Category Archives: Gadgets

The Wait for Bendy Tech May Soon Be Over

Bendy millennial

Bendy millennial

Perhaps it is the huge umbrella of anticipation under which we’ve all been living which has made the wait for bendy tech seem all the more excruciating. But the promise of flexible devices, which has loomed over the tech world for the last couple of years, looks set to be made good as it seems Samsung are preparing to launch two flexible devices in 2017.

The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer has been pouring countless man hours and millions of pounds into the research and development of foldable tech with the aim of launching a new style of device which ‘unfolds’ from the default phone size out into a tablet.

For some time now, bendable tech has threatened to disrupt the mobile phone market, an industry which over the last decade has reinvented itself several times. From the early brick phones came the craze in miniaturization as our phones got smaller and smaller (remember the Nokia 8310?) before bulking up as the traditional feature phone made way for our modern smartphone technology. The rise of smartphone technology has seen our tech balloon, both in size (the Samsung Galaxy Note, anyone?) and value, with the average cost of a mobile phone skyrocketing from affordable mass-market prices to the cost of second-hand sports car almost overnight. Samsung now plan to be the trailblazers through to the next stage in the smartphone journey, by unveiling flexible technology.

Flexible tech has remained tantalisingly out of reach for the tech big hitters despite the seemingly inevitable move towards the bendy phones which we’ve all been hankering for.

The biggest technological barrier facing flexi-tech manufacturers has been creating devices which are flexible but strong enough to withstand the daily wear and tear we all put our smartphones through. This is especially true of today’s sophisticated screen technology, which for many smartphones is the most impressive technological feature – developing a glorious HD screen which also folds and flexes has been a particularly tough nut to crack.

But with this latest round of bendable rumours, it may just be that Samsung has managed to overcome the technological barriers that stand in the way and 2017 may be the year that smartphone technology takes the next evolutionary step forward.

 

Uber Joins The Driverless Car Race

A man clinging on to a runaway car

A man clinging on to a runaway car
 
Ride-hailing app Uber has entered the driverless car market with a test vehicle created at their Advanced Technology Centre, with the aim of collecting data and mapping an American city.

Uber’s Ford Fusion will be scoping out the streets of Pittsburgh to ‘collect mapping data’ and ‘test its self-driving capacities’, although there will be a human in the car hitching a ride at all times.

Uber, along with a host of other household tech names has made it its mission to develop self-driving technology, which many people believe has the potential to improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality in busy cities.

In a recent statement Uber put forward the benefits of a driverless world: “1.3 million people die every year in car accidents; 94 percent of which involve human error.”

“In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation and far fewer lives lost in car accidents.”

And it’s not just Uber expounding on the potential benefits of fully automated vehicles. In a recent UK study which looked at the transformative implications of self-driving vehicles on cities. The study found that shared autonomous vehicles could increase available urban space by 15 – 20 percent, predominantly through removing the need for parking spaces. The report pointed to the fact that central London has nearly 7 million parking spaces with a parking coverage of around 16%. Freeing up this space with cars which can be used to pick people up ‘on order’ rather than sitting in people’s driveways will make our cities greener, increase quality of life and also make room for additional housing.

The main players

As with all emergent technology trends, all the big tech vultures have been circling driverless cars for some time. Here’s a closer look at some of the tech big-hitters looking to roll out a driverless car in the next couple of years.

 

Apple

Labelled project “Titan” by the tech press and Apple insiders, rumours of Apple’s first autonomous electric vehicle continue to buzz. Those in the know suggest Apple have put together a crack-team of specialists, poached primarily from Tesla, Volkswagen and Nvidia, the GPU manufacturer, to bring Apple’s driverless car to market.

 

Tesla

If it’s the future of the automotive industry at stake then needless to say Tesla will be right in the mix. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has gone on record saying his company is rolling out its “Autopilot” feature to the masses and the company’s fully autonomous vehicles will be ready in just a few short years. Having said that, Musk has also voiced concerns over the inflexible legislation and over-regulation of the emerging industry which may very well stall Tesla’s plans.

 

Google

What if it could be easier and safer for everyone to get around? This is the question posed to visitors to Google’s self-driving car project website who are busy building and testing a range of cars that take us to where we need to go at the touch of a button.

Google explains how their self-driving cars are designed to navigate safely through city streets, being covered bumper to boot with sensors designed to “detect objects as far as two football fields away in all directions”, including pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

 

Delphi

And for a slice of home-grown driverless technology…

With headquarters in the rather non-descript Kent town of Gillingham, Delphi Automotive PLC is a high-technology company that integrates safer, greener and more connected solutions for the automotive industry.
Delphi’s team of engineers and their driverless car they’ve christened ‘Roadrunner’ recently completed a 3,400 mile cross-country journey which spanned the southern United States, traveling from San Francisco, California to New York City, New York.

These companies have all been rumoured to be in varying stages of production for a mass market driverless car and it seems it is very much a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ we will see self-driving cars on our roads by the end of the decade