Category Archives: automotive

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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Papago is a Dashcam Frontrunner



Papago logoAmericans are just beginning to use dashcams in their vehicles (but they are commonly used outside of the United States). There are many good reasons to use one. Papago is the frontrunner when it comes to dashcams. Their dashcams not only record your drive but also have useful safety features.

Todd and Don spoke with Marketing Rep of Papago Inc., Rachel Quaill, at CES 2016. They discussed the many uses and features of Papago’s dashcams, and focused on the GoSafe S30. It is Papago’s higher end model in their GoSafe series.

The GoSafe S30 is super compact and lightweight. It has a Sony sensor, which, in conjunction with the GoSafe S30 high quality lens, gives you super high quality nighttime vision. The video it produces will not have the fish eye look. In addition, you can take the camera off the mount and use it to take photos.

You can mount the GoSafe S30 to your windshield either with a suction cup or a sticky mount (that is intended to be permanent). Plug the camera into your dashboard. You can set up the video resolution however you want, but 1080 HD is recommended. The camera will start recording (both video and audio) when your vehicle starts moving. If your car is hit, the GoSafe S30 will automatically write protect that file.

Safety features include stop sign recognition. The camera will alert the driver when a stop sign is coming up. It can also alert the driver when the car ahead of him or her has started moving. You can set a driver fatigue alarm to remind you to stop and take a rest. There is also a light reminder that tells you to turn on your headlights.

The GoSafe S30 is priced at $179.99 and is available now. Check the Papago website for a full list of retailers that sell the GoSafe S30.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and he holds classes at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Alpine X110-SLV 10″ Radio Upgrade



Alpine X110-slvIf you are the owner of a Chevrolet Silverado, then the Alpine X110-SLV 10″ Radio Upgrade is for you, though calling this a radio upgrade is hardly doing it justice. This is a full restyle of the central part of the dash. Todd and Daniel find out more from Javier Vergara of Alpine Electronics.

The X110-SLV is a complete replacement for the manufacturer display and audio head unit. Coming in three parts, the X110-SLV fits neatly into the space, replacing the small display with a large 10″ touchscreen and a DVD player. Manufacturer functions like OnStar, rear view camera and parking sensors are retained and integrated into the X110-SLV so there’s no loss of features with the upgrade. Navigation is provided through Here maps, which takes full advantage of the larger screen.

If you want to upgrade your Silverado, prices go from $1200 to $4,000.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.
Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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Cobra Dash Cams and Detectors at CES



Cobra LogoCobra Electronics are well-known for their radar detectors and other automotive products. Here at CES, Cobra won the TWICE Picks Award for one of its flagship units, the CDR 855 BT Drive HD dash cam, so Todd Aune finds out more about the latest devices from Mark Karnes, VP of Marketing at Cobra.

On the table are two relatively new devices from Cobra, the CDR 855BT dash cam and the world’s smallest DSP radar detector, the DSP 9200 BT. Starting with the dash cam, it’s a connected device, pairing via Bluetooth with a smartphone to acquire GPS co-ordinates which are then sync’d with the video footage. On top of this, the dash cam can work with Cobra’s iRadar app on the smartphone to know the location of cameras and provide alerts to the driver. The app is shared with the radar detector, so as the detector finds cameras, these can be reported back to the app and then up to the cloud to keep the camera database up-to-date for everyone through the iRadar Community. That’s pretty neat.

Not to be outdone, the radar detector was a CTA Honoree Award for an Intelligent Vehicle Device. The trick in this radar detector is to use digital signal processing to tell the difference between signals from the new collision avoidance systems and law enforcement speed guns. A range of radar and laser signals are presented to the driver as detected, with both visual and audio warnings, and the unit also benefits from alerts provided from the iRadar app on a connected smartphone.

Both devices are on sale now for US$349 for the radar detection and US$149 for the dash cam.

Todd Aune bridges the technology gap with the The Elder Divide.

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