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  1. Mind, exploding. This week's new products are that hawt.

    by , 02-03-2011 at 04:00 PM

    Updated 02-11-2011 at 03:33 PM by ChasPhillips

    Categories
    Products and Technology
  2. Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas on vehicle technology and safety

    by , 01-28-2011 at 11:30 AM

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    For a sneak peak at the future of vehicle technology, check out Rob Wray’s interview with Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas. In it, Mascarenas explains how Ford plans to deal with several of the increasingly complicated issues facing the industry. How will Ford promote the technological gains stemming from vehicle data collection without sacrificing consumer privacy? Will there be an opt-in feature for drivers, similar to the ones we see in the computer software world? Mascarenas also discusses how Ford intends to keep pace with the consumer electronic world as it relates to the driving experience. His open architecture strategy minimizes the amount of hardware installed in the vehicle, ensuring that consumer electronic development will still be able to interface with an aging car or truck. He even discusses already-developed functionality that allows drivers to control non-critical vehicle function with mobile devices.

    Mascarenas also lays out his multi-pronged strategy to tackle the ever-contentious driver distraction issue, in which he argues that Ford has often pre-empted state-based regulation with voluntary or industry-wide standards. While Mascarenas believes that further federal regulation is and will be required, he emphasizes that Ford continues to minimize the amount of time required to make adjustments while driving, and voluntarily pushes for stricter company- and industry-wide driver distraction standards in order to provide the safest driving experience possible.

    Finally, Mascarenas discusses the relationship between the commercial and consumer vehicle technology. Because he views Ford vehicles as tools for business owners, he believes that increased functionality will ultimately increase business productivity. On the other hand, the commercial vehicle world gives Ford the opportunity to develop new technology that will eventually end up in the consumer sector.
  3. A quick flying lesson with the AR Drone, by Parrot

    by , 01-26-2011 at 03:53 PM

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    After goofing around with it at the office last week, we decided to post a quick review of the AR Drone by Parrot. Since shooting the video, I also managed to fracture the Drone's cross-bar, which costs a reasonable $25 to replace. So, while it's not the cheapest or most durable gadget, it is a lot of fun, and definitely less expensive than some other flying hobbies--like building your own model plane from scratch (and then crashing it in the office).

    Updated 02-10-2011 at 10:25 PM by optikalefx

    Categories
    Products and Technology
  4. Drive Testing The Latest Safety Systems With Ford

    by , 01-25-2011 at 03:08 PM
    Mike Shulman, a technology leader at Ford, explains current efforts to expand active safety technology in vehicles. As opposed to passive safety technology, in which cars are designed to protect passengers in the event of an accident, active safety technology is designed to avoid an accident in the first place. This is done by designing vehicles that are capable of collecting information from their surroundings: lane markings, other vehicles, traffic signals, etc. The challenge is developing technology that can communicate quickly, frequently, effectively, and securely. But, the potential upside is clear: a dramatic decrease in the number of traffic accidents (early estimates are in the 80% range).

    This is why Ford is cooperating with its competitors—virtually every other auto manufacturer—to try to establish an all-inclusive standard for equipping all vehicles with wireless communications technology. Toward that end, the FCC has allocated a certain range of wireless space that is dedicated to this project and shared by the entire industry.

    Ford has been showing off these new features by conducting WiFi and crash avoidance demonstrations with its new vehicles. Each is equipped with wireless technology that allows each vehicle to communicate with each other. So, information like which lane a car is in or if another driver is about to run a red light is sent from one vehicle to another, warning the driver of a potential collision. Because the vehicles are communicating with each other in addition to transmitting GPS information, the relative accuracy is surprisingly good: less than one meter.

    The idea is to securely transmit safety information about ten times a second that is accurate within one meter.Perhaps even more exciting is the aftermarket possibilities for this technology. For a nominal cost, any vehicle can be equipped with a gadget that will incorporate this technology. There is even discussion about integrating it into smartphones and other devices, which may decrease vehicle/pedestrian accidents as well. In addition, because traffic information could be transmitted more effectively and accurately, drivers could avoid congested areas by responding to constantly updated traffic data.


    A look at the antennas and the technology behind the safety systems with Joe Stinnett

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    We take the Car for a Drive with Ford Engineers Joe Stinnett & Farid Ahmed-Zaid

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    An Interview with Mike Shulman about some more of the technical details of the systemsand some thoughts about when you can buy this technology and how much it will cost.

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    Updated 02-05-2011 at 04:46 PM by optikalefx

    Categories
    Technology Events
  5. Garmin Mobile PC Nav software dies, no replacement planned

    by , 01-23-2011 at 12:31 PM
    Garmin's Windows based Navigation software marketed as "Garmin Mobile PC" has officially been discontinued.

    Mp3car reviewed the software back in May of 2008. *The community has loved it and even created their own graphics skins and on screen keyboards that were lacking in the original version. (photo of discontinued logo).

    It should also be noted that this was the navigation software shipped with companies like Toshiba and Fujitsu for their smaller form factor Ultra mobile windows computers. One of our community members emailed Garmin and here was the response:

    "Dear Customer, Thank you for contacting Garmin International. I will be happy to help you with this. I am sorry that Mobile PC has been discontinued. No further product releases have been announced for this sector at this time, I apologize for any inconvenience. Please reply to this email if you have any additional questions. "

    Updated 01-23-2011 at 12:43 PM by Fiberoptic

    Categories
    Products and Technology