Monthly Archives: January 2014

Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon action cam is fun, but flawed

The concept of the Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon is certainly a good one.

Creating a compelling action cam video is easier — not necessary, but easier — when you have two cameras shooting a subject from two different angles. That, of course, requires buying two cameras and possibly mounts or other accessories for those cameras. And then you’ll need some basic video-editing skills to combine what’s captured, especially if you want to throw both camera views in the video at the same time.

The Chameleon, however, puts two cameras in one body. Each camera can be rotated 180 degrees — one horizontally, one vertically — and has a fish-eye lens covering a 110-degree angle of view. Mount the camera, position the lenses to your liking, and record. When you’re done, you have both camera angles combined into one MP4 file. No editing required.

Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon puts two cameras in one body (pictures)

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Nissan’s little hatch isn’t bad, but you could do better

Versatile, compact, and efficient: the small hatchback is an awesomely practical class of vehicle. Why, just look at the Honda Fit…Nissan certainly did. That’s probably why the totally redesigned 2014 Versa Note looks almost exactly like a second-generation Honda Fit with a Nissan grille. That’s not a bad thing; the Fit’s a good-looking car and, to be fair, there’s only so much that you can do when designing within this body style.

On the other hand, the Ford Fiesta and Chevy Sonic have managed to somehow not look exactly like Fits, so I don’t see why Nissan couldn’t manage a more distinctive aesthetic. Nissan is, you’ll remember, the brand that brought us the funky styling of the Juke and the Murano CrossCabriolet; I’d expect its design team to take more chances.

Moving past comparisons to Honda (for now), the Versa Note hatchback is certainly more functional than the previously reviewed … [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

2014 Lexus IS350 F-Sport – The ZEN Luxury Car

red exterior

2014 Lexus IS350

2014 Lexus IS350 Overview

Ask any automotive historian about a Lexus, and he or she will likely rave about the luxury qualities it has to offer.  What they won’t rave about is its boring styling and numb driving behaviour.  ”Its an old man’s car!” was a common statement directed towards the Lexus brand during my days in Math 12 class. Regardless of the fact that it was a statement between rookies that thought they knew a lot about cars, I’d have to agree.  It was the perfection and attention to every small detail that earned them the strong reputation of both luxury and reliability minus the aggressive styling and exceptional driving experience that other auto manufacturers had to offer at that time.

Ford enlists Stanford, MIT for driverless car research

Ford hopes that MIT and Stanford researchers can make its autonomous car smarter.

(Credit: Ford)

Behind the wheel, your brain does a lot of processing you take for granted, such as calculating the paths and speeds of nearby vehicles so you can successfully make a lane merge. Ford is turning to Stanford and MIT researchers to come up with computer algorithms to mimic that processing of environmental data.

Last month, Ford showed off the Fusion Hybrid autonomous car research vehicle, fitted with four lidar sensors, it was using to develop future driverless systems. The company will implement new algorithms developed at the universities to test these driving behaviors in the cars.

MIT gets to take on the task of predictive path analysis based on current sensor data. The researchers can look at the path and speed of a car, and use physics to determine where that car is likely to be at a set time in the future, such as 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and possibly a full minute. Likewise, the algorithm could determine where that other vehicle could not possibly end up in the same amount of time.

Ford added these lidar sensors to the Fusion Hybrid to improve its environmental modeling.

(Credit: Ford)

A predictive algorithm such as this could tell an autonomous… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

What should you look for when choosing a car stereo?

The Pioneer AppRadio series are among of the most fully-featured app mirroring receivers on the market.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

When most people think about a “car stereo,” they’re actually thinking about the receiver. Also known as the head unit or deck, the receiver is both the brain and heart of your car audio system and the bit that you’ll directly interact with from behind the wheel. When you choose a receiver, you’re also locking in your available audio sources, features, and the expandability of the rest of your car audio system.

So what should you look for when choosing for a new receiver? Here are the 7 attributes that we consider when recommending a car stereo, along with a few of our top picks to get you started on your search.

Audio sources

The most important bits that you should look for are the audio sources that you most often use.

Do you need a CD player? Will you be using your receiver for DVD playback when parked? Have you ditched discs in favor of digital media? Depending on your answer, you’ll have to decide whether to go with a traditional CD-receiver with a slot for your discs, a larger A/V receiver with a color screen, or a mechless receiver that ditches the drive and all of the moving parts that come with it.

Even if … [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Mild-mannered Chevy Malibu sedan features modern, smartphone interface

Ford is making much ado about the Mustang’s 50th birthday this year, and yet Chevy isn’t throwing the Malibu, which also launched in 1964, much of a party. Among the reasons for this lack of acclaim: the Malibu was more of a trim level than a distinct model when it launched; Chevy released a major update for the 2013 model rather than holding the update for a celebratory year; and the Malibu is a sedan rather than a more emotionally appealing coupe.

The 2014 Chevy Malibu, in its current styling, doesn’t look like it’s up for a party. The conservative styling suggests going to bed at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Compared to the Ford Fusion and the Mazda6, two more attractive designs in the mid-size sedan segment, the Malibu’s styling works more as suburban camouflage. The Malibu won’t stand out much in the parking lot, but then, some people prefer a less ostentatious ride.

2014 Chevrolet Malibu (pictures)

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Checking the tech at America’s biggest auto show (CNET On Cars, Episode 33)

Checking the tech at America’s biggest auto show (CNET On Cars, Episode 33)

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In this episode:

  • Take a spin with CNET around the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
  • Understand the three layers of autonomy that will lead to self-driving cars.
  • Find out why your headlights will soon know where you’re going before you do!

As always, e-mail me your thoughts, suggestions, and comments.

[Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Top 11 videos from the Detroit auto show

The Detroit auto ahow, officially known as the North American International Auto Show, is the first car show of the year. Held each January in the home of US car culture, it brings shiny new models, new car technology, and loads of automotive eye candy. CNET’s Car Tech team was hard at week in Detroit over the last three days to cover the show and we’re happy to show you the video highlights below.

1. 2015 Ford F-150 An all-aluminum body frame, a fuel-efficient engine, and some new body styling cues are highlights of the 2015 Ford F-150.

2015 Ford F-150

2. 2015 Ford Mustang The new Mustang isn’t an entirely new story, but we’re seeing it in the flesh as a convertible. It’s more global looking, less parodic.

2015 Ford Mustang

3. 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 For when 460 horsepower just isn’t enough, Chevy unleashes the new Corvette Z06 with at least 625 horsepower and some exotic styling cues as well.

201… [Read more]
    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Woman cleared of driving while Glassing

Cecilia Abadie and friend.

(Credit: One Minute News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

She vowed to fight. Now she has glassed the opposition.

Cecila Abadie, the software developer who was stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer and cited for wearing Google’s society-threatening goggles, has been cleared of being a menace to society.

The Associated Press reports that a San Diego traffic court took a clear-eyed view of what happened and decided that no one could possibly know whether her Google Glass was on or off.


More Technically Incorrect

Sport rules the Detroit auto show

Toyota's FT-1 concept car suggests a new direction in design for the automaker.

(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

With the global economy on a rubber band for the past couple of decades, automakers circled the wagons, taking a conservative approach to their model line-ups. But at the 2014 Detroit auto show, it looks like we can have fun things once again.

Toyota, that hallmark of sensible cars, showed off an exciting new concept called the FT-1. Although not meant as a production prototype, it shows that Toyota is letting its designers have fun, and hopefully presages new models with a more emotional appeal.

Likewise, Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus gave its new RC coupe its North American debut, and took the wraps off the RC F, a high-performance version of the RC. It’s been some years since Lexus had a coupe, and the RC fills this niche nicely. It’s a GT-style car that partially resembles the Scion FR-S, Toyota’s joint project with Subaru. The RC also comes with a new infotainment interface for Lexus, a touchpad, something we’re seeing from other luxury automakers.

Speak… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET