Nissan Develops Self Parking Chair

We use them every day, sometimes we pay a lot of attention and sometimes we just forget about them as we go about our business. I’m obviously talking about chairs, from the PL-6000 Gaming Chairs to those simple little pieces of plastic that you get at schools and offices. So why not use some technology to upgrade them, that’s what Nissan thought at least when they decided to use their self-driving car technology to upgrade their office chairs.

Typically self-driving cars can go from A to B, even managing to park themselves. Amongst the many car companies, Nissan is one of many companies working on self-driving cars for some time now, but in their latest reveal, they’ve put that very same technology into the office chairs, enabling them to “park themselves” at the clap of a hand.

Using computers hidden within the base of the chairs and a central command unit, the chairs are given their commands and return to their tables, neatly tucking away after a busy day in the office. In the video, it shows the chairs used in everything from boardrooms to classroom set ups.

While they have no plans to produce the technology and furniture for the public, I can see plenty of offices and schools wanting to save those precious moments at the end of the day when you just want to go home.

Nissan’s Main Websites Knocked Offline by Anonymous

Anonymous have struck once again, the target this time: car manufacturer Nissan. Two of Nissan’s main websites were affected by the attack, with their global and Japanese sites being suspended after a barrage of traffic was received by both sites. While both of those sites remain offline, both the US and European sites remain online.

The basis for this attack is part of another of Anonymous’ operations, OpKillingBay, addressing Japan’s advocacy of whaling and the killing of hundreds of whales every year by the country. This operation has been indiscriminate in its attack on Japanese corporations on Twitter, with the #OpKillingBay being full of tweets telling people not to buy Japanese products such as cars and citing their attacks as punishment for their crimes. Nissan has stated that they have no view on Japanese whaling activities.

The attack on Nissan’s sites is not the first cyberattack made to protest whaling. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s website was taken down last month with an Anonymous-affiliated hacktivist claiming responsibility for the attack. The targets are not limited to Japan either, as in November a number of government websites in Iceland, including the prime minister’s and those of a number of ministries were hit.

A member of Anonymous claiming responsibility for the attack on Nissan stated that they were attacking large corporations in Japan as it is the best way to raise awareness for the issue, with the widespread censorship of it amongst Japanese domestic news outlets. They did mention that they wished no harm to Nissan’s customer or system data.

Whaling may be a major issue, with the harm that it does to the environment and the fact that the Japanese persistence on the matter being in contradiction with international law, but whether the correct way to protest it is cyberattacks is another matter. Anonymous is hardly a group to do things by half-measures though, so we could expect to see attacks on other Japanese departments or corporations in the near future until Japan addresses the issue.

Automotive Companies Choose Microsoft At CES

The Automotive industry is an avenue with which tech companies are always striving to exploit, from self-driving cars, clever Sat Nav that manages to avoid rivers to the self-aware AI system that has become ubiquitous for many branded vehicles. Now, four further automotive companies have announced partnerships with Microsoft with the aim of enhancing their computing power.

The four companies who have confirmed a working relationship at CES in Las Vegas (Where the gang at eTeknix insert plug here) are Volvo, Nissan, Harman and engineering partner IAV. These companies join a growing list for Microsoft which also include Toyota, Ford, Qoros (Chinese automotive manufacturing company) and Delphi (UK manufacturing company)

Microsoft envisage that every car will be connected to the Internet and strangely to other cars and will also be a “Companion within your digital life”. The following is a quick summary of how Volvo, Nissan, Harman and IAV plan to integrate Microsoft tech into their cars.

  • Volvo – plan to interrogate Microsoft Band 2 with a Windows 10 smartphone and also the Volvo Call Universal App. This means that consumers can interact with the Microsoft Band by holding down the “action button” and requesting a function
  • Harman – Plan to offer drivers the ability to access the Office 365 productivity suite within the Harman infotainment systems. This means that drivers will be able to interact with Office 365 via an intelligent personal assistant software to schedule meetings etc.
  • IAV – Plan to use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 via a mobile device directly to a car’s dashboard, giving drivers access to Windows 10 features and apps such as Cortana, Skype for Business, Calendar, Outlook and Groove Music.
  • Nissan – Plan to incorporate Connect Telematics Systems (CTS) which will be powered by Microsoft Azure. This will be incorporated into the LEAF and Infiniti models.

Tech will always be pushed into the automotive industry with the aim of offering consumers a different experience, companies will need to make sure any software is secure and, therefore, cannot be remotely hacked. Drivers will also need to be mindful and not be distracted by the many tech options, imagine attempting to schedule a meeting while travelling at 60 miles an hour down a motorway.

Image courtesy of digitaldealer

Nissan Self-Driving Cars Will Hit the Road by 2020

Japanese motorcar company Nissan will have cars with autonomous driving technology by 2020, according to the company’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn. He added that the availability of Nissan’s self-driving cars will depend on regulations particular to each country.

“Starting from late next year, we plan to offer what internally we are calling the ‘Traffic Jam Pilot,’ a feature that allows the car to drive autonomously and safely in heavy, stop-and-go traffic,” Ghosn wrote on his LinkedIn profile. “This eventually will be offered across a wide range of our Nissan, Infiniti and Renault vehicles.”

Ghosn subsequently told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama that, “Our cars will be ready. That is the car of the future […] But the consumer is more conservative. That makes us cautious.”

It is expected that Nissan will release its first car sporting the technology – which will grant the vehicle the ability “to autonomously negotiate hazards and change lanes” – in 2018, while by 2020 it hopes to introduce cars that can drive with full autonomy in “nearly all situations, including complex city driving.”

The move follows a recent announcement from Google that it intends to launch its self-driving cars in California this Summer. “Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed,” Google wrote on its official blog.

Thank you International Business Times for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Digital Trends.

Cheap Electric Vehicles May Arrive on the Market Sooner than Expected

A recent analysis states that electric cars may soon be competing or even surpass gas cars on cost. This means that electric cars won’t be just a luxurious accessory for the few.

Manufacturers tend to keep the cost of lithium-ion batteries found in electric cars a strict secret, but a recent peer-reviewed study of more than 80 estimates reported between 2007 and 2014 suggests that the costs of battery packs are lower than assumed by energy-policy analysts.

The study suggests that batteries found in EV manufacturer cars such as Tesla and Nissan cost around $300 per KW/h in 2014. This estimate is much lower than the most optimistic projections published this year and even below the average projections published for 2020. The study also tells that the batteries could even reach $230 per KW/h by 2018.

People are also said to be more interested in EVs if the battery costs between $125 and $300 per KW/h. Having the battery cost be a quarter or even half of an EVs price tag, cheaper batteries would make the vehicle itself more cheaper. Alternatively, car manufacturers can maintain the current EV price tag, but offer a battery with much longer ranges instead.

The range factor on an EV is also a crucial thing for buyers, because it would be cheaper to fill an EV with electricity than a car running on gas. It is said that charging an EV with a 300 mile range would cost less than $10. Also, the study states that if batteries fall as low as $150 per KW/h, this may lead to “a potential paradigm shift in vehicle technology”.

The analyst report that the cost of battery packs is falling around 8% each year, which they say is likely to continue at this rate in the following years as well. However, Luis Munuera, an energy analyst for the International Energy Agency, and Pierpaolo Cazzola, a transport policy analyst for the same agency, tend to be sceptical about the peer-reviewed in question, but they do seem to agree about “events moving quicker than expected in lithium-ion battery technology”.

Thank you MIT Technology Review for providing us with this information

Meet the Electric Nissan Leaf that Glows in the Dark

See that up there. That’s not computer generated imagery. That’s the real deal. While we know that you can have glow in the dark paint jobs on cars these days, we’ve never seen one quite like that. The sad thing though, you can’t buy it.

Nissan has produced a car that uses a very special glowing paint quite unlike those less-effective ones you may have seen before. This clever paint goes by the name of Starpath and will apparently last 25 years before losing its glowing ability.

While it would be great for on-the-road visibility, unfortunately this car is a one-off promotional vehicle, so you can’t buy one. However, you can see it in action in the video bellow.

Source: The Verge

Two Gran Turismo Players Compete in Real Race and Win

Two of the best Gran Turismo players out there were recruited by a racing academy and ended up winning an endurance race in Australia this weekend.

Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss are members of the Gran Turismo academy – set up by Sony, Polyphony Digital and Nissan to encourage GT players to hone their driving talents in real cars. The pair formed part of the winning team that won the Bathurst 12 Hour race in New South Wales on 8th February.

The third driver in the team, Katsumasa Chiyo, who was not a graduate of the Gran Turismo Academy, posted the best time of all the team members, and even lapped two cars on the penultimate lap. The three competitors drove an RJN Motorsport Nissan GTR-35.

Source: Polygon