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If you are a fan of outrageous exotic sports cars, you will be familiar with the Lamborghini name. Lamborghini has been making some of the coolest high performance cars since the 60's and its latest offering is a replacement for the Gallardo called the Huracan. The car is all-new and has a very slick digital dashboard.
The digital dash inside the car replaces old-fashioned analog gauges and is powered by NVIDIA. The digital dash uses a 12.3-inch TFT display offering a resolution of 1440 x 540. The graphics for that dash are powered by a Tegra 30 chip from the Tegra 3 series.
The digital muscle behind the dash lets the virtual tachometer work at 60 fps so it can keep up with the engine without causing difficult to read lag. The digital dash can be configured to show what the driver wants to see with three modes. The Full Drive mode offers an analog style tachometer with smaller displays for fuel level, temperature and a digital speedo. Mixed mode frees up half that display for a navigation screen.
Today, Apple officially made an announcement about its brand new iOS specifically made for cars- CarPlay. The company first talked about its car iOS version during the developer conference last year and the cars with this Car specific iOS integration will be shown in an auto show at Geneva. For such project, it was important for Apple, Inc to sign up manufacturers so that the companies can incorporate the suitable hardware/interface setup for the in-car touch panel on the dashboard.
Via a statement, Apple VP Greg Joswiak said,"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car. IPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."
Mercedes-Benz has recently put up a job listing for a 'software engineer' who require help to 'seamlessly integrate' Google's upcoming in-car system called 'Google Projected Mode'.
The German car maker said in a job advert that it would require to integrate android smartphones in the car's dashboard's head unit. The unit would most likely have a larger than smartphone display and would probably have a simplified version of Android UI. Google did use the word 'projected' but its difficult to speculate what does the company has in mind.
Apple teased that iOS in the Car was something that was "very important" to the company, and a new product its ecosystem, like iTunes, or Siri. Well the time has come for it to be launched, if the latest reports are to be believed.
The Financial Times is reporting that Apple will unveil formal car integration deals with some of the biggest names in the industry: Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The system still requires an iPad or iPhone in the car to work, so it's not something that is leaps and bounds for Apple, as it would probably like people to expect.
A few weeks back the internet was set ablaze with speculation and rumors after Elon Musk met with Apple's executives, and while everyone else was hung up on acquisition rumors, I reported that the talks were more than likely about investing in a new battery manufacturing facility. A little over a week later, my suspicions were confirmed when Elon Musk announced what is to be the world's largest battery factory.
Musk says that Tesla will build the largest battery manufacturing facility ever with the help of investments from others totaling $5 billion of which $2 billion Tesla will invest itself. Musk's goal for the new "Gigafactory" is to have the 10 million square foot facility producing more batteries annually by 2020 than the entire world's current annual production. This would allow Tesla to ramp up its production to the levels of that of Ford, GM and other major manufacturers today.
With Apple one of the largest consumers of Lithium-Ion based batteries in the US, and tons of reserve cash just sitting in banks, it made perfect sense for Tesla to approach the Cupertino-based company as a potential investing partner. With Tesla only looking for $1.6 to $2 billion in extra funds, Apple could easily front the money in exchange for deep discounts, or better battery technology that results from the deal. With battery manufacturing mostly an automated process due to the extreme hazards of the chemicals involved, labor cost would be very low, making the investment even more attractive for Apple.
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.