technology

technology

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

I have a GoPro Hero 3+ and aside from the Aston Martin DB5 and good Scotch, I think it is basically the greatest thing ever created. I use it to do all of my in-car review videos here on site, as well as every time lapse video you have seen from me. The only real problem with the GoPro, is that it is mounted to what I am driving. If I want an external shot, there are multiple people involved and it can be kind of hassle. But now there is a new thing called the AirDog, and it might just make my list of greatest inventions ever.

In a basic sense, the AirDog is a just a camera drone, a quadcopter. There are dozens for sale all over the internet and they allow you to fly a machine with a GoPro attached to it to get some great aerial shots. With this setup you still need a second person to fly the drone though, so it still isn’t very useful to someone who does solo filming like I do. What makes the AirDog special is that it actually flies itself and follows you wherever you go.

It does this thanks to what the company calls an “air leash.” This device connects to the Airdog, and then it stays strapped to the owner’s wrist. The Airdog will continually follow the leash and stay at a defined height and distance. This gives you perfect aerial tracking shots without the help of another person. It is insanely brilliant. The wrist device allows you to change settings on the AirDog while it is in flight, and it is waterproof and shockproof so you don’t have to worry about it.

The project was started as a Kickstarter, but it blew WAY past its funding goal and secured more than $1.3-million in funding. The project is off the ground now, and you can place a pre-order at Airdog.com.

First shipments are expected in December 2014.

See more videos of AirDog after the jump.

We’ve all come to appreciate Audi’s iconic quattro technology, one of the world’s most potent all-wheel-drive systems. Its what makes modern Audis such great vehicles, from the full-size A8 sedan to the Q7 SUV and the R8 supercar.

Now in its seventh generation, the quattro system has been enabling Audi engines to send their power to all four corners for 34 years. That’s not to say it took the Germans more than three decades to achieve perfection. No, the quattro was equally revolutionary when it was introduced in 1980, but sometimes it’s a good idea to look back on those brilliant ideas that changed the automotive world forever. And that’s what Petrolicious did with its latest video, which pays tribute to the UrQuattro, the first four-ringed vehicle to receive all-wheel-drive.

The UrQuattro, also known as simply Quattro, debuted in 1980 as a midsize, two-door coupe . While not exactly spectacular by design, the Quattro was the first vehicle to benefit from Audi’s then brand-new all-wheel-drive system. The feat proved to be decisive into turning the boxy UrQuattro into a legend on both the road and rally courses.

Although the production car remained largely unchanged until it was discontinued in 1991, the Quattro spawned a series of fierce rally cars. It all began with the A1 in 1980, which then developed into the Group B-spec S1 evolution. The latter was one of the most extreme rally cars ever built and went on to win several WRC events and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb three years in a row. In all, the quattro system helped Audi score 23 rally wins and two WRC titles, among other trophies.

Sure, Audi is no longer building rally cars, but that’s not to say the quattro has abandoned its motorsport roots. The connection is still obvious in the company’s results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race the Germans have won 13 times the last 15 years.

But enough with the history, now hit the play button above for a trip down the memory lane with the initial Audi UrQuattro.

General Motors has been binging on special edition trucks recently, including both consumer-use trucks headed to dealerships and concepts that show off GM engineering and design teams. Chevrolet’s newest tricked-out truck is the Toughnology Concept. No, that’s not a typo, it’s a hip-n-cool word combo that helps define the purpose of the build.

There is no shortage of news surrounding the upcoming Ford F-150 and its extensive use of aluminum body panels. Well The General seems hungry for some of the action too, as the Toughnology Concept is designed to showcase the latest-generation Silverado’s use of swanky new metals. The concept truck comes coated in paint that mimics the color of raw, high-strength steel.

The Silverado boasts plenty of the high-strength steel in its construction — in everything from the A- and B-pillars, rocker panels, and roof rails to several sections of the interior structure. In total, roughly 67 percent of the Silverado’s cab in stamped from the stuff.

Chevy also prides itself on the Silverado’s bed being constructed from several kinds of purpose-placed steels. For example, the floor is make of roll-formed steel that Chevy says is much stronger than conventional stamped steel. While nearly every exterior panel is included in the high-strength steel count, the hood goes the aluminum route. The engineers say it shaves 17 pounds off its regular stamped-steel counterpart. Since it’s not the same material as the body, the designers painted it black to notate the difference.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Silverado Toughnology Concept.

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

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