Beecham's Tech-Talk

Beecham's Tech-Talk

By: Matthew Beecham

Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.


Next wave of gesture recognition technologies

21 Nov 2016 | Matthew Beecham

If you like talking to your car to operate certain functions, you can now wave and take a swipe at it. While gesture recognition is used in consumer electronics, it is now creeping into vehicles. Given that prodding and pinching at a touchscreen while driving can be distracting, using hand gestures and even eye movements to control climate and switch radio channels is seen as the next best thing. Continuing just-auto's series of research snapshots - pulled from its automotive research platform, QUBE – reviews the stage reached with gesture recognition and what we can expect to see in tomorrow's car.


Tomorrow’s car sharing – digitally powered, keyless and driverless

14 Nov 2016 | Matthew Beecham

While car (ride) sharing has been around since the 1950s, it only really came of age in the 1990s with a number of small scale schemes dotted across Europe and North America. Since then its use has become widespread in the shared economy. This research snapshot reviews some of the latest car sharing schemes on offer, prospects for self-driving car sharing and the implications for car interior design.


Interior design and technology - Volvo S90

11 Nov 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at the Volvo S90.  Its minimalist cockpit, swish interior and smooth, punchy powertrain make it a strong challenger in the large executive saloon market.


Pay attention drivers – your car is watching you

9 Nov 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents shows that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20 percent of road accidents. While driver alert systems – aimed at identifying signs of driver fatigue – have been around for a while, eye tracking and camera-based facial recognition technology are under development. This research snapshot reviews the stage reached with driver alertness technologies and what we can expect to see on tomorrow’s cars.


How Harman is harmonising the millennial market – Q&A

21 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Forget 22-inch wheels, a recent study found that around one-third of new car buyers say that the audio brand in their next vehicle would have a significant impact on their purchase consideration. We caught up with Michael Mauser, EVP and president of Harman’s lifestyle audio division, to learn how the sound specialist developed an audio system for the new Toyota C-HR, why its audio solutions are increasingly found in small car platforms, and how Voyager Drive offers a high-end audio experience for millennials.


Tomorrow’s car seats – lighter, smarter, kinetic

21 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

The three megatrends impacting the global automotive industry, namely fuel efficiency, individualisation and autonomous driving, strongly influence the shape and form of tomorrow’s car seat. Continuing just-auto's series of research snapshots - pulled from its automotive research platform, QUBE – this one takes a closer look at some approaches to car seat design.


Park assist makes parallel parking a breeze

18 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

A recent survey revealed that 15 percent of drivers avoid parallel parking and three-quarters get ‘stage fright’ when trying to park in front of other drivers. Parking assistance technologies can spare any blushes and are available on a range of cars, including the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa (as seen on TV). Here we review such helpful technologies and what we can expect on tomorrow’s car.


Gordon Murray, Shell and Geo Technology co-engineer a 107mpg city car concept

13 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

The Shell Project M car is the result of a technology partnership between Gordon Murray Design, Shell Lubricants and engine specialists Geo Technology. Over the past few years, the trio has co-engineered the car’s body, engine and lubricants to minimise fuel use and CO2 emissions. It is hoped that by achieving a three-digit mpg number will inspire fresh thinking about personal mobility while minimising energy using existing technologies and materials. The space-age car recently showcased is a reengineered version of Gordon Murray’s T25 city car, produced in 2010. To learn more about Project M and its potential, just-auto were among the first group to drive it.


Interior design and technology - Lexus RC

7 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto’s review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at the Lexus RC. The deeply contoured body shape of the RC (Radical Coupe) gives it an edgy, extroverted stance. Offered in a choice of two powertrains, ours came in the shape of a white RC 300h F Sport with a 2.5-litre petrol engine.


Flexible OLED displays reinvent the car dashboard

3 Oct 2016 | Matthew Beecham

If you appreciate uncluttered, simple car dashboards, then it will come as welcome news that buttons are gradually disappearing in favour of multi-functional touchscreens. Tomorrow’s cars are expected to incorporate a virtual dashboard with curved screens designed using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. This month’s research snapshot takes a closer look at OLEDs used for car information displays.


Lighter, more efficient transmissions – Q&A with Drive System Design

20 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Lightweight materials is a hot topic in automotive manufacture in the battle to reduce carbon emissions. Now a technical partnership between engineering consultancy, Drive System Design (DSD) and international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay SA, is exploring the potential for large-scale use of plastic composites in transmissions and drivelines. To find out more, we spoke to DSD’s president, North America, Shaun Mepham.


Blueprint Acoustics on next generation audio solutions

19 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

While the automotive audio market is dominated by some well-known brands, smaller technology firms are attracting interest from OEMs. In this interview, Greg Turnidge, CEO of Blueprint Acoustics (Bluacs) explains how a niche Australian company is developing audio solutions for next generation vehicle platforms.


Car connectivity brings Big Data opportunities

16 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

With more and more cars offering some form of connectivity, opportunities are emerging for the automotive industry.  In this interview, Nilesh Auti, who is vice president and head of Auto & Discrete Manufacturing Vertical at Tech Mahindra, explains how correlating data on cars, drivers and their environment results in Big Data, pointing the way to new possibilities for car manufacturers and dealers.


Why games technology is driving automotive design - Unreal Engine Q&A

15 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

From engineering and styling to marketing and retail, real-time visualisation and Virtual Reality continue to demonstrate their potential to bring surprising changes to many functions within the automotive industry. We talked to Simon Jones, who is director of Unreal Engine Enterprise, the company that develops the core technology driving this innovation, to find out how the technology is being used and where we go from here.


DSM Engineering Plastics on solutions for future mobility concepts

14 Sep 2016 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto’s series of interviews with global automotive material suppliers, Ralph Ramaekers, global marketing director, automotive at DSM explains how the supplier’s engineered plastics and new processes can support OEMs in designing tomorrow’s car.



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