Showing posts in the category of gadgets

Cars Identified as the Next Targets of Cybercrime


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Did you know that there are six ways someone can hack into your car wireless-ly?

Neither did we, but someone can do so through systems like the tire pressure monitor or the keyless entry; and in some cases, he/she doesn’t even have to be close.

As one counter-hacker told Wards Auto’s John McElroy, “once you’re on the CAN bus, you’re in”. That’s the acronym for the Controller Area Network, which is akin to the central nervous system of any modern vehicle. Apparently, it’s not that difficult to “get in”, and then lots of bad things can happen.

Imagine, for example, a car-theft ring that will sell Vehicle Identification Numbers and GPS coordinates to any interested party. “I’m looking for late-model BMWs within half a mile of 4th and Broadway. Do you have anything for me?” With a few keystrokes, the thief would be supplied with all the info, choose which vehicle he wants and then unlock the doors, start the engine and simply drive away.

Want to eavesdrop into someone’s private conversations? If they are pairing their phone to the car infotainment system makes them a target. Imagine what that would do for industrial espionage – or even paparazzi…

One way to hack into a car’s CAN bus is by corrupting a song file and use social media to make people download and play it into their car. A CD or a USB drive would do the job just the same.

The main threat identified by cyber security specialists are car thieves. Then, there are kids and people who do it for fun and “are generally not malicious”. The worst-case scenario involves terrorists. They may, for example, hack into a car dealership or service center by compromising an employee’s laptop and install malicious software, like a Trojan horse, to a fleet of cars. Then, a preset “trigger”, which may be anything from a day and time to a GPS location, allows them to take control. How do you stop them?

That’s the problem automakers and suppliers are rushing in to solve. The first CAN bus networks were first installed in vehicles in the late ‘80s. Back then, no one would have thought of anything like this. Now it’s the digital age and cars feature all sorts of infotainment and connectivity systems. Which may make your life easier but, if a hacker decides to mess up with your vehicle, a nightmare.

Thankfully, hackers need access to a lot of expensive equipment and reverse engineering of the car’s software. Given enough time and money, though, it will become easier and those expensive options you ticked (or were they standard?) will compromise the security of your car.

Factor in the autonomous-driving cars that all major companies - and Google - are developing and it can all end in tears. Who knows - maybe updating your car’s security (antivirus?) software will become routine.

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2016 Cadillac CT6's Rearview Mirror Will Get Video Streaming Function


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Following in the footsteps of Nissan, Cadillac will introduce high-resolution streaming video for the rearview mirror of the upcoming CT6 sedan late next year.

Citroen's DS Brand Has Some Neat Christmas Gifts


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'Tis the Season for advertising holiday gift ideas and Citroen's newly formed DS brand has a little something for both small and big kids.

Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its 'Transparent Pillar' And 'Ghost Car' Tech To Aid Visibility


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It's not as creepy as it sounds, but Jaguar Land Rover is working on new technology that makes thick pillars disappear and has you follow a "ghost car" with navigation directions.

Have An Android Watch? Get Official Porsche Face for Free


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Hey, no matter how rich you are, everyone loves getting something for free, right?

Ford Introduces SYNC3, Promises Major Improvements [w/Videos]


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Ford has unveiled its next-gen in-car infotainment system called SYNC3. It promises a much improved experience over what the automaker is currently offering, thanks to a more intuitive interface and additional features.

There’s a new “smartphone-like touchscreen” which must be a big improvement over what they’re currently offering, because now touch response is really not a strong point.

EDAG's New Light Cocoon Concept to Hatch in Geneva


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Engineering and design company EDAG will showcase an unusual concept at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show called “Light Cocoon,” which uses new lightweight construction methods.

Watch Robot Used by Fiat-Chrysler Beat NBA Star Marco Belinelli at 3-Point Shooting


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Industrial automation company Comau SpA has built a robot that is capable of scoring more three-point shots than NBA champion Marco Belinelli.

Called Racer and used by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in its plants, the robot challenged San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Marco Belinelli on a three-point shooting contest.

Lincoln Signs Exclusive 10-Year Deal with Revel for its Audio Systems [w/Video]


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Lincoln announced an exclusive 10-year collaboration with Revel, the maker of premium audio systems owned by Harman International. The deal will make Lincoln the only automotive brand to offer Revel audio systems.

Head-Up Displays May Finally Be Going Mainstream


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After a quarter of a century, head-up displays might actually be catching on in cars.

Loose GoPro Camera Hits Rider at 160 MPH!


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People are obsessed nowadays with capturing everything they do on camera. Whether it’s Google Glass, a GoPro camera or a mobile phone, we want to document each experience we have.

Fresh Details About Eigth-Gen VW Golf


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Volkswagen’s current five-year model cycle means that next year we’ll be seeing a Golf facelift, while two years later, in 2017 an all-new model.

The next-gen car will be better than its predecessor in every single way, says a recent report, not only being more efficient, powerful and faster, but also packed with innovative tech.

Nissan Pranks People by Spilling Paint on its “Self-Cleaning” Leaf [w/Video]


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Remember Nissan’s “self-cleaning” Leaf? The Japanese automaker thought it could present the self-cleaning nano-paint technology in a funny way so it has released an online video showcasing the paint’s qualities.

Skoda Offers Personalized Photo Wraps for Fabia's Dash


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Owners of Skoda's new Fabia hatchback and Estate can now decorate their dashboard with their own pictures, which they can order online.

BMW Develops "Light and Charge" Street Lights for All EV Users


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Simple ideas are usually the best ideas: BMW has developed street lights equipped with sockets to charge electric cars and said it will test the new technology in Munich next year.

Consumer Reports Gives Android Auto the Quick Once-Over in LA


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Android has finally reached dashboard-mounted touchscreens and if you’ve seen the latest mobile version of the operating system, it will be instantly familiar. That’s what Consumer Reports says after having had a chance to try it out at the Los Angeles motor show this week.

Google’s Self Driving Cars are Designed to Expect the Unexpected


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There’s only so much you can script into code for a car to drive itself and make sure it’s safe on unpredictable public roads. In fact, if you go down the scripting route too much, you may end up with a product that lacks adaptability, and that’s exactly what Google is reportedly trying to avoid in developing its autonomous car tech.

Mercedes Shows Future Path for its LED Headlights [w/Video]


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Mercedes has just announced that for future models that are to use LED headlights, it’s going to switch from units featuring 24 diodes to ones with 84 per lamp. The promise is better quality lighting for improved safety and a lesser chance of dazzling oncoming traffic.

Volvo Details New Interior Air Quality Filter for XC90


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Smelling the smog as you’re sitting in traffic is one of the least pleasurable aspects about in-town driving. Not only are some particles unpleasant to the senses, but they also cause health hazards too, so Volvo is selling its new XC90 SUV with what a multi-filter system that cleans the air before it goes into the cabin.

Next-Gen Prius to Get Technology Tested in Toyota’s Le Mans Racer


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Race on Sunday, sell on Monday; the old adage is most certainly used by automakers’ marketing departments as they try to make some short of connection between their on-track success and the models they actually sell to the public.

The truth is, though, that these days racing technology is so sophisticated, and thus costly, that its use on everyday cars is all but prohibited. Sure, some of it eventually trickles down eventually on production models but not quite in the same form – even if those PR departments would like us to believe otherwise.

Toyota, however, went the other way around, as it is already testing certain parts of the current Prius replacement in its TS040 Hybrid Le Mans racer, which currently leads the championship standings.

“Our components already have parts from the next-generation Prius”, president of Toyota Motorsport GmbH Yoshiaki Kinoshita told Autonews. Although he wasn’t willing to go into much detail, Kinoshita said that they weren’t mechanical parts but rather preproduction prototypes of microchips and microcontrollers that are tested for longevity in the harsh environment of endurance racing.

One thing the racer and the street-going hybrids have in common is the need for fuel efficiency. The TS040 has been redesigned in order to reduce its consumption by 25 percent compared to the 2013 TS030 car while, at the same time, increasing a much higher output of 1,000HP to the previous racer’s 750!

Kinoshita revealed that one technology that most certainly won’t feature in the fourth-generation Prius is the racing car’s electric power storage system. That’s because the former uses supercapacitors for its braking energy storage and subsequent release, an energy flow that happens much faster than in any street car that’s perfectly OK with batteries.

Then there are the semiconductors, which manage the energy flow between the hybrid’s battery, motor and generator. Toyota revealed last May that it has developed a silicon carbide semiconductor that can increase fuel efficiency by 10 percent and that it plans to commercialize it in around six years’ time. Probably after they have been thoroughly tested on a future hybrid racer for a sufficient amount of time, we presume.

By Andrew Tsaosusis

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