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Car heads-up display promises immersive 3D experience

Jaguar Land Rover is developing new 3D technology as part of next-generation head-up display research

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Jaguar Land Rover is developing next-generation head-up display technology that could beam real-time safety information in front of the driver, and allow passengers to stream 3D movies direct from their seats as part of a shared, autonomous future.

Engineers are working on a powerful new 3D head-up display to project safety alerts, such as lane departure, hazard detection, satnav directions, and to reduce the effect of poor visibility in poor weather or light conditions. Augmented reality would add the perception of depth to the image by mapping the messages directly onto the road ahead.

Studies conducted in Germany, show that the use of Stereoscopic 3D displays in an automotive setting can improves reaction times on ‘popping-out’ instructions and increases depth judgments while driving.* 

In the future, the innovative technology could be used by passengers to watch 3D movies. Head and eye tracking technology would follow the user’s position to ensure they can see 3D pictures without the need for individual screens or shutter glasses worn at the cinema.

In a fully autonomous future, the 3D displays would offer users a personalised experience and allow ride-sharers to independently select their own infotainment. Several passengers sharing a journey would be able to enjoy their own choice of media – including journey details, points of interest or movies – and optimised for where they are seated.  

The research – undertaken in partnership with the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE) at University of Cambridge – is focused on developing an immersive head-up display, which will closely match real-life experience allowing drivers to react more naturally to hazards and prompts. 

Valerian Meijering, Human Machine Interface & Head-Up Display Researcher for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Development in virtual and augmented reality is moving really quickly. This consortium takes some of the best technology available and helps us to develop applications suited to the automotive sector. Not only does it provide a much richer experience for customers, but it also forms part of our Destination Zero roadmap; helping us to move towards a safer, more intuitive and smarter future, for everybody.”

Professor Daping Chu, Director of Centre for Photonic Devices and Sensors and Director of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics, said:“ This programme is at the forefront of development in the virtual reality space – we’re looking at concepts and components which will set the scene for the connected, shared and autonomous cars of the future. CAPE Partners are world-leading players strategically positioned in the value chain network. Their engagement provides a unique opportunity to make a greater impact on society and further enhance the business value of our enterprises.”

The next-generation head-up display research forms part of the development into Jaguar Land Rover’s ‘Smart Cabin’ vision: applying technologies which combine to create a personalised space inside the vehicle for driver and passengers with enhanced safety, entertainment and convenience features as part of an autonomous, shared future.

Together, these efforts are driving towards Destination Zero; Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Stereoscopic 3D user interfaces exploring the potentials and risks of 3D displays in cars; Nora Broy, Stuttgart [2016]

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3D printing set for $20bn boom

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3D printing is starting to be realized in a wide variety of industries, but its potential in the aerospace and defense industry is significant. The 3D printing industry was worth $3bn in 2013 and grew to $7bn in 2017. By 2025, the market is forecast to account for more than $20bn in spend, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’, reveals that most major militaries and companies are exploring options with the technology. Some are still in the testing phase, while others are deploying the technology in final production. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where engines, aircraft and satellites are currently using 3D-printed components.

Listed below are the militaries that have taken an early lead in implementing 3D printing technology, as identified by GlobalData.

US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps currently has the highest uptake of 3D printing of any military service worldwide. In particular, the additive manufacturing team at Marine Corps Systems Command has created the world’s largest 3D concrete printer with the ability to print a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

US Air Force

The US Air Force is integrating 3D printing into its supply chain. Overseen by ‘America Makes’, the US national additive manufacturing/3D printing innovation institute, it is investigating how current systems can be used to reproduce aircraft components for decades-old planes that may no longer have reliable sources of replacement parts, without minimum order quantities.

US Navy

The Navy has created new logistical units such as Navy frontline attachments, which can rapidly create spare parts for incredibly complex military equipment such as the F-35B – and are currently operational for this purpose. The navy has also worked with Oak Ridge National laboratory to produce the first 3D-printed submarine hull.

US Army

The US Army is working on 3D-printed, modular drone systems. The army wants 3D printers that can be deployed to a forward base camp and used to produce aviation backup when necessary for troops on the ground. This plan aims to create bespoke unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and is said to be at an advanced stage of development.

Chinese Air Force

A 3D Systems ProJet 4500 printer has been acquired by the Chinese army and has been working on replacement military truck parts for the army’s fuel tanker fleet. A number of Chinese fighter jets are believed to be carrying 3D-printed parts and are currently in operation.

Russian Army

Russia has been testing multiple applications for 3D-printed parts in its newest main battle tank, the T-14 Armata. During the development process, 3D printing was used for prototyping, but it is expected that parts will be used in the final product, of which 2,300 have been ordered.

South Korean Air Force

Collaboration between South Korea’s InssTEK and France’s Z3DLAB is producing parts for South Korean warplanes that see heavy use along the border with North Korea. The aim is to upgrade existing components, rather than replace worn parts, with a new titanium composite material.

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’.

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SA productivity could nosedive on Black Friday

Employee productivity on Black Friday could nose dive, says local online retailer, OneDayOnly.co.za

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni hasn’t had it easy lately. Amidst a more-than-tricky economy and having to walk the tight rope in his recent mid-term budget speech, Tito is squeezed between a rock and a very hard place that’s about to get tighter with Black Friday inspired employee procrastination.

“While the minister probably has bigger fish to fry than South Africans avoiding spreadsheets in favour of scooping a deal on Samsung’s latest flat screen – Black Friday undoubtedly affects employees’ focus at work,” says Matthew Leighton, spokesperson at leading South African e-tailer OneDayOnly.co.za .

While it started as a post-Thanksgiving blowout sale by US retailers, Black Friday has become one of the most significant calendar days for consumers and the retail industry globally. “The proof is in the OneDayOnly.co.za stats. Last year, we recorded over 150 000 website users on Black Friday alone – the average on a regular day is around 60 000 and on a high traffic day such as pay day its approximately 80 000,” says Leighton.

So the demand is clearly there but are people actually doing the bulk of their Black Friday buying while they should be working? Leighton says they are. “Although the sale starts at midnight people are online throughout the day and data from last year shows traffic on OneDayOnly.co.za spiking primarily during core working hours – 06:00, 8:00, 11:00 and 15:00.

He adds that the average user session – or time people spend on the site at any one point – is three times longer on Black Friday than any other day. “In addition to spending longer on the site on Black Friday, customers also return many times during the day so these longer sessions happen numerous times during the work day.”

To add to Tito’s woes, Leighton explains that people are also multi-screening their buying efforts by watching social platforms for tips and prompts. “Most online retailers worth their salt share prompts on social feeds to drive traffic to their websites. Last year, each time we announced via social that a 100% off deal was available shoppers flocked to OneDayOnly.co.za. Almost instantly, the web traffic would spike. The pattern shows how closely people keep an eye on the 100% off deal drops via social media, as well as how effectively the platforms cater to a very wide audience in real time.”

But while Black Friday may result in the odd deadline being missed, Leighton believes the overall impact on the economy is an extremely positive one. “Last year we saw people spending in the region of R1300 on Black Friday, compared to an average of R970 on other days. According to BankServ, South Africans’ card transactions came up to R3bn on the day last year, up 16% from 2017. That’s a nice injection into an otherwise depressed retail sector.”

Leighton says people love Black Friday because there is something in it for everyone, but there’s also nothing to lose – except for maybe a bit of work time. “With so many more products available at low prices, it makes sense to peruse. If you find nothing you like, you are no worse off. And your boss doesn’t have to be either if you’re proactive and shop before work when our doors open at midnight.”

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