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About Fiberoptic

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July 26, 1978 (37)
About Fiberoptic
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2006 Toyota Scion
Baltimore, MD
Sailing, Outdoors, Technology, sustainable living
Owner, Mp3car.com - Tech stuff


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Recent Entries

Drive Testing The Latest Safety Systems With Ford

by Fiberoptic on 01-25-2011 at 04:08 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 05:46 PM by optikalefx

Technology Events

Garmin Mobile PC Nav software dies, no replacement planned

by Fiberoptic on 01-23-2011 at 01:31 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 01:43 PM by Fiberoptic

Products and Technology

Another Iphone controlled car

by Fiberoptic on 04-02-2010 at 09:04 AM
Jalopnik has an article about Dave Phipps who uses an iphone to control his car. We shot a video like this at SEMA a few months ago. Thanks Tom Berry for the tip!

Updated 04-04-2010 at 07:50 PM by optikalefx

Products and Technology

The iPad's role in your car?

by Fiberoptic on 03-18-2010 at 05:54 AM

At first glance, the idea of having a 7.5" x 9.5" iPad in or around my dash doesn't sound realistic or desirable at all. The New York Times liked the concept. Navigadget hates it. I hated it, but the more I think about it the more I like it. About a year ago we did a video of how the iphone was the death of the PND and the concept here is similar. The iPad's size and a few other details aren't perfect but many people will find a way to mount these in their car. Why? Love it? Hate it? Let's get the debate rolling on the mp3Car forums. Some key pieces of technology and features contained in the iPad are leapfrogging features currently available in the car:

A GPS: (Assisted GPS) From the specs, the GPS looks great on the GSM models but it is hard to know until we test it. If it is as good as the iphone we have a winner. AGPS should be an improvement over the location technology in the majority of navigation devices. GPS accuracy and speed to a location fix is dramatically improved by quickly sensing the wifi and cellular towers nearby. This gives the user an approximate location until the GPS can lock you down to within a few feet.

Connected features built in: Traffic, Real time Map updates, weather, gas prices, streaming entertainment, others.

Enhanced voice recognition: I have been amazed at the accuracy of voice recognition on the iphone, specifically using built in voice recognition as well as third party applications like Dragon. A great microphone and a decent CPU are two critical elements to good voice recognition. The Ipad has about twice the CPU power of the iphone and most likely one of Apple's high quality microphones.

Multipurpose device: Apple does a good job explaining the multiple uses outside of the car

Touch Screen: How many times have you fought with an inferior touch screen on your factory navigation, Car Computer or PND? Why are these touch screens so poor? There are several reasons:
  • Most nav devices use cheap resistive touch screens. Those that use capacitive screens use low quality versions or don't have the software to match the screen type.
  • For after market devices, there is tremendous pressure to keep the total product cost low due to profit margins in the distribution chain.
  • For factory navigation, auto manufacturers are forced to start planning their products years in advance before newer technology is released.
  • Designers are also heavily limited in their materials and technology selection due to the consumer expectation that your in car nav device work for a decade or more in extreme environments with a very low failure rate.
  • Touch screen for car computers are also slightly behind the times due to the lack of market demand.
  • The bottom line is that new cars rolling off the lot have yesterday's technology.

Larger screen: Since I am hitting the ripe old age of 30, my eyes aren't what they used to be. Even for you young wiper snappers, you should be able to read your device out of peripheral vision. A larger screen will help us stay focused on the road by limiting squinting to get us the data we need.

Sunlight readability: There is a good chance the iPad will be sunlight readable, and we will find out on April 3rd.

In Car mounting & Docking: The cables to make an ipad connect to your car radio are readily available. The key to making this feasible is a proper universal docking solution that is driver friendly. I have an e-mail into some docking station vendors to see if anything is on the horizon.

Updated 03-18-2010 at 10:25 AM by optikalefx

Products and Technology

Stop playing FaceBook and computer games. Help Haiti with no cash in 10 minutes

by Fiberoptic on 01-25-2010 at 02:37 PM
This Saturday, Robert Wray from Mp3car went down to check out the Crisis Commons. The event was a mind blowing collaboration of over 1,000 technical volunteers on three continents. Crowd-sourced community-generated maps have become the official on the ground map resource in Haiti. In this video, Fortiusone's CTO Andrew Turner explains how you can start helping Haiti in 10 minutes with no cash, just some of your time. Links talked about in the video are ushahidi - Haiti SMS disaster relief collaboration, Crisis Commons ,and ImapHaiti.

How you get started in less than 10 minutes: http://imaphaiti.com The event was also covered by internal media originations such as CNN, BBC, Washington Post, LA Times, Wired and O'Reilly Media.

Updated 01-25-2010 at 04:23 PM by Jensen2000

mp3Car News