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Yamaha shows a maneuverable prototype electric scooter with 3 wheels

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

Yamaha MotorElectric vehicles are quickly becoming a popular place for companies to experiment with unique designs. While electric cars get all of the attention, there are some very interesting things happening in the space. From golf cart style neighborhood vehicles to scooters, electric is all the rage. Yamaha has long had a presence in this space, especially with motorcycles, but is testing some new ideas.

One of those experiments was on display at CES 2019. Rather than what we expect from Yamaha, a two-wheeled vehicle on which you sit, this prototype bucks both of those expectations. Rather than sitting on it like a motorcycle, this is designed to be stood on, like a skateboard or scooter. It also features 3 wheels instead of the more traditional 2 or 4, with 1 in front and 2 in back. Obviously, 3 adds stability over only 2 wheels but gives more maneuverability than 4.

The vehicle is rear wheel drive, meaning that the 2 wheels in the back actually propel the vehicle forward. The front is designed with a handlebar, similar again to a scooter. In the same style, the handlebar controls the positioning of the entire front of the vehicle, giving it the ability to turn quickly and tightly. In the booth, a representative demonstrated how easy it was to steer in a fairly confined space.

As of right now, this device is just a prototype, meaning that it might not come to market as it exists today. Like cars, a concept vehicle is simply a way for engineers to experiment with concepts. The company expects to test the vehicles in Japan this year, though they do not have a timeline for a wide release, either in Japan or overseas. To see all of the development on this and other vehicles, check out the company’s website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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John Deere shows off how GPS, cloud, AI, and more help farmers daily

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

John DeereWhat many people do not know is that one of the most technology infused industries in the world is farming. Most modern farming would be completely impossible without the unbelievably large and powerful machines that reside on farms. The leader in farming machinery, as well as computing, is John Deere, a name that even non-farmers are familiar with. The company was at CES 2019 to show how technology that is just barely emerging in consumer technology has been used for farming for a while.

The best example of a technology in use for agriculture that is just making its way to the consumer market is self-driving vehicles. Farmers have been using incredibly large self-driving machinery for years to both plant and harvest fields. Using incredibly precise onboard GPS, this 20-ton machine is able to steer around a field with an accuracy of 2.5 centimeters. This level of precision is essential in agriculture, as a small variation can be the difference between harvesting and destroying a field.

Some of the more recent versions of these machines are able to learn all about a field on its own, using over 100 sensors. Connecting these sensors to the cloud, farmers are able to keep track of the job being done and the quality of the job being performed. Combined with the precise GPS driving, these machines are just shy of being able to set them in the field and walk away.

One of the most interesting advancements in agricultural machinery is the ability for them to be truly multipurpose. In fact, they are referred to as factories on wheels. After a tuning process, they can be used for an entire process, from harvesting grain to separating it with intense detail. Essentially, when the machines come back from the field, the grains can be ready to run into a silo and sold or used.

Whether or not you’re a farmer, there is a lot of exciting technology to learn about at John Deere’s website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Schaeffler’s new BioHybrid changes the inner city delivery process

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

SchaefflerWe really enjoyed our visit to the Schaeffler pavilion at CES 2019. Another one of the new designs that completely fascinated us was this really cool looking delivery cycle. Team leader of digitalization, Dr. Alexander Sharp, took some time to show us their new BioHybrid. What, at first glance, appeared to be an adapted motorcycle is actually an electric bike. It is human powered and also battery driven, which is how they derived the name, BioHybrid.

Basically, the rider can pedal to control the velocity of the vehicle and since it is technically classified as a bicycle, it is allowed to operate in bike lanes. As an electric bike, it can travel anywhere that a standard bicycle is allowed, without the need for a drivers license, but with quicker speed and a larger payload. And unlike a traditional bicycle, it also offers protection in bad weather, as it is can be customized with a cab for the riders. As with other Schaeffler products, customization is a large part of the design process. For example, the unit in the interview is outfitted as a two-seater passenger model with also some space for storage. Another unit on display was more of a pickup or delivery unit with a single rider and a larger capacity for carrying cargo.

This BioHybrid line has some really great technology built in, as well. It offers variable and regenerative charging while being operated, and the batteries are also removable to be charged remotely, as well as offer a level of theft detergent when wanted. And not only does the cab of the bike offer protection from weather, but there is also a plethora of other modern conveniences. It is fully connected with Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, and 4G, with 5G on the horizon. There are also smartphone and smartwatch apps that allows you to monitor and control the BioHybrid with functions like keyless entry, vehicle location and verify charging status, to name a few.

The company is very excited about the release of the BioHybrid in 2020. You can find out more information by visiting their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Better mobility and versatility in big cities is Schaeffler’s vision

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

SchaefflerAlthough not typically part of our main coverage here at PLuGHiTz Live, we do really enjoy seeing all of the different automobiles at CES. And when we came upon the Schaeffler pavilion and saw what they were showcasing this year, we knew that we had to stop and take a closer look. Project manager, Martin Laumann, was gracious enough to give us an exclusive tour of the new Schaeffler Mover.

The Schaeffler Mover is a compact, urban vehicle platform that contains some impressive technical components. The most important being the Econo Modules on each corner that include a 90-degree steering system in the electric wheel hubs. These “Intelligent Corner Modules” allows for a high degree of maneuverability as well as room for a high degree of comfort for passengers. The platform offers an adaptable design that allows for a flexible implementation of different vehicle bodies. Although it is currently being displayed as a simple rigger platform, equipped with four seats, it can be outfitted as needed with, say, a passenger cabin or one for cargo. It is also currently outfitted with a joystick and a touchscreen for drivability. All steering commands are electric, which means in the next generations, it can easily be set up to function fully autonomously.

With the prospect of mobility requirements changing in rapidly growing metropolitan areas, Schaeffler considers this platform to be the perfect solution. And although they do not necessarily see it being privately owned or having individual users, they do feel that it meets the demands of a large city and offers the flexibility to enhance the overall living environment for residents. With its small footprint, tight turning radius and the ability to drive sideways, it is truly a multifunctional vehicle platform. For cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, these customizable vehicles are perfect for fleets that offer services such as rideshare and deliveries.

To get more information about this and other Schaeffler projects, make sure to check out their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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The VMAXX woofer returns to the Cerwin Vega Mobile speaker lineup

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Cerwin Vega Mobile VMAXXWhen it comes to car audio, there are a lot of choices, and so it takes a lot to make a name for yourself. Cerwin Vega Mobile has certainly done just that, making itself the oldest car audio company in the world. Over the past few years, the company has been reaching back to its classic products and reintroducing modernized versions. In the past, we spoke with Larry Frederick about the Stroker, and this year he showed us the VMAXX woofer.

This product, which was previously produced around 15 years ago, was a popular product. In fact, for a while, it was the company’s most popular woof. Unfortunately, because of a problem with the frame, the company decided to discontinue it. Since then, loyal customers have continued to ask on social media that the company bring it back and, thanks to new materials and better manufacturing processes, the frame issue has been solved, and so the VMAXX has returned.

Rather than just bringing back the original design, however, Frederick wanted to design the speaker to be a heavier-duty, more powerful product. He focused on the things that he could easily control, like the size of the magnet, the size of the voice coil, and the amount of travel for the cone. While he recommends that people not get caught up in the trick of a big magnet and theoretical wattage, he does note that the magnet on the VMAXX is fairly large.

It is important for anyone purchasing a high-end speaker system to understand what it is they are buying. A 1000 watt speaker with only a 1-inch voice coil is never going to accomplish the advertised volumes. The same goes for other components on your system, such as the copper wire being used. The last thing you want is for your speaker or wire to get too hot and for glue or shielding to come apart.

The VMAXX woofer from Cerwin Vega Mobile will be available soon for around $249 to $279.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Raven can help protect your vehicle and the people riding in it

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Raven Connected CarWhen you’re driving around, there are a host of reasons why you might want to have a recording of what is happening around you. Whether it be to document a car accident or just something interesting happening on the side of the road, being able to capture the moment could be handy. With the help of Raven, that desire becomes a reality. We had the opportunity to speak with Raven last year, but the device has gotten even better since then.

The product started as a great way to keep track of a car and make sure the occupants are safe. With the built-in GPS, data connection, and forward and rear-facing cameras, Raven makes it easy to follow a vehicle’s journey and check in if something seems off. The idea came about when the founder’s daughter was driving through a snowstorm, and he simply wanted the peace of mind that everything was okay. All of these features made doing just that a possibility.

Today, the Raven is much more than that. In fact, it is a complete connected car system. It connects through the car’s diagnostic port and is able to do all of the things that a consumer diagnostic computer can do, such as read trouble codes, manage fuel efficiency, monitor speed, and more. Using the data connection, this information can be watched remotely, so parents can keep a better eye on their kids.

More than just parents can find a lot of value in the Raven, though. In fact, the company has brought out a number of fleet management capabilities. When put into a corporate vehicle, the system can replace the features of a GPS tracker, a “tattler,” and more. The cameras can be used to make sure the right people are in the vehicle. The GPS can be used to ensure that routes are being followed, and if not, follow where the vehicle has gone. The diagnostics capabilities can help a fleet manager predict maintenance issues before they become a problem.

The Raven connected car is available now with a variety of options.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Here Comes the Bus brings added peace of mind for worrying parents

Monday, February 18th, 2019

Here Comes the Bus by Synovia SolutionsEvery parent that has a child that rides the bus to school has worried about their arriving at school safely and on time. Synovia Solutions has introduced Here Comes the Bus, a platform designed for having the capability for the parent and the school district to track the bus as it delivers their children safely to their destination. It is literally a morning de-stressor for parents!

This was designed primarily for fleet management for companies to manage their drivers’ behavior, progress, and patterns. They have developed an app for the school districts all over the country to also be able to track the drivers of school buses as they transport the students to school and home again. They have 900 school districts that are involved! It offers an app for parents to also observe the same thing. Now they can watch the bus’ activity and follow it on the route. They will see if it is delayed for any reason or stopped in an unexpected place.

It is built on GPS technology. This allows communication with a satellite which in turn communicates with the software and then relays the information to the parents. This also allows employees of the school districts to know if there are any problems with the buses. School administrators can then be alerted to a late bus. Maintenance will also know if a potential problem with any bus is occurring.

In addition to being able to track the bus, parents are able to find out if their children have gotten on or off the bus. This is accomplished by using a barcode scanner as they get on or off the bus. If the students have an ID that already has a barcode, it can be used for this purpose. If not, one can be provided for them.

Here Comes the Bus is available now for school districts that are interested. For more information go to their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Velco brings fantastic navigation systems right to your bicycle

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Make any bike smart | VelcoWe’ve all seen numerous TV shows and news reports that show how much congestion there is in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The standstill traffic seems endless. A lot of us cannot even imagine being in those situations in a taxi, let alone maneuvering our own cars around in them. Many people who live in large cities like these throughout the world keep their daily living circles tight, with home, work, groceries and bars/restaurants within walking distance. Bicycling is also a very popular mode of transportation in these urban settings. Not only does it provide exercise and health benefits, but also allows for an extension of their usual walking radius.

Velco is a French tech company that has the simple, yet earnest vision to create an environment for smarter and more personalized urban mobility. They have a true understanding of the real issues in the various urban mobility markets as they are surrounded by cycling organizations and businesses. As delivery companies, bike sharing services, tour operators and even police forces utilize bicycles more and more in their daily operations, they need to have many of the same, easy to use modern conveniences that we do in our vehicles. As a result, they are designing and marketing connected solutions for mobility professionals all over the world.

We stopped into the Velco booth at CES Unveiled 2019 to get a closer look. CEO, Pierre Regnier showed us a couple of their new products. First off is a navigation device called Tom-E. It offers a unique, intuitive and universal navigation system that is based on light signals. This system basically revolutionizes the daily commute on your bicycle or really any preferred means of transportation. It is simple and compact. Just enter your destination, lock your phone, tuck it away and let yourself be guided.

Also being showcased was the Wink Bar, a connected handlebar that will absolutely revolutionize daily cycling. This smart handlebar can be installed on any bike and connects through your smartphone. It enables riders to now enjoy intuitive GPS navigation while en route. Features include Track & Trace anti-theft as well as powerful integrated headlights.

These innovative new products bring familiar conveniences to our bike riding experience, whether for work or leisure. Riders are able to utilize them while maintaining safety. Prices start at $79.00 for the Tom-E and $279 for the Wink Bar. To find out more about the company and their product line, visit their website.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad.

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Voyager can take you where you want to go in a fun, new style!

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Voyager BicyclesIn the last few years the skateboard, the scooter, and the bike have practically been totally transformed. These recreational products have come a long way since they were invented. We spoke to Lloyd Gladstone, head of Product Development for Voyager, who produce a number of products in this area. For example, the company makes a line of electric skateboards, branded Tony Hawk model and Voyager. They have a 6-mile range on a charge and can go 12.5 mph. Price points range from $149-$199.

The focal point of the product line, however, if their line of electric scooters and bicycles. All of these products feature a Qi-enabled phone holder, as well as Bluetooth controls, allowing you to interact with the device’s controls and GPS without ever taking your eyes off of the road. These features not only add smart capabilities but also make the products smarter. The Voyager line offers a number of scooter options ranging from $299 to $499.

One of the more interesting features of the bicycles we saw was a hidden motor. Rather than looking like a regular electric bicycle, this model had the motor hidden in the wheel and the battery hidden in the frame. Another model offered the ability to remove the battery, allowing you to have more than one, so you can charge one while you use another. Both of these models can run for around 30 miles on a charge up to 20 mph.

In addition, he showed us several really interesting hoverboards. One, in particular, is called the Glowboard, which is lighted and makes it safer at night and also has a color-changing feature. The other one has a strobe effect and lights up your path and also flashes strobe lighting. Extending the hoverboard idea is the Space Shoes. These are somewhere between a hoverboard and roller skates. The ride is more challenging than a traditional hoverboard, but once you get the hang of it, you can do some pretty cool tricks. All of these products feature gyroscopic stabilization, making it easier for you to stay standing up.

These products will probably be available in the summer of 2019. For more information, check out their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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You won’t believe what you can see with DeepRay’s advanced AI tech

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Cambridge ConsultantsAs Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more and more commonplace in our daily lives, there are those who aren’t quite sure of the abilities of this technology in more advanced applications. Sure, it all sounds good, driverless cars and advances in medicine. But there are so many real-world distractions and distortions at play at any given time, how can any artificially created intelligence possibly understand and mitigate for them all? We had the opportunity to speak with Thomas Carmody, Head of Transports and Infrastructure for Cambridge Consultants, about their newest technology that will definitely help to get Artificial Intelligence to that next level of universal application.

Cambridge Consultants is a technology development organization that works on approximately 400 technology projects per year with numerous customers. Here at CES 2019, they are showcasing DeepRay. This is a technology that their AI Engineers have developed and its purpose is to remove distortion from images. At first take, you might not realize the impact that this can have, but the potential uses are actually quite far-reaching. This ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence technology is able to create clear and undistorted views of the real-world from a damaged or obscured moving image. And it can do this in real time as it is able to cope with the variables of light and moving distortion. With the recent advances in deep learning, DeepRay has the power to see clearly in difficult, unpredictable situations could transform numerous machine vision and imaging applications, from autonomous driving to empowering healthcare professionals with more accurate medical imaging.

This breakthrough technology is more important now than ever and there are numerous applications for it. As you can imagine, in our near future, there are going to be a lot of robots all operating in multiple aspects of our lives. They will all rely on cameras which will encounter everything from dirt and weather to cracked and broken lenses and images. Deep Ray will allow them to make sense of the world around them for accuracy as well as safety.

Deep Ray is available for implementation right now and the company is looking for partners to help take it to the next level. They are also looking for customers who are looking for solutions to real-world problems in their industries. For more information, visit their website here.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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