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Now your car pays for you

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Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel with a new cashless payment app.

The Shell app is one of several new enhancements to Jaguar’s F-PACE, XE and XF models. Other updates include the introduction of the latest efficient Ingenium petrol and diesel engines and the addition of convenience features such as gesture technology where the sweep of a foot can open the boot.

Rather than using a card at the pump, or queuing in the forecourt shop, owners who install the Shell app can simply drive up to any pump at a Shell service station (initially in the UK and then globally) and use the vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay will be added later in 2017.

An electronic receipt will be displayed on the touchscreen, so customers can leave the forecourt confident of having paid. A receipt will also be sent directly from the pump to the driver’s email address so it can be added to accounting or expenses software.

“In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards,” said Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car and Future Technology. “Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”

“You will save time because there’s no more queuing to pay in a shop, and for drivers with children, it won’t be necessary to wake them up, or unstrap them from their seats to take them into the shop. Expenses and tax returns will also be made much simpler, with no receipts to lose as these will all be sent electronically.”

Unlike current phone-based payment methods, Shell and Jaguar Land Rover have created a simple but secure customer experience that uses geolocation technology and a cloud based pre-payment check with the Paypal or Apple Pay wallet.

“As the world’s number one global fuels retailer, this e-commerce collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover is part of Shell’s commitment to continuously improve the digital experience for our customers at the forecourt,” said David Bunch, Global Vice President Shell Retail Marketing and Chairman, Shell Brands International. “In 2015 Shell introduced mobile payments at the pump in the UK. Today we are proud to offer the next step in cashless motoring, with Jaguar and Land Rover customers in the UK paying for their fuel using the car’s touchscreen. With around 30 million customers every day, we have a mission to continuously find ways to make our customer’s journey’s better. We look forward to further exciting developments like this across our 43,000 sites around the world soon.”

The Shell app with in-car cashless payments will be available to download from 15 February and will be rolled out to additional markets globally during 2017 and 2018 – including South Africa.

“We are working with leaders in e-commerce such as Shell to enable our customers to enjoy cashless motoring via their car’s touchscreen. Whether it’s paying for fuel, parking, tolls, or even at a drive-through restaurant, the aim of cashless motoring is to make life easier for our customers,” said Virk. “Our technology allows users to put their phone away out of sight and use it via the touchscreen in the car, because as the car becomes more connected to the Internet of Things, we will always be guided by what is appropriate and safe to do while driving. So in-car payments would only be enabled when it is safe to do so, preventing unnecessary driver distractions.”

 

2018 model year Jaguar F-PACE, XF and XE

The new in-car cashless payment app will be available across the enhanced Jaguar F-PACE performance SUV, F-TYPE and XF and XE sports sedan model ranges, as well as the latest Land Rover models.

The enhancements to the 2018 model year (MY) F-PACE and XF include the introduction of two new higher-output engines, the 177kW diesel Ingenium engine and the advanced new 183kW Ingenium petrol engine join the line-up.

For 2018MY, the XE sports sedan is available with a 183kW automatic derivative of the new four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine, giving customers greater choice than ever. Drivers looking for even more dynamic performance can opt for the upgraded XE S, with its thrilling 280kW, 3.0-litre V6 engine – up from 250kW – shared with the F-TYPE sports car.

Both the enhanced XE and XF sports sedans are available with Gesture Boot Lid functionality, making loading and unloading more convenient, while Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics technology is introduced as a standalone feature on both vehicles, allowing drivers to personalise the gearshift, throttle response and steering settings.

A virtual 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster with full-screen 3D navigation and the availability of Dual View touchscreen technology also provides customers with added convenience as part of the updates.

Cars

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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Electric cars begin to bridge the luxury gap

A new era has dawned as electric mobility bridges the gap between luxury and necessity, writes TREVOR HILL – head of Audi South Africa.

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Mobility is essential to today’s world. We travel to get to work, to go shopping, and to meet friends and family – in short, effective transport impacts on all aspects of our modern lives. Access to mobility is critical to economic growth and progress, bringing more opportunities and better productivity. At the same time however, growing environmental concerns and a looming shortage of fossil fuels have created tension between our ever-growing demand for mobility and the health of our planet.

Growing populations, increasing urbanization and economic and social development mean that there are more cars on our roads each day. The knock-on effects of this are greater levels of congestion and longer times spent commuting, which means more stress and higher levels of aggression on the road. Skyrocketing levels of air pollution – to which transportation is one of the leading contributors – has negative effects on both health and climate change, both of which are key issues in global policy agendas.

So, the writing has been on the wall for some time. The gold standard in automotive technological progress has thus been to achieve a radical reduction of engine emissions and the development of electric cars has been at the forefront of this charge. We have now entered the beginning of a new era, as more and more of these vehicles take to the roads. Electric cars are now at the cusp of the mass market, with a steady stream of new models set to reach the consumer in future. Last week, we launched the Audi e-tron, our first all-electric-drive SUV, at a world premiere in San Francisco – one huge leap forward in pursuit of our goal. Audi will also bring more than 20 electrified models to the market by 2025, from the compact class to the full-size category. Around a dozen models will be all-electric, while the remainder will be plug-in hybrids for emission-free driving on shorter journeys.

Powering this development is ongoing improvement in battery technology, with increasing energy density and lengthened driving ranges possible between charges. Consumers have noted that they feel confident using electric cars for day-to-day use once battery technology can sustain a driving range of 300 or more kilometres, which is now possible. The Audi e-tron has a range of 400 kilometers, making it ideal for long distance driving. Drivers who charge the e-tron overnight can set off in the morning in full confidence that they won’t need to stop at a charging station as they go about their day.

What this technological progress also means however, is that the levels of power and performance achieved by an electric car draw ever closer to those of traditional engines. For anyone who loves high strung, powerful engines and the rush of adrenaline that comes from flooring the throttle on an empty stretch of road, this is no small thing.  At Audi, we are lucky to be surrounded by some of the most exceptional engines ever produced, so few people understand the thrill of an extraordinary driving experience better than we do. So, the holy grail is to achieve this same performance with vastly improved economy.

The Audi e-tron’s electric drive has two asynchronous motors, one at the front, one at the rear, with a total output of 300 kW of power. This allows the Audi e-tron to accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds.

The next step will be the development of electric cars suitable for those who regularly drive long distances, entailing further advances in battery technology, and the development of a network of charging stations across the country. The battery for the Audi e-tron is designed to last the entire life cycle of the vehicle. When charged at a high-power charging station at up to 150 kW, the Audi e-tron can be restored to 80% in less than half an hour. At 22 kW, the Audi e-tron can charge its battery to 100% in around four and a half hours.

For city dwellers, however, the age of electric mobility has well and truly arrived. Rapid advances in technology continue to drive progress; the rise of electric cars is only one of many developments set to transform transportation as we know it, heralding a cleaner, more efficient future.

 

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