Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Lexus is about to take its biggest risk yet

Lexus is about to take its biggest risk yet

See these L-shaped lamps and aggressive haunches? They're the first glimpse of what will arguably be Lexus' most risky launch so far, as the company revamps its best-selling RX SUV. The 2016 Lexus RX is set to make its official debut in two weeks time, at the North American International Auto Show in New York, and the stakes for the luxury SUV are high. On its own, the RX accounted for more than 30-percent of all Lexus sales in the US last year, which means that if the company gets the new model wrong, it could find itself in seriously hot water.

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How Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car is shaping smart cities

How Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car is shaping smart cities

If there's one thing you won't mistake the F 015 Luxury in Motion for, it's any Mercedes-Benz currently on the road. Previous autonomous development had started with a production car and then added self-driving abilities, Mercedes designer Till Varailhon explained to me; this time around, the team started from scratch: not only in how the car looks and drives, but how it shares space responsibly in the cities of 2030. After the cut, no-go zones, flocks of scurrying research robots, and why Tesla only proves the smart city is inevitable.

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Amazon drones get FAA test approval (but don’t get excited)

Amazon drones get FAA test approval (but don’t get excited)

Amazon has been granted special permission to test its drone delivery service, but while the FAA may have given PrimeAir trials the green-light, don't expect it at your front door any time soon. PrimeAir was announced in late 2013, Amazon's grand scheme to deliver smaller packages by remotely-controlled drone within thirty minutes of an order being placed, but in addition to doubts around whether the project was practical, the Federal Aviation Administration took a dim view of commercial UAV use. Now, the leash has been loosened a little, allowing Amazon to at least begin conducting feasibility trials.

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This giant crocodile ancestor prowled Carolina 231m years ago

This giant crocodile ancestor prowled Carolina 231m years ago

Nine feet long, huge jaws, and a taste for wild meat - it might sound like your typical dinosaur, but in fact paleontologists believe this fearsome crocodilian ancestor actually predated T-Rex and friends. Dubbed Carnufex carolinensis, or the "Carolina Butcher," the land-dwelling predator would have been top of its food chain before the dinosaurs arrived, researchers at North Carolina State University and the North Caroline Museum of Natural Sciences believe, having discovered chunks of fossilized skull, spine, and upper forelimb in the local area.

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Android Auto hits the road as Pioneer upgrade options

Android Auto hits the road as Pioneer upgrade options

Android Auto might be a tough thing to find on the dashboard of most modern cars, but the first aftermarket upgrades are finally hitting shelves. Pioneer has the first replacement head-units supporting Android Auto (and, for that matter, Apple's CarPlay), with sales beginning in the US, UK, and Australia. Compatible with Android 5.0 devices, the system takes the regular Android interface and reworks it for use while driving, pushing services like Google Maps and Google Now to the fore with bigger buttons and speech recognition.

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Tesla Model S Autopilot update due in 3-4 months

Tesla Model S Autopilot update due in 3-4 months

Tesla will deliver a bevy of new safety tech for the Model S in an upcoming update, with full auto-driving promised for certain roads in an update that follows. The first update, already in beta with select owners, will add not only the Range Assurance and Trip Planner apps that Elon Musk expects to remove range anxiety, but enable features like automatic braking, blind spot warnings, and side collision warnings as previewed at the P85D AWD launch last year. However, it's software update version 7.0 that's likely to be even more hotly anticipated by Model S owners, which will add Autopilot functionality.

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Tesla’s fix for EV range anxiety is talkative Superchargers

Tesla’s fix for EV range anxiety is talkative Superchargers

Tesla has revealed its answer to range anxiety, though it's not the battery boost many hoped the electric car company would deliver. Instead, a new software update for the Tesla Model S will make hunting down a recharge - and knowing when to do so - more straightforward, adding an always-on app dubbed Range Assurance that will constantly compare remaining range with which Superchargers and destination chargers are nearby. The functionality will also help drivers make smarter decisions as to where to head to get their jolt of free juice.

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Acer C910 Chromebook adds faster chip option

Acer C910 Chromebook adds faster chip option

Acer has injected a little extra grunt into its C910 Chromebook, throwing a faster Core i5 processor at the 15.6-inch notebook. The new model fleshes out a range generally under-served in Chrome OS machines, with a larger screen than the majority of notebooks running Google's cloud-centric platform. Previously, Acer only offered the C910 with a choice of Intel Celeron and Core i3 chips, but even with the new, more potent silicon under the hood, is promising as much as eight hours use on a single charge.

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Virgin boss teases a Tesla challenger

Virgin boss teases a Tesla challenger

Is the next big battle in automotive going to be Musk vs Branson? Outspoken billionaire Richard Branson isn't exactly coy when it comes to teasing what he's working on, and it seems following Elon Musk into electric cars might be Virgin's next frontier. For the moment, Virgin's EV schemes center on the Virgin Racing team taking part in Formula E, the all-electric branch of Formula 1, but according to Branson that might not always be the case.

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I hitched a ride in Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car

I hitched a ride in Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car

When you take away the driving from the driver, what do the meat-popsicles inside an autonomous car do while the AI is at the wheel? That's the question Mercedes-Benz has tackled with the F 015 Luxury in Motion, a dramatically different approach to the future of transportation. Starting with the assumption that space will eventually be the biggest luxury, the self-driving concept treats driving much in the same way that a smartphone does the voice call: just one of many features and, as I discovered when I hitched a ride in the space-age pod, no longer the most important.

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