Nissan’s new car cleans itself

BY GERRY MILES

If I owned a car wash, I might not think that Nissan’s ability to develop a car’s paint that essentially renders it self-cleaning like a cat constantly slathering its own saliva on its fur to be a good thing.

But if you like technology and its advances, it could be cool.

Watch the video by clicking here.

Nissan notes it’s the first to apply the technology, called Ultra-Ever Dry®, on automotive bodywork. By creating a protective layer of air between the paint and environment, it effectively stops standing water and road spray from creating dirty marks on the car’s surface. So whereby air in the paint system used to be a bad thing with bubbles, until now in a properly controlled environ where in a different paradigm it can repel dirt.

Nissan in Europe has begun tests on innovative paint technology that repels mud, rain and everyday dirt. Thus, drivers may – except those in Vermont who have to deal with Mud Season (and yes, it is its own season before spring) — may never have to clean their car again.

The specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, which repels water and oils, has been applied to the all-new European market Nissan Note to create the world’s first self-cleaning car.

So far, the coating, which is being marketed and sold by UltraTech International Inc®, has responded well to common use cases including rain, spray, frost, sleet and standing water.

“The Nissan Note has been carefully engineered to take the stress out of customer driving, and Nissan’s engineers are constantly thinking of new ways to make families’ lives easier,” said Geraldine Ingham, Chief Marketing Manager for Nissan Note. “We are committed to addressing everyday problems our customers face and will always consider testing exciting, cutting edge technology like this incredible coating application.”

What time is it? Time to slow down at the apex. NISMO smartwatch drives telematics to driver

NISMO concept watch

NISMO concept watch

BY GERRY MILES

One part Dick Tracy comic book wrist watch and another of the rumored iWatch from Apple, and another for motor sports, Nissan’s sports division – NISMO – debuted its concept watch at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show that connects the driver to the car.

This wearable technology is alleged to provide biometric data that helps driver performance and efficiency. While that sounds cool, I was wondering if a tried and true “heads up” display on the windshield wouldn’t be better since anyone driving a NISMO has the need for speed. If it’s not safe to glance at your radio or smartphone, what then of a similar time frame to check your biometric feedback on your wrist at a high rate of speed?

Nissan will become the first car manufacturer to create a smartwatch designed specifically for drivers of Nissan NISMO cars. The Nissan NISMO Concept Watch will be the first smartwatch to connect a driver to the car and will provide drivers with real-time biometric data.

Nissan will become the first car manufacturer to create a smartwatch designed specifically for drivers of Nissan NISMO cars. The Nissan NISMO Concept Watch will be the first smartwatch to connect a driver to the car and will provide drivers with real-time biometric data.

Nissan says the NISMO Watch will allow drivers to:

  • Monitor the efficiency of their vehicle with average speed and fuel consumption readings
  • Access vehicle telematics and performance data while on track
  • Capture biometric data via a heart rate monitor
  • Connect to the car using a smartphone app via Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Receive tailored car messages from Nissan

Gareth Dunsmore, Marketing Communications General Manager, Nissan in Europe, commented: “Wearable technology is fast becoming the next big thing, and we want to take advantage of this innovative technology to make our NISMO Brand more accessible. On track, Nissan uses the latest biometric training technologies to improve the performance of our Nissan NISMO Athletes, and it is this technology we want to bring to our fans to enhance their driving experience and NISMO ownership.”

Research at the NISMO performance lab has identified three key technologies have already been identified for future development and wearable technology:

  • ECG (Electrocardiogram) to measure the intervals of the R-R rhythm of the heart and identify early fatigue
  • EEG (Electroencephalogram) Brainwave to monitor the drivers’ levels of concentration and emotions, and help athletes to get “In the Zone”
  • Skin Temperature to record core body temperature and hydration levels

The NISMO Watch will also track and rate the user’s social performance across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram via Nissan’s proprietary Social Speed software.

The sleek NISMO Watch will be available in three colors – black, white and the flagship black and red.

Lithium battery life is pegged at seven days, and yes, you’ll need another USB cord to recharge it.

Scion display audio system standard on entire line

Continuing to offer big car features in its small, somewhat quirky styled cars, Scion is making a touchscreen audio system standard on its entire lineup for 2014.

scion_my14_audio_1
All 2014 Scion models will come standard with the Scion Display Audio System featuring a 6.1-inch LCD touchscreen, AM/FM/CD/HD Radio technology, hands-free phone capability, music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology and AUX/USB port with iPod® connectivity.

An 2013 xBs produced in August or later will get the new audio system as standard.

“A standard touchscreen audio system across the entire Scion lineup stays true to the brand’s innovative nature and responsiveness to the desires of its youthful drivers,” Scion Vice President Doug Murtha said.

Available BeSpoke® Premium Audio System 
scion_my14_audio_2Beyond the base audio system, all new models will offer the Scion BeSpoke Premium Audio system featuring Aha. This upgraded system features GPS navigation services, integration with popular social media applications and smartphone-compatible access to 30,000 free audio stations, including sports, news, entertainment and Scion’s own signature station with 17 music channels.

BeSpoke has an MSRP of $1,198.

For more details on the BeSpoke system visit: http://www.scion.com/BeSpoke/.

Ford lowers mpg figures on C-Max hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

Ford C-Max Hybrid

From Edmunds.com
Earlier today Ford announced that it will reduce the stated fuel-economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid. Edmunds.com has been tracking this story closely ever since consumers on our forums complained late last year that the vehicle does not come close to the advertised 47 mpg.
Edmunds.com Green Car Analyst John O’Dell offers the following take:

“Ford wouldn’t take such a drastic step if it didn’t feel that it was absolutely necessary, even if it’s just a move to protect its image. Edmunds.com’s own testing found that the 47 mpg mark is achievable in the C-Max, but that was under controlled driving conditions. As we all know, our own driving styles rarely reflect the perfect behaviors needed to reach peak fuel economy. Additionally, hybrids perform best in slow, stop-and-go city traffic while for many people the daily drive is spent mostly on the freeways. These are two areas where the disconnect between EPA testing and real-world driving experiences come into play.”
Just last month Edmunds.com worked with KNBC in Los Angeles to test a C-Max Hybrid that one local couple claimed fell far short of its advertised gas mileage, and over the course of a 105-mile loop, Edmunds.com achieved a rate of over 50mpg. Watch more on this test at http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/Hybrid-Owners-Find-Gas-Mileage-Isnt-As-Expected/215939001.
Edmunds.com offers more detail into why real world MPG doesn’t match EPA ratings at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/heres-why-real-world-mpg-doesnt-match-epa-ratings.html.

VW/Google SmileDrive app tries to put fun into your drive

SmileDrive screen

SmileDrive screen

BY GERRY MILES

Do we really want need a happy automotive app?

VW of American and Google think so.
The two have launched an Android-device enabled app alleged to promote fun and more smiles on every trip. Hey, I didn’t write that, they did. In its beta version, SmileDrive™ is ready for download exclusively in the Google Play store (www.play.google.com/store).“A lot of time is spent in the car today, whether it is for the daily commute to work or setting off with friends and family on a weekend camping trip,” said Kevin Mayer, Vice President of Marketing at Volkswagen of America. “We wanted to provide a way for consumers to add a little more flare to their road trips and a way to share the good times in their VW’s with their friends.”

SmileDrive connects to a user’s car—any kind of car—through Bluetooth® wireless technology, and runs in the background to track data for both everyday commutes and road trips. After a drive is complete, the app uses factors like location, distance, time and weather to deliver users their Smile Score and with “virtual stickers,” for unique accomplishments.

The app has re-imagined the classic “PunchDub” game, allowing people to collect “punches” each time they see a V-Dub, using the app. Drivers cannot interact with the app, or get notifications, while the car is in motion.
Roadtrips using SmileDrive can be catalogued via photos, maps, status updates on to what is called a Smilecast: think Facebook for a VW trip with a VW app and you’re on the right page. The travels are collected on a single URL that be later be shared with friends or family.SmileDrive was conceived as part of Google’s ongoing Art, Copy & Code project, which focuses on reimagining brand experiences for the connected world. “We’re exploring how brands can connect to consumers through a whole range of digital tools, whether that’s through ads, mobile apps, or experiences,” said Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead at Google.

SmileDrive Features

SmileDrive: Where's My Car

SmileDrive: Where’s My Car

• Seamless Sharing – The app is linked to the user’s Google+ account and friends can be invited to follow these trips online, commenting on photos and posts along the way. Everything recorded is shareable, should the user choose.

• Smilecast – Friends can either be invited to join along in the car via Google+, or watch the journey on the web. At the end of the trip, the driver receives a brief video compiling the highlights of their trip, which can then be shared with friends and family.

• Stickers – Users can earn fun, virtual bumper stickers when they unlock special achievements, such as the “Night Owl” sticker for late night drives. These can be shared on any social network.

• Punches
 – Users can play a re-imagined version of the classic “PunchDub” game. When two Volkswagen SmileDrive users encounter each other en route, the app will register a “virtual punch”.

• Smile Score – At the end of each drive, SmileDrive calculates the number of points earned while on the road. Points are a function of the number of punches, stickers earned, traffic conditions, weather, and more.

• Find My Car – By logging the vehicle’s last position, SmileDrive can help users find their car via Google Maps, and receive corresponding walking directions when available.

• Bluetooth® wireless technology – Through pairing the app with the car, drives are automatically recorded when the user starts and stops the vehicle. If the car doesn’t have Bluetooth technology, the app can be manually started and stopped before driving begins.

The app requires compatible Android device. Standard data rates apply.

BOSS Audio shows off Single-DIN Head Units with iPhone control

BVI9997B FACEOxnard, CA—BOSS Audio Systems has introduced two single-DIN sized infotainment head units with full iPod or iPhone control.

Both the BVI9994 and the BVI9997B models include an adjustable, motorized 7-inch wide touchscreen TFT digital monitor outfitted with front and rear USB ports, an SD port, A/V input and rear camera input.

A Steering Wheel Interface makes switching stations or tracks a breeze, and switchable US & European Tuner Frequencies ensure easy listening. Front and rear outputs, sub outputs, and video output are also included across the board.

The BVI9994 includes a front auxiliary input compatible with audio output from iPods, iPhones, MP3 players, smartphones and many other devices. Both the BVI9994 and the BVI9997B include remote control, full iPod/iPhone control, and 85W X 4 Channel Output Power.

The BVI9997B additionally features built-in Bluetooth, allowing for hands-free phone use and streaming audio via Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Both the BVI9997B and the BVI9994 are currently available. For more information, surf on over to: http://www.bossaudio.com.