While Google might be working on their own driverless cars of tomorrow, it looks like the company is wanting to expand further into the auto industry. The company is partnering up with Kia Motors to bring Google Maps and Place services into Kia’s new UVO eServices telematics system, which will be rolling out in new models later this year.
This year the automotive world really stepped it up when it comes to technological breakthroughs, especially when it came to connecting to drivers' personal mobile devices. What we've seen was everything from integration of mobile chipsets into automobile systems to wireless connectivity to smartphones from many of the top car and truck brands across the spectrum. Have a peek at some of the highlights in our 2012 run-down right this minute!
Google has poached a US highway safety executive to work on its driverless cars program, NHTSA deputy director Ron Medford, to better guide its autonomous cars through evolving legislation. Medford, who has worked at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2003, will jump ship to Google's automotive division from January 7, 2013, as the new Director of Safety for Self-Driving Cars.
Terrafugia's Transition flying car has faced the press at its New York Auto Show debut and inevitably caught the attention of Jetsons-raised geeks, but let's face it: it's not really a flying car. The two-seater is capable of four hours of flight when airborne, having driven at up to 65mph to your nearest airstrip, but you don't have to take more than a cursory glance at the photos to see that this is more a folding plane than a car that flies. That brings with it plenty of headaches, though they're ones which work at Google, among others, could address in the future.
Vehicles that refuse to start unless the driver passes an alcohol breathalyzer test are closer than previously believed, with cars that check for intoxication tipped to hit the market within the next decade. Systems using both traditional "breath tubes" and new fingertip sensors are already in the pipeline, the WSJ reports, with manufacturers working with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) having "made more progress, faster, than we expected," according to Rob Strassburger, vice president for vehicle safety at the AAM. Yet while driver and passenger safety is the obvious concern, not everyone is keen on their car playing watchdog.
This morning all of you running older Android devices will be able to roll out with Temple Run thanks to hackers galore. The Galaxy Nexus, made by Samsung and powered by Google, will be getting Android 4.0.4 with the XOOM Wi-fi and the Nexus S as well. There's a lovely Metro Theme from Windows 8 and Windows Phone now available for the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Something pretty interesting from Google has surfaced today. A domain registration with Google linked to it has turned up for website called wesolveforX.com. Previously, the X lab was tipped by the New York Times as possibly having engineers that worked on products of all sorts, including some strange ones like dinner plates that can share what you're eating on your social network of choice. This new website seems undoubtedly related. The X lab has also been tipped to be working on things like driverless cars, which Google already has, and more.
Logitech has announced that it is set to offer up some new technology for webcams that will make them work better for the business users out there. The new tech is intended to help the business world accelerate the adoption of videoconferencing and Unified Communications (UC) in the enterprise. According to Logitech, one of the reasons, UC failed in some enterprise situations was poor video quality and implementation issues.
Google has been letting its self-driving cars off their leash again this week, bringing the driverless vehicles to TED 2011 and allowing attendees of the conference to ride in them. Limiting its demos to a nearby parking lot, Search Engine Land reports, Google had tweaked the cars to show far more aggressive driving than previously seen.
Rather than the automated route creation usually relied upon when the driverless cars are on highways - fathomed using road-recognition cameras, GPS, various other sensors and a general destination in mind - in the parking lot the route was pre-determined. As normal, Google uses a safety driver, who can take over in case of issues with the robocar system.