Month: February 2014

Supercars and stylish concepts slated for Geneva auto show

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Lamborghini will put the Huracan in the public eye at the Geneva auto show.

(Credit: Lamborghini)

With a few years of troubles in the European automotive sector and not much preview news, I hadn’t been expecting much for the 2014 Geneva auto show. But the last month proved me wrong wrong wrong. Almost every major automaker, and many you’ve probably never heard of, has something big planned for the show, from blisteringly fast supercars, to design concepts, to the kinds of new models that matter for the everyday driver.

Last December Lamborghini released news of its Gallardo replacement, the Huracan. Not only sporting a 610 horsepower V-10 engine, the Huracan brings in high-tech features such as LED headlights and styling cues that echo the Lamborghini Aventador. It’s a new car for the garages of the wealthy and the desktop wallpaper of teenagers’ computers.

Geneva will host some competition in this realm, however. Last week McLaren announced its star of the show, the 650S. Expanding McLaren’s model line-up by a third, the 650S boasts 641 horsepower from its twin-turbo V-8. Active aerodynamics and suspension help this one hold the … [Read more]

    



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GM Adds Opel GT to Recall (2/28/14)

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Automaker to cooperate with NHTSA probe; Akerson joins Lockheed board; Subaru SUV gets pricier; Snyder: Sales will thaw.

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California court: Drivers can use smartphone maps, for now

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Google Maps (left) and Apple Maps (right) on smartphones.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Chatting on the phone and texting while driving is illegal in California, but the law seems to still be catching up with technology when it comes to other aspects of smartphone use while on the road.

A court of appeals has reversed an earlier court decision that ruled map reading on a cell phone was taboo under the law, according to the Associated Press. The 5th District Court of Appeal said that the law currently only applies to talking and texting on mobile devices and doesn’t yet have legal language for app use.

The case came about in January 2012 after Fresno resident Steven Spriggs got a ticket for checking his iPhone 4 map when he was caught in a traffic jam, according to the Associated Press. While he was searching for a better route on his phone, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped him and fined him $165.

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GM Kicks Up Chevy Spiffs (2/27/14)

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Supplier prices on Silverado, most cars; U.S. probes GM recall timing; 4 states in running for Tesla factory; Mazda3 milestone.

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Ford “not married” to Microsoft for next-gen SYNC, but BlackBerry isn’t necessarily in

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BARCELONA, Spain — There’s been no shortage of talk and speculation of late surrounding Ford’s relationship with Microsoft. Microsoft has, since the beginning of SYNC, provided the software underpinnings that make the systems work. With millions of SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road, it’s big business, and with rumors of a switch to QNX making the rounds, that’s potentially bad news for Microsoft.

However, Ford is saying not so fast. Here in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress we spoke with Ford Managing Director Prof. Dr. Pin van der Jagt about the situation. He says that Ford is always questioning and evaluating their suppliers, and that re-evaluating the Microsoft deal is just a part of normal business. “SYNC 1 and 2 was done with Microsoft but we are not married with them. For us, it’s a supplier, so every time we keep evaluating is it the right partner.”

That doesn’t mean that Microsoft is out and that BlackBerry’s QNX is in though: “That is a rumor. What we are in the process of, we are spec’ing out our requirements for the next generation: what we want to do, what features we want to add, what functionality. Then you go through a normal supply selection process. Those requirements for the next generation get sent out to everybody, t… [Read more]

    



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Ford AppLink system helps you find a space with Parkopedia

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Ford's here at Mobile World Congress to highlight how connected its new cars are.

(Credit: Andrew Hoyle/CNET)

BARCELONA, Spain — Ford’s smartening up its new cars with an app that helps you find a parking space. Parkopedia lets you search among 15 million spaces across Europe, showing which car parks have free spaces and listing how much they cost.

It covers 3,000 towns and cities in 20 countries across the continent.

The carmaker’s AppLink system, which is available in its new EcoSport SUV and the newly announced 2015 Focus, is voice-activated and already has apps from Spotify, Tom Tom, Radioplayer, Hotels.com and others.

Another new addition is Aupeo, a music discovery service with over 200 channels to choose from. That’s a big plus here in Europe, where in-car digital radio is relatively niche.

“These new AppLink partnerships significantly extend the growing range of smartphone apps drivers will be able to access by voice while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation.

[Read more]

    

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KITT out your car with Fujitsu voice-controlled assistant

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Keep your eyes on the road with Fujitsu’s backseat driving voice assistant

BARCELONA, Spain — If you grew up watching Knight Rider, you’ve probably dreamed of a day you could talk to your car. Dream no more, fellow KITT fan, as Fujitsu’s prototype voice assistant takes you where you want to go, without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes on the road.

It’s just a prototype at the moment, but the idea is you press a button on the steering wheel and start chatting with your phone, mounted on the dashboard.

Fujitsu’s augmented reality gloves and more (photos)

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