Category Archives: Technology

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!

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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.

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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.

Fiat: Parking Billboard

Introducing the Fiat: Parking Billboard an interactive billboard that helps drivers park! The clever parking assistant is currently in use on the streets of Germany.

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The purpose of Fiat: Parking Billboard is to showcase the parking software that is currently available in the Fiat 500 by using its parking sensors in a very clever way.  This is achieved by combining the parking sensors with an interactive billboard to help drivers park easier. But, how does it work? Well the sensors are synchronised with the billboard, which means that when a driver approaches a parking space the billboard can determine how close it is too other cars or the curb, it then communicates this to the driver via some parking helpers who are displayed on the interactive billboard. These helpers then direct the driver into the parking spot via some handy hand movements… which is pretty darn clever if you ask us!

The idea was the brain child of advertising company Leo Burnett, who explained that the creation of the Fiat: Parking Billboard has proved that car technology can be very entertaining and we agree!

Check out the Fiat: Parking Billboard below!

https://vimeo.com/125775078

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!

 

 

Tesla Powerwall

So you might be familiar with electric car company Tesla… we talk about them quite a bit here at ParkYa. They are one of the most popular electric vehicle manufactures in the US and they have recently begun expanding around the world. Well last week they announced a serious game changer but this game changer is not a car… its a energy source and its called the Tesla Powerwall.

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The Tesla Powerwall will see the companies bring its existing battery technology into the home as part of the companies overall vision of making the world use more renewable energy.

The Tesla Powerwall is a home battery that is powered mainly through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Before the Powerwall anyone using solar energy was unable to use it during the night because well there simply was no sun and they were unable to store the energy that was acquired earlier that day, as a result they had to rely on the national grid for power during the nighttime hours, but with now the Powerwall thats all changed.

So, how does it work? Well when the sun is shinning the battery gets charged this is done via installed solar panels which are connected to the Powerwall. When nighttime falls power is taken from the battery which means that the need to draw power from the grid is greatly reduce, resulting in very low energy cost and in some case even profit as the unsued energy can be sold back to the grid.

So what make the Tesla Powerwall so special? Well although there have home batteries before none have been this affordable. The Tesla Powerwall starts at only $3,000! Its so reasonable because unlike the manufactures before Tesla have vast experience in the mass production of these batteries for their electric vehicles.

As you can imagine demand for the Powewall is high with over 38,000 orders already been taken since its launch, meaning Tesla are already sold out until the middle of 2016! When or even if the Powerwall ever makes it to Ireland remains to be seen but one thing is for sure at a price like that its popularity is only set to rise.

To find out more about the Tesla Powerwall check out the Tesla website or watch the video below!

Volkswagen : The Reduce Speed Dial

Volkswagen New Zealand have come up with a genius way to help parents reduce their speed when driving.. by enlisting their children to help.

The idea is that the children create the speed dial visuals which will be displayed in the car and in turn seen by their parents everyday. The children were asked to write all the speed dial numbers as well as a special message which will be visible at a certain speed. The messages are taken via an iPad and then a custom speed dial is created and fitted. It is hoped that these personalised messages will make drivers think twice about speeding!

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Its all part of a bigger experiment that Volkswagen are running. The experiment aims to disrupt driver behaviour at critical moments… that’s why the message only appears at a certain speed, for example at the speed limit of the road the driver most frequently takes.

The company have created four of these custom speed dials which are currently being used by four families in New Zealand. Volkswagen are following their progress closely and so far one family has recored no speed infringements since its installation. Another family managed to reduce their average speed by 19km (from 123km to 104km) and three out of four drivers have reduced their speeding in 100km zones by half!

To read more about this clever idea from Volkswagen check out their website or check the heart warming video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gqN2n4VRzY

 

Mini Augmented Vision

Next week at the Shangai motor show Mini are due to unveil an impressive new concept; Mini Augmented Vision. What is Mini Augmented Vision we hear you ask? Well it’s essential a pair of goggles that project useful information… Smart goggles if you will!

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The concept is basically a head-up display for your face. Unlike pervious head-up displays which are built into cars, this is a device you take with you wherever, whenever and in whatever car you are driving.

Mini Augmented Vision is capable of displaying various types of useful information including; navigation, speed limits and even parking assistance!! The driver sees this information at the bottom and side of the windscreen, meaning their vision of the road ahead is never impaired. However its most impressive feature has to be X-ray view, which gives the driver the ability to see through the car’s doors and pillars to the road outside. Pretty impressive, right?

Although the Mini Augmented Vision goggles aren’t the most stylish wearable technology, they do have serious potential! Mini are however keen to stress that they are still very much a prototype…so its safe to say we might be waiting a while before we see them behind the wheel! :)

To see Mini Augmented Vision in action, check out the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QARt89_6Jrs

Volvo Life Paint

Volvo have just introduced an impressive new technology which surprisingly is not for their cars, instead its for cyclist. It’s called Volvo Life Paint and in terms of road safety its a game changer.

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Volvo Life Paint is a specially designed paint which is invisible during the day, but becomes reflective in the glare of car headlights at night. This allows it to glow bright and in turn makes cyclists more visible than ever! The paint is washable and it does not effect the surfaces that it is sprayed on. This means it can be sprayed it on clothes, bags, shoes and helmets. If unwashed the spray will last for about a week.

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Volvo Life Paint is part of Volvo’s 2020 Vision project, a safety project which aims to make it so “No person will be killed or seriously injured, by a new Volvo” come 2020.

Bravo Volvo!

To see Volvo Life Paint in action, check out the video below.

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

Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Concept

You may have seen or  heard about the Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Concept which was recently spotted on the streets is San Fransisco. The Mercedes Benz F 015 is a luxury self driving car which frankly looks more like a prop from a sci-fi film than an actual car.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion

The Concept itself isn’t new, it was originally unveiled back in September at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. However curiously has reached fever point now that its was seen driving around the streets of San Fransisco. Rumours suggest that it’s presence was due to a photoshoot/video shoot organised to promote an upcoming event Mercedes are planing in the San Fransisco area, which could mean that news regarding the F 015 might not be that far away.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion

The Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Concept is described by Mercedes as “Luxury in Motion” and it does have some very forward thinking ideas, including; forward facing seats, touchscreen controls, no visible camera’s or radar and no side mirrors. With this concept Mercedes have cemented their design vision for the future, a future in which technology is so well connected that it will eventually become a better driver that any human.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion

It is unclear as to whether the Concept seen on the streets of San Fransisco was the actual self driving model or if there was a driver behind the wheel. Rumours suggest that the latter is more plausible given that the Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Concept is technically not yet road legal under current law.

Mercedes plans to have self driving cars on the market by 2020 however we doubt you will see anything like the Mercedes F 015 Self-Driving Concept on the market for at least 10 years, but hey its nice to dream…

 

Volkswagen introduces Side Assist

Volkswagen has introduced a new feature which is part of their proximity sensing technology. Side assist technology alerts drivers of approaching traffic when changing lanes.

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So how does it work? Well when the driver wishes to changes lanes, the system will warn you if other vehicles are too close or if they are in your blind spot. It does this by activating a flashing warning LED light located in the cars wing mirrors. It is thought that this technology can help avoid potentially dangerous situations.

The system will however only alert you when it deems necessary, stationary object or oncoming vehicles will not active the side assist technology. The technology will also ignore vehicles which are further that one lane away. These features are installed to help prevent unnecessary distractions.

Side assist can be activated and deactivated by the driver through a simple push button located within the car. However the technology was primarily designed for use on motorways and because of this it only works with speeds in excess of 40 mph.

To announce the technology Volkswagen enlisted Brazilian digital agency AlmapBBDO to create a tablet ad, which reveals how the technology works while giving the viewers a little but of a scare. Check out the advert below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ee5BMBm78Q&sns=em