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The Verge

Google Assistant Driving Mode appears to be coming to Android at last

The Google Assistant Driving mode that the company first announced in 2019 has started appearing on some Android devices, XDA-Developers reported. The UI looks somewhat different from what Google showed at its I/O developers conference last year. XDA says it first noticed something was coming about two weeks ago, when users reported seeing a new navigation interface in Google Maps. It’s not clear whether the rollout of this new mode is part of a test or will be coming for all users. Mishaal Rahman at XDA said he saw the new driving mode on a Google Pixel 4, an Asus ZenFone 7 Pro, and an LG Velvet, and he surmises that the new mode will replace the Android Auto app on smartphones. That seems consistent with what Google told The Verge last year. Whether the new mode will include all the features Google described when it first unveiled the driving mode also isn’t yet clear. It was meant to be available on any Android phone with Assistant, using a “Hey Google, let’s drive” voice prompt that would bring up a dashboard with driving-relevant activities and other personalized recommendations. And it would provide infotainment features to drivers whose vehicles aren’t equipped with touchscreen displays. The voice prompt doesn’t appear to work yet even on devices enabled with the new mode, according to Android Police. To see if your device has Assistant Driving Mode, open Google Maps and from the navigation settings menu, and select “Google Assistant settings.” If it’s not enabled,…Continue readingGoogle Assistant Driving Mode appears to be coming to Android at last

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Engadget

Google Assistant’s driving mode finally arrives on Android

Google promised an Assistant driving mode for phones would arrive in mid-2019, but that clearly didn’t happen — over a year passed without any sign of it. It appears to be ready, though. XDA-Developers has discovered (via Android Police) that Google Assistant’s driving mode is at least partially enabled for Android users. The interface has changed considerably from the I/O 2019 demo you see above, but the concept remains the same with large buttons and text that let you chat, message and play music while keeping your driving distractions to a minimum. The rollout appears to be server-side, and might be part of a test. It’s not attached to any particular versions of Google’s Maps or search apps, and also works on a variety of devices. Your access might depend on your account. Source linkContinue readingGoogle Assistant’s driving mode finally arrives on Android

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Engadget

UK closes loophole that allowed using your phone while driving

The UK is about to make it clear that you shouldn’t grab your phone while you’re driving — regardless of what you intend to do. The government is closing a legal loophole (via BBC) that allowed people to pick up their phones while driving as long as they weren’t calling or messaging. When enacted, you’ll have to use hands-free features for just about everything. The lone exception is for contactless payment while you’re stationary, such as paying for a meal at a drive-thru. The law previously only banned “interactive communication.” Effectively, this let people escape punishment by claiming they were browsing the web, taking a selfie or otherwise doing something that didn’t involve chatting with others. Source linkContinue readingUK closes loophole that allowed using your phone while driving

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Engadget

Tesla camera hack shows how your EV might monitor driving habits

There’s no certainty Tesla will use the camera this way. It only activated the camera in June, and then for a voluntary program that captures pre-collision photos and videos to help with safety features. The brand currently checks for attention during Autopilot through torque applied to the steering wheel. It wouldn’t be unheard of for Tesla to monitor driver attention, though. GM’s Super Cruise already uses a camera system to ensure you’re focused without requiring hands on the wheel, and Ford’s Mustang Mach-E will do the same. If Tesla added the feature, it could match its rivals and offer truly hands-free driving — at least in those situations where it’s safe. In case you were wondering what does the selfie camera in model 3 currently try to detect:BLINDEDDARKEYES_CLOSEDEYES_DOWNEYES_NOMINALEYES_UPHEAD_DOWNHEAD_TRUNCLOOKING_LEFTLOOKING_RIGHTPHONE_USESUNGLASSES_EYES_LIKELY_NOMINALSUNGLASSES_LIKELY_EYES_DOWN — green (@greentheonly) October 4, 2020 Source linkContinue readingTesla camera hack shows how your EV might monitor driving habits

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The Next Web

The complex design of Samsung’s new Fold is driving a screen and display revolution

In the world of flagship smartphones, there seems to be one clear trend: bigger is better. Manufacturers are trying to strip away anything that might stand in the way of the largest possible slab of screen. There is also growing demand for thinner phones with diminishing bezels (the area surrounding a screen). This trend has now culminated in the latest innovation in smartphone design, the foldable screen phone. These devices sport thin OLED self-illuminating screens that can be folded in half. The newest release is the Samsung Galaxy Z fold 2 – a device that is almost three-quarters screen and has extravagant overtones rivaled only by a hefty A$2,999 price tag. But to prevent the phones from growing to an unwieldy size, manufacturers are having to find ways to balance size with usability and durability. This presents some interesting engineering challenges, as well as some innovative solutions. Why do we love large phones? Pixabay, CC BY-NC-ND Internal design complexities of folding phones Modern phones still typically use a thin LCD or plastic OLED display covered by an outer glass panel. Folding displays are a new category that exploits the flexibility of OLED display panels. Instead of simply fixing these panels to a rigid glass panel, they carefully engineer the panel so that it bends – but never quite tightly enough to snap or crack. Internal structural support is needed to make sure the panel doesn’t crease or isn’t stressed to the point of creating damage, discoloration, or visible surface ripples.…Continue readingThe complex design of Samsung’s new Fold is driving a screen and display revolution

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TechCrunch

Lucid Motors’ all-electric Air will have 32 sensors, including lidar to support hands-free highway driving – TechCrunch

Lucid Motors is loading up its first electric vehicle with hardware — dozens of sensors, a driver monitoring system and an Ethernet-based architecture — for an advanced driver assistance system that aims to match and even surpass its rivals. There will be 32 sensors in all, according to Lucid, which has branded its advanced driver assistance system DreamDrive. The total number isn’t what matters. The type and location — and of course, the software — does. For now, Lucid is just providing details on the hardware.  The Air, which is set to debut September 9, will come with one lidar, radars, cameras and ultrasonic sensors. Lidar — the light detection and ranging radar that measures distance using laser light to generate a highly accurate 3D map of the world around the car — is a noteworthy inclusion. The sensor is typically used on autonomous vehicles, not the production cars, trucks and SUVs that consumers will buy and drive. Lucid said its long-range lidar sensor will be placed in the front of the vehicle. There is a small and growing list of automakers that have plans to include lidar in their production vehicles as well. Volvo revealed in May plans to start producing vehicles in 2022 that are equipped with lidar and a perception stack — technology developed by Silicon Valley startup Luminar that the automaker will use to deploy an automated driving system for highways.  The number of radar sensors and their location is also a standout feature. Lucid will…Continue readingLucid Motors’ all-electric Air will have 32 sensors, including lidar to support hands-free highway driving – TechCrunch

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Wired

How to Use Slack Without Driving Your Coworkers Crazy

Whether you’ve been working from home for a decade or have been thrust into the remote office for the first time, navigating the minefield of text-only communication can be dense, difficult, and draining. Slack is the go-to communication program for many remote offices, but used improperly, you could end up unintentionally annoying all your coworkers. “Digital communication is much more challenging than physical communication, because it lacks the ability to really transfer tone well,” explains Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol. “The inflections in our voice get lost, and we’re not able to hear or emphasize body language that sometimes speaks louder than words.” Couple that with notification overload and water cooler talk spamming your work channels, and you’re bound to get a little frustrated with your colleague’s Slack usage—or vice versa. If you’re new to an organization, it helps to go through the Slack history to see what the style is—do people joke around a lot? Do casual conversations mix with work, or do people use a lot of emoji? That’ll get you a long way to feeling like part of the in crowd. But above all else, there are a few best practices you should follow to avoid driving people nuts. Reply in Threads and Turn On Notifications When the creative juices are flowing, you’ll likely have multiple conversations happening at once in a given channel. The Threads feature in Slack allows you to organize the chaos. “As someone who has a…Continue readingHow to Use Slack Without Driving Your Coworkers Crazy

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The Next Web

Elon Musk brags Tesla has ‘figured out’ autonomous driving — it hasn’t

In a pre-recorded message to attendees of World AI Conference in Shanghai, Tesla’s flamboyant CEO Elon Musk bragged that the company has pretty much figured out self-driving. The company is “very close” to having a fully autonomous, no-driver required vehicle. According to a Bloomberg report, Musk claimed that the company has resolved many of the fundamental challenges associated with building a Level 5 self-driving vehicle: I’m confident that we will have the basic functionality of L5 autonomous driving this year. There are no fundamental challenges. [Read: Ford workers want to stop making US police cars, CEO dismisses idea] This might just be Elon being Elon, but current Tesla vehicles are nowhere near being capable of driving themselves. The misleadingly named Autopilot and Full-Self Driving packages are Level 2 of automation classification; they’re just partially automated driver aids. In other words, drivers must always be present, have their hands on the steering wheel, and remain cognizant of their surroundings. This latest statement from Musk is very vague, perhaps intentionally so. There’s no mention how much Tesla’s cars will change by the time they’re considered Level 5 or if that function will be deployed to all cars via over-the-air update, which is the company’s usual strategy. What’s more, having the fundamentals “figured out” is very different to saying that a vehicle can be deployed into operation safely. But, let’s suppose for a second that Tesla does have a fully automated Level 5 vehicle. The next hurdle would be to overcome regulations and…Continue readingElon Musk brags Tesla has ‘figured out’ autonomous driving — it hasn’t

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The Next Web

How does your driving speed affect your car’s emissions?

Every car has an optimal speed range that results in minimum fuel consumption, but this range differs between vehicle types, design and age. Typically it looks like this graph below: fuel consumption rises from about 80km/h, partly because air resistance increases. But speed is only one factor. No matter what car you are driving, you can reduce fuel consumption (and therefore emissions) by driving more smoothly. This includes anticipating corners and avoiding sudden braking, taking the foot off the accelerator just before reaching the peak of a hill and cruising over it, and removing roof racks or bull bars and heavier items from inside when they are not needed to make the car lighter and more streamlined. Driving wisely In New Zealand, EnergyWise rallies used to be run over a 1200km course around the North Island. They were designed to demonstrate how much fuel could be saved through good driving habits. The competing drivers had to reach each destination within a certain time period. Cruising too slowly at 60-70km/h on straight roads in a 100km/h zone just to save fuel was not an option (also because driving too slowly on open roads can contribute to accidents). The optimum average speed (for both professional and average drivers) was typically around 80km/h. The key to saving fuel was driving smoothly. In the first rally in 2002, the Massey University entry was a brand new diesel-fueled Volkswagen Golf (kindly loaned by VW NZ), running on 100% biodiesel made from waste animal fat (as…Continue readingHow does your driving speed affect your car’s emissions?

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Tech Radar

Audi e-tron: driving the first all-electric Audi

The Audi e-tron is Audi’s first all-electric car and it follows in the footsteps of the rest of the range in terms of style, comfort and technology. In fact, if it wasn’t for the lack of engine noise, you may not realize that it’s not a normal gas-guzzling car. With a starting Audi e-tron price of $74,800 / £59,900 / AU$155,700, it finds itself rubbing shoulders with other premium electric SUVs including the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. If you’re looking for a more cheaper all-electric SUV, you may want to consider the Ford Mustang Mach-E or the even more affordable Kia e-Niro.  If your heart is set on an Audi, you could always hold out for the Audi Q4 e-tron, which is slated to arrive in 2021 with a lower price tag than the e-tron, and the car maker says it plans to have 30 electric vehicles available by 2025. Audi e-tron design and drive We drove (Image credit: TechRadar) Audi e-tron 50 Quattro S LineEngine: 2 x electric motorsPower: 307bhpTop Speed: 118mph0-62mph: 6.8 secondsRange: 177 milesPrice: £70,820 The Audi e-tron is a luxury SUV, and its design both inside and out oozes style and quality. As we mentioned at the start, the e-tron aesthetically slides into the firm’s SUV range almost undetected. The large grill and the huge 21-inch alloy wheels on our vehicle provide a powerful stance on the road, and for those who want a slightly sportier look you can opt for the Sportback body…Continue readingAudi e-tron: driving the first all-electric Audi