Cadillac’s new self-driving concept is a luxury loveseat on wheels

After introducing a six-person self-driving box and a frickin’ ridable drone concept last year, GM’s latest luxury self-driving EV idea is much more grounded. The InnerSpace concept looks like a futuristic car from the outside—but inside, there’s a two-seat loveseat surrounded by one of the widest screens we’ve ever seen. There’s no steering wheel or pedals, of course. Instead, there’s a built-in ottoman and a compartment for slippers and a blanket. Where GM’s going, you won’t need any sort of manual control.

Even stepping into the car seems like something from science fiction: the doors pop out, while the large windshield/sunroof rises up. As usual, concepts like the InnerSpace are a way for car designers to flex their muscles and imagine what future vehicles could actually be like. While it certainly seems out of reach for most people, perhaps Cadillac’s more affluent clientele would be intrigued by owning a personal spaceship. At least it’s better for the environment than full-sized luxury SUVs. 

“Electrification and autonomous driving will fundamentally change the role of vehicles and the experiences customers have with them,” Bryan Nesbitt, GM’s executive director of Global Advanced Design, said in a statement. “We’re exploring where that will go with these innovative concepts, envisioning mobility as an ally of wellness, giving customers the ultimate luxury, more personal time rather than taking it.”

As someone who hates the act of driving, but lives in a place where I can’t avoid it, it’ll be interesting to see how car makers turn these self-driving concept vehicles into a reality. And maybe after getting these wild designs through their systems, they’ll show us more concepts for self-driving family EVs.

via Engadget

January 5, 2022 at 02:21PM

Hyundai reveals an electrified, pod-filled future at CES with new PnD platform

Hyundai is at CES with both transportation-related robots and a pitch for the future of the metaverse. As intriguing as the metaverse sounds, we’ll stick with the objects that move in the real world, because this is Autoblog after all.

The first pod that moves people — there are two — Hyundai refers to as a mother shuttle. Those are the extra-large pods you see on the street in the photo at the top of this post. Their use case is fairly obvious from the photo. It’s essentially a large pod designed to hold other smaller pods and transport them to their shared destinations. 

If you take the CES glasses off for a second, the mother shuttle starts to look more like an inefficient bus versus a great way to move around a city. You’re able to fit what appears to be eight pods in a single mobility module, which is just as good as a minivan. Granted, the occupants are more comfortable in their individual pods and don’t have to interact with others in the same transportation module, but it’s still far less useful than a bus is at moving large amounts of people.

Hyundai CES

The pods themselves are called Personal Mobility PnD pods, and they’re built off Hyundai’s “Plug & Drive” modular platform revealed at CES. This is the only one meant to move humans, but Hyundai suggests several other use cases with different top to the platform meant to move things other than humans. Hyundai says that the Personal Mobility pod is meant to provide “a comfortable experience to the destination while also protecting personal privacy.” The pods move around a city autonomously, and Hyundai says they have a drive time of one hour, and it takes two hours to charge back up.

Their best use case sounds like it would be for folks who have limited mobility. It would be a far better way of getting around than a wheelchair. Hyundai says they have autonomous capabilities with Lidar and camera sensors, but you can also control it manually with a joystick. The world Hyundai envisions with these pods teeming about a city street does not look like a perfectly joyous future, though. They take up way too much space on a sidewalk for everybody to ride around in their own personal pod, and it also looks like another excuse to avoid walking.

Related video:

via Autoblog

January 5, 2022 at 01:06PM

John Deere’s Self-Driving Tractor Stirs Debate on AI in Farming

Deere & Co. helped mechanize agriculture in 1837 with the first commercially successful steel plow. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a machine that could prove just as transformative: a fully autonomous tractor.

John Deere’s new 8R tractor uses six pairs of stereo cameras and advanced artificial intelligence to perceive its environment and navigate. It can find its way to a field on its own when given a route and coordinates, then plow the soil or sow seeds without instructions, avoiding obstacles as it goes. A farmer can give the machine new orders using a smartphone app.

Some tractors already operate autonomously but only in limited situations—following a route defined by GPS, for example, without the ability to navigate around obstacles. Others feature limited autonomy that still requires a farmer to sit behind the wheel.

“It’s a monumental shift,” says Jahmy Hindman, Deere’s chief technology officer, of the new machine, revealed at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “I think it’s every bit as big as the transition from horse to tractor.”

John Deere’s 8R tractor uses cameras and AI to navigate.

Courtesy of John Deere

Self-driving tractors could help save farmers money and automate work that is threatened by an ongoing agricultural labor shortage. But automating more of farming, and adding AI, may also stir debate around replacing workers as well as ownership and use of the data it generates.

Deere did not say how much the new tractor will cost; its most expensive current models can run up to $800,000. Hindman says the company is exploring several possible models, including a subscription plan.

Autonomy has been creeping into tractors and other farm equipment for decades, with recent advances building upon progress made in robotics and self-driving cars.

The fully autonomous 8R relies on neural network algorithms to make sense of the information streaming into its cameras. Deere has been collecting and annotating the data needed to train these algorithms for several years, Hindman says.

A similar AI approach is being used by companies building self-driving cars. Tesla, for example, gathers data via its cars that is used to hone its Autopilot self-driving system. And while an empty field poses fewer challenges than a busy city intersection, Hindman admits that, as with self-driving cars, the system may have difficulty seeing its surroundings in extreme weather conditions such as snow or rain.

Qin Zhang, director of the Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University, who previously worked on a prototype autonomous tractor with funding from Deere, says the technical issues seem to have been largely solved. But he says some farmers may find the system too expensive or too difficult to program.

Deere has been incorporating more AI and autonomy into its products over the past decade. In August, the company said it had paid $250 million to acquire Bear Flag Robotics, a startup that retrofits tractors to make them more autonomous. In 2017, it paid $305 million to buy Blue River Technology, which makes robots capable of identifying and eliminating unwanted plants using a high-precision blast of herbicide.

The new 8R tractor perhaps signals a bigger shift in Deere’s ambitions. It not only turns the company’s most iconic product into a capable robot; it also provides a virtuous cycle for training new AI algorithms and developing new products.

via Wired Top Stories

January 4, 2022 at 02:39PM

HTC Vive Wrist Tracker Could Solve One of VR’s Big Problems

The Vive Wrist Tracker improves hand and object tracking for Focus 3 virtual reality headsets.
Image: HTC

HTC wants to make it easier for Vive virtual reality headsets to track the movement of a user’s hands and the tools they might be holding. The company’s solution, a blobby bracelet called the Vive Wrist Tracker, promises accurate data from the fingertips to the elbow, even when the headset can’t see the tracker or a user’s hands occlude a handheld object.

The device, announced today at CES 2022, is designed for use with HTC’s all-in-one Vive Focus 3 headset, which tracks the location of a user’s hands using onboard cameras. That approach can fall short for a number of technical reasons, including that it’s hard to tell if a hand is small and close to the camera, or large and far away. Invisible LEDs on the Vive Wrist Tracker add more points of reference and exact scale to the equation, allowing the headset to calculate precise location and movement through a 3D space.

The Vive Wrist Tracker is about the same weight as a smartwatch, even though it’s more bulbous, and it’s 85% smaller and 50% lighter than a Vive Focus 3 controller. It comes attached to a standard watch wristband, but can also be attached to other objects, like a weapon or a tool, to provide highly accurate tracking in a wide variety of VR scenarios.

The new Vive Wrist Tracker will available in the first quarter of 2022, according to HTC, but the company did not specify a price point.

HTC says it has also designed an open-source 3D tracking solution that uses an inexpensive Arduino board and 3D sensor which can be attached to a tool and used in concert with the Vive Wrist Tracker. The company plans to release the plans free for users to download and experiment on their own.

HTC also announced two new charging solutions for the Focus 3 headset at CES. The Focus 3 Carrying Case is a weatherproof tote with a handle, latches for a shoulder strap, and a lockable zipper. Once a headset and controllers are packed inside, you can plug a charger into an external port and charge all the contents at once. The device will also automatically pair the controllers with the headset, even if they weren’t before, which is an incredibly useful feature for places that have multiple headsets, like arcades, schools, and training rooms, where controllers and headsets can easily get mixed up.

The Vive Focus 3 Carrying Case charges and automatically pairs a headset and controllers.
Photo: HTC

Similarly, the new Focus 3 Multi Battery Charger addresses the need of installations that need to charge lots of batteries at once. The device holds four of the headset’s detachable batteries and will charge them all at the same high speed, enabling businesses like arcades to easily swap out drained batteries for fully-charged ones, without long pauses in between games or training sessions.

The Vive Focus 3 Multi Battery Charger.
Photo: HTC

HTC did not specify launch dates or price for the new charging accessories.

The company also announced a new partnership with telecommunications company Lumen Technologies at CES, promising to deliver wireless VR experiences that are comparable to wired PC-based VR, using private 5G networks and edge computing systems.

via Gizmodo

January 5, 2022 at 11:09AM

Moto-Branded $89 Dongle Outfits Your Car With Wireless Android Auto

Tucked away inside of Google’s overview for Android Auto in 2022 is the Motorola MA1 wireless Android Auto dongle. Priced at $89, this Motorola-branded device plugs into your car’s USB port, magically upgrading your non wireless head unit to one that supports wireless Android Auto. Fancy, right?

So long as your existing head unit supports Android Auto, this little dongle provides the wireless connection from your phone to the head unit via a USB port.

As the product page explains, setup is quite simple: Plug the MA1 adapter into your car’s existing Android Auto-enabled USB port, pair your phone to the MA1 adapter using Bluetooth, then enjoy wireless Android Auto. It’s almost too easy if you ask me.

This little dongle will go on sale later this month.

Motorola Link

Read the original post: Moto-Branded $89 Dongle Outfits Your Car With Wireless Android Auto

via Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

January 5, 2022 at 01:49PM

Insanely Clever Meme Pop-Up Cards

Paper Engineer Paul DeGraff, also known as PaperPaul online, makes clever pop-up cards inspired by some of the most popular memes from the Internet. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, only one of those are for sale: the “Dumpster fire” card. Soon, the “This is fine” card will be available for purchase as well. All these were made for an art project called #ThePopupBookofMemes.

All the Pop-up memes I’ve made so far (2021 update)

Click This Link for the Full Post > Insanely Clever Meme Pop-Up Cards

via [Geeks Are Sexy] Technology News

January 4, 2022 at 02:03PM

Best dash cam 2022: 6 great cameras for driving peace of mind

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Whether your goal is to grab some quick and easy footage of your drives for your Instagram page, or you just want to protect yourself from a lawsuit, a dash cam is the way to go. Some things you’ll want to consider are whether you’ll need features like night vision, an HD picture, parking monitoring, collision detection, or even a multi-cam setup (considering that nearly 30% of all accidents are rear-end collisions according to the NHTSA). Some cams even have built-in WiFi, letting users quickly save and edit their videos right from their phone. Starting at under $50, these options could save you thousands, not to mention the headaches that come with dealing with insurance companies.

Key Features

  • 1080p HD, 170° ultra-wide capture
  • Features Wide Dynamic Range technology and night vision shooting 
  • Includes 24-hour parking monitoring – thanks to a built-in G-sensor, the Byakov can automatically turn on and start recording if your car gets hit in a parking lot 
  • Loop Recording can automatically overwrite old footage, saving the user from having to manually delete videos on their SD card
  • Emergency Accident Lock saves/locks the current video whenever a shake or collision is detected, so it won’t get over-written
  • Includes a 2-year replacement warranty
  • SD card not included

The Byakov dash cam records videos in 1080p resolution and features night vision and WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) technology. Like most others, this cam has a G-sensor and automatically starts recording if your car is hit, even in a parking lot. It also has a 170° wide viewing area, a small form-factor, and loop recording. Users say the picture quality is “much higher” than expected for such an affordable cam, and you can even take a look at some video shot by a reviewer right here. Last but not least, the cam comes with a two-year product replacement warranty. Even after 5,000 Amazon ratings, it’s still sitting at a total review score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Like the sound of the Byakov? Check it out right here.

Key Features

  • This dual cam includes a 1080p resolution front camera and a waterproof rear camera
  • The front cam records at a 170° angle while the rear cam records at a 130° angle
  • Features loop recording and emergency accident locks, thanks to the built-in G-sensor
  • Includes 24-hour Parking Mode
  • Supports up to a 32 GB SD card (not included)
  • Built for easy installation
  • Purchase includes lifetime 24 hour technical support

The Chortau dual dash cam is equipped with a 1080p front camera and a waterproof back camera. The front cam captures video with a 170° wide-angle lens while the rear cam features a 130° lens. Like the other cams in the list, this one features loop-recording and G-sensor technology. The biggest ding against this cam that we can see is that it unfortunately can only handle a 32GB SD card, but thanks to the loop recording, that makes the storage capacity of the SD card matter less than ever. After 9,000 Amazon reviews it’s sitting at a cumulative score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. This reviewer was looking for a “simple” cam that would “just work,” and they seem to have found exactly that in the Chortau. Click here to see their footage taken with the cam. Want to snag this Chortau cam? Learn more right here.

Key Features

  • Records videos up to a 2160p or 4K resolution 
  • 150° wide angle lens
  • Features low-light/night vision recording
  • Includes built-in WiFi to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via the ROVE app
  • The cam’s Built-in GPS accurately records driving location and speed
  • Parking mode, motion detection, loop cycle recording, emergency video lock, time-lapse and slow-mo are all standard features on the cam
  • Supports up to a 512 GB SD card (not included)
  • Includes a 1-year warranty

The Rove 4K dash cam records videos in, you guessed it, 4K resolution. It has features like Super Night Vision technology, built-in WiFi allowing you to instantly manage your recordings on your smart phone, built-in GPS to record your location and speed, parking mode, motion detection, a 150° wide-angle lens, G-sensor tech, loop cycle recording, emergency video lock, time-lapse video, slow-mo video, and it can handle up to a 512GB micro SD card for storage. One reviewer shared some of his own footage shot with the camera right here. After 17,000 Amazon ratings, it’s sitting at an impressive score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Want your dash cam recordings to be in crisp 4K? Click here to learn more about the Rove R2.

Key Features

  • This dual dash cam set-up can simultaneously record videos with its front cam at 4K resolution 170° angle and its rear cam at 1080p resolution 150° angle
  • Includes built-in WiFi to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via its own app
  • Built-in GPS records your route and driving speed for videos
  • Includes collision detection, loop recording, emergency video lock and time-lapse recording
  • Features night vision recording thanks to the Sony IMX335 STARVIS sensor and Hisilicon Hi3559 processor
  • Supports up to a 256 GB micro SD card (not included)

The Kingslim dual dash cam can simultaneously record videos in 4K from the front cam and 1080p from the rear cam. It features “the industry-leading Sony IMX335 STARVIS sensor and Hisilicon Hi3559 processor. With super night vision, f/1.8 aperture, and WDR technology, you can record stunning details, even in low-light environments. With front 170° and rear 150° super-wide viewing angles and 6-layer glass fixed-focus lens, it gives you maximum coverage of the road and greatly enhances night vision, providing sharp and clear images and videos.” Thanks to a 3-inch touchscreen, you only need one finger to operate the device and toggle features like collision detection, loop recording, emergency video lock, and even time-lapse recording. This cam, like many of the others in this list, has built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and last but not least, it can handle up to a 256GB SD card for storage. Learn more about the Kingslim cam right here

Key Features

  • Dual dash cam captures video at 4K resolution via its front cam and 1080p resolution via the rear cam
  • Includes built-in WiFi to allow users to easily view and manage dash cam recordings on their mobile devices via the Ucam app
  • Night vision recording is available thanks to the Sony STARVIS sensor
  • Features 24 hour parking monitoring, loop recording and collision-detection
  • Purchase includes a lifetime warranty and 24-hour technical support

The REDTIGER dual dash cam has basically all of the features you could want out of a cam system like this at a great price. It can capture 4K video from its front cam and 1080p video from the rear cam, both in daylight conditions and at night. The system has built-in WiFi which is always a helpful feature since it allows you to easily connect the cam to your phone to be able to save or edit videos right on your mobile device. Like many others, this camera system has 24-hour parking monitoring, collision-detection, and loop recording, all great features to look for. One reviewer shared a video of the cam’s “clear and sharp” picture right here. Last but not least, the brand offers a lifetime warranty and 24-hour technical support. Learn more about the REDTIGER right here

Key Features

  • This three-part dash cam includes a 1440p 155° front camera, 1280p 165° inside camera and 1280p 160° rear camera
  • All cams record video and audio
  • Features Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor 
  • Includes infrared night vision recording
  • Features a 24-hour low-bitrate parking mode that can automatically initiate recording when the motion or collision detection is triggered
  • Multiple potential set-ups for the cams make this a great choice for rideshare drivers
  • Does not rely on lithium batteries, allowing for easier use in some extreme weather conditions
  • Can handle up to a 256 GB SD card (not included)
  • Does not support WiFi or Bluetooth

The Vantrue N4 is a three-channel dash cam that features a 155° front camera, 165° back camera and 160° rear camera. It captures footage in a 1440P resolution for the front cam and 1080P for the inside and back cams. The cam features a “high-performance Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor, a big F1.4 aperture 6-glass lens observing road front, [and an] F1.8 6-glass lens observing [the] rear.” One reviewer showcases the cam’s “top notch” picture in a video right here. The cams feature infrared night vision capability, 24 hour motion detection, collision detection parking monitoring and optional GPS (sold separately). The cam currently has nearly 4,000 Amazon ratings with a total score of 4.4 out of 5 stars. Check it out here

More Top Picks

via Autoblog

January 4, 2022 at 03:56PM