Series of reports suggest vehicle design may be underway
Rumors are swirling, with the general consensus that Apple is intending to built a mass-market electric car. Apple's project, said to be codenamed "Titan" seems to have several hundred people working on it, and combines reports of a ex-Ford designer hire, as well as confirmed discussions Apple CEO Tim Cook held a year ago with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
UberPool lets customer share Uber ride for a cheaper fare
Cab-hailing service Uber is looking to lower the cost of rides for its customers, by offering the option to car-pool with other users. Rolling out as a private beta, UberPool will allow customers to hail a car as normal, but it will attempt to find others requesting a similar journey so the car can be shared, with the cost significantly reduced for each UberPool participant.
Anti-Uber law proposal demands headquarter visits by drivers
French legislators are continuing to work against app-based driver services, by proposing a new law changing the way they operate. The proposal from the French Senate would require drivers for car-service companies to return to their headquarters, or in the case of a driver using Uber or a similar service, a parking garage or their home, between clients.
Forty partners launch Open Auto Alliance, 20 manufacturers making cars
A new "Android Auto" product was unveiled by Google today at its I/O conference. The car-centric branch of Android prioritizes safety and navigation with a large, custom interface with voice control. The implementation links an in-dash screen to an Android phone carried by the user. Android Auto will be available to users with the public "L" release, with 40 partners in the Open Auto Alliance, with the first Android Auto cars being sold later this year.
Alliance creating single platform for Android-based in-car systems
Google is pushing to bring Android to cars, confirming recent rumors, though not as a partnership with a single car manufacturer as first thought. The Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), made up of Google, Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai, and Nvidia, has been formed to create a single common platform for in-car systems, one which it hopes will improve the experience of the driver and passengers on the road.
Gorilla Glass could lower car weight, improve fuel economy
Gorilla Glass could be heading to vehicles in the future, according to a Corning executive. The glass, currently used in a vast number of smartphones and mobile devices, could be used with, or replace entirely, some sections of glass used in automobiles, though the company is also looking into other glass applications.
French, German voices too; more languages coming later
As expected, Siri will be given an upgrade in the forthcoming version set for iOS -- incorporating new services including Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing among other new sources. The interface will be reshaped to fit into the iOS 7 design aesthetic, with a "waveform" look that fades into view on a layer over the current content on the screen. The program will also now feature a new choice of voices -- a new female voice, or a male one if preferred -- with new voices for French and German users as well (and more languages in the works).
Bands reserved since 1999 for vehicles may suffer from interference
Technologies being developed to aid in communications between cars may be affected by the Federal Communications Commission's plan to increase Wi-Fi spectrum. Bands reserved since 1999 for car-to-car communication may become collateral damage in the FCC's search for more wireless spectrum, and potentially puts the future of self-driving vehicles at risk.
Android-based car stereos add multitouch
Parrot has added three more Android-based car stereo systems to go alongside the Asteroid, including some with touch capabilities. The Asteroid Smart replaces an existing head unit, while the Tablet and the Mini are both designed to work in tandem with other car stereos, using the amplifier and speakers already installed in the vehicle.
USB output affected across makes, models
The recent iPhone and iPod update to iOS 4.1 has created quality problems with built-in car audio systems that owners describe as "scratchy, crackly" and bringing periodic micro-dropouts, according to reports on various sites including Apple's own discussion forums. The problem seems to affect several different makes of automobile and models of iPhone and iPod Touch that are connected to various receivers via USB.
Internal compartment holds iPod or other device
Sony has introduced two new head units, the DSX-S300BT and DSX-S200X, with built-in trays designed to fit iPods or other USB-attached media players. Rather than integrating a CD slot or external dock, the faceplate of each stereo flips down and ejects the TuneTray compartment capable of holding an iPod.
ProClip mount for iPhone
ProClip on Tuesday unveiled the ProClip Vehicle Mount for the iPhone 3G that offers users a dockable mounting bracket for the device, with pass through connectors for stereo, charging, or dock connector cables. Secured onto a vehicle's console or dashboard through non-destructive means, the mount tilts and swivels, securing the iPhone in a custom holder designed and manufactured by Brodit AB, a Swedish firm. ProClip is selling the mount for $100.
Recycled iPhone car holder
iPhone enthusiast Bernat Alsina decided to construct an iPhone Car Mounting Bracket using a couple household items, giving him the ability to mount his iPhone or iPod Touch right on the dashboard of the car for easy access while driving. In seven somewhat simple steps Bernat takes a hodgepodge of plastic, velcro, and glue and turns it into something useful. This is not an idea that has never been seen before but the simplicity of the creator's Spanish/broken English step-by-step walkthrough and the low cost factor (recyclable materials) helps his mounting kit to stand out.
Griffin products at CES 08
Griffin yesterday unveiled several new products at CES, with the releases centered on home, personal, and automotive audio products, with a few power-related items as well. Griffin’s popular iTrip saw another revision, dubbed the iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan. The updated iTrip FM transceiver displays RDS information on any capable car stereo, while the new SmartScan technology automatically seeks out the three best FM frequencies to broadcast over. The new AutoPilot charger puts music controls within easy reach of the driver; the controls sit on the back of the charging unit. iTrip AutoPilot with SmartScan will ship during the second quarter for $100.