For people who drive or commute in the city, traffic jams, crowded streets, and other eyesores can add to the stress we already have. It’s an unavoidable lifestyle every time we’re on the road and is something we wish we had a solution to. Audi, at the CES 2020, seems to have the answer to this with the revelation of their concept car, the Audi AI:ME.
Described as an empathetic car, the fully automated Audi AI:ME represents a personal “third living space,” alongside our homes and workplaces, this self-driving vehicle is sure to pamper its passengers through the use of the latest automotive AI technologies.
So how can a car be empathetic? For starters, by recognizing its users and their habits, it will combine artificial intelligence to increase the passengers’ safety, well being, and comfort.
You can communicate with the car intuitively and even have it order your favorite food or enjoy a wellness experience with a pair of VR goggles that will allow passengers to change the environment in real-time together with the movement of the vehicle.
Upon arriving at your destination, you will find that your ordered food was delivered on time thanks to the AI navigation coordinated by the car’s navigation data. In the future, the car will also conduct a precise analysis as to the functions and settings that its user prefers, ranging from the seat position, media, route guidance, and temperature to the fragrancing of the interior.
Audi has also introduced, along with this vehicle, a 3D heads up display that works like a 3D television. Developed in cooperation with Samsung, Images generated for the left and right eye will give you a true 3D image. You will be able to see vital information, like navigation arrows as if they were floating in front of you at a distance of 8-10 meters and can even be increased to 70 meters. Your eyes will no longer have to refocus looking at the instrument cluster.
Should the driver get tired, different ambient lighting will provide a remedy from blue to cool white light which can have a stimulating and invigorating effect on the driver. Audi calls this the Human-Centric Lighting.
GrabProtect is Grab’s safety measures as it resumes operations
Stringent measures against COVID-19
Grab Philippines is introducing new safety measures as it resumes ride-hailing operations on June 1, 2020. GrabProtect is the company’s safety measure intended to protect drivers and passengers against the threat of COVID-19. The company is also introducing new changes to the booking process for a safer and more efficient ride experience during these times.
Selfie verification feature and feedback
Under GrabProtect, Grab will introduce and implement changes to its GrabCar service. By the end of June, drivers must take an online health and hygiene checklist to verify their well-being. They must also submit a selfie with a mask on as a verification feature. Grab passengers can cancel a booking should they see that their driver is not wearing a mask.
The same also goes for the drivers. If they saw that their passengers are not wearing a mask, they can cancel the booking. Both the drivers and passengers are encouraged to submit feedback after every trip for cases where both parties appear unwell or are not wearing a mask.
Vehicle disinfection must take place before and after every ride. Grab will provide special disinfectant kits for every driver. These disinfectants are partially subsidized by the company, with special disinfection rates being planned to cover the rest of the expenses. There will also be a deep disinfection process every other day to ensure safety and cleanliness at all times.
Before boarding the ride, passengers have to show their booking code to the driver for confirmation. They will only be allowed to seat at the back of the vehicle. A non-permeable acetate barrier provided by Grab must separate the drivers from the passengers. The company also encourages both parties to carry hand sanitizers at all times for personal disinfection.
And to minimize the spread of pathogens, only drivers will be allowed to open and close the doors for their passengers. A maximum of two passengers is allowed for every GrabCar trip.
Other changes to GrabCar service
Aside from GrabProtect, Grab is also introducing new changes to its booking process to comply with the government’s guidelines.
Drivers who want to resume driving for Grab must undergo training to receive safety and hygiene certification from the company. This training is done in a warehouse in Marikina, where drivers are taught how to disinfect their vehicles as well as how to install the acetate barrier. The company has already trained more than 40,000 drivers under its new safety measures.
Grab is also introducing new changes in the payment process for all bookings. There will be a cap in surge for the meantime as the company expects reduced demand for the first few months of resumption of operations. Physical cash transactions are not allowed in the meantime too. As such, passengers must pay through one of the two options:
- Credit card/ debit card option
Grab will also cover the medical expenses for drivers who test positive for COVID-19. As per guidelines, the company is not allowing individuals under age 21 or those above 60 to make a booking. Individuals who are pregnant and those with a compromised immune system are also not allowed to book a ride.
Earlier this month, Grab also introduced changes to its delivery service by doubling down on GrabPay. Now, the company is introducing more changes as the Philippines move to a new normal. These changes will ensure a much-streamlined process while minimizing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
GrabTaxi resumes operations this May
GrabPay will double as contact tracing system
Grab Philippines is now resuming GrabTaxi operations as more areas in the country ease their travel restrictions. As a safety precaution, the company is also adopting new measures that will be implemented once GrabTaxi’s operations resume.
Grab is implementing cashless transactions for all its GrabTaxi fleet once service resumes on May 22. The company has already trained more than 7,000 drivers in preparation for the change. It has trained and encouraged drivers to use its GrabPay service to minimize physical cash transactions. After all, banknotes and bills encourage the spread of the virus that cause COVID-19 disease.
Using GrabPay will also benefit the public by acting as an efficient contact tracing system. Combined with Grab and Department of Health’s (DOH) contact tracing platform, the service will allow for faster and accurate contact tracing whenever possible.
The first two cities where GrabTaxi will resume operations this May are Baguio and Naga City. Around 400 drivers are to be deployed in these cities as operations resume. Grab is targeting to train more GrabTaxi drivers in handling cashless transactions along with other safety and health practices so they can quickly resume their jobs once restrictions are lifted. Those interested in undergoing the training can visit Grab’s website.
Elsewhere, Grab has also introduced cashless payments for the rest of its services. Grab users can now use GrabPay to pay for their essential goods and services. With GrabPay coming to GrabTaxi, users don’t have to bring physical cash and risk themselves to COVID-19.
Ford launches new Everest Sport
Improved design, more driver-assist tech
Pandemic notwithstanding, Ford pushes through with the launch of their latest refreshed SUV — the Ford Everest Sport.
The new Everest Sport has an improved design and comprises of more driver-assist tech all in the service of making the vehicle versatile, safe, and capable. There’s also no price increase from the previous model.
Some of the design changes include a new mesh grille design, an embossed EVEREST hood badge at the front, gloss black painted wheels and exterior mirrors on the side, black tailgate applique in the rear and a ‘SPORT’ decal on the liftgate. It also has LED projector headlamps, daytime running lights and 20-inch alloy wheels.
It’s powered by a 2.0L Turbo Diesel Engine which offers 180PS of power and 420Nm of torque and is matched with Ford’s latest 10-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. That feature helps deliver better acceleration, fuel efficiency, and smoothness across on-road and off-road environments.
For entertainment and connectivity, it’s equipped with an 8-inch LCD Touchscreen, Sync3 with Apple Carplay and Android Auto Connectivity, two USB ports, and 10 speakers.
Lastly, it comes with a host of features for the best driver comfort, convenience, and safety. These are Cruise Control, Electronic Power Assist Steering (EPAS), Rear View Camera, Rear Parking Sensors, and Electronic Stability Control with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Roll Stability Control. Adding to all these are seven airbags including side, curtain, and driver knee airbags.
Pricing and availability
The new Ford Everest Sport will come in four colors: Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Arctic White, and Deep Crystal Blue (exclusive to Everest Sport).
It starts at PhP 1,868,000 and will be available in all Ford dealerships in the Philippines starting May 22, 2020. Customers who will reserve the new Everest Sport on or before May 31, 2020 will get a free three-year scheduled service plan.
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