In-Car Tech

JLR, University of Cambridge develop predictive touch sensors for touch screens

Jaguar Land Rover has worked in partnership with the University of Cambridge to develop new technology.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

Smudges are the bane of the touch screen's existence. New technology has emerged from a partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge that is designed to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses within a car, and, consequentially reduces the number of smudge points on touch screens.

The patented technology, known as "predictive touch", uses artificial intelligence and sensors to predict a user's intended target on the touchscreen – whether that's satellite navigation, temperature controls or entertainment settings – without touching a button.

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar The Land Rover Range Rover Velar Photo courtesy of Land Rover

According to a release, the tech utilizes artificial intelligence to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task. Gesture tracking technology uses vision-based or radio frequency-based sensors like the kind you find in electronics you use as part of your everyday life, "to combine contextual information such as user profile, interface design and environmental conditions with data available from other sensors, such as an eye-gaze tracker, to infer the user's intent in real time."

Trials utilizing the technology showed that it could reduce a driver's touchscreen interaction effort and time by up to 50 percent, as well as limiting the spread of bacteria and viruses. The tests were conduced in a lab and on the road.

Jaguar Land Rover is championing the innovation as part of its Destination Zero vision. As part of that vision, the company is working toward a world of "zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion".

The company says that the predictive touch technology can be especially useful when traveling off the beaten trail, where it may be difficult to engage a touch screen button in a timely and orderly fashion. Additionally, it is in these circumstances where drivers will most want two hands on the wheel as often as possible.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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Insurance company Hagerty compiled a list of cars it thinks will climb in value and price.

Hagerty

Vehicle prices have grown across the board this year, but collector car prices have been on the move for years. The world of online car auctions and car shows such as Radwood have driven attention to obscure and otherwise unknown cars, pushing their prices. Insurance and overall automotive lifestyle company Hagerty is stepping in to help. It complied a list of vehicles that it believes are currently a good value and have potential to climb. The Hagerty Bull Market List covers ten vehicles of all types.

Hagerty’s list is expansive, covering several vehicle types, prices, and time periods. The list features vehicles built between 1963 and 2012, and is designed to nudge people into buying cars before they become unattainable. This is especially important now, as online auction sites have moved the markets for some previously obscure cars well past the point of reason.

The Bull Market List isn’t intended to give you an inside track on car values so that you can flip them for quick profit. Instead, the list should give you the push you need if you’re already on the fence about buying a car to keep and drive a cool vehicle. Hagerty wants people to buy the cars and have the ability to pass them on to other enthusiasts without charging exorbitant prices.

The Bull Market List includes (with excellent condition pricing):

  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille ($28,800)
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800)
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender ($61,400)
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600)
  • 1962-1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($80,500)
  • 1963-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200)
  • 1992-1995 Porsche 968 ($38,000)
  • 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200)
  • 2008-2012 Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,000)
  • 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800)

If you’re considering one of the vehicles on the list and have the means, it’s a good idea to act in the near future. Vehicle prices are rising due to supply chain shortages to the point that even older cars are climbing. That, plus the effects of online car auctions, have made it hard to find a good value car.

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