auto motive

As Self-Driving Cars Rev Up, How Will Auto Brands Gain Our Trust?

Posted by Dale Buss on May 1, 2014 11:50 AM

Self-driving cars are that much closer after Google and Volvo said they've begun testing prototypes on city streets following early tests, mostly conducted on rural highways and then freeways. They're part of a digital-driving derby—including the Nissan, Audi, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz brands—that plan to begin selling driverless vehicles in the coming years.

Volvo is testing 100 cars on the streets near its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, while Google's driverless fleet is now a fixture on the streets of its hometown of Mountain View, Calif., already passing 700,000 miles in road tests.

Of course, today's cars already are chockfull of individual features that nearly add up to self-driving, including warnings and assistance in braking, staying in lanes, parking, and so on. Automakers, in fact, say the remaining technological hurdles to a holistic, connected system in which vehicles act autonomously are much less difficult to overcome than creating a receptive regulatory and legal environment will be.Continue reading...


The Week in China: 3.15 Brand Targets, South Korean TV Boon, Real Estate Woes and more

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 7, 2014 01:56 PM

China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.

This week: the marketing power of Korean TV shows in China… is stinky Mercedes the new 3.15 target... trouble in real estate… BMW… Princess Cruises woos Chinese travelers… why Shanghai doesn't bother Lamborghini… the EV war… Walmart and Bossini woes… Women's Day prep… Adidas, Nike and Under Armour… Huawei has a watch, too… KFC hit on milk… and more.Continue reading...

auto motive

The Future of Auto Infotainment is Here: Apple Unveils CarPlay in Geneva

Posted by Dale Buss on March 3, 2014 06:43 PM

The day when cars become iPhones with bigger buttons may be upon us. Apple revealed its automotive infotainment platform, CarPlay, at the Geneva International Motor Show this week, and soon it'll roll out in cars from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and work with the iPhone 5, 5S or 5C.

Apple has been talking about bringing iOS into the car for several months, and what it came up with is CarPlay. It mirrors the iPhone screen in a driver-friendly format, filling the center-console touch screen of participating vehicles with large buttons in an iPhone look for crucial functions such as text messaging, phone calls, maps and music.

Drivers can summon Siri for an eyes-free control experience, an intuitive feature that will surely threaten existing in-car voice-control software. Continue reading...

car talk

MWC '14: Ford Shifts Sync to BlackBerry's QNX and Reveals Tech-Forward Focus

Posted by Dale Buss on February 24, 2014 12:52 PM

Auto brands are sure to make lots of news in the connected-car space at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, but the biggest news in the field already seems to be out: Ford is ditching Microsoft for BlackBerry's QNX in Sync, its in-car infotainment system.

According to Bloomberg, Ford is going to base the next-generation Sync system on the QNX software that BlackBerry acquired when it bought QNX Software Systems in 2010. Using QNX will be less expensive than licensing Microsoft technology and will improve the flexibility and speed of the next Sync system, the publication said.

Sure, BlackBerry, the parent company and brand, are troubled in the cutthroat mobile technology industry, but QNX remains vital in the exploding auto-mobility business. For instance, at the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm and QNX are demonstrating a Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG that has been modified to showcase the latest features of Qualcomm's Snapdragon connectivity system.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Microsoft, Google, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

Microsoft posts record sales as Ballmer prepares exit; competes with Amazon on cloud storage prices; admits to Syrian Electric Army email breach; and releases global study on power of technology.

Google pushes back against data localization, faces protest in San Francisco, buys artificial intelligence startup DeepMind and announces global patent agreement with Samsung.

Apple reportedly eyes mobile payments service, as hopes are high for Q1 earnings release on Monday.

AIG says it’s on offense as corp rep restored.

AT&T quashes rumors of Vodafone bid.

Accenture tries to grab STEM graduates early.

Ally Financial readies pre-IPO roadshow.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: A-B InBev, Volkswagen, General Mills and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 20, 2014 09:35 AM

In the News

A-B InBev pays $5.8 billion for Korea's largest brewer.

Volkswagen goes on offensive to bolster US product lineup.

General Mills files patent to cut salt and fat in dough.

Chevrolet endangers effectiveness of Manchester United deal by pulling back from Europe.

Dropbox value hits $10 billion.

EPrize rebrands itself as HelloWorld.

GM runs risks in how much new CEO Barra is symbolic.

GMC undergoes an overhaul.

Geely dismisses any concerns about Volvo management.

Hongqi's revival efforts are dashed by low sales in China. 

IBM revives efforts to sell low-end server unit, likely to Lenovo.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Google, Nike, Cadillac and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 14, 2014 09:19 AM

In the News

Google buys Nest Labs for $3.2 billion to enter smart-home derby.

Nike plans to open Jordan brand stores. 

Cadillac says new ATS Coupe will be first vehicle to wear updated crest.

AstraZeneca forecasts quicker return to growth.

Black & Decker refreshes its image. 

Michael Bloomberg returns to his company.

DirecTV attacks Weather Channel fees.

Facebook expands conversations group and acquires link-sharing service Branch. 

Fiat begins to rethink brand architecture.

Fox opts out of TV's traditional pilot season.

GE Capital gets into loyalty-program business.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Tech, Auto Brands Team Up to Transform Cars Into Rolling Internet Platforms at CES

Posted by Dale Buss on January 6, 2014 03:54 PM

Anyone concerned that automobiles soon will be reduced to self-driven, rolling video-game platforms should stay away from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Tech companies from Nvidia to Google to Samsung, and auto brands from Audi to Hyundai to Chevrolet, are making it clear at CES that super-enhanced in-vehicle internet connectivity may be their most important technological priority these days.

Chevrolet announced that the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette, Impala, Malibu And Volt would be the first GM vehicles to come optionally equipped with OnStar 4G LTE, an industry first across multiple product lines, to be followed quickly by the majority of the 2015 Chevy lineup in the US and Canada. Among other things, the initiative will create a Wi-Fi hotspot in GM vehicles.

Busily, GM also was announcing its participation in the recently rumored huge new telematics initiative led by Google, called the Open Automotive Alliance, which also includes Audi, Honda, Hyundai and chip maker Nvidia in an effort to customize Google's Android platform for vehicles that will allow for things such as app access and remote vehicle diagnostics.Continue reading...

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