Geeknizer » Cars iPhone, Android, mobile, Technology news Wed, 15 Jul 2015 03:47:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wirelessly Hack unlock Car without Key Fob Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:28:59 +0000 Read more »]]> Its time for revelation of various hacks from your home security system to cars which rely on wireless key locks, as the BlackHat 2014 conference kicks-off.

At this year’s BlackHat conference, various hacks in security systems have been unveiled. The most shocking being an eavesdropper unlocking your car, without having any prior knowledge about your car or you.


Silvio Cesare, an Australian wireless researcher, has developed a way to spoof a wireless key fob that works well with popular cars. With off-the-shelf wireless radio tools costing $1000, he can hack wireless security system of cars. So what this means is that your keyless car entry is going to have a big toll on you. He has said to have tested the hack against his own 10-year old car, which he claims is among the best selling cars in his country. But he claims that car makers tend to source keyfobs from common manufacturers (like Amtel, TRW), making most make/model vulnerable to this kind of security attack.

Cesare uses a Software-defined radio, a software controlled radio device that can be programmed to work with wide set of frequency bands from Mhz (FM, GSM) to Ghz (Bluetooth, Wifi, etc). This mini radio setup is capable of operating as FM transmitter, GSM cell tower, or even bluetooth sender, and Wifi AP/client.

Step 1. Acquisition

With the hardware attached to his laptop, he can capture the frequency range in which keyfob operates and analyze the frequency modulation it uses for communication. With his tests he found most of these keyfobs operating in mhz bands using FM (frequency modulation).

Car security lock keyfobs generate different frequencies on each press. This is a time variant function, a set of frequency will only be used once and it will generate an entirely random set of frequencies next time to unlock the car. All these random generation of keys is based on a seed value (often known as private key) which is unique and embedded into key fob.

Step 2. Brute force

The very next step after knowing about frequency bands is to start the attack with a good old Brute-force method. To get started, you of course need a laptop with the right algorithms programmed (the secret sauce). This  when connected to the Software-radio hardware along with antenna and cheap antenna amplifier, is ready to hack any wireless system.


Brute-force attack involves cycling millions of code guesses at a rate of two to three a second until he found the one which successfully unlocked the car. Usually, it only takes less than 2 hours, but it varies from car to car.

Step 3. Optimize the bruteforce attacks (optional)

One doesn’t always have all the available time, and Brute force attacks can be filtered from millions to thousands, accelerating the whole process. However, this optimization requires pre-access to key fob.

Cesare created a hardware automation device to emulate large number of button presses at several key-presses per second and listened to the radio codes it transmitted. The solenoid based robot helped him assemble enough data to find patterns in the seemingly-random numbers, cutting the number of possible unlock codes from around 43 million to around 12,500.

Step 4. Discovering Backdoors

Like described earlier, the frequency codes are unique each time. But there are exceptions to this. There are service codes, intentionally designed by the manufacturer, to help unlock car in case they lost access to original key, or for other maintenance/emergency cases. This is essentially a backdoor a hacker can exploit. During brute-force, there are chances that you find such frequency codes which can be used repeatedly, without trouble. These codes provide a permanent backdoor to the hacker.

With hacker’s testing, the backdoor code worked as much as dozen times before it seized to work. There’s one more pre-requisite to making backdoor codes to work — The attacker must first identify a portion of the unlocking code that’s different for every vehicle. That means the hacker would need to eavesdrop on one lock or unlock command sent from the victim’s key fob, which is already described in step 3.

What it means for You and Your Car

Do you get to know if you got Hacked?

Of course, you probably lost your car or belongings. In case you’re lucky enough to not lose those, your key fob doesn’t work on the next use, and takes two or three button presses to again synch up with the car’s locking system.

What is the scale of the Car unlock Hack?

Imagine cars parked in a parking area where a hacker plans to run a full brute-force attack on the available wireless spectrum. With the calculated attack, hacker can create a unlock mania, unlocking several hours every few minutes. Imagine the possibilities and the scale. We’re not trying to scare you or anything but criminals could hire researchers to replicate the attack. And if that happens, the scale is too large to imagine.

The Hacker used sophisticate hardware which costed him over a grand but with newer hardware like HackRF, one can build similar hardware for under $200, making it more accessible to everyone.

Is your car vulnerable?

Honestly, no one, other than Cesare knows what makes and models are vulnerable. Even though researcher believes newer key fobs are way less vulnerable coz they use better algorithms. But there’s no guarantee you’re safe. Someone somewhere could develop algorithm to break it, some day.

Hacker has already reported the incident to CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team), which is working to alert the manufacturers of potential victims.

This is not the first time wireless unlocking systems have been hacked. They have become better with time and with HackRF, its only about to get worse.

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Auto Expo 2014: Honda Concept XS-1, NSX, City, Mobilio Fri, 07 Feb 2014 10:27:55 +0000 Read more »]]> Auto Expo happens to be biannual (once in two years) Automotive show in India, in its capital New Delhi.
With over 50 Car, bikes and other automotive manufacturers, It was a delightful sight for Indian consumers where they can see the latest in automotives.

Honda had been campaigning big for

High res photos at Geek Photography


The event was anchored by Nikhil Channapa, the popular VJ on MTV India.












Honda Mobilio is a newly unveiled 7-seater MUV for Indian market. The exteriors feel much safer than Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga. The mileage claim is kept better than competition, but we will have to see how it performs in real world.




Honda XS-1 Concept

is a state of the art concept Family vehicle which aims to make rides fun. Its designed to be chromeless- more space and less of interiors that usually come in the way. Among entertainment options, it has PlayStation on-board along with full AV system.











High res photos at Geek Photography

Honda NSX Concept

NSX is a super sports, super luxury compact car











Honda City 2014






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Best of CES 2014 – The Self-Drifting car – BMW M235i Wed, 08 Jan 2014 17:00:40 +0000 Read more »]]> This year’s CES is all about wearable tech, 4k, 8k large TVs, innovative startups and self-driven Autonomous cars.

Audi has come up with a new self-driven car called the A7 that can make your journey comfortable as soon as you hit the highway. This is just like what we saw with Google self-driven cars minus the giant ugly-ass radar, camera and sensors mounted all over the place. Audi with its A7 has managed to pack all of them under the hood, making it look like a normal sedan.

Normally when we think of Self-driven cars, we think of comfort and pleasant drive but BMW is taking to whole new level, they are adding fun and spicing it up. BMW has taken a giant-leap ahead by bringing a revolution in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and Neural networks. With their new algorithms and engineering in place, they can make an autonomous do most racing men cannot.


BMW’s new M235i coupe is capable of drifting across the racing track at high speeds maintaining the dynamics of the car in perfection as it turns through the curvy roads of a track. Its unlike anything we’ve seen so far. The M5 can not only complete a hurdle race faster than any human, it does it a level of perfection un-achievable by experts.

The verge had a chance to go handson with this autonomous racing monster and they were amazed:

With new ultra-sonic radar and 360-degree stereo camera technology, BMW’s autonomous driving assistant is also intelligent enough to change lanes to overtake slower vehicles and then pull back. This is something competition still finds hard to tackle with. This coupe is also capable of showing the optimal line around a race track, accelerating hard down straights and lining up corner apexes perfectly.

BMW has estimated to mass produce this car by 2020 at an affordable price of $75,000. Meanwhile, they would keep releasing cars with subset of M235i’s features.

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Learn to Build DIY Self-Driving Car Tue, 07 Feb 2012 17:52:10 +0000 Read more »]]> We all are excited by Google’s Self-driving cars, that can literally go out into the american street driverless.

Google’s Self driving cars have been doing well. If you’ve ever wanted your own self-driving car, this is your chance. Sebastian Thrun, instructor of the Stanford AI class is opening up a new class that will teach everyone who enrolls how to program a self-driving car in seven weeks. That’s right within 7 weeks, you will learn all the algorithms, and Data structures required to make it possible.

The robotic car class is being taught alongside a CS 101 “intro to programming” course. The lectures start from very basics of programming and you will go all the way to how to make a search engine from scratch in seven weeks. The “Building a Search Engine” class is filled with awesomeness.

Programming a Robotic car is going to be a 7 weeks tutorial as well. You can start registering now to receive a notification when its ready.

This class, taught by one of the foremost experts in AI, will teach you basic methods in Artificial Intelligence, including: probabilistic inference, computer vision, machine learning, and planning, all with a focus on robotics. Extensive programming examples and assignments will apply these methods in the context of building self-driving cars. You will get a chance to visit, via video, the leading research labs in the field, and meet the scientists and engineers who are building self-driving cars at Stanford and Google.
Prerequisites: The instructor will assume solid knowledge of programming, all programming will be in Python. Knowledge of probability and linear algebra will be helpful.

Week 1: Basics of probability
Car localization with particle filters
Week 2: Gaussians and continuous probability
Tracking other cars with Kalman filters
Week 3: Image Processing and Machine Learning
Finding objects in sensor data
Week 4: Planning and search
Determining where to drive with A* search
Finding optimal routes with dynamic programming
Week 5: Controls
Controlling steering and speeds with PID
Week 6: Putting it all together
Programming a self-driving car
Week 7: Final Exam
Exam testing your knowledge

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Flying Cars now a Reality Thu, 07 Jul 2011 17:06:42 +0000 Read more »]]> The long fantasized Flying cars are finally becoming a reality as Terrafugia’s Flying car hits the consumers.

To be honest, you won’t be able to take off from your street, but you’ll be able to drive it to the nearest airport. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the final green flag long pending on the Firs Flying Car.

The flying car would be available on road starting early 2012, amazing everyone on road and sky alike.

Terrafugia’s Transition car had to pass the tests set by NHTSA which involves quality check for  the type of tires and windscreen the Transition will use as a land vehicle. The tires are rated for highway speeds and the windshield is made of polycarbonate materials instead of automotive safety glass to save weight and prevent shattering in a bird strike.

Its the first (light airplane) to incorporate automotive safety features such as a purpose-built energy absorbing crumple zone, a rigid carbon fiber occupant safety cage, and automotive-style driver and passenger airbags.

The wings unwind out and gets ready in under 2 minutes. The wings span an area of nearly 26 feet, occupying a width of 90 inches, enough to fly this car a distance of 500 miles.

This car may not be the one revolutionary flying car from the future but it would surely pave the way into the future.

You would endup paying $250,000 for this transition. All you need is driving license and sport pilot license or higher and you are ready to fly this thing. Get your reservations done here.

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Hackers Hack Car with Music Sat, 19 Mar 2011 16:11:07 +0000 Read more »]]> car-hacking.jpgIt was once said that by English playwright William Congreve “music has charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” As per the latest research, music actually lets hackers break into your car.

Researchers at UaC & University of Washington have spent years trying to fin security flaws in modern cars which are controlled via mini-computer systems and so far they have identified a bunch of security flaws in cars.

The most interesting attacks were triggered via car’s Bluetooth and cellular network systems, or through malicious software in the diagnostic tools used in automotive repair shops.

The one that interested us was on the Car stereo. By adding extra code to a digital music file, they were able to turn a song burned to CD into a Trojan horse. When played on the car’s stereo, this song could alter the firmware of the car’s stereo system, giving attackers an entry point to change other components on the car. This type of attack could be spread on P2P file-sharing networks without arousing suspicion.

“It’s hard to think of something more innocuous than a song,” said Stefan Savage, a professor at the University of California.

The same team had achieved wide Car hacks in experiments in which they were able to kill the engine, lock the doors, turn off the brakes and falsify speedometer readings on a late-model car of 2009. In that experiment, they had to plug a laptop into the car’s internal diagnostic system in order to install their malicious code. In 2010, team also hacked Cars from wireless tyre sensors.

But the latest research, is about remotely controlling cars. The attacks over Bluetooth, the cellular network, malicious music files and via the diagnostic tools used in dealerships were all possible, if difficult to pull off, Savage said. “The easiest way remains what we did in our first paper: Plug into the car and do it,” he said.

Car Hacking: Possibilities & Future

Now, thieves could instruct cars to unlock their doors and report their GPS coordinates and Vehicle Identification Numbers to a central server. “An enterprising thief might stop stealing cars himself, and instead sell his capabilities as a service to other thieves,” Savage said. A thief looking for certain kinds of cars in a given area could ask to have them identified and unlocked, he said.

With the high technical barrier to entry, the researchers believe that hacker attacks on cars will be very difficult to pull off, but they say they want to make the auto industry aware of potential problems before they become pervasive.

Another problem for would-be car thieves is the fact that there are significant differences among the electronic control units in cars. Even though an attack might work on one year and model of vehicle, it’s unlikely to work on another. ”

So far, carmakers have been very receptive to the university researchers’ work and appear to be taking the security issues they’ve raised very seriously.

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Google Self-driving Cars Handson Video Fri, 04 Mar 2011 18:08:56 +0000 Read more »]]> google-self-driving-carWe talked about Google working on Self-driving Cars and here’s what that will take you for a spin.

Every year, millions die in a car accident, worldwide. We’ve little intelligence to reduce this number, and subsequent efforts have failed to reduce the agony. Google has jumped into the stream to find a solution last year, and This year at TED 2011, we see first public demos.

At the TED conference 2011, the folks from Search Engine Land got handson experience with the world’s first Truly driverless car that can drive without any assistance on any road. Their experience was one of its kind, the car drove itself around a pretty aggressive closed circuit.

Looks like Google is right on track with their research and with further development it can only get better. It looks like humans probably won’t have to deal with parking woes in the future – just get off and let the car park itself.

Check out video footage of the drive after the break:

Here’s a Refresher video from 2010:

Latest Handson (TED 2011) With Google’s Self-driving Car:

How Self-driven Cars Work

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BMW to manufacture Carbon Fiber Electric Cars Sat, 25 Dec 2010 09:00:25 +0000 Read more »]]> Electric cars have shown strong response, worldwide. But all EV manufacturers have faced one common problem: Poor battery life. Even though our technologies have evolved a lot over years, little progress has been made by battery industry.

BMW is hoping to change this.  Most manufacturers rely on traditional — and heavy– steel car bodies, but the BMW hopes that carbon fiber components could lead electric cars into the future.

Mitsubishi has released its first electric car series under the rather uninspiring model designation i-MiEV. It’s a simply furnished compact car with an oval body and lithium-ion batteries under the floor panel. With one charge of the battery, the vehicle can travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) in summer or 60 kilometers (37 miles) in winter. It costs ?34,390 ($45,240).

Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf — set to hit the German market next year — faces the same cost-benefit plight. Even so, European automobile journalists saw fit to name the Leaf their “Car of the Year.”

Car manufacturers are building sedans and high class models of electric cars, making them bulky and inefficient for battery lives.

BMW is attempting to break the cycle. BMW, 3 years from now,will launch a new construction type to Cars called as  Megacity Vehicle (MCV), which won’t contain steel or aluminum bodywork. Instead, it will have a light alloy frame in the car floor and a body made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP).

CFRP is a dull black material which has a chemical structure similar to that of diamonds. It is sturdier than steel and weighs less than half as much. The MCV body will be 250 to 300 kilograms (550 to 660 pounds) lighter than that of a conventional electric car of the same size, compensating fully for the additional weight of the batteries.

BMW is alone in pursuing the concept — the boldest idea currently under development in the automobile world, and one which is an economic riddle for the competition. CFRP materials have been available for nearly 50 years and are used in the aviation and aerospace industries, in car racing and, most recently, in rotor blades for wind turbines. Still, the idea of mass-producing cars from the material would appear to make little sense.

CFRP is 50 times as expensive as steel. However, company engineers have set a goal of a tenfold reduction in production costs for CFRP. That would spell a true revolution in industrial engineering.

The Joint venture

The joint venture of SGL and BMW produces these carbon fibers, 10 times thinner than a human hair, in the northwestern United States. The manufacturing process consumes an enormous amount of electricity, but hydroelectric power is cheap in the mountainous state of Washington.

More significant cost reductions are to be achieved once the black mini-threads arrive in an industrial park outside the town of Wackersdorf in Bavaria. Here, on a site once meant for processing spent nuclear fuel rods, an unusual textiles factory is setting up shop to serve the auto body construction industry.

Four knitting machines, each as large as a train car, take up most of a 7,500-square-meter (80,700-square-foot) factory floor. But instead of producing material for T-shirts and jeans, the outsized machines produce carbon fiber fabric, at speeds no other manufacturer has even approached.

BMW, however, is using a compression mold that can harden CFRP components in just 10 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). A different chemical mixture of resin and a hardening agent, together with the enormous pressure in the mold, make this process possible.

The power for these bursts of speed comes from a battery packet with a storage capacity of 42 kilowatt hours. At the current state of lithium battery technology, just the vehicle’s battery set-up would cost ?40,000 and weigh more than half a ton.

The car’s potential range is also easy to deduct. With the engine performing at full capacity, the batteries would be drained in the space of 10 minutes — if they were even chemically capable of withstanding such a rapid discharge.

At this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race, Audi sent a prototype of its high-voltage, high-speed car out to take an extra lap around the course, meant to illustrate the great potential of such a vehicle. The driver, though, was under orders not to drive at full speed — company engineers weren’t sure the batteries would last the entire lap if he did. One lap at Le Mans is 13.6 kilometers (8.5 miles) long.

Related: Long lasting battery: 5min charge drives Electric Car 600km

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Long lasting battery: 5min charge drives Electric Car 600km Sun, 31 Oct 2010 16:44:44 +0000 Read more »]]> We mostly believe that today’s technology has advanced so much that technology with batteries has lagged behind. We got powerful notebooks, smartphones, but they last just few hours.

Same is the case with the batteries that are used to power Electric cars.  Such cars have very long charging time, for instance, a minimal charge takes 30 minutes or more. And when you actually wish to move, it would need that charge.

One company has made the first breakthrough by inventing a Lithium Polymer battery that puts every other battery manufacturer to shame. DBM Energy has been manufacturing batteries that allow forklift trucks to operate in warehouses for 28 hours between charges. Their latest creation is called KOLIBRI, which has been deployed into a car and the results are pretty amazing.

The battery was put to test using standard Audi A2, a battery operated Electric car. With everything stock except for the battery, the car was set to benchmark the battery power.

With approx. 6 minutes of charge, the car traveled whooping 375 miles (600km) over a journey of seven hours averaging speeds of 55mph. On finishing the drive, CEO of DBM offered to recharge the phones of the reporters as it still had some juice left. 6 min charge time for 100 kWh – it is important to know with what kind of a fast charger it was done, but in anyway – if battery can sustain 2500 cycles with this kind of fast charger – it is another breakthrough. Question will in Charging Infrastructure, but it is 6 min for 100 kWh – too good to be true for a Lithium Metal Polymer!

The drive is now called Munich-Berlin project, with which DBM wanted to know if its batteries would work for road cars rather than just forklifts, and without a doubt it looks promising for almost everything from trucks to cars.

Comparison with Other batteries : Over 300 Wh/kg – to put it in perspective – Nissan Leaf 24 kWh battery will be less than 80 kg! We have heard that Renault Fluence 24 kWh battery weight is 240 kg.

One final piece of good news about this battery is DBM believes it can manufacture it cheaper than the other lithium ion batteries being developed. That means the premium for an electric car using a DBM battery solution should be lower than the competition.

Welcome to the future where Short Charges, Extended Battery life has become a reality. DBM seem to have solved both problems with wide range of battery options of batteries that charge insanely fast, and batteries that last really long.

This car is definitely was not optimized for optimal battery performance, if in future lighter cars are made, the efficiency could be even better.

375 miles for a 5 minute charge is something that anyone would beg for, making it to be more than enough for most journeys.

So when exactly are we getting these in EVs? It would take sometime till some car manufacturer holds the deal with DBM and puts these powerhouse into commercial cars. Going green would now be more easier.

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Google invents Self-driving Cars Sat, 09 Oct 2010 19:47:39 +0000 Read more »]]> Every year, millions die in a car accident, worldwide. We’ve little intelligence to reduce this number, and subsequent efforts have failed to reduce the agony.

Google may seem to have found the solution: Self-Driving cars, the Future of Cars.

Google confirms that they have developed technology for cars that can drive themselves. The automated cars are manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard.

All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. The technology is a joint research project of Google and DARPA .

How Self-Driven Cars Work?

Google’s  automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

Safety had been our first priority in this project, as those cars could be overriden at any time by a manned driver.  Apart from that, a trained software operator seats in the passenger seat to monitor the software & realtime analytics & physics. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance.

The car can be programmed for different driving personalities — from cautious, in which it is more likely to yield to another car, to aggressive, where it is more likely to go first.

Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because the robot cars would eventually be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption.

The Google research program using artificial intelligence to revolutionize the automobile is proof that the company’s ambitions reach beyond the search engine business.

During a half-hour drive beginning on Google’s campus 35 miles south of San Francisco last Wednesday, a Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway. It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later.

What about Artificial Intelligence Errors Overriding?

To gain control of the car driver has to do one of three things: hit a red button near his right hand, touch the brake or turn the steering wheel. In practical tests, driver did have to do it twice : once when a bicyclist ran a red light and again when a car in front stopped and began to back into a parking space. But the car could have prevented the accident, on its own too.

Besides the team of 15 engineers working on the current project, Google hired more than a dozen people, each with a spotless driving record, to sit in the driver’s seat, paying $15 an hour or more. Google is using six Priuses and an Audi TT in the project.

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Intel Electric Cars: Connected, Auto Pilot, Smart enough to take-over Driver Mon, 05 Jul 2010 17:54:01 +0000 Read more »]]> Sure, Intel wants to plant a chip in your head by 2020, so why cant they build a car that is smarter than its driver?

Intel is building the car at its research headquarters which would record Car’s dynamic characteristics like speed, steering and braking along with video footage from inside and outside the vehicle and then like it opr not, will send the data to police and insurance companies in the event of an accident making it easier to determine the cause of car crashes and identify the person responsible.

Apart from the objectional side, Intel is building the technology that will transform cars into smart vehicles that use AI to detect dangers on the road their criticality and even Override the Driver in case of Risky driving. The cars will also be able to track the location of surrounding vehicles and alert drivers if they get too close or try to change lanes when another vehicle is in their blind spot. Using the LED rear and head lights found in most modern cars, the car is able to track the location of other vehicles and display them on a satellite navigation map.

The concept is not new, its been there for a decade, but Intel could be the first one to make it commercial by developing cars that are permanently connected to the internet and vehicles talk to each other over wireless connections thereby smelling dangers and take appropriate actions on both parties.

Taking it further, camera systems can recogonise street signs, consider the situation and take a smart move e.g. it can take over control of a car if the motorist tries to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, or tries to drive fast on a hilly road that has lower speed limit. If you think the drivers are the sole beneficiaries, you are  probably wrong. Onboard sensors will also be able to detect pot holes in the road and report their location to road maintenance authorities as the car is moving.

In addition, Motorists will also be able to use their mobile phone or computer lock and unlock their car remotely, turn on the alarm and even start the engine to warm it up in the morning.

When ?

No doubt, we’ve seen so many of such projects failing in the past. Will this one work? If yes, How soon can we see them on roads?

Intel has been in discussions with car manufacturers about putting the technology into new vehicles. Justin Ratner, the director of Intel Laboratories and chief technology officer, said:

“We are looking at a whole range of enhancements that will improve the driving experience, safety and security of vehicles.The intelligent vehicle is what we are talking about here. Once a car is connected, more or less on a continuous basis, all sorts of interesting possibilities present themselves. We have talked to highway maintenance departments about using sensors that are already in cars to report the GPS coordinates for pot holes in the road to the maintenance department.”

“Insurance companies are always looking at new in car technology. A system like this could certainly help speed up the process of determining the cause and responsibility of an accident. Any system would have to not increase the cost of repairing vehicles though, to ensure that motorists see a fall in their insurance bills.”

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Car HUD Display Navigation, GPS Kit Thu, 10 Jun 2010 18:04:34 +0000 Read more »]]> Headsup display is the Future of Car Driving. BMW has brought it to our cars today, but, I’m sure most of you can’t afford it. There’s another way to get fancy integrated OEM heads-up display (HUD) GPS navigation system with Springteq: the WeGo all-in-one HUD navigation system.

The first of its kind, the Springteq WeGo offers a Virtual Image in a HUD display system using the windshield as the medium, much like standard OEM HUDs, that too at a cheap deal. It  can just plug into any existing vehicle and ready for the primetime. Its small in size, hence, doesn’t take up dashboard real estate more than a standard screen-based GPS system, and the best part — it won’t obstruct your Windscreen view as it hangs from the windshield like many do.

The company says over 6 million accidents, 3 million injuries and 40,000 deaths each year are caused by inattention. They claim that WeGo helps guard against inattention by keeping the driver’s eyes up and on the road even while looking at the projected navigation instructions.

The included wireless remote control makes sure that you never have to take your handsoff the steering wheel.

Best things in life are better understood when seen, here is a video which tries to capture it, though difficult to capture the true nature of a HUD system on film.

If you are all excited for it, you will have to wait for it t arrive in Q4, 2010. The price hasn’t been announced yet, but its likely to be priced between $400-600.

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Tesla prototypes First sports car Fri, 27 Mar 2009 18:59:56 +0000 Read more »]]>

Courtesy Tesla Motors

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Tesla Motors Inc. on Thursday lifted the cover off a prototype of its four-door Model S — which the company hopes to make the world’s first mass-produced, highway-capable electric vehicle.

“Our objective with the Model S was to create one of the most functional, intuitive and beautiful vehicles on the road,” said CEO Elon Musk, in a prepared statement.

The event for Tesla Roadster customers, select VIPs and media was held at the company’s Hawthorne design studio in Southern California.

The company is waiting to hear if its $350 million loan has been approved for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Tesla wants to use the loan to build a manufacturing facility for the Model S.

The vehicle’s base price is expected to be $57,400, said Tesla spokeswoman Rachel Conrad. A federal tax credit of $7,500 would amke the effective price $49,900.

Existing Tesla Roadster owners are expected to receive a $10,000 discount off the price of the Model S Signature series and automatically be first in line for the sedan, according to Musk. Conrad said the first Model S units could start rolling off the assembly line in 2011.

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India’s Nano to challenge global auto industry Mon, 23 Mar 2009 19:22:15 +0000 Read more »]]> INDIA–The launch of Tata Nano not only reinforces the country’s strengths in IT and engineering, but also highlights the fact that global markets today are led by demand, and not supply, says a company official.

Ratan Tata, chairman of the Mumbai, India-headquartered US$50 billion Tata Group, today realized his biggest dream, Tata Nano, since the company introduced Tata Indica in December 1998.

Commercially launched in Mumbai on Monday, the ultra-cheap small car, runs on a 624cc-rear engine and is likely to be priced at around US$2,000.

The Indian middle class, along with the global auto industry, have been awaiting the Nano since it was first announced in January 2008. “With the Nano, Tata has challenged the global auto industry…[and] created an absolutely new segment with this car,” Abdul Majeed, auto analyst at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told ZDNet Asia in a phone interview.

The Nano, Majeed added, is a huge lesson for other, bigger global auto majors. “Companies today need to be agile. They can no longer afford to dump a product in a market,” he said.

Dilip Chenoy, director general at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), concurred: “Today, manufacturers have to develop customized products at a faster pace.

“The world has seen a huge shift from being a supply-oriented market, to one that is led by demand,” Chenoy said in an e-mail interview. SIAM is an industry body representing vehicle and engine manufacturers.

More codes per car
IT plays an important role in reducing the cost of developing a vehicle, and India is emerging as a research and development (R&D) hub for the auto industry.

According to Majeed, India offers the best location for the development of low-priced cars. “Nano is good for India. It marks the country’s coming of age.”

Yezdi Nagporewalla, head of industrial markets at KPMG, agreed: “India offers four key advantages to global auto majors–lower costs of operation, availability of talent, especially in the IT space, ability to carry out tests over different [and tough] terrains and weather conditions; and a potentially large domestic market that can justify the R&D investment.”

Chenoy noted: “India is emerging as one of the prominent destinations for global automakers to set up their R&D centers.” In last few years, most OEMs have scaled up operations and made heavy investments in their Indian technical centers. “This has resulted in significant improvement in product quality and value,” Chenoy added.

Rajdeep Sahrawat, vice president of Nasscom, said cars are increasingly becoming more software-driven. “For instance, the engine of a BMW [runs on] several million lines of code, and what better place to write that code than India,” he said.

The auto company recently announced that its 2009 models will be equipped with the BMW Assist system, which was built to notify emergency personnel not only where an accident has occurred, but also the likelihood of passengers being severely injured.

Software is used to execute microprocessor-based electronic control units (ECUs) networked throughout the body of a car. Even low-end cars now come with ECUs embedded in the body, doors, dash, roof, trunk and seats.

Various simulation technologies have also helped bring down design costs. “Earlier car companies would do a mock up,” Sahrawat said in a phone interview. “Today, simulation allows companies to push the costs down.

Nagporewalla said in an e-mail interview: “Apart from applications like design software and simulation, IT can also help in significantly crunching product development timelines through improved collaboration and project management.”

Chenoy added that modern-age design tools are helping automobile manufacturers develop better products in a shorter timeframe, as well as further reduce overall costs.

India as R&D hub
Major automotive manufacturers including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, General Motors (GM), Ford and Toyota, have tasked India to develop new product lines, as well as build competencies in computer-aided drafting and two- and three-dimension modeling. However, experts say India still has ways to go from becoming an international hub for auto R&D.

Nagporewalla said: “India is distant from becoming a global hub for the auto industry. To earn that title, a significant part of global auto R&D spend will have to happen in India.” Nasscom estimates that India accounts for a meager US$3 billion of the global spend of some US$145 billion in auto and aerospace R&D.

For most global auto majors, the R&D center in India serves mainly as a link to their global R&D network. “Hence, end-to-end development of cars in India is still a dream,” Nagporewalla noted.

According to Sahrawat, the Indian auto component industry is also still slow in deploying IT applications. “Our research shows IT deployment has not trickled down to tier two companies. Their budgets are small, and therefore, can’t purchase expensive ERP packages,” he explained. This impacts the ability of major auto companies to achieve leaner costs and bring about higher efficiencies.

However, the future looks bright for India’s auto R&D centers. “In future, I see automobile companies leveraging IT in areas like simulations, rapid prototyping and project management to further drive down costs of developing a new model,” Nagporewalla said.

According to Chenoy, the challenge for the local industry is to build future-ready products that are technologically-superior, cost-effective and eco-friendly. “Almost all companies are developing cleaner technologies that can satisfy the transportation needs of the future,” he added.

Over the last one to two years, companies such as Bajaj Auto, Renault-Nissan, Toyota Motor and Chrysler have also announced their intentions to build low-cost cars.

“Since India and China are emerging as huge markets, with nearly 40 percent of the world’s population residing in these countries, it’s not surprising that companies are working on technologies for the emerging markets,” Sahrawat said. For instance, manufacturers including LG, Samsung and Nokia, are launching solar-powered mobile phones for markets such as India, where power supply is a huge challenge.

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