Just Car Blog
|Proposed new gadget let’s you see through cars||
We all know the feeling: driving on a highway, at 120km/h+, when suddenly, you find yourself stuck behind a slow moving truck.
You sigh, take a deep breath, and then gently swerve to the right to try and see if the road is clear for you to pass the damned truck. Whilst mostly this works, and you can time your pass efficiently, it is nevertheless quotes dangerous.
How cool would it be of you could just see through the truck or bus in front of you and then make youor quick exit? Well, if thi snew gadget is anything to go by- you CAN!
As incredible as it sounds, a Portuguese scientist has come up with an invention that literally makes you see straight through the car in front of – almost like an X-Ray.
Michael Ferreira, from the University of Porto in Portugal has developed this technology being called “See-through system”.
The See-Through System works by tapping into the visual data being recorded by the forward-facing webcam that some cars/trucks/busses have installed on their windshield.
Then, if you have a similar system in your car, the webcam then streams the feed from the car in front of yours’ webcam and projects it onto a transparent LED screen built into your windshield.
This viewpoint then helps you judge the oncoming traffic from the view of the car or bus or truck in front of you.
Check out what it would look like if you had the system in your car:
Sound too good to be true? Well it’s true; but that doesnt mean it may have some complications. Many critics have raised the question on whether the streaming would be in real time, and if, incase it lags, how it would benefit the driver.
However, Ferreira has a answer to that: “…tests show that the latency isn’t more than 200 milliseconds, which translates to about 10 meters at high speed and won’t make any difference with safety in real-world driving” he said.
Either way, this might be the one safety solution for driving the world has been waiting for. Ferreira even tested the system out himself, and you can see it in action in the video below:
What are your thoughts on this X-Ray technology? Safe or silly?
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
|Video: Infiniti to use Steer-by-Wire System by 2013||
The conventional steering system in vehicles involve a link between the front wheels and the steering wheel. This usually consists of hydraulics for modern cars. The conventional system used for steering a vehicle develop hydraulic pressure via a pump driven by a belt. This pump actually causes the engine some fuel efficiency and horsepower, which will not be acceptable when all manufacturers are hoping to improve the fuel efficiency of their fleets.
Nissan has taken a step to advance the electric steering system to another level. It came up with its version of the steer-by-wire system that promises quicker response, better control, and improved feel on different driving surfaces.
The new steering system consists of a force actuator, several ECUs, actuator for the steering angle, and a clutch that will serve as a mechanical linkage. It is also equipped with a camera a camera and another module that will aids the system to have a better control.
The steering input is processed by an actuator and sent to the ECU. The processing module then tells the actuator how much steering should be provided. The setup is basically quicker than the response of mechanically-based system.
The system also helps the driver by guiding the front wheels on rough pavements and grooved surfaces. This is also true when the vehicle encounters crosswinds and helps the vehicle to stay on its lane.
The camera monitors the road and detects deviations from the lane. The car will make the necessary corrections when the car departs from the lane due to factors like driver fatigue.
The new steering system is expected to be implemented on the models of Infiniti by next year.
|Opel RAK e electric concept||
Before we delve into the details of the RAK e electric concept, let’s step back in time with a brief historical primer. The oldest industrial division within General Motors’ current portfolio, Opel started as a sewing machine manufacturer way back in 1862. Evolving to the production of bicycles soon after, Opel’s presence in wheeled transportation turned to automobiles in 1899. Now, at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Opel looks to the future with its debut of the ultra-modern RAK e Concept.
As an experimental design and technical platform, the RAK e is a narrow four-wheeler built around a steel space frame. Built with an eye toward inexpensive materials, the RAK e is a lightweight (838 pounds) concept presented as a vehicle that Opel says even the youngest of buyers could afford.
Propulsion for the RAK e comes from a 49-horsepower electric motor that draws juice from a five-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Range is listed at up to 62 miles and operating costs are claimed to be only one euro per 100 kilometers ($2.19 per 100 miles).
|BMW Explains Why Night Vision Is Good: Video||
If you ever have an opportunity to lap a racetrack in the dark, do it, but only if you know the track very, very well. One of the first things you’ll learn is that headlights, even HID lights, don’t provide enough coverage to deal with the speeds modern cars are capable of. If you can’t see a corner entry or a braking marker at high speed, what are the chances you’ll be able to spot a deer or pedestrian on a dark country road?
Assisted vision systems being developed by automakers like BMW won’t turn day into night, but they will help you spot people and animals at further distances than even high-beam headlights. Most work via thermal imaging, detecting objects that are warmer than the ambient background temperature.
BMW’s website lists the effective range of its Night Vision system as between 15 and 100 meters, which is roughly 49 to 328 feet. At sixty miles per hour, you’re traveling at 88 feet per second; in other words, the system will give you between a half-second warning and a 3.7 second warning, which really isn’t a lot of time.
The video, however, quotes the range as 900 feet, which would give a driver over 10 seconds to react at 60 mph. We’re not sure which set of numbers is correct, and we hope we don’t find out the hard way. Still, if you live in deer country, BMW’s Night Vision (part of its Connected Drive technology suite) is one more tool to keep you from meeting Bambi up close and personal.
|Bridgestone Revisits The Airless Tire||
If you’re a car person with access to the internet, you’ve received images via email of a concept airless tire built by Michelin in the early ‘00s. Depending on which version of the e-mail you received (and we’ve seen dozens), the tire was either under development, awaiting production, or headed to a showroom near you in the coming months. While the idea was sound, the technology proved to be both expensive and impractical to develop further.
Michelin may have abandoned the idea, but Bridgestone hasn’t. The Japanese tire giant is showing a prototype of its design for an airless tire at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it’s actively pursuing development with the intent of bringing such a product to market. As you can see in the images, the concept is fairly simple: a series of directional spokes, made of thermoplastic resin, replace the air in a conventional tire. The tire wold be bonded to the wheel using some sort of fastening system, and at end of life all components would be recyclable.
Such a tire would have both advantages and drawbacks to conventional tires. Since punctures wouldn’t really matter (unless tread cords or tire spokes were damaged), the need for a spare tire or inflation kit is eliminated, saving both weight and space. As the tires require no air, the only potential maintenance would be an occasional visual inspection.
On the downside, the handling characteristics of such a tire are completely unknown, and it’s likely that airless tires would weigh more than conventional counterparts. Special wheels would be necessary, limiting the availability of aftermarket wheel options. Finally, it’s unlikely that “airless” tires could be produced as cheaply as conventional tires, adding to the cost of replacement.
We don’t think you’ll be seeing these on production cars any time soon. Still, we’ll admit to being fascinated by the technology, which could be the first significant advancement in the industry since the invention of the pneumatic tire. If we get a chance to drive a car on airless tires, you’ll be the first to know about it.
|Big Brother Is Watching: OnStar’s New Terms & Conditions||
If you subscribe to the OnStar telematics system, chances are good that you ignored a recent e-mail about changes to terms and conditions. If you haven’t already binned the e-mail, we suggest you read it carefully: as The New York Times points out, the changes could have a dramatic impact on your privacy behind the wheel.
Two changes to the terms and conditions are significant. First, canceling the OnStar service no longer means the termination of two-way communications between your vehicle and OnStar. In other words, even if you’re not paying for OnStar, the service is still collecting GPS data from your vehicle.
Which brings me to the second change: the data that OnStar collects from your vehicle can be sold to third party companies expressing interest. What data can OnStar collect and sell? How about information on vehicle speed and location, current odometer reading, seat belt usage, and deployment of any vehicle air bags.
Under the latest terms and conditions, OnStar will “aggregate” the data collected to protect user privacy, but that’s likely to be a temporary situation. Language in the new terms and conditions could allow OnStar to sell your specific data to municipalities and companies who specialize in targeted marketing.
I’m not as paranoid as some who believe the information will be used for law enforcement (imagine the fun of automatically generated traffic citations, for each and every violation you commit) or insurance purposes (better: how about a monthly rate adjustment based on your habitual speeding habits), but there’s clearly an ominous tone here. At the very least, you stand to be spam-bombed by marketing companies who now track your every move behind the wheel. At worst, the data collected can be used against you to raise insurance rates, or impact your credit rating or even ticket you for offenses your car is tracked committing.
You can opt out of the OnStar service and terminate vehicle tracking, but you must contact them directly to do so. Even then, there’s no way to tell if the service has been disabled, unless you physically disconnect the (hidden) OnStar antenna, or disconnect its (again hidden) data logger. Clearly, neither GM nor OnStar want to make this an easy process.
I’d be the first to admit that OnStar has its upsides, but to me the privacy concerns overrule any potential benefits. What’s your take? Are the recent changes to the OnStar system no big deal, or is this the start of a dangerous new trend? Do you currently have OnStar in your vehicle, and will the new terms and conditions affect your perception of the service? Would you avoid buying a new vehicle with such a service?
|Ford Focused On Safety And Technology||
If you haven’t shopped for a new car in the last five years and you’re about to check out Ford’s latest offerings, be prepared to be surprised. A lot has changed over a short period of time, and today’s cars are coming with a dizzying array of new technology and safety systems, all designed to make driving more enjoyable while minimizing its risks. Excluding luxury brands such as Mercedes and BMW, no other automaker is putting as much effort into developing new safety and technology integration systems as Ford, and they recently hosted a group of journalist in their Dearborn, MI headquarters to show us what’s new. Below are the highlights of Fords current efforts, some of which are available today while others are still works in progress. One thing is clear: in-car technology is evolving at a staggering pace, so the cars of 2016 are likely to be filled with technology we can’t even imagine today.
MyFord Key – Ford developed the technology for its MyFord Key system a few years back, but it’s been enhanced for the upcoming model year. Essentially a “parental control” for the family car, MyFord Key allows owners to set speed limits, audio volume limits, speed warnings and to disable the audio system if the driver isn’t wearing a seat belt. As deployed today, MyFord Key allows a maximum speed limit setting of 80 miles per hour; upcoming is a choice of three maximum speed limits (80, 70 and 65, corresponding with state speed limits) and a feature that will block adult content on satellite radio.
AppLink – Used today on the Fiesta, AppLink allows owners to listen to tweets (via OpenBeak), stream Pandora or stream RSS feeds through Stitcher. Next year, AppLink will expand to the Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, F-150, Raptor, Super-Duty, Expedition, E-Series, Shelby GT 500 and Mustang, and Ford is quadrupling the size of its Connected Services Solutions group over the next four years. Look for new apps to be added in the near future as well.
Improved Voice Recognition – Ford is working with Nuance to improve the voice recognition of the Ford SYNC system. Rather than requiring users to speak commands in an awkward, hierarchical manner, Nuance is working on systems that understand the intent of what a driver wants. The goal is to make voice recognition systems easier to operate, especially for first time users or those less technically adept. SYNC can now understand 100 times the number of commands it could when launched back in 2007, and you can probably expect similar gains over the next four years. Talking cars really aren’t that far off, after all.
Inflatable Rear Seat Belts – Launched on the 2011 Ford Explorer, inflatable rear seat belts are designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries, primarily for children and elderly rear seat occupants. Ford will expand this technology to the Flex and selected Lincoln vehicles starting next summer.
Bold Fonts – Ford is taking steps to help drivers read interface screens by making fonts bolder and thicker. Look for this to appear first on the Ford Edge and Ford Explorer, beginning in 2012.
Health and Wellness Monitoring – still in the R&D stages, Ford is developing technology to interface with Bluetooth enabled medical devices, such as embedded glucose monitors. This would allow diabetic drivers to track blood glucose levels in real time, alerting them before a problem arose. Ford is also working with Pollen.com to provide real time air quality monitoring for patients with respiratory problems; in the future, air quality alerts could even re-route drivers to prevent potential health issues.
Intelligent Vehicles – Ford is working on systems that allow cars to “speak” to one another, or to communicate with intersections equipped with intelligent traffic signals. Distracted drivers would receive an alarm if they were approaching a red light at an improper rate of speed, and cars would receive a similar alarm if an oncoming vehicle posed a collision risk (passing a truck on a two-lane road, or turning left across traffic, for example). Still a few years off, this technology has the potential of reducing passenger vehicle crash risks by 81 percent when fully deployed.
Technology extends to fuel economy as well, and Ford currently offers more vehicles with 40 mpg fuel economy than any other manufacturer. Thanks to developments like EcoBoost, smaller, more fuel-efficient engines are able to produce significantly more power than in years past, and even truck buyers are seeing the advantages of this. In May, 55 percent of F-150s sold came equipped with Ford’s EcoBoost V-6, marking the first time that V-6 F-150s outsold V-8 versions.
We may not know exactly what the future has in store for the automotive industry, but this much is clear: if you can imagine it, chances are good that Ford has someone working on it.
|Chrysler Working On Engine That Burns Gas And Diesel||
What if you could have the performance of a 4.0 liter V6, while returning the fuel economy of an inline four? Chyrsler is working with the Department of Energy on just such an engine, and it will use both gasoline and diesel to achieve these performance targets. It won’t burn the two fuels independently, so running out of gas (or diesel, presumably) will still leave you stranded. Instead, the engine burns the two fuels simultaneously to achieve both superior performance and fuel economy.
The engine is primarily a gas-burner that utilizes high compression and twin turbos to make reasonable power from a small displacement. Diesel is injected into the combustion chamber to control preignition, which allows the engine to run higher compression than pump gas normally allows. As a result, Chrysler claims comparable performance with a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to their 2009 model year 4.0-liter V6. That translates into 31 mpg on the highway in a Town & Country minivan, but a smaller, lighter vehicle could see even bigger fuel economy improvements.
Chrysler isn’t the first automaker to undertake a multi-fuel engine project. Ford is working on a multi-fuel engine that uses both gasoline and ethanol, but there currently isn’t an infrastructure in place to support such a design in the real world. Where, exactly, would you buy ten gallons of ethanol? Diesel is commonly available from coast to coast, but both designs suffer from the same design drawback: multi-fuel engines require two separate fuel tanks and fuel systems, and they assume that drivers will never inadvertently mix fuels.
Since the engine is only in the design phase, Chrysler has time to sort out the bugs. I like the possibilities that such a design presents, because it shows that horsepower can coexist with fuel economy. Maybe the future for us horsepower junkies isn’t as bleak as we thought.
Source: Kicking Tires
|BMW ConnectedDrive Concept Teased (Video)||
Geneva Motor Show is scheduled for this March and BMW has come out with a new teaser video for a concept that is likely to be at the show. However, all that the teaser shows are a lot of pretty lighted lines that suggested a shape of the vehicle.
The video claims to be portraying a dramatic concept vehicle to portray the BMW’s ConnectedDrive technology rather than a prototype of a future car.
This upcoming technology is expected to be a standard feature of BMW models in near future. But, don’t expect the company to show off this technology on some of their existing models.
The company has said they have been working on setting a perfect course for the future. They are likely to fascinate fans with an extraordinary vehicle that may set new standards in terms of comfort, infotainment, safety and driving experience.
Watch the teaser here:
|GM Opel Meriva Electric Test Fleet Being Readied||
Opel is developing three battery-electric versions of its Meriva as part of the MeRegioMobil research project which is funded by the Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany.
GM’s Opel electric Meriva will feature electronic controls which will allow high power electrical recharging using both a 230-volt single-phase current (charging time is approximately 3.5 hours) as well as a 400-volt three-phase AC (takes less than an hour to charge).
The vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability of the car via the bi-directional charging system (when the car is not in use and the driver permits it) will be the real test. This demonstration of two-way charging technology will test the practicality of distributed energy storage in car batteries for home usage.
The car will be coming equipped with a 16 kWh battery pack which will provide a range of 64 km (40 miles) and the vehicle will be able to hit a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
|Car Technology — What’s New: 1||
The technology that is in the world in general is absolutely incredible. Never did I think that I would see things the size of a match box hold all sorts of private information pulled off of a computer that is as thin as a notebook. The technology that has been passed on from computers has slowly made its way on over to the car market and nowadays, cars have some of the best technology in the world.
That is what we are going to explore in the next few blogs, exactly what technology is out there that can truly keep you safe and sound whenever you are driving. Do you use cruise control? I do – all of the time and I have to say that the newest cruise control feature that is popping up on a lot of cars is fantastic!
It actually makes sure that you stay a safe distance away from the car in front of you, that way you do not end up in a car accident.