3D Parts Printing: Porsche Classic’s Way of Making Life a Little Easier for Those in Need of Hard-to-Find Parts
Ask anybody who restores classic cars, either for fun or for a living, what the biggest challenge is in completing these projects. The most common answer you’ll get is “supply,” as in the supply of classic car parts that have become impossible to find today. In times like this, alternative ways to get these parts are your best bet, and in the case of Porsche Classic, it found a way to do just that. Its secret? 3D printing.
First Flight of Airbus Passenger Drone a Complete Success
Just when you thought that there were limits to human vision and determination, Airbus comes out and proves you wrong. The aviation company announced in 2016 its plans to develop an autonomous flying taxi drone. Two years later, those plans have become reality. The unmanned aircraft, called Vahana, recently completed its first test flight, and it was a rip-roaring success. We may still be years away from seeing passenger drones take to the skies, but now we know that it’s possible. What a time to be alive, right?
Porsche Says to Quit Complaining About Squeaky Brakes or Pay Us to Check Them for No Reason
Squeaky brakes are never fun to listen to, but apparently, Porsche is also tired of hearing its customers complain. Porsche produced a detailed, four-minute video explaining how and why brake squeal occurs in large-diameter, high-performance brakes. The German automaker goes on to assure its customers that the noise is completely normal and not an indication of malfunction. Of course, Porsche will gladly have technicians inspect the brakes at a customer’s request.
As the video describes, brake squeal happens as the brake rotor undergoes tiny but rapid vibrations under braking. The action makes the large rotor act like a speaker, amplifying the vibrations into an audible sound. Due to the minuscule inconsistencies with each braking application and the environment in which they occur brake noise isn’t something that is easily engineered away.
Vehicles with smaller, normal-performance rotors have a less likely chance of developing brake squeal under average conditions. Customers buying high-end sports cars with prices varying between $50,000 to $190,000 typically demand perfection. Hopefully, thanks to the video, Porsche customers will understand their squeaky brakes are working perfectly fine, even if they don’t sound so great.
Check out the video above for an in-depth, animated look into the science behind brake squeal.
Lord Help US - Ford Wants to Put Ticket-Serving Autonomous Police Cars on the Road
The race to develop autonomous driving technology is taking shape in a number of potential applications. For Ford, it’s not enough to have an autonomous car-sharing service or a self-driving car for the masses. The Blue Oval is thinking out of the box with a vision to put the technology into a police car. It may not be on the level of Skynet just yet, but Ford’s idea of a self-driving police car could be the future of law enforcement on the road.
Japan has a New, Outrageously Large Mecha Robot
It’s not exactly as high-tech as Bumblebee or Gypsy Danger, but I can argue that LW-Mononofu is the best robot of the three because he’s actually a real thing. The 27.8-foot giant mech robot is the handiwork of Japan’s Sakakibara Machinery Works Co., the same company that gave us the Landwalker from 2005 and the $20,000 Kids Walker Cyclops from 2013. Known for its mech wizardry, Sakakibara spent the past six years developing LW-Mononofu, and now that it’s actually built, it looks about as cool as you’d expect it to be.
Samsung Is Now The World’s Largest Chipmaker, Thanks In Part To The Future Of The Automotive Industry
Every year, new cars become increasingly more connected and more technologically advanced. That progress has led to many new opportunities for technology companies like Samsung, which just became the world’s largest chipmaker thanks in part to growing demand from the auto industry.
Continue reading for the full story.
New Startup, Nuro, Debuts Fully Autonomous Delivery Vehicle
Just as the space for autonomous driving cars is getting crowded, so is the segment called last mile delivery services. Automakers like Ford and Toyota are pushing for a presence in this segment. The latter even unveiled the E-Palette Concept at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show to showcase its plans. Startup companies are also looking to gain a foothold, including Silicon Valley-based Nuro, a tech startup that has plans to launch its own self-driving delivery vehicle.
Nuro is the brainchild of two former Google engineers, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu. The two engineers worked on Google’s self-driving car project, so they’re well entrenched in the segment and its business potential. Together, Ferguson and Zhu developed a small, self-driving minivan concept that can deliver goods and to your front door. Physically, the vehicle is small enough that it doesn’t take up much space on local roads, but it’s also big enough to have four compartments that can each hold up to 10 shopping bags. The vehicle can also be configured by users to accommodate a number of custom inserts.
While there are no specific plans on when the car will hit the road, Nuro envisions it as a future alternative to standard delivery services that often include the presence of humans. The city car itself reportedly took 18 months to develop, and it still has a long way to go before it can be functional enough to achieve its purpose in life. Speaking with Reuters, Ferguson said that Nuro is “currently in talks with big and small retailers” that can help increase its profile in this burgeoning segment. Once those retail partnerships are delivered, expect the next step to be getting these vehicles on the road.
There’s no telling when that’s going to be, but given that the company was just on the receiving end of a $92 million investment from private equity firm Banyan Capital and venture firm Greylock Partners, Nuro has the finances to make it work.
The Tiny EcoSport Promises to Hack your Life
Ford is unabashedly targeting millennials who love a good #lifehack with its new EcoSport compact crossover. Not only does it have an affordable price tag, but Ford keeps lauding the five-seater’s modern connectivity features like 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and its new Ford+Alexa system. Well, Ford is now adding to the app-friendly EcoSport thanks to the integration of Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app.
Continue reading for more information.
Mazda Thinks its Skyactiv-3 Engines Will Rival EVs on the Economy Front
Mazda is diligently working to save the internal combustion engine from a slow death brought on by electric vehicles. The independent Japanese automaker has been perfecting the ICE for decades with its Skyactiv line, including the Skyactiv-G and new Skyactiv-X. The latter is particularly interesting as it combines the strong points of both a gasoline- and diesel-powered engine without either of their weak points. Skyactiv-X is set to arrive in showrooms sometime in the next year. Nevertheless, the automaker isn’t resting on its laurels.
Mazda is already looking at the next project – Skyactiv-3. It’s a new gasoline engine designed to increase thermal efficiency by roughly 27 percent, making the engine 57 percent thermally efficient. That’s far better than even the most effacement engines out there. By comparison, Toyota’s new 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder is said to have a thermal efficiency of 40 percent. Mazda says the Skyactive-3’s efficiency means it will achieve well-to-wheel emissions similar to an EV.
What’s well-to-wheel emissions? It’s the overall CO2 emissions emitted from the time oil leaves the well to the time it propels a vehicle. This includes the mining and processing of crude oil.
There is still much work to be done on the Skyactiv-3 powertrain, of course. Mazda is just now launching its gasoline compression-ignition engine, Skyactiv-X, to market, so it will be at least several years before the third-generation of Skyactiv engines are ready for the road.
Are You Prepared For a World With Self-Moving Slippers?
In case there aren’t enough things in this world that are becoming autonomous these days, Nissan is taking it a step further by giving everyday items the ability to move by themselves. We’re not talking about cars; we’re talking about things like tables, floor cushions, remote controls, and household slippers.
The unusual amenities can be found in the ProPILOT Park Ryokan, a Japanese inn located in Hakone, Japan that Nissan is using to showcase its ProPilot Park technology.Instead of the usual dog and pony show of watching a Nissan Leaf EV demonstrate the new self-parking technology, Nissan instead turned its attention to household items in order to showcase what the tech is capable of. The results are incredible, if not a little freaky. Have you ever seen a floor pillow move by itself in a non-supernatural way? How about a pair of slippers that arranges itself neatly with others of its kind? It’s going to take some getting used to.
Nissan doesn’t really say how the technology works on these items, but the video above cuts to a scene where a group of smart people are working on developing the tech, complete with renderings and mockups of the actual slippers. There’s nothing ghoulish at work here; it’s all about Nissan’s new ProPilot Park technology, and the potential applications it can have beyond its ability to park a Nissan by itself.
Maybe Nissan’t on to something here. In my case, I wouldn’t mind living in a world where my dog isn’t the only one that comes greeting me when I enter my house. I’d like to see a future where slippers could do that too. Live in Nissan’s world, or in this case, the ProPilot Park Ryokan, and that future is there, waiting to welcome us with open arms and a comfortable pair of autonomous slippers.
And in case you’re wondering about the authenticity of the hotel, Nissan’s actually offering a free night at the ProPILOT Park Ryokan for a lucky pair of travelers. If you’re interested in joining, all you need to do is post on Twitter using the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay from January 25 to February 10, 2018. In the event you do get picked to spend a night in the inn, be sure to let us know all about that experience.
AAA Study Finds that Driver’s Are Starting To Accept Driverless Cars and Autonomous Technology
The American Automobile Association (AAA) has been conducting an annual study to better understand the attitude consumers have towards autonomous driving technology. Now in its third year, the study has revealed some interesting information, including the shifting attitude towards the developing technology. According to the study, American drivers are now more accepting of driverless cars and self-driving technology. A majority of the respondents are still afraid of the tech, but the percentage of drivers who are now warm on the idea of riding in a self-driving car now sits at 28 percent, a sharp increase from where it was in year’s past. On the contrary, 63 percent of American drivers are still afraid to ride in a self-driving car while nine percent are unsure.
Bend Over and Prepare for Insertion: BMW Wants to Charge You Annually For Apple CarPlay
BMW is changing the way it offers Apple CarPlay. The German automaker plans to turn Apple CarPlay into a subscription service instead of the current format of charging owners $300 to add the capability to navigation-equipped BMW models. Moving forward, BMW owners with navigation-equipped models won’t have to pay for the service in the first year of their subscription. There is a catch, though. Once that first year lapses, owners will need to pay an annual fee of $80 to maintain the service.
New Glasses Promise to End Motion Sickness in Self-Driving Cars
When developed properly, autonomous driving technology comes with a basket-full of perks. One of those perks is for drivers to be more productive when they’re traveling. They can hand the wheel over to the car and let the car drive itself to the destination. But as promising as self-driving tech is, there are some potential inconveniences to using it, specifically from those who suffer motion sickness. On that end, researchers from the University of Michigan have received a patent on a universal motion sickness countermeasure system in the form of eyeglasses that provide light stimuli in the periphery of a driver or passenger that mimics what they might see outside. The technology is said to be capable of eliminating the “conflict between vestibular and visual inputs,” regarded by the medical community as the root cause of motion sickness.
Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transpiration Research Institute are the brains behind the technology. Together, the two research professors have been working with U-M Transfer Tech to commercialize an invention they think could help alleviate motion sickness among people who suffer from it. In a conversation with the university’s news outlet, Sivak indicated that the invention ties the autonomous driving technology. "This is more important with the introduction of autonomous vehicles," he said. "In autonomous cars, everyone will be a passenger. So you will have a larger potential pool of sick people. The protection that drivers have received from driving won’t be there anymore."
Sivak notes that roughly half of today’s adult population suffer from motion sickness just by reading a book inside a car. The technology’s potential benefits to people suffering from motion sickness could prove to be vital for automakers, especially if they’re trying to sell self-driving technology to people who keep themselves busy while inside a car whether it’s working on laptops, reading a book, watching videos, or simply sitting in non-traditional interior configurations. "The productivity gains that the proponents of self-driving vehicles are talking about may not happen if we don’t address the motion sickness problem," he said.
The issued patent for Sivak and Schoettle’s invention could go a long way in addressing that potential problem. Keith Hughes, assistant director of Transportation and Battery Commercialization at U-M Tech Transfer, told the university’s news outlet that the team behind the system are in the process of contacting suppliers and automakers to help commercialize the technology.
Bugatti Just 3D-Printed the World’s Largest Titanium Brake Caliper
Bugatti is always at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. It may sound like the French automaker spares no expense at everything it does, but that’s because it actually goes to great lengths to find new ways of improving its cars. Those lengths now include using 3D printing, which, in Bugatti’s case, involves using the technology to create large titanium brake calipers that are actually lighter than the current aluminum calipers that are used on the Chiron hypercar.
Digital License Plates are About to Become a Thing
If you need more proof that the auto industry is shifting into a world dominated by digital technology, you need to be introduced to Reviver Auto. The California-based company is in attendance at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show to unveil its new product, the RPlate Pro. In so many words, the RPlate Pro is a digital license plate because apparently, regular license plates are so 2017.
Ford Wants to Build Networks for Cities
A lot of ambitious ideas were thrown around at the Consumer Electronics Show, most interesting of all was Ford’s "City of Tomorrow" vision. CEO Jim Hackett went to CES to unveil the automaker’s plan to offer cities networks and technology to smooth the flow of goods and improve the quality of lives among its people. Part of that plan includes building a “transportation mobility cloud” that would allow cities to use a shared platform to manage autonomous vehicles and connect people to different types of transportation.
New Toyota And Lexus Vehicles To Get Amazon Alexa; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Still No Go
These days, having the right infotainment and onboard technology is critical to new car sales, as evidenced by the huge number of automakers present at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. The latest comes from Toyota and Lexus, which just announced it would equip “select” models with advanced feature control courtesy of Amazon Alexa.
For those of you who may be unaware, Amazon Alexa is the online retain giant’s personal digital assistant. First used in the Amazon Echo, Alexa is able to provide a host of services via voice command, including music playback, the creation of to-do lists, alarm setting, real-time traffic status, and news. If properly integrated with devices and systems at home, Alexa can also perform other tasks, such as adjusting the temperature settings for the heater and A/C.
In total, Amazon Alexa can connect to “thousands” of things for added digital convenience. As for in-car features, Alexa can handle all the basics, such as remote door lock and unlock, as well as remote engine start and basic smartphone operation.
Starting this year, Amazon Alexa will be included with new Toyota vehicles equipped with the Entune 3.0 App Suite, as well as new Lexus vehicles equipped with the Enform App Suite 2.0. Toyota says the lineup of Alexa-equipped models will expand in 2019.
Meanwhile, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not included in Toyota’s lineup, which is a bit of a head-scratcher considering the platforms are two of the most popular smartphone support systems for modern passenger cars today. It’s great that Toyota and Lexus are stepping up their connectivity game, but with competitors flocking to Android and Apple, we can’t help but wonder how far Alexa will actually carry the brand in terms of winning over consumers.
Honda Brings Together Consortium of Tech Startups To Focus on Future Mobility
In case it isn’t obvious by now, the Consumer Electronics Show attracted just about every automaker that has a vested interest in future mobility. Honda was in attendance at the event, where it announced plans through Honda Xcelerator to bring together a consortium of tech startups with the goal of developing new technologies that are geared towards future mobility. Included in this list of startups are BRAIQ, DeepMap, DynaOptics, EXO Technologies, Tactual Labs, and WayRay.
Hyundai and Cisco Present Faster, More Secure Car Networking Technology
The growing partnership between the auto industry and Silicon Valley took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show. One example that can be gleaned from these collaborations is the tie-up between Hyundai and Cisco. Together, the two companies revealed a new technology platform that brings 1 Gbps worth of Ethernet connectivity inside our cars. The technology sounds appealing for kids who will have no shortage of bandwidth to use inside a car, but the more important purpose of the tech is to allow automakers like Hyundai to load web-capable sensors and gadgetry in the name of accelerating the growth towards full-fledged autonomy.
Kia Interactive Cockpit at CES Shows Off Suite of New Technologies
The Kia Niro EV Concept made its debut at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. As ground-breaking as the concept was, the Niro EV also played host to Kia’s suite of new interactive cockpits that point directly to the company’s “Beyond Autonomous Driving vision. The cockpits feature plenty of new technologies, including a new HMI tech, Separate Sound Control System, and the world’s first in-car 5G connection.
The cockpit concepts are more than just novelty items; they’re previews to a future that Kia is pursuing. The first of these two cockpits features the Niro EV Concept’s new HMI system. This new system takes human interaction with the car’s infotainment center to a new level, including the ability to control the infotainment system and HVAC through by touch and gesture. Different gestures denote different commands; these commands range anywhere from switching music tracks, adjusting the sound system’s volume, and changing cabin ventilation settings. Even the steering wheel is in on the advancements, specifically the perforated leather area on its base that drivers can swipe to unlock different commands. The cockpit also has face and voice recognition technology, a development that came to life thanks to Kia’s collaboration with Amazon Web Services. This partnership unlocks the latter’s “Rekognition” and “Polly” software in the car.
The second of these two cockpits is no less groundbreaking than the first. If being the first at anything still counts in this industry, Kia can puff its chest knowing that its cockpit concept carries the world’s first in-vehicle 5G connection. As fast as 4G connection is, 5G connection is the future. Streaming content into the car should be faster and easier if the Korean automaker can leverage this concept application into something real and tangible. At the very least, watching content while running on 5G connection will be more of a spectacle with the cockpit’s other ground-breaking development, the Separate Sound Control System. In so many words, this tech creates two sound zones in the car, one in the two front seats and another in the rear seats, without one intruding on the other. Eight speakers are installed in the headrests, and the addition of noise-canceling technology helps mute the sound coming from the other seats, allowing a specific occupant, whether it’s the driver or the passenger, to enjoy his brand of music or podcast on his own.
Honda’s New Powerpack is Revolutionary in Terms of Simple Mobility
In the continuing quest to develop alternative sources of power, Honda took to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show to unveil the Mobile Power Pack, a portable, swappable, and rechargeable battery that users can use to power digital devices, home appliances, emergencies, and electric mobility vehicles like motorcycles and scooters. The Mobile Power Pack is essentially an oversized powerbank that carries an output of at least 1kWh, enough juice to serve a myriad of purposes.
Meet Honda’s Newest Cute Robots the 3E Empathy, Empower, and Experience
Honda has pulled the covers off of four robot concepts at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. Collective called the 3E Robotics Concepts, the small prototypes are more than just novelty items that Honda cooked up for our collective pleasures; they were created to give us a taste of what the future could look like with these robots by our sides to improve our daily lives in different ways. Three of these concepts are making their world debuts at CES. One of them, 3E-C18, made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show last October.