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  • China wants to make swappable electric vehicle batteries mainstream

    China wants to make swappable electric vehicle batteries mainstream

    2020-02-19
    Driving an electric car is, for the most part, exactly like driving an internal combustion engine vehicle, except when it comes to refueling. Charging an electric car can often take hours at a time, but China is making a push to support technology that could cut that down to just minutes. According to a Bloomberg report, which cites sources close to the matter, the Chinese government is pushing for common industry standards on battery swapping technology. The standards would allow EV drivers to change the depleted batteries in their cars for fully charged ones, rather than having to charge from an electricity source. China appears to be pushing the battery swapping technology in an attempt to further promote electric vehicles in the country. It’s already the biggest market for EVs in the world. One of the biggest hindrances with owning an EV is the time it takes to charge its batteries. An on-the-go battery swapping system would create a big opportunity for infrastructure not too dissimilar from conventional filling stations. In principle, EV drivers would be able to go to a battery swap station, have their old flat batteries removed, and new fully charged ones put in. The process could take minutes; no longer than it would take to fill a fuel tank. Another potential plus point is that electric vehicles could be sold without batteries, making them cheaper. Batteries would then be leased or bought on a separate plan based on the individual needs of the buyer, making them cost effective. A big ask of electric car makers It sounds great, but it’s not going to be easy. A number of companies have tried over the years, but none have succeeded in consumer markets yet. One startup called Better Place trialed its battery swap technology in Tel Aviv, Israel between 2007 and 2013, and only managed to sell 500 cars. It went defunct after losing over $800 million. Manufacturers just didn’t buy into Better Place’s vision. French marque Renault was the only automaker to give it a shot, and at that it made only one vehicle compatible with Better Place’s tech. Chinese car maker BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co. reportedly already has 187 battery-swap stations across 15 cities in China. But those are used solely to support 16,000 electric taxis. Given the size of the Chinese EV market and having government support, its car industry might be able to make progress where others have failed. But the same can’t be said for western markets. If swappable car batteries are going to become a reality, the tech needs to be supported by as many car brands as possible, and that’s a big ask. ——Source: thenextweb.com
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  • Mobile World Congress canceled after coronavirus outbreak makes conference ‘impossible’

    Mobile World Congress canceled after coronavirus outbreak makes conference ‘impossible’

    2020-02-14
    Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest trade show for the mobile phone industry, has been canceled amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak. The organizers behind the Barcelona-based event, GSMA, announced Wednesday it would no longer be holding MWC due to ongoing concerns over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus which originated in China. “With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” GSMA said in a statement. Multiple firms had pulled out of the tech conference prior to the GSMA’s decision, putting pressure on the hosts to drop the event. LG, Sony, Ericsson, Nokia, Nvidia, Intel and Amazon are some of the biggest names to have suspended their attendance in recent days. Various tech firms have been monitoring the health crisis, with some deciding to pull out of MWC as they assess the risk it would have on their staff. While plenty had backed out altogether, some had instead scaled back their presence. Huawei, for example, said it would send its European staff to Barcelona to cover for stranded Chinese employees. ——Source:CNBC
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  • CES 2020: The new IoT, or 'intelligence of things', is the major tech trend of the decade

    CES 2020: The new IoT, or 'intelligence of things', is the major tech trend of the decade

    2020-01-17
    LAS VEGAS - A new idea surrounding IoT will steer how technology will go in the new decade - instead of standing for the Internet of Things, the acronym should stand for the "intelligence of things", said Consumer Technology Association's (CTA) vice president of research Steve Koenig. "This new IoT bears testimony to the extent that artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating every facet of our commerce and our culture. "Now, commerce is pretty well-understood and we endorse that as we want to advance our economies around the world, but culture is really interesting to me as a researcher, because we're talking about technology's influence on human behaviour," he said. He brought up the example of how fast food giant McDonald's is looking at bringing AI-powered voice assistants to its drive-through restaurants in the United States. "People working in fast food - they've got a tough job. They've got to take the order, and they want to get that right, then they have to handle the transaction, and they better get that right so that they don't shortchange anybody, and then they've got to organise the order, you know, don't forget the ketchup... so by adding a little bit of intelligence for that first initial interaction of taking the order, frees the human worker to really focus on handling that money transaction and providing better service." Mr Koenig was speaking to the press at a media preview event before CES 2020, the latest edition of the biggest tech show in the world, officially opens its doors on Tuesday (Jan 7). Indeed, going by what was showcased at CES Unveiled last Sunday (Jan 5) night - a preview event of just some of the technology that will be seen at CES later in the week - AI continues to make its mark in the consumer tech world as it inches its way into almost every product imaginable. Japanese company Groove X showed off its Lovot companionship robots, which make use of AI via facial and speech recognition technology to identify its owners to ask for cuddles and stay by their side. The cute, pint-sized robots received many coos from onlookers as they waddled their way around the hall on their own. French beauty giant L'Oreal debuted the Perso, an AI-powered system that creates on-demand and personalised formulas for skincare, and custom shades for foundation and lipstick. Users can use a paired app to discover the perfect lip colour to match their outfits, for example, and have the exact shade mixed at home on the spot. Powering this new idea of the intelligence of things on a grander scale, of course, is 5G technology, added Mr Koenig. Even though 5G is the fifth wireless generation, he said, it is the first that will eventually be led by enterprise applications, whether it be for smart mobility or powering health operations remotely, among numerous others. He discussed, for example, how 5G can be used to help farmers better plan crop yields via drone fleets with sensors that can fly over massive plantations to look for plant dise...
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  • CES 2020: The Future of Cities, Transportation and Equity

    CES 2020: The Future of Cities, Transportation and Equity

    2020-01-14
    The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas features a host of new exhibits and conversations about how smart city design, transportation, security and equity will evolve in the years to come. LAS VEGAS — Making smart city design citizen centric — with an eye toward security and inclusion — has been a big theme at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The annual electronics conference gives corporate and government insiders a chance to look at future trends in tech, but also to discuss how it can be paired with policy to improve citizens' lives. A number of events at CES this year highlighted the importance of transportation, not the least of which was the keynote given Wednesday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who unveiled a new set of federal guidelines designed to pave the way for safe and efficient private development of autonomous vehicles. Paired with Chao's announcement were AV models from Audi, Honda, Bertrand and many other car makers, while Toyota also announced its ambitious Woven City project — a future city concept to be constructed in Japan that will allow engineers to test self-driving vehicles, smart tech and robotics in a real-life environment. The transportation options of the future won't just involve driving cars, however, but also flying ones. This year, Hyundai showcased its partnership with Uber to create the "flying taxi,” or the S-A1, a move that follows the ride-share company’s plan to create a fleet of air taxis and an accompanying aerial ride-share network. Bell, meanwhile, made a similar move in showing off its new Nexus 4EX, a flying car that is also a partial hybrid vehicle. Also on display at CES was the power of big data to transform and augment Smart City design. Some companies have showcased how data is being used to optimize service delivery, while others show its potential to enhance security. EnelX, for example, exhibited its City Analytics service product that allows public administrations to leverage data collection on pedestrian and traffic flows to analyze a community’s busiest areas; meanwhile Hitachi’s Lumada Video Insights uses artificial intelligence, analytics and IoT to create comprehensive urban surveillance systems. Cybersecurity was also omnipresent at CES this year. As if to highlight its importance, the city of Las Vegas was actually hit with a cyberattack on the conference's first day. This didn't stop the multitude of sessions and vendors from showing off the newest developments in security for smart city design. Finally, speakers throughout the conference talked about the need to couch technological advances within an inclusive vision for social policy, one that doesn't leave behind society's marginalized and most vulnerable individuals. That means seeking out routes to diversity in the tech industry, while also designing products and services within an equity paradigm. Consumer privacy, and the need to respect it, was also a central sub-theme of this ye...
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  • The far out and futuristic cars of CES

    The far out and futuristic cars of CES

    2020-01-11
    Filled with software and sensors, connected to our smartphones and featuring an increasing number of interactive screens, there is arguably no piece of consumer technology today as complex as automobiles. It makes sense then, that cars are a big part of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That was certainly true this year. While major automakers weren't unveiling lots of new models, they did introduce a number of intriguing concept cars as well as cool technologies for inside the car. There were also concepts from companies not known for making cars. Mercedes-Benz goes all Avatar on us Daimler, which traces its roots back to the first internal combustion cars, brought its vision of the far future to this year's Consumer Electronics Show. And it's a very freaky future, one in which humans and machines can, literally, become one. Called the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, this concept car theoretically allows drivers to operate some of the car's features with their mind. Instead of a conventional steering wheel, the Vision AVTR features a "multifunctional control element" -- essentially a moving bulge in the center console that allows the driver and the car to "merge." The vehicle recognizes the driver by his or her heartbeat or breathing. A menu is projected onto the palm of the driver's hand and the driver can, using thoughts, select from among the different options. Flaps along the rear of the car -- reminiscent of window louvers -- can open and close individually using that movement to communicate with those outside the car. The Vision AVTR can even move like a crab, turning all four wheels by about 30 degrees in order to drive sideways. The Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR was created in cooperation with the producers of the movie Avatar 2, which is expected to be released next year. Ringed with glowing lights, inside and out, the Vision AVTR resembles one of the bioluminescent creatures on Pandora, the Earth-like satellite in which the original Avatar movie was set. Fisker's second act: The Ocean SUV Auto designer Henrik Fisker's first attempt at his own electric car company, Fisker Automotive, resulted in the nicely designed but rather impractical Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid in 2011. But production of the Karma soon ended when the company declared bankruptcy and its assets -- including some unassembled cars -- were auctioned off. The hybrid has since been improved upon, and is now being produced by another company, Karma Automotive. But that has not deterred Fisker. In 2016, he launched California-based Fisker Inc. And this week, the luxury electric car maker unveiled it first vehicle, the Ocean SUV, at CES. The new Fisker Ocean SUV is "designed for optimal space and usability," according to Fisker, a marked contrast to the long but cramped Karma. The SUV will have a "California Mode" button, which opens all the windows at one touch. The rear hatch window can roll down to allow long items -- like surfboards -- to hang out the back. It has...
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  • Tech trends to watch out for in 2020:Smart home,Rise of 5G and more

    Tech trends to watch out for in 2020:Smart home,Rise of 5G and more

    2020-01-03
    The 2010s made one thing clear: Tech is everywhere in life. Tech is in our homes with thermostats that heat up our residences before we walk through the door. It’s in our cars with safety features that warn us about vehicles in adjacent lanes. It’s on our television sets, where many of us are streaming shows and movies through apps. We even wear it on ourselves in the form of wristwatches that monitor our health. In 2020 and the coming decade, these trends are likely to gather momentum. They will also be on display next week at CES, an enormous consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas that typically serves as a window into the year’s hottest tech developments. At the show, next-generation cellular technology known as 5G, which delivers data at mind-boggling speeds, is expected to take centre stage as one of the most important topics. We are also likely to see the evolution of smart homes, with internet-connected appliances such as refrigerators, televisions and vacuum cleaners working more seamlessly together — and with less human interaction required. “The biggest thing is connected everything,” said Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst for the research firm Creative Strategies. “Anything in the home — we’ll have more cameras, more mics, more sensors.” If some of this sounds the same as last year, it is — but that’s because new technologies often take time to mature. Here’s what to watch in tech this year. The smarter home: True automation In the past few years, Amazon, Apple and Google have battled to become the centre of our homes. Their virtual assistants — Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri — respond to voice commands to play music from speakers, control light bulbs and activate robot vacuums. Smart home products work well, but they are complicated to set up, so most people use virtual assistants just for basic tasks like setting a kitchen timer and checking the weather. Then in December, Amazon, Apple and Google came to what appeared to be a truce: They announced that they were working together on a standard to help make smart home products compatible with one another. In other words, when you buy an internet-connected light bulb down the line that works with Alexa, it should also work with Siri and Google Assistant. This should help reduce confusion when shopping for home products and improve the ease with which connected gadgets work with one another. Milanesi said that eliminating complexity was a necessary step for the tech giants to achieve their ultimate goal: seamless home automation without the need for people to tell the assistants what to do. The slow, steady rise of 5G In 2019, the wireless industry began shifting to 5G, a technology that can deliver data at such incredibly fast speeds that people will be able to download entire movies in a few seconds. Yet the rollout of 5G was anticlimactic and uneven. Across the United States, carriers deployed 5G in just a few dozen cities. And only a handful of new smartphones last year...
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  • 2020 CES Show Black Technology

    2020 CES Show Black Technology

    2019-12-16
    No matter it is consumer, industrial or automotive front assembly or rear loading electronic products, those been the hot topics and the focus of the market. With the gradual progress of science and technology, Smart Transportation, Internet of vehicles (IOV), Internet of things will gradually become an indispensable tool in people's life in the near future; hence, in recent years, the market shares of smart transportation electronic related products have also increased rapidly, which is also one of the most insightful markets for most car business enterprises. For 40 years, the group, First International Computer (FIC), has been playing a leading role in the design and manufacturing of consumer electronics in computer industry. After many years of product design experience and ability, FIC has gradually transformed its business into a group company specializing in automotive electronic design and manufacturing. This year, FIC will present black technology design solutions for automotive electronics at CES: like, smart vehicle AR HUD design, Digital Cluster Design, Smart Fleet Management, ADAS design... etc! So far, numerous well-known tier 1 and tier 2 car manufacturers have cooperated with FIC, friends who are interested in our design services are welcome to visit our booth at Westgate IoT Infrastructure #2821 for further understanding. We are looking forward to seeing at the 2020 CES show! 2019/12/13 FIC Global Marketing - Mr. Asa Huang
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  • 2020 CES Las Vegas Booth 2821

    2020 CES Las Vegas Booth 2821

    2019-11-21
    Meet FIC in CES 2020 It's always exciting and can't wait to meet all friends during this period every year in Vegas. In 2020 CES, FIC will not only be introducing special design solutions but also bringing fabulous technology to optimize and upgrade your automotive electronic products, such as digital cluster, smart fleet for truck, AR HUD, Gateway ECU, BMS..etc. First International Computer will be proudly presenting at booth# 2821, see you all on 7th-10th Jan. Please click here to find out FIC location at the show: https://ces20.mapyourshow.com/8_0/floorplan/?hallID=F&selectedBooth=2821
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  • Five battlefields of the electric vehicle industry

    Five battlefields of the electric vehicle industry

    2019-12-27
    Vehicle Technologies – What’s Under the Hood? There are effectively two types of Electric Vehicle, all-electric vehicles (AEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). AEVs, can be further classified as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), both of which must be charged from the electrical grid and are also usually capable of generating electricity through regenerative braking. A BEV is propelled entirely by electric motors powered by on-board batteries, does not use an internal combustion engine hence does not rely on fossil fuel. During braking, the electric motor can function as a generator, recharging the battery by converting the vehicle kinetic energy into electric energy. In a PHEV, the internal combustion engine remains the main energy source, with the battery and electric motor used to improve overall efficiency; the PHEV is propelled by the electric motor when the ICE is less efficient and otherwise runs on the ICE. Again, during braking, the electric motor works as a generator, recharging the battery. Since they rely less heavily on the electric motor, PHEVs can use smaller battery packs than BEVs. In both the BEV and PHEV, a large battery provides current to high voltage components within the system, which supply the electric powertrain of the vehicle. The Inverter and the DC-DC Converter are key high-voltage sub-components within both types of vehicle; the inverter converts the DC current from the battery to the three-phase ac current required by the electric motor. The DC-DC Converter converts the high voltage generated by the vehicle motor, (during braking, for example), to the typical battery voltage, usually either 12V or 20V. The Inverter The power transistors used within an inverter must seamlessly convert, switch and regulate large amounts of high voltage currents in a high-temperature, hostile environment. Traditionally the domain of Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor devices, (IGBT), new Wide Bandgap, (WGB), Silicon Carbide, (SiC), and Gallium Nitride, (GaN) based technologies are increasingly being adopted by manufacturers seeking improvements in power and efficiency levels. Transistors based on these technologies offer several advantages, including high temperature and high voltage operation and improved efficiency. At the same time, however, they bring new challenges to the designer in ensuring stable and safe designs. With the very fast switching speeds of GaN power transistors, great care must be taken to avoid the high levels of EMI emissions or transistor breakage that can be caused by parasitic inductance. While well-designed circuits and board layouts can address these issues, iterative design cycles can be time-consuming and expensive and tools such as Keysight’s leading-edge power circuit simulator software offer valuable performance verification during the design phase, greatly speeding time to market. The DC-DC Converter DC-DC Converters also bring design challenges; tradi...
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  • How winter weather affects electric cars

    How winter weather affects electric cars

    2019-12-23
    HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE TEMPERATURES PLUNGE AND SNOW BEGINS TO FALL. With Old Man Winter’s icy fingers beginning to grip many parts of the country, motorists in general need to pay extra attention to their vehicles to ensure they’re ready to handle the onslaught of frigid weather. The change in seasons can be especially pronounced for electric-car owners, however, particularly those living in the coldest climates. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or are a seasoned veteran, here’s what to expect and how to proceed when the mercury plunges. CHECK THE TIRES For starters, be sure to check the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires using a good quality air gauge. While this should be a regular check, it’s especially important as we head into winter. That’s because tires generally lose two percent of their air pressure for every 10°F the ambient temperature drops. You may also see the tire pressure monitor warning light illuminated on your car’s instrument panel (it looks like a cutaway of a tire with an exclamation point). If the air pressure in one or more tires is low, inflate them to the automaker's recommended PSI (pounds per square inch). It’s stated in your owner’s manual and on a label that’s affixed to the driver’s-side doorjamb. If where you live gets extreme amounts of snowfall, consider installing a set of grippy snow tires for the winter. EXPECT FEWER MILES ON A CHARGE All vehicles, whether they run on gas or kilowatts, become less energy-efficient in cold weather. The typical internal combustion engine vehicle can see its gas mileage drop by around 20 percent in the cold, and this effect tends to be more pronounced with electric cars. The unfortunate truth is that cold temperatures can substantially hamper both a battery’s performance and its ability to accept a charge. A study conducted earlier this year by the AAA found that when the mercury dips to 20°F and the heater is in use, an electric car’s operating range will drop by an average of 41 percent. That means if you own a Nissan Leaf, that’s otherwise rated to run for 150 miles on a charge, you’d likely only be drive for around 88 miles before having to plug it in. You’ll also find it takes longer to bring the vehicle’s battery pack up to a full charge. Frigid temperatures also limit an electric car’s regenerative braking function, which recovers energy that would otherwise be lost during decelerating or stopping and sends it back to the battery. On top of that, using the heater will drain an electric vehicle’s battery at an accelerated pace. While gasoline engines generate large amounts of heat that can be harvested to warm a car’s interior, an electric car’s climate control system relies solely on battery power to accomplish this function. MAXIMIZE YOUR CAR’S COLD-WEATHER RANGE Extending an electric car’s operating range to achieve maximum miles on a charge can become an obsession with some electric car owners, and it becomes critical during the coldest months of the year. Pr...
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