll find on the motorway.

Gatsos use radar to measure a vehicle's speed, but the law says that there needs to be secondary proof of speeding. This is why all Gatso locations have dashed lines painted on the road in front of them. These dashes are spaced evenly and are used to measure distance over time, so when a Gatso is activated it takes two pictures a fraction of a second apart, which can then be checked to see if an offence has been committed. The camera features a flash, and this goes off with each photo that's taken.

On single carriageway roads, two sets of dashed lines are usually painted at a Gatso location. That means vehicles using either side of the road can be measured for speeding, but only in the direction that the Gatso is pointing. That means a camera site can only catch vehicles travelling away from it – if you are speeding towards one and it flashes, a ticket can't be issued. Gatsos are also reliant on the dashed lines in the road – if the lines aren't present, then the photos alone cannot be used to prosecute speeders.

While the first Gatso cameras used photographic film to record speeders, a new generation of digital camera arrived on 2007. These use a hard drive to store images and can be run 24/7 with a direct link to a control centre where the images are stored.

Truvelo speed cameras

The other common type of speed camera in the UK is the Truvelo, which is named after the South African company that makes it. While Truvelo cameras look similar to a Gatso because they are painted yellow and mounted on a pole, the chief difference between a Truvelo and a Gatso is that most Truvelo sites are forward facing.

As with a Gatso, a Truvelo camera uses a flash to get a clear image of a speeding vehicle's number plate, but it also has a special filter on the flash that stops it from dazzling drivers. While this means that motorcycles (which lack front numberplates) are harder to identify when speeding, the Truvelo can be used to identify the driver of a speeding vehicle.

The Truvelo only takes one picture, because the speeding offence is registered by sensors in the road which activate the camera. However, as with a Gatso, the photographic evidence needs backup, so small white squares are painted on the road where the sensors are to act as secondary evidence that a vehicle is speeding.

• How to appeal a speeding fine

In recent years, the Truvelo has evolved into the Truvelo D-Cam. This is a digital version of the Truvelo that can be mounted forward or rear facing, can also be used at traffic lights, and can even be set up to watch up to 3 lanes at a time. The D-Cam comes in a distinctive housing, while some have a flash unit separate from the camera itself – which again makes no visible light.

HADCES speed cameras

HADECS 3 stands for Highways Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3, which is the name given to the speed camera system that is being used on smart motorways across the country.

Hadecs units come in two small housings that are mounted on the side of motorway gantries. Thanks to their limited use of yellow to give away their location, and the fact they are about half the size of a Gatso or Truvelo camera unit, some people have called them stealth speed cameras, as they can be difficult to spot when travelling at 70mph.

Like other speed cameras, there are lines painted on the road that are used as secondary proof of speeding. And like a Gatso, Hadecs is a rear-facing radar camera, and it flashes when it picks up a vehicle travelling at more than the speed limit.

The innovation that allows Hadecs to be used on a smart motorway is its ability to adjust its detection speed according to the variable speed limit that's posted. It does this by receiving information from sensors further along the carriageway, so when you see a lower limit posted on a smart motorway, the Hades cameras ahead can catch you for breaking it.

As well as speeding, Hadecs cameras can be set up to monitor up to five lanes, and they can detect vehicles that are using closed motorway lanes. As they are radar-based, they are able to work in all weather conditions, too.

SPECS speed cameras

The SPECS camera system works differently because it measures vehicle speed over a far greater distance than a Gatso or Truvelo camera. You'll see two or more sets of cameras to monitor vehicle speed for an extended distance, and this can be for as little as 200 yards or up to 99 miles – as the SPECS cameras on the A9 in Scotland do. SPECS cameras are often referred to as average speed cameras and are popular for use in roadworks where a lower speed limit than usual needs to be enforced.

SPECS uses Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) tech to register vehicles as they pass. The first camera logs the vehicle with a time and date stamp. Once the vehicle has passed the second camera, the time stamps on the two images are compared, and if the time taken to cover the distance means the average speed is higher than the posted limit, then a ticket is issued.

You will usually find SPECS camera systems on motorways, especially in roadworks. And while some people think that weaving between lanes can help you pass them undetected, the truth is that the SPECS system can monitor multiple lanes. It's also no use slowing for the cameras and then speeding between them, because the system measures your average speed between the two locations, not just how fast you're going as you pass either camera.

Mobile speed camera vans

As well as these fixed speed cameras, many regions use mobile cameras to provide temporary coverage in areas where speeding is known to occur. Mobile units are usually located in vans that are marked as a safety camera vehicle with a bright livery, and they feature opening windows or panels to point the cameras through. You will usually find them parked at the side of the road, in laybys (although not where parking restrictions apply) and also on bridges over roads.

The kind of cameras these mobile units use include mini Gatso cameras that use radar technology but there are also handheld radar or laser gun cameras. A laser gun uses a narrow laser beam that is reflected off a vehicle to measure its speed. These devices are quick and effective, being able to register a vehicle's speed in as little as half a second and up to a distance of a mile away.

A radar gun works similarly to a laser gun. It has a wider beam and only works up to around 300 yards, while it will only come back with a reading after around 3 seconds, but it's still an accurate way of registering a car's speed.

• Speeding fines explained 

Mobile camera vans can be set up in any direction to catch speeders, and can just as easily be set up to catch speeders approaching the camera site as going away from the site. As with fixed camera locations, a mobile camera site must have road signs indicating its presence, but apart from that, mobile cameras can be set up at any time. In terms of location, mobile units are usually found in places notorious for accidents or speeding in the past, and are not normally pitched up in random places. Some local speed camera operators have been known to issue information on radio and social media to inform road users of where mobile camera units are operating on particular days.

Other speed cameras

Gatsos, Truvelos, SPECs and Hadecs 3 are the most common types of speed camera on UK roads, while other cameras that are available do a similar job. These are in addition to cameras which are used for traffic monitoring, catching vehicles that jump traffic lights (which incidentally aren't required by law to be painted yellow) and cameras used by government agencies to check road tax and other ANPR-based activities.

Whichever way you look at it, the best way to ensure you're not caught speeding is to remain aware of the speed limit and stick to it.

The big Speed camera questions answered

How do I know if a speed camera caught me?

If you have passed a speed camera that has flashed, the only way you will know for certain that you have been caught is when the registered keeper of the vehicle receives a Note of Intended Prosecution (NIP). This will arrive within 14 days of the offence taking place and will explain what happens next. This 14-day rule is in place so that companies, such as vehicle lease firms and car hire firms, can determine who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence.

If you are the one that was caught speeding, then you will face a minimum fine of £100 and three points on your licence. If your driving licence is clean, then you may be offered the option of taking a speed awareness course instead of the penalty points.

As of 2017, the maximum fine for a speeding offence is up to £2,500 on the motorway. The amount you pay and the number of points you could face will depend on how much you were exceeding the speed limit by, as well as your level of income.

Do all speed cameras flash?

Most speed cameras flash when they capture an image, but you might not see the flash of a Truvelo forward-facing camera. That's because forward-facing Truvelo cameras have a special filter over the flash to prevent dazzling oncoming drivers. If a camera is operating in good light conditions, the flash may not necessarily go off, either.

How do mobile speed cameras work?

Mobile speed camera units must be parked legally, either at the side of the road, in a layby or on a bridge, and operators must make motorists aware of their presence with the use of speed camera warning signs. That means they can operate in areas where the signs are already fixed, or they need to put up temporary signs nearby.

A speed camera van usually has openings at the rear or the side of the van for the cameras to have a clear line of sight of the road they are checking. Depending on the camera being used, the speed camera van can detect speeding vehicles up to two miles away on a clear day, especially with the latest camera technology being used.

• Britains most active speed cameras revealed

The camera is operated either by a police officer or by a certified camera operator associated with a local speed camera partnership.

How can I avoid a speeding fine?

Of course, the easiest way of avoiding points and a fine is to check your speed at all times and keep within the speed limit. But with so much street furniture and so many distractions bombarding the average motorist, it's not too hard to get caught out by a change in speed limit.

If you want added security, then a speed camera locator is the best piece of kit to use. We tested a batch of speed camera locators in 2018, with products from Road Angel and Snooper performing well, while apps from TomTom and Sygic were also well received.

Speed camera detectors use GPS location technology to warn you of fixed camera locations. In addition, the best units also feature laser and radar detecting technology to warn you of mobile speed camera sites, as well as those fixed locations that aren't logged on to the device's database. The best speed camera locators can show you your speed, as well as calculating your average speed within a SPECS average speed camera location.

What are your thoughts on speed cameras in the UK? Join the debate in the comments…


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Car Reviews

Need for Speed Heat Update This Week Brings Black Market and McLaren F1

Those worrying that the shift in developer for Need for Speed, from Ghost to Criterion, might mean an end to support for Need for Speed Heat need worry no more. A new update arrives in for the game this week, adding a new game mechanic, some quality of life changes, and a bunch of new cars.

Scheduled for March 3, the update is set to introduce new vehicles for the first time, and there’s a dedicated new game mode and story to incorporate them into Heat. Black Market Delivery will allow players to pick up new cars in a special side storyline that introduces a new character called Raziel.

Raziel operates an illegal import/export service down at Port Murphy, on the south-west part of the map. Head down to his offices and Raziel will set you on a few errands, rewarding you with new customization parts for your cars. You’ll be able to replay the events afterwards too.

To start with there’ll be two new cars in your shipping container. The first is free to all players, and is a variant of an existing car in the game. This is now confirmed as the Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Aston’s flagship grand tourer is already in the game in coupe form, but the Volante adds some drop-top cool into the Florida-esque landscape.

She might be 27 but she doesn't look her age 😉
👉 https://t.co/g1j4MGg2bG pic.twitter.com/12R72FhN71

— Need for Speed (@NeedforSpeed) March 2, 2020

The other car is brand new to the game, and as you’ll spot at the top of the page and the Tweet above, it’s the McLaren F1. Once the world’s fastest car — and still the world’s fastest naturally aspirated car — the McLaren F1 is an automotive icon. However, there is one downside. While the Aston is free, the McLaren is available only as paid DLC. It comes in at $4.99.

In addition, there’s some subtle changes to the games UI. The new item feed is gone, replaced by a yellow banner denoting new parts. You’ll find some new vanity customization items, including the ability to change the color of your exhaust backfire, and there’s new race intro and victory sequences.

We’ll find out more about the update in due course.

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Car Reviews

Hackers Modify Speed Limit Sign To Trick Tesla First-Gen Autopilot

With any emerging technology, there will always be room for improvement. It seems Tesla has already fixed this issue with newer cars.

Hackers at McAfee produced a recent video (above) revealing an experiment. Essentially, they used some tape and “edited” a speed limit sign to see how a Tesla on Autopilot would react. However, it’s important to note that the test car was a first-gen Tesla Model S using MobileEye’s early Autopilot system.

The most interesting part of the experiment is that while the hackers made a simple change to the speed limit sign – just adding a longer line on the number “3” on a 35 mph sign – the car seemingly saw it as an “8.” The hackers could have simply changed the sign to read 85 mpg, but it wanted to see if the car would recognize the minor change differently than a human may see it. More specifically, a human would likely still see “35,” but the car assumed “85.”

MIT Technology Review shares:

Hackers have manipulated multiple Tesla cars into speeding up by 50 miles per hour. The researchers fooled the car’s Mobileye EyeQ3 camera system by subtly altering a speed limit sign on the side of a road in a way that a person driving by would almost never notice.

Tesla encourages such hacking to help assure that its systems perform as advertised and to help it work to correct any potential vulnerabilities. McAfee shared the results of its tests with both Tesla and MobileEye.

Tesla and MobileEye severed ties a few years back. Now, the Silicon Valley automaker handles all aspects of its current Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology in house. McAfee admits that its early tests of Tesla’s new proprietary Autopilot system haven’t proven the same issue. However, there are still many Tesla cars on the road with this first-gen MobileEye iteration of Autopilot and its proven vulnerabilities.

To read the entire report, follow the source link below.

Video Description via McAfee on YouTube:

McAfee Demonstrates Model Hacking in the Real World

McAfee ATR successfully creates a black-box targeted attack on the MobilEye EyeQ3 camera system in a Tesla Model S utilizing Hardware pack 1, causing the camera to misclassify a 35 mile-per-hour (mph) speed limit sign as 85 mph, autonomously increase speed.

About McAfee:

McAfee is the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee creates business and consumer solutions that make our world a safer place.

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