GM is the first to announce Siri integration with two new car models: the Chevrolet Spark and the Sonic Drive. The feature was dubbed "Eyes Free" and was announced at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June by former iOS chief, Scott Forstall. Basically, "Eyes Free" will be integrated via the car's Bluetooth functionality and the iPhone itself. The user can then initiate Siri's voice command by tapping a button on the steering wheel, and Siri's responses will be played over the car's audio system. Other car manufacturers such as Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Jaguar, Audi, Land rover, GM, BMW and Mercedes are slated to incorporate Siri's "Eyes Free" as well. Check out the full press release after the break.
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In this episode we give you a look at the 2013 Ford Taurus Limited, focusing on the Active Park Assist feature. With Active Park Assist, the car takes car of parallel parking for you. That's right - THE CAR CAN PARK ITSELF! You simply hit a button to let the car know that you are looking to park, and it uses its sensors to find a space you'll fit into. Once it does, you're in charge of the gas and brake pedals, while the Taurus steers itself into the spot with perfection. Definitely a feature from the future that you can get on your Ford today.
[Camera credit: Eric Vitolo]
In case you need and more proof that you shouldn't be texting while driving (or really, doing anything at all with your smartphone,) it's just been found that the practice is more dangerous than originally thought:
Drivers were asked to stop when they saw a flashing yellow light, and their reaction times were recorded, Yager said.
The typical time it took a driver who was not texting to respond to the flashing light was one to two seconds. But when the driver was texting, the reaction time extended to three to four seconds, and the texting motorist was 11 times more likely to miss the flashing light altogether.
Yager said the reaction time was the same whether the driver was typing a message or reading one.
One in five motorists admit to texting, emailing, and checking social networks while driving.
Ford brought a small fleet of intelligent vehicles to San Francisco to showcase a technology that the company expects will be mainstream in about five years, from most automakers.
Two Ford Focus cars and a Ford Expedition were equipped with a technology called Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC), which basically serves as a car-to-car wireless connection that currently serves as a crash avoidance system in Ford's implementation, and as a wireless toll collection mechanism overseas. Eventually, it could even be used for entertainment purposes.
Although Ford demonstrated the technology in a parking lot outside of AT&T Park, the company isn't alone in developing the technology. Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Hyundai, and Kia are all working together, plus truck, bus, and motorcycle companies, said Mike Shulman, the technical leader in Ford's Active Safety Research and Innovation department.
"Next year, we're doing a model deployment in a city where there will be thousands of equipped vehicles and trucks and buses all sending out these messages, and then the goal in 2013 is to start a regulation that will require this on all vehicles. Then, maybe consumer electronics companies would start designing products that could be retrofitted onto existing cars, because everyone sees the potential," Shulman said.
"Maybe five years from now, cars will be equipped with this," Shulman added.
BMW has announced that it plans to lease 700 demo units of its first completely electric vehicle, the BMW ActivE. They'll start the trial this fall in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and parts of Connecticut, the company said in a statement. Consumers will have to pay $499 a month for a 24-month lease, plus a down payment of $2,250. Reservations start at the end of this summer.
"Based on the 1 Series Coupe, the BMW ActiveE will accelerate from 0-60 mph in under nine seconds, making it the first electric vehicle to combine the dynamic characteristics typical of a BMW with the zero-emissions benefits of driving an electric vehicle," BMW said in a press release.
When fully powered, the car's lithium-ion batteries last around 100 miles. The batteries also feature heating and cooling and can pre-condition your car to maximize power during various weather conditions.
Furthermore the dashboard features a set of instruments that track the amount of energy being consumed. Instead of a tachometer, for instance, you'll find indicators for battery consumption and charge time. And because the car is apparently very quiet, BMW has also installed a needle to let you know when a car at standstill is ready to drive again.
Saab has announced the first Android-based, in-dash "infotainment" system for a car.
Called 'IQon,' the platform was demoed in a Saab Phoenix concept car at the 2011 Geneva motor show.
The Wi-Fi enabled, 8-inch touch screen lets drivers access thousands of Android apps. Apart from the usual productivity apps, like e-mail, navigation, entertainment, and music streaming, drivers can expect to see more auto-specific apps; for example, an app that controls your car's air-conditioner, one reviewer suggested. Furthermore the platform has built-in remote communication to and from Saab dealerships, which could be useful for carrying out diagnostics and uploading vehicle data.
As part of their CES presentation, Pioneer, a company used to making audio and electronic equipment for cars, announced their plans to integrate Twitter, Facebook and Pandora deeper into their devices. This will lead to your dashboard being connected directly to your social feeds. Pioneer says that it believes smartphones don't do the job because of their small screens, plus the fact that they require a driver's full attention. The new devices from Pioneer will read tweets and status updates directly to the user. The company will bring 9 different models in 2011 starting at $150.
Read More | Mashable