It’s the stuff of movies and science fiction the world over - the ability to get in your automobile and let it do all of the driving for you. Although we’re not quite there yet, Honda has a new Accord model called the ADAS which will handle
of the mundane driving for you. ADAS, which stands for Advanced Driver Assist System, will steer your car and control speed/braking with the help of a wave radar system. The system does require the driver to touch the steering wheel every ten seconds, so that the car knows a human is still “paying attention”, but will handle the rest beyond that. There are some limitations though, a few of which are - the car must be traveling between 20MPH and 112MPHh (wow!), the lane dividing lines must be visible, and there should be no sharp curves in the road. Honda expects all of their vehicles to have this feature no later than 2016. Currently only available in the UK, the car retails for approximately $46,500 - so it’s not an inexpensive alternative to paying attention to what’s going on around you.
Read More | NewsFactor
It’s pure speculation as to what would cause three engineers to create a startup company whose current focus is creating a hybrid vehicle that they claim will get 330 MPG (miles per gallon). Maybe they have a grand vision of the future as a place with little dependency on fossil fuels or possibly they just saw dollar signs. Regardless, their goal is admirable even if it seems a bit hard to swallow. Their company, Accelerated Composites, is hell-bent on mass-producing this lightweight (850 lbs), aerodynamic, two-seat vehicle that will combine incredible fuel efficiency with a high safety factor. Oh, did I mention that all of this can be yours for under $20,000? While I remain doubtful of the vehicle ever achieving large scale production numbers, I’m hoping they can achieve some success with their product.
reason to know the whereabouts of your spouse, teenager, or wayward employee? Introducing the WorldTracker SMS by Security Concepts. The WorldTracker SMS is a small GPS device powered by the SiRFstarIII chipset (which includes WAAS for signal correction/accuracy) and includes a built-in tri-band GSM module for sending tracking messages via SMS to as many as seven cell phones or PDA’s. With Security Concepts’ monthly service offerings, you can also track your target using Google Earth – a first in the industry for real-time trackers. The device can run for up to 24 hours on its own internal lithium-ion battery, or with the inclusion of an external battery pack anywhere from 4 to 15 days. For those extended tracking sessions the GPS can also be hardwired to any 12-volt power source. Street level pricing appears to be $600-700 depending on where you shop.
Read More | WorldTracker SMS Product Page
Let’s face it, trying to watch the latest episode of Lost (or The Bleeding Edge) on your iPod Video while in the passenger seat of a car speeding down the highway isn’t known to be the easiest of tasks. The XtremeMac RoadShow aims to take a bit of the burden off, offering a solution that allows you to integrate the iPod into a vehicle entertainment system. For $49.95 USD, you get an 8-foot long RCA cable that sends the audio and video from the iPod to the car, along with a 12-volt power adapter to keep the iPod juiced up during the trip. Call us impressed.
Dephi introduced their revolutionary drowsiness and distraction detection system as part of their “cocoon of safety” set of auto safety-based integrated technologies. The system automatically locks onto your eyes and monitors them for signs of drowsiness. Long before you actually begin closing your eyes for prolonged periods, your pupil and eye movement activities let them system know that you may be getting drowsy and allows it to prepare to alert. Further, when the system detects that you’re distracted for a period longer than that required to say, check your blind spot, or change a lane, it can also issue an alert.
Check out our video interview with one of the Delphi developers as he walks us through the technology, explains its future implementations and lets us see exactly how it works. (And enjoy a psuedo-infrared shot of me, seeing just how flexible the system is.)
With integration into other safety systems, like adaptive cruise control and assisted braking, the eye-tracking won’t necessarily just alert the user, but can instead proactively help to prevent or reduce the severity of an accident. As someone who’s nearly killed himself a few times on the I-10 to Tucson at 1 am, I can hardly wait.
A few notes about the video demo, after the jump.
If I knew how to ride a bike like a pro - or even like a ten year old for that matter - I would want it outfitted with the Soundbike. This is a project by Jessica Thompson, and it has peaked our interest. What happens is the SoundBike emits the sounds of laughter as the cyclist pedals. The faster the pedaling, the more hysterical the laughter gets. Is that not genius or what? I mean, imagine all the bikes in the Tour De France having this technology incorporated into them, and being able to just stand on the sidelines? Sweet.
Read More | Cool Hunting
Michigan based Visteon is working with US automobile makers to incorporate the USB interface in their new vehicles. This will allow users to plug in a USB flash-drive from which they will be able to play music files. The apparent aim is to replace the CD player’s role in US automobiles. The first of these USB enhanced vehicles will hit the production line in early February, fitted with not only USB but also an interface for the Apple iPod. What we are wondering about, as I’m sure many others are, is whether or not an adapter of sorts will soon follow, allowing vehicle owners with CD-changers to take advantage of the USB interface. I would love to replace my scratched collection of CDs in my car with a flash-drive dedicated to music.
Read More | Just-auto.com
Now this is off the hook, especially for those VW Beetle fanatics out there. Check it - it’s a Volkswagen Beetle replica with a digital alarm clock built-in to the windshield. Now, the fun doesn’t end there, as it (like all ZipConnect speaker systems) includes a ZipConnect module (with convenient retractable 18-inch cable and mini stereo plug) for playing any iPod, MP3, portable CD or satellite radio — any audio source with a headphone jack. The Beetle has working headlamps and taillights, with stereo speakers hidden in the wheels.
Read More | Sharper Image
So, Stanford’s Volkswagen Touareg ‘Stanley’ is the winner of the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005, bringing home $2 million in cold, hard cash. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the DARPA Grand Challenge is a race where cars must autonomously go from start to finish without any human input. The Touareg finished the race in a matter of 6 hours and 53 minutes, with an average speed of 19.1 miles per hour.
The thing about Google is that they are perfectly happy releasing a product under the Beta tag, and leaving it there, right? Not so with Google Local and Google Maps. The services have been combined under the Google Local brand, with the maps now offering hours of operation, links to reviews, and other local business information under the “Details” tab of the address bubble. Pretty nifty.
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