Tag Archives: tech

New battery tech may lead to inexpensive, safer electric cars

Power Japan Plus announced its dual carbon battery technology, which promises longer-lasting and less expensive batteries for electric cars.







CNET Car Tech

2015 Infiniti Q50S Hybrid: Standout tech in a sea of Q cars (CNET On Cars, Ep. 41)

Brian Cooley checks the tech on the new Infiniti Q50S Hybrid, explains the latest in jump start technology and takes you behind the scenes of the visual technology used to create crash test videos.‚Äč







CNET Car Tech

Top-tier RS 7 is a tech car in track-ready trim

The Audi RS 7 Quattro is one of those cars that tries to do it all. Not content to just be good at one thing or to be a jack of all trades, the RS 7 tries to be great at everything… and pulls it off. It’s possibly the most “total package” car that I’ll drive this year. Startlingly fast, quite comfortable, and extremely high tech, they don’t come much more “CNET-style” than this.

Power and performance The most powerful of the A7 chassis, the RS is powered by a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that is stated at 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That torque is sent through an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission on its way to the Audi Quattro system and all four 20-inch RS Design wheels. In this configuration, Audi’s all-wheel drive system splits power 40/60 between the front and rear axles, respectively. This slight rear-bias, along with the torque-vectoring rear Sport Differential, contribute to the sporty RS 7′s sporty driving characteristics.

The 560 horsepower RS 7 has as much power and torque as a Porsche 911 Turbo S.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Twin turbochargers force feed air into the V-8′s cylinders, which is then mixed with direct injected premium gasoline and combusted to create gobs of power. When all of that capacity isn’t required, such as when cruising along, the engine takes advantage of cylinder deactivation tech, shutting down one of its cylinder banks and dro… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Mercedes-Benz CLA250 includes top tech, but rides rough

When I got into the driver’s seat of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250, I found the luxury feel and quality materials I expected from this vaunted luxury brand, despite this new model sitting at the low end of the line-up. Perched on the dashboard was a 7-inch LCD showing Mercedes-Benz’s highly refined navigation system, and Harmon Kardon speakers around the cabin emitted crisp, distinct sound.

On the road, however, the CLA250 felt less like the Mercedes-Benz models to which I was accustomed. The ride, in particular, lacked the dreamy glide of the new S550, or even the competent comfort of the GLK250.

Mercedes-Benz CLA250 shows compact style (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.

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Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Test driving the Audi ERL tech of tomorrow, today

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

This week, we paid a visit to Audi’s Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL) in north California. Rather, it paid a visit to us, bringing along its Audi Urban Intelligence Assist demo vehicle to San Francisco and taking me for a spin.

The Audi Urban Intelligence Assist (AUIA) vehicle is, essentially, an Audi A6 3.0T that has been outfitted as a test bed for a variety of technologies being developed by Audi ERL and its partners at the University of California Berkeley, the University of California San Diego, and the ?Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies at USC. During my ride, a variety of new technologies were demonstrated, including Driver Attention Guard, Intelligent Merge/Lane Assist, and predictive modeling for traffic, parking, and driver behavior.

Graphics in the instrument cluster indicate that the Attention Guard system is in control.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Driver Attention Guard Using an array of cameras hidden in plain sight around the AIUA vehicle’s cabin, the Driver Attention Guard system, developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, watches the driver’s head and face and discerns whether he or she is watching the road. On a closed course with an Audi ERL rese… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)

Highest rated tech cars of 2013 (CNET On Cars, Episode 32)

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In this episode:

  • We revisit the Bugatti Veyron in California’s Wine Country
  • Tour many of the same roads where we shot the Veyron video
  • Top 5 high tech cars of 2013, according to CNET review scores
  • Another look at alcohol interlock technology to prevent drunk driving

After you watch out Car Tech 101 on hemi engines… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Vote for the Tech Car of the Year

As the end of the year closes in, the Car Tech staff takes a look back at the cars we have reviewed, challenged with the task of determining the best tech cars available. As the preliminary stage in coming up with the Tech Car of the Year for 2013, we picked out five nominees from a year’s worth of reviews. To qualify as a Tech Car of the Year nominee, we had to have given each car a full review, with plenty of drive time and exploration of cabin tech features.

One trend that stood out for us this year was autonomous driving. No production car currently allows fully autonomous driving, but many show driver assistance features leading in that direction. We also looked to connected tech in the cabin, a big consideration in previous years, and general excellence in cabin electronics. Drive systems, from the engine bay to transmission and suspension, also came under consideration.

Check out our list of nominees and editors’ comments, place a vote for your favorite, and discuss the cars in our comments section. Our CNET jury will place their votes, and we will announce the winner on December 18. We will also be announcing the Car Tech 10, ten other awards for notable achievements in the automotive space.

Nominees


[Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Mazda3 gets a brand new look, and tech

Mazda brought its new Mazda3 hatchback and sedan to the Frankfurt auto show, a car improved in every dimension.

(Credit: Wayne Cunningham/CNET)

FRANKFURT–Back in June, Mazda unveiled its updated Mazda3 hatchback, a car that represented multiple new initiatives for the automaker to increase efficiency, enhance technology, and introduce cohesive styling across the brand. At the Frankfurt auto show, Mazda showed off the hatchback and the new sedan version of the Mazda3.

Both versions of the Mazda3 exhibit the kind of head-turning styling introduced on the new Mazda6. The dimensions of the Mazda3 have been reduced, which also lessens vehicle weight, while the body panels have been smoothed. Unlike the Nagare styling language developed then dropped by Mazda, which emphasized the sort of ripples seen in nature, the Mazda3 seems to draw its influence from the gentle curvature of a plum or an apple.

A graceful beltline contour dips at the front doors then curves up towards the front fenders. Mazda keeps the headlight and taillight casings small, well-integrated with the fenders. The hatchback resembles a larger Mazda2.

Both versions sport a long nose, which contains a 2-liter four cyl… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Dated dash tech meets the connected age in the 2014 Volkswagen Passat SEL

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

The 2014 Volkswagen Passat doesn’t come up very often in my discussions about and comparisons with other sedans in its class. Perhaps, it’s because the Passat is like a Jetta or because the RNS 315 and 510 navigation systems simply aren’t exciting to techies and have been around forever. Perhaps it’s because, for VW enthusiasts, the Passat is almost a foregone conclusion, the obvious choice when you need more space than the Jetta offers and for everyone else, suggesting a Volkswagen will be met with, “Yeah, but what about the reliability?” Perhaps it’s that you either want a Passat or you don’t that keeps it out of discussion.

Let’s discuss it anyway, because the 2014 Passat SEL Premium 1.8T that I was able to take for a spin at a recent Volkswagen full-line driving event is interesting for a few reasons — the most obvious being the 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, which is a new, strong performer, and the debut of VW’s Car-Net telematics system, which brings the dated dashboard tech into the connected age.

Dashboard tech and Car-Net telematics The Passat’s dashboard tech doesn’t seem to have changed much. Front and center, our SEL trim level featured the same RNS 510 navigation receiver that has graced Volkswagen models for as far back as I care to remember. It’s not a bad system, boasting a combination of physical and touch-screen controls that are easy to understand and an inte… [Read more]

    








Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET