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Submission + - Mercedes-Benz Copies Tesla, Plans To Offer Home Energy Storage

cartechboy writes: It's like a game of follow the leader. First, Tesla announced its Powerwall Batteries, and now Mercedes-Benz plans to follow suit by entering the energy-storage business as well. A division of parent company Daimler has been testing battery packs that can power houses, and plans to launch commercially in September. Supposedly a battery pack for "light industrial, commercial, and private" use is being tested with sizes ranging from 2.5 kWh to 5.9 kWh. While Tesla's building a massive Gigafactory to make all its batteries for its Powerwall and electric cars, it's unclear exactly how Daimler plans to produce its batteries in a larger-scale energy-storage operation. Will Daimler build a battery factory of its own, or is this a ploy to steal some headlines from Tesla while the topic is hot?

Submission + - SPAM: Parking Ticket Figures in Scotland

An anonymous reader writes: Dominic Sellar & Co. investigates the ticket happy culture common in many Scottish councils.

Many newspaper column inches are dedicated to the struggles of motorists fighting private parking tickets. Many decry them illegal, some call them powerless and a few lambaste them as immoral.

Little, however, is spent questioning the tickets issued through either Police Scotland or local councils.

There seems to be an implicit acceptance that parking tickets issued on public land are like the permanently late train or the almighty downpour as soon as you open your door, that they are just another inevitable part of life.

Our position at the heart of road traffic offers a unique perspective on the situation. Every day we hear about hundreds of complaints about unjust parking penalties. The volume of complaints suggests that it’s not simply the inconsiderate and uncaring that are caught out but thousands of generally law abiding motorists too.

Through a series of freedom of information requests made by our team at Dominic Sellar & Co., we can now reveal incredible extent of public ticketing carried out by councils across Scotland.

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Feed Google News Sci Tech: Apple, Spotify, and the futile economics of music streaming - VentureBeat->


Apple, Spotify, and the futile economics of music streaming
Several weeks ago, I suggested that it didn't make much sense for Apple to pursue such a thing. While I certainly didn't expect the company to take my advice and forget about streaming, everything I've heard since then has only convinced me that the efforts...
Apple is reportedly days from launching its Spotify-challenging music-streaming ... The Week Magazine
Apple's Streaming Plans Come into Focus as WWDC NearsTom's Guide
Drake and Pharrell rumoured to be iTunes Radio guest DJsThe Guardian 10-Times of India
all 194 news articles

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Submission + - Use Augmented Reality To See Under The Skin Of New Ferraris

cartechboy writes: Augmented reality, we've now entered the age where this is a thing. In an era where automakers like Lexus use X-rays to service its supercar, you have to wonder why one should even bother stepping into a new car showroom to check out a car. Ferrari's realized this and just recreated an augmented reality app that lets you actually see under the skin of its supercars. With the app, buyers can see seven different aspects of the car, from wind tunnel animations to exploded diagrams of of the wheels, drivetrain, and more. The app works with five new Ferrari vehicles, with more to possibly come. While this tech is clearly aimed at enthusiasts, it's a good example of how an AR app could offer buyers a closer look at the top features of nearly any car someday in the near future.

Submission + - An Audi A7 Just Drove Itself From San Francisco To Las Vegas On Public Roads

cartechboy writes: Audi has been working on autonomous car tech for a while. Last year it showed us at CES an A7 that could drop someone off at the front door of a mall and then park itself. Now, it has just shown off an A7 that drove itself 550 miles from San Francisco to Las Vegas for CES. Yes, a self-driving Audi A7 just drove itself 550 miles. Heck, it might have even passed you on the roads and you didn't even notice. The car drove itself between speeds of 0 and 70 mph including making lane changes and passing maneuvers. The car relies on a combination of various sensors, many of which are close to production ready. These include long-range radar sensors, which are already in use in Audi's cruise control and side-assist driving aids, as well as two mid-range radar sensors that complete a 360 degree view. Laser scanners are mounted within the grille and rear bumper to provide information on various objects, both static and moving, on the road. There's also a high-resolution 3D video camera as well. A computer processes all of this information and adjusts the steering wheel, brakes, and transmission. The car is now at CES and is being shown.

Submission + - Mercedes-Benz's Self-Driving Concept Car Is Here

cartechboy writes: In what might be the worst kept secret ever, Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off its autonomous concept car dubbed the F015 Luxury in Motion Concept. Shown at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas last night, the concept is a self-driving, fully-connected, hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid that touts a vision of driving in the future. Mercedes says this concept is not only a means for getting someone from one point to another, but also a usable space for entertainment or work as well as a platform for communication and interaction. The hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid system is unique in that it produces zero emissions at all times. It consists of a hydrogen fuel cell stack, a lithium-ion battery, and two electric motors. The F015 has a driving range of 124 miles with a fully charged battery, and up to 684 miles with a full tank of hydrogen. Using Car-2-Car and Car-2-Ojbect communications the F015 is fully autonomous, and features a variable seat system with four lounge-style chairs inside. While not intended for production, Mercedes shows us that it has the technology today to produce a zero-emission vehicle that can drive itself. The future, is here.

Submission + - Tesla's about to announce a battery-swap pilot program, how it works leaked

cartechboy writes: Remember 18 months ago when Tesla promised it was going to launch battery-swap stations? Well, it's finally happening, sort of. It seems Tesla's about to announce a battery-swap pilot program that will launch next week. The swap site will be located across the street from a Tesla Supercharger site in Harris Ranch, California--184 miles south of San Francisco and about 200 miles north of Los Angeles. The pilot program will involve an unspecified number of Model S electric-car owners, who will be invited to take part in the test. For now, the battery-swap service will be offered by appointment only, at a cost of roughly a tank of gas in a premium sedan. Tesla's using words to describe this pilot program like "exploratory work" and "intended to test technology and assess demand" for a swapping service. While originally pitched that the battery swap would take less time than it would to take to refill the gas tank of a comparable luxury sedan, the company says now that "for this specific iteration" the swap process will take "approximately 3 minutes"--though it adds Tesla has "the ability to improve that time with future iterations." Is this test going to show that battery swapping is or isn't a realistic initiative?

Submission + - Are Republicans Behind The Tesla Sales Bans?

cartechboy writes: The common assumption among Tesla fans seems to be that state auto-dealer lobbyists are working with Republican legislators to enact laws banning direct sales of Tesla's electric cars to retail buyers. Is it true? The New York Time s published an article with some data points that assesses the supposition. While the article mainly focuses on the conflict between Uber and the Republican party, some quotes could be easily applied to Tesla. For instance, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said, "It should be consumers, not government bureaucrats or legislators, that deicde what companies get our business." The author of the article Josh Barro wrote that 22 states permit direct sales of automobiles by Tesla to retail buyers, and of those the majority--14 of them-- voted for President Obama. He suggested that Democratic California, Illinois, and New York "have freer markets in auto retailing than Texas," which is presently Republican. When looking at a five-year-old article by Nate Silver that looked at political donations by car dealers, fully 88 percent of those donations went to Republican candidates, and just 12 percent to Democrats. That possibly suggests a propensity among Republican state legislators to support the interests for car dealers over those of electric-car buyers. Is the small bit of evidence enough to make a case?

Submission + - Jaguar And Land Rover Just Created Transparent Pillars For Cars

cartechboy writes: We've all been there, driving down a city street and we miss that pedestrian or bicycle because they are in our blind spot. Not the blind spot behind us, but covered up by the A-pillar on your vehicle. This is a growing concern as pillars and cars in general bulk up to meet new, ever stricter safety standards. Now Jaguar and Land Rover might have come up with a solution that eliminates the risk: transparent pillars. Imagine having zero blinds spots as you pull up to that intersection. No concerns about not seeing something or someone that's hidden by that large A-pillar. The technology is called 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen and it provides a 360-degree view out of the vehicle. How does it work? Essentially, a screen embedded in the surface of each pillar inside the car relays a live video feed from cameras covering the angles outside the car. To avoid overloading the driver the screens are off in default mode, and are only activated automatically when the driver uses a turn signal or checks over their head to switch lanes. While there's zero mention of when this tech will go into production, it's clear, this is the future and it's crazy.

Submission + - Ford Developed A Way To Track Cops

cartechboy writes: Sometimes you wonder, "Who's actually watching the police?" Well, now it appears someone is actually going to, as Ford has developed a way to track cops. The automaker has announced a new telematics system for police cars that will keep tabs on the cops while they are driving, tracking their behavior in real time. The system will be able to tell what speed the police offers are traveling at, whether they're wearing their seat belts, and where they're driving. The idea behind this system is to improve fleet management with a side benefit of creating a degree of transparency to improve public trust. Of course, this does put officers under constant scrutiny and whether police departments will make use of this technology.

Submission + - Michigan About To Ban Tesla Sales

cartechboy writes: It's a story we've come to see quite often: a state trying to ban Tesla's direct sales model. It seems something sneaky just happened in Michigan where Tesla sales are about to be banned. Bill HB 5606 originally intended to offer added protection to franchised dealers and consumers from price gouging by carmakers, and was passed by the Michigan House in September without any anti-Tesla language. However, once it hit the Senate wording was changed that might imply the legality of a manufacturer-owned dealership was removed. The modified bill was passed unanimously by the Senate on October 2, and then sent back to the House that day where it passed with only a single dissenting vote. The bill was modified without any opportunity for public comment. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has less than a week to sign the bill into law. Of course, Tesla's already fighting this legislation. It's already been said that in the end, Tesla will win all of these situations and that time is being wasted.

Submission + - Tesla's Starting A Certified Preowned Program

cartechboy writes: Name a luxury automaker that doesn't have a Certified Previously Owned (CPO) program. Go ahead, I'll wait. That's right, you can't really name one can you. Tesla isn't like a normal luxury automakers, in fact, it's not really like any automaker out there. It doesn't have franchises and it sells its own vehicles through its network of galleries. It seems the Silicon Valley start-up sees the light, or rather, the profit potential, as it plans to create its own CPO program. It seems there's a great deal of Model S sedans out there currently under lease contracts. When those cars are ready to come back, Tesla has guaranteed that it will purchase them for a figure that falls somewhere between 43 and 50 percent of the original purchase price. This is exactly how Tesla's going to create its CPO fleet. Tesla seems to do everything in an unconventional manner, so we'll have to see if its CPO program is like every other automakers, or if it blazes its own path in this area as well.

Submission + - A Production-Ready Flying Car Is Coming This Month

cartechboy writes: It's 2014. Where the heck are our flying cars? We were promised flying cars. We should be living like The Jetsons, right? Well, we aren't, but we are about to take one step closer: a production-ready flying car is debuting this month. Slovakia's Aeromobil has planning to unveil its "Flying Roadster" at the Pioneers Festival in Vianna, Austria on October 29. The latest iteration is called the Aeromobil 3.0, and work on it dates back to 1990. The Aeromobil 2.5 prototype made its first flight about a year ago. The Aeromobil transforms from plane to car by folding its wings behind the cockpit. Supposedly, the Aerobmoil will fit in a standard parking spot and run on pump gas. In less than a month, our dreams could become a reality.

Submission + - Tesla's Unveiling The D And Something Else On Oct. 9

cartechboy writes: Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't a man to mince words. He speaks and the Internet, no, the world seems to listen. He captures attention in similar fashion as Steve Jobs. Last night he tweeted, "About time to unveil the D and something else". The image tweeted appeared to be the front end of a Model S and the letter D on garage door. So what is it? Probably an updated Model S. Those updates could range from available all-wheel drive and new active safety systems, to the rumored 110-kilowatt-hour pack. While all of these are logical predictions, no one truly knows what Tesla's planning to unveil on the 9th, yet. Anyone care to wager what Tesla has prepared?

Submission + - Ford Wants To Eliminate Car Keys, Start Cars With Fingerprints

cartechboy writes: For as long as you've probably been alive you started a car with a key. Whether that be a metal key or now a plastic transponder that allows you to push a button, you needed a device to start a vehicle. Now Ford's looking to revolutionize the way we start our vehicles. A new patent details how you would start a vehicle using only your fingerprint. It's not stopping with just your fingerprint and starting a car, no, it's looking to have a car measure your vitals such as heart rate, temperature, and other biometric data. Why? Aside from the security aspect of preventing people from stealing your car, there's a huge comfort and safety angle here. Sensors embedded in the steering wheel and seats could gauge body temperature and adjust interior temperatures accordingly to keep you comfortable. From the safety angle, sensors could determine whether drivers are sleepy or if there's a medical emergency. Imagine a vehicle that could stop itself if suddenly the driver experiences a medical emergency such as a heart attack or seizure. This all might sound scary to you, but it's definitely the future. The question now is how long before it's reality?

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde