Automotive

The Best Car Tech of CES 2018

Exciting times ahead!

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We recently wrapped up CES 2018 (see our top picks) and even though the trade show originally revolved around consumer electronics, a big chunk of what was introduced was directed towards connected cities with a focus on making driving a lot smarter.

The idea of self-driving cars surely isn’t new and has been around for quite some time now. It’s basically the concept of what the future is like in addition to flying cars. At this year’s CES, brands who participated made us realize that this “future” isn’t too far away.


Here are some of the most promising cars and car technology that we’re excited to see in the near future.

Assistance

Multiple brands showed off their new toys left and right. There’s the announcement of Amazon’s Alexa coming to cars for voice assistance and content consumption. Toyota will be the next to adapt voice assistance in addition to BMW, Ford, and Hyundai. Meanwhile, Waze has also been integrated into select infotainment systems.

Nissan, on the other hand, is taking the user-machine a step further by introducing the brain-to-vehicle (B2V) technology. It basically uses a system that could read your brain patterns and signals to better prepare for what you’re about to do next while driving.

Platforms

In terms of services, Ford is slightly stepping out of the shadow of car-making and plans to be the new platform for autonomous vehicles. It has partnered with Lyft, Domino’s Pizza, and Postmates to create an operating system which small to large businesses can use for their unique services.

Speaking of unique services, Toyota unveiled its e-Palette concept vehicle which has all the potential to go big in the future of mobility. It’s envisioned as a self-driving vehicle running on Toyota’s tech and platform that other brands can use for food deliveries, as a moving boutique, or even a mobile hotel that you can rent.

As far as ride-sharing goes, expect it to join the bandwagon as smart cities are developed. During the trade show, car tech company Aptiv was present and was hand-in-hand with Lyft as they demonstrated their self-driving cars to the participants of CES. The public could just hail a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center using the app and enjoy the view of the Strip to their destination.

Additionally, NVIDIA has also added Uber and Volkswagen to their growing roster of brands that will run on the company’s self-driving computer platform.

Cars

Apart from the new platforms, there were cars — quite a lot, actually. From concept to actual models on display, we got a peek at these vehicles that probably want to take on Tesla.

Derived from Bytes on Wheels, BYTON wants to blur the line between digital and automotive with their electric intelligent SUV concept. The new-gen smart device communicates with users and pedestrians via lights and patterns on its grille and recognizes the driver and passengers by face.

Kia was also present with its very own Niro electric crossover. This concept is basically an electric version of the Niro Hybrid but gets a new grille design. Like BYTON, it is now an interactive panel with a built-in Active Pedestrian Warning System, but what makes this something to look forward to is its range. It can go as far 383km (238 miles) before needing to charge again — beating what the Tesla Model 3 can offer.

Car designer Henrik Fisker gave another shot at making vehicles; this time in the form of the EMotion luxury sedan. The vehicle is a level 4 autonomous car and is equipped with the world’s first Butterfly Doors. Fisker also wants to set standards for other EVs so they made the vehicle last up to 644km (400 miles) on the road.

Meanwhile, Hyundai is continuing its push to go green and introduced the NEXO fuel cell electric vehicle. It has a more efficient engine, is a lot quieter, and maintenance is kept to a minimum. Although the best thing about it is that it emits nothing but water vapor. Features-wise, it has autonomous driving, self-parking, self-retrieval — the whole shebang.

In-vehicle Networking

Software updates are an important aspect of vehicles relying on digital systems. Tesla has somehow established its system already but for other car brands, updating hundreds, even thousands of vehicles across a country, is still not an easy task.

Hyundai and Cisco addressed this and aims to overhaul the process of in-vehicle networking. With the use of Ethernet connectivity and the Automotive Linux platform, they promise to be able to roll out updates remotely and it’s as simple as pushing a button.

 

Automotive

What Mazda promises with the new Mazda 3

Still going for a great driving experience

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The new Mazda 3 has just been introduced to the local market by Bermaz Auto Philippines. We’ve caught a glimpse of it before and got a general concept of what to expect. Although now that we have the Philippine-spec units and prices to go along with it, what does the Japanese company promise with this new vehicle? Let’s take a look at some of its features.

Styling

Mazda still stays true to its KODO or “Soul of Motion” design that gives life to the exterior by playing with curves and how light uniquely bounces off its panels. In short, it offers fresh styling that stands out and begs to be noticed. It has that minimalist but artistic approach and it certainly works for the Mazda 3.


Step inside and the simplicity continues. There’s nothing too fancy to see here except for the driver-centric layout which exudes a premium feel thanks to the materials used.

Its cabin has also been designed with superior acoustics in mind. The company claims they were able to achieve a natural and rich-sounding cabin by strategically positioning its 12 speakers and cutting down on sound reflection. We haven’t experienced it first-hand, but that’s kind of a bold claim from the company if they couldn’t back it up.

These, coupled with the company’s “Jinba Ittai” concept of machine and man as one, ensure that the ergonomics inside serve its driver well to further enjoy the driving experience and create that bond between each other. This also brings us to our next point.

Comfort

In order for the car to feel like an extension of your body, the interior has to be comfortable.

With the previously mentioned concept, one of the ideas is for the car to support wherever your body leans. This simply means the vehicle’s structure and interior provide comfort, especially during long drives.

Additionally, the company made sure that they give ample attention to dampening vibrations and reducing noise seeping into the cabin. By using new sound-absorbing upholstery that supposedly traps sound, a quieter cabin and overall smoother drive is what the passengers experience with the new Mazda 3.

It also tends to spoil the modern driver with its lineup of creature comforts. Things like auto brake hold come into play during heavy traffic, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming rearview mirror are just some to mention.

Performance

The Philippine-specific Mazda 3 doesn’t come with the new Skyactiv-X engine that Europe has. Instead, the local market gets Skyactiv-G inline-4 engine options mated to a six-speed automatic. The naturally aspirated engine outputs up to 152hp and 200Nm which should be enough for everyday drives plus some room for its legs to stretch when the road ahead clears up.

It also comes with G-Vectoring Control Plus that should be able to refine steering and make the vehicle safer and more stable overall. By calculating data while driving on a curb, for example, the system applies input that complements the task at hand and helps the driver gain control while coming out of said turn.

As a quick recap, the new Mazda 3 aims to tick the boxes for a capable car in the city but promises a number of features and innovations to further enjoy the ride experience. It’s styled skilfully inside and out, aims to ensure comfort throughout drives, provides high-quality entertainment, packs a capable engine, and prioritizes safety.

It comes in five variants in the Philippines with the following price points:

  • Mazda 3 1.5-liter Sedan Elite  — PhP 1,295,000
  • Mazda 3 1.5-liter Sportback Elite — PhP 1,320,000
  • Mazda 3 2.0-liter Sedan Premium — PhP 1,495,000
  • Mazda 3 2.0-liter Sportback Premium — PhP 1,510,000
  • Mazda 3 2.0-liter Sportback Speed — PhP 1,590,000

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Automotive

She implanted an RFID tag in her arm to operate a Tesla Model 3

A new way to never lose your keys again

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A software engineer who goes by the name Amie DD on YouTube wanted to do an ultimate Tesla Model 3 hack — one that involves implanting an RFID tag in her own body so she could unlock and operate her vehicle with just a wave of her arm.

She released a short documentary on her thought process and how she began the project. According to her, she’s not new to playing with RFID tags and implanting them in her body. So when she got her new Model 3 and found out it uses RFID to unlock and start the vehicle, she immediately came up with the idea.


To make this possible, Amie DD reached out to a body modification place capable of performing such procedures. You may watch the implant process here but be warned that it’s a bit graphic and shows blood.

She didn’t actually show in her video that it actually works but she told The Verge that it does. Amie DD even tweeted Elon Musk jokingly (probably) that she could run Musk’s Body Hacking Division.

It may sound cool and all — and props to her for having the courage to do something like that — but as for me, I think I’m okay with using standard keys right now.

 

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Automotive

Jaguar wants Oxford Dictionary to update the definition of ‘car’

Literally redefining what a car is

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Jaguar is calling for the Oxford English Dictionary and OxfordDictionaries.com to update their official online definition of the word ‘car’.

The need for action is because Jaguar’s I-PACE, the company’s all-electric performance SUV, recently won the 2019 World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year. However, technically, the zero-emission vehicle doesn’t fall under the ‘car’ category if we’re going by its official meaning.


If you check online, Oxford English Dictionary — the principal historical dictionary of the English language — defines a car as, “a road vehicle powered by a motor (usually an internal combustion engine) designed to carry a driver and a small number of passengers, and usually having two front and two rear wheels, esp. for private, commercial, or leisure use.”

Meanwhile, the current definition of a car on OxfordDictionaries.com, a collection of dictionary websites produced by Oxford University Press, is: “a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people.”

Now, being widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language, it just seems fitting to update the meaning of ‘car’. Jaguar has already submitted a formal application to both groups and have the definitions updated to include additional powertrains, including electric vehicles.

While these groups review the application, Jaguar is encouraging people to support the movement and share their thoughts on how the word should be defined. For those interested, you may use #RedefineTheCar along with your posts.

 

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