At CES 2018, autoaid will be showing off the new Automotive Bulb Camera, combining a high resolution camera and car headlight into standard H7 and H4 lamp fittings. Consequently the camera system can be retrofitted to the vast majority of cars on the road, avoiding expensive specialist redesigns or clunky dashboard attachments. The Berlin-based startup expects the cameras to record traffic video for the training and development of autonomous driving systems. In addition the camera can provide real-time data to in-car driving assistance systems.
Aiming at developers of autonomous driving systems, the autoaid Automotive Bulb Camera is a high-resolution camera which is integrated into a halogen or LED automotive lamp using standard fittings. There’s no need to change anything in the headlight itself and the car still looks like a standard model. The camera communicates with autoaid’s new telematics platform, recording video and joining other driving information, such as steering, acceleration, braking, location, to the dataset. This is passed onto autoaid’s servers, which then uses object recognition to pick out vehicles, traffic lights, signs and so on. This detailed information on driver behaviour can be used to training autonomous systems. For car buyers, the solution also offers attractive driving aids such as a lane-keeping assistant or a collision warning system.
Moritz Funk, founder and CEO of autoaid, sums up the benefits: “The Automotive Bulb Camera can be retrofitted into virtually all vehicles more easily and seamlessly than any other prior
camera. Without visible changes to the car, new assistance systems are enabled for the end customers, while the industry is provided with the urgently needed data pool for the further development of autonomous driving.”
If you want to know more, autoaid are at booth 2401 at CES 2018 or watch the video below.
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.
U.S. Route 66 is more of a legend than an actual highway these days. Route 66 was decommissioned as an official thoroughfare decades ago, giving way to more modern interstate transit ways. Portions of Route 66 still remain, however. And there are plenty of guides that can help you drive an approximation of the old route from Chicago to Los Angeles, if you want to indulge in some nostalgic Americana.
In its heyday, Route 66 was emblematic of the mid-20th century American dream. Cars were cool. Gas was cheap. The open road beckoned with a sense of adventure. Much has changed since those times. Cars are seen now more as functional devices than modern works of art. Even when prices are down, most drivers still groan over the cost to fill up a gas tank. Conveniences like GPS and mobile data have taken some of the adventurous edge out of a long road trip.
Change is inevitable. Yet, it seems somehow fitting that Route 66, an icon of 20th century fossil fuel consumption, will become the first road in America to be partially redone with special solar-power generating pavers:
The street pavers were developed by Solar Roadways, a company created by inventors Scott and Julie Brusaw which raised more than $2.2 million in crowdfunding in 2014 to bring their technology to market. The Brusaws claim that replacing all of America’s roads and parking lots with their solar pavers would generate more than three times the country’s electricity consumption in 2009.
It seems like a no-brainer. Why not replace all of the world’s roads and parking lots with solar-generating pavers? It’s all open space that’s just sitting there, waiting for a solar upgrade. The state of Missouri’s transportation department will be spearheading the installation of these photovoltaic pavers on Route 66. They’re hoping to have them in place by the end of the year.
There’s plenty of good advice out there that can help you prevent car-related theft. Park in secure, well-lit areas, Make sure you always keep your windows rolled up and doors locked when you’re away from the vehicle. But police have some new advice when it comes to keeping your vehicle secure. And it’s not like any we’ve seen before. Authorities are now advising owners of keyless fob-style car door openers to store their keychains inside appliances like microwaves and refrigerators.
Apparently, thieves are ditching the crowbar approach to breaking into cars and instead using high-tech methods to gain entry into vehicles:
A recent alert from the department warned of a growing trend of car thieves in California using an electronic device called a power amplifier, which allows them to easily unlock vehicles and quickly pillage them for valuables. According to the alert, the amplifier takes advantage of the radio communication between the cars and the key fobs used by owners to lock and unlock vehicles.
If the methodology behind the crime seems wild, the best way to prevent it may seem even stranger:
According to the department’s alert, one of the best ways to guard yourself against these would-be hackers is to keep vehicle keys in a place that blocks radio frequency signals, hence the advice to store keys in a microwave. The statement also suggests storing keys in the fridge, a metal box, or a specially made Faraday Cage—which can cost anywhere from $25 to more than $300 online—to thwart the high-tech car burglars.
So there you go. Next time you come home from running errands, be sure to place your keychain inside the microwave. Just make sure you take the keys out before you heat up last night’s leftovers.
I know that “local news” isn’t exactly what Geek News Central fans are after. But when I saw this particular item, I couldn’t pass it by without mentioning it here. I live in the city of San Luis Obispo (SLO) on California’s Central Coast. SLO is home to California Polytechnic State University, Cal Poly for short. The university fosters a “learning by doing” mentality that helps students build skills in everything from agricultural sciences to aerospace engineering. One group of Cal Poly students earned some notoriety recently when they competed in a vehicle design competition where they built a prototype capable of getting 1,215 miles per gallon of fuel.
The team of students competed in the 10th Annual Shell Eco-Marathon Americas. The event describes itself as:
In 2016, Shell Eco-marathon Americas celebrated its 10th edition with 124 teams from seven different countries in Detroit, USA. In April 2017, the competition comes back to the Motor City with the energy efficiency driving challenge.
The Cal Poly team’s prototype vehicle design came in third overall, and placed the highest among teams from the United States (two Canadian teams placed ahead of them). The vehicle is a single-person, very sleek, aerodynamic, low-riding three-wheeler. It’s definitely not street legal but that’s not really the point. The Eco-Marathon is meant to challenge participants to build vehicles that are as fuel efficient as possible.
The Cal Poly group’s prototype vehicle was designed in the same spirit as Solar Impulse. It’s not so much something you can use today for getting around. But it shows there is real potential for energy-efficient forms of travel.
Ride-sharing service Uber agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against them by the National Federation of the Blind. The suit contended that Uber was engaging in discriminatory practices by refusing to pick up blind passengers with service dogs. The settlement is still being reviewed by a judge and pending approval. The terms of the settlement force Uber to notify all of its drivers that they must take all passengers with service animals. The suit also awards $225,000 to the National Federation of the Blind over three years.
From a statement released by Uber:
As part of this settlement, we have agreed to take steps to make clear to drivers using Uber that they are obligated to transport to any passenger with a service animal. If the settlement is approved, drivers will see a pop-up in the Uber app reminding them of this obligation. We will also send periodic email reminders to drivers.
We have also agreed to publish a service animal policy which, in addition to our code of conduct and new deactivation policy, makes clear that any driver found to have refused someone with a service animal will be barred from using the Uber platform.
The National Federation of the Blind will deploy blind passengers with service animals to help test the new measures put in place by the settlement.
Most of the news these days in regards to self-driving vehicles has to do with cars. Tesla has been breaking ground in this technology for years and now rumors are circulating that Apple is about to roll in with its own autonomous car. While it seems self-driving passenger cars might be all the world can really handle right now, that hasn’t stopped French technology firm Robosoft from building its first robotic bus. The bus recently completed a test run in the Greek city of Trikala.
CityMobil2, as the bus is called, can’t compete with the buses we usually see in large urban areas. The autonomous bus is fully electric and carries a total of 10 passengers. Its maximum speed is 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) per hour. The bus is guided by GPS to follow a pre-programmed path. There are no traditional controls on board (steering wheel, brake/acceleration controls, etc.). CityMobile2 is incapable of changing lanes but it will stop if it detects objects in the way, like parked cars.
The self-driving bus did well enough in its initial six-month, accident-free phase that it will soon be deployed to the Spanish town of San Sebastian. There, it will undergo another series of trials, similar to what happened in Greece.