Category Archives: automotive

Thinkware F800 Dash Cam Wins CES Innovation Award



Dash cams are a big growth market at present and there’s plenty of innovation in the space from both established automotive brands to new tech startups. The team at Thinkware have innovated with the new F800 Air connected dash cam, borrowing ideas from the Internet of Things to make a “smart” dash cam.

To start with, the F800 Air can text emergency contacts when it detects a crash or collision, much like some of the manufacturer units. Obviously the F800 can be installed in any vehicle, not just a new one. Next, the dash cam constantly monitors the vehicle while parked and notifies the owner via text if there’s any untoward movement such as a door being dinged. Finally, upcoming F800 features will support geo-fencing and driver assessment, which is perfect for the parent who wants to loan their vehicle out to son or daughter and check that they’re driving safely.

Thinkware stated, “With the innovative ‘connected car’ technologies, the dash cam will take on an important role in providing both driver convenience and safety and the continued evolution of the capabilities of the dash cam seem boundless with IoT.

The F800 Air looks much more stylish too with the camera housed in an aluminium pod to one side. All this tech and good design means that it is a worthy winner of a CES 2017 Innovation Award in the car audio/video category. The dash cam is in the final stages of development and is expected to be available in 2017, but no price has been confirmed.

If you are at CES this year, the Thinkware F800 is at Sands Expo, LV.2 Booth 42572. Check it out.


Ford’s Pre-Collision Assist Helps You Avoid “Petextrians”



Ford points out that we live in the “Age of Petextrians”.  You might not recognize the word Petextrian, but you have seen them around. Petextrians are distracted walkers. They are the people walking around, staring at their phones (and possibly texting). Petextrians are not watching where they are going, so they risk ending up in dangerous situations.

Ford wants to help you avoid collisions with Petextrians. Ford has created a driver-assist feature called Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. Making its North American debut in the 2017 Ford Fusion, the available Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection can reduce the severity of frontal collisions and, in some cases, avoid them altogether.

Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection uses radar and camera technology to scan the roadway ahead and sounds a warning if there is a risk of collision with a vehicle or pedestrian. If the driver does not respond in time, the system can apply up to a full braking force to help reduce the severity of or even illuminate some frontal collisions. Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection is not a replacement for an alert and aware human behind the wheel.

 


Continental Named as CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree



continental-logoContinental, an international automotive supplier and technology company, announced that it has been named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Vehicle Intelligence category for its Short Range Radar with Trailer Merge Assist and Trailer Length Detection technology.

Continental’s state-of-the-art Short Range Radar with Merge Assist and Trailer Length Detection is a “black box” sensor mounted in the rear/side area of the vehicle. The radar uses intelligent sensing with a new software feature allowing for the blind spot detection to be enhanced and extended by sophisticated object tracking, measurement and length detection algorithms allowing for the extended warning.

This is the first blind spot warning system that allows a driver to enjoy the function without driver input even while towing a trailer. Systems without this feature either disable the warning while towing a trailer or experience unintended or false warnings from the trailer.

The Short Range Radar is just one environmental sensor within Continental’s comprehensive product portfolio of future-oriented advanced drive assistance systems (ADAS). Continental offers ADAS safety products and functions, as well as system solutions for assisted and automated driving including Long Range Radar, Camera, Surround View, High Flash 3-D Lidar and electronic control units.

Visit Continental at CES 2017, Thursday, January 5 through Sunday, January 8, at North Hall Booth #3128. Continental’s Short Range Radar with Trailer Merge Assist and Trailer Length Detection will be displayed at CES 2017.


Choetech 33W USB-C Car Charger Review



Choetech LogoGenerally USB car chargers fall into the dull but essential class of gadgets and with today’s power-hungry smartphones, they’re more essential than ever.  The market’s in a state of transition too, with new USB-C and various fast charging technologies vying for supremacy. On review here is Choetech’s 33W USB-C Car Charger (TC0002), which is a little misleading as the charger not only has USB-C, there’s a USB-A port too which supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. Let’s take a look.

Choetech Car Charger Box

The packaging is minimal with the TC0002 held in a plain cardboard box with the branding on a card slip cover. Inside the box there are only three things; the charger, some instructions and a help sheet. The charger is much as you’d expect with a short barrel for the 12V power socket which them morphs gently into a slightly rectangular face with the two USB ports. The design is pleasing and there’s a small blue LED located between the ports which lights up to show that there’s power. When inserted into the power socket, the charger protrudes by about two  centimetre, perhaps a little less – see the picture below of the charger installed in my car (yes, my car’s a little dusty).

Choetech Car Charger Install

The USB-C socket will supply 5V at 3A, and the USB-A sockets supports the Quick Charge voltages of 5V, 9V and 12V with output currents of (up to) 2.4A, 2.0A and 1.5A respectively. Obviously you need a QC supporting smartphone or tablet to take advantage of the higher charging rates and everything else will use their standard 5V rating.

Choetech Car Charger

I plugged in a range of different devices from a OnePlus 2 to Samsung S6 (which is only QC2) and Nexus tablets. All charged at what I would characterise as their fastest rate and it didn’t seem to matter to the charging whether there was one device or two plugged in.

In summary, the Choetech 33W car charger is the ideal car charger for those who need both USB-A and USB-C charging. The neat and unobtrusive design will fit neatly in most cars, I imagine, and the blue light is handy for locating the sockets in the dark. Currently on Amazon.co.uk for GB£10.99, it’s competitively priced too.

There’s an unboxing video below, but annoyingly there’s a pulsing background noise. Sorry.

Thanks to Choetech for supplying the charger for review.


Ferrari Arrives On Instagram



Ferrari LogoWhen it comes to objects of desire, a Ferrari is close to the top of many a wish list. The gorgeous shapes, the fabulous sound and rich racing history are all part of the aura surrounding the Italian company and the famous prancing horse. It’s perhaps a little surprising then that it’s taken this long for Ferrari to join Instagram and show off the red supercars in all their glory.

Social media isn’t new to Ferrari, with active accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram is the obvious platform for pictures and now, sound. As well as the visual treats, Ferrari have recorded aural delights to get more senses involved. It’s all very current too with the first set of photos fresh from last weekend’s Mille Miglia.

Lined up. #Ferrari #RossoFerrari #MilleMiglia

A photo posted by Ferrari (@ferrari) on

Follow @Ferrari to keep those dreams alive!


Wearable Technology Show 2016



Wearable Technology Show 2016Earlier this week, GNC visited the Wearable Technology Show in London, England, to check out the state of this developing area. Part trade show and part conference, this was very much B2B territory with “I’ll give you a call next week” and “I’ll send through an NDA” being heard on more than one occasion. Although not a big show, covering only two halls at ExCeL, it incorporated IoT Connect and Augumented Reality VR. There was a strong international presence with exhibitors from Spain, Finland and China, and one person commented that he felt this was probably the #4 event after CES, IFA and MWC, which puts it in illustrious company.

Bonnie Binary Embroidered JacketThere was an interesting range of exhibitors from the big names like Samsung and TomTom to small entrepreneurs looking for help to take their products to the next level. Check out this embroidered jacket from Bonnie Binary with lights and controls sewn into the coat.

Jaguar were there showing off the F-PACE, a performance SUV stuffed with technology. Prices start from GB£35,000 but the First Edition model at the show was nearly twice that at £65,000. Jaguar F-PaceIf you’re wondering how this ties in with wearables, the car comes with a waterproof “activity key” wristband that replaces a traditional key fob. The car can also detect when the driver is tired and suggests taking a break. Stunning looking car.

Infi-tex Pressure Sensing ClothSmart fabrics were much in evidence too. With perhaps the longest track record in the industry, Infi-tex had a cloth that could do multipoint pressure sensing. See how the peaks correspond with the pressure from the fingers.

For the first time I left my trusty Olympus digital voice recorder behind and relied on my OnePlus 2 smartphone with IK Multimedia’s iRig Mic Cast and Sony’s Audio Recorder app for interviews. The iRig seems to cope with the background noise well and Audio Recorder records 44 kHz, 16 bit WAV files and I’m hoping that this will reduce the processing time for each interview. I bagged about 25 interviews and these will be pushed out over the coming weeks.

Watch this space!


QNX Provides the Platform for ADAS



QNX logoQNX might be a name that is unfamiliar to you, but their technology could be inside your vehicle. QNX has worked with more than 40 different automakers across the world, and has an over 50% market share in infotainment dashboards.

Nick spoke with Global Director of Business Development at QNX, Andrew Poliak, at CES 2016. They discussed the many ways that the QNX software platform is being used in vehicles. They are in OnStar and in Ford Sync 3. QNX provides the whole software platform that car radios and entertainment systems are built on.

What makes the QNX platform unique is that it is highly reliable, it gives an immersive experience, and has a great customizable interface. Their platform can use the same operating system to run safety critical components in a vehicle as well as the vehicle’s entertainment components.

At CES 2016, QNX had a number of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) demonstrations that showed the pedigree that they already have in vehicles, and that blends that information with an entertainment experience. QNX Software Developer Nabil Ould-Brahim gave Nick a demonstration from inside a vehicle.

Nick DiMeo is an audio engineer and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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NVIDIA is Accelerating the Race to Driverless Cars



nvidia logoFor more than two decades, NVIDIA has pioneered visual computing, the art and science of computer graphics. Their work is at the center of the most consequential mega-trends in technology – virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars.

Aylee spoke with Senior Manager of Automotive Integration at NVIDIA, Dave Anderson, at CES 2016. They talked about the brand new NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 platform. It is essentially a supercomputer for your car. DRIVE PX2 becomes the brain that will effectively allow our cars to become self driving. The platform has the power of 150 MacBook Pros onboard in a single computing platform.

NVIDIA has partnered with Volvo who will be doing an autonomous vehicle trial in 2017.

Aylee Nielsen is a video host who specializes in covering live events for Plughitz Live.

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Denso Explores “Smarter Mobility, Smarter Living”



Denso logoDenso is a global automotive supplier. They supply to all automakers in the world. Denso thinks that everything is going to be connected in the future.

Aylee spoke with Manager of Corporate Communications at Denso International America, Bridgette LaRose, at CES 2016. Denso’s concept at CES 2016 was “Smarter Mobility, Smarter Living”. Their booth showed what a more connected world would be like, and also gave examples of how Denso’s technologies could be used to create a smarter, safer, more convenient world.

Denso wants their technology to lead to better quality of life for people around the world. At CES 2016, Denso had a Smarter City display and a virtual reality display that showed what a more connected world would look like. Denso also had a display that showed how connectivity plays an important role in the ability to achieve automated driving.

Aylee Nielsen is a video host who specializes in covering live events for Plughitz Live.

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Toyota’s FCV Plus Will Use Hydrogen Fuel Cells



Toyota logoToyota believes that hydrogen is the future of the automotive industry. They have created a concept vehicle called the FCV Plus, which demonstrates Toyota’s vision of a connected, sustainable hydrogen society.

Nakia spoke with Product Specialist for Toyota, Maggie Clark, at CES 2016. They talked about Toyota’s FCV Plus. It is a concept vehicle that uses hydrogen fuel cell technology that Toyota has been working on since 1992.

The FCV Plus is capable of generating electricity directly from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle and thus operating as a stable source of electric power for use at home or on the go. The FCV Plus will be able to generate so much electricity that it will be able to wirelessly charge an electric vehicle that is pulled up next to it. The FCV Plus could also be plugged into the grid and be able to charge up to ten homes on a block.

The fuel cells themselves are very advanced. When it is time to replace your vehicle with a new one, you could remove the fuel cell stack and continue using it as a stationary fuel cell stack that can provide electricity to your home or business.

Toyota is expecting that their FCV Plus concept vehicle will be on the market around 2030.

Nakia Mann is a video host who specializes in covering live events for Plughitz Live.

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