Will NIO Give Electric Car Customers What They Want?

The future of electric cars comes with many question marks. At some point, these vehicles will become immensely popular. Electric cars offer a lot of things traditional diesel fuel cars deliver to customers. Electric cars, however, are a bit too new to attract large numbers of new customers. The Chinese electric vehicle maker NIO seems to understand focusing on user experiences may be the right way to build up customer numbers.

Izzy Zhu, NIO’s VP of User Development, has pointed out his company works very hard at creating the perfect hardware and software necessary to power an electric car. Zhu does stress that hardware and software must take a backseat to user experience and feedback. No matter how advanced the hardware or software might be, if the user experience ranks as poor, cars aren’t going to move in the market.

Poor user experiences mean a bad word of mouth, online reviews and more. Selling even the most advanced and sophisticated cars won’t exactly be easy when users dislike the models. Hence, revisions and improvements must be made based on user feedback.

One sign that NIO wishes to meet customer demands reveals itself in the current development of the E8. The E8 is the name fo the company’s new SUV model. A significant segment of car buyers maintains an affinity for the SUV. For families and active people, an SUV often delivers on needs. The sporty look of an SUV also appeals to those who wish to own a hip-looking vehicle.

One drawback with an SUV would be the cost of fuel. When fuel prices rise, the sales figures on SUV’s don’t always look great. Electric cars do present a cost-saving alternative when fuel prices increase. Manufacturing an electric SUV falls under the category of “meeting customer demands” and could draw more people into the electric vehicle market.

NIO wants to be a major player in the electric vehicle market. Making decisions designed to give customers what they want surely helps with succeeding in these plans.

Facebook Launches an AI Technology that Seeks to Reduce Cases of Suicide

Facebook recently announced the use of IA to detect worrisome posts emanating from its users: posts that suggest that a user is on the brink of committing suicide. The AI technology employed by Facebook scans posts from users and can locate suspicious posts which it highlights to human moderators. The technology will drastically reduce the time between when such posts are made and when Facebook makes an effort to help out the individuals involved. What’s more, the AI will also classify user reports based on urgency.
While the Facebook’s artificial intelligence system can identify posts from mentally ill people, are the human moderators ready to offer assistance to such people? TechCrunch reports that Facebook is dedicating a significant number of moderators to suicide prevention; this involves training them to deal with cases at whatever time of the day. Also, Facebook has some new partners in its mission to stem suicide on its platform. They include Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc. So far, Facebook has initiated over 100 “wellness check.” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of product management emphasizes that the social media’s AI is tailored to reduce the time between when disturbed user posts a comment or uses Facebook Live and when first responders reach out to the user.
There is no doubt Facebook means well with its AI technology, but experts are raising questions regarding its use. Could the technology be misused? Well, Facebook does not have all the answers at this point, and Rosen explains that Facebook saw an opportunity to help and the social media giant embarked on it. Notably, users cannot opt out of the AI tech scanning their posts.
Rosen states that mental experts had an input in the development of Facebook’s AI. According to him, many ways of stopping suicide exist but connecting distressed people with their family and friends beats them all. Facebook is in a unique position to connect people at risk not only to their friends or family but also organizations that can assist them.

Airbus, Rolls Royce, and Siemens eyeing Hybrid Technology to Propel Commercial Planes

The aviation industry is known for its notoriety for pollution and noise. In fact, the European Commission envisions an aviation industry that produces 60 percent lesser carbon dioxide, 90 percent lower nitrogen oxide, and 75 percent lesser noise by 2050. So far, the most significant efforts towards the European Commissions’ goals have been announced by Airbus, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce. Paul Eremenko, Airbus’ chief technology officer, is optimistic that hybrid-electric technology is the future of aviation.
The three companies are working on a joint venture, E-Fan X programme, that will test an electric engine alongside three jet engines on BAe 146 aircraft. As expected, the venture will cost the three firms tens of millions of pounds, but that is the price that the companies are willing to pay to make the aviation industry more eco-friendly. The three corporations are planning to fly a demonstrator plane in the next two years and commission commercial applications in 2025. A spokeswoman for the venture emphasized that the three companies are working on developing a hybrid technology as opposed to fully electric commercial planes as the latter has proved challenging.
Rolls Royce’s role in the venture is at the very heart of the project. The company will develop an electricity generator that will power the E-Fan X plane. Rolls Royce has a challenging task of making the generator lightweight without compromising performance. The Rolls Royce generator will run on jet fuel to generate power for the electric engine. Also, Rolls Royce will make an effort to store any excess energy in batteries; the energy will be handy in either taking off or landing.
BBC’s Theo Legget notes that the Airbus mission is laudable. According to him, jet fuel accounts for between 17 percent to 35 percent of an airline’s running costs. Therefore, the reduction on overreliance on fossil fuel will significantly improve an airline’s earnings. Although he supports the move by the three firms, he believes the technology needs to be proven.

Samsung Announces a new Battery Technology

South Korean’s multinational conglomerate Samsung is always hitting the headlines for innovating cutting-edge products or technology. Samsung’s Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) announced that the multinational was an advanced stage of developing a new battery technology. The new technology would allow batteries to charge extremely fast over and above increased storage capacity. The institute went on to intimate that the technology would be useful not only for smartphones or other such devices but also electric vehicles.
Presently, people are increasingly relying on fast-charge technology. The fast-charge innovation shortens the time that batteries need to become fully charged to one hour, down from two hours that a cell takes to be fully charged when under regular charging. However, the recent innovation by Samsung could fill up batteries in just 12 minutes. Impressive.
Samsung had to develop a new battery altogether to achieve its goal. The new battery incorporates the use of graphene and as opposed to silicon currently used in lithium technology. A comparison between graphene and silicon reveals that the two are markedly different regarding performance; graphene transfers energy over 140 times faster than silicon. Also, it is 100 times more efficient than copper.
While it has not been proven, Samsung’s new battery technology could lead to a longer battery life than that witnessed in batteries currently used in smartphones and electric cars. Although Samsung has not spoken regarding how long the cells that incorporate the new technology would take before they are fully drained of energy, their ability to be charged in slightly over ten minutes make them convenient.
As if the news about the new battery technology is not enough, Samsung announced that it had found a way of mass producing the revolutionary batteries at an “affordable cost.” However, the tech giant did not mention when it expects to roll out the new batteries or whether it will incorporate them into its future devices especially the smartphones. Nevertheless, it is comforting that we may soon be able to charge our smartphone batteries in record time—12 minutes.

Colorado Trying to Implement a Breakthrough in Transportation Technology

There are many areas of technology that excite people because of how they have already improved our lives and how their ongoing development promises to continue to do so in the future. Breakthroughs in new medical devices and the continuing evolution of mobile computing technology are just a couple examples of this. There are certain fields of technology that seem relatively stagnant in comparison to such advancements, however, and the transportation sector is definitely one of these.

Despite new designs, conveniences, and bells and whistles, most cars today basically use the same internal combustion engine technology that was rolling off the assembly lines of the Ford Model T factories at the beginning of the last century. Trains have been around even longer. Jet-powered passenger planes were a relatively new advent, but despite some attempts at supersonic flight with the now canceled Concord, this technology has not advanced fundamentally in decades either. Electric cars hold promise for helping the environment, but they still get stuck in rush-hour traffic next to their internal combustion relatives. What’s needed is a conceptual breakthrough in ground transportation technology. For this, enter the brainchild of entrepreneur Elon Musk known as the hyperloop.

Basically, the idea behind a hyperloop is to have people traveling in a pod within a tunnel, either along the ground or underground, at speeds approaching those that would normally be associated with travel by plane. Building such a travel pod system between major cities and areas within a state could revolutionize ground travel between such locations. The economic benefits that could be had from drastically cutting the amount of otherwise productive time people spend simply traveling to and from work on congested roadways has certainly not been lost on the state of Colorado.

Politicians in Colorado are taking a serious look at implementing a hyperloop travel system between Denver International Airport and various cities in the state as well as directly between major cities. It is also being looked at for moving cargo far more quickly as well. Colorado may be in on the ground floor of an advancement in transportation technology that is long overdue given that most of us are still using the same basic technology to get around that our grandparents did when they were young and spry.

NASA Looks for Aid on Spitzer Missions

The mark of a leader is knowing when you need help, and no organization has done more for the space race than that of NASA. NASA has been working on their space telescopes, dubbed their ‘Gret Observatories’, and that has led to them trying to get United States based organizations involved. NASA made the announcement that they would like to see if there are any institutions within the United States that would be interested in taking over the day-to-day operations of the prestigious Spitzer Space Telescope. The reason? NASA has lost funding for the IR observatory and it will run out by 2019. Interested applicants must submit their information by November 17th of 2017.

Paul Hertz is director for NASA’s astrophysics division and during a meeting for the Astophysics Advisory Committee he announced, “We would be thrilled if there was a non-NASA party interested in funding the operations…”. Right now, Hertz and the team at NASA will stay hands on in operation of the Spitz until March of 2019 while the prepare their observations for the equally important James Webb Space Telescope. The goal in having a private party come aboard is to help NASA handle some of the immense cost associated with the ambitious projects.

Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, the project manager at Spitzer, released a statement making it very clear that the observatory was in “excellent health”. She want on to say that there were no hardware issues with the Spitzer. There are, however, problems that hover about the Spitzer — almost literally. Spitzer follows the Earth in orbit which means that the massive machine is drifting further away from our planet every single year, making it harder for communications to come through cleanly. As the Spitzer moves further away, it must angle itself more and more severely to pitch back information. The Spitzer has never had to turn more than 30 degrees away from the sun but it is rapidly approaching that point — which may bode trouble for the solar panels.

The Advent Of The Autonomous Car

In the near future companies like Apple and Google, which have succeeded in phones and electronic technology, they now can enter a new business for themselves as carmakers. Many of you have probably heard of Google’s autonomous car.. I wonder at what point are we currently developing this car? What can we do in the autonomous car? Can I drive the car even though the car is set to drive itself? How fast can autonomous vehicles be driven? Is there a danger of the threat of online hackers to autonomous vehicles? I also find myself wondering, in how much control will I be if I am driving this car? Will the company have more control over my whereabouts than I do?

Currently, a number of automotive manufacturers are actively developing vehicles with complete autopilot installed systems. Also most cars are equipped with electric motors, which are operated with batteries. For example, the company developed Audi’s autonomous vehicle tentatively called A9. Even the company Mercedes has invested millions of dollars into developing an innovative car of the future, which will be a completely autonomous vehicle operating on autopilot. The development is based on the car’s futuristic concept, which was presented in several exhibition rooms in 2015. The concept was named Mercedes-Benz F 015.

From the beginning, the automotive industry is one that has operated on the legislative level, so it is well known that the driver must sit in the front seat of his car, with hands on the steering wheel. For example, according to most of the laws in western civilized countries, during the ride, the driver should always have both of their hands upon the steering wheel, except his movements change only to shift gears. But with the advent of autonomous vehicles, all of these so called rules of the road, will soon change. For example, with this new development, a designated driver may legally jump into the back seat and take a nap as the car is moving, never having to intervene in the vehicle’s auto-piloted driving. In addition, the driver could sit in the passenger seat now, without even touching the steering wheel, as keeps reading the newspaper while finishing his breakfast.

Google Glass Is Back

The good news is that Google Glass is back. However, the bad news is that the glass reboot is designed to fit the needs of business and is not for public consumption. Certainly, a lot of controversy surrounded the first release of Google Glass. The number one issue was an invasion of privacy and the glasses were kind of pricey at $1,500 each. Google Glass simply did not catch on with the average consumer. However, workers found that the glasses were beneficial on the job.

What’s New With Google Glass
The Google Glass is still in production and aimed at making the average business more productive and efficient. Major corporations to medical institutions rave about the glasses. Some of the organizations boasted about a 50 percent increase in production that was due to using the Google Glasses. The new Google Glass features a new design and includes new hardware. It’s also interesting to note that the new design is also much lighter. Thus, making it easier to wear the product comfortably for a much longer time. The increased battery life should also make the product very attractive to even more organizations that would like to improve work flow and production.

Alphabet X is the production team behind the upgraded and improved design of the Google Glass. The fact is that the product has earned a very well respected place in the work-environment. It has improved work production and work flow in in high management to industrial work. Now, Google is in the process of hiring developers to design new applications for the new and improved version of Google Glasses.

Atari Invents “Speakerhat”

Atari, one of the oldest brand names in the world of video games, has recently unveiled an interesting piece of headgear. Atari’s “Speakerhat” is a novel piece of wearable piece of technology that is basically a blue ballcap fitted with a speaker system and the company’s name printed over the front in a large white font.

In addition to the hat’s speakers, it also features a microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing the Speakerhat’s wearer to broadcast calls and music from their mobile device. While the device is rechargeable, it remains to be seen what sort of charging port it will utilize. Atari stresses that the Speakerhat will eventually support linking with other Speakerhats in order to simultaneously share audio channels. While the Speakerhat is not yet on the market, Atari has established a website for people to sign up as beta testers. Because of the questionable necessity of this item and its status as a physical item, Atari will only be opening the beta to ten users.

Savvy tech followers may have caught wind of Atari’s recent surge in activity after years of dormancy and resignation in leasing its brand name out to other companies. In addition to the questionable Speakerhat, Atari recently unveiled that it was getting back into the video game business with the Ataribox game console. Said console is intended to work similarly to the proven success of Nintendo’s console Classic endeavors; offer a first-party means of emulating your games in a package that reminds consumers of what the company was built on and the good feelings associated with them.

Google Glass Isn’t Dead, Just Repurposed

Back in 2013, the first edition product of the much-lauded and highly debated Google Glass project was made available to the public. Google Glass Explorer Edition was a fascinating piece of tech — resembling standard eyeglasses, these virtual reality accessories displayed hands-free information in a format similar to smartphones, allowing the wearer to use voice commands or the side touchpad, and came equipped with a camera capable of recording both images and video.

The $1,500 price tag, functionality issues, overall impracticality of the device, and privacy concerns due to the camera led to Google closing down the project, with vague claims of redesigning the gear from scratch and a promise not to release the new version until it was perfect. That was in early 2015. Now, Google has come through on that promise — but in a completely unexpected way.

Introducing the Glass Enterprise Edition.

Unlike its predecessor, the new Google Glass device is not available to consumers. Google’s new design has repurposed the Enterprise Edition to provide functionality for a wide range of business and industry, from warehouses to automobile factories to health care.

With the release of the device, Google revealed that the new edition of Glass has been designed to not only be more comfortable for users, with a lightweight yet durable construction built to withstand tough working conditions, but also boasts increased power and a longer battery life.

Alphabet X, the Google branch that has been working in the background to redevelop Google Glass, has been steadily beta testing the device under actual working conditions. Companies such as Tesla and Boeing received early versions of the next-generation edition, and as of the recent public announcement, more than 50 companies are currently using Glass Enterprise Edition.

The reinvented Glass is already delivering results for these companies. For example, agricultural manufacturing giant AGCO has used the device to reduce production times by 25 percent, while healthcare professionals have reported that doctors are able to spend up to 50 percent more time with their patients due to paperwork reductions.

While there seem to be no current plans for a new public offering of Google Glass, the device is now being offered to more businesses throughout the country.