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Pimp your ride with augmented reality — Part II

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last week, I introduced you to some cool examples of augmented reality, or AR, and stated that AR can help drivers deal with the burgeoning amount of information in the car.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at some use-cases for both drivers and passengers. Remember, though, that these examples are just a taste — the possibilities for integrating AR into the car are virtually endless.



AR for the driver
When it comes to drivers, AR will focus on providing information while reducing distraction. Already, some vehicles use AR to overlay the vehicle trajectory onto a backup camera display, allowing the driver to gauge where the car is headed. Some luxury cars go one step further and overlay lane markings or hazards in the vehicle display.

Expect even more functionality in the future. In the case of a backup camera, the display might take advantage of 3D technology, allowing you to see, for example, that a skateboard is closer than the post you are backing towards. And then there is GM's prototype heads-up system, which, in dark or foggy conditions, can project lane edges onto the windshield or highlight people crossing the road up ahead:



AR can be extremely powerful while keeping distraction to a minimum. Take destination search, for example. You could issue the verbal command, “Take me to a Starbucks on my route. I want to see their cool AR cups”. The nav system could then overlay a subtle route guidance over the road with a small Starbucks logo that gets bigger as you approach your destination. The logo could then hover over the building when you arrive.

You'll no longer have to wonder if your destination is on the right or left, or if your nav system is correct when it says, “You have arrived at your destination.” The answer will be right in front of you.

AR for the passenger
So what about the passenger? Well, you could easily apply AR to side windows and allow passengers to learn more about the world around them, a la Wikitude. Take, for example, this recent video from Toyota, which represents one of the best examples of how AR could make long road trips less tedious and more enjoyable:


 

QNX-based nav system helps Ford SUVs stay on course down under

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paul Leroux
This just in: SWSA, a leading electronics supplier to the Australian automotive industry, and NNG, the developer of the award-winning iGO navigation software, have created a QNX-based navigation system for Ford Australia. The new system has been deployed in Ford Territory SUVs since June of this year.

To reduce driver distraction, the system offers a simplified user interface and feature set. And, to provide accurate route guidance, the system uses data from an internal gyroscope and an external traffic message channel, as well as standard GPS signals. Taking the conditions of local roads into account, the software provides a variety of alerts and speed-camera warnings; it also offers route guidance in Australian English.

The navigation system is based on the iGO My way Engine, which runs in millions of navigation devices worldwide. To read NNG's press release, click here.


SWSA's new nav system for the Ford Territory is based on the Freescale
i.MX31L processor, QNX Neutrino RTOS, and iGO My way Engine.

 

QNX-powered OnStar FMV drives home with CES Innovation award

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Paul Leroux
This just in: The OnStar FMV aftermarket mirror, which brings the safety and security features of OnStar to non-GM vehicles, has won a coveted CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award.

To clinch this award, a product must impress an independent panel of industrial designers, engineers, and trade journalists. Speaking of impressions, it seems that OnStar FMV also made a hit with the folks at CNET, because they've chosen it as one of their Top Holiday Shopping Picks for 2011.

As you may have guessed, OnStar FMV uses QNX Neutrino as its OS platform. It also uses the QNX acoustic processing suite, which filters out noise and echo to make hands-free conversations clear and easy to follow. The suite includes cool features like bandwidth extension, which extends the narrow-band hands-free signal frequency range to deliver speech that is warm and natural, as well as intelligible.

Have time for a video? If so, here's a fun look at FMV's features, including stolen vehicle recovery, automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, hands-free calling, and one-touch emergency calling:


 

Listen to the music

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The audio CD is on its last track... Internet radio, anyone?

I don’t think anyone will disagree with me when I say that music still represents the most important element in an infotainment system. Just look at the sound system capabilities in new cars. Base systems today have at least 6 speakers, while systems from luxury brands like Audi and BMW boast up to 16 speakers and almost 1000 watts of amplification.

For nearly as long as I can remember, cars have come with CD players. For many years they’ve provided a simple way to take your music on the road. But nothing lasts forever.

Earlier this year, Ford announced it would discontinue CD players in many of its vehicle models. Some industry pundits have predicted that CD players will have no place in cars in model year 2015 and beyond. A few weeks ago, Side-Line Music Magazine reported that major labels plan to abandon the CD format as early as 2012. This revelation has created a flurry of activity on the Net, but the labels have yet to confirm it’s true.

Steady decline
The fact is, CD sales have declined steadily for the last several years, down 16 percent in 2010 alone. Digital downloads (the legal kind), on the other hand, have been growing quickly and are expected to exceed CD sales for the first time in 2012.

Where does that leave us in the car? Obviously, media device integration will be key in the coming years. QNX Software Systems has long supported Apple iPod integration and supported Microsoft’s ill-fated Zune for a while. USB connectivity is a given, and soon you’ll be able to stream music from your phone.

Radio redefined
The QNX-powered Toyota Entune system 
supports both Pandora and iHeartRadio.
But what’s more exciting is how radio is evolving in the vehicle. Along with the steering wheel, radio has been a staple of car pretty much since day one. As the connected vehicle moves to the mainstream, internet radio will become a huge part of the automotive experience.

Companies like Slacker extend the concept of radio beyond audio to include artist bios, album art, photos, reviews, and more. Pandora, through its work with the Music Genome Project, expands the musical experience by playing songs it predicts you will appreciate. iHeartRadio aggregates American radio stations for replay throughout the US. TuneIn takes it one further with a global view. Driving down highway 101 in California, you’ll be able to tune in all your favorites from around the world.

Beyond entertainment
These services are changing the way people consume music. Today, I rely on my car radio not only to entertain but also to educate by constantly exposing me to new artists and content. Internet radio in the car will expand my horizons even further. And as online music stores like 7Digital integrate their service with the internet radio stations, I’ll be able to download the song I just heard at the push of a button. Not good for CD sales, but it seems that’s the way of the future anyway.

We are, of course, working with the leaders in internet radio and online music services to bring them to a car near you.
 

Pimp your ride with augmented reality — Part I

Monday, November 21, 2011

The use of electronics is exploding in automotive. Just last week, Intel proclaimed that the connected car “is the third-fastest growing technological device, following smartphones and tablets.”

Ten years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a 32-bit processor in your car. Now, some cars have 4 or more 32 bitters: one in the radio, another in the telematics module, yet another in the center display, and still another in the rear-seat system.

Heck, in newer cars, you’ll even find one in the digital instrument cluster — the QNX-powered cluster in the Range Rover, for example. Expect to see a similar demand for more compute power in engine control units, drive-by-wire systems, and heads-up displays.


The Range Rover cluster displays virtual speedometers and gauges, as well as warnings, suspension settings, and other info, all on a dynamically configurable display.

What do most of these systems have in common? The need to process tons of information, from both inside and outside of the vehicle, and to present key elements of that data in a safe, contextually relevant, and easy-to-digest fashion.

The next generation of these systems will be built on the following principles:

  • Fully integrated cockpits — Vehicle manufacturers see system consolidation as a way to cut costs and reduce complexity, as well as to share information between vehicle systems. For instance, your heads-up display could discreetly let you know who is calling you, without forcing you to take your eyes off of the road. And it could do this even if the smarts integrating your phone and your car reside in another cockpit component — the telematics module, say.
     
  • Augmented reality — With all of the data being generated from phones, cloud content services and, perhaps more importantly, the vehicle itself, presenting the right information at the right time in a safe way will become a major challenge. This is where augmented reality comes in.

Augmented reality is a cool use of cameras, GPS, and data to create smart applications that overlay a virtual world on top of the real world. Here are some of my favorite examples:

AR Starbucks cups — Use your phone to make your coffee cup come alive:



AR Starwars — Blast the rebel alliance squirrels!



AR postage stamp — Add a new dimension (literally) to an everyday object:



And here are a couple more for good measure:

AR ray gun — Blast aliens around the house!

Wikitude AR web browser — Explore the world around you while overlaying social networks, images, video, reviews, statistics, etc.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I will explore how AR could enhance the driving experience for both drivers and passengers — Andrew.
 

I've always wondered about Android support...

Friday, November 18, 2011

My colleague Jeff Schaffer sent me this link, which gives an interesting analysis of Android support on various devices.

Clearly, it's pretty tough to stay on top of the Android release game. One very good reason for car makers to be wary, as they'll be bound to move even slower than handset makers.

Is Better to buy a used car vs a new car

There are many reasons to buy a new car, but, there are also many reasons to buy a used car. It used to be that buying a used car was going to result in a car that would just get you from point A to point B. The radio probably did not work and the handles were loose if not falling off. You may want to know why it is better to buy a used car vs a new car.

This is not the case anymore. Buying a used car can be a more than satisfactory experience. Used cars in these days are much better than they used to be with improved performance, and there are much better selections than ever before. But the main reason that people still get them is because of their price. They are just so much less expensive that new ones.

Price is a huge factor in buying a used car. Of course, whenever you decide to buy a car, the price is going to be the biggest factor. Will you be able to afford it without too much strain on the bank account or not is the question you will face. Used cars are typically thousands of dollars less than new cars. If your budget does not allow for a new car, then used is the way to go for you.

Now, used cars get treated very well by dealers. Dealers know that when a used car comes in, they can fix it up and inspect it to make sure they get the most money for their deal. Used car dealers have certification programs that show you that the car you are looking at has not only been inspected, it has been tuned up and repaired, if needed. http://autocarsauto.tk

Ford Fiesta ST Concept LA at Auto show


If your Auto Car, Ford Fiesta, Ford ST , Ford Concept, LA Auto show facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don't let important Auto Car, Ford Fiesta, Ford ST , Ford Concept, LA Auto show information slip by you.

If you're wondering about the future of Ford powertrains, the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show and the 2013 Ford Escape should provide all the clues you need. The entry-level crossover features a pair of EcoBoost four-cylinder engines and exactly zero V6 options.

Ford Fiesta ST Concept LA Auto show Have you ever wondered what exactly is up with Auto Car, Ford Fiesta, Ford ST , Ford Concept, LA Auto show? This informative report can give you an insight into everything you've ever wanted to know about Auto Car, Ford Fiesta, Ford ST , Ford Concept, LA Auto show. The smallest EcoBoost displaces only 1.6 liters, and promises terrific fuel economy and performance. That engine is the thriftiest engine in the Escape, but what if that engine were to reside under the hood of something much smaller? That's where the Fiesta ST Concept comes into play. The performance-oriented Fiesta is on display at the Ford exhibit in LA, and though it's a showcar for now, this B-segment hatch looks production ready.

Ford claims that in this application, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost delivers 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque - a whopping 60 more ponies than the naturally aspirated 1.6 featured in the garden-variety production Fiesta. Given that the base Fiesta is only 2,600 pounds, we're guessing 180 horsepower is more than enough punch to turn the Fiesta into one heck of a fun ride.

The Fiesta ST concept certainly [More..]
like this ? 

The need for green in automotive

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The need for environmentally friendly practices and products has become so painfully obvious in recent years that it’s no longer possible to call it a debate or a controversy. Nowhere is this more conspicuous than in the automotive industry.


Working at QNX has given me insight into just how complex the problem is and how going green in automotive is not going to be a revolution. I've come to realize that it will require a good number of players on a large number of fronts.

An example of what happens when
your car takes way too long to boot. :-)
What we at QNX are doing to move the cause forward is called fast booting. Some operating systems take up to 60 seconds to boot. Can you imagine getting in your car, turning the ignition, and waiting a minute for your radio to work? Me either.

To prevent such undignified delays, these systems typically do not power down completely. Instead, they suspend to RAM while the vehicle is off. This lets the system boot ‘instantly’ whenever the ignition turns over. But because there’s a small current draw to keep RAM alive, this trickle continually drains the battery. This might have minimal consequences today (other than cost to the manufacturer, which is a whole other story) but in the brave new world of electric and hybrid cars, battery capacity equals mileage. Typical systems thus shorten the range of green vehicles and, in the case of hybrids, force drivers to use not-so-green systems more often. More importantly perhaps, these systems give would-be buyers ‘range anxiety’. Indeed, according to the Green Market’s Richard Matthews, battery life is one of the top reasons the current adoption rate is so low.

A little-known feature of QNX technology helps solve this problem.

Architects using the QNX OS can organize the boot process to bring up complex systems in a matter of seconds. Ours is not an all-or-nothing proposition as it is with monolithic operating systems that must load an entire system before anything can run – Windows and Linux are prime examples. QNX supports a gradual phasing in of system functionality to get critical systems up and running while it loads less-essential features in the background. A QNX-based system can start from a cold boot every time. Which means no battery drain while the car is off.

And while this is no giant leap for mankind it is certainly a solid step in the right direction. If the rest of us (consumers, that is) contributed similarly by trading in our clunkers for greener wheels, the industry could undoubtedly move forward in leaps and bounds. I suppose this means I’m going to have to take a long hard look at my 2003 Honda Civic.
 

Porsche 911 Carrera S Wallpaper

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


automotique .blogspot.com  new Porsche 911 Carrera S operates on a much higher performance than the seven-year-old being replaced. With a time of 0 to 62 mph in 4.3sec and a top speed of 188 mph, the new model 0.2SEC storms to strip faster and extends beyond the Carrera S 2 mph old when you run an updated version of the gearbox PDK seven-speed.

Thus, the new 911 is faster than any of his illustrious ancestors by some margin. But the question is, can accomplish such feats with the same character intensely participation in the last six generations of the car? 
Make no mistake, the 991 represents the most significant change in emphasis from the rear-engined coupe every time - more important than the progress of the 993 air-cooled to water cooled 996 in 1996. 

Seeing the new car reinforces the impression Porsche revolutionary approach. Legs are extended to accommodate all the new bases much more curvaceous style and excellent attention to detail that provides more precise construction. His position is more aggressive, too. 
Is 56 mm longer and, because of a flat roof, 11 mm lower than the output 997. The move really revealing, however, is its wheelbase is only the second time in the history of the 911 extended by a considerable 100mm. This serves to shorten the overhangs, providing an increase in the housinginterior. 
The Carrera S, powered as it is said here to come in at 1415kg with optional PDK gearbox - some 40kg under the weight of your load



How does it feel 
Inside, there is a new instrument panel, center switch setting and contemporary looking. It is an elegant and modern but not without driving classic touches. 
The first thing that hits you as you set off is to improve the refinement. Never lacking in this area is now much calmer than before, with less turbulence around the mirrors, lower levels of mechanicalnoise from the back and, despite the 20-inch tires, less tire noise. 
Cruising at 80 mph constant in the high seventh gear, the 911 feels very relaxed. The reworked suspension absorbs transverse joints in the road surface and potholes faces with more aplomb than before. With the Porsche Stability Management PASM active in Normal mode, the chassis has a newfound calm. Changing PASM in sport instantly increases the answers - not only in terms of strength buffer, but the directness of the steering and throttle sensitivity, too.

But there are still minor initial impact strength than with previous 911, which makes the best Sport mode in a wide range of road surfaces, and body movements are controlled beautifully. 
A big surprise are the messages unfamiliarly subtle - or lack thereof - is relayed back from the newly designed steering wheel. Over the years we have become accustomed to juggling inherent in all to 911 so far. Anyone who has driven one will know what I mean. This inherent to the central circulation of the steering wheel in the rectum, a measure of the vitality and the feedback that many consider part and parcel of the driving experience has been completely eliminated through the adoption of a new electro-steering system mechanics. 
It's definitely a big change in the character, making the car feel almost numb at first contact - if only because it is so unfamiliar to drive a 911, whose steering wheel is not always restless, even at moderate speeds. But it seems that the more unity, more you get to appreciate the added peace of mind through the steering wheel. 
Despite holding on to what is essentially the same engine as the old model, Porsche has remained true to tradition 911 for increased production. 14bhp power rises to a new high of 394bhp at 7400rpm, in the process of taking a specific output beyond 100bhp per liter. It also improves the torque of 13 foot pounds to 234 pounds standing at 5600rpm. With the weight loss calculated in the coup of the reserves are expected to increase 16bhp per tonne in the vital power-to-weight 282bhp per tonne. 
Unlike the engine, the gearbox uses the new 911 Carrera S is all new - and rather special, too. Replacing the old six-speed manual is the first ever seven-speed manual to make his way in a road series car production. Around the gearbox PDK seven-speed manual uses a revolutionary mechanical lock that prevents you from switching to realize seventh. The new gear can only be selected through fifth or sixth.

Another interesting development is called a navigation function, which considers that the engine disconnected from the gearbox through the clutch in the final acceleration times, allowing it to rotate freely at idle at a slight downhill. 
The detail changes made to the engine Porsche's new Carrera S give a gutsier felt through a wider range of speed, but may lack the high intensity of some of the engines used by rivals supercar, but the floor six evergreen remains as poignant as ever. 
Running at a curve to the right of press, 911 squat slightly over the rear wheels, its engine screaming with a heady combination of induction andexhaust cry. The front is unusually quiet, rebel without rolling across the surface largely patchworked, changes in the suspension give the new 911 with a much more settled feel even more aggressive Sport Plus mode.

Should I buy one? 
The 991 is not only more capable than the 997, but its management also aims to greatness. In the form of Carrera S is faster, more neutral in the limit, much more stable, incredibly comfortable, much quieter at highway speeds and frugal amazing. At the end of the day had even reached an agreement with the new direction, accepting that it has no maximum precision and sensitivity of the available hydraulic age. 
The question I ask myself now is how Porsche possibly higher? For now, the original supercar has reached a new peak - both the ability and convenience.

Greg Kable 
Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK 
Price: £ NA, 0-62mph: 4.1sec, Top speed: 188 mph; Economy: 32mpg, CO2 emissions: 224g/km; Length: Weight: 1415kg, engine design: 6cyls, horizontally opposed, 3800cc, petrol , Installation: rear, longitudinal, power: 394bhp at 7400rpm, Torque: 234 lb-ft at 5600rpm, the specific production: 104bhp/litre; Power Weight: 282bhp/tonne; Transmission: Seven-speed double-clutch


Can HTML5 keep car infotainment on track?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Paul Leroux
True story: When a train on the Trans-Mongolian Railway crosses from Mongolia into China, it must stop and have all of its wheel assemblies replaced. Why? Because the track gauge (distance between the rails) is 1520 mm in Mongolia and 1435 mm in China. Oops!

The rail industry realized long ago that, unless it settled on a standard, costly scenarios like this would repeat themselves ad infinitum. As a result, some 60% of railways worldwide, including those in China, now use standard gauge, ensuring greater interoperability and efficiency.

The in-car infotainment market should take note. It has yet to embrace a standard that would allow in-car systems to interoperate seamlessly with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Nor has it embraced a standard environment for creating in-car apps and user interfaces.

Of course, there are existing solutions for addressing these issues. But that's the problem: multiple solutions, and no accepted standard. And without one, how will cars and mobile devices ever leverage one another out of the box, without a lot of workarounds? And how will automakers ever tap into a (really) large developer community?

No standard means more market fragmentation — and more fragmentation means less efficiency, less interoperability, and less progress overall. Who wants that?

Is HTML5, which is already transforming app development in the desktop, server, and mobile worlds, the standard the car infotainment industry needs? That is one of the questions my colleague, Andy Gryc, will address in his seminar, HTML5 for automotive infotainment: What, why, and how?. The webinar happens tomorrow, November 15. I invite you to check it out.
 

2012 BMW 6-series 640d M Sport Review


automotique . After having launched the web version in the UK than in March, BMW now presents the new BMW 6 Series Coupé. The closed-roof two-door, is considered the last great tour of the company: a car with comfort, luxury, spaciousness, efficiency and technology that is unmatched in its class. 
But if this version of the 6 series to really get to be a car of substance significantly higher than the previous one, will probably not be in part due to its small engine, and the arrival of the 640D gives us our first opportunity to put lastBMW 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel in road test our microscope. Given this record carmaker amazing track in the production of diesel engines of reference, equally miraculous performance and efficiency are definitely on the menu. 
BMW Brand management is perhaps the most concerned. The more powerful 650i convertibletested earlier this year exuded competence, but lacked precision, participation and reward the driver. As for the 640D is to show that M-Sport specifications and a fixed roof may sharpen the character of the 6 series Read More 2012 BMW 6-series 640d M Sport Review 

 new Porsche 911 Carrera S operates on a much higher performance than the seven-year-old being replaced. With a time of 0 to 62 mph in 4.3sec and a top speed of 188 mph, the new model 0.2SEC storms to strip faster and extends beyond the Carrera S 2 mph old when you run an updated version of the gearbox PDK seven-speed.

Thus, the new 911 is faster than any of his illustrious ancestors by some margin. But the question is, can accomplish such feats with the same character intensely participation in the last six generations of the car? 
Make no mistake, the 991 represents the most significant change in emphasis from the rear-engined coupe every time - more important than the progress of the 993 air-cooled to water cooled 996 in 1996. 

Seeing the new car reinforces the impression Porsche revolutionary approach. Legs are extended to accommodate all the new bases much more curvaceous style and excellent attention to detail that provides more precise construction. His position is more aggressive, too. 
Is 56 mm longer and, because of a flat roof, 11 mm lower than the output 997. The move really revealing, however, is its wheelbase is only the second time in the history of the 911 extended by a considerable 100mm. This serves to shorten the overhangs, providing an increase in the housinginterior. 
The Carrera S, powered as it is said here to come in at 1415kg with optional PDK gearbox - some 40kg under the weight of your load Read more
 

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