Self-driving cars have been the talk of the automotive industry in recent times, with some major car-makers now setting dates for the debut of these vehicles in the marketplace. The latest glimpse into this autonomous future comes from Carnegie Mellon University, where researchers have loaded a Cadillac SRX with an array of sensors that allow it to manage highway traffic, congested roadways, and even merging on and off ramps.
The Carnegie Mellon team, led by Raj Rajkumar, outfitted an average-looking 2011 Cadillac SRX with an array of radars, which are subtly hidden within the car. The SRX was chosen because “GM has been a long-term partner and sponsor,” Rajkumar tells Gizmag.
Utilizing automotive-grade sensors and radars, rather that more exotic and expensive devices, helps make the vehicle more manufacturer friendly, as well as cost effective. Though not all of the radars are certified as automotive-grade yet just yet, “they will be soon, and are known to be very reliable,” Rajkumar says. “They are placed all around the vehicle for 360 coverage.”
Like other autonomous cars, the modded SRX’s system controls general driving functions like steering, acceleration, and braking. Using the radar system, this vehicle also senses and avoids roadway hindrances, like pedestrians and cyclists. “Our Cadillac also supports V2V and V2I communications,” Rajkumar explains. This communication allows the SRX to connect with designed traffic lights and other vehicles that are equipped with the technology, making driving adjustments that much less strenuous on the radar system.
The main goal of the CMU research team is to reduce accidents, but catching up on reading during commutes has its perks as well. “The car’s electronics are simply more reliable than people and will protect drivers from their own bad behavior as well as those of others,” says Rajkumar.
For more information and more pictures click the source link below.
General Motorls will offer consumers the option of wireless charging for mobile devices in some of its automobiles, Bloomberg reported this week. Select GM models will be equipped with Powermat wireless charging surfaces, which will require compatible devices that either have wireless charging capabilities built in or are paired with a wireless charging case. The collaboration was confirmed by Powermat Technologies CEO Ran Poliakine, though GM has so far declined to comment.
“The car is a major part of life for everyone with a smartphone,” Poliakine said in an interview. “And this is taking care of that part of life.”
Powermat’s Duracell chargers are already in place in some Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York Starbucks locations. In declining to comment on the Powermat CEO’s comments, a GM spokesperson did confirm that the automaker is at least working on wireless charging technologies.
“We continue to work with Powermat to bring their technologies to GM products, but for competitive reasons we’re not discussing specifics at this time,” the spokesperson said. “The technology continues to move forward.”
Wireless charging is currently featured in a number of high-end smartphones, but the technology has yet to take off, due in part to competing standards. In addition to Powermat, there is also the Qi wireless power technology, which is featured in a number of mobile devices. Qi’s technology is also built into the 2013 Toyota Avalon.
AT&T Inc. is scoring a win over rival Verizon Wireless as it takes over the contract to supply wireless connections to cars with General Motors’ OnStar service.
Verizon Wireless and its predecessor companies have supplied the network for OnStar since the service launched in the 1990s, but AT&T will take over with the 2015 model year, AT&T and GM said Monday.
The news comes as cellphone companies are jostling to connect non-phone devices to their networks. Now that nearly everyone has a phone, the phone companies have to look elsewhere for growth. Dallas-based AT&T has been particularly aggressive in this area, garnering, for instance, the contract to connect Amazon Kindle e-readers.
AT&T will connect OnStar cars to its new “4G LTE” network, which can supply much higher data speeds than current OnStar connections. That means GM could deliver car software updates wirelessly, instead of making owners take their cars to the shop. It could also enable video streaming for passengers, in-vehicle Wi-Fi “hotspots” and give GM a better view of what’s going on inside a car, and whether it needs maintenance. Owners might even be able to call up views from their car’s cameras, remotely.
“They’re basically smartphones on wheels,” said Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s “emerging devices” division.
Verizon has an LTE network that delivers speeds similar to AT&T’s, with wider coverage. Lurie said that by the time AT&T takes over the contract, its LTE network will cover 300 million Americans, or 96 percent of the population. It also has older, slower networks as a backup.
Verizon Wireless said it was looking forward to continuing to provide service to current OnStar customers.
AT&T and GM made the announcement just before the opening of Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest wireless trade show, in Barcelona. The companies didn’t reveal financial terms. The 6 million current OnStar users pay $19 per month or $199 per year, plus per-minute calling fees. Turn-by-turn GPS navigation costs extra, too.
British automotive research firm SBD believes that 100 million cars worldwide will have built-in wireless capabilities by 2015
Technologies being developed to aid in communications between cars may be affected by the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to increase Wi-Fi spectrum.
Bands reserved since 1999 for car-to-car communication may become collateral damage in the FCC’s search for more wireless spectrum, and potentially puts the future of self-driving vehicles at risk.
A letter from automotive trade associations has been sent to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in protest of the plans, reports Bloomberg. Parallels were drawn with the LightSquared wireless broadband network proposal, which was at first approved by the FCC, before it was discovered that the signals affected GPS equipment. By opening nearby spectrum to other devices, the possibility of crosstalk or interference with the allocated-to-automotive bands could effectively cause an accident to occur.
The systems currently being developed allows cars at short range to communicate automatically, with data such as speeds, changes in direction, and other important details being transferred between the cars, with the ultimate goal of reducing collisions and vehicular accidents. Currently undergoing testing in Ann Arbor Michigan inside 3,000 vehicles, the technology is said by automakers to cost as little as $100 per vehicle to install, both from new and as an after-market option.
The FCC will be voting on the Wi-Fi proposal on February 20th.
Two extremely common activities that people engage in are driving and interacting with their mobile broadband devices. Although sometimes people do both at the same time, these have largely been two separate industries. Now they are converging–one might even say they are on a collision course, although avoiding collisions is actually one of the primary objectives for people working in this industry.
From its inception this industry was referred to as “telematics” services, but many now refer to it as “Connected Car” or “Connected Vehicle.” This is not a completely new area of focus as many major manufacturers have been providing telematics services for years now. For example, General Motor’s OnStar has been around since 1995 providing services focused on safety and security. But now, with mobile broadband becoming ubiquitous, auto manufacturers, cellular operators, and many other firms are significantly ramping up their development efforts to provide a suite of services offerings ranging from safety and security to full infotainment services. Manufacturers that succeed will provide improved customer relationship management as well as the right mix of connected car services that provide daily relevance to tomorrow connected driver. There are however significant challenges that each automotive manufacture is looking to overcome.
First, there are two completely different approaches being employed. One is to have connectivity built directly into the car Telematics Control Unit (TCU) at the factory. The second is to have connectivity provided or “brought in” through the driver’s smartphone. Both connectivity approaches have strengths and weaknesses as to what services they can provide and their ease of use. In the next five years, manufactures will be deciding what connectivity approach best addresses their customer demographic or if they believe a “hybrid” approach best addresses tomorrow’ s car buyer.
Second, there is an inherent mismatch in development lifecycles. Auto manufacturers are currently designing connected car services for 2016/2017 model years, and those platforms may be around for seven years providing service to a typical 10+ year vehicle lifetime. Compare that to smartphones that may be updated every six months makes it hard for the automotive industry to keep up with today’s constant technological and wireless advances. Compounding this challenge, wireless modems that are built into the Telematics Control Unit (TCU) are not designed to be easily replaced. Drivers may thus be stuck with obsolete wireless technologies are obsolete or no longer supported.
Third, there is fragmentation across the industry with no standards to drive it towards normalization. Auto manufacturers want to deliver their own unique connected vehicle experience that differentiates them from competitive offerings. This leads to auto manufacturers pursuing customized and unique service offerings with their preferred automotive business partners. This ecosystem is also fairly complex, involving multiple suppliers who provide unique capabilities. These suppliers include telematics service providers, mobile network operators, hardware manufacturers, on-board computer operating systems, content providers, etc. Unfortunately there is minimal overlap with the mobile computing industry.
Despite these challenges, I am enthusiastic about the potential of this industry. Cloud-based vehicle services in particular will greatly simplify how auto manufacturers deliver services to tomorrows connected vehicle. Manufacturers are slowly providing app developers the means to develop a whole new category of interesting vehicle-oriented apps by tapping into information like fuel efficiency, G forces, etc. HTML5 will also drive standardization to improve the way in which app developers can develop cross-platform solutions and to extend lifetimes and flexibility of solutions by hosting apps and services in the cloud. Developers will need to keep in mind, however, that there really are two types of connected vehicle applications: ones for the drivers and ones for the passengers. In my opinion, both represent large opportunities. Improved natural language speech recognition technology will also improve the way drivers and passengers to interact with the connected world.
I will be hosting the “Portable Computer and Communications Association” workshop, called “Connected Vehicle,” hosted by AT&T, on March 27, 2013, when we intend to address many of the issues raised in this column.
Source: Fierce Wireless
Each one of these high-end cars has an unusual and unique tech feature that sets it apart from most of the others on the market, as you’re about to find out…
1. 2013 Volvo S60
Winner of top safety awards, the Volvo S60 is full of cutting edge technology. As you drive, the car displays road signs in the dash to help you identify yields and speed limits. A new queue assist tech for the adaptive cruise control system means that, when the car automatically adjusts for the speed of the car in front of you (now up to 31mph/50kmph on city streets) and brings you to a full stop, the car won’t resume with a sudden jolt automatically if you’re paused for more than three seconds. The S60 is one of the few cars on the road that can detect pedestrians crossing your path and stop the car, too.
2. 2013 Lexus 600hL
The flagship saloon/sedan from Lexus, this high-end car uses a unique temperature control system that coordinates the air-flow controls, seat warmers and cabin temperature. There are infrared sensors that monitor the temperature for all passengers and make subtle adjustments as needed. The LED lighting system glows bright as you approach the car, then dims as you enter the vehicle and start the engine. A driver attention monitoring system knows if you are getting drowsy.
3. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-450
This much-improved vehicle for 2013 now has an active parking assist feature that takes control of steering when you parallel park. But that’s just the beginning of the new automated steering controls. When you drive around a tight corner, the Mercedes GL-450 will make subtle corrections to the ride to ease you around the corner. If a gust of wind blows onto the road on a mountain pass, a crosswind stabilisation system will also correct steering for you and keep the car straight.
4. 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3
You might think the highest-end BMW would be the company’s flagship luxury saloon/sedan. But this smaller, more affordable hybrid is the one that’s outfitted with the latest tech enhancements. The car can parallel park automatically, dip the headlights from high-beams for approaching cars, and beep at you if you get too close to another car when parking. Those are fairly standard features on a luxury car. But the ActiveHybrid 3 also supports BMW apps such as a new parking spot finder, offers Google Search in the sat nav system, and has a head-up display (HUD) that shows the current posted speed.
5. 2013 Infiniti JX
Another surprise on this list, considering most of the high-tech cars on the road are luxury saloons/sedans, the JX rounds out our list because it has a wholly unique feature. While some cars have a back-up assist that can warn you about an imminent collision, the JX will intervene and stop the car for you. The luxury 4×4/SUV also has typical Infiniti high-tech features, such as a lane departure intervention system that bumps you back into your lane, and an adaptive control system that works even from long-range.
An F150 Forums user who goes by 2011SuperCrew, found a fantastic use for the small 7.9 inch touchscreen on the iPad mini. As an in dash display that serves as an entertainment system in a way, similar to the Google Nexus 7 that was made into the entertainment system in a Dodge Ram, the iPad Mini relies on the apps available on the tablet.
The most important part of this project is the frame to mount the iPad Mini in the right place. This required some careful measuring of both the iPad Mini and the width of the car’s dashboard, particularly the area just above the CD player where the iPad is located.
Interestingly, 2011SuperCrew started the project before he even owned an iPad Mini, so he used a wireframe template that’s available online.
2011SuperCrew had to completely gut his truck’s stereo control console. He then made his frame by cutting holes in the original dash, then applying body filler. He added a home button and after sanding and painting the frame, he attached his iPad Mini to the frame and placed the entire assembly in his truck.
The iPad draws power from a Lightning connector attached to the stereo system and 2011SuperCrew uses a MiFi hotspot to enable Wi-Fi connectivity to his truck. The rest of the features used on the iPad Mini simply rely on the apps installed on the tablet.
Via: Tech Hive
Audi is today revealing the 2013 Audi A3 incorporating 4G LTE wireless broadband at CES 2013 in Las Vegas.
The 4G LTE connection comes thanks to the second-gen Gobi multi-mode 3G/4G LTE chipset, powered by the Qualcomm MDM9215.
With theoretical data rates up to 100Mbps, the 4G connectivity will bring a speed boost to a range of Audi in-car services such as the vehicle’s Wi-Fi hotspot, internet radio and web services.
“We hope to introduce to automobiles the same 4G LTE connectivity that Qualcomm brought to today’s leading smartphones and mobile computing devices,” said Kanwalinder Singh, senior vice-president of business development, Qualcomm.
“The capabilities of the MDM9215 chipset allows Audi to define a new in-car media experience, including viewing and interacting with content on the head unit as well as on passengers’ own Wi-Fi-connected smartphones and tablets, all at 4G LTE speeds,” said Singh.
“We will soon be offering a fully integrated LTE link for our Audi connect services in the new Audi A3 in 2013,” said Ricky Hudi, chief executive engineer of electrics/electronics, Audi AG.
The integration of 4G LTE connectivity will enable enhancements in navigation, weather services and travel information, as well as offering a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices in the car, for example smartphones and tablets.
The QNX car platform has done some great things and so many great features have been built using the QNX car platform. Now another amazing feature to add is the new in-car speech recognition framework that will now recognize a speakers intent for voice commands.
The framework allows applications to access AT&T Watson which provides a more natural understanding of spoken commands. This means users can do things like create calendar appointments, dictate email, give voice navigation instructions or even perform internet searches.
Press Release Below:
QNX Announces New In-Car Speech Recognition Framework to Understand a Speaker’s Intent
New intent framework to bring power of AT&T Watson(SM) speech recognition engine to wider variety of in-car systems and applications
OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – January 07, 2013) – QNX Software Systems Limited, a global leader in software platforms for in-car electronics, has announced a powerful new framework that will allow speech recognition systems in cars to understand a speaker’s intent. The framework extracts meaning from the driver’s spoken words, enabling in-car systems to create calendar appointments, dictate email or text messages, set complex navigation destinations, and even perform general Internet searches.
The framework, which is a component of the QNX CARTM application platform, allows in-car applications to access AT&T Watson(SM) speech recognition technology. AT&T Watson(SM) is AT&T’s pioneering speech services platform, which enables the development of next-generation technologies that go beyond speech to power more advanced natural language understanding and automatic speech recognition, among other capabilities. The multimodal and multilingual speech engine runs on a cloud-based server to provide extremely high-quality recognition with low latency.
Determination of the intent behind the driver’s speech starts on the server, where the AT&T Watson speech engine begins to analyze words and fits them to known patterns. The results are then handed from the cloud to the car, where the in-vehicle intent engine from QNX Software Systems performs the remainder of the speech analysis to determine how to act.
- “Sharing the workload across client and server offers automotive manufacturers and end-users the best of both worlds,” said Andy Gryc, automotive product marketing manager, QNX Software Systems. “The server-side analysis, provided by AT&T Watson, is optimized for complex scenarios, such as a navigation application in which the driver may verbalize destinations in hundreds of different ways. The QNX client-side analysis grants car makers greater flexibility, enabling them to adapt the AT&T Watson results for a variety of in-car applications, regional aspects, or personal tastes.”
“For many of us, the most natural way to communicate is with our voice. By working with QNX and opening access to our rich set of speech technologies developed at our labs, we’re making it possible for more people to use the power of their voice to stay safely connected in their vehicles,” said Mazin Gilbert, assistant vice president of technical research, AT&T Labs. “Delivering this type of next-generation virtual assistant applications for the connected car is especially important as we look at how technology can help drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”
The intent system from QNX Software Systems is dynamically pluggable, which allows the recognized vocabulary to change depending on what applications are active, and to support new apps that are downloaded to the car.
- “Enabling natural, intuitive, user experiences is fundamental to our vision of the connected vehicle, and providing our automotive customers with the tools to create those experiences is fundamental to our product strategy,” said Linda Campbell, director of strategic alliances, QNX Software Systems. “By providing a framework that enables our customers to take greater advantage of AT&T’s phenomenal speech engine, the new intent system should help accelerate the adoption of speech recognition across a broad range of vehicles.”
The QNX CAR application platform from QNX Software Systems is a comprehensive, pre-integrated software stack designed to help automotive companies reduce the time and effort of building highly sophisticated and connected infotainment systems.
QNX Software Systems has licensed its software technology for millions of in-vehicle systems worldwide, including digital instrument clusters, hands-free systems, multimedia head units, connectivity modules, and 3D navigation systems.
Developed at AT&T Labs, AT&T Watson(SM)has been powering advanced speech services in the marketplace for years. The technology reflects more than one million hours of research and development in speech technologies that has led to more than 600 U.S. patents and patent applications.
NFC-enabled smartphones have the potential to replace nearly everything else in your pockets, so why not your car keys? Hyundai is working to do just that, with an embedded NFC tag that allows you to open your car, start the engine and link up to the touchscreen with a simple swipe.
Hyundai outfitted its i30 compact hatch (aka the Elantra in the States) with NFC technology in its “Connectivity Concept” recently shown at its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The idea is simple: Nix the key fob and let your smartphone handle it all.
According to the Korean automaker, the driver can swipe their phone across an embedded NFC chip to unlock the car, and once inside, the place the phone in the center console, allowing the car to start, while an inductive charging plate keeps the juice flowing without needing to plug in.
“With this technology, Hyundai is able to harness the all-in-one functionality of existing smartphone technology and integrate it into everyday driving in a seamless fashion,” says Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe.
But unlocking and starting the car is only part of a wider connectivity solution for Hyundai.
Because the system can recognize different smartphones, it can customize the in-car experience to suit each driver’s seat, mirror and infotainment settings.
Once the phone is in the console, it links up with the 7-inch touchscreen mounted in the dash, and Hyundai is employing the Car Connectivity Consortium’s MirrorLink standard to automatically import contacts, navigation destinations, streaming audio and apps.
Despite forging dozens of automaker partnerships, MirrorLink hasn’t caught on with many manufacturers yet. That’s mainly due to concerns about driver distraction and how certain apps would be ported to the integrated screen, modifying the user interface to suit a more driver-focused experience. But that’s about to change as MirrorLink begins gaining momentum.
Hyundai and its connectivity partners at Broadcom are working to get this NFC- and MirrorLink-driven technology to market in its next generation of products, with the automaker claiming to have many of these systems in place by 2015.