The Virtual Mirrors on the Audi E-Tron are Futuristically Cool
The Audi E-Tron may be the first Audi to feature all-electric capabilities, but it’s also the first production Audi model to feature cameras in place of traditional side mirrors. The technology is called the Audi Virtual Mirror, and it is obnoxiously cool. The setup involves a pair of small cameras sitting in the place where the mirrors should be. The camera then feed visual signal to two small touch-screen display units near the door handles, both of which can be configured in a variety of ways.
Not only are the optics of it cool, it also represents a new way of using cameras on vehicles that have largely been disallowed among road cars for various reasons. More importantly, the aerodynamic benefits of using virtual mirrors will also help Audi improve the E-Tron’s coefficient of drag, in large part because the size of these cameras will allow Audi to design thinner casings to store them in. The days of large clunky casings appear to be over in what can only be described as a classic case of reinventing the wheel to accommodate the rise of modern technology. The Audi Virtual Mirrors look awesome and if it ends up on the production version of the E-Tron, expect it to find its way into other future Audi models sooner than later.
Unfortunately, the arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler scuttled plans to have the electric crossover debut at the Audi Summit in Brussels, Belgium on August 30. Hopefully, the delay doesn’t take too long because we can’t wait to see the Virtual Mirror in action on an actual production model.
China Will Begin Tracking Cars with RFID Technology
How would you feel knowing that every time you took your car out, the government knew where you’re headed to? Would it feel like an invasion of privacy? Well, the Chinese government thinks otherwise. The government is developing a program that will make it possible to track citizens’ cars using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips. The main motive behind this is to study and improve the traffic congestion on roads, which in turn will help reduce pollution. We hope it’s limited to just that!
Toyota Thinks Manual Labor is the Solution to Efficient and Cheap Ride-Sharing Services
A patent recently discovered by Autoguide reveals that Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing has devised a pedal and crank system to help charge ride-sharing EVs, ultimately reducing their need to recharge and giving discounted fares depending on how much work each rider does during their ride.
A Company You Probably Forgot About Will Start Selling its Cars With Self-Healing Paint
Three years after launching the Esperante Spyder GT, American automaker Panoz is back in the headlines with a new self-healing paint feature it plans to roll out on all of its future models. The long-running independent automaker is partnering with Feynlab to use the latter’s patented Self-Heal Plus coating. Part of this partnership involves seeing this product come as standard on all new Panoz cars.
You Won’t Believe What Elon Musk Just Said About the Tesla Version 9 Update
Tesla is putting the final touches on its next major software update, “Version 9.0,” with a planned release in August 2018. The new update will come with a smattering of new features, including what CEO Elon Musk describes as the first “full self-driving features” for Autopilot 2.0 vehicles. The Version 9.0 is also the most significant over-the-air software update since the automaker released the Version 8.0 update back in 2016.
Tesla’s Latest Update Makes Autopilot Nag You More than an Unhappy Wife
Tesla’s Version 9.0 update is set to drop in August, and one of its new features is increased nagging alerts to make sure that drivers remain attentive by keeping their hands on the steering wheel. The update is an “improvement” over the current system, which cuts in half the time the system needs to send out alerts to drivers who stray their hands away from the steering wheel.
Michelin Confirms That its Close To Developing Tires That Can Help a Supercar Reach 300 MPH
French tire manufacturer Michelin is on the cusp of developing tires that can help an automaker reach a top speed of 300 mph. The development is the latest frontier in a race among a handful of automakers to become the first company to have a car that can reach a top speed of 300 mph. While the hypothetical race is mostly driven by ego, Michelin is right at the center of it because it’s the company that supplied tires to Bugatti and Koenigsegg when they set their respective top speed records.
The 2019 BMW X5’s Electric Boot Cover is the Definition of Useless Technology
Subaru’s Idea of a Rear-Seat Entertainment System Involves a Pair of iPads, Harman Kardon Headpones, and Otterbox Cases
Rolls-Royce Isn’t Rushing To Develop Autonomous Driving Tech Because It’s Been Using it For Years
Rolls-Royce may have succumbed to the growing demand of SUVs all over the world, but don’t expect the British luxury brand to do the same with semi-autonomous driving technology. Rolls has no interest in joining that race because, in its mind, most people who own Rolls-Royce models don’t even drive them. They have chauffeurs that drive the cars for them.
Digital License Plates Are Now a Real Thing in California
The state of California is looking to become the first U.S. state to introduce digital license plates that use the same computer technology as Kindle ebook readers. The electronic plates are currently being tested by the state’s DMV to determine the feasibility of offering them to motorists who are interested in shifting from traditional plates to more advanced models that allow a suite of new features that have never been available on traditional license plates. Those who are interested will need to spend for these plates, though, because they don’t come cheap.
Meet the Nissan Pitch-R: a Pro-Pilot-Inspired Autonomous Robot the Draws Soccer Fields
Nissan’s role as an official sponsor of the 2018 UEFA Champions League afforded it the opportunity to showcase its new technologies. It did just that at the Champions League Final in Kiev over the weekend when it introduced Pitch-R, a small autonomous robot that’s capable of drawing an entire football field, or pitch, as our friends in Europe call them. The technology that allows Pitch-R to perform the way it does is heavily inspired by the Nissan’s ProPILOT driver assistance technology.
Pitch-R looks like a futuristic baby stroller, but its functions are far more advanced than transporting little tykes. According to Nissan, it’s capable of creating a soccer field wherever there’s space for one. The technical intricacies of how Pitch-R can accomplish this task is unclear, but the robot’s specs — a four-camera vision system and GPS location tracking and collision avoidance systems — give us an idea of what it’s capable of and, more importantly, how it directly relates to Nissan’s own pursuit of driver assistance technologies under its ProPILOT technology.
In a nutshell, Pitch-R carries eco-friendly dissolvable pain, allowing it to draw white lines on grass, tarmac, or gravel, regardless of how uneven those surfaces are. The robot utilizes the technology it has at its disposal to fulfill its purpose and function, which involves drawing an entire soccer field in just under 20 minutes.
To be clear, Pitch-R wasn’t developed specifically for use in the auto industry. It’s hard to imagine Nissan integrating football field-making capabilities on any of its existing or future models. But the technology isn’t so much a practical solution for those looking to create makeshift football fields as it as a showcase of what Nissan’s ProPilot driver assistance technology is capable of. The GPS location tracking and collision avoidance systems that Pitch-R has at its disposal are features that have real-world applications for Nissan models. It functions trace its roots to Nissan’s ProPILOT technology, which is already available on the all-electric LEAF and the Qashqai crossover.
Pitch-R may look nondescript, but its abilities serve as good indications of the technologies that Nissan is developing to include in its future models.
After Being Denied by Mercedes and BMW in Self-Driving Car Scheme; Apple Lowers Expectations and Signs with Volkswagen
For a while now the word has been that Apple dropped the idea of building its own self-driving car in order to develop software that it could license to other companies. Of course, that’s a hard pill to swallow considering the stance it takes will all of its software and it’s hardware exclusivity. Now, word has it that Apple has joined forces with Volkswagen which includes a deal to turn some of VW’s T6 Transport vans into self-driving pods to haul around Apple employees.
Volvo to Add Google Maps, Google Assistant, and Google Play Store to Vehicles
It was just last May that Volvo announced its partnership with Google and the desire to bring Android-powered infotainment to the masses. It now looks like it will keep its promise with new models getting the Android-based system, along with Google Maps navigation, Google Assistant, and Google Play store, within the next couple of years. That means that by 2020, your brand-new Volvo could have some of that Android goodness.
Like Cell Phones and High-Resolution Cameras, the Government Will Get Self-Driving Cars First
Word has it that our streets will be significantly safer once the human element is taken out of driving. AI in self-driving cars will be able to reduce accidents to nil overnight when human drivers are a thing of the past. But, the government has another use for self-driving cars, and it’s about saving lives too. It’s about keeping soldiers out of danger by sending supply convoys out on their own. This will (probably) require AI that’s capable of detecting and dispatching threats automatically as well, but you get the point – no soldiers in route, no casualties are possible.
Deep down, we all knew this would happen, but we never really spoke about it. Now, the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Michael Griffen, has told Bloomberg that the U.S. Military will have self-driving technology first. In fact, he was pretty certain of the notion and even said that simple algorithms would be all that is needed as most supply runs don’t have to worry about human pedestrians, street signs, or other obstacles. With Griffin admitting that 52-percent of casualties in combat zones can be traced back to supply runs and logistical activities, this could turn out to take a significant role in saving the lives of our men and women in uniform.
With that said, there’s no word as to what private companies the Pentagon could team up with, but when you consider the strides made recently, especially by brands like Tesla, it seems like the Government could have self-driving vehicles as soon as next year. Furthermore, the government could also use the technology for things tanks, bomb detection, bomb disarming, wounded soldier retrieval, explosive disposal, and reconnaissance, among other things.
Ford Developed a New Technology That Allows the Blind to See the World Outside the Car
Eyesight is something that most of us take for granted. Because we’ve had it since birth, it’s easy to overlook the fact that it’s a real gift and a huge part of our life. According to the World Health Organization, however, there is an estimated 253 million people that live with some kind of vision impairment. Of those 253 million, some 36 million are completely blind and the other 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment. That’s a lot of people that don’t have the luxury of seeing the world around them. Ford hopes to change that with a new technology called “Feel the View.”
The technology is currently in the prototype stage but apparently works well. It was created in coordination with GTB Romana and a local startup known as Aedo – a brand that specializes in devices for the visually impaired. The technology works by taking pictures and then turning them into high-contrast grayscale pictures. Those pictures are then reproduced on the door glass of the vehicle. Those that are visually impaired can then touch the glass to feel the scenery. Pretty cool, right? Well, it gets better.
The shades off grey are displayed in as many as 255 different intensities to help those that are visually impaired interpret the world around them. At the same time, another system describes the image audibly for better clarity. This means that even those who are blind can enjoy a trip through the mountains, the forest, or even the coast. It may not be quite the same as what you or I experience but it’s revolutionary in that, for the first time, those without that luxury can feel everything we’re seeing.
Neither Ford or it’s partners in the endeavor provided any other information, and there’s no word when or if this device will come to the market, let alone the cost, but this is certainly something that has the potential to move beyond the prototype stage. If you want to know more, check out the video below to get a better feel for how the system works.
Boeing Takes a Shot at SpaceX, Says Falcon Heavy Doesn’t Measure Up With the SLS Rocket
Last February, SpaceX successfully tested its new Falcon Heavy rocket booster by launching a first-gen Tesla Roadster into the great starry beyond. The mission prompted a huge outpouring of media attention and excitement, but apparently, Boeing wasn’t impressed.
Continue reading for the full story.
F1-Derived Electric Brakes Will Soon Make Their Way to Everyday Passenger Cars!
Remember when your car’s power steering system required fluid, or how about when cars had a shaft that physically connected your steering wheel to the steering box or rack-and-pinion? Most cars these days don’t even have a throttle cable now that electric throttles have been introduced. So, now we have electric power steering and drive-by-wire. We even have electronic suspension. Well, things are about to change even more, and brake fluid will become a thing of the past as Brembo has just announced. In an interview with Car & Driver, that F1-derived electrified brakes are coming. What does it mean? Keep reading to find out a little more.
Volkswagen Considering Battery Swapping in China But Says No Way Jose to the United States
In theory, battery-swapping is a good way for electric vehicles to remain on the road longer. Depleted battery packs can be removed in favor of a fully charged replacement, and EV owners won’t have to worry as much about the amount of range they have left in the batteries. The whole process is quicker than charging a depleted battery and the process of replacing and installing sounds easy, or so it seems. Reality, however, paints an entirely different picture. Battery-swapping comes with a much more complicated procedure behind it, so much so that Volkswagen has no intention of offering the technology in the U.S. or any other market in the world. The only potential exception? China.
Study Shows That Autonomous Cars May Require Additional Licensing, Laws to Ban Drivers from ANY AND ALL Distractions While on the Road
In case you’re already dreaming of one day owning an electric car that will allow you to browse your social media accounts on your mobile phone or doze off as the car brings you to work, you might want to hold off on those dreams. A new study conducted by autonomous vehicle consortium Venturer suggested that laws should be put in place to ban drivers from doing those things when they’re inside a moving autonomous car.
Honda Puts Safety First - Will Offer Honda Sensing Safety as Standard Equipment from 2022
Honda’s Sensing safety system is fitted on one million vehicles in the U.S. today, but that number is going to pale in comparison to Honda’s plans for the system moving forward. According to the Japanese automaker, Honda Sensing will come standard on all 2022 model year vehicles, a huge increase from the current lot of models that are already carrying the safety system.