Category Archives: Auto, Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Car Gadgets

Is it finally time for head-up displays in cars?

Next Big Thing: Is it finally time for head-up displays in cars?

4:46 /
October 14, 2014

IHS Automotive estimates globally, HUDs will grow from 2.7 million units installed in new cars in 2014, to more than 9 million in 2020. Brian Cooley discusses the emerging tech and what carmakers and suppliers need to do to continue the uptrend.

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Kenwood In-Dash Bluetooth Digital Media Receiver for $70 + free shipping

As one of its daily deals, Best Buy offers the Kenwood In-Dash Bluetooth Digital Media Receiver, model no. KMM-BT308U, for $69.99 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $15. It’s compatible with most iPhone and Android models and features a tuner with 18 presets, 13-digit LCD, USB, Bluetooth, and detachable faceplate. Deal ends today.

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Tesla Model S gains Autopilot, all-wheel-drive option

LOS ANGELES — Tesla’s electric Model S has proven a very technically advanced car, except in regard to driver-assistance systems. All that changes now, as Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced at an event in Los Angeles that every car manufactured over the last two weeks comes with new sensor hardware to enable what he calls Autopilot capabilities.

The event on Thursday night also included an announcement about the D option, an all-wheel-drive Model S with motors at the front and rear wheels.

The Autopilot hardware includes forward-looking radar and camera, combined with all-around long-range ultrasonic sensors. A software update being sent out to cars as an over-the-air update will enable driver-assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automated parking.

Tesla event shows off Autopilot, all-wheel-drive ‘D’ option (pictures)
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In addition, Musk said owners will be able to summon their cars, or set a calendar so the cars will meet them at a prearranged spot. However, this capability will only be enabled on private property to avoid liability issues.

During a short test drive at the event, Tesla demonstrated how the Model S’ front camera could recognize speed limit signs, and set its speed accordingly. In addition, the car self-steered, following curving lane lines, then braked for stopped traffic ahead. These capabilities show very advanced forms of adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.

With the D all-wheel-drive option, Musk said the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, putting it in supercar territory. Software for the all-wheel-drive system will intelligently shift torque between front and rear wheels to maximize grip and efficiency.

Tesla will offer the D option for its 60, 85 and P85 Model S versions. Both the 60D and 85D get 188-horsepower motors front and rear, making up a total of 376 horsepower for the cars, slightly down from the 380 horsepower of the rear-wheel-drive version. However, acceleration and range are both up.

The P85D gets the biggest performance increase. For this model, Tesla retains the 470-horsepower motor at the rear wheels and adds a 221-horsepower motor at the front, for a combined 691 horsepower. In this version, acceleration to 60 mph is a blistering 3.2 seconds and range goes up by 10 miles. Top speed is also increased to 155 mph, but that is merely a change in the car’s governed speed.

Tesla demonstrated the acceleration at the event, and the car proved itself a neck-snapper. It felt decidedly faster than the standard P85 version. During Musk’s presentation, he said he wanted driver-selectable modes in the car that would go from “normal, to sport, to insane.”

Musk noted that further over-the-air software updates would improve the all-wheel-drive capabilities.

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Tesla created a launch strip for test drives during its event.
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

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Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Dr. Z’ unveiling concept car at CES 2015

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Daimler Chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche shows off the F125 concept car at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show.
Mercedes-Benz

At CES 2015, coming to Las Vegas in early January, Daimler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche will be delivering a keynote address which promises to focus on autonomous car technology and show off a new concept car from Mercedes-Benz. Many Americans will be familiar with Zetsche from an ad campaign eight years ago featuring Dr. Z.

A press release about the keynote address notes that Zetsche will be discussing the impact of autonomous vehicle technology, and how it will affect society and the environment.

Mercedes-Benz has shown the most advanced driver-assistance systems in production with its S-class and E-class models. The company puts its driver assistance technology under the umbrella name Intelligent Drive. Along with adaptive cruise control capable of bringing a car to a complete stop, a feature called Steering Assist handles steering in low speed traffic. Zetsche will be able to rely on these specific examples during his keynote.

Mercedes-Benz offered no details about the concept car to be unveiled. However, given the nature of CES it is likely to have a technology focus. Recent concept cars from the company have included the Concept S-class Coupe and Concept Coupe SUV, both production-intent vehicles, and the more experimental Ener-G-Force.

Zetsche’s address, set for Monday, January 5, follows a string of automaker heads making CES keynotes, beginning with former GM CEO Rick Wagoner in 2008.

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AppRadio 4 will support Apple CarPlay, lossless FLAC media

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Pioneer

The fourth generation of Pioneer’s smartphone-centric AppRadio line of car multimedia receivers has been announced and is coming soon.

AppRadio 4 isn’t much different from the previous 3 generations. It is mechless, which means that the receiver lacks a CD/DVD drive or moving parts. Instead, the 4 relies primarily on the App Mode that debuted with original AppRadio way back in 2011, enabling screen mirroring and touchscreen control for over 35 smartphone apps for Android smartphones and the iPhone 4 or newer running iOS 7.1.2. Apps range from audio streaming services to navigation software to vehicle diagnostics interfaces.

With the aid of an adapter, AppRadio 4 is also able to control MirrorLink enabled devices, expanding its list of compatible devices and apps.

The recent update to iOS 8 broke AppRadio support for about a dozen compatible apps. AppRadio 4 offers, as an alternative, support for Apple’s CarPlay hands-free interface — a feature borrowed from the manufacturer’s NEX line. New for this generation, the CarPlay support displays a car-specific interface that is generated by a connected iPhone 5 or newer (including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) running the latest version of iOS 8. Part of the allure of CarPlay is hands-free Siri voice command for Apple Maps navigation, phone calls, text messaging, and music and podcasts.

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The fourth-generation model uses a smaller 6.2-inch screen.
Pioneer

On the hardware front, the fourth-generation AppRadio features a 6.2-inch capacitive color touchscreen, an odd move down from the 7-inch display of the previous generation. Resolution remains the same WVGA 800 by 480 pixels. Meanwhile, the capacitive controls for home, volume, and skip move from the lower bezel to the left edge.

The feature set now includes support for lossless FLAC digital audio files stored on USB, and the receiver now has a new 13-band graphic equalizer (up from 5 bands) and three 4-volt preamp outputs (up from two 2V outputs) to give listeners more control over audio quality.

The new Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 will retail for $600, about $200 more than the outgoing mechless AppRadio 3. This generation doesn’t appear to offer a version with a CD/DVD drive; the AppMode and CarPlay compatible AVH-4000NEX now fills that gap.

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See inside McLaren’s incredible 650S supercar factory (pictures)

What’s new on iOS 8 camera

Check out the exciting, new camera upgrades in iOS 8. Learn how to use fine-tuning controls, time-lapse mode, and self-timer.

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