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Heads-up display for any car

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Navdy, the world’s first augmented driving device, is now available at iStore in South Africa.

Navdy uses augmented reality (AR) technology to project information, sourced from the smartphone and the car itself, directly in the driver’s line of sight, for a new driving experience.

Navdy’s breakthrough user interface projects a transparent image on the road ahead. It incorporates hand gestures to accept calls with the wave of a hand. A specially engineered dial, which attaches to the steering wheel, allows access to features that let the driver control the phone hands-free. Maps, calls, messages, notifications, music, and car information are projected directly in front of the driver.

“The way we interact with our cars hasn’t changed much in decades, and phones were never designed to be used while driving,” says Navdy CEO, Doug Simpson. “Navdy creates and defines an entirely new augmented driving category, enabling drivers to interact with their phones and cars in a much more immersive, natural, and intuitive way. We’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically designed to enhance the driving experience. Navdy fundamentally changes how we interact with useful information while driving.”

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Navdy incorporates popular head-up display (HUD) technology, usually offered as a pricey upgrade package in luxury cars, with a groundbreaking user interface, and specially developed software, delivering a far richer driving experience at an accessible price. Since Navdy is portable, consumers can enjoy the Navdy experience in whatever car they currently drive.

Navdy provided the following information. Bear in mind that claims like “never miss a tiurn” cannot be guaranteed:

Navdy’s features include:

•       Look Forward Display: rich, full color, fully transparent display with unmatched clarity in any light that projects information into the distance so the road stays in focus. The most advanced display on the road.

•       Intuitive Interface: Navdy Hand Gestures are the most natural way to accept a call or message with the simple wave of your hand. The Navdy Dial is the most intuitive way to scroll, zoom and navigate menus fluidly. The Dial also serves as a convenient way to access Siri and Google Now. Never again will you have to hunt through rows of buttons or look down to poke at a touch screen while driving.

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•       Never Miss a Turn: Navdy’s Projected Navigation system is powered by Google Maps — with maps and directions appearing right in front of you, you’ll never miss a turn again. Only Navdy offers full dynamic maps as a transparent image without obstructing your view of the road. It’s as easy as following the car in front of you and uniquely immersive. With its own high precision GPS chip and local storage of maps, drivers don’t have to worry about losing navigation if they are out of network coverage.

•       Stay Connected: Navdy lets you make and receive calls, listen to messages, control music, receive calendar reminders and stay connected to the apps on your phone. Navdy also connects to your car with Navdy Dash to show your speed, RPM and automatically recommend nearby gas stations when your fuel level is low.

•       Portable and Storable: works in any car with Navdy’s magnetic mounting system making it effortless to take it with you or store it in the glove box.

•       Easy Setup: easy for anyone to set up and get rolling without tools in around 15 minutes.

•       Thoughtful Design: crafted from premium materials that blend in seamlessly with your car, adding a touch of sophistication.

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Meet Aston Martin F1’s incredible moving data centre

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team faces a great deal more IT challenges than your average enterprise as not many IT teams have to rebuild their data center 21 times each year and get it running it up in a matter of hours. Not many data centers are packed up and transported around the world by air and sea along with 45 tonnes of equipment. Not many IT technicians also have to perform a dual role as pit stop mechanic.

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The trackside garage at an F1 race is a tight working environment and a team of only two IT technicians face pressure from both the factory and trackside staff to get the trackside IT up and running very fast. Yet, despite all these pressures, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing do not have a cloud-led strategy. Instead they have chosen to keep all IT in house.

The reason for this is performance. F1 is arguably the ultimate performance sport. A walk round the team’s factory in Milton Keynes, England, makes it abundantly clear that the whole organization is hell bent on maximizing performance. 700 staff at the factory are all essentially dedicated to the creation of just two cars. The level of detail that is demanded in reaching peak performance is truly mind blowing. For example, one machine with a robotic arm that checks the dimensions of the components built at the factory is able to measure accuracy to a scale 10 times thinner than a human hair.

This quest for maximum performance, however, is hampered at every turn by the stringent rules from the F1 governing body – the FIA. Teams face restrictions on testing and technology usage in order to prevent the sport becoming an arms race. So, for example, pre-season track testing is limited to only 8 days. Furthermore, wind tunnel testing is only allowed with 60% scale models and wind tunnel-usage is balanced with the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, essentially a virtual wind tunnel. Teams that overuse one, lose time with the other.

In order to maximize performance within uniquely difficult logistical and regulatory conditions, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team has had to deploy a very powerful and agile IT estate.

According to Neil Bailey, Head of IT Infrastructure, Enterprise Architecture and Innovation, their legacy trackside infrastructure was “creaking”. Before choosing hyperconverged infrastructure, their “traditional IT had reached its limits”, says Bailey. “When things reach their limits they break, just like a car,” adds Bailey.

The team’s biggest emphasis for switching to HPE’s hyperconverged infrastructure, SimpliVity, was performance. Now, with “the extra performance of SimpliVity, it means it doesn’t get to its limits,” says Bailey. HPE SimpliVity has helped reduce space, has optimized processing power and brought more agility.

One of the first and most important use cases they switched to hyperconverged infrastructure was post-processing trackside data. During a race weekend each car is typically fitted with over 100 sensors providing key data on things like tyre temperature and downforce multiple times per second. Processing this data and acting on the insights is key to driving performance improvements. With their legacy infrastructure, Bailey says they were “losing valuable track time during free practice waiting for data processing to take place.” Since switching to HPE SimpliVity, data processing has dropped from being more than 15 minutes to less than 5 minutes. Overall, the team has seen a 79% performance boost compared to the legacy architecture. This has allowed for real time race strategy analysis and has improved race strategy decision making.

Data insights helps the team stay one step ahead, as race strategy decisions are data driven. For example, real time tyre temperature data helps the team judge tyre wear and make pit stop decisions. Real time access to tyre data helped the team to victory at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix as the Aston Martin Red Bull cars pitted ahead of the rest of the field and Daniel Ricciardo swept to a memorable victory.

Hyperconverged infrastructure is also well suited to the “hostile” trackside environment, according to Bailey. With hyperconverged infrastructure, only two racks are needed at each race of which SimpliVity only takes up about 20% of the space, thus freeing up key space in very restricted trackside garages. Furthermore, with the team limited to 60 staff at each race, only two of Bailey’s team can travel. The reduction in equipment and closer integration of HPE SimpliVity means engineers can get the trackside data center up and running quickly and allow trackside staff to start work as soon as they arrive.

Since seeing the notable performance gains from using hyperconverged infrastructure for trackside data processing, the team has also transitioned some of the factory’s IT estate over to HPE SimpliVity. This includes: Aerodynamic metrics, ERP system, SQL server, exchange server and the team’s software house, the Team Foundation Server.

As well as seeing huge performance benefits, HPE SimpliVity has significantly impacted the work patterns of Bailey’s team of just ten. According to Bailey, the biggest operational win from hyperconverged infrastructure is “freeing up engineers’ time from focusing on ‘business as usual’ to innovation.” Traditional IT took up too much of the engineers’ time monitoring systems and just keeping things running. Now with HPE SimpliVity, Bailey’s team can “give the business more and quicker” and “be more creative with how they use technology.”

Hyperconverged infrastructure has given Aston Martin Red Bull Racing the speed, scalability and agility they require without any need to turn to the cloud. It allows them to deliver more and more resources to trackside staff in an increasingly responsive manner. However, even with all these performance gains, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing has been able to reduce IT costs. So, the users are happy, the finance director is happy and the IT team are happy because their jobs are easier. Hyperconvergence is clearly the right choice for the unique challenges of Formula 1 racing.

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Body-tracking tech moves to assembly line

Technology typically used by the world’s top sport stars to raise their game, or ensure their signature skills are accurately replicated in leading video games, is now being used on an auto assembly line.

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Employees at Ford’s Valencia Engine Assembly Plant, in Spain, are using a special suit equipped with advanced body tracking technology. The pilot system, created by Ford and the Instituto Biomecánica de Valencia, has involved 70 employees in 21 work areas. 

Player motion technology usually records how athletes sprint or turn, enabling sport coaches or game developers to unlock the potential of sport stars in the real world or on screen. Ford is using it to design less physically stressful workstations for enhanced manufacturing quality.

“It’s been proven on the sports field that with motion tracking technology, tiny adjustments to the way you move can have a huge benefit,” said Javier Gisbert, production area manager, Ford Valencia Engine Assembly Plant. “For our employees, changes made to work areas using similar technology can ultimately ensure that, even on a long day, they are able to work comfortably.”

Engineers took inspiration from a suit they saw at a trade fair that demonstrated how robots could replicate human movement and then applied it to their workplace, where production of the  new Ford Transit Connect and 2.0-litre EcoBoost Duratec engines began this month.

The skin-tight suit consists of 15 tiny movement tracking light sensors connected to a wireless detection unit. The system tracks how the person moves at work, highlighting head, neck, shoulder and limb movements. Movement is recorded by four specialised motion-tracking cameras – similar to those usually paired with computer game consoles – placed near the worker and captured as a 3D skeletal character animation of the user.

Specially trained ergonomists then use the data to help employees align their posture correctly. Measurements captured by the system, such as an employee’s height or arm length, are used to design workstations, so they better fit employees. 

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