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Technology in Vehicles Posts - Page 1

Google's self-driving car will speed when traffic around you speeds up

During a recent interview with Reuters, Google's Lead Software Engineer Dmitri Dolgov said that Google's self-driving car is programmed to sit within the speed limits of the roads, most of the time.

 

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However, if traffic around your autonomous car is speeding, your self-driving car will go up to 10 mph above the legal speed limit to keep up with the traffic around you. This is a double-edged sword, as the self-driving car removes human error, so even while speeding, it is picking up every single detail of the road - the speed and varying distance of the other cars around you, other objects, and would slow down and avoid accidents, even when speeding - better than most drivers.

 

What happens when you get a speeding fine, though? Who is at fault if you have an unavoidable accident while your self-driving car was speeding on your behalf? Would you drive a self-driving vehicle if you knew it was going to be speeding at times?

California continues to promote electric-vehicle charging stations

Drivers are used to seeing gas pumps, but California, the No. 1 electric-vehicle market globally, is seeing a wider expansion of electric vehicle charging stations. EV owners are able to recharge their vehicles at home, but there are a number of free charging stations being installed - and helping woo a growing number of car buyers to consider purchase electric vehicles.

 

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Not surprisingly, most of the charging stations can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, but are increasing in number in more rural areas. The state currently has more than 1,840 charging stations statewide, and that figure is only increasing.

 

"To put it in perspective, I sold 10 (Leafs) last month but the numbers out of the Bay Area are much higher," said John Driebe, Nissan car dealer in Elk Grove near Sacramento, California. "I'm seeing (monthly dealership) sales of 60, 70 and 74 at those dealerships. With the population density and the all high-tech people working in the Bay Area, it's crazy how many they're selling there."

Driverless cars to hit public British roads in early 2015

Driverless cars should be on public roads in Britain by January 2015, according to an official announcement made by the UK's business secretary Vince Cable.

 

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Three cities will be selected by the Technology Strategy Board to trial the autonomous vehicles, lasting up to 36 months. Meanwhile, Britain's government is making 10 million pounds - or 17 million dollars - available as an official fund for research in the sector, made possible by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport. Additionally, research institutions will be able to apply for a chunk of the money.

 

"The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as pioneers in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects," business secretary Vince Cable said. "Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society."

Tesla Model S owner? Control your car through an Android Wear app

If you own one of Tesla Motors' Model S cars, you can control your electric vehicle with the new Tesla Command app that is available for Android Wear. Right now, the app has basic options, but it'll soon feature more.

 

 

The Tesla Command app for Android Wear allows Model S owners to lock and unlock their doors, open and close the sunroof, and it allow you to honk the horn, if that's what you want to do from your wrist. In order to get it working, you'll need to log in to Tesla online services, but once you're there you can do everything the app offers, all from your wrist.

 

You can gran Tesla Command for Android Wear from the Google Play store.

Continue reading 'Tesla Model S owner? Control your car through an Android Wear app' (full post)

Daimler self-driving truck demoed in Germany

Self-driving trucks and cars are in the works from a bunch of different manufacturers and other firms like Google. In Germany, a new self-driving truck was demoed recently by Daimler. The truck is able to drive itself down the road with the driver behind the wheel doing nothing but looking at a tablet in his lap.

 

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The truck was tested on the A14 along a stretch of the autobahn near Magdeburg in eastern Germany last week. The trucks is known as the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, that year in the name is a nod to when the maker hopes to have the truck available for commercial use.

 

The vehicle is designed to respond to traffic and drive autonomously down the freeway at speeds of up to 85 kph or 52 mph. Right now only one prototype of the truck exists and no pricing information has been offered for what the truck might cost when it goes into commercial production. Self-driving vehicle tech is expected to add around $10,000 to the purchase price of a vehicle.

Audi vehicles to get Apple CarPlay starting in 2015

Audi has announced that it and Apple will be working together to integrate Apple CarPlay into vehicles starting in 2015. Audi buyers that purchase a car next year in Europe will get CarPlay integration. North American fans of Audi vehicles will have to wait until early 2016 to be able to purchase a vehicle with CarPlay integration.

 

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Audi isn't alone in working to bring Apple CarPlay integration to its vehicles, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Volvo will also be offering CarPlay as well. Audi has been on the confirmed on the participating list for CarPlay for a while, but this is the first word on when cars with the service will hit the roads around the world.

 

Audi plans to integrate its own controls and touch system into CarPlay to make it less distracting to drivers. Audi drivers will also be able to use Siri via Audi dial, touch, and voice control systems.

Chinese Tesla Model S customer wrecks brand new vehicle in protest

Delays in getting the Tesla Model S into the Chinese market lead to one disgruntled customer smashing in the front of his brand new car with a wrench.

 

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Yu Xinquan in China wrecked his new vehicle as a "protest against the company," he said. "Tesla's arrogance made me angry." A video of Mr Yu began going viral on Friday, and is just the latest of his protests against the company. Earlier he led other customers to protest against delayed deliveries on 21 April, a day before Tesla planned its first China delivery.

 

At the time, Tesla's Elon Musk apologized and said he'd ensure the cars would start being manufactured. But Yu, himself an e-commerce entrepreneur, claimed the company still hadn't delivered on its promises, and he claims he was misled about availability when he first ordered the vehicle. "I feel like I just married a woman who has been married before," Yu said, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the response on social media has been mixed.

Google announces Android Auto, features Google Now-like homescreen

Google I/O 2014 - Google has just announced what we've all been waiting for, Android Auto. Android Auto has seen Google "redesign the Android platform for automotive". Android Auto does pretty much everything, with navigation, communication and music being "front and center".

 

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Android Auto is "contextually aware" and is of course, voice-enabled. An Android-powered smartphone can "cast" up onto the Android Auto screen, and is also compatible with steering wheel buttons, dials, and more. Android Auto features five tabs, from left-to-right we have: navigation, phone, Home, Music and an as-yet unidentified tab.

 

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Continue reading 'Google announces Android Auto, features Google Now-like homescreen' (full post)

University library to open drone rental scheme

The University of South Florida is setting up a drone rental scheme that will allow students to borrow a UAV from their college.

 

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Two DJI Phantom 2 Vision drones will be available for students to borrow, and the University expects they will be popular for a variety of reasons. For example, those studying architecture will be able to aerially check out buildings instead of having to use more traditional methods. "I see us working with all kinds of departments," director of academic services, Nancy Cunningham, said.

 

Any prospective pilots will have to take a course in safely operating the drones, and each time they are used staff will be on hand to make sure things go smoothly. The scheme will run from Fall 2014 at the Tampa campus library. It's the latest technological upgrade to the university, which installed a smart lab at the library in 2013.

Cruise Automation system makes Audi A4 and S4 cars autonomous

When it comes to autonomous vehicles that can drive themselves, Google is the name that many think of. Google isn't the only major company working in the autonomous car market though. A company called Cruise is now taking pre-orders for a product called the RP-1 that will turn two Audi car models into self-driving cars. The RP-1 product works with the Audi A4 and S4 cars.

 

 

Cruise will begin to put the RP-1 on cars early next year with pre-orders underway right now for the first 50 RP-1 units. Cruise is working on making its self-driving tech compatible with other cars, with the product dubbed a highway autopilot.

 

Once the driver is in a lane on the highway, they can press a button and the RP-1 system will take over control of the accelerator, brake pedals, and steering. The system can be turned off easily if the driver takes over the steering wheel or taps the throttle pedal. The Cruise RP-1 accessory costs $10,000 and straps to the roof of the car.

Continue reading 'Cruise Automation system makes Audi A4 and S4 cars autonomous' (full post)

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