In-Car Tech

Audi Q8s with C-V2X tech communicating with Virginia Dept. of Transportation signs, lights

Audi Q8s are utilizing new technology to help study how technology can make roads safer.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
The future is multi-way communication. Not just human or computer, but multi-channel communication for businesses and transportation, among others. There are many players in the space, many working cooperatively to test and deploy these technologies.

Audi, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and Qualcomm are working with American Tower Corporation, Commsignia, and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) to deploy cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) communication technology. It's the result of an effort between Audi, VDOT, and Qualcomm Technologies aimed at making Virginia's roadways safer and reducing the number of road hazards and fatalities.

Audi Q8The Audi Q8 shows information from road hazards on the car's driver information screen.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

VTTI and V2X solutions provider Commsignia are using the 5.9 GHz wireless communications band that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed to allocate for C-V2X enhanced surface transportation safety to deploy the tech.

The collective has given several use cases for the technology. In work zones, the tech can offer greater awareness for drivers who can "receive messages through low-latency direct communications" while maintenance personnel who can also receive messages and warnings that a vehicle is approaching using a C-V2X-enabled vest.

In the case of traffic lights, VDOT's signal controllers are broadcasting signal status information through roadside infrastructure provided by Commsignia. That information supplements Audi's Traffic Light Information service, which is part of the MIB 3 infotainment system in the Audi Q8 testers.

"We expect neutral host models and shared roadside unit enhanced infrastructure to play a key role in the deployment of C-V2X in the Virginia Connected Corridors, a connected vehicle environment in Northern Virginia," said Ed Knapp, CTO, American Tower. "We are pleased to be working with industry-leading organizations to identify ways to accelerate C-V2X technology adoption and 5G edge infrastructure at scale. Widespread adoption will deliver on the vision of intelligent roadways and intersections for enhanced safety and connectivity while also improving the environment and overall quality of life."

"The deployment of C-V2X on the Virginia Smart Road Corridor allows a new generation of vehicles capable of communicating not just through cellular towers but also directly with roadside infrastructure and vulnerable road users," said Pom Malhotra, director, Connected Services, Audi of America. "Today's milestone will allow Audi to accelerate the deployment of innovative use cases that have the potential to increase driver confidence on the road by providing warning – and in the future, take autonomous action – when sensing an impending collision or even a traffic rule violation."

"We are proud of the work we've done with Audi of America, VDOT, American Tower Corporation, VTTI and Commsignia to not only showcase momentum and value of C-V2X to communities and stakeholders, but to also innovate on deployments such as these to continue opening paths to widespread adoption," said Jim Misener, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "The Virginia deployment is a significant milestone, serving as a successful proof point showing public and private organizations working together to apply C-V2X to achieve transformative safety and mobility benefit."

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Performance luxury SUV

The Cadillac Escalade-V starts at almost $150,000

The Escalade-V gets a $149,990 starting price

Cadillac

Cadillac teased an ultra-powerful Escalade-V a while back, and now we have all the details. The 2023 SUV will feature a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, plenty of luxury, and a stout six-figure price tag.

The 2023 Escalade-V comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 682 horsepower and 653 pound-feet of torque. It features a hand-built design and shares much of its underlying engineering with the CT5-V Blackwing. It's paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission and full-time active four-wheel drive.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-VUnder the hood, there's a supercharged 6.2-liter V8.Cadillac

Cadillac gives every Escalade-V air ride adaptive suspension and magnetic ride control. The driver can customize the suspension and feel using the SUV's selectable driving modes. The system can also raise or lower the ride height by to .8 inches, and the SUV comes with a launch control system that helps it get off the line with explosive speed.

Inside, the Escalade-V builds on the top trim of the standard SUV with zebra wood accents, massaging front seats, and a heated steering wheel. It's got the same amazing tech, too, with a curved OLED display that runs the length of the dash, navigation, voice commands, wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, an augmented reality navigation system, and a 36-speaker AKG Studio stereo. Cadillac Super Cruise is available.

2023 Cadillac Escalade-VAn extended ESV variant is also available. Cadillac

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V goes on sale this summer. Starting pricing lands at $149,990, and Cadillac offers an extended-wheelbase ESV version of the high-performance SUV.

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Toyota patented a dog-walking robot.

Toyota

Pets are one of life's great pleasures, but there's no disputing that they're a ton of work. Cleaning, vet visits, and walks are just the beginning, so it's always interesting to see the products that promise to make pet ownership more manageable. Toyota, the world's largest automaker, filed a patent for a self-driving dog-walking robot that looks nearly as advanced as many cars today.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotLogic helps the bot determine when to clean up a mess. Toyota

The main structure appears to be a platform with various attachments, and though the intention is for the machine to walk the dog for you, there's space for a person to ride. The vehicle is completely autonomous and does not require a person to guide it on walks. Sensors keep the robot from running over the dog and maintain speed.The patent paperwork includes several decision trees and logic for how the vehicle responds in various dog walking scenarios. One uses the vehicle's sensors to gauge the dog's distance from the robot. If the dog wanders too far, the machine can lock the leash and adjust its speed to maintain proper distance. It's the same sort of "thinking" done by autonomous cars on the road, just adjusted for scooping poop and leash management.

Speaking of number-two, dogs tend to poop when they walk, so Toyota had to prepare the robot for some poop scooping. In its decision-making process, Toyota added logic that asks, "Is it detected that the dog has pooped?" If the answer is yes, the machine is then instructed to "Execute collection process." A camera helps determine when the pooping has happened so the machine can do its job. If the dog pees, there's a water sprayer with an onboard tank to rinse the ground.

If your dog is anything like some of ours, it's likely you don't make through more than a few walks without some antics. Our lazy pups frequently get tired of walking and decide it's time for a mid-sidewalk nap, but Toyota's dog walker isn't going to tolerate any of that. The platform features paw sensors that can sense the dog's position and even let it do some driving.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotThe bot will scoop poop and wash away pee during a walk.

Toyota's patent filing is fun to think about and imagine what could be, but it's still just a patent. The automaker could turn its idea into a line of puppy walkers sold at dealers across the country or file it away as a thought exercise, never to be seen again. Either way, Toyota's got an exciting year ahead of it with the GR Corolla release and bZ4X hitting the streets, and there are rumors of a Crown SUV coming to the automaker's lineup.

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