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CES 2014 - Ford's Global VP/Marketing and Sales, Jim Farley, had some scary news to share during the Consumer Electronics Show. He talked during a panel about data privacy at CES.
The exec said that thanks to the GPS units installed into Ford's vehicles, the carmaker knows when you're speeding, and where you are when you're doing it. Farley was describing just how much data the company had on its customers, trying to point out that the company uses very little of it, so that he didn't trip privacy meters in customers' heads.
He said: "We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone." He did come up with a good defense - something I agree with - that the data might one day be used to anonymously (or not) to help marketers with traffic-related problems.
CES 2014 - Google has confirmed it is working with Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA to open the Open Automotive Alliance, or OAA, which will see the companies collaborating on innovation in the automotive sector.
Patrick Brady, Director of Android Engineering has said: "In this multi-screen world, switching between our different devices should be easy and seamless. Common platforms allow for one connected experience across our phone, tablet and PC, so we get the right information at the right time, no matter what device we're using. But there's still an important device that isn't yet connected as seamlessly to the other screens in our lives - the car."
What this will result in, is better use of in-car controls thanks to the Android OS, with improved hands-free control as a standard, and much more. Brady adds: "Together with our OAA partners, we're working to enable new forms of integration with Android devices, and adapting Android for the car to make driving safer, easier and more enjoyable for everyone. Putting Android in the car will bring drivers apps and services they already know and love, while enabling automakers to more easily deliver cutting-edge technology to their customers."
CES 2014 - Chevrolet has used the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas to show announce its lineup of vehicles will feature 4G LTE through its OnStar infotainment system.
This will provide users with quicker access to the mobile hub's apps and services, compared to the slower 3G connectivity. The new system will feature a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, so that passengers' devices can connect to a single Wi-Fi hotspot. Mary Chan, President of GM's Global Connected Consumer Department, said in a press release:
We know that our customers rely on being connected on a daily, if not hourly basis, and they expect to be provided with the information and content they desire with no interruptions. A 4G LTE hotspot that's built into a car's architecture will provide a more consistent and powerful Wi-Fi connection than a smartphone.
The new 4G LTE connectivity will be featured in many of Chevrolet's 2015 models, including the Corvette, Impala, Malibu, and Volt. Other models will also feature the faster Internet connectivity, too: Equinox, Silverado, Silverado HD, Spark and Spark EV.
With in-vehicle technology growing at a faster pace than ever before, manufacturers are racing to beat each other to the next big thing. Audi is said to be teaming up with Google to develop the next-generation in-car system that will be based on Android and will control everything from vehicle information to entertainment and more.
The new Android-based system is said to deliver similar functionality of smartphones or tablets, with emphasis on Audi's "Infotainment" initiative. The new system is said to heavily utilize voice commands, and will feature everything from voice controlled navigation, to radio station selection. Google and Audi will develop, improve and implement the in many models over the next five years, but no further details were released about which models will get the new system.
If there's one thing that Tesla Motors needs to break out into the mainstream, it's a cheaper electric car. Well, according to the Los Angeles Times, this is what we should be expecting to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2015.
The car would be named the Model E, and would be priced at around the $40,000 price range, making it more accessible to more people. We should also expect the dual-motor, all-wheel drive Model X crossover, which should be priced somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000, which should launch sometime in the second half of 2014.
McLaren's Chief Designer, Frank Stephenson, has teased that a new system will be placed in McLaren's new vehicles, which will replace the ageing windshield wipers with some next-gen wipers.
The new wipers use ultrasound to send 30kHz waves across the vehicle's windshield, which would keep it clear from any debris, even those tiny insect remains that build up on your windshield, even after you've used the wipers over and over. The way it works is by creating a force field that stops rain, snow and insects from even touching the windshield itself.
If McLaren can get this technology working as it has said, I'm sure we'll see most other car makers using McLaren's patent and rolling the technology across vehicles all around the world starting ASAP.
If a drone is flying high in the sky above you, they can be hard to spot, but when you do see it, it looks like a drone. This might not be the case in another 5-10 years, with the US Army finding a solution to this: making the drones, look like birds.
Enter Maveric, which features a bird-like profile, with flexible wings. The drone is made from composite metal, and can fly at heights of 25,000 feet, scooting along at 20-65 mph. Derek Lyons, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Prioria Robotics, said: "There was a Special Operations requirement for a plane that had a natural, biological look - it wasn't supposed to look DoD-ish."
Prioria Robotics won a $4.5 million contract from the US Army's Rapid Equipping Force to make 36 of the bird-like drones for an urgent, undisclosed need. Earlier this month, training to use the Maveric began at the Joint Special Operations Task Force, with full-equipped delivery expected this month. One of the major benefits of Maveric is that it weighs just 2.5 pounds, and is capable of being contained in a 6-inch tube.
It looks like The Pentagon wants to have total and utter air superiority (because, you know, the US doesn't already have some of the best military technology known to man) by adding high-powered lasers to its fleet of fighter jets.
The US Air Force has put in a request for information document with the Federal Business Opportunities website, which points to the Department of Defense being interested in getting its hands on weaponry that would be used on next-gen aircraft, years down the road in anti-access and area denial, or A2/AD, environments in order to safeguard particular interests.
The request states: "The Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is requesting information describing concepts for airborne laser systems for future air dominance platforms. The emphasis of this effort is to identify potential laser systems that could be integrated into a platform that will provide air dominance in the 2030+ highly contested Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) environment."
Tesla Motors' founder and CEO, Elon Musk, believes that his company will be able to produce autonomous, self-driving cars within 3 years. This is not speculation, this is something that he has said is currently in development.
Musk, when talking to the Financial Times, said: "We should be able to do 90 per cent of miles driven within three years. My opinion is it's a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars. It's incredibly hard to get the last few per cent." If Tesla Motors can do this, they will beat Volvo and Google to the self-driving car punch, with the Mountain View-based search giant finding it hard to secure a partner for its driverless technology.
Tesla will be offering a vehicle that would allow drivers to flick an "auto-pilot" switch, which would let the car drive itself. I think that this is a great idea, and it would stop a lot of the unnecessary deaths on roads around the world. I'm sure we would see breathalyzers installed, so you could drive to the pub, or to a friends place, enjoy your drinks, and be driven home in complete safety. The taxi industry on the other hand? Well, Johnny Cab's seemed to be popular in Total Recall...
Even with the issues that some of its Model S electric vehicles are going through, Tesla Motors are pushing through with some new ideas. CEO Elon Musk has said that the company is planning to make a pickup truck.
Tesla Motors' pickup truck would be similar to that of Ford's F-Series pickup truck, with the F-150 pickup truck being the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the US, so you can see Tesla's motivation. The news comes from Musk's discussion during Business Insider's IGNITION event in New York yesterday. He talked about the pickup truck in a post-interview Q&A, after he was asked if his company would make a fleet truck for companies like FedEx and UPS.
He replied, saying that Tesla is currently in the planning stages of the truck, not in the commercial stages, because the market opportunity for commercial trucks is smaller. Musk said that the Tesla pickup truck would be designed with the F-150 as inspiration, because it is just so popular.