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CES: Ride-share fleets will map the city streets

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At CES 2018, Mobileye Aftermarket announced a series of partnerships and collaborations with ride-share leaders, municipalities and government administrations that will enable the mapping of city streets around the world.

Mobileye 8 Connect, Mobileye’s next-generation aftermarket collision avoidance system powered by the EyeQ4, is capable of collecting dynamic data to make cities smarter, safer and Autonomous Ready. Beginning early this year, the Mobileye 8 Connect-equipped fleets will harvest valuable information on city streets and infrastructure to create high-definition crowdsourced maps through Mobileye’s Road Experience Management (REM) – a critical enabler of full autonomy.

New partnerships using data to build HD maps and enable smart cities include:

Gett: The global on-demand mobility company is expected to equip approximately 500 London black cabs with Mobileye 8 Connect. In addition to important safety features, the technology will be used to create the first HD map of London through REM.

Buggy TLC Leasing: The large lessor of for-hire vehicles servicing popular ride-share apps such as Uber is expected to outfit approximately 2,000 New York City-based vehicles with Mobileye Aftermarket. Through the REM system, data will be collected resulting in a high-definition map of NYC.

Düsseldorf, Germany: The city of Düsseldorf is expected to equip 750 vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect. Financed by the German federal government, this project will test models of data collection and investigate the suitability of Düsseldorf’s existing infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and connected driving.

Country of Spain: Mobileye and Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) will collaborate to enhance road safety and prepare Spain’s infrastructure and regulatory policy for autonomous vehicles.

Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance: The business insurance provider is expected to equip approximately 1,000 to 2,000 trucks with Mobileye 8 Connect to reduce damage and claims costs. Data collected through the embedded REM capability of these systems will result in a rapidly refreshing HD map of the areas where these vehicles operate.

Launching this year, Mobileye 8 Connect offers an increased level of safety, connectivity and data-collection capabilities to empower management of fleets and city assets on a much larger scale. Building on insights and expertise, the improved algorithms and new suite of safety tools of Mobileye 8 Connect bring collision avoidance safety and smart city data collection to the next level.

Mobileye 8 Connect is the latest innovation introduced by Mobileye Aftermarket, a division of Mobileye, an Intel Company that offers an ADAS system that can be retrofitted onto any existing vehicle. Requiring only a single camera sensor and the EyeQ processing system mounted on the windshield, Mobileye Aftermarket products can be installed in any existing vehicles to act as a “third eye,” identifying potentially dangerous situations and providing audio and visual alerts to assist the driver in preventing or mitigating a collision. Mobileye Aftermarket offers systems customized for mass transit vehicles, government fleets, law enforcements, corporate truck fleets, ride-share networks and more.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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