Monday, April 13, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News for Wk of 4-13-15

Those acid trips of the '60's could be coming back to haunt you.
Or you may be just viewing the world through Mini's newest innovation, "MINI Augmented Vision," which is being debuted at the 2015 Shanghai Autoshow. At a first glance, however, I must admit I thought I was trippin'.

The concept is described as "intelligent connectivity" between some pretty snappy eyewear and the next-generation of Mini automobiles.

Dr. Jörg Preißinger, project-manager MINI Augmented Vision, BMW Group research and technology, says the company has been working with several Qualcomm divisions on the project. "We have created an interlinked system and Augmented Reality eyewear with a characteristic MINI design that revolutionise the experience both in and outside the vehicle," the good Doctor says.

So where did the psychedelic dog on the surfboard come from? Using see-through technology, the AR Eyewear shows relevant information in your direct field of vision, but without concealing other road users. The main idea is increasing safety and comfort while driving. 

Among the nifty things the system will let you do:
  • Create destination entry for navigation and transfer to vehicle.
Huh?  Select destination points when outside the vehicle, then transferring them to the vehicle. Sort of like programming your GPS by remote control.
  • First Mile/Last Mile: Navigation display from the current location to the vehicle or from the vehicle to the final destination. 
  • Heads-up display functions: Display of speed, speed limits etc. in the eyewear, so the information is your primary field of view, with data always shown in same place above steering wheel to make sure that no road users are concealed from sight. This is like wearing a Corvette heads up display on your head.
  • Contact-analogue navigation and points of interest: Reality is enhanced by contact-analogue navigation arrows “on” the road, as well as display of points of interest along the route, such as open parking spaces.  
  • CMessaging: A small icon is shown in the eyewear when a message is received. The SMS/message can then be read out by the car while driving for safety.
  • X-Ray View / transparent vehicle parts: A virtual view through parts of the vehicle (such as A-pillars and doors) serves to render external areas or objects concealed by the car visible. You might want to disable this on a first-date.
  • Augmented Parking: This facilitates parking by projecting the images from a camera housed in the (farside) mirror into the eyewear. In this way, the distance from the curb can be clearly and easily ascertained.
I think that's all well and good.
But do you think they could include a prompt to let you know when your turn signal is left on, say, for the past 5-miles?

Toyota continues its teaser campaign with glimpses of its new stable of products with this fetching photo of the new Lexus ES luxury sedan. The latest Lexus will make its global debut at Auto Shanghai 2015 on April 20.

The new Lexus ES maintains its classical elegance "while conveying a more dynamic experience and luxurious craftsmanship," so saith the release.


After a protracted period of ugly-ducklingness, the new 2016 Honda Pilot has achieved puberty and grown some sensual curves. The third generation Pilot will go on sale this summer, and Honda says it's ready to take the mid-size SUV segment by storm.

A beefier 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC Earth Dreams Technology engine will produce 280-horsepower, and be mated to new 6- and 9-speed transmissions. The 2016 edition also gets a new Intelligent Variable Torque Management AWD System--including a selectable Intelligent Management system featuring four modes.

The 2016 Pilot is available in a new top-of-the-line Elite trim that will include a panoramic glass roof, heated and ventilated front seats, second-row heated captain's chairs, and LED headlights, in addition to a long list of standard features throughout the Pilot trim range.

In an answer to many prayers, Honda finally has produced a Civic SI model with wings.

Honda Aircraft Company's HondaJet will begin a world tour in late April with the advanced light jet making its first appearances in Japan and Europe. The HondaJet will travel more than 26,000 nautical miles during the tour and stop in 13 countries along its flight route. I have no idea what that carbon footprint will look like, but I'd sure like a ticket to ride.

"The HondaJet world tour is a tribute to Honda's challenging spirit to bring something truly innovative to business aviation," said Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. The HondaJet is currently offered for sale in North America and Europe through the HondaJet dealer network.  

Speaking of sweet dreams, if you've been coveting the new 2016 Nissan 370Z line-up, and were wondering how much the Coupe, NISMO or  Roadster might set you back, Nissan has released its new pricing grid for the sinfully fast cars. 

There are eight Coupes, four NISMO's and five Roadster configurations...aaand they'll all cost the same this year as last year.  You can't blame inflation on the price of a Z-car.

The starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (M.S.R.P.) for the 370Z Coupe with manual transmission is $29,990, while the 2016 370Z NISMO has a starting MSRP of $41,990 USD with a manual transmission. The 2016 370Z Roadster starts at $41,820 USD.

Complete details on all 2016 370Z models are available here. All prices plus
$825 Destination and Handling ...but I'd do it for half.

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