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Rinspeed’s Autonomous Oasis Set for CES Debut

A new take on a “green” machine. Radishes, anyone?

by on Oct.07, 2016

Rinspeed is at it again, creating a haven for drivers and autonomous driving in its Oasis concept.

We can always count on Switzerland’s Rinspeed to come up with a novel way to push the automotive envelope, and it plans to do that again. But rather than wait for the home show in Geneva, the edgy engineering house will bring its Oasis concept vehicle to the Consumer Electronics Show this January.

Rinspeed has, in recent years, focused on electric propulsion, and it’s now putting an increasing emphasis on autonomous vehicles. The Oasis is no exception. Despite its compact footprint, the concept offers a particularly roomy cabin, and that’s where it is designed, indeed, to be a mobile oasis.

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“The interior offers a new living space with the ambience of a modern-day family room: armchair, sideboard, TV and a multifunctional steering wheel, of course,” explains a Rinspeed press release. “The windshield also serves as a screen for virtual as well as augmented reality.” (more…)

Toyota Introducing New Autonomous Mapping Technology

Maker building maps using new approach.

by on Dec.30, 2015

Toyota is introducing its new mapping technology for autonomous vehicles at the upcoming CES show.

Plenty of pundits, analysts and even automakers are predicting the age of the autonomous car is hurtling toward us. As the aforementioned makers grapple with the various issues, Toyota has designed a system to improve and accelerate the mapping of U.S. roads needed to put the self-drivers on the road.

Toyota’s new system uses camera-equipped production vehicles to gather road images and vehicle positional information. This information is sent to data centers, where it is automatically pieced together, corrected and updated to generate high precision road maps that cover a wide area.

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The new technology, which Toyota says will be available in vehicles in 2020, will provide accurate measurements to within two inches. The maker plans to debut the new system at CES 2016 in Las Vegas next month. (more…)

VW Golf R Touch Actually Can Use Touchless, Gesture Controls

“Future mobility will be even more intelligent.”

by on Jan.06, 2015

The Volkswagen Golf R Touch concept vehicle features an infotainment system that incorporates gesture control as the next step in the area of intuitive control.

In the sci-fi adventure, Minority Report, actor Tom Cruise sorts through a series of images that seem to be floating in the air simply by flicking them with his fingers. You may soon be able to do something similar in your car.

Automakers are showing off an array of virtual reality displays at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. That includes Volkswagen, which is giving a glimpse of what it has in mind with a concept car it has dubbed the Golf R Touch. But the name is something of a misnomer because you don’t necessarily have to touch anything to change the volume, adjust the temperature or operate other vehicle functions.

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Instead, the concept vehicle is equipped with a stereoscopic camera system that tracks your hand movements, reading your gestures rather than relying on your touch. (more…)

Ford’s Mulally, Mercedes’ Zetsche to Highlight 2012 CES

Autos and automakers increasingly powerful force at annual consumer electronics show.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Ford CEO Alan Mulally will return to CES in January - though keynote duties will go to Daimler's Chairman Dieter Zetsche.

While the words, “consumer electronics,” are likely to bring to mind an iPhone or widescreen TV, the auto industry is becoming a more and more powerful force in the field as motorists search for technology that will keep them informed and entertained while driving.

That convergence was underscored, in recent years, by Alan Mulally’s three-peat appearance as the keynote speaker at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, held each January in Las Vegas.  The largest trade show in the country will once again turn to a member of the auto industry as keynoter for 2012, but this time to Daimler AG Chairman and Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche.  Mulally will be back in Sin City, however, as a member of one of the annual event’s opening panels.

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“Convergence is real,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association, sponsor of CES, which is expected to draw at least 2,000 exhibitors and 150,000 attendees to Las Vegas next January.  “Innovation,” he stressed, is critical to both the automotive and electronics industries because “growth comes only from innovation.”

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GM’s New App Turns Smartphones into Virtual Key

New app uses OnStar to access vehicle functions.

by on Jul.22, 2010

Well, does this have anything to do with selling cars? Comments requested.

The automotive world is going smartphone app crazy.

The latest to join the fray? General Motors will roll out smartphone apps – specialized apps geared for customers of its four remaining U.S. brands – this fall.

GM will release a new app for smartphones that will allow owners to access all of the functions of a traditional key fob. No longer will the car owner have to be within a certain distance to control vehicle.

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Apps, Apt or Otherwise!

Say you park the car at the mall, but realize you forgot to lock it while shopping at Aeropostale. Just log in and send a remote lock signal to the vehicle.

This could also eliminate many of the calls subscribers make to have their vehicle unlocked by an OnStar advisor. So long as you don’t lock your phone in the car, you could just unlock it yourself.

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Ford Syncs With Smartphone Apps

Pandora, Twitter and other "apps" will be available to motorists.

by on Jan.07, 2010

The latest generation of Ford's Sync infotainment system will allow a motorist to access smartphone apps including Pandora, Stitcher and Twitter.

If “electrification” was the hot topic of 2009, this year, the buzzword is “connectivity.”  Even as more and more states wrestle with bans on in-car calling and texting, automakers are looking for new ways to keep motorists linked to the outside world.

“People have become addicted to connectivity,” suggests Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s global product development chief.

The Detroit maker took a plunge into the digital pool, several years ago, when it launched its new Sync infotainment system.  Developed in cooperation with Microsoft, Sync is a voice-activated package of audio and navigation services that can be voice operated.

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But in sharp contrast with General Motors’ OnStar, Sync is a relatively open system – “the electronic equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife,” according to Kuzak — which means it’s easy to update and add features that weren’t necessarily developed by or for Ford.

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