Automotive

The Audi Aicon is something to look forward to

It will arrive sooner than expected

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Photo by Chay Lazaro | GadgetMatch

Ever since we were kids, we’ve always thought of the future having self-driving or flying cars thanks to the movies we watched. For Audi and the Aicon concept, that reality might come sooner than we think. At least for the self-driving part.

The Audi Aicon was introduced back in 2017 but it’s over at this year’s CES that we got a glimpse of the company’s take on the future of transportation. The vehicle is capable of level five autonomous driving, meaning it can get from one point to another without any help from humans in navigation. It also promises to offer about 700 to 800km of range on a single charge which is double the usual range of most electric vehicles today.


Static photo, Colour: Augmented White

For a concept vehicle, it still looks like a fairly normal car — only more fluid and sleeker in design. Its windshield stretches to the top and all the way to the back. This, plus the wide unobstructed windows, provide passengers a better view outside.

What would likely catch your attention next are its front and back ends. The mesh-like grille is populated by lights that display information and warnings for pedestrians (think Cars but with digital eyes for conveying certain expressions).

There’s a seat for the rear passengers but we don’t think they’d be happy during long rides

Inside, the absence of a steering wheel is compensated by a wide panel that acts as the dashboard. And when we say wide, we mean wiiide. This touch panel extends all the way to the doors so one could easily navigate through the menu when the seats are reclined all the way back.

There’s an onboard personal assistant named PIA (Personal Intelligent Assistant) which you can ask questions to, like about a nearby restaurant or your next destination. Although it has a more interesting feature called the Gaze Selection. Basically, it’s a hands-free approach at navigating through the interface’s menu using only your eyes. Simply look at a certain menu tile for a few seconds to select it — almost like controlling the menu with just your mind.

It’s true that the Audi Aicon is not the first to show off a level five autonomous driving system. Having lights that communicate to pedestrians isn’t a new idea either. What makes this worth looking forward to is that it will be ready for mass production sooner than we think.

Audi has confirmed that they will be mass producing autonomous vehicles by 2021 and that’s already in two years. So even if we’re bound to head towards a sea of self-driving cars in the future, Audi is expected to be one of the firsts to offer this technology on a commercial level.

Automotive

A look at the new Nissan Juke

A more matured successor

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Nissan has officially introduced the refreshed model to its Juke — a funky-looking car that had some people love it while some would rather look at a different direction.

The new model appears as if it’s nicely hit by puberty. It now looks cleaner overall, with the V-motion grille still there but appears to be a bit sleeker.


Up front, the headlamps have been replaced with tri-bar LED lights and are accompanied by LED fog lamps. The taillights, on the other hand, have been updated to thinner strips. Gone are the boomerang-shaped rear lights of the previous model.

It now sports a contrasting roof design making it look similar to more luxurious SUVs and its rear door handles remain hidden along the C-pillars. Meanwhile, the new Juke stands on 19-inch wheels that blend well with its overall stature.

With its refreshed design comes bigger dimensions. The new Juke grew a bit larger in terms of length, width, and height.

This, of course, translates to a bigger cabin. According to the company, the interior now has more space for passengers as well as more cargo space in the trunk.

The seats are wrapped in black leather with an option for red accents all over for the higher-end variants. It features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, optional Bose speakers, and an eight-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If your passengers wish to stream music and movies on their gadgets during long drives, the cabin has been equipped with its own Wi-Fi hotspot.

Of course, it comes with Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility suite. Things like Adaptive Cruise Control and Road Sign Recognition make for smoother and easier driving. While its Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert ensure that everyone inside the cabin is safer.

It also boasts its new ProPILOT technology that makes the vehicle handle the steering, braking, and acceleration on its own — making it a semi-autonomous vehicle.

Under the hood, it runs on a three-cylinder turbocharged engine that outputs 117 horsepower. It can then be mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

So far, the new Juke is just being offered in Europe but it will be available in more markets in the future.

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Automotive

Toyota PH enters the hybrid space with its new Corolla Altis

The Corolla line continues

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Toyota Motor Philippines has just unveiled the newest Corolla Altis. There are five models to choose from including the company’s first hybrid variant in the country.

The new Altis comes with a fresh exterior and what sells it most are the pair of headlamps that wrap around its body. A large black grille adds weight to the front fascia and is then flanked by accented fog lamps.


Going around will also reveal an updated look. The taillights have been tweaked with added character in them — check out that strip of red light piercing through the trunk lid.

Inside, it carries a more straightforward approach with fewer frills and decorations. There’s a floating touch display right at the center and a simple layout for the climate control’s buttons and knobs right under it. A tri-spoke steering wheel is then mounted with buttons for media navigation and cruise control.

The top of the line variants get leather seats, an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the driver, reverse camera, and parking sensors.

It’s also got a lower center of gravity so you feel more confident taking on curves with a bit of speed. And in order to further improve visibility for the driver, the windshield has been increased and the A-pillars were made slimmer.

For a Corolla Altis with an internal combustion engine, it gets a 1.6-liter Dual VVT-i engine mated to either CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. If you’re choosing the hybrid variant, however, you get a 1.8-liter engine and an electric motor. Combined, they have an output of 121 horsepower.

Focusing more on the 1.8 V Hybrid variant, it has a set of features that further improve safety for the everyone inside the vehicle. It boasts a pre-collision system, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and more using a camera mounted at the top of its windshield.

It also comes with different driving modes like Eco, Normal, Sport, and EV that makes it run purely on electricity.

Pricing for the new Corolla Altis follows:

  • 1.6 E MT — PhP 999,000
  • 1.6 G MT —  PhP 1,045,000
  • 1.6 G AT — PhP 1,115,000
  • 1.6 V CVT — PhP 1,185,000
  • 1.8 V Hybrid CVT — PhP 1,580,000

The lineup is available in different colors, namely: Attitude Black, Red Mica Metallic, Silver Metallic, Freedom White (for G and E variants), Celestite Grey Metallic (for HEV, V, and G variants), and White Pearl (for HEV and V variants).

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Automotive

New Porsche Taycan perfectly merges latest tech and retro styling

An important milestone for the company

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Porsche has finally announced its first fully electric sports car.

Called the Porsche Taycan, its configuration and specs make it a competition to Tesla’s Model S although the new EV is far more expensive than Musk’s offerings. But while it features the latest tech, the Taycan still has that retro-ish look reminiscent of Porsche’s older models.


The stance, its slopes, and even accents remind us of the iconic Porsche 911. It has the familiar sloping hood with headlamps housed in a semi bulging design. According to the company, the driver will be seated with a low center of gravity — achieving that performance vehicle orientation.

Available in two variants, the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S run on a dual electric motor setup that outputs an equivalent of 616 horsepower in the combustion world.

If that doesn’t impress you, both models have a ‘launch control’ mode that ups the ante to 670 horsepower for the Taycan Turbo and 750 horsepower for the Turbo S. This makes it possible for the Taycan Turbo to go from 0-60mph in three seconds and the Taycan Turbo S in just 2.6 seconds.

A 93kWh battery pack powers both models and the company says it is able to sustain power for extended periods of time without overheating the battery pack.

In terms of range, it was mentioned that it could go as far as 280 miles or around 450 kilometers before needing to plug in the vehicle. Charging is also one of their main highlights as the Taycan can be charged from 5 percent to 80 percent in under 23 minutes.

This is made possible via an 800-volt charging technology from Porsche which makes it sound like you’re simply filling up a smartphone’s battery.

The launch of the Porsche Taycan signifies a few things for the automotive industry. One is that Tesla now has a newfound competitor in terms of performance, at least (Model S is still significantly cheaper).

Another thing is that electric vehicles are really the future of mobility and we’re sure that more and more manufacturers will be coming out with their own electrified offerings in just a few years’ time.

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