Category Archives: Car Technology

The Terrafugia TF-X ..the future of transport?

This the Terrafugia TF-X a conceptual design for a car/plane crossover! Screen-Shot-2015-07-22-at-14.42.34-e1437572610458 The Terrafugia TF-X concept is a complete hybrid & includes four-seats, a cruise speed of 200 mph, a range of 500 miles and two electric motor pods which recharge them-selves. The flying element of the concept is auto-piloted, you simply tell it where you want to go and off it goes. It also takes off and lands via auto pilot so you don’t even need to know how to fly in order to use one! Terrafugia the company behind the FT-X have stated that it expects development to take between eight and twelve years, so don’t expect to see flying cars anytime soon! To see what the Terrafugia TF-X might look like in action, check out the video below!

Introducing the ALEX eRoadster

Irish company Swift Composite Prototypes have announce they are about to enter the electric car market with the ALEX eRoadster. 

alex21

In recent years it has become more and more apparent that the future of the motor industry will largely be based on electric vehicles, we have seen this through the growth in popularity of hybrid cars and the impressive rise of electrical cars companies such as Tesla who have experienced huge growth in only a few short years. It is this popularity and growth that has allowed Swift Composite too confidently enter the electric car market.

The ALEX eRoadster is expected to be an affordable electric car option, with the company hoping it will only cost consumers around €30,000. The company also hope to have a prototype ready as early as mid 2016, with full production beginning in late 2016. 

The design itself will take inspiration from the Lotus 7 and will include some impressive features such as solar roof panels which will offer an additional power boost and scissor doors & roof. The car itself will be made from carbon fibre which will help keep it as light as possible and in turn allowing the best possible range. The company believe that by making the car from carbon fibre they can make it up to 30% lighter than the average car, but it will actually be stronger and safer as a result.

To find out more about the ALEX eRoadster check out Swift Composite Prototypes website!

Samsung Transparent Truck

Tech giant Samsung has announced its plans to enter the motor industry in a very unique way. The company are currently developing a technology that will enable large trucks to essentially become… well transparent!

semi-trailer-display-video-screen-live-feed-safety-truck-samsung-1

We all know driving behind a truck (or as we here in Europe like to call them lorries) can be a bit of a nightmare, not only do they drive slower (and rightly so) but they can also be very difficult to over take because of the many risks involved. Samsung have come up with a solution which will help reduce these difficulties.

They call it the ‘Safety Truck’ and it is a very simple and effective idea. It involves placing a front facing camera on the truck, which captures the road ahead, this is then transmitted to an exterior LCD screen which is mounted on the rear of the truck, allowing whoever is behind the truck to see an uncompressed vision of the road ahead. It is available both day and night and has the potential to greatly reduce the number of accidents from drivers over taking blindly.

The system has already been tested in Argentina and with a largely positive results according to the electronic manufacture. Samsung are planning further testing which is to be done on motorways and are hoping to include the relevant road authorities in these tests.

Samsung have not made any announcement on when we can expect the system to be available or how much the system will cost.

To see the Transparent Truck in action, click on the below.

Jaguar Mind Sense

Jaguar has announced that it is to test the use of brainwave sensors in the steering wheel and heart & respiratory sensors in the seats of its XJ Sedan. Together these sensors will be called Mind Sense and will detect weather the driver is alert or about to drift off.

jaguar-logo-2

In recent years we have seen more and more car manufactures embrace new technologies and Jaguar are no different. However the British car brand is the first to introduce NASA and medical-grade sensors such as these. The idea behind the introduction of technology such as these is to gather a better understanding of the drivers needs, when they are stress, tried or become distracted.  It is hoped that by know this information the car will be better prepare for accidents and in future autonomous cars, be able to take over at the most appropriate times.

Jaguar also announce that they are working on a new infotainment system which they say will help drivers focused on driving and keep their hands on the steering wheel. This is a very clever system which actually anticipates what control the driver is reaching for and while their hand is in mid air it activates the control so they can resume their two hand position on the wheel. Pretty clever right? It manages this by deploying a ultrasonic pulse which replicates the touch by without anything physically having to touch it.

Unfortunately Jaguar is currently only conducting user trials with theses technologies and there is no official word on when they will be available in production vehicles.

A Car that won’t allow you to drink drive!

We all know how stupid it is too drink drive, however a vast number of us still do it. Well now thanks to new technology soon our car won’t let us. A new prototype system is currently being developed which has the ability to block drivers who are under the influence from driving.

DADSS The system is called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety or DADSS for short. It was conceived through a joint venture with the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a number of leading motor industry representatives. All of whom came together to try and eliminate the number of death on the roads related to drink driving.

So how does it work? Well the system itself is very clever, it has two detection features; a breath based system and a touch based system. The breath system tests the driver as they breath normally, while the touch based system test the driver when they touch either the push start button or the cars gear stick. This testing method means that it is not necessary to rely on the driver to take a test, the car tests the driver without there knowledge and determines their ability to drive based on their blood alcohol. The system can measure the drivers blood alcohol level in less that one second.

The system can also be tailored to each driver, meaning that it can be programmed to have a lower acceptable measurement for teenagers than say adults, this feature means that parents can implement a zero tolerance when it come to their teenage children attempting to drink drive.

DADSS is the most impressive system we have come across in the fight against drink driving and although the system is not expected to be available for about another five years it will be sure to have a positive impact when it eventually hits the roads.

To see more about the car that won’t allow you to drive drunk, check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yykyT4YRw4A

Car Manufactures get handy with the Apple Watch

So as you are all probably well aware the Apple Watch is now among us. The latest technology hit from Apple is helping us to tell the time, improve our health and loads of other exciting things..

Mercedes

Now a number of car manufactures have begun to create applications for the Apple Watch, some of which are actually quite clever. Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen have all already announced their app’s and more car manufactures are sure to follow suit.

The Mercedes app is called the MB Companion and its main feature is navigation. The appliction is designed to integrate with the cars existing navigation system. Meaning the user can type their destination into the Apple Watch or iPhone and when they get into the car it will seamlessly transfer over to the Mercedes navigation system. When they have parked the car the navigations will then seamlessly transfer back across to the initial device… Pretty smart right! The Mercedes MB Companion is expected to be available in the Autumn and will be compatible with the new Mercedes C-Class & S-Class.

Volkswagen also have a smart application for the Apple watch its name is the Volkswagen Car-Net app. With this app the user will be able to lock & unlock their vehicle, check fuel levels and even flash the lights or honk the horn remotely (handy when you can’t find your car in a dimly lit carpark!) Another clever feature of the Volkswagen Car-Net app is the monitoring feature, which allows the Apple Watch user to monitor the car while other family member are driving it, handy if you share with a teenager.

The final manufacture we are looking at is BMW who were actually the very first car manufacture to ever be connected with the Apple Watch way back in September 2014. One of the many features the Apple Watch has is its ability to provide real time information, it can do this on the BMW i3 or i8 electric plug in vehicles. It can also locate the vehicles and monitor heating and air conditioning too this is because of the Bimmer-centric features on the Apple Watch..

These are just some of the features that are available via the Apple Watch and as the technology grows along with its popularity we are destined to only see more!

 

 

Bosch UX for Automated Driving

Bosch has given us a taste of what the future may hold with their vision of User Experience software for automated driving and it looks pretty amazing…

Bosch-Self-Driving-Vision-Tesla-Model-S-7-e1429521537277-580x264

Bosch has been developing a particular type of software that will work in conjunction with self driving cars. The software itself is will allow drivers to use self driving technology in the safest and most convenient way possible. The software does this by analysing all the routes available to the driver and then determines the part of the route which most optimal for automated driving.

The software can also act as a infotainment system and essentially becomes a very convenient tablet computer when automated driving is enabled. When the car is in automated driving mode the driver can catch up on emails, make phone calls and surf the web while the onboard system safely drives the car.

The system also has the ability to learn, it can study the drivers pervious destinations and also offers the driver a sort of performance review. This is done via the touchscreen, after the car has preformed manoeuvre such as overtaking or changing lanes, the driver then rates the cars performance and it adapts as a result.

The car that Bosch use in the mock up is actually the Tesla Model S Electric, a car which will become an autonomous car in its own right in the near future. However it is unlikely that these two companies are actually working together given that the Tesla logo has been digitally removed from the video showcasing the technology below.

You can see what Bosch are imagining in the video below…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i-t0C7RQWM

Ford Remote Parking And Parking Spotter

Ford and Georgia Tech are currently working together on some new and exciting technologies in the area of parking.

The Translogic team visit the team and even get to demo the Ford remote parking program around the campus. Remote parking works sort of like a virtual valet. The team also get to hear about Ford’s new parking spotter, a new crowd-sourced way of finding parking.

To see the Ford Remote Parking and Parking Spotter in action, check out their video below!

 

Introducing EyeLock

A car is stolen every 45 seconds in the U.S and it was this fact that inspired New York based technology company Voxx Electronics develop their exciting new technology EyeLock for cars.

NC_car_eyelock_700x394_1427732716235_15827595_ver1.0_640_480

EyeLock is a scanning technology that scans your retina and uses this unique information as a protected password. The company first designed the technology to work with computers and other password protected devices. Then they thought what if this technology could also work as a secure car key, proving unique access and preventing them from being stolen.

So how does it work? Well it works through the use of small infrared cameras which scan your iris, these cameras are placed in the drivers visor. Once the drivers iris has been detected the software then starts the car. Only the driver or other users who have already had their iris pre programmed into the car memory have the ability to start the vehicle. The technology is extremely secure this is due to the fact that there is a one in a trillion chance that any two iris can be the same…so chances of anyone stealing your car while using this technology will be very very slim!

The technology is also expected to be of serious interest to a number of industries particularly the insurance industry, with the possibility of the introduction of a premium based on a driver by driver bases.

The technology is still only in the concept stage, although due of the serious interest in the technology it would not be surprising to see it being offered in the next generation of cars.

To see how EyeKock works check out the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFXWfMJqk_8

Introducing Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter

Ford has announced a new technology that reads road signs and then automatically slows the vehicle down to avoid speeding. The system is called the Ford Intelligent Speed Limiter and will be available in the new Ford S-Max minivan released this summer.

There are over 35,000 speed cameras across Europe, Ford hopes that the Intelligent Speed Limiter will help Ford customers avoid these cameras and reduce speeding on the roads.

S-MAXIntelligentSpeedLimiter-2-640x426

The system enables the driver to set the vehicle’s maximum speed, this maximum speed is then adjusted based on the information obtained by the vehicle through the traffic sign recognition system. The driver can override the system by pressing firmly down on the accelerator pedal however this action is only temporary.

The system works via a camera which is mounted on the windshield, this camera reads the various road signs and send the information to the on board computer. The system also has the ability to access the car GPS system (provided the car has one) to assist with the speed limit detection on more rural roads where signs may not be present. The speed limit detected is then displayed on the dashboard for the driver.

Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter is just one of a number of semi-autonomous technologies the company has introduced in recent years, other include Active Park Assist, Lane Keeping and Collision Warning.

The Ford S-Max will also include Ford’s Pedestrian Detection System which automatically detects both people & oncoming vehicles and if necessary reduces the chance of collision.

To see Ford’s Intelligent Speed Limiter in action, check out the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3qmtEGGlOo