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Next year is going to be a big year for both the automotive market, and more specifically, Toyota. The Japanese giant will be offering up a new hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle in 2015.
The new car will be a mid-sized saloon, something the company compares to its current Avensis, and will feature a high-density fuel stack that will be capable of 500 miles from a single tank of fuel. But, according to Toyota's European President Didier Leroy, fuel cell technology will take a while to become common: "To help that happen we will bring a reasonable number of cars to Europe. The volume will be limited, but they will be visible on the streets".
Toyota has teamed up with BMW to boost its fuel cell research and development, where Toyota Europe's second in command saying the company would pioneer the technology, pointing to Toyota's position in the widespread adoption of hybrid drivetrains. He said: "There is of course a long way to go, as with any game-changing technology, but remember the same was said about hybrid only 10 years ago. Toyota is ready to back and lead this change, so we will be pioneering fuel cell step-by-step".
He continued, saying that hydrogen fuel is easy to store, and that it's better at capturing renewable energies than batteries, and that it can be produced anywhere. He finished with: "Taking these facts into account reinforces how Toyota is convinced fuel cell can deliver our ultimate goal of zero emissions and sustainable transport".
Pioneer has announced that it will be among the first car audio names to bring support for Apple CarPlay to the aftermarket. Rather than having to buy a new car stereo to get CarPlay support, some existing Apple receivers will get CarPlay support via a firmware update. The updated firmware will be offered for five of the 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers.
All five of those receivers have large LCD screens. CarPlay will add Siri voice control to the mix to let the driver use their phone while keeping eyes on the road. The five models that support CarPlay include the AVIC-8000NEX, 7000NEX, 6000NEX, 5000NEX, and 4000NEX.
It looks like the US Navy could be using converted seawater as its next-generation, super-powerful jet fuel. Experts have been working on the idea for over ten years, where it could actually become commercially viable within the next decade.
Researchers are currently showing off the technique using a model plane, with the tech working by pulling carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water using a catalytic converter. These gases are then turned into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel that could eventually power planes, and ships. Vice Admiral Philip Cullom has said: "We don't necessarily go to a gas station to get our fuel. Our gas station comes to us in terms of an oiler, a replenishment ship".
Cullom continued: "Developing a game-changing technology like this, seawater to fuel, really is something that reinvents a lot of the way we can do business".
Alpine has announced that it will be launching the aftermarket's first CarPlay unit for cars this fall. Alpine is calling the CarPlay device a console, not a car stereo. I'm not sure what that means, presumably it will have car stereo functionality like CD player and an FM tuner.
Specifications and features are unconfirmed at this time. The Alpine CarPlay console will reportedly sell for $500 to $700 without installation fees figured in. The device will be the first aftermarket way to add CarPlay support to your car. Some new cars from GM, Ford, and other automakers are expected to come from the factory with CarPlay support this year.
Having goods delivered to me by drone sounds like some technological dream, but Amazon has teased it quite a bit over the last few months with its awesome Prime Air service.
During a letter last year to Amazon's shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos said that the delivery drone's are in fact real, and are in production. Bezos said: "The Prime Air team is already flight testing our 5th and 6th generation aerial vehicles, and we are in the design phase on generations 7 and 8". It looks like we're one step closer to drone-delivered goods from Amazon.
Land Rover is showing off one of the coolest concept technologies I've seen in a car recently. The tech is called invisible bonnet, bonnet being a hood for those of us in the US. The tech uses a camera in the front of the Land Rover that shoots data to some sort of HUD inside the car.
The result is what appears to be an invisible hood that allows the driver to see through the car to get a look at what is under the vehicle. This could be a great feature to keep Land Rover drivers from getting stuck when off-roading. If you have ever driven off road, you know just because an obstacle makes it past the bumper doesn't mean it will make it past all the hardware under the car.
Land Rover will be showing the new invisible bonnet tech off at the New York International Motors Show. The tech is pure concept right now and there is no word of it coming to a production vehicle. In addition to seeing the surface under the car, the tech will also show the driver the position of the wheels and their angle.
During the Endure Baravia Triathlon in Western Australia, a camera drone was hacked, and then flown into the ground - but before it hit the ground, it reportedly struck an athlete. Some reports have said that the drone crashed near her, and she fell after becoming "startled" by the crashing drone.
Just how was it hacked? The operator of the drone, New Era Photography and Film's Warren Abrams, said that someone had intentionally "channel hopped" the drone, which took control of it, and caused the drone to crash into the ground from the skies above. The bigger issue at hand, is that Abrams' company didn't have the certification to be commercially covering the race in the first place.
Microsoft is really on a path to change, with the latest rumor that it is working on its own in-car entertainment system, something called Windows in the Car. It all starts with a connectivity standard dubbed Mirrorlink.
Nokia's Symbian-powered handsets and Sony's Xperia Z line of devices use the technology, but some of the big car companies like Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen are working on using the tech, as well as aftermarket stereo providers like Alpine and Pioneer. The companies want to use Mirrorlink, are are working on baking it into their respective devices.
When it comes to the interface of the current prototype from Microsoft, it looks like a cut down version of Windows 8, even accompanied by its own app marketplace. Touch capabilities are of course a big part of Windows in the Car, where users can swipe between tiles to control things such as the radio, maps and much more.
Viper is a company that has been making car alarms for years. It has announced a new device called the Viper SmartKey that makes keyless entry truly keyless. The SmartKey system creates a wireless perimeter around the car that responds to your smartphone without having to press any buttons or open an app.
You do need a Viper security or remote start system for the SmartKey to work. The company says SmartKey is compatible with all Viper alarm systems. The SmartKey system itself sells for $149.99. Once installed, the system will lock or unlock the doors without you having to do anything.
All you need to do is have the smartphone on you. SmartKey will unlock the car and turn on the alarm when you approach the car without you doing anything. When you walk away from the car, it will automatically lock and arm the alarm system.
An owner of a Tesla Model S was recently fiddling about with his car after discovering a hidden Ethernet port inside the vehicle. He cobbled together some sort of Ethernet cable and set about sniffing the car's network for fun.
The owner found that the car has a 100 Mbps full duplex Ethernet network with three devices on it. The addresses on the network are in the 192.168.90.0 subnet and includes the center console, dashboard/nav screen and another unknown device.
He found that some of the ports and services were open and that Port 80 was being used to serve a webpage with the image or media for the current song being played. He also notes that the OS is a modified version of Ubuntu.