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Volvo is talking about some of what it will be showing off at the Geneva Auto Show next month. Along with concept cars and production vehicles, the automaker will also be showing off its new in-car experience. As you might expect the new in-car experience will be touch focused.
The system will use a large portrait mode touchscreen in the center of the dash. That touchscreen will have sections that display different content like navigation, audio, and others. At the bottom of the screen are the controls for climate.
Using a touch system while driving is often not ideal for the driver, I wonder how Volvo is going to get around that. Just ask anyone that has used the Ford touch system and left unhappy. The touchscreen also interacts with the slick digital instrument cluster in the dash. Each of the tile stacks on the screen has a thin band that tells what it is.
Ford has been using its tiny 1.0L EcoBoost engine for a long time under the hood of cars in Europe. That 1.0L engine is a 3-cylinder unit with twin turbochargers that sips fuel while producing the same power numbers as a larger 4-cylinder unit.
The Ford Focus has been able to be purchased with that 1.0L EcoBoost in Europe for a long time. Ford has announced that with the all-new 2015 Focus, buyers in the US will also be able to choose the 1.0L EcoBoost power. Ford promises that the engine will raise the bar in fuel efficiency for the Focus.
The 2015 model is all new and uses the Ford familiar resemblance that all recent Ford cards use. Namely, the front end will have similarly shaped headlights and grille. Think of the Fiesta, but a bit larger.
BMW is hard at work producing wheels that may eventually replace alloy wheels in performance and fuel-efficient automobiles. The more weight you can remove from a car, the better its performance will be and the better the fuel economy will be. Weight reduction is particularly important in the EV and hybrid realm where less weight means longer driving distance.
BMW working on building a new generation of carbon fiber wheels for its cars. Typically working in carbon fiber is very expensive. BMW is getting around much of the expense by using production cast off material from the i3 and i8 projects, which use carbon fiber in their builds.
Carbon fiber is a good material for making wheels. Carbon fiber wheels are about 30% lighter than aluminum and 50% lighter than steel. BMW is actively looking for more places to use the patents it has in carbon fiber processes. It is also looking at making a full carbon fiber steering wheel, a carbon fiber drive shaft for the X5, and a carbon fiber and plastic compound that is strong and light.
Volvo is a name that usually brings to mind safe, if rather boring cars and SUVs. Volvo has announced that it will be on hand at Mobile World Congress in Spain to show off its new delivery service. That new delivery service is called Roam Delivery.
The idea is that the Roam Delivery service will allow owners of Volvo cars to accept deliveries and drop packages off for pickup directly from their car. The service will use Volvo digital keys and allows the owner of the car to choose their vehicle as the drop off or pick up location. When the order is ready to be delivered, the owner of the car will get a message via text.
The digital key will allow the delivery person access to the vehicle where they can leave what you ordered or pick things up to ship them off. The owner of the car is notified when the car is opened and when it is closed again. The digital key is a onetime use item and ceases to function after the car is closed.
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show early next month, one of the most interesting concept cars will be shown off by Rinspeed. We will see Tesla Motors' Model S electric car turned into a "living room on wheels".
The concept car is a self-driving car that will also feature a 32-inch 4K monitor and reclining seats for the ultimate in luxury. It gets better, folks: a built-in espresso machine will have you wide-eyed in your luxury autonomous car, and if you're using it for work, the car's "Business-to-Car" platform will make sure you have access to everything you need online, while you're hands aren't on the wheel at all.
Rinspeed, if you're reading this, e-mail me and I'll provide you my shipping details for one of these concept cars.
The $80 million S-512 aircraft from Spike Aerospace will take flight in December of 2018, with the company's very first supersonic private jet specializing in one area: it will have no windows - instead, it will feature a massive live-streaming screen.
Spike Aerospace will be using the latest video recording, live-streaming, and display technology in order to replace the windows with massive, high-definition screens. The exterior of the new supersonic private jet will feature tiny camera that will blast footage back into the cabin, where thin, curved displays lining the interior will show footage from the outside of the jet.
Windows in passenger planes require massive engineering workarounds, something that this new 8-figure aircraft will not require. Spike founder Vik Kachoria, talked with WIRED, where he said: "A few advisers and friends are concerned that there are no windows. But I think that if you give them the screens and give them the visibility, you might be able to get away from that".
Yesterday we posted a news story about a top-secret meeting between Elon Musk and Apple executives, that sparked many rumors about Apple's possible acquisition Tesla Motors, but today a little more light has been shed on the meeting and its topic. Sources tell TweakTown that the meeting was not about an acquisition, but rather a partnership to bring a new-age battery manufacturing facility to the US.
It's no secret that Tesla has been spending millions on new battery research to ultimately invent a new battery to power its Model S and upcoming Model X vehicles, and it appears as if that research is close to paying off. Sources tell us that the recent meeting between Tesla Motors and Apple were to discuss a partnership that would build a next-generation battery manufacturing facility right here in the USA. Not much is known about the type of batteries that may be manufactured, but chances are good that it is based on Lithium technology.
Lockheed Martin has fired the highest powered laser ever tested, with its new 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser. The record-breaking power output was reached by combining many fiber lasers into a single, near-perfect quality beam of light.
This is called Spectrum Beam Combining, which sends beams from multiple fiber laser modules, which each have their own unique wavelength. Combining them all into one super-powerful, high-quality beam. Dr. Ray O. Johnson, Senior VP and CTO of Lockheed Martin says: "Lockheed Martin has opened the aperture for high power, electrically driven laser systems suitable for military applications. Advancements in available laser components, along with the maturity and quality of our innovative beam-combining technology, support our goal of providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for use on military platforms such as aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks".
The company is aiming for a portable laser solution, with this being a step in that direction. Lockheed Martin received funding from the US Army, which is also working on laser mounted weapons with Boeing.
European Union police officials want the ability to disable a car's engine remotely, from a central control facility. This feature is already available and deployed into some vehicles, such as GM's "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown" service on its 2009 and newer OnStar-featured vehicles.
The EU effort wants to see a standardized, mandated system that would allow police to control cars directly, skipping the car companies having control. The Telegraph is reporting the news, where it suggests that if it is pushed through the EU, we could see it rolled out before 2020. One member of British parliament has been against it, saying that "the price we pay for surrendering our democratic sovereignty is that we are governed by an unaccountable secretive clique".
The Telegraph has its hands on some documents suggesting the technology hasn't been developed yet, but with multiple big name automotive makers developing it on their own, it is only a matter of time.
Automaker Ford is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to aid in development of new cars, including vehicle color, materials, design, and possible modifications. Ford reportedly is using three systems in Detroit, and plans to expand the next-generation engineering platform to new facilities in the near future.
Working inside a 3D program, engineers are able to visualize vehicles while manipulating the environment to make improvements. Ford worked with Vicon, a company specializing in motion-capture technology, which captures engineer position and orientation from installed motion-capture video recorders.
Each system has an estimated cost of about $30,000, making it a fairly affordable design platform that has great potential for Ford - and other automakers will certainly follow Ford's progress.
The Oculus Rift Dev Kit has become popular with immersive driving simulators, as it provides gamers with a unique driving experience. It makes sense auto makers are interested in using the same technology to design prototypes.