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    Mercedes-Benz recalls model year 2020 GLE and GLS vehicles

    The rear door window trim may detach

    Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 13,799 model year 2020 GLE350s, GLE350 4MATICs, GLE450 4MATICs, GLS450 4MATICs and GLS580 4MATICs.

    The rear door window trim may detach and become a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

    What to do

    MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and fasten the rear door window trim, as necessary, free of charge.

    The recall is expected to begin December 3, 2019. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at (800) 367-6372.

    Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 13,799 model year 2020 GLE350s, GLE350 4MATICs, GLE450 4MATICs, GLS450 4MATICs and GLS580 4MATICs.The rear door...
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    Pride of Florida recalls beef products

    The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

    Pride of Florida of Raiford, Fla., is recalling approximately 64,797 pounds of raw beef products.

    The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

    There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

    The following items, produced from September 23 to October 10, 2019, are being recalled:

    • 24-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 85-15 LEAN GROUND BEEF” with pack date Oct. 8, 2019; package code of Oct. 8. 2020 and case code of 1-86407-30002-5.
    • 24-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 80/20 GROUND BEEF” with pack dates 9-26-19, 9-27-19, 9-30-19; package codes of Sept. 26, 2020, Sept. 27, 2020, Sept. 30, 2020; and case code of FG-8020-24-1.
    • 12-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 80/20 GROUND BEEF” with a pack date of 9-26-19; package code of Sept. 26, 2020; and a case code of FG-8020-12-1.
    • 15-lb. Case containing 20-oz packages of “CLARKS 5 CHOPPED BEEF STEAKS” with a pack date of 9-23-19; a package code of Sept. 23, 2020; and a case code of 0-73673-00211-4.
    • 13-lb. Case containing 17.5-oz packages of “CLARKS 5 CHOPPED PEPPER STEAKS” with a pack date of 9-23-19; a product code of Sept. 23, 2020; and a case code of 0-73673-00222-0.
    • 20-lb. Case containing 5.3-oz packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYOR GROUND BEEF PATTIES” with a pack date of 10-18-19; a package code of Oct. 10, 2020; and a case code of FG-8020-20-5.3.
    • 40-lb. Case containing 10-lb packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYOR 81/19 GROUND BEEF” with pack dates of 9-30-19, 10-2-19, 10-8-19, package codes of Sept. 30, 2020, Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 8, 2020; and case codes of FG-81/19-10C-40# and FG-81/19-10C-40.
    • 60-lb. Case containing 10-lb packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYORS 80-20 GROUND BEEF” with a pack date of 9-26-19; a package code of Sept. 26, 2020; and a case code of FG80/20-60-6/10

    The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 18506” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to commercial distributors and a cold storage warehouse in Florida.

    What to do

    Distributors who have these products should not distribute them., but discard or return them to the place of origin.

    Consumers with questions may contact Denise Kiminki at (813) 324-8733.

    Pride of Florida of Raiford, Fla., is recalling approximately 64,797 pounds of raw beef products.The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7...
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    Hyundai recalls Ioniq Hybrids and Elantras

    The right-side rear wheel may detach from the vehicle

    Hyundai Motor America is recalling 48 model year 2019 Ioniq Hybrids and model year 2020 Elantras. The right-side rear wheel lug nuts may have been insufficiently tightened, allowing the wheel to detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

    What to do

    Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, tighten the lug nuts free of charge.

    The recall is expected to begin December 27, 2019.

    Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at (800) 251-0871. Hyundai's number for this recall is 184.

    Hyundai Motor America is recalling 48 model year 2019 Ioniq Hybrids and model year 2020 Elantras. The right-side rear wheel lug nuts may have been insuffic...
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      Two senators seek FTC probe of Capital One data breach

      The lawmakers suggest Amazon, which owns the server, may have violated federal law

      Big tech continues to feel the heat from Washington. In the latest blast, two members of the U.S. Senate are questioning whether Amazon violated federal law in connection with the Capital One data breach.

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the matter. They want to determine whether Amazon adequately secured its AWS cloud servers prior to the attack.

      In July, Capital One reported what may be the nation’s second-largest hack, revealing that a hacker accessed the records of around 100 million consumers in the U.S. and Canada. 

      The bank said the breach may have occurred in March of this year. It came to light on July 17, when an external security researcher reported a configuration vulnerability that the company confirmed two days later. An arrest was quickly made and Capital One said it was “unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated” by the suspect.

      Amazon owns the servers

      Amazon enters into the picture because its AWS service owns the servers and leased space to the Virginia-based bank. The hack occurred with the use of a popular cyberattack technique known as a “server-side request forgery” (SSRF).

      “Amazon knew or should have known, that AWS was vulnerable to SSRF attacks,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “Although Amazon’s competitors addressed the threat of SSRF attacks several years ago, Amazon continues to sell defective cloud computing services to businesses, government agencies, and to the general public. As such, Amazon shares some responsibility for the theft of data on 100 million Capital One customers.” 

      Wyden and Warren say the matter falls squarely under the FTC’s jurisdiction since it has the authority and responsibility to investigate unfair and deceptive business practices. They want the agency to determine whether AWS’ vulnerability to an SSRF attack constitutes an unfair business practice.

      Amazon did not immediately respond to media requests to comment on the lawmakers’ letter. According to Reuters, both Capital One and the FTC declined to comment. 

      Big tech continues to feel the heat from Washington. In the latest blast, two members of the U.S. Senate are questioning whether Amazon violated federal la...
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      Democratic senator reveals plan to replace gas-powered cars with electric vehicles

      Consumers who make the switch would earn a cash voucher worth $3,000 or more

      On Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unveiled a proposal to help the United States transition from gas vehicles to electric ones through the distribution of cash vouchers. 

      Under the plan, large rebates of $3,000 or more would be given to individuals who trade in an older gas-powered vehicles for a cleaner, electric one. The plan would also entail building out an EV charging network and providing grants to businesses to rework their manufacturing facilities to support the production of EVs and batteries. 

      Schumer estimates that the plan will cost $454 billion over the course of 10 years and would result in 63 million fewer gas-powered cars on the road by 2030. 

      “Critics have long said that bold action on climate change would cost America money and jobs. This is not true,” Schumer wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times called "A Bold Plan for Clean Cars.” “My plan is estimated to create tens of thousands of new, good-paying jobs in this country and should re-establish the United States as the world leader in auto manufacturing.”

      The plan starkly contrasts the Trump administration’s August proposal to roll back Obama-era fuel efficiency requirements through 2026. 

      Schumer said he plans to introduce the proposal as an element of "bold and far-reaching" climate legislation in November 2020. Supporters of the plan include the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, the United Automobile Workers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Ford, and General Motors. 

      On Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unveiled a proposal to help the United States transition from gas vehicles to electric ones through the distribut...
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      Major wireless carriers team up to upgrade and replace SMS messaging

      The new ‘RCS’ system seeks to create a seamless experience for all consumers

      All four major wireless carriers have issued a press release saying they are teaming up on a project called the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” (CCMI). 

      Through the initiative, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to “develop and deploy [a] standards-based, interoperable messaging service” known as Rich Communication Service (RCS) messaging, which may eventually replace standard SMS messaging that consumers use now. The carriers are endeavoring to bring RCS to Android smartphones in 2020. 

      The companies said CCMI has been designed with the aim of ensuring that carriers enable the same RCS features that the upcoming industry standard promises. Those features include high-quality pictures and videos, better group chats, and more. 

      In the announcement, Verizon said the CCMI service will: 

      • Drive a robust business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS)

      • Enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high-quality pictures and videos

      • Provide consumers with the ability to chat with their favorite brands, order a ride share, pay bills, schedule appointments, and more

      • Create a single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers, both in the U.S. and globally

      Replacing SMS messaging

      RCS has for years been touted as promising replacement for SMS, which could bring features found in iMessage and WhatsApp to texting. However, support among carriers has been limited, and those that have adopted it “sometimes did so without adhering to the international standard for interoperability called the ‘Universal Profile,’ The Verge notes. 

      The publication spoke with Doug Garland, the general manager of CCMI, who confirmed that there will be a standalone app for Android phones that supports the standard by next year. Garland added that the CCMI aims to make sure that user chats are “private” and that the app being developed delivers “an experience [customers] can trust.”

      All four major wireless carriers have issued a press release saying they are teaming up on a project called the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” (CCMI)...
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      Consumers are finding more financial success with secured credit cards

      A KeyBank report shows 30 percent of customers became eligible this month for an unsecured card

      KeyBank reports that nearly one-third of the consumers who signed up for its secured credit card were eligible for an unsecured card after just one year.

      A secured credit card is often used by consumers with poor or no credit. They make a deposit with the lender which secures their credit line. For example, if they deposit $500, they have a $500 credit limit on the card.

      KeyBank promotes it as an effective tool to not only build up a credit score but also establish good money-management habits. The lender reports that 30 percent of its secured credit card customers became eligible this month for an unsecured card. Of that number, KeyBank says 65 percent are millennials.

      “Millennials, many of whom came of age during the 2008 recession, are saddled with debt and looking for ways out of it," said Mitch Kime, head of Consumer Payments in KeyBank's Enterprise Payments group. "Our Secured Credit Card helps them overcome the barriers they face to establishing a strong credit history that makes financial achievements, like renting their own apartment, a reality."

      Consumer support

      KeyBank says it offers support to its secured credit card customers by reviewing accounts twice a year. Customers are then offered advice on how they can better manage their credit and improve spending habits. According to the lender, young adults and recent college graduates between the ages of 21 and 25 make up the largest segment of Secured Credit Card customers. 

      Selecting a secured credit card is a lot like deciding on any other type of card. It’s best to find one with no annual fee. Some secured cards even offer rewards, such as cashback on purchases. 

      While the credit limits tend to be low -- after all, they’re determined by how much money you deposit as security -- that tends to be beneficial since it prevents consumers from running up large balances. In most instances, consumers using a secured card need to pay the balance in full each month to have any available credit the following month. That’s a good habit to establish.

      ConsumerAffairs has researched secured credit cards and come up with this list of the best ones. 

      KeyBank reports that nearly one-third of the consumers who signed up for its secured credit card were eligible for an unsecured card after just one year....
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      Gas prices are starting to get back to normal

      But tight supplies may keep price declines modest

      Motorists continue to see relatively stable fuel prices as the summer driving season passes farther in the rearview mirror.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas fell four cents a gallon in the last week to $2.61. That’s four cents cheaper than a month ago and is 22 cents lower than at this time last year. The average price of premium is down four cents a gallon in the last week to $3.22. The average price of diesel fuel has remained stable since the end of the summer at $2.99 a gallon.

      A 10 cents a gallon drop in California over the last week helped lower the national average. California prices had been inflated by a series of supply bottlenecks last month, and the state’s average gas price remains well above neighboring states.

      Fuel prices have been slow to fall over the last few weeks because gasoline supplies have remained fairly tight. On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported gasoline stockpiles declined by 3.1 million barrels in the previous week. 

      At the same time, demand has picked up. That’s normally a recipe for higher prices at the pump, but crude oil prices have been a mitigating factor. Oil prices are trading in the mid-$50 range due to concerns about a slowing global economy

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($4.10)

      • Hawaii ($3.66)

      • Washington ($3.42) 

      • Nevada ($3.40)

      • Oregon ($3.36) 

      • Alaska ($3.14)

      • Arizona ($2.90)

      • Idaho ($2.86) 

      • Utah ($2.78)

      • Colorado ($2.75)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Louisiana ($2.25)

      • Mississippi ($2.26)

      • Texas ($2.27)

      • Alabama ($2.29)

      • South Carolina ($2.29)

      • Missouri ($2.29)

      • Arkansas ($2.30)

      • Virginia ($2.30)

      • Oklahoma ($2.30)

      • Tennessee ($2.32)

      Motorists continue to see relatively stable fuel prices as the summer driving season passes farther in the rearview mirror.The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey sh...
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      Toyota recalls nearly 1 million vehicles with airbag issue

      The driver or passenger front airbag inflators may explode

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 928,203 of the following vehicles:

      • Model year 2010-2016 4Runners
      • Model year 2003-2006 Tundras
      • Model year 2003-2013 Corollas
      • Model year 2009-2010 Corolla Matrixs
      • Model year 2004-2005 RAV4s
      • Model year 2002-2007 Sequoias
      • Model year 2011-2013 Siennas
      • Model year 2008-2012 Scion xBs
      • Model year 2008-2009 Lexus IS-Fs
      • Model year 2007-2012 Yaris &Lexus ES350s
      • Model year 2010-2017 Lexus GX460s
      • Model year 2002-2010 Lexus SC430s
      • Model year 2006-2012 Lexus IS250s & IS350s and
      • Model year 2010-2015 Lexus IS250Cs & IS350Cs.
      • These vehicles had their driver or passenger front airbag inflators replaced under a prior recall using inflators of the same design. The inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
      • An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
      • What to do

      • Toyota will notify owners. Depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace the driver or front passenger airbag inflator or the airbag assembly using an alternate inflator free of charge.
      • The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019.
      • Owners may contact Toyota customer service at (888) 270-9371 or Lexus customer service at (800)255-3987.
      • Toyota's numbers for this recall are J0A, J0B, and J0C. Lexus' numbers for this recall are JLI, JLJ, and JLK.
      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 928,203 of the following vehicles: Model year 2010-2016 4Runners Model year 2003-2006 Tundras...
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      Hyundai recalls model year 2020 Elantras

      The ball joint may detach from the lower control arm

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 744 model year 2020 Elantras.

      The lower control arm ball joint fasteners may have been insufficiently tightened allowing the ball joint to detach from the lower control arm.

      A detached ball joint can cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, tighten the ball joint fasteners free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 27, 2019.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at (855) 371-9460. Hyundai's number for this recall is 185.

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 744 model year 2020 Elantras.The lower control arm ball joint fasteners may have been insufficiently tightened allow...
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      AT&T says a fix for its voicemail outage is being developed

      Users in several states have complained for weeks of issues accessing voicemail

      Since October 1, a number of AT&T customers have reported problems accessing their voicemail. An inability to access voicemail has been reported by both iPhone and Android users in several states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and North Carolina.

      Android users have complained of seeing error messages when trying to access voicemail while iPhone owners have said they’re experiencing problems accessing Visual Voicemail.

      In response to complaints posted in a 40+ page thread on the carrier’s support forums, representatives for the company claimed that the issues stem from a "vendor server problem.” A statement given to The Verge on Wednesday was similarly light on details. 

      “A recent software update to some devices may be affecting our customers’ voicemail,” the company told The Verge. “We are working with the device manufacturer to issue a patch to resolve this and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”

      At this time, no timeline has been given for the deployment of the patch. 

      For now, AT&T is advising customers experiencing the issue to either wait patiently for the fix to roll out or have their mailbox rebuilt. The latter move would result in the deletion of any saved messages or messages received during the outage, The Verge noted. 

      Since October 1, a number of AT&T; customers have reported problems accessing their voicemail. An inability to access voicemail has been reported by both i...
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      Facebook CEO gives congressional testimony on Libra

      During a lengthy hearing, Mark Zuckerberg tried to assuage lawmakers’ concerns about the cryptocurrency

      On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to defend Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency “Libra” in the face of bipartisan criticism of the project. 

      Asked why he believed partners including PayPal, Mastercard, and Visa had recently withdrawn from the project, he said he thought it was because Libra is a “risky project” that has come under intense regulatory scrutiny. However, he highlighted the cryptocurrency’s positive potential in saying that it could lower the cost of electronic payments and make it easier for people without bank accounts to transfer money. 

      Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif), chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, has previously demanded that Facebook halt its Libra development efforts. She’s noted that Facebook’s past blunders don’t bode well for the possible impact of the currency. 

      "As I have examined Facebook's various problems, I have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for all if Facebook concentrates on addressing its many existing deficiencies and failures before proceeding any further on the Libra project,” Waters said. 

      She added that “given the company’s size and reach, it should be clear why we have serious concerns about your plans to establish a global digital currency that would challenge the U.S. dollar.” 

      Waiting for regulatory oversight

      In prepared remarks, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the company has “faced a lot of issues over the past few years, and I’m sure people wish it was anyone but Facebook putting this idea forward.” Still, he underscored his belief that Libra must be built. 

      Waters responded that she remains unsure of exactly what Libra aims to accomplish because it hasn’t been “adequately explained.”

      “To simply say that you’re organizing Libra because you’re concerned about the unbanked and it’s going to have payments systems does not answer the questions for me,” Waters said.

      Zuckerberg said that Facebook wouldn’t launch Libra until all of the U.S. regulatory entities involved had given their approval. He added that even Facebook “would be forced to leave the [Libra] Association” if other companies attempted to launch the digital currency without being given the green light from regulators.

      At the end of the six-hour testimony, several lawmakers indicated that they were unhappy with the answers provided by the CEO.

      “Frankly, I’m not sure that we’ve learned anything new here,” said Patrick McHenry (R - N.C.), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, at the end of the testimony, according to CNBC.

      Following the hearing, Waters told reporters that lawmakers will need to get together and “basically review what happened here today and make some decisions about how we go forward with the strategy.” 

      On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to defend Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency “Libra” in the face of bipartisan criticism of the project...
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      Target says it’s staffing up for the holidays

      The retailer is increasing its holiday payroll by $50 million

      Target is preparing for the holiday shopping season by increasing its payroll by $50 million and bringing on additional personnel in stores and in fulfillment centers.

      The retailer says the additional store employees will be deployed during peak shopping times, and it is doubling the number of its team members assigned to fulfillment. The extra help may be needed to provide services to Target Circle members, who now number 25 million.

      "This season, we're making our biggest investment in holiday payroll to ensure our team members will be ready to assist our guests when they are shopping most,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell. “Coupled with the tremendous response we're seeing to Target Circle, our suite of same-day delivery services and compelling assortment, I'm confident Target will be America's favorite place to shop this holiday and beyond."

      Target Circle, the company’s loyalty program, rolled out in early October after an initial test period. Target says members will get early access to some Black Friday deals, as well as first crack at deals for children through most of November.

      In addition, Target Circle members can earn 1 percent back on every trip to Target, which can be redeemed on the next visit. The company says Target Circle members will also have a voice in directing the company’s charitable giving in their local communities.

      Disney partnership and special offers

      In preparation for the holidays, Target said it will offer a curated group of exclusive brands, partnerships with national brands like Disney and Levi's, and an assortment of gifting options. Exclusive brands include Hearth & Hand.

      The Disney store-within-a-store will operate in 25 locations this holiday season; the “Disney digital experience” can be accessed at Target.com. The company also says it will offer an expanded toy selection that includes exclusives from Disney's Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

      Target also says it’s bringing back its “Gifts Under $15,” which it says has proven popular with shoppers with lots of people on their lists. That kicks off in earnest the second week of November, with a curated collection of gifts available for less than $15.

      Target revealed its plans as rival Walmart announced an expansion of its holiday shopping period, with deals rolling out online Friday. 

      Also this week, Amazon revealed an expansion of Counter, which allows consumers to pick up their Amazon purchases at participating locations. New locations include GNC, Health Mart, and Stage Stores.

      Target is preparing for the holiday shopping season by increasing its payroll by $50 million and bringing on additional personnel in stores and in fulfillm...
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      Consumers can expect more traffic with autonomous vehicles

      Researchers suggest it could come down to consumers’ unwillingness to carpool

      As the debate over driverless cars continues to rage on, researchers from the University of Adelaide say that the technology could cause more traffic in the future. 

      According to the researchers’ survey, which spanned over 500 commuters in an Australian city, autonomous vehicles will completely shift the conventional way consumers are used to thinking about driving. While sharing rides will be a major component of this change, this could become problematic where traffic is concerned. 

      “The key factors affecting the transition to autonomous vehicles are commuter attitudes to car ownership and wanting to drive themselves, rather than have technology do it for them, as well as the price of new technology, and consumer attitudes to car sharing,” said researcher Dr. Raul Barreto. 

      “Our evidence suggests that as riders switch to autonomous vehicles, there will be an adverse impact on public transport. With most commuters not interested in ride sharing, this could increase peak period vehicle flows, which is likely to increase traffic congestion over the next 30 years.” 

      The impact on the road 

      The researchers’ survey analyzed the effect that driverless cars would have on public roads by surveying both driving commuters and public transit commuters

      The survey covered topics such as current attitudes towards traditional and autonomous vehicles and ride sharing. Participants were also asked about their current vehicle ownership status and how often they got behind the wheel. 

      Taking the responses from the survey, the researchers were able to compare them with models that predicted how traffic would flow and change based on the introduction of autonomous vehicles on the road. Their findings revealed that it may be hard to contend with consumers’ current views on traditional vehicles, as they don’t anticipate seeing many benefits from driverless cars for quite some time. 

      “Under both scenarios we tested, the number of vehicles overall will eventually drop,” said Dr. Barreto. “However, total vehicle trips may increase, and some of the predicted benefits of autonomous vehicles may not eventuate until a lengthy transition period is complete.” 

      The researchers were encouraged by these findings, saying they provide further insight into how consumers feel about autonomous vehicles. They said that their work could impact how new research on this subject is approached in the future. 

      “Autonomous or driverless vehicles are likely to have profound effects on cities,” Dr. Barreto said. “Being able to understand their impact will help to shape how our communities respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

      As the debate over driverless cars continues to rage on, researchers from the University of Adelaide say that the technology could cause more traffic in th...
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