Automotive

Conquering Mt. Malasimbo with the Nissan Navara and its Around View Monitor

It has the brawns and brains to take on a mountain

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As a celebration of Navara’s third year in the Philippine market, Nissan recently rounded up media representatives and flew them to Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. The Navara is one of Nissan’s most successful vehicles, and is already part of the top three in the local pickup segment.

This event was also the perfect chance to put to test its new feature: the Around View Monitor (AVM). This is part of the Nissan Intelligent Mobility initiative which we heard a lot of during the recent Nissan Futures in Singapore.

Kicking off from the southern-most tip of the island, we embarked on our eight-hour drive to Mt. Malasimbo. Each 2.5-liter Navara carried two to four persons. While some took turns driving, others braved the driver’s seat from start to finish.

The roads our convoy took were a combination of gravel, unfinished roads, remote paths with blind spots, steep inclines, and narrow lanes. I’ve already spent hours on Nissan’s zero-gravity seats in the past so I had no issues with ride comfort. These seats plus the truck’s multi-link suspension system actually made the drive comfortable — too comfortable that one of our passengers was asleep in the back seat almost the entire time (no, not dropping names!).

Once at Mt. Malasimbo, we got to finally make the most out of its AVM and other safety tech. An obstacle course was set up in different areas of the mountain which we took turns strategically maneuvering around.

It was during this time that the Around View Monitor proved the most useful. Blind spots — which would usually require an additional person to stick their head out and check how much room you still have — are now comfortably seen right at the monitor.

There’s also an option to have an even closer view of how far your tire is from an obstacle just by pressing one button. This made it easy to take accurate and calculated turns at the site’s steep and narrow inclines.

Other features that were in action while navigating through the twists and climbs of Mt. Malasimbo were Hill Start/Descent Assist, Traction Control, and Vehicle Dynamics Stability Control.

At this event, not only did everyone have fun catching up and driving, the Navara also proved itself as a vehicle that can keep up with your adventures, whether you’re sailing on a smooth highway or treading the road less traveled.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Futures 2018: Electrifying the Future

Apps

Waze gets a new look!

It was long overdue and it’s finally here

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If you frequently take the roads and use Waze as your driving companion, you may have gotten used to how it look — no matter how dated it seemed. That’s changing now as the app is getting an all new look.

The company says the brand refresh “reinforces inclusivity and connection into every journey on the road.” Whatever that means, the revamped Waze app now follows a more flat design and with more expressive cartoony mood indicators.

The new visual language based on roads and maps which will also be seen in multiple places, including the Waze website, emails, and social channels.

“This brand refresh encapsulates that unique Waze experience visually, with a new grid format based on our map, new Moods to capture the infinite array of emotions we all feel while driving and a lively color palette that celebrates the joy that we always try to bring to the road, and the magic of our community and the way we work together for better,” said Waze Head of Creative Jake Shaw.

What do you think? Do you like this new look or do you prefer the old one?

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Automotive

Nissan is making their electric cars better with all-wheel drive

Called the e-4ORCE

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When electric and hybrid vehicles started becoming popular, hardcore automobile enthusiasts steered clear for two main reasons: the lack of EV infrastructure and lack of power in early electric vehicles. Though the former remains a persistent problem today, modern carmakers are doing their best to create better and better powertrains in electric vehicles.

Nissan, for example, is developing a new system for its electric cars in the future. As you might know, Nissan’s contribution to the world of electric travel is the Nissan Leaf. With the upcoming technology that they call “e-4ORCE,” Nissan aims to pack more power into their electric packages. It’s all about improving the driving experience.

Now, you might be wondering about the weird name. Besides being a quirky twist on “force,” the name pertains to the technology’s new all-wheel drive. Previously, the Nissan Leaf subsisted on front-wheel drive.

More technically, e-4ORCE jams in a second electric motor, giving more boost and control to the system’s power. It improves acceleration and braking more efficiently. Handling also gets a bump, allowing drivers to control their vehicle exactly as they want it to do.

Despite the improvements in power, e-4ORCE also works on driver and passenger comfort. Driving is stabler and smoother. In turn, this improves driver confidence regardless of the road conditions.

Nissan first demonstrated this upcoming technology at last year’s CES 2019 using a custom Nissan Leaf e+. In the future, the carmaker hopes to add this technology to more mass-market electric vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Why Nissan’s new infotainment system looks better than others

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Apps

Digital keys lets you unlock your car with an iPhone

No more keys that’ll scratch your phone

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Apple wants to replace physical keys with an iPhone and the brand has announced a new feature at WWDC 2020 to make this possible. Digital keys are stored on your iPhone and can be used to unlock the car with just a single tap. Furthermore, you can share the key with your friends and family via iMessage.

Emily Schubert, Apple senior manager of car experience engineering, demonstrated how a driver can tap the door handle with their iPhone to unlock the sedan. To start the car, just keep the iPhone on the car’s charging pad and you’re good to go.

The technology leverages NFC (Near Field Communication) to interact with the car. The Wallet app is a safe haven for your keys and this is the same app where your Apple Card, as well as other tickets, are stored.

On the automobile side, BMW will be the first marque to introduce it to drivers. The digital key functionality shall feature first in the 2021 BMW 5 series this July. Apple said more cars that work with the system will come to the market next year. For electric cars, the tech giant is also working on its mapping application to show nearby charging points.

While Tesla owners will not be surprised by this announcement, it can bring a monumental change for many since it relies on existing technology and can support cars that are already on the road.

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said the tech giant is working on a standard with industry groups to realize a secure, “real” keyless experience by next year.

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