Blog Archives

Porsche utilises latest technology

Porsche have announced the introduction of “Tech Live Look,” an Augmented Reality (AR) technology designed to improve technical services at Porsche dealerships in the United States.

These high-tech spectacles feature the latest in projection technology and come equipped with a high-resolution, auto focus camera that shows even fine details such as threading on screws. The glasses include a powerful LED to illuminate dark spaces in the engine compartment or under the car.

“Our main goal is to provide a better overall experience for our customers. Tech Live Look allows us to be more efficient and helps get vehicles back in the hands of our customers faster, all while still delivering exceptional service quality” explained Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA.

How does this technology work?
When a service technician at a dealership in Los Angeles wears the spectacles and connects through the software with the Atlanta-based Porsche technical support team 2,200 miles away, it allows the support team to see exactly what he is seeing, in real time.

This “see what I see” video-conferencing capability with instant access to remote experts allows both parties to quickly identify and resolve technical issues. It can also help decrease service resolution time by up to 40 per cent, based on the findings of a pilot program undertaken in July 2017 at eight Porsche dealerships in California, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, and Washington, along with one in Canada.

“Tech Live Look” can do much more than just provide real-time video capability. It allows the technical support team to take screen shots or send technical bulletins and instructions onto the projection surface of the glasses while the service technician is working on the vehicle. This type of information exchange is far more efficient than sending emails and photos or explaining complex technical issues over the phone.

“Tech Live Look” will officially launch in dealerships in North America in 2018.

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POAL reveal plans for port

It was another year of strong performance and growth for the Ports of Auckland, (POAL).

Over the past year POAL have started and finished several infrastructure projects that have enabled them to deliver improvements through technology and innovation and handle future growth.

The latest financial year saw a significant lift in cargo volumes across the POAL. The highest growth was in general cargo, which includes vehicles, which grew to 6.5m tonnes, an increase of 12.1 per cent year on year.

Over the past year POAL have started and finished several infrastructure projects that have enabled them to deliver improvements through technology and innovation and handle future growth. 

According to the December report, POAL expects infrastructure developments in the region to continue to fuel growth and demand for the ports services including the import of vehicles which increased again this year to 297,383 units – up nearly 20 per cent from last year.

The report also goes into detail about how moving the import car business out of Auckland into an alternative wouldn’t be sustainable and would result in excessive cost. POAL claim that recent studies show that Auckland is indeed the cheapest and the most environmentally friendly option for the import car trade in New Zealand. Not foregoing the fact that Auckland is also the main market for import vehicles into New Zealand.

The growth in non-containerised cargo has also put more pressure on POAL’s multi-cargo wharves which are operating above capacity. 

POAL Chief Executive Tony Gibson announced in the report that without changes to Bledisloe, Jellicoe, Marsden and Captain Cook multi-cargo wharves, the port will experience worsening congestion in this area.

To deal with this the POAL Draft 30-year Master Plan proposes a number of projects: faster clearance of cars from the wharf and the public preference to move the cars from view, the plan also includes a plan to develop a multi-storey car handling and storage facility with a green park rooftop.

This development would house vehicles currently parked on Captain Cook Wharf and in the Toyota Building at the Bledisloe Terminal and provide additional capacity to cater for forecast import vehicle volume increases.

Next to the car handling building and adjacent to Quay Street, POAL has earmarked space for a new hotel which would have connecting access to the adjoining rooftop park. “This would be a very different and exciting way of achieving a port/city interface” observes Alistair Kirk, POAL General Manager Infrastructure and Property.

The draft plan proposes building a new wharf on the end of Bledisloe multi-purpose terminal. It will be a piled structure, which is in line with POALs commitment to do no further retrieval in the harbour.

To increase their useable area for general cargo, Marsden Wharf will be removed which would allow the unlocking of the two wharves on either side, Bledisloe South and Captain Cook East. This would mean that part of the Bledisloe wharf would finally accommodate two 200m car carriers thereby increasing capacity and enabling the port to meet the challenge of the growing freight task.

Read more on the port development here.




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Auto industry’s first commerce platform

General Motors said it will equip it’s latest cars with the automotive industry’s first commerce platform for on-demand reservations and purchases of goods and services.

With ‘Marketplace,’ drivers can order and pay for their favourite food, and much more, with a simple tap on the dashboard.

GM lets customers order their morning coffee with their car.

Marketplace allows customers the opportunity to more safely interact with a growing number of their favourite brands in retail, fuel, hospitality, food, hotel and transportation through the in-vehicle touchscreen.

Marketplace also features a “Shop” section dedicated to offers specific to GM vehicles, for instance purchasing Wi-Fi data, discounts for an oil change or deals on GM accessories. Simple on-screen notifications can identify relevant offers.

“The average American spends 46 minutes per day on the road driving. Leveraging connectivity and our unique data capabilities, we have an opportunity to make every trip more productive and give our customers time back,” said Santiago Chamorro, vice president for Global Connected Customer Experience, GM.

“Marketplace is the first of a suite of new personalisation features that we will roll out over the next 12 to 18 months to nearly four million U.S. drivers.”

“For most retailers and consumer brands the daily commute is the only time not accessible in a consumers’ day,” said Chamorro. “Marketplace gives merchants the ability to more safely engage with drivers and passengers in a meaningful way that provides true value for our customers.”

Marketplace is designed to be used while driving. It uses machine learning from real-time interaction data, such as location, time of day and a driver’s established digital relationship with third-party merchants.

GM designs its in-vehicle systems to minimise manual interactions, which in turn allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

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Ford’s China expansion strategy

Ford has outlined the next phase of its China expansion strategy which revolves around SUVs, electric and connected vehicles and a new business model.

Photo shows (left to right): Jason Luo, Chairman and CEO, Ford China, Jim Hackett, CEO, Ford Motor Company, Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company, Peter Fleet, Group Vice President and President, Ford Asia Pacific.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett shared the vision yesterday while in China this week to meet with employees, customers, dealers and government officials.

“China is not only the largest car market in the world, it’s also at the heart of electric vehicle and SUV growth and the mobility movement,” said Bill Ford. “The progress we have achieved in China is just the start. We now have a chance to expand our presence in China and deliver even more for customers, our partners and society.”

Ford plans to expand its product portfolio by introducing more than 50 new vehicles by 2025. The fleet will include 8 all-new SUVs and at least 15 electrified vehicles from Ford and Lincoln. And a new Zotye-Ford JV venture will deliver a separate range of affordable all-electric vehicles under a new brand.

“From luxury Lincolns, to Ford cars and SUVs, to an all-new electric vehicle brand, we will meet the growing desire and need in China for great new energy vehicles,” said Jason Luo, chairman and CEO, Ford China. “Each of them will be safe, efficient, fun to drive and backed by an ecosystem that makes charging, sharing and servicing easy,” said Hackett.

Jim Hackett, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, outlines his plans for Ford to become the world’s most trusted mobility company.

It was also announced that by the end of 2019, 100 percent of new Ford and Lincoln-badged vehicles in China will be connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices. Company leaders also are working on broader infrastructure opportunities to improve future mobility experiences.

“We are responding to the rapid pace of change by delivering increased connectivity and working to improve and simplify mobility for everyone,” Hackett said. “This builds on our commitment to deliver smart vehicles for a smart world, helping people around the world move more safely, confidently and freely.”

“All of the actions outlined today reflect an unprecedented commitment to focus on the needs of consumers in China through a more fit and streamlined Ford,” he added. “They are proof of our dedication to grow our business in China.”

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World-first VR app for Auckland

LWA Solutions, a Christchurch-based app design company, is launching a world-first virtual reality (VR) pilot training app in conjunction with the Ports of Auckland.

John Barker trying out the reality pilot training VR headset.

Maritime pilots guide ships safely into harbours all around the world. Their job requires them to get on and off moving cargo ships via rope ladder, a situation that can be both demanding and risky.

The LWA app uses VR to safely simulate the above situation.

Atta Elayyan, LWA chief executive, showcased the virtual reality training solution at the recent New Zealand Maritime Pilot Association’s 30th anniversary annual conference in Christchurch and it received overwhelmingly positive feedback from pilots and trainers.

“It’s a highly cost-effective training method, safely simulating highly variable conditions making it superior to current training methods,” Elayyan says.

“We believe virtual reality training will become an industry standard in the very near future. It provides a risk-free way to prepare trainee pilots for the tasks they will need to undertake during their job and can also efficiently vet out those who may not be cut out for the role.”

“We understand there are no solutions like this anywhere in the world using virtual reality headsets. Our simulation is targeting the ‘embarkation training’, which is the physical process of safely maneuvering outside the pilot boat and climbing a nine metre ladder to board the ship, while both the pilot boat and ship are under way.”

“Some ports overseas use ship bridge simulators, which are very costly to set up or hire. We are using a highly cost-effective virtual reality training system which requires minimal physical space and is portable. We can see this disrupting bridge simulation in future.”

John Barker left, with LWA CEO, Atta Elayyan

Ports of Auckland Senior Pilot John Barker says they are always looking for ways to do more with less.LWA’s most recent venture was another app for the Ports of Auckland that increased efficiency and reduced human error by consolidating multiple processes into a single app highlighting ship schedules, tidal calculations and manoeuvre drawings.

The Ports of Auckland has about 1500 shipping arrivals a year.

The world-first VR app aims to be live by early next year.

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Daimler’s new ‘Ask Mercedes’ chatbot

Daimler will soon be introducing a digital assistant called “Ask Mercedes” that ties together previous 
digital customer support projects into a single voice-activated app.

Chief digital officer Sabine Scheunert said “Ask Mercedes” will be available in several markets and languages immediately before being rolled out globally. Mercedes is one of Daimler’s leading car brands.

Scheunert said the “chatbot” will allow both existing and also potential customers to interact with Daimler services, day or night, using voice-activated commands or text-based chat.

Chatbots are software programmes which can respond to posed questions from users using a conversational approach.

Customers can present questions to the Ask Mercedes app when it is installed in the company’s recent model cars, or by using an app or by speaking to a Google Assistant voice-activated electronics controller when they are at home.

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Sumitomo reveals its Smart Tyre Concept

Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. revealed its ‘Smart Tyre Concept’ at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017.

The new development will provide balanced safety and environmental performance at higher levels than ever before so that they can keep up with the future of the automotive industry. 

The automotive industry is currently facing massive changes, with growing concern over environmental issues, shifting demographics brought about by increasingly urbanised and ageing societies, and revolutionary new technologies such as artificial technology. 

At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Sumitomo introduced some of their research and development trends at the core of its Smart Tyre Concept, including: “Sensing Core,” “Active Tread,” “Performance Sustaining Technology,” and “Airless Tyres”.

In 2020, Sumitomo plans to begin mass production of a new tyre that maintains the performance of brand new tyre for longer.

In 2023, they plan to unveil a new concept tyre that incorporates its Active Tread Technology, which will enable the tyre to perform the same high level of performance regardless of what road condition. 

Sumitomo maintains that it will continue these and other research developments towards creating an all-new tyre for the new decade. 

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Nissan’s sales plummet amid scandal

Nissan Motor Co announced earlier this week that Japanese sales of new vehicles has dropped by approximately 50% in October compared to last years figures. 

Last month the discovery of improper final inspection procedures at Nissan Motor Co.’s domestic plants caused it to partly suspend production. 

Nissan didn’t provide exact figures for this month’s sales, but the car company sold 38,708 vehicles in Japan in October 2016.

The plants will resume production once the final inspection procedures have been brought in line with transport ministry requirements, a spokesman for the automaker said.

Nissan has completed those measures at one assembly plant and expects to have made similar changes at five other plants by the end of the week, he said.

This month was supposed to mark the unveiling of an electric-vehicle offensive for Nissan, who is eager to establish itself as the leader in the race to electrify its vehicle line-up.

Nissan is anticipated to outline a global EV sales push when it reports its earnings next week.

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Subaru dented by quality scandal

Automaker Subaru said on Friday that it’s planning to recall roughly 255,000 cars, becoming the latest Japanese firm hurt by a quality scandal.

The company said they allowed uncertified workers to carry out inspections on its vehicles at its biggest Japanese factory.

CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told reporters that the practice goes back thirty years and that the company didn’t realize until recently that it was breaking government rules. 

Workers who didn’t have enough experience to do checks borrowed Japanese “hanko” seals from authorized employees and stamped documents to show vehicles had passed the tests.

The issues at Subaru were revealed after Nissan reported similar problems last month, which then prompted the Japanese government to request that other automakers inspect their production lines. 

The scandals have stunned the public and have questioned the nation’s prized image for “monozukuri” or craftsman-like quality.

Subaru expects the planned recall to cost it more than NZ$64 million

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Cartel inquiry widens

The investigation widens over whether several German carmakers have conspired to fix prices in diesel and other technologies over several decades.  (more…)

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All cars to be electrified from 2020 – Jaguar Land Rover

Jaguar Land Rover is using the inaugural iteration of their new event, Tech Fest, to announce that from 2020, all vehicles it produces will be electrically powered to some extent.

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said today, “[Jaguar Land Rover] will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.”

The companies first fully electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-Pace, will go on sale next year.

The Jaguar I-Pace.

Jaguar Land Rover will also use the event to reveal an electric-powered Jaguar E-type at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest, which opens tomorrow in London. The E-type Zero, has been restored and converted at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, not far from where the E-type was originally designed.

Jaguar Land rover says it drives, handles, rides and brakes just like an original E-type.

Tim Hannig, the director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic says that the companies aim with the electric E-type is to future proof classic car ownership.

Tech Fest’s headliners.

An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type. The cars total weight is 46kg lower than the original E-type.

The E-type, launched in 1961, has regularly been voted the best-looking car of all time. Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”.

The companies concept for a digital assistant, a steering wheel that uses autonomous technologies will also debut.

Jaguar Land Rover will be providing clean, safe, renewable solar-powered lamps to families in Kenya, giving up to four hours of additional light every evening. Visitors to Tech Fest will see the ‘Night Time Sun’ installation, a collaboration between several artists, using solar lamps from the project to harness the sun’s power to transform lives.

The festival takes place at the Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London and is open to the public.



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