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By Usama Jawad96
Google announces open beta of Android for Cars App Library
by Usama Jawad
Over the past few years, Google has been working hard to promote Android Auto which allows you to link your phone to your car's display thereby mirroring your notifications, music, and navigation to it. Back in August, the company announced that it would be expanding its ecosystem to allow a wider range of apps.
On that front, Google has been working with its early access partner to improve the Android for Cars App Library, which is now rolling out to all developers in an open beta.
The library allows developers to design, build, and test their navigation, charging, and parking applications on Android Auto. Google emphasizes that since the applications will be used by someone while driving, it is essential that developers familiarize themselves with the design and app quality guidelines.
While testing the app, developers can take advantage of the Desktop Head Unit (DHU), which is an emulator mirroring the capabilities that will be available to you on a car's infotainment display. The DHU now also supports different display sizes as well as infotainment panels which support touchpad input.
Google says that it will enable Play Store publication of beta apps in the coming months, and those interested in building these applications can head over to the dedicated developer guide here.
By Ather Fawaz
Honda production back up to speed at factories hit by cyberattack
by Ather Fawaz
A cyberattack on Honda at the start of the week forced the Japanese automobile manufacturer to close down some car plants in Ohio and Turkey, as well as some motorcycle factories in India and South America. The attack came in under a month after the reopening of the North American plants that had shifted to a work-from-home policy keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, a spokesman for the company announced today that the company has resumed production at the plants that were hit by the attack. Plants in Brazil and India were back up to speed on Wednesday. But some North American online financial services and call centers continued to experience disruption, the spokesman notified. But the vehicle output resumed by Thursday at its main plant in the U.S. state of Ohio.
Historically, Monday's cyberattack was the second on Honda’s global network, preceded by the WannaCry virus that forced the Japanese automobile giant to pause production for a day at a domestic plant three years back.
Thankfully, in this attack, personal information of customers was not compromised, the spokesperson clarified but did not make any comments on the losses incurred due to a decrease in production.
By Ather Fawaz
Porsche's Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition will be live-streamed
by Ather Fawaz
The suspension of sporting events courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant rise in the popularity of esports. Last month, Formula 1 launched its Virtual Grand Prix series to replace postponed races. NASCAR also went digital and its virtual race became the most-watched esports TV show in history.
Now, Porsche has joined the ranks as well. The German automobile manufacturer will be live-streaming its Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition on April 4 at 10:00 AM Eastern time. The iRacing-based series will have a total of 32 drivers. Out of these 32, 22 are full-time Supercup racers and the rest are factory and young professional drivers sponsored by companies like Vodafone and TAG Heuer.
The first track featured will be Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain where the drivers will take their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for two virtual races spanning 145 minutes. The racing series will have three more events on April 18 at Silverstone, on April 25 at the infamous Spa-Francorchamps, and on May 16 at Monza. If you are interested, you can watch these races online or on TV networks like Germany's Sport1 and the Netherlands' Ziggo Sport.
Source: Porsche Motrosport via Engadget
By Ather Fawaz
Tesla Autopilot could potentially start detecting traffic lights in the future
by Ather Fawaz
Earlier this month, Tesla manufactured its 1,000,000th electric car. One of the most popular (and controversial) features in its cars is perhaps 'Autopilot'.
Autopilot is already capable of spotting other cars and obstructions like traffic cones on the road. However, it now seems like it will be able to spot the state of traffic lights and act accordingly in a potential future update as well. A video posted on Twitter depicts a Tesla driving on the streets and stopping for a red light. The video shows how the Autopilot visualizes a red light with a red bar and reads "Stopped at traffic control".
In the second half of the video before the car comes to a halt at yet another red light, the Autopilot interface displays toast messages that preemptively prompt the passengers about an upcoming stop. The messages begin with a figure of 500 ft in the video, but it's unclear if Autopilot can gauge a traffic light from even further out.
Source: Twitter via Engadget
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft Azure powers the new Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Intelligent Cloud
by Hamza Jawad
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft launched the first datacenters in Africa to deliver cloud services across the continent. Today, the tech giant has announced that its Azure cloud services will be used to power a new platform, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud, built by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
The program will enable the automobile manufacturers to provide connected services in vehicles by managing and analyzing vehicle data. This platform will be launched in almost all of the 200 markets in which the companies operate. Azure will be used to power these services, offering cloud, AI, and IoT technologies. As the new platform is highly scalable, it will be catering both current and future connected car features, making use of a multitude of legacy connected vehicle solutions. Some of the aforementioned features are connected navigation, connected assistance, proactive monitoring, over-the-air software updates, and more.
Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President of Global Sales, Marketing and Operations at Microsoft, believes that today's production release of the new platform will help offer "a new generation of connected services powered by Microsoft Azure". Kal Mos, Global Vice President of Alliance Connected Vehicles at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, commented on the Alliance's parternship with Microsoft, noting:
Initially, only the new 2019 Renault Clio and select Nissan Leaf models sold in Japan and Europe will be utilizing the technology. Vehicles which are making use of the new platform will be able to gain timely access to firmware updates, along with the provision of infotainment services and more. Interestingly, these vehicles are also the first widely available models to be powered by Microsoft's Connected Vehicle Platform.
Microsoft believes that the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will prove to be compatible with future smart cities' infrastructure, while also becoming the sole point of contact for third parties aiming to connect with Alliance vehicles.