The BMW Group is systematically expanding the intelligent connectivity capabilities of its vehicles by seamlessly integrating the highly versatile Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant, into all BMW and MINI models from mid-2018. The innovative inclusion of a cloud-based voice service will enable BMW Group customers to access a variety of services, entertainment features and shopping facilities while on the move by simple voice interaction. Tens of thousands of Alexa skills that can be accessed from Echo devices will now be available for in-car use, too.
BMW Connected skill for Alexa has been available since September 2016. This has allowed BMW Connected users in the USA, Germany and the UK to ask Alexa to check vehicle information such as the state of charge or fuel level, or control their car via Remote Services from the comfort of their home. Alexa also makes it possible to consult appointments or scheduled routes and departure times with the help of the BMW Connected mobility agenda. The availability of Alexa in the car now makes it possible to use functions enjoyed at home while out on the road as well.
It’s been a rough year for Samsung in the smartphone world. Sure, they’re still one of the biggest names in the business and sell plenty of product around the world, but controversy over their Galaxy Note 7 phones catching on fire due to poorly made batteries has had them on the world’s radar for the wrong reasons.
In a business as competitive as smartphones, that’s something you need to squash quickly and move on, or you’ll be left behind. Samsung made changes and worked to solve the issues and regain the public’s trust in their phones, and are now fully focused on their next offerings -- primarily the Galaxy S8 and its big brother the Galaxy S8 Plus (which, to clarify, are successors to the S7 line of phones, not the aforementioned Note 7).
I recently spent some time with an S8 Plus from AT&T, and I’m back what a report on how it’s been improved and who should consider upgrading.
Genesis, Hyundai’s new upscale wing, is a fresh face in the world of high-end rides, but it came in with a bang. The 2017 lineup of the G80 and G90 are top-notch examples of quality luxury vehicles, exceeding what many expected from Hyundai.
For a full take on the Genesis G90, check out my review here (http://bit.ly/2iRolcn). In this review, I’m focusing strictly on the technology portion of the G90, and what it has to offer compared to its luxury rivals. Once you get beyond looks and comfort and overall ride quality, technology can be the decider for many when choosing a luxury ride, so it’s of ever-growing importance.
Director Ridley Scott has integrated the Audi lunar quattro into “Alien: Covenant,” a new chapter in his groundbreaking “Alien” franchise. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imaginations, they must attempt a harrowing escape. In its film debut, the Audi lunar quattro is an integral part of the Covenant mission and is deployed to help Faris (Amy Seimetz) navigate and assess the challenging, unknown terrain of a new planet.
Incorporating the Audi lunar quattro into the film is part of the collaboration between Twentieth Century Fox and Audi. “The ‘Alien’ franchise is the best way for us to garner suitable attention for the Moon rover developed by Audi, and to showcase Audi’s intelligent technologies in a visionary environment,” explains Giovanni Perosino, Vice President International Marketing Communication at Audi.
Audi and Silvercar expect approval of the transaction by regulatory authorities, with the transaction concluding in the first half of 2017.
Austin, Texas-based Silvercar helps Audi strengthen its platforms to serve the evolving mobility needs of the U.S. marketplace. The two companies have worked together since 2012, developing and delivering innovative consumer mobility offerings under the Audi mobility, Silvercar and Dealerware brands. In 2015, Audi participated in a $28 million Series C investment in Silvercar. The company employs about 150 people.
“Audi and Silvercar share a vision for the future of transportation,” said Matt Carpenter, Audi of America’s chief financial officer. “This acquisition enables Audi to move forward with a progressive partner and continue our technology leadership into the next era of mobility.’’
A vehicle’s tech features are just as important these days are its engine’s performance, design and the comfort level of the driver. Technology has taken over every aspect of our lives, including inside the car, so there’s no surprise automakers want to do it right to keep customers interested.
Today I’m going to be focusing on one particular system and let you know how it compares to the rest of the automotive world in terms of tech … specifically, I’m talking about Kia’s UVO eServices telematics system, which I recently put to the test in a 2017 Kia Sportage.
While Kia isn’t the first name you think of when it comes to in-car tech, I was pleasantly surprised with how far they’ve come over the years, and how well the system performed overall.
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, the world’s largest supplier of automotive interiors, unveiled its vehicle interior concept, called the Experience in Motion demonstrator 2017 (XiM17), at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. With a focus on Experience in Motion, the concept features more than 25 innovations, offering new consumer experiences for future autonomous vehicles.
“We focused the concept design to meet the future needs and expectations of consumers when it comes to the interior of the vehicle, as well as to enhance the overall autonomous driving experience,” said Han Hendriks, chief technology officer, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors. “Representing our theme, Experience in Motion, the XiM17 offers leading innovations that provide flexibility in the vehicle, allowing for optimal capabilities and comfort for various situations.”
The XiM17 helps answer the question, “What will people do in their vehicle, if they no longer have to drive?”
For 2017, five Audi vehicles have earned 2017 Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2017 Audi A3 and Q7 models and the A6 with available driver assistance package earned a Top Safety Pick rating. The 2017 Audi A4 earns a Top Safety Pick+ rating for the second consecutive year, when equipped with optional LED headlights with high beam assist (2.0T Prestige models only), as do Q5 with available adaptive cruise control and adaptive Xenon headlights (3.0T Prestige models only). The A3, A4 and the Q7 all earned a “superior” rating for front crash prevention.
For both awards, models must earn “good” ratings in the Institute’s small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention with standard or optional automatic braking. New for 2017, vehicles must also receive no less than an “acceptable” rating for headlight visibility and illumination in order to receive a Top Safety Pick+.
"This year’s Top Safety Picks for A3, A4, A6, Q5 and Q7 models speaks to our brand’s commitment to make driver assistance and other innovative technologies available to all customers, from luxury SUVs to entry-level sedans,” said Scott Keogh, President Audi of America. “We understand that safety and technical innovations are top considerations in a new vehicle purchase and we are proud to have so many of our models recognized with these prestigious awards.”