Automotive

Nissan creates self-driving slippers for a Japanese inn

You can win a free night at the inn, too

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With the way tech is driving forward, you’d think you’ve seen it all. Amazingly, companies just keep churning out hit after hit. This time, feast your eyes on the world’s first self-driving slippers.

Brought to you by Nissan, the self-driving cushy footwear are the stars of the Nissan ProPILOT Park Ryokan in Hakone, Japan.

Guests staying at the inn will be able to experience this tech firsthand just as they step through the door. As is custom with Japanese culture, slippers for guests are lined up at the foyer. As a sign of courtesy, guests remove their shoes and step into these comfy slippers.

The push of a button recalls the slippers back to their original spots when they’re not in use. Apart from the slippers, the self-driving technology also powers the inn’s tables and floor cushions. (A regular feature of Japanese establishments is the tatami room: a meeting/dining area with low tables and floor cushions.)

Tiny wheels and sensors power the autonomous furniture and amenities. The wheels bring them back to their original location without any user input. (No, you can’t ride them while they’re in motion.) The tech can automatically detect obstacles in the way.

Tagged as a marketing stunt, the self-driving slippers promote Nissan’s ProPILOT Park technology, which was first introduced in the Nissan Leaf EV late last year. Infused in a car, the system automatically parks the car in a parking spot, taking note of any objects and obstacles nearby. At the inn, the ProPILOT amenities aim to “entertain guests and reduce staff workload.”

A lucky pair of travelers might even get a chance to stay at the quirky inn for free, courtesy of Nissan. To qualify for the free night, travelers must post on Twitter with the hashtags #PPPRyokan and #wanttostay until February 10.

SEE ALSO: Nissan GT-R NISMO officially launches in the Philippines

Automotive

Tesla’s Autopilot saves family from deadly accident

Eight people were saved overall

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It’s not often that you hear a story about Tesla’s Autopilot saving lives from deadly mishaps. However, that’s what exactly happened in the UK last Saturday. Tesla’s Autopilot function literally saved eight people from a falling tree which could have resulted to their deaths.

The whole accident happened while a powerful storm ravaged the UK’s countryside. Laurence Sanderson, the man behind the wheel of a Tesla Model X, was driving when a large tree suddenly fell due to strong winds. In an interview with Mirror UK, Sanderson said he was unable to react on time.

Luckily though, Tesla’s Autopilot function kicked in and automatically applied brakes. While the tree did considerable damage, it could have totally crushed the car if not for that function. Laurence, his wife, and his three kids were saved by Tesla’s technology.

And by chance, the technology also saved three people in a separate Tesla Model X. Josh Whitelock was driving the other Tesla in the opposite direction when the tree fell towards their car. As with the other Tesla, this car’s Autopilot function kicked in and saved him, his girlfriend, and his mother from death.

The two Tesla Model X involved in the accident | Image by Mirror UK

All in all, Tesla’s Autopilot literally saved eight people. While the function is still far away from enabling a true driverless experience for Tesla owners, they can rest assured that their car’s Autopilot works on keeping lives away from harm.

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Automotive

LG debuts world’s first curved OLED for cars

Featured in 2021 Cadillac Escalade

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Pretty soon, smartphones and televisions won’t be the only place you’ll find OLED screens in. The automotive industry is slowly perfecting the OLED screen for everyone’s cars. In particular, LG is partnering with a few car makers for this endeavor.

Earlier this week, Cadillac has launched the 2021 Escalade. Aside from what’s under the hood, the iconic SUV debuts the industry’s first-ever use of a curved OLED screen in a car. The massive 38-inch display houses LG’s P-OLED Digital Cockpit Solution. The all-new software displays the vehicle information and infotainment system.

The display itself combines three separate P-OLED panels into one. The largest panel measures 16.9 inches.

LG is also boasting a new augmented reality-enabled navigation system and night vision. Presumably, the new features make driving friendlier for any road condition and driving time.

With the 2021 Escalade’s debut, LG dips its toe into the automotive display market. It predicts substantial market growth in the industry by 2023. The display company is also expected to debut a similar display in Mercedes Benz vehicles later this year.

SEE ALSO: LG withdraws from MWC 2020 due to Coronavirus outbreak

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Automotive

My favorite pony made more fun

The thrill of rolling on a top-down ‘stang

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No doubt, the most powerful car I’ve driven for the past year is the Ford Mustang 5.0 GT and it never fails to impress. This adrenaline-inducing speed machine was made more enjoyable as it now comes as a convertible. In my book, nothing else screams “fun” like this American muscle car.

The styling of the current model stays true to its heritage with that massive vented hood that gives the car a masculine and bold look. It has its intimidating headlamps along with an aggressive grille, broad shoulder and beltlines, and the iconic triple lamp tail lights which we all recognize.

Yes, this car looks stunning, but what Mustang enthusiasts are really after is performance. Ford has managed to fine-tune the current model to near perfection. Significant improvements and changes to power, handling, and safety of the vehicle were also ensured.

The updated 5.0 Coyote V8 is now fitted with high-pressure direct injection, bigger intake and exhaust valves, and increased compression ratios (12:0:1) boosting power to 460hp and 569Nm of torque with redline increased to 7500rpm and now mated to a 10-speed gearbox.

The sound of the engine alone is exhilarating as all that V8 goodness rumble. The independent rear suspensions, along with improved dampers, make this car very agile and easy around the corners.

In addition, you now have customizable steering settings that can change the steering wheel’s responsiveness and stiffness with a push of a button.

Other notable updates are the obvious facelift, featuring a newly designed hood with a lower grille and headlamps, new front and rear bumper and fender design, a more aggressive rear redesign with quad-tip exhaust and a sportier rear diffuser standard across all GT models.

Full LED headlights, a new full 12 inch LCD digital instrument cluster, and a 10-inch infotainment system with a 12-speaker setup are also what awaits you. You can even customize each selectable drive mode and get a number of performance metrics straight from your instrument panel.

Safety features also got an update such as pre-collision emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.

The interior also stays true to Mustang’s styling cues with those classic circular air vents, brushed aluminum accents all around, and soft-touch plastic and leather trims. Front seats are fairly comfortable while the rear may be a bit cramped especially if you’re tall.

Let’s get down to the driving experience. As soon as you get on the driver’s seat, you kind of feel a connection with the car and it just gives you an extra confidence boost.

Turning on the engine was already an exhilarating experience for me. And when I took it to our favorite scenic road in Sierra Madre on Normal Mode, it felt surprisingly comfortable for a sports car.  It was smooth, quiet, and tame.

However, the whole car transforms completely once you set the driving mode to Sport+ Mode. It becomes a proper race car with power that just blows me away. We are talking 0-100 in under four seconds.

Throttle response is more sensitive while gear shifts are more delayed. And to top it all, drive it with the roof down and you will have the time of your life — I know I did.

A piece of advice though, try not to use its paddle shifters on Normal Mode. You downshift second gear using the paddle shifter and the car disapproves of your choices. It has a mind of its own and will immediately put you back into third gear making the maneuver super slow while simply making its engine grunt. It’s better to just floor it. And with the roof down, people will definitely remember your face, the guy in a Mustang who failed overtaking a Corolla.

Overall, the Mustang GT Convertible is probably one of the most fun cars I’ve driven. It can drive like a tame and normal vehicle and be as brutal as a race car.  Given the new updates, you are getting more tech for your money. Fuel economy is not the best, but people buying this car will probably not mind, given what this car has to offer.

If you’re only after the looks of the Mustang, probably get the Ecoboost variant for better fuel economy, but Mustang enthusiasts will definitely enjoy the 5.0 V8. In my opinion, this model is very much worth the upgrade from the 2015-2017 Mustang.

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