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  1. Green Eco Routing, Navigation and your car computer

    by , 06-16-2009 at 10:50 AM

    Some intelligent forward thinking researchers over at Hitachi, Xanavi, and Nissan have collected some data on ecological green routing that claims a 9% fuel cost savings on a test route. This technology is still in its infancy, but this is a perfect example of where a car computer can be used to accelerate development and deployment of technology. Implementing ecorouting will require Intense processing on the client or cloud for the complicated routing algorithms that factor in all the newly available data points:

    ∑ Traffic & Flow speeds

    ∑ Elevation changes and altitude

    ∑ Road quality (smooth vs. rough)

    ∑ Wind (eventually)

    The cloud or development computer can also be used to coach the driver into more efficient acceleration and braking techniques which a lot of hyper milers are already using.

    Eventually I imagine this type of data would help local governments prioritize road resurfacings and traffic control timings to help their citizenry become greener.

    It seems like one of the key pieces to making this work would be accurate elevation Data. The paper I mentioned above used 50m resolution data from the government. One of the key data providers for elevation data seems to be intermap with 5m horizontal resolution and +/1 1m vertical. Check out their comparison chart to NASA data.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 03:59 PM by optikalefx

    Tags: eco, green, routing Add / Edit Tags
    mp3Car News
  2. Sun and Cloud Computing: audio interview

    by , 05-29-2009 at 11:18 AM

    An interview with Rob Wray and Angelo Rajadurai from Sun.
    Robert Wray: Hi, my nameís Rob with MP3Car, and weíre here with Angelo from Sun. Angelo, maybe you can tell us a little bit about what you do at Sun before we start talking.

    Angelo Rajadurai: Hi Rob thanks for the opportunity to talk, and Iím pretty excited to spend a few minutes with you guys. I work in the Sun Startup Essentials program. Iím responsible for the East Coast implementation of this program. I also work in the Sun cloud team, and itís very important for Sun that startups actually adopt the cloud. And weíre seeing a lot of startups actually working on the cloud, and we want to make sure that startups can use and benefit from Sunís cloud effort as well. Thatís in a nutshell what I do at Sun.

    Robert Wray: Well thanks a lot for taking the time to tell us what youíre doing and talk about Sunís efforts. So in previous blog posts weíve talked about some of the things that we think are going to happen in mobile computing over the next five years, so what role could cloud computing play in solving these demands over the next five years?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So interestingly enough what weíre seeing is, you know the cloud is maturing really, really quickly and especially in the space of startups where you see all these great innovations happening. Cloud is making life much easier for new companies to come in and provide services, so especially in the mobile space where itís again a budding technology where thereís a lot of these services that are possible.

    And in the fast days it was very hot to actually provide these services because it took you, you know you had to buy a whole bunch of hardware, you had to setup data centers to be able to provide the service, but with a cloud now what we can do is you can provide these services in a much cheaper cost and have multiple of these services kind of come up really quick. So itís actually quickening the pace of innovation in the space as well, so thereís lots of these services that are coming up, and I think cloud can really help especially in the mobile space where your device on your car is just an access point to big servers that can be hosted on a cloud. And a cloud provides you all this great compute power that you can use to deliver such a service to a device like a device on a car.

    Robert Wray: Well what are the biggest challenges you see with developers using cloud computing to support some of these advanced features that people are going to demand on the go?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So right now what I am seeing is there is no set standard for actually exposing these services to the access points. So that problem is kind of getting solved on the compute side a little bit because there are all these standards that have emerged and people can plug-n-play and mash these contents together if you may. So for example you could add today on your desktop a Google map, which is a service, with maybe a real estate listing service or something like that, and you could create these mashables really quick because the standards are already well established, and the whole concept of plug-n-play works very well.

    I donít see that happening yet in the mobile space, so I think you need to custom put these services together. Typically youíre gonna see a lot of these services that show up, but I think the value is in adding and aggregating these services and kind of providing a super service if you may. And for you to do that I think you need to establish standards, and I think thatís one of the areas where things are lagging a little bit.

    Robert Wray: So whatís Sun doing to drive standards and help developers utilize the cloud as it relates to mobile computing or consumer services specifically?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So if you look back at Sunís history one of the things that weíve been very good about doing is to kind of define and drive standards, and Sun from its inception kind of believed that the computing is more than what you can actually accommodate on your desktop or on your servers. So we, by default, put in these network access points into every machine we sold. So for the cloud computing as well, what Sun is doing is Sun is actually defining the standards for the cloud so that it will allow you to kind of seamlessly move between what youíre calling a private cloud into the public cloud.

    So you could average in a service that runs locally on your own cloud or your own hardware that you have on your car if you may, and then when you are connected to the cloud, you can seamlessly migrate it to the cloud and accommodate services from there. Weíre not doing this specifically for the mobile world, but this problem exists not just in the mobile space, but also in the traditional computing space where people are kind of finding that the cloud is great for certain purposes, but for certain purposes it makes more sense for us to create our own private clouds. And we need to be able to seamlessly move between these two clouds, and Sun is now defining the standards. What weíve done so far, weíve published a standard for this and itís in the publish phase, and weíre gonna have our implementation of the standard come out in a few days, which will make it a little bit more interesting in the space where standards are concerned.

    Robert Wray: So how do you think clouds are going to contribute to a customizable mobile experience? So what I mean by customizable mobile experience is based on what youíre doing, if you are walking or if youíre taking the car, or youíre sitting down youíre gonna wanna different type of user experience. Also different users are gonna want different types of brandings, different colors, other things like that. What role do you think clouds will play with these customizable user experiences?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So from a point of view of the cloud Ė so you can define the Ė and at least in my mind and am no expert in the big mobile space, but in my mind I see that the customization happens at the access point. So letís say you have a device that you put in your car, that access point actually defines your point of customization. What the cloud can do is because of the vast compute resources that you have at your disposal you can actually provide information from your access point.

    Letís say Ė tell the cloud service that you are now moving at 80 miles an hour or something like that, and the cloud service can at that point decide what kind of content it wants to provide you. Obviously you donít want it to be streaming video to you at that point because it makes no sense to do it, but if the cloud service knows that youíre sitting with the same device sitting on your - you know in a rest area and not moving, you could potentially send a service for video maybe to your device. So Iím just coming up with this example here, but the idea here is that because the cloud can vastly configure itself and change on the fly youíre not limited to one or two different services that you can fit into your access point.

    So even though the cloud - I donít see cloud kind of doing the customization because of the vastness of the resource. You can customize based on what your access point is telling the cloud. I hope Iím making sense here, but the thing is now you can think beyond your little device, and the cloud is a vast place where you can particularly have a lot of these services available for you. And you can decide which one you want to plug in to based on some configuration that either the user has set or that automatically goes to the cloud for it.

    Robert Wray: Right, okay. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So a lot of people, just to get back to what Sunís role is in cloud computing and consumer stuff, a lot of people think of Sun and cloud computing architecture as something thatís just available in the enterprise; what open consumer oriented cloud models could developers look towards for inspiration?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So Sun has traditionally been viewed as an enterprise, but if you go back even a few years Sun started off actually working with startups and smaller companies and consumers, and only in the last ten years or so where our focus has completely turned into enterprise. And we are trying really hard to get back into the startup space with the acquisitions like MySQL, which is very predominant in the small and medium sized businesses as well as in the personal space if you may. And with different things Sun has done in the last few months or maybe last couple years, weíve really kind of focusing back into the end-user space if you may. And as far as the cloud is concerned the income in todayís - basically Amazon, right, itís a great service, they kind of defined the space where itís really open to the end-user as well.

    Sunís cloud when we announce it would be open to both end-users and enterprises as well, but that line is kind of merging really quickly. In maybe five or six years ago, you needed to be an enterprise to work with Sun because the cost of hardware was so high, and you had only one option that you could buy it. There was nothing else that you could do, but right now with the cloud that line is merging. Itís very cheap for an individual to kind of get together a 100 machines in the cloud and provide a service at $.10 an hour or so, right? So that line between enterprise and individual is quickly kind of going away and the cloud is equalizing that space as well. So what Sun can do is it can bring the expertise that it has developed for enterprises and building these large server-farms and make it accessible to end-users. So I think Sunís exposure into the enterprise space is actually going to be a beneficial one while we bring the service to mobile users.

    Robert Wray: Are there any specific examples where - we talked before about standards being one of the really hard problems - where thereís been lots of developers that have worked to set standards and have made consumer products or is that still yet to happen?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So there are many places in the compute space where there was all these standards were set by end-users. In many cases these standards get set because one company is driving it, one large enterprise drives it and then everybody comes in. For example, if you look at the Wal-Mart case when our FID was being pushed. Wal-Mart kind of came and said, ďThis is the standard that you will follow for our FID,Ē and that became the standard. Or if you look at the ebXML space where itís XML for businesses, the standards were set because some large company kind of blow it. But you also see a lot more examples of these, like for example in the SQL space thereís more startups like MySQL, which was a very small startup a few years ago kind of set the standard for this open source database space. So the standards are being set either by a large company driving it or by a grass root effort, which see a need and kind of set these standards.

    And without setting the standards itís really hard to build up on a really expandable space. So if you look at any of the open source projects that are successful, the first thing that they need to do is setup some kind of a standard that people can contribute into, and this has been happening for a while now. So you can see that model; in one case it happens because of some company driving it and being the income, and they get to say exactly what the want to sell, but it also happens in the open source space where itís being set by communities, and being followed so that the contribution can be made simpler.

    Robert Wray: Well other than a lack of standards, what mistakes can be learned from other failed or partially successful cloud efforts?

    Angelo Rajadurai: So if you look at the cloud effort, one of the things that you really need is an ecosystem around the cloud. So none of these servers in the cloud can live on its own. So for example you can have a very successful cloud with really expandable things, but if you donít have the services that are around it then these cloud efforts kind of fail. One of the things that you can see with Amazon cloud, which is again the standard today, is that thereís hundreds of partners and maybe even thousands of people that are providing services in the cloud.

    So if you take that same example into the mobile space, any service that youíre providing needs to have an ecosystem around it. It needs to have the support structure around it and without the support structure things donít succeed. You can have a great service, but if you donít have like the database support around it or if you donít have, in your case, like the location services around it or even like the developer help that is around it then those things donít work too well. Again if you look at open source one of the things that you get by open sourcing your software is that you build ecosystem around your software, which includes people that know the software, which includes people that can help you fix and install, scale your software and so on. So thatís another important piece of any effort that goes in. For cloud and for everything else as well I think itís pretty important that you have an ecosystem around it for services and support for you.

    Robert Wray: Well looks like thereís a lot of exciting opportunities for developers that are looking to do bleeding edge stuff in the mobile computing space. So if you want to check out our blog for links, where to get started, weíre gonna have a bunch of stuff there and also transcripts of the interview. So Angelo thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

    Angelo Rajadurai: Youíre welcome Rob.
    [End of Audio]

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:02 PM by optikalefx

    mp3Car News
  3. The future of car computing

    by , 05-21-2009 at 11:23 AM

    Hi my name is Robert Wray from Mp3car. Throughout the summer we are going to dive deeper into the future of mobile computing, car computing and telematics with a series of video blogs exploring new technology and interviews with leaders in the space.

    Based on our activity in the community, our work with automakers, aftermarket, communications and telematics companies, we believe consumers will demand a bunch of new features all seamlessly integrated into a replicable, flexible UI and accessible from many devices of varying power, age, screen size, and interfaces.

    The feature list will include.
    ē Connected navigation (Internet POI, Real time traffic, regular map updates)
    ē Media & entertainment from the internet or internet connected devices
    ē Interfacing with other technology (engines or batteries, GPS and other location indicators, other sensor hardware)
    ē Extensible developer interfaces to allow rapid add ons and integrations with existing features
    ē Demand for skinable and user customizable interfaces
    ē Occasionally connected devices (wireless, USB, WIFI, sneaker net)
    ē Demand for flexible audio and visual prioritization
    ē Flexible Security & Personal privacy awareness & settings
    ē Task aware user interface, for example - user taking a bus, driving, walking, sitting down
    ē All of the above components, including the UI should be modular and replaceable at any time to make way for new innovations.

    Through our video blogging and interviews we plan to find out what it is going to take to make these features a reality and follow the activity of our community members as these bleeding edge features get implemented.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:04 PM by optikalefx

    mp3Car News
  4. Best of mp3Car May edition

    by , 05-14-2009 at 11:11 AM

    Best of community innovation and development

    Ride Runner

    New Skin

    The community is helping DocBreezy bring a sleek new skin, named '506' to Ride Runner. by DocBreezy.

    In addition to suggestions and beta testing, Treetop, Thunderstick, blk02si, Sonicxtacy02, GizmoQ, carputer1are lending a hand with advice and code support to bring it along.

    506 also builds on the flexible plug-in architecture of Ride Runner by using:
    - RRGas -Enforcer's gas price finder for US and UK
    - Movietimes - a plug-in that retrieves movie times for your zip code (US only)
    - Coverjuke - an implementation of Coverflow for Ride Runner.

    Control your phone in Ride Runner. MyMobiler is a Windows mobile phone control program that can be controlled from the skin.

    Skype for RR

    Member lambosprit is at it again. As if solving the bluetooth problem wasn't enough, lambosprit has a basic plug-in for Ride Runner that brings Skype functionality to the car PC. It makes and receives calls between both Skype users and external phone numbers. Check it out.


    Member pcpete has developed a plug-in for Ride Runner called Covermess. It's a Flash app that displays your albums in a pile, as if they were real CD's. You can select and play music from them, similar to the Coverflow display on an iPod. Check out the video in the first post for what it looks like. A really nice bit of programming!

    Community Development

    Linux ICE and nGhost

    Just in case you don't hang out on forums 24X7, you may not be aware that there is a flourishing open source car PC environment for Linux called nGhost.

    Version 2.0.0 is details are available here and kev000 is one of the lead developers for a team of like minded community members including:


    among others. You can find the nGhost download here

    Shift by wire

    Automated P-R-N-D-L - Member turbocad6 is at it again with a plan to replace his automatic shifter. The community has been tossing around ideas about how to do this and ways to implement it. Right now, it looks like an Arduino board and a linear actuator will do the job for push button shifting. Got something to contribute? turbocad6 will need help programming and engineering. Check it out.

    Towards a more flexible front-end.

    The front end is the software that ties together all of the functions that the computer offers into an easy to navigate and control 'face' for using the computer while driving. There are numerous front ends (Ride Runner, Centrafuse, nGhost, Streetdeck as examples). This thread is a brainstorming discussion about how to create a more flexible front end that requires less configuration and tinkering yet runs across platforms. If you've got ideas or want to see the community at work on an idea, stop by and check it out!

    Lovely when a plan comes together. Check out member malcom2073's new front end, CarPal. The community is helping him to lay out a plug-in scheme for the front end, and Sonicxtacy02 is working on a skin for the new front end. A great example of the community helping to develop a software product.

    The Unexpected

    From spud cannons to automated pyrotechnics controllers the community continues to innovate and develop new and very unexpected uses for hardware. Find out how a plastic toolbox and a Fusion Brain = pyrotechnics controller.

    The Fusion Brain is one of the most popular hardware add-ons for community members. Developed by two of the community members, 2k1Toaster and greenman, the FB allows your computer to interface with the outside world in both analog and digital fashion. Using standalone software, the FB can be programmed to read temperatures, control relays, stepper motors, infrared sensors and so forth. Car PC'ers use them to operate windows, switch relays on and off, read temperatures and even control Christmas lights on their car

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:06 PM by optikalefx

    Tags: end, front, ride, road, runner, skin Add / Edit Tags
    mp3Car News
  5. Hypermiling for cheap using iPhone

    by , 05-06-2009 at 08:33 PM

    You don't need an expensive hybrid vehicle or car computer to get the most miles per gallon out of your car. Hypermiling is a set of techniques that maximize your MPG.

    Some common techniques are:
    Don't drive aggressively
    Don't go over the speed limit
    Avoid traffic
    Avoid coming to a complete stop
    Try to accelerate as slowly as possible
    Using neutral when going down hills

    Some uncommon techniques are"
    Drafting behind trucks
    Using centripetal force to go around turns fast
    Over-inflating your tires to reduce friction

    We took a look at how what kind of MPG we got out of our Toyota Matrix when doing basic hypermiling around town. We averaged 61 MPG when hypermiling and 27 MPG when driving normal. At some points on the trip going down hill in neutral we got up to 247 MPG.

    If you have any of your own techniques or stories of your own hypermiling let's hear it.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:08 PM by optikalefx

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