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A Closer Look At The 2019 Audi A8


The unveiled 2019 Audi A8, which will go on sale in 2018, may be a little conservative when it comes to its exteriors looks, but the technology is super advanced. This fourth-generation A8 is the oldest among its peers, but there is still significant interest on what Audi can still possibly do with this particular line.

A redesigned version of the flagship sedan was launched on Tuesday during a special event in Barcelona, Spain. It’s nothing special from the outside, but Audi fitted it with a “Level 3” self-driving capability. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), a Level 3 self-driving technology is when a car can take complete control in specific situations, with the driver being able to take over after a short warning period.

Level 3 Artificial Intelligence

The major technological feature of the 2019 Audi A8 is the AI-based software that it comes fitted with. The system not only controls the self-driving capability of the vehicle, but also acts as an “electronic concierge” of some sorts. This is the first software announced to have a Level 3 capability since the most advanced software the public has seen so far is a Level 2 self-driving capability.

A Level 2 software requires the driver to monitor the situation and to take over in an instance in case of an emergency.

Included in the A8, the Level 3 system can take over during “some” parking situations and self-drive during traffic jams on uninterrupted roads like highways. The system can provide a speed up to 37mph, allowing ample time for the driver to take over if something goes wrong. Under these situations, the driver can use the phone or read a book while the system has taken over.

The possibility of sleeping in a car under a self-driving situation is still not possible, though, unless a Level 4 is realized. Experts are predicting that a Level 4 car may be available by next decade while a Level 5, where there is no driver needed, would have to take some more time.

Volvo To Offer Only Electrified Powertrains In The Future

volvo

Volvo is joining the rest of the European car manufacturers in steering the auto industry towards an electrified future. The company announced on Wednesday that it will only offer electrified powertrains starting in 2019, completing phasing out the internal combustion engine from its lineup.

According to Autonews, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in a statement that the announcement comes on the heels of the manufacturer’s plans to sell one million electrified cars by 2025. “When we said it[,] we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”

Back in 2014, Volvo revealed plans of offering a plug-in hybrid alternative alongside versions of its traditional gasoline and diesel-powered engines. The company CEO explained that the move will allow Volvo to “stand out” from their competitors.

Henrik Green, Volvo’s research and development head, told the source that vehicles powered only by a combustion engine would be phased out from the company’s lineup between 2023 to 2025. That’s a long way from now, but it seems to look doable under Volvo’s current plan.

Between 2019 and 2021, Volvo plans to offer five cars from its full-electric lineup. The company presently has nothing in this department, but the next years will prove challenging for the car manufacturer as it shifts away from the use of combustion engine.

Three of the planned full-electric vehicles will come from Volvo while the remaining two cars planned will be produced by Polestar, which parent company Volvo plans to transform into a stand-alone brand for high-performance electric vehicles.

Electrified Technology is on the Rise

Volvo’s electrified models will be manufactured in its factories in Europe, China, and the United States. Although heftier in investment costs, Samuelsson told Reuters this will be shouldered by the company’s existing budget.

The switch towards an electrified future is a move well-recognized in Europe, where analysts ave been predicting the rise in electronic technology by 2020. Aside from Volvo, its competitors Renault and the Volkswagen Group are also offering hybrid technology.

A number of key European cities may also be banning the use of diesel engines, but the cost of an after-treatment systems to make diesel comply to new emissions regulations may not be worth the investment.

Lilum Jet: Meet the New Flying Car of the Future

lilum jet flying car

A flying car used to be a subject of a science fiction novel. With the rapid development of technology, it is slowly becoming a reality. Recently, another flying car was previewed in Germany called the “Lilium Jet”.

How it was considered to be a car beats us, because it is more like a small jet. The Pop.Up of Airbus is more of a car than this one. However, if we take a look back at the flying cars in movies, Lilium resembles a lot of them.

Key Features

According to the Verge, Lilium Jet is being developed by Lilium Aviation. The company is a startup based in Munich, Germany.

The flying car is electric-powered with two-seating capacity. It features a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) operation, thanks to its 36 propellers distributed across its 10-meter wings and 12 movable flaps. Then once airborne, the flaps adjust horizontally to provide the small aircraft a forward thrust.

Lilium said that the electric battery of the jet has 90% better efficiency than the drone-styled aircraft. The prototype is capable of covering a range of 300 kilometers at full charge and it is 300 km/h quick. That will definitely get you to faraway places fast because it is not hindered by most land barriers such as hills and rough terrains, which serve as challenges to the cars of today.

The Lilium Jet is already undergoing testing. It is still being piloted remotely though. The flying car’s maker claimed that the manned testing of the aircraft is near.

Challenges

While the technology to build flying cars is close-at-hand, there are a lot of hurdles it must face before it reaches mass production for consumers. As pointed out by Mathias Thomsen of Airbus, there is the issue in public infrastructure. But this can be resolved with careful urban planning. Next are the modern day road regulations.

Top 3 Features Of The Kia Soul First Class Concept

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The Kia Soul First Class concept, which was specifically designed for the 2016 SEMA show, is taking autonomous technology to the next level by pairing it up with luxurious features such as rear facing front seats, a massive rear view screen, in-floor leg rests, and an elegant and comfortable cabin you’ll want to rest in.

Here are the top 3 features of the concept car based on a source:

Exterior

Kia tapped the resources of LUX Motorwerks to give the Soul a unique vision of what’s in the future for SUVs and crossovers. The first step is to bathe the Soul in LUX Electric Blue finish from top to bottom. Then, they also put LED lights that give a mysterious blue glow on the upper and lower grille.

The concept’s Rotiform Monoblock CCV 19-inch wheels are also fitted in Continental all-season tires. The backgrounds of the Kia emblems on the exterior are also painted LUX Electric Blue while the “Kia” lettering remains black. The headlights are getting the same LUX Electric Blue treatment as accents.

Interior

This is called Soul First Class for a reason. The interior is so luxurious it can make you think you’re inside a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce. What modifications this concept lacked outside, it more than makes up for what you can find inside.

What LUX did was to strip off everything out of the cabin and start on a clean canvass. The rear seats now face the back of the car while a new console was installed between the two seats. Each of the passengers will have access to a tablet device that can control and monitor every aspect of the vehicle.

The seats are made with gray leather with diamond stitching while the floor has been equipped with a modern gray wood, giving off that feel of class and luxury. In the rear, you’ll be able to see an entertainment center installed to that floor that has a Mac Mini computer.

Drivetrain

There are no chassis or drivetrain upgrades, but it is expected to have a 1.6-liter, all-aluminum, four-banger that can produce 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. Higher models can offer 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter engine.

Tesla Will Equip All Its Cars With Self-Driving Tech

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Electric vehicle maker Tesla announced on October 19 that all the cars it will produce—including Model 3—will be equipped with technology that will allow them to go on auto-pilot.

Last year, the company co-founded by Elon Musk introduced the Autopilot system. Although it is far from offering fully-autonomous driving to its cars, the technology already has the elements that will pave way for that goal.

So far, the system allows auto-braking. It will also offer several features that will heighten the safety levels of the car, which is far more than the capability of a human driver.

To achieve such, Tesla equipped its cars with twelve updated ultrasonic sensors. The sensors double the capability of the old system in detecting hard and soft objects within the vicinity of the vehicle. The tech increases the awareness of the driver on the road too especially during heavy rain, dust, fog and in detecting incoming cars using its forward-oriented radar with enhanced processing.

Tesla said the new onboard computer in its cars provides 40 more computing capacity than the previous generation. The upgrade gives Tesla cars a new neural net enhancing their vision, sonar and radar. With that, every direction is seen by system simultaneously, which is far more than what the human senses are capable of.

Tesla reminded that customers will not have to wait for the mentioned technology anymore. The Tesla Model S and Model X have it already. The vehicles are being sold now.

For the meantime, Tesla stated that it will have to conduct more tests with their new system. The calibration would require millions of miles in real-world driving to ensure optimum safety and convenience. As a result, some features of the Autopilot will have to be disabled for the moment like the emergency braking, collision warning, lane assist and active cruise control. Over the air updates will be released to enable the blocked features once Tesla is confident in their new system.

2017 Toyota Highlander Will Get Stop-Start Function

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2017 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum edition. (Photo via Autoblog)

The stop-start technology is nothing new in the world of cars and SUVs. However, Toyota hasn’t introduced the feature yet in its North American vehicles. All that is about to change as the 2017 Toyota Highlander will come equipped with that system.

Simply put, the stop-start technology works by shutting off the engine of the vehicle when it is stationary. Brian Williams of Toyota explained that the integration of the function in their vehicles will allow the Highlander to have a fuel efficiency of one mile per gallon. It will also improve the EPA fuel economy of the SUV.

Even after turning off the engine, the stop-start functionally will still feed electric supply to the vehicle for at least two-minutes during a complete halt or when stopped under a traffic light. The engine is configured to be turned on by default every ignition cycle. Customers can choose to manually shut it off though with a push of a button. The auto stop-start operation is overridden too when the air conditioning unit of the auto is at a maximum or on a grade higher than eight degrees.

Williams revealed that more Toyota models will get the stop-start technology after the Highlander. However, he remained mum though about the specific models that will get it. The report claimed that the larger vehicles of the brand will most probably have it because those are the ones that could benefit more from it. The upcoming 2018 Toyota Sienna is a likely recipient of the system.

Williams estimated that around 85 percent of all 2017 Toyota Highlander SUVs will get the stop-start tech. He added eight percent of the Highlanders that will be sold to customers this year will be the LE trim while seven percent will come from the hybrid variants of the range.

Lexus UX Concept Pioneers 3D Driving Experience

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The Lexus UX Concept will make its world debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, and it is charged to showcase Lexus’ vision of a compact SUV for the future. The vehicle will apparently represent the company’s new approach in designing and in providing an exceptional driving experience.

The UX concept has a bold and imaginative approach to designing and technologies. It aims to provide customers an immersive driving experience, thanks to the on-board HMI technology that has been designed to offer an “innovative, three-dimensional driver experience.”

The instrument binnacle of the driver has a transparent, hologram-like globe that houses a combination of analog and digital information. The binnacle is both functional and has an unexpected user interface. The center console, on the other hand, features that prominent and faceted crystal structure. Within that, you can find a hologram-style display of air-conditioning and infotainment system that is clearly visible both to the driver and the front passenger.

The new UX concept will also showcase the latest advanced in-vehicle electrical technologies, which include electro-chromatic windows and electrostatic switchgear that is housed under transparent covers. The sideview mirrors have been replaced with e-mirror camera housings. These are far slimmer than the conventional mirror housings on current vehicles.

Drivers may also expect a new audio experience from cars using the UX Concept thanks to the fin motif on the dashboard, the same one that was used on the A pillar. In fact, a removable sound bar was even built into the passenger side of the dashboard, so that everyone can enjoy a one-of-a-kind audio experience.

Stephen Rasmussen, designer at the European Design Centre, ED2, said that the Lexus’ goal is to create a new genre of compact crossover. They want a vehicle that can create an innovative and 3D experience for the user.

Hyundai Genesis Gets Linked with Amazon’s Alexa

hyundai genesis

Hyundai announced that its Genesis luxury sub-brand is offering an integration with Amazon’s Alexa. The “skill” provided by the service enables the driver to issue certain commands to the car.

Alexa, the voice service of Amazon, lets users access certain capabilities or skills. The said elements allow them to interact with devices like the Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Tap, and Echo Dot. The system is integrated in the Hyundai Genesis Connected Services suite. The technology is available in the Genesis G80 and G90 sedan. The good news is that purchasing the new G90 comes with a gift card for the Amazon Echo.

The owner can simply issue commands directed to his car using the abovementioned compatible Amazon devices for the Alexa. As an alternative when the user is not near an Amazon device, he can still access the feature using a dedicated web portal or using his smartphone app.

When near Amazon devices, dedicated apps or web portal, the user can start the service by saying, “Alexa open Genesis.” Then this can be followed by commands such as “Alexa, tell Genesis to lock my car,” or “Alexa, tell Genesis to start my car at 70 degrees,” and others. The commands will be forwarded to the Genesis G80 or G90. From the car, the user can also control the Amazon devices he has at home.

The partnership of Hyundai and Amazon started yesterday (August 19, 2016). To use the service, the owner should enable the Genesis “skill” using the Alexa app. The app will run the owner through the whole activation, tutorial and customization process.

It was revealed through a report that the Alexa app in the Hyundai Genesis G80 and G90 functions by starting the car, controlling its air conditioning and heating system, operating the locking functions of the doors, and turning on the lights of the auto.

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