New Lawsuit Hints at Apple Trying to Get Into the Auto Industry

There have been rumours that Apple is thinking about taking a bite out of the auto industry soon. A newly filed lawsuit might confirm Apple’s intention, having A123 Systems, the company that makes car batteries for the big name auto makers, sue the Cupertino giant for trying to steal their employees.

Analysts in the industry have discussed what Apple might have in the works and the lawsuit now slowly confirms their findings. Apple has made $13 billion and $18 billion in the last two quarters and that’s about the sum spent by all automakers combines for four months of research and development.

However, the analysts state that electric cars are too expensive for just one owner. This means that we might be looking at a future where electric autonomous cars are shared between people and come at a monthly subscription, kind of like Uber if you think about it. This will drop the cost of charging the cars and having them running around 24h a day. If you think about it, it’s not all that bad. We might even cut down on parking space problems in highly dense populated areas for instance.

All in all, if the above tends to be more cost efficient, this means Tesla Motors should start changing its business plan too. Though Tesla does offer a lot of classy electric cars for owners using the same model as traditional car dealerships, the cost for maintaining and charging such a model still proves a big drawback for it to reach a wide consumer market. But are shared electric autonomous vehicles really the future?

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechnoBuffalo

Koenigsegg’s Regera Hybrid Supercar Has 1782HP and No Gearbox

Swedes can do a lot more than funny named furniture and advertising, they also know a thing or two about cars. The Regera is Koenigsegg’s take on a hybrid car and what an amazing piece of art it is. The Regera has a 5 litre twin-turbocharged V8, three electric motors and a Direct Drive Transmission that totally eliminates the gearbox.

The 5-litre twin-turbo V8 combustion engine makes 1085bhp at 7800rpm and that’s already pretty impressive on its own. On top of that, this marvell, three electric motors, of which one is placed on each rear wheel, make 192lb ft of torque and a third on the crankshaft making 221lb ft. These three add about 700bhp giving the Regera a whopping total of 1782bhp and 1475lb ft of torque… Wow.

The Koenigsegg Direct Drive is what really sets this car apart from anything else. Using a hydraulic clutch and the addition of electric motors the energy losses can be cut by up to 50 percent. The car starts the movement using the rear-mounted electric motors and as the speed increases the engine is brought into play with the help of the crank-mounted motor.

The Regera can do 0-100kmh in just 2.7 seconds and that is just the start. Keeping the pedal to the metal it does 0-300kmh in 12 seconds and 400kmh in under 20 seconds. That is seriously fast.

The Koenigsegg Regera doesn’t just impress on the inside, it also looks gorgeous on the outside. There are massive side scoops, an active chassis with active shock absorbers, active aero under the car and an adjustable rear wing.

 

This hybrid supercar won’t come cheap, as you might have guessed already. The Koenigsegg Regera will cost you around £1.2 million, but you won’t find such madness anywhere else. I wonder what infotainment system they’ll go for, Apple, Nvidia’s new systems or maybe their own creation?

Thanks to CarThrottle for providing us with this information

Linux Heading to Open Source Cars, Releasing Automotive Grande Linux Distribution

Open source operating system Linux has apparently shifter its focus towards a new sphere, leaving the real of desktops, notebooks, and even smartphones, having targeting the automobile market. A new Linux distribution by the name of Automotive Grande Linux has reportedly been released this week, being dedicated towards cars in an attempt to bring a new open source solution to the technologically advanced era we live in.

It is said that AGL, in collaboration with and sponsored by the Linux Foundation, brings together a host of partners from the automotive industry, communications, computing hardware, academia, as well as other sectors. The first release has been stated to have launched on June the 30th, having to bring a solution for a wide range of products, from cars, to laptops, TVs and even smartphones. The distribution is said to be based on Tizen IVI and is available for free here.

The first AGL release is said to have support for a limited series of features, specifically designed for deployment in cars and other vehicles. The features consist of Home Screens, Dashboards, Google Maps, HVACs, Media Playback, News Readers in the shape of an app carousel, Audio Controls, Bluetooth Phone support and even Smart Device Link Integration. Participants in the AGL project and the Linux Foundation hope that this initiative will help future ‘connected’ cars run on open source software in order to deliver the next generation of entertainment, navigation and other similar tools for use inside vehicles.

“Openness and collaboration are key to accelerating the development of a common, standard automotive platform so the industry can more quickly achieve its vision of delivering the connected car,” said Dan Cauchy, General Manager of Automotive, The Linux Foundation.

The GM also added that the Linux Foundation expects AGL development to continue steadily after its first release, having to introduce “a number of additional capabilities and features in subsequent releases.”

Thank you The Var Guy for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Linux Foundation

New Tesla to be Released With Gull Wing Doors – Model X

Tesla Model X reservation holders have just been informed that their brand new SUV’s will begin production in early 2015.

In the email, Tesla also confirmed the futuristic-looking gull wing door design:

“We’re pleased to confirm that the falcon wing doors will be a defining feature of this exceptional car. Not only do these doors look amazing, but they also make getting in and out of the Model X so much easier than would a conventional front-hinged door. You can even do it standing up.”

While some other car manufacturers are quite often guilty of creating outlandish designs with extra features in their concept models, then under-delivering on production models – Tesla has the history of delivering the goods on their released product. This has been shown previously with their Tesla Model S and now with their Model X’s featured gull wing doors.

Tesla went on to explain:

“We can confirm that all-wheel drive will come standard for Model X, and you’ll have the option to add a third row of seats to carry more passengers. You’ll also be able to fold down the second and third rows to create a flat platform for storage. When it comes to charging and long distance drives, Model X will be able to take full advantage of our rapidly growing Supercharger network.”

These features all make for quite an exceptional fully electric automobile.

Unfortunately there is no confirmed shipment date for the final product but Tesla confirming there will be more information released in the coming months.

For more information on Tesla and their new Model X, check out their website.

Photo courtesy of Tech Crunch

 

Oculus Rift To Aid Ford In Designing New Generation Of Cars

Ford automobile maker apparently is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to aid in development of new cars, including vehicle color, materials, design, and possible modifications. Ford reportedly is using three systems in Detroit, and plans to expand the next-generation engineering platform to new facilities in the near future.

Ford engineers have the privilege of utilizing the tech in their advantage and are reportedly able to visualize vehicles while manipulating the environment to make improvements inside the 3D environment. Ford worked with Vicon, a company specializing in motion-capture technology, which captures engineer position and orientation from installed motion-capture video recorders.

“Ford can have a group of designers in Detroit reviewing a model while talking to designers in Cologne and Australia, all immersed in the same world at the same time.” says Warren Lester, Vicon product manager.

Each system has an estimated cost of about $30,000, making it a fairly affordable design platform that has great potential for Ford, and other automakers will certainly follow Ford’s progress.
The Oculus Rift Dev Kit has become popular with immersive driving simulators, as it provides gamers with a unique driving experience. It makes sense auto makers are interested in using the same technology to design prototypes.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Self-Driving Cars To Have A Big Impact In Just 10 Years

A study by the IHS predicts that self-driving cars with driver control and self-driving cars without driver control will be on the road by 2025 and 2030 respectively. The study also predicts sales in self-driving cars will reach a total of 54 million self-driving cars globally by 2035.

The study anticipates that nearly all of the vehicles in use are likely to be self-driving cars or self-driving commercial vehicles sometime after 2050. In terms of pricing, the report states that between $7,000 up to $10,000 will be added to a car’s current pricing if the owner wants it to have a self-driving car package, a price that is estimated to drop to $5,000 by 2030 or $3,000 by 2035.

The good thing about this is that there will be near zero accidents on the road as well as traffic congestion and air pollution declination, as Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for infotainment and autonomous driver assisted systems at IHS Automotive, states.

“Accident rates will plunge to near zero for SDCs, although other cars will crash into SDCs, but as the market share of SDCs on the highway grows, overall accident rates will decline steadily,” Juliussen says. “Traffic congestion and air pollution per car should also decline because SDCs can be programmed to be more efficient in their driving patterns.” he adds.

The bad comes with software reliability and cyber security. Nothing can be 100% secure, yet alone a self-driving car on the streets. Hack that, and you have yourself a toy that you can control with your smartphone. However, several automakers have said publicly they will have autonomous cars by 2020, or earlier. Autonomous car technology is already affecting driver assist systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and collision mitigating brake systems.

Additionally, the IHS study says the first group of autonomous cars will have so-called Level 3 capability – limited self-driving that enables the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic and environmental conditions and includes auto pilot for highway travel and parking. Coming later in the decade will be SDCs with Level 4 capability – self-driving but with human controls.

Thank you IHS for providing us with this information

Industry Giants Google And Apple Consider Expanding To The Automobile Industry

The car industry has quickly caught the attention of both Apple and Google. After fiercely competing with each other in smartphone, web browser, and tablet markets, both the companies are now working with leading car manufacturers to develop in-car entertainment and information systems.

Google and German automaker Audi AG are said to be working together on Android based in-car infotainment systems and they plan to announce their partnership at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. The Google announcement is being seen as the answer to Apple’s “iOS in the car” initiative, which was launched in June at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). As part of the initiative, Apple is developing technology to integrate iPhones with car’s dashboard control panels. Apple is said to be collaborating with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Honda Motors for their projects.

In terms of tech features, while Apple is going for the iPhone attachment to the car, Google is taking to a more embedded approach and is working on integrating the Android OS with the car’s dashboard. According to the report, 80 million new cars and light trucks are sold every year. Quite clearly, the market has huge potential and this is the reason Apple and Google are trying hard to penetrate it. The concept of smart cars has also opened the doors for leading chip-makers like Qualcomm, Intel, and Nvidia, to enter the car business.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

Google Smart Car, The Future Is Almost Here

Google Self-Driving vehicles, will it be the future of driving? It is to soon to tell, and Google has not given us a timeline as of yet. They have said that they are not interested in getting into the automotive manufacturing market, but rather want to provide us with the technology of tomorrow, working on the extensive algorithms that are needed to produce a Smart Car.

Nearly 34,000 people were killed in automobile accidents in the United States alone. With the help of a Google driven vehicle, these numbers could drop significantly. There are only three states that allow the testing of  experimental vehicles in the U.S. currently California, Nevada and Florida, which have legislation allowing automakers to test these self-driving vehicles on the roads. In order to prevent an accident caused by the programing of the vehicle a licensed driver needs to be at the controls, even when the vehicle is in control.

In the U.S. Driving is a privilege, not a right as I am sure it is for most places. What if you didn’t need to drive though. Some people don’t like to drive, they travel by bus, plane, and even train. If all vehicles on the road were self-driving and communicated with each other, it could possibly prevent any and all accidents on the roads. Sensing when someone is crossing a street, or even when another car might have ran a stop sign. SAFETY FIRST! These self-driving vehicles are programed by humans, and “To err is human”, will these Smart Cars make deadly errors? Are The Three Laws programed into these cars?

For those of you that don’t know The Three Laws, I am referring to Isaac Asimov’s, Three Laws of Robotics which are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Now these vehicles have been being tested for quite awhile now, and I wasn’t able to find any statistics on a single accident that involved one of these new smart cars, though after reading quite a bit about them, it doesn’t sound like one of these cars has been the cause of an accident though they have probably avoided several that a human driver might not have been able to.

Do you feel that there should be any laws in place for these new smart cars?

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