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Technology in Vehicles Posts - Page 15

Google's self-driving cars pass learners test, have logged over 300,000 test miles without an accident

Imagine a self-driving car, want to go on that long drive but don't want to sit behind the wheel and concentrate for 8 hours straight? Well, the future is self-driving cars, and search, mobile OS and cloud giant, Google, with their self-driving car project has been a success.


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The self-driving car project has hit the milestone of 300,000 test miles without an accident. The cars have been spotted in Mountain View around the Google Plex, on highways, and more. Too bad I live in one of the smallest states of Australia, I'd laugh if I saw one of these on the road, but feel jealous all at the same time. Google have talked about the self-driving project, where they've said:


Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They've covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn't been a single accident under computer control.

Continue reading 'Google's self-driving cars pass learners test, have logged over 300,000 test miles without an accident' (full post)

Qualcomm jumps in for a ride with Renault, will trial wireless electric car charging

Qualcomm have found a new partnership with French carmaker Renault, where the two companies will begin field trial of its revolutionary wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) technology.


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If the trial is successful, it could eventually lead to a wider adopton of all-electric vehicles, as well as other potential uses in many different markets. Drawbacks in the way of widespread charging stations have really stopped this type of technology from impacting our day-to-day lives, or making it into vehicles in bigger numbers, but it looks like WEVC could change all of this.


Qualcomm's technology uses a concept involving inductive power transfer from tow coils tuned to create a magnetic field to "move" the power from one location to another. In order for the vehicle to be wirelessly charged, it requires a charging mat that gets embedded in the ground, and a receiver to be installed on the underside of the vehicle.

Continue reading 'Qualcomm jumps in for a ride with Renault, will trial wireless electric car charging' (full post)

Qantas set to offer iPads to passengers as in-flight entertainment

Australian airline Qantas are set to provide Apple iPads to use as in-flight entertainment, the move follows a successful test run from late-2011. Qantas would put iPads in their entire Qantas 767 fleet starting from Q4 this year, starting on flights based on Australia's east-coast routes.


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Qantas have 23 Boeing 767-300 aircraft, meaning the company is looking at providing at least 5,000 iPads, without including units for spare tablets in case of one malfunctioning. The in-flight content is set to be provided by Panasonic's eXW solution dubbed Qstreaming. Qstreaming uses an onboard server to stream over 200 hours of on-demand entertainment to the iPads via strategically placed Wi-Fi access points.


Part of the test run late last year included the suggestion that Qantas would allow customers to use their own iPads with the service, but the company is still assessing whether or not to allow the option. I don't see why they should hold back, just allow them to download the app itself onto their iPad.

Continue reading 'Qantas set to offer iPads to passengers as in-flight entertainment' (full post)

Boeing 787 Dreamliners to soon receive Android-based entertainment systems

Considering Android is mostly on smart devices such as smartphones and tablets, it does get baked into all sorts of different devices. But, this news is somewhat different. The next device to see Android get its OS is in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jets.


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Two models are destined to be fitted, the first is Panasonic's eX3, and the Thales TopSeries Avant. Details on the Thales model were unveiled alongside a demonstration at the Farnborough International Airshow just recently.


The TopSeries Avant model will sport 10- and 17-inch versions, but there's no details on the display type, nor the resolution. Performance-wise, we should find a dual-core, ARM-based processor rocking inside, backed up by 1GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. The central server will feature 32 cores in either an Intel Xeon, or AMD Opteron-based processor, 128GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage.

Continue reading 'Boeing 787 Dreamliners to soon receive Android-based entertainment systems' (full post)

Micro drones in the future could be scarily small

We know that the US government, and many others, use drones for 'security' purposes, but mostly for spying and intel gathering activities. But, even at the size they are now, they can't really be seen all that well to the unsuspecting eye.


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What if they could get small enough to fly right next to you without you even noticing? Surely, I jest. But, it's no lie, or trick. Vanessa Alarcon was a college student when she attended a 2007 anti-war protest in Washington, D.C. and heard someone shout "Oh my God, look at those". Alarcon told The Washington Post:


I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.


There was a lawyer at the protest at the time who confirmed they did look like dragonflies, but that they "definitely weren't insects". Back in 2006, Flight International reported that the CIA had been developing micro UAV's all the way back in the 1970's, and even had a mock-up in their Langley headquarters since 2003.

Continue reading 'Micro drones in the future could be scarily small' (full post)

FedEx convert some of their delivery vans to the electric side of things

Loved the purr of the FedEx vans just as you were about to get that heavily-anticipated delivery? Well, if you're based in Washington, D.C., you might miss out on the sound of the old FedEx trucks, as the company has just upgraded two of them to electrically-driven motors.


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FedEx are working with gas-to-EV converters, Amp, with two of them already getting the switch, and if the initial testing goes well, the company could upgrade a further 9,000 vans. Amp Electric Vehicles identified fleets such as FedEx's are perfect candidates for the conversion thanks to the shorter daily range requirements, and usual poor gas mileage.


Considering the amount of deliveries FedEx would do each and every day, this is a great step toward a greener company, and a greener Earth. Tom Hanks would be proud, as would Wilson.

Ford is driving toward a more interconnected future

Computex 2012 - We've just finished with the Ford press conference where they've unveiled their Evos concept car, which is fully Internet-connected and intertwined with the cloud. It's also powered by Microsoft's SYNC technology which can do more things than you can poke a stick at.


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Ford is committed to be an electronic leader and working with Microsoft in the new Ford Focus. The new Focus features Sync powered by Microsoft, with better fuel economy, newer design safety features and interiors. Sync connects the car with the driver's personal devices and controls those devices via voice. So far Sync is powered in 4 million units all around the world now it will be available in Taiwan with traditional Chinese and Mandarin language support. Ford hope to see this number increase to 9 million by 2015.


Ford is also introducing App Link that controls apps in drivers personal devices and lets the driver control the device via voice.


Ford Evos concept car features cloud computing give a boost to driver's experience and performance with devices powered by iOS, Android and Blackberry- anything between tuning in radio to syncing with your clock, meeting schedule, getting a new shortcut tagged by your friends, tagging your car's present location and also mapping direction to your Facebook profile's events.


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Continue reading 'Ford is driving toward a more interconnected future' (full post)

Self-driving cars hit the highways of Europe

The future is here, nearly. After Google's try at an autonomous car driving the streets of Las Vegas, Volvo have done something even more impressive. Volvo were impressive in the way that they platooned three cars behind a lorry for 200 kilometers on a busy Spanish motorway.


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Don't know what platoon means outside of a first-person shooter like Battlefield 3? The term "platooning" means, in effect, queueing cars behind e ach other with a lead car as a pace setter. The technique is also known as road-training.


It involved several research partners alongside Volvo, with the latest version of the project codenamed SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment). The first public road test for the SARTRE took to the roads outside of Barcelona, Spain at the end of last week. The cars travelled at 85 kilometers per hour (roughly 52 miles per hour) at varying distances from each other.

Continue reading 'Self-driving cars hit the highways of Europe' (full post)

Nuance shows off Dragon Drive, Siri like concept for your car

Voice control is gaining momentum everywhere thanks to Apple's Siri: Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S III is going to feature a Siri alternative. Google has voice search. Now, Nuance, the people behind the Dragon software, is showcasing a new technology to allow for natural language processing. Nuance technology is already seen in Ford's Sync and My Ford Touch.


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The current Nuance system recognizes about 10,000 voice commands, but can't cope with anything outside of that pre-programmed library. The new technology being showcased is called Dragon Drive and will use Nuance's cloud-based servers to allow natural language processing, similar to how Apple's Siri works.


The technology is moving forward slowly and starting with an SMS service. The SMS service will allow users to send and receive text messages. As more people get used to the technology and the technology advances, Nuance will bring the technology to services like navigation, traffic updates and music playback.


Dragon Drive is said to do some of the processing locally and some in the cloud as opposed to Apple's Siri. This, combined with Nuance's multiple telco grad facilities worldwide, is said to alleviate any latency that was present with Siri. Mike Thompson, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance Mobile says that models should hit the showroom floors sometime this summer.

GE releases WattStation Connect software to let you charge your neighbor's car and wallet

Electric cars and the charging stations needed to charge them aren't cheap and aren't widely available. It's kind of the same situation as the chicken vs the egg. Which came first? The electric car industry is in a similar place--to sell electric vehicles, there need to be charging stations, to put in charging stations, a business has to make money and have customers.


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This is where GE's new WattStation Connect software comes into play. The new software will allow users who own a WattStation charger to charge other people money to charge up their car. Charges can be assessed by the hour, per kilowatt hour, or even a flat fee. Additionally, companies can allow their employees to charge for free while charging other people.


The software also allows owners to broadcast the location of the EV charging station to entice more "customers." GE is pairing the service with PayPal which will be used to process the payments for charging. Unfortunately, since the charger is a level 2 charger, most vehicles will need to be parked for several hours, so I'm not too sure how keen people will be to have strangers parked in their drive for that long.

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