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The Jeep Wrangler Sahara reference vehicle does a vanity shot

Canada's QNX Software Systems wants to turn your car into the ultimate mobile device, complete with apps, infotainment, access to all your media and - of course - control of the car itself. To show how this concept might take shape, QNX put together a reference vehicle to demonstrate its "CAR 2" platform at the recent Telematics Detroit Conference.  Read More

Eelke Folmer watches as student Dora Uchel demonstrates the Navatar system

When blind people are trying to navigate the city streets, they can get assistance from a speaking GPS-enabled smartphone, just like everyone else. Once they move indoors and lose access to the required satellite signals, however, it’s a different story. While there are some indoor navigation systems that require things like radio-frequency tags to be strategically placed around the building, it’s currently unrealistic to expect to find such systems installed in many places. The University of Nevada, Reno’s experimental new Navatar system, on the other hand, just requires a smartphone loaded up with a digital two-dimensional map of the building in question.  Read More

The Smartsense system provides real-time turn by turn navigation indoors (Photo: Fraunhofe...

It's not that long ago that GPS capabilities in a mobile phone were considered a standout feature. Today, GPS navigation is standard for smartphones, and as a result, many of us have come to rely on them when it comes to getting from A to B. However, GPS technology isn't without its faults, and if A to B is located under a roof, out of sight of the orbiting GPS satellites, then you can end up falling back on the not always reliable sense of direction. To fix the problem, Fraunhofer Research is developing Smartsense, a smartphone sensor capable of providing accurate navigation indoors, without the aid of GPS.  Read More

Some of the vibrating actuators within the experimental steering wheel

Many drivers would be lost – quite literally – without their in-car navigation systems. When installed in vehicles that some people would say are already overcrowded with instrumentation, however, could such systems be just one visual distraction too many? Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and AT&T Labs are addressing that concern, by experimenting with a system that conveys navigational cues through vibrations in the steering wheel.  Read More

Fraunhofer's Multishuttle Moves robots, in the distribution center mock-up

When it comes to groups that work together to get a job done, ants have pretty much got the process perfected. That’s why computer scientist Marco Dorigo studied the creatures’ behavior, and created his Ant Colony Optimization model – an algorithmic technique that can be applied to human endeavors, when efficiency is the order of the day. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics have now applied these algorithms to a swarm of 50 autonomous shuttle robots working in a parts warehouse, in an effort to create a new and better type of materials-handling system.  Read More

Ford used the Hackathon event to get creative with potential features

Automakers have begun slowly integrating social networking into vehicles via advanced infotainment systems that provide voice-activated social functions. In a recent collaboration with Facebook called "Hackathon," Ford gave the world a glimpse of what in-car social networking 2.0 might look like. It's scary and intriguing at the same time.  Read More

The EcoSpeed app takes into account various factors, such as the number of traffic stops, ...

By now, we should all know that how you drive has a huge influence on fuel economy, but knowing exactly how to drive in certain circumstances to maximize fuel economy isn't always easy. We've looked at various technologies designed to make the task of traveling at the most fuel efficient speed, taking the most fuel-efficient - if not necessarily the shortest - route, and taking into consideration traffic conditions, that little bit easier. Now there's an app for mobile devices that does all these things. Called EcoSpeed, its creators say it could provide fuel savings of as much as 30 percent.  Read More

Suunto Ambit puts GPS navigation, performance tracking and heart rate monitor on your wris...

The Ambit watch is Suunto's latest GPS-enabled watch, following up on the X10. The package is designed to provide outdoor athletes with a suite of tools - GPS, sports computer, heart rate monitor - to train and adventure successfully. The data gathered can then be shared at Suunto's online training community, where there are more tools and features.  Read More

ViewRanger puts the functions of an advanced outdoor GPS into an inexpensive Apple/Android...

Imagine the power of a US$500 outdoor GPS built into a $5 app available on iOS and Android devices. In a nutshell, that's ViewRanger. The advanced mapping GPS app has been around for years in Europe and just launched in the United States.  Read More

Australian researchers have designed a vision-based system to provide real-time guidance f...

Along with the well known defense applications, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also used for crop dusting, bushfire and environmental monitoring, and infrastructure inspection. Such applications can see them flying close to the ground and amongst obstacles meaning it is of the utmost importance for pilotless craft to be able to accurately determine their heading and orientation to the ground. By imitating the method insects employ, Australian researchers have designed a vision-based system to provide real-time guidance for these eyes in the skies.  Read More

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