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GM To Release Super Cruise Technology Next Year In The Cadillac

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

gm-supercruise-150x150Information obtained from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) communication with GM revealed some of the details about how the “Super Cruise” advanced-driver assistance system (ADAS) will function, including its ability to enable hands-free operation for extended periods.

In March, GM asked the NHTSA if its “Super Cruise” system’s ability to stop a vehicle and automatically activate hazard lights would pass safety regulations.

In a response made public Monday, the NHTSA gave GM the thumbs up for its Super Cruise system to pull the vehicle over and turn on the hazard lights. The NHTSA, however, cautioned that any defect in the technology “could present an unreasonable risk of an accident occurring or of death and injury in an accident.”

“We urge GM to fully consider the likely operation of the system it is contemplating and ensure that it will not present such a risk,” the NHTSA’s letter stated.

GM’s Super Cruise system has facial recognition technology that monitors certain cues to make sure the driver is still attentive, GM spokesman Kevin Kelly told Reuters. If the ADAS system senses the driver is sleeping or not paying attention, it sends visual warnings, including a light bar on the steering wheel, and then audio warnings. If the system determines that the driver is no longer responsive, it will activate a safety protocol to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

GM has been testing its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technology since 2012. It had initially planned to unveil the technology on the Cadillac CT6 in late 2016, but recently changed the date to 2017.

The system will have a new adaptive cruise control with lane following that controls steering, braking and acceleration in certain freeway environments.

GM stated in its letter to the NHTSA that when Super Cruise is in use, the driver must always remain attentive to the road, supervise Super Cruise’s performance, and “be ready to steer and brake at all times.”

“In some situations, Super Cruise will alert the driver to resume steering for example, when the system detects a limit or fault,” the letter stated. “If the driver is unable or unwilling to take control of the wheel (if, for example, the driver is incapacitated or unresponsive), Super Cruise may determine that the safest thing to do is to bring the vehicle slowly to a stop in or near the roadway, and the vehicle’s brakes will hold the vehicle until overridden by the driver.”

 

Researcher Prove iOS Activation Lock Can Be Bypassed

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

ios-screen-lock-150x150Two researchers report that they have discovered a way to bypass the activation lock feature in iOS that’s supposed to prevent anyone from using an iPhone or iPad marked as lost by its owner.

The first report came Sunday from an Indian security researcher named Hemanth Joseph, who started investigating possible bypasses after being confronted with a locked iPad he acquired from eBay.

The activation lock gets enabled automatically when users turn on the Find My iPhone feature via iCloud. It links the device to their Apple IDs and prevents anyone else from accessing the device without entering the associated password.

One of the few things allowed from the activation lock screen is connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network, including manually configuring one. Hemanth had the idea of trying to crash the service that enforces the lock screen by entering very long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields.

The researcher claims that, after awhile, the screen froze, and he used the iPad smart cover sold by Apple to put the tablet to sleep and then reopen it. This is supposed to restore the state of the tablet from where it was left off, in this case, loading the WPA2 screen again with the long strings of characters filled in.

“After 20-25 seconds the Add Wifi Connection screen crashed to the iPad home screen, thereby bypassing the so-called Find My iPhone Activation Lock,” he said in a blog post.

Hemanth said he reported the issue to Apple on Nov. 4, and the company is investigating it. He tested the bypass on iOS 10.1, which was released on Oct. 24.

Last week, a researcher named Benjamin Kunz Mejri, from German outfit Vulnerability Lab, posted a video showing the same bypass, but on the newer iOS 10.1.1 version.

Kunz Mejri’s method is similar and also involves overflowing the Add Wi-Fi form fields with long strings of characters but also requires rotating the tablet’s screen in order to trigger the crash after the smart cover trick.

Apple has not yet confirmed that issue and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

‘Distributed Guessing’ Hacking Turns Focus To Credit Card Numbers

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

credit-card-theft-150x150Credit card fraud has been added to the list of things that distributed processing can hasten.

An e-commerce site will typically block a credit card number after 10 or 20 failed attempts to enter the corresponding expiry date and CVV (card verification value), making life difficult for fraudsters who don’t have a full set of credentials.

But there are plenty of e-commerce sites out there, and it’s possible to obtain missing account details by submitting slightly different payment requests to hundreds of them in parallel.

It takes less than six seconds to perform the “distributed guessing attack,” according to the researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K. who figured out how to do it.

Guessing the expiry date of a valid card isn’t all that difficult: Cards are typically issued for five years at most, so sending the 60 possible values to different websites will get a confirmation from one of them. The three-digit CVV is a little harder, involving spreading 1,000 requests across multiple websites.

“Practically unlimited guesses can be made by distributing the guesses over many websites, even if individual websites limit the number of attempts,” wrote researchers Mohammed Aamir Ali, Budi Arief, Martin Emms, and Aad van Moorsel.

The title of their paper asked the question: “Does The Online Card Payment Landscape Unwittingly Facilitate Fraud?”

Their answer is emphatically yes — at least for Visa cards, for which they were able to submit sufficient requests to obtain the missing values.

MasterCard’s centralized payment network, on the other hand, detected their attack on a card account after fewer than 10 authorization attempts.

Ali and colleagues studied 389 websites drawn from the 400 most-visited according to Alexa.com. Of those, just 47 used the 3D Secure authorization system, making them immune to the attack.

The weak links in the system were the 26 sites that required only the card number and the expiry date to validate payment. The 20 of them allowing at least six guesses provided ample capacity for guessing such an easy answer.

A further 291 sites would validate a card number with just the expiry date and CVV — but with 238 of them allowing six or more guesses, the CVV could soon be obtained.

Is More ZEN Information Coming This Month?

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

While waiting for Zen is remarkably like waiting for Godot, we have just been told that AMD will be holding a sneak peek of its high-performance Zen CPU on 13 December.

The preview will be streamed at 1 p.m. PST on December 13. You can sign up at AMD’s website to have a shifty. The host of the event will be the video gamer hack, Geoff Keighley and it will be called “Watch New Horizon.”

According to the email the event will be an “ exclusive advance preview of our new ‘Zen’ CPU ahead of its 2017 Q1 launch”.

“See eSports & Evil Geniuses legend PPD put ‘Zen’ through its paces. There’ll be appearances from special guests and giveaways. This is the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities. If you’re serious about gaming, this is an event you do not want to miss.”

What we are expecting is that AMD will show off the quad-core version of Zen. AMD will have four Zen-based CPUs in the “Summit Ridge” family launching early next year.

The top end will probably include two eight-core chips with Simultaneous Multi-Threading, and an SR5 with six cores, and a quad-core SR3.

What we are curious about is if the pricing rumors are correct. The highest-end 8-core will be $500, while a second, slower eight-core chip could be as low as $350. This will really scare the bejesus out of Intel as it is promising better performance for half the price.

Other rumors say that the six-core SR5 will hit the shops for $250 and the quad-core SR3 will be $150. Intel gear will set you back $320 for its quad-core Core i7-6700K chip, and the cheapest six-core costs $380.

Courtesy-Fud

Are More PC Games Appearing On Valve’s Steam?

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

The number of games on Steam continues to rise at a daunting rate. According to new data from Steam Spy, the number of full games released on the store this year rose 40% over 2015.

Steam Spy founder Sergey Galyonkin published a chart on Twitter that indicated a total of 4207 games launched on Steam in 2016, up from 2964 last year. If accurate, that means 38% of all games on Steam were released within the last 12 months – a sobering thought for any developer trading on Valve’s market leading platform.

Of course, the notion that Steam is crowded with product is hardly new, but Steam Spy’s chart – republished above – clearly illustrates the pace at which the trend is playing out.

The only small consolation is that the 40% rise over last year is actually lower than the 67% increase in new games between 2014 and 2015. Galyonkin noted that the chart doesn’t include movies and non-game software, but it also filters out relevant content like DLC packs and “games without owner data.”

Valve is certainly cognisant of the issues that Steam’s teeming inventory has created for both developers and consumers. It has responded with two “Discovery Updates” that gave more control over the experience to both groups, the first in 2014 and the second little more than a month ago.

Following the second Discovery Update, GamesIndustry.biz talked to developers about the “huge impact” of the changes.

Courtesy-Fud

Gooligan Malware Gains Access To Over 1M Google Accounts

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

google-bldg-150x150A new Android malware has succeeded in gaining access to more than 1 million Google accounts, and it continues to infect new devices, according to security firm Checkpoint.

“We believe that it is the largest Google account breach to date,” the security firm said in blog post.

The malware, called Gooligan, has been preying on devices running older versions of Android, from 4.1 to 5.1, which are still used widely, especially in Asia.

Gooligan masquerades as legitimate-looking Android apps. Checkpoint has found 86 titles, many of which are offered on third-party app stores, that contain the malicious coding.

 Once Gooligan is installed, it attempts to root the device, as a way to gain full control. The malware does this by exploiting well-known vulnerabilities in older versions of Android.
“These exploits still plague many devices today because security patches that fix them may not be available for some versions of Android, or the patches were never installed by the user,” Checkpoint said.
Gooligan will then go on to steal the user’s Google authorization tokens, giving the malware access to Gmail, Google Play, and other related services.

Of the 1 million Google accounts breached, 19 percent were based in the Americas, 9 percent in Europe, while 57 percent were in Asia, according to Checkpoint.

Nokia Smartphones Poised For A Comeback

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-hq-150x150Nokia smartphones are gearing up for a comeback after former managers at the Finnish company licensed the handset brand from Microsoft and struck up partnerships with Google and phone manufacturer Foxconn.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones and then chose Microsoft’s unpopular Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

Nokia quit smartphones in 2014 by selling its handset activities to Microsoft to focus on mobile network equipment. Microsoft continued selling Lumia smartphones under its own name but this year largely abandoned that business, too.

 HMD Global, led by Nokia veteran Arto Nummela, wants to launch its first Nokia smartphone in the early part of next year using Google’s Android operating system.

Success will require a dash for scale by stealing business from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players in a cut-throat industry.

“Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?” said Nummela in an interview.

The Nokia consumer brand lives on as the badge on cheaper, entry-level “feature phones” sold mainly in Asia, India and Eastern Europe, though Microsoft invested little to market the name in recent years. Smartphones typically cost anywhere from ten to 30 times as much as these basic phones, which sell for as little as $20.

“For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp,” said mobile phone analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who suggested that phone vendors with weaker brands should not take the new challenge lightly.

“The barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low,” said Wood. “What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be driving scale.”

CEO Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, does not lack ambition.

“We want to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business,” he told Reuters.

HMD President Florian Seiche previously worked at Siemens, Orange, HTC and Nokia. Chief Marketing Officer Pekka Rantala is a former CEO of Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds game, as well as a Nokia veteran.

“We are not going to skip any markets in the long term,” Seiche said, adding that HMD had already set up offices in 40 locations around the world.

Is The PSVR Really Selling?

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

As the numbers from Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend continue to trickle in, many analysts are examining how the holiday sales picture is coming together this year. While The NPD Group is not ready to give its full assessment just yet, the firm did note to GamesIndustry.biz that digital promotions on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live were much more aggressive this year and may have impacted the retail channel. Digital aside, the sector that seemed to struggle the most is virtual reality, according to SuperData, which said VR has been the “biggest loser.”

Thanks to “notably fewer units sold than expected due to a relatively fragmented title line-up and modest marketing effort,” VR headsets are now expected to sell even fewer than previously thought. SuperData’s revised forecast for 2016 calls for under 750k PlayStation VR units sold (their previous estimate was 2.6 million) with Google’s Daydream selling just 261k (down from 450k). Previous estimates for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Gear VR remain unchanged at 450k, 355k and 2.3 million, respectively.

As you can see, expectations for PSVR have seen the most dramatic shift. Stephanie Llamas, director of research and insights at SuperData, explained to us, “PSVR had the best opportunity to benefit from the holidays but their supply inconsistencies and lack of marketing have put them behind their potential. They did not offer any first-party deals this weekend, restock bundles or market the device, pushing instead for the PS 4 Pro. They have also pointed out that VR looks even better on a Pro than a standard or slim PS 4, so the message to most gamers is: Get the Pro now, then the PSVR later. As a result, we won’t see them break 1M shipments until well into the new year.”

Llamas added that Sony may be deliberately limiting PSVR supply until it can do a better job with supporting the platform. “Had Sony pushed the PSVR the way they’ve been pushing their other new hardware, the demand would have certainly fulfilled a supply of over 2 million. However, given its quiet release it’s clear they’re being cautious before fully investing in the tech. Without the ‘killer app’ and the slow, steady release of AAA content, they will release less than 1 million devices until they have content they feel confident will bring in the praise they want. They can afford to take it slow since they have no competition for now, so their supply and sales will rise steadily into 2017 as opposed to riding the seasonal wave,” she said.

As for Oculus, Llamas believes they’ve taken a risk by possibly splitting their own user base. “The Rift’s Touch controllers are an opportunity for Oculus to penetrate, but not many headsets have moved, especially with their round-about deal where purchasers earned $100 Oculus credit rather than just getting $100 off. Oculus’s hardware release strategy has also slowed them down and split their user base, so developers are having to make some choices around whether they should develop for both Touch and non-Touch users. This means development has slowed and is becoming another barrier to growth,” she remarked.

Looking at the non-VR games market, Nintendo may actually prove to be the biggest winner, thanks to updates both to Pokémon GO and selling out of its NES mini. “On mobile we recorded a spike in earnings as players made the most of the Thanksgiving special for Pokémon GO. The game’s ability to stay in the forefront of people’s minds as we approach the release date for Super Mario Run may prove beneficial for Nintendo, which has yet to make a convincing claim on the $38 billion mobile games market,” said Joost van Dreunen.

Overall digital game sales this holiday are down 2% from 2015 so far, but the impact of digital has grown tremendously in just a few years. “In 2012 full game downloads accounted for only 6% of total unit sales around the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. For 2016E that number was four times higher at 24%,” van Dreunen said.

The other big contributor to the slow holiday start has been big discounting, according to Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter. “We saw greater discounting of high-profile new video games this Black Friday compared to last year. Last year’s top sellers, Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III , Bethesda Softworks’ Fallout 4, and EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, saw sticky pricing on Black Friday, with the $60 price point remaining largely intact. While discounting of sports games happens each year, many other titles that maintain pricing on Black Friday were listed at discounts of 40% or more this weekend,” he observed.

“For example, Walmart had EA’s Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 at $27, and Microsoft’s Gears of War 4 and Take-Two’s Mafia III at $35. Walmart also had Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition, which includes Modern Warfare Remastered , for $57, a $23 discount. Discounting of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare began earlier in the week, with widespread discounts of roughly $20 for the different versions of the game. Hardware discounting for the PS4 and Xbox One was largely consistent with 2015, as $50 discounts were commonplace.”

Pachter also agreed that the “pace of the mix shift to digital full game downloads continues to be brisk,” but we probably won’t know whether digital sales fully made up for retail declines until we get the complete NPD report for 2016 sometime in January.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is The Planet Mercury Really Hot?

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. But although it boasts the most widely varying temperatures in the solar system, it is not the hottest planet How is this possible?

Orbiting between 28 and 43 million miles (46 and 70 million kilometers) from the sun, Mercury, also the smallest planet, feels the brunt of the solar rays. According to NASA, the tiny world suffers the most extreme temperature range of any other planet in the solar system. The day side of the planet reaches temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius). In contrast, the chilly night side can get as cold as minus 290 F (minus 180 C). The planet has an average temperature of 332 F (167 C).  

These variations are relatively long-lived. Scientists once thought that Mercury kept a single side perpetually facing the sun, in a condition known as tidal locking. Because the planet lies so close to the sun, it could only be studied when it showed the same rocky, cratered face toward Earth, though at different points in its orbit. However, further studies revealed that the planet spins very slowly — only three times every two Mercury years, or once every 60 Earth days.

Mercury’s low mass and proximity to the sun keep it from having anything but the thinnest of atmospheres, and this is the reason it must pass on being the hottest planet. An atmosphere helps to cloak a planet, keeping heat from leaking into space. Without an atmosphere, Mercury loses a great deal of heat into space, rather than sharing with its night side.

The hottest planet, incidentally, is Venus, the second body from the sun. Venus has a thick atmosphere that blankets the planet, keeping its temperature at an average of 864 F (462 C).

On Earth, seasonal temperature shifts are caused by the tilt of the planet’s axis. If the Southern Hemisphere is closer to the sun than its northern counterpart, it experiences spring and summer instead of autumn and winter. But on Mercury, the planet has essentially no tilt, which means that the hemispheres experience no significant difference in temperature from one another.

That allows Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, to hang onto ice at its surface. Parts of the poles never see sunlight, leading scientists to hypothesize that ice could survive on the world. Observations made from Earth in 1991 identified unusually bright patches that corresponded with craters mapped by Mariner 10 in the 1970s. When NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft studied the north pole in 2011, it confirmed that radar-bright features at the poles were consistent with shadowed regions. In 2012, MESSENGER used a technique known as neutron spectroscopy to measure the average hydrogen concentrations in the radar-bright regions, strengthening the case for water.

“The neutron data indicates that Mercury’s radar-bright polar deposits contain, on average, a hydrogen-rich layer more than tens of centimeters thick beneath a surficial layer 10 to 20 centimeters thick that is less rich in hydrogen,” said MESSENGER participating scientist David Lawrence at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “The buried layer has a hydrogen content consistent with nearly pure water ice.”

After the discovery, MESSENGER continued to study the polar ice deposits over its extended mission. By refining the imaging, MESSENGER captured images of the deposits on the surface.

“There is a lot to be learned by seeing the deposits,” Nancy Chabot, instrument scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System, said in a statement.

However, Mercury has the least circular, most eccentric orbit of all the planets. The huge range in its distance from the sun means that the planet does feel some variation in temperature based on where it travels over the course of its 88 Earth-day year.

Courtesy-Space

Toyota Puts Bigger Focus On All Electric Vehicles

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

toyota-logo-150x150Toyota Motor Corp has tasked its president to lead their newly formed electric car division, flagging its commitment to develop a technology that the automaker has been slow to embrace.

The change comes as the United States, China and European countries are encouraging automakers to make more all-electric battery cars as they push alternative energy strategies.

Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder Kiichiro Toyoda, has been at the helm of the world’s largest automaker since 2009. He will head the company’s electric vehicle (EV) planning department along with Executive Vice Presidents Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi.

 “By putting the president and vice presidents in charge of the department, we plan to speed up development of electric cars,” said Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi, following a personnel change announcement by the company.

“The president will directly oversee the department’s operations to enable decisions to be made quickly and nimbly.”

The department comprises a new in-house unit to plan Toyota’s strategy to develop and market electric cars as part of the company’s efforts to keep pace with the tightening global emissions regulations.

Toyota is also shifting the chief engineer of its Prius petrol-hybrid to its EV efforts, appointing Koji Toyoshima to head the division’s engineering team. Toyoshima will also join the four-member EV strategy unit, which will include representatives from group suppliers – Denso Corp, Aisin Seiki Co, and Toyota Industries Corporation.

Rivals such as Nissan Motor Co, Volkswagen AG  and Tesla Motors have touted pure electric cars as the most viable zero-emission vehicles.

However, Toyota until recently said it favored EVs for short-distance commuting given their limited driving range and lengthy charging time. It has been investing heavily in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), which the company considers as the ultimate “green” car.

Earlier this month, Toyota said it will develop cars with up to 15 percent greater range and battery life in the next few years.

The NHTSA Wants To Block Mobile Apps From Drivers

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

distracted-driving-150x150The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new guidelines that is requesting automakers to create a way to block applications on smartphones or tablets that can distract drivers.

Currently no safety guidelines exist for mobile devices when they are used while driving, the NHTSA said.

The new guidelines, which were published last week and are in a comment period, instruct automakers to create a “Driver Mode” similar to Apple’s Airplane Mode on iPhones, which takes the smartphone offline.

The new guidelines are the latest effort by the federal government to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.

 In proposing the guidelines, the NHTSA pointed to a rise in U.S. traffic fatalities and injuries in the past two years, a good percentage of which can be connected to drivers who are distracted by mobile technology, it said.
In 2015, some 10% of the 35,092 U.S. traffic fatalities on record involved one or more distracted drivers, and those crashes resulted in 3,477 fatalities, an 8.8% increase from the 3,197 distracted-driving-related fatalities in 2014, according to the NHTSA.

Of the 5.6 million non-fatal, police-reported crashes in 2014 (the most recent year for which this data is available), 16% were distracted-driving-related crashes and resulted in 424,000 injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving activities to include using a cell phone, texting, and using in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) technologies such as navigation systems.

In 2013, the NHTSA published Phase 1 Driver Distraction Guidelines that focused on visual-manual interfaces of electronic devices installed as original equipment, such as infotainment centers.

Those phase 1 guidelines included a definition for distracted driving as any “single average glance” that takes a driver’s attention away from the roadway for more than two seconds or “where the sum of… individual glances” are 12 seconds or more while performing a testable task, such as selecting a song from a satellite radio station.

The Phase 1 guidelines recommended that interfaces and tasks determined to be more distracting than its specified levels should not be accessible to a driver on the road.

 

Facebook Adds Popular Games To Messenger App

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

fb-messenger-app-150x150For users who enjoy the popular Facebook Messenger app, it’s game time.

The social network has rolled out a feature that allows users to play hugely popular games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders, the company’s latest attempt to get users spend more time on its messaging app.

The new feature, initially rolled out in 30 countries with 17 games, will be available on the latest versions of iOS and Android operating systems.

A user, in the midst of a conversation, can tap on a game controller icon to choose a game and start playing. The feature also allows user to challenge their friends for a game.

Facebook made Messenger a standalone app in 2014, a move that initially irked many users. The app, however, gained popularity after the company added a host of features to it.

The social network has also added instant video and payment facilities to the app.

Facebook boasts of having more than one billion users for its messaging app, making it one top three apps in the world.

Its main Facebook app is the most popular, followed by Messenger and WhatsApp, the messaging service it bought in 2014.

Nissan To Offer Maintenance Alert Option For Internet-connected Cars

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

nissan-logo-150x150Nissan Motor Co will mark its first major entry into internet-connected cars by offering an option in some new vehicles that will use big data technology to notify drivers when vehicle maintenance is required.

As automakers compete fiercely to develop self-driving cars and improve the customer experience inside vehicles, Japan’s second-largest car maker said on Tuesday it will begin rolling out the service in Japan and India in 2017, followed by other countries through 2020.

With the availability of new mobility options including ride-hailing and car-sharing services threatening to cool demand for individual car ownership, automakers are looking for new ways to attract loyal drivers.

 Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s biggest car maker, announced earlier this month that it will have a similar alerting feature in the domestic version of the upcoming Prius plug-in model.

And Ford Motor Co last month announced that by year’s end, some of its models will be able to communicate with smart home devices using Amazon’s Alexa voice service.

Nissan said that it would also market the device required to access the service, which can be retrofitted into existing models. In the future, 30 percent of its existing vehicles would eventually be equipped with the hardware, it said.

The new service will be enabled by a telematics control unit which will enable the automaker and its dealer network to access information about the car’s diagnostics and location, alerting the driver to any required maintenance work.

“With connectivity we can provide better information and better service offerings to our customers,” Kent O’Hara, Nissan corporate vice president and head of its global aftersales division, told reporters at a briefing.

“We’ll know what’s wrong with that vehicle, we’ll know where the vehicle is, we’ll know what parts are needed for the vehicle … and we can provide convenient service and alternative transportation options.”

He added that connectivity services and other new technologies would contribute 25 percent of the automaker’s aftersales revenues by 2022, from “low, single digits” at the moment.

 

Delphi Automotive, Mobileye To Use Intel Chip For Self-driving Cars

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

mobileye-1-150x150Auto parts maker Delphi Automotive Plc and Israeli technology firm Mobileye NV will use an Intel Corp chip for their joint effort to produce self-driving vehicles by 2019, the companies said on Tuesday.

The move is a boost for the world’s largest semiconductor maker, which is also working with German luxury car maker BMW AG and Mobileye on self-driving technology, but has not been able to extend its broader chip dominance into the fast-emerging autonomous vehicle market.

Companies from Alphabet Inc’s Google to Uber Technologies Inc and Tesla Motors Inc are vying to put autonomous vehicles on U.S. roads, which could radically reshape transportation across the country.

Intel will provide a “system on chip” for autonomous vehicle systems that Delphi and Mobileye are developing together, Glen De Vos, Delphi’s vice president of engineering, told Reuters.

UK-based Delphi is talking with established automakers and new or niche vehicle companies, such as manufacturers of commercial vehicles, interested in automating vehicles, De Vos said.

The system Delphi and Mobileye are developing would likely come to market first in a commercial vehicle operating in a limited area, such as an airport shuttle or a ride-hailing service, DeVos said.

Delphi is testing autonomous driving technology in vehicles in Singapore. By the end of this year, Delphi hopes to choose a city in the United States to launch a test fleet of self-driving cars during 2017, De Vos said. The company is also looking for test site in a European city.

“We are looking at Pittsburgh and Boston and a couple of others,” De Vos said. Pittsburgh is where ride services company Uber is testing its own self-driving vehicles.

Delphi and Mobileye will stage a demonstration of their self-driving vehicle system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, De Vos said. That system will use current, electromechanical laser imaging technology, or LIDAR, that is too expensive for use in consumer vehicles, he said.

Delphi is also working with Quanergy Systems, a maker of solid-state LIDAR systems, De Vos said.

Is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 Going Eight Cores?

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has already revealed that Snapdragon 835 is officially the world’s first 10nm SoC, and Fudzilla exclusively posted this in April 2016. At that time, Qualcomm didn’t want to officially talk about the insides of the Snapdragon 835, but a leaked roadmap claims that the new SoC has 4+4 cores based on updated Kryo 200 architecture. 

The same leak doesn’t talk about any clock speeds, but one can assume that there are four faster and more powerful and four slower cores, something that you saw with the Snapdragon 810 and the  Snapdragon 600 series. A Chinese source includes the fact that this is a 10nm FinFET processor and has a Snapdragon X16 Gigabit class modem. These two things have been officially confirmed by Qualcomm.

The roadmap details Adreno 540, obviously, with faster GPU support for 4x LPDDR 4x @ 1866 MHz memory. The new Snapdragon 835 (also called MSM 8998 internally) supports UFS 2.1 storage and it is supposed to arrive in Q1 2017. The source is quite confident that you can expect to see this SoC inside some versions of Samsung Galaxy S8 phones.

Snapdragon 660 is clearly a successor to the recently launched Snapdragon 653. The Snapdragon 653 comes with four Cortex A72 with speeds up to 1.95GHz and four Cortex A53 for power saving. The new Snapdragon 653 supports a few important features that will drive phone sales in the mainstream part of the market in 2017. The Snapdragon 653 has a Snapdragon X9 Cat 7 modem with 300 Mbps downlink speeds and 150 Mbps uplink speeds, dual cameras, and supports 8GB of RAM.

This is what you will see in mainstream phones in early 2017. Let’s not forget the Qualcomm upload plus. It comes with 2x20MHz carrier aggregation and 64-QAM modulation on both upload and download side. We think 8GB will be very big for mainstream and performance phones, but of course is pure marketing and very little to do with need or necessity.  

According to the leaked roadmap, the information about the chip potentially called Snapdragon 660 are all over the place. First they called it the MSM 8976 Plus and Qualcomm  shared on its website that the Snapdragon 653 also shares a 8976 Pro internal branding. The Snapdragon 660 and 8976 Plus might be two different chips. In any case they would come to replace the Snapdragon 653 / 652 SoCs. 

The roadmap also claims that the MSM 8976 Plus chip comes with Kryo 4×4 configuration while the Snapdragon 660 comes with Cortex A73 quad core with four Cortex A53s. It would make a lot of sense to see the 14nm Cortex A73 quad core with four Cortex A53 cores. The GPU is updated to Adreno 512, while the Snapdragon 653 comes with Adreno 510. The 14nm makes sense as it will offer a lot of power savings compared to the Snapdragon 652 and 653, both based on a 28nm manufacturing process. 

We would not expect to see Snapdragon 660 and mysterious MSM 8976 Plus before the middle of next year at the earliest, but the roadmap also claims that the new chip comes with Snapdragon X10 300/ 150 Mbit capable LTE Category 13 (uplink) LTE Category 7 (downlink) modem.

Last and not least, the new MSM 8976 Plus might support UFS 2.1 storage and 2x LPDDR4 4X at 1866 MHz.

Courtesy-Fud

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