Category Archives: automotive

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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Pioneer Brings CarPlay and Android Auto to the After-Market



Pioneer logoPioneer is a brand for well-known for its in-car audio and entertainment systems so it comes as no surprise that the company is bringing a range of after-market units with Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto. Todd and Marlo get a demo of the latest product with Ted Cardenas from Pioneer.

On show here is the freshly-announced Pioneer AVH-4200-NEX, which is one of three products which incorporate both CarPlay and Android Auto. As a result, the display and user interface will take on the persona of the connected device. The in-dash receiver connects to the smartphone using a wired connection as the phones contribute heavily to the running of apps. Plugging in the phones avoids issues with data speeds and keeps the battery charged, though Bluetooth is used in Android Auto for calls.

Voice is heavily used by both the driver to control the NEX and for the system to respond. Voice can be used to compose and listen to text messages, to navigate and to talk to Siri or Google Now. This keeps the need to look at the screen to a minimum and enhances safety.

If your current vehicle’s in-car entertainment system doesn’t support CarPlay or Android Auto, the Pioneer NEX range offers a great way to upgrade to the latest auto technology. Priced at around $700, the AVH-4200-NEX will be available in March.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Ford SYNC 3 Drives Choice at CES



Ford LogoThe third iteration of Ford’s SYNC in-car communication and entertainment system, SYNC 3, came into the dealer showrooms during 2015 in the latest “2016” vehicles. At CES, further updates were announced with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration available as a user OTA upgrade. Todd and Marlo go for a ride with Kenneth Williams from Ford.

The new SYNC 3 gives choice to consumers, supporting both iOS and Android. SYNC 3 automatically chooses what to launch based on the connected device, so if the phone is an iPhone, then it’s CarPlay, if it’s a Nexus, then Android Auto. The AppLink technology works with over 90 app providers to launch apps from the attached smartphone but display on the SYNC console. Consequently the owner gets the experience that they’re used to on their phone or tablet.

The AppLink protocol is being opened up and made available to other car manufacturers and Toyota is already on board. It’s an interesting move and could be a major benefit to consumers as it creates a standard in the market that app developers can work to.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com and Marlo Anderson rounds up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Carloudy Head-Up Display Keeps Eyes Ahead



CarloudyHead-up displays (HUD) used to be the preserve of fighter jets and James Bond, but Cognitive AI Technologies wants to bring the technology to an affordable level for everyone through an aftermarket, dash-mounted head-up display. Jamie and Daniel take a look at Carloudy with Javy Kong.

Apparently one-in-four car accidents involves the inappropriate use of cell phones while driving and though some uses are clearly plain stupid, like reading email, there are some genuinely useful apps, such as navigation. To remove the need to look away from the road ahead, Carloudy projects relevant information up onto the windscreen, including directions, speed and fuel consumption. A small unit roughly the size of a paperback book, the Carloudy sits on top of the dash and works in conjunction with a smartphone. Connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth to the phone, Carloudy accepts voice commands to show what the driver wants . With a battery life of around two weeks, there’s no need for extra wiring.

The Carloudy is available for pre-order via Kickstarter and if you get in quick, there are units available from US$179. Usual caveats apply regarding projects on Kickstarter.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist. Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast.

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Porsche Mission E Receives Green Light



Porsche Mission EPorsche announced that the first 100 percent electrically powered Porsche has been given a green light of approval. The Porsche Mission E is due to be launched at the end of the decade.

The Mission E concept car celebrated its premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September of 2015. In its concept form, the Mission E was a four-door car with four individual seats. It has a system power output of over 600 hp (440 kW). Porsche expects the Mission E to achieve both acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds with a planned maximum range of more than 500 kilometers.

The vehicle will be charged by an 800-volt charger, which is planned to be specifically developed for the car, and is twice as powerful as today’s quick-charge systems. The lithium-ion batteries (that are integrated within the vehicle floor) could be recharged to the 80 percent level after just 15 minutes. There are plans for optional equipment that would allow the vehicle to be ‘refueled’ wirelessly by induction via a coil which the owner of the Mission E could have installed beneath the garage floor.

With the Mission E project, Porsche is continuing to back sustainable growth. They plan to build a new paint shop and a new assembly plant, to expand their existing engine factory for the production of electric vehicles, and create more than 1,000 new jobs. Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Oliver Blume, said that with the Mission E, Porsche is “beginning a new chapter in the history of the sports car.”


Ford Announces First Apps Compatible with AppLink for SYNC 3



Ford LogoFord was the first to bring voice control to in-vehicle apps when AppLink launched for the first generation of SYNC in 2010. The voice control, of course, makes it safer for drivers to select apps while they are driving. Now, Ford is announcing the first smartphone apps to be compatible with AppLink for SYNC 3.

The integration of voice control to in-vehicle apps has been improved with SYNC 3, delivering an experience that is faster, more responsive, and user friendly. AppLink discovers compatible apps on your smartphone and projects their information, including unique graphics and branding on the touch screen display in your vehicle. There are three apps that Ford is highlighting that are compatible with AppLink.

The first one is Spotify, which delivers over 30 million songs at the touch of a button and the sound of your voice. In Ford and Lincoln models equipped with SYNC 3, users can control the Spotify App running on their Apple or Android smartphones from the driver’s seat using voice control. Using Ford AppLink, Spotify Premium, and Free subscribers can choose their playlists synced across any device, toggle shuffle, save tracks to their music collection, and much more, all hands-free. Users also have access to playlist, album artwork, and track information in rich full color display on the SYNC 3 touch screen.

Pandora is also being highlighted. With Pandora on SYNC 3, great music discovery is effortless and personalized. Pandora’s team of over 30 music analysts examines 400 attributes in each song to find the perfect track for you and your journey. Customize your stations even further by thumbing up and thumbing down directly from the dashboard of your Ford vehicle.

The third app being highlighted is Glympse, the pioneer in time-based, temporary location sharing. Users can simply share their current location and estimated time of arrival. Using SYNC 3’s touchscreen interface, drivers can easily send, add time or expire an existing Glympse, and receive a push notification when a sent Glympse has been viewed, which keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.

The all-new SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system debuts this summer in North America on the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta. Pandora, Spotify, and Glympse are among the first apps to take advantage of the new capabilities of SYNC 3; additional AppLink-enabled apps will continue to roll out as SYNC 3 becomes available this summer.


Chevrolet Offers 14 Models with CarPlay and Android Auto



Chevrolet Android Auto and CarPlayChevrolet has announced that it will offer Android Auto and CarPlay compatibility in more models around the globe than any other automotive brand for the 2016 model year. There are a total of 14 Chevrolet models that will include both CarPlay and Android Auto – including the all-new 2016 Cruze.

The 2016 Cruze compact car will debut on June 24, 2015. It is Chevrolet’s best selling passenger car, with more than 3 million sold since launch. Cruze will have CarPlay and Android Auto.

Chevrolet’s seven-inch MyLink infotainment system gives owners a smart and simple way to access both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The eight-inch version of MyLink will be compatible only with Apple CarPlay at the beginning of the 2016 model year. Development and testing is not yet complete, but it’s possible Android Auto may be available on the eight-inch MyLink later in the 2015 model year.

Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now, and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. More details can be found at https://www.android.com/auto/.

Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features users would most want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple, manner. It allows drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. More details can be found at https://www.apple.com/ios/carplay/.

Using either application is simple in a compatible 2016 Chevrolet. A “Projection” icon on the MyLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected. It changes to indicate either CarPlay or Android Auto (whichever is applicable) when a compatible phone is connected via USB. Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or above. Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later.

The 7-inch MyLink Infotainment system will be available in the following 2016 model year Chevrolets: Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Silverado, and Silverado HD.

The 8-inch MyLink Infotainment system will be available in the following 2016 model year Chevrolets: Cruze, Malibu, Impala, Volt, Camaro, Camaro Convertible, Corvette, Corvette Convertible, Colorado, Silverado, Silverado HD, Tahoe, and Suburban.

Photo © General Motors