technology

technology

  New technologies are everywhere and especially in our cars: ABS, airbags, lane change detection, GPS and more...

If you find yourself on a California expressway, you may just be next to a self-driving Audi . That’s right; Audi snagged California’s first permit that allows autonomous driving for automakers developing the technology . The news comes after years of negotiations between several automakers and the State of California to allow more extensive testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The news is especially important for Audi, as its Electronics Research Laboratory is in Belmont, California. Now the German automaker can stick closer to its Belmont base camp rather than testing in Nevada, a state that has previously welcomed driverless cars.

While this milestone marks a first for California, it isn’t Audi’s first autonomous rodeo. The automaker has logged tens of thousands of autonomous driving across Europe.

“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives,” says California Senator Alex Padilla. “I applaud the efforts of Audi of America and others whose commitment is making this technology a reality.”

Audi and future autonomous-testing automakers will have to show proof of insurance or surety bonds before being awarded a permit for testing — a slight formality for automotive giants sinking big bucks into driverless research and development.

Audi’s automated Piloted driving system is geared toward freeway traffic conditions, eliminating the need for a human to control the vehicle through crowded, mostly straight-line, stop-and-go traffic situations. Current internal forecasts have Audi introducing driverless systems to the public within a five-year timeframe.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s self-driving technology .

It appears Ford is taking extra measures to ensure its new 2015 F-150 will withstand the test of time and unfavorable weather conditions, including harsh sunlight. The automaker has announced its practices for testing both interior and exterior parts, and it’s rather interesting.

A majority of testing took place at Ford’s own Central Lab, where individual parts were subjected to a Thermatron. Like a scene from an old Sci-Fi film, the Thermatron blasts the parts with UV rays over an extended timeframe, simulating five years of sun exposure in a fraction of the time.

Ford is paying a lot of attention to the F-150’s interior in terms of its anti-glare properties. Washed out gauges, infotainment screen, and reflective materials on the dash have all been eliminated – preventing the driver from getting shot in the eye with a beam of sun reflecting off a chrome trim piece.

Special attention is also being paid to the exterior badges. A quick look at any mid- to late-2000s F-Series truck will reveal Ford had serious issues with its badges fading. Ford says it tested all its exterior badges under some 3,000 hours of sun-like conditions, along with temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Celsius followed by a steam bath of 100 degrees Celsius. That’s serious stuff.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ford F-150.

It’s no secret that carbon fiber is one of the latest breakthrough materials that provides a high-strength, low-weight solution to nearly any problem. Today it is used in making body panels, support bracing, and even entire monocoque chassis. But now, companies are developing complete one-piece carbon-fiber wheels. Jay Leno takes a look at Carbon Revolution, a company that is on the brink of releasing its carbon-fiber wheels to the marketplace, including to an undisclosed OEM automaker. Yep, soon we’ll see a mainstream automaker release a vehicle rolling on a set of carbon-fiber wheels.

Brett Gass, Executive Director for Carbon Revolution stopped by Jay’s garage to show off the new wheels. Weighing in at roughly 15 pounds, the carbon-fiber wheels weigh an average of five pounds less than a set of lightweight aluminum wheels normally found of today’s sports cars. Gass also elaborates on how his wheel is certified by the German government to pass all safety and strength requirements.

To test the wheels, Jay, Gass, and a group of friends head out to Willow Springs Raceway in a 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RS . Besides a sideways slip into the dirt by Jay, the carbon fiber-shod Porsche holds the road. The group of guys talk about how standard, lightweight aluminum wheels flex, while the carbon-fiber rims don’t. The premise seems a little far-fetched to me that a novice driver in a borrowed car can feel the aluminum wheels flex, though I don’t doubt the benefits of lighter wheels. Either way, it’s an interesting look at the future of wheel design and construction.

It has become inevitable that electric-powered cars are the way of the future. We aren’t quite sure how electricity is going to be created to power these cars, but it has been almost universally accepted that batteries and motors are the way forward. Of course, people are lazy and they get concerned about things like charging times, plug variations and charging locations. BMW and Daimler have teamed up to hopefully make charging as easy and painless as possible with new wireless charging technology .

I won’t go too deep into the technology behind it, but think of it as a really large version of the wireless charging technology that some cellphones use. Basically, there is a large conductive coil installed into the bottom of the car that is attached to the batteries. If you park over the top of a second large conductive coil that is attached to a power source, the car batteries will begin charging. BMW has also managed to develop this system to be extremely fast and efficient. They say that this system can fully charge the new BMW i8 in less than two hours with the current prototype system.

Another benefit of this system is the ability to build it into any flat pavement. Entire mall parking lots or even highways could theoretically be wired with conduction coils, so your car would actually be charging as you went shopping or drove to work. If electric cars are the future, this is like warping into the age of the Jetsons.

Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s new Inductive Charging System.

Cadillac recently dropped a press release in our inbox that contained plans to offer advanced “intelligent and connected” vehicle technologies on some 2017 model year vehicles. Naturally, our curiosity kicked in because words like “intelligent” and “connected” have become even more important in today’s auto industry. So we read through the release and found some nuggets of information that indicated what Caddy’s got up its sleeve.

The first technological advancement will be an advanced driver assist technology called Super Cruise. A yet-to-be-named 2017 Cadillac will feature this new system, which will offer customers improved driving experience through hands-off lane following, braking and speed control in certain highway driving conditions. Super Cruise is being developed to become a boon for drivers, specifically those driving on highways under a variety of road conditions. The description’s pretty interesting, although it’s hard to judge how effective it’s going to be until we see it in action.

Moving on, Cadillac also announced that the 2017 CTS Sedan will feature vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology. According to the automaker, this new system is supposed to improve traffic congestion by sending and receiving safety information between vehicles that are approaching each other. It’s going to be like these cars will be able to talk to each other and warn drivers of incoming road conditions that they can avoid beforehand.

We’re not sure how that’s going to work on surface streets, but on the highway, drivers can use these kinds of information to divert their routes before they get stuck in traffic.

That’s pretty cool.

Click past the jump to read more about Cadillac’s future intelligent technology.

Ferrari has begun shipping its FF and California T with Apple CarPlay, the innovative iOS-based infotainment system that links users’ iPhones with their Ferrari’s dash-mounted touch screen. We’ve known that Apple had chosen Ferrari to be one of its first vehicle applications for a while, but it wasn’t until now that users could get their hands on the latest Apple technology.

Ferrari says the first CarPlay-equipped FF has shipped to an Italian client, with more scheduled for Germany, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States.

Apple isn’t sticking to just Ferrari, however. The tech giant has partnered with a generous handful of automakers including Honda, Hyundai, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Other automakers such as General Motors, Ford Ford , Fiat Fiat -Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover, and Audi are listed as partners currently developing future vehicles with CarPlay capabilities.

Apple now joins ranks with Microsoft in having a presence in the automotive scene. While Microsoft’s Sync has been included in Ford Motor Company products for more than five years, Apple’s CarPlay is the first to integrate the user’s cell phone to such a heavy extent.

Click past the jump to see Apple CarPlay in action

It isn’t much of a secret that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a marvel of engineering and technology that continually sets the benchmark for the cars of the future to aim for. From the first turbocharged diesel engine, the first airbag, and the first car to be available with anti-lock brakes, all the way up to the new “Magic Body Control” system, the S-Class always has the latest and greatest gear available. With a new S-Class due in less than three years, the big question is what changes are coming to keep this incredible machine in the spotlight.

Recently Auto Express sat down with Jan Kaul, the head of interior design at Mercedes to discuss the upcoming S-Class. The amount of information they gathered is pretty staggering considering the general level of secrecy that surrounds a new model like the S-Class. From the possibility of using 3D printing for interior structures to the use of gestures to control interior functions there is a lot of cool technology coming to the next S-Class.

Click past the jump to read about the Mercedes S-Class

Source: Auto Express

Land Rover has always stood for adventure and exploration of the most remote places on earth. Now Land Rover is raising the bar higher — much, much higher — with a chance to win an adventure into space. Together as a partner with Virgin Galactic, Land Rover is hosting a contest to find the most adventurous person and three of his or her friends.

The lucky contest winner and the three friends will have seats aboard the space ship Virgin Galactic, the crown jewel of the free-enterprise space program ran by Sir Richard Branson.

To enter, contestants must create a 30 second video showing how they embody the spirit of adventure and what it means to them. Rock climbing, camping, midnight drives, are all on the list of examples. Once completed, the video gets uploaded online and a short explanation of why you’re a good choice for a space adventure must be posted to your Facebook page.

All this is to help Land Rover celebrate its all-new 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport . The new SUV combines the sportiness and silky lines of the Range Rover Evoque with the ruggedness of a Land Rover Discovery.

If you’re looking to enter, you’ve got just over 50 days before the contest closes. So hop to it, adventure lovers!

Click past the jump to read more about the new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Source: Land Rover

Audi has announced it will be adopting a 48-volt electrical system in its vehicles starting in the near future. The new high-power electrical system is said to give engineers the ability to make sportier, more efficient, and more convenient cars.

“We are using the full bandwidth of electrification in our drive principles strategy,” says Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenbert, a Member of the Board of Management for Technical Devel Devel opment at Audi. “Running part of the vehicle electrical system at 48 volts plays a central role in this. It enables us to make more energy available.”

We’ve already seen two examples of Audi vehicles with the 48-volt system; the RS5 TDI and A6 TDI concepts. Both cars are fitted with an electrically powered compressor that gives extra boost to the engine, helping eliminate turbo lag. The compressor is a separate system than the engine, so there is no parasitic loss.

Boosting power won’t be the only benefit. Audi says the upgraded electrical system will help boost advancements in dynamic chassis control systems.

The 48-volt system will even work while the main engine is powered off. A small bank of lithium-ion batteries will supply the juice. A DC/DC converter then integrates the standard, 12-volt electrical system. What’s more, the battery pack also works in conjunction with a new efficiency-optimized alternator, basically turning the vehicle into a mild hybrid system.

Audi says the new system can save owners 0.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, or roughly 0.105 gallons over 62 miles.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi RS5 TDI Concept

Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Land Rover has always been on the forefront of off-road technology . It’s a company that prides itself on pushing the bar upward with each new model. For instance, the new Range Rover is quite possibly the best, most advance off-roading production vehicle on the market today, with its all-aluminum body and frame, it has anti-roll bars that disconnect electronically and it can even come with a sonar system that allows you to monitor wading depth. All Land Rovers are highly advanced vehicles, and Land Rover seems to be teasing some new tech for the upcoming Discovery Sport .

The video seems to be tying the history and future of Land Rover with that of the space program, showing numerous Evolution Of Man-style aeronautic images. At the end of the video it even references the partnership between Land Rover and Virgin Galactic, the space program branch of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire.

The first bit of interior tech Land Rover teases, is the satellite-image-style navigation system, which could offer an incredibly accurate way of tracking yourself while off-road in dangerous and desolate places, or allow fantastic exploration abilities. The second bit is the set of seven rear seats that seem to have a high range of maneuverability. The last piece of tech Land Rover teases is a large, panoramic moonroof that seems to stretch almost the entire length and width of the roof.

Land Rover doesn’t tease too much, but it is hinting that this new Discovery is on the cutting edge of technology. The Discovery Sport is rumored to use space-grade techniques, borrowed from its Virgin Galactic partner, such as "see-through" view of the road ahead, helping you avoid dangerous terrain while tackling tough terrain, as well as gesture control, which will allow the driver to operate various parts of the vehicle with hand gestures. These are all just rumors, of course, and we’ll see how high-tech the Discovery Sport really is when it debuts September 3rd, 2014. For now we can only speculate as to what kind of tech the Discovery will really have, and hope that a zero-gravity key-fob is one of them.


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