What passengers like the most, according to Nissan…

Nissan has made some research lately about what makes for both driver and passengers a harmonious journey. First of all, using the phone whilst driving is something passengers hate the most. It can indeed cause in-car arguments… Nissan points out of course than NissanConnect helps greatly here, as it integrates the phone seamlessly with the car. Also the compatibility with Apple Play and Android Auto will let you digest safely incoming calls and messages…

Good Music

Not less than 55 % of Europeans believe that good music is the most important ingredient for an enjoyable trip. Of course, you have to agree on a playlist before you start off… The NissanConnect infotainment system helps greatly here…

In the Juke, front seat passengers can enjoy the good sound of the Bose Personal Plus System. You can even select your music via the in Car Wi-Fi Hotspot…

Photo: Christian Colmenero Martín / Zona IV Producciones http://www.christiancolmenero.com http://www.zonaiv.com

Don’t come too close…

Passengers hate tailgating, and it is one of the worst things a driver can do. 46 % of the passengers find it very annoying. At least two seconds should be between you and the car in front of you. Nissan suggests using its ProPilot system which keeps you at a safe distance, whatever the speed…

Nearly one in five drivers admit that tiredness is a problem. So take a break, and don’t continue for too long. A chime and a coffee cup symbol will warn you when you drive a Nissan…

Risky overtaking

Indeed, not less than 56 % of European passengers just hate that. It makes them feel very uneasy. Nissan drivers can make good use of JUKE’s Blind Spot Intervention for instance, which returns the car back to its original lane if the driver doesn’t intervene…

Good seating

This is for many passengers even more important than room, and we can agree…

To conclude, a smooth, cool drive with good music is what passengers want, and their happy faces will also turn a broad, relaxed smile on your face…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A clever setup: in the new Dacia Sandero, your smartphone is a …multimedia screen!

Our smartphone follows us everywhere. So why not use it as a multimedia screen in the car? That would be smart. For Dacia it was self-evident, albeit on the condition that it was fully integrated into the driving experience. This is how Media Control was born.

Nicolas Legros, Director of Transversal Operations for Dacia, explains the philosophy and advantages of this system, which is introduced in New Dacia Sandero.

“At Dacia, we are committed to redefining the essence of the car. For that we had to find a smart, simple and attractive multimedia solution. Moreover, customer studies show that the buyers of the brand prioritize simplicity in this area. That is an important point raised by members of the Dacia community as well. Our engineers and designers have worked closely together to create Media Control, a system that places our customers’ favorite screen – their smartphone – at the center of the multimedia experience in the interior. ”

Indeed, taking your smartphone out of your pocket to make it your travel companion without having to place a hard-to-attach support on your ventilation grilles? That ease of use would appeal to many people. And this is well understood at Dacia. To make life easier for drivers with smart, affordable and contemporary solutions, the brand’s engineers and designers have pooled their talents and came up with a very practical solution…

What is Media Control?

Nicolas Legros explains the system: “Media Control is a complete multimedia system. It includes a radio, two speakers, a USB connection, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel controls and, above all, a docking station for smartphones integrated into the dashboard. From the start of the project, this station was fully integrated into the design of the dashboard. In this way we guarantee comfort and user-friendliness for our customers. ”

The smartphone, which is placed in the universal housing in the center of the dashboard of New Dacia Sandero and held firmly in place, integrates perfectly into the driving experience. The strategic placement, at the top of the dashboard and slightly turned towards the driver, guarantees readability of the data, which improves safety. All you need to do is download the Dacia Media Control app on your smartphone. A simple Bluetooth connection then turns your smartphone into a full-fledged addition to the dashboard, replacing the integrated multimedia system.

Navigation, radio, music, telephone and even access to vehicle information – all essential functions are at your fingertips. Even the voice control is present, thanks to the voice recognition of the smartphone.

And when the phone is not in the holder, the latter disappears into the dashboard for more discretion.

A smart system with sophisticated functions

However, all this is not enough to turn Media Control into a 100% smart multimedia system. Thanks to the customizable app, the system also adapts to the needs of each user and even connects to the car’s on-board computer.

However, all this is not enough to turn Media Control into a 100% smart multimedia system. Thanks to the customizable app, the system also adapts to the needs of each user and even connects to the car’s on-board computer.

This makes it possible to create shortcuts to your favorite widgets and apps and even to frequently called contacts. To navigate, each driver chooses his own preferred app thanks to the wide choice of maps and guidance systems. Choose multimedia à la carte. Radio, playlists from your telephone, subscription to music platforms, USB stick or MP3 player … There is no shortage of choice. In addition to calls, the phone has all the essential functions: a hands-free mode to look up contacts in the phone book, consult the call history or consult scheduled events in the calendar. With Android devices, and soon also on iOS, the SMS function even reads out messages. In terms of vehicle functions, Driving ECO provides real-time access to consumption data and gives the driver personalized driving tips at the end of each journey.

Upon arrival, more distracted drivers will appreciate the phone alert and the Go To My Car feature, which guides them back to the car’s last parking spot.

All this is so smart and practical!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW’s new generation iDrive further explained…part 1

We will bring you in several reports some further details about the latest iDrive, which is a further step into improved vehicle interaction in this era where things get increasingly smarter.

BMW’s operating system equips the vehicle to actively engage in its relationship with those on board. As BMW states, a natural dialogue is created with the aim of precisely tailoring all the functions controlled via BMW iDrive to the driver’s needs and preferences as the situation demands.

Underpinning the unique user experience are the new BMW Operating System 8, a new generation of displays, controls and software, and extremely powerful connectivity and data processing. The new iDrive will be rolled out gradually across all vehicle classes, making its debut later this year in the BMW iX before also featuring in the BMW i4.

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant adjusts to the driver’s individual needs and routines, as well as the situation at hand, and this makes it – more than ever – a central operating channel of human-machine interaction.

The operating system is designed with a clear focus on dialogue-based interaction using natural language and touch operation via the BMW Curved Display.

But there is more. BMW speaks of “Great Entrance Moments”, bringing emotionality to the relationship between driver and vehicle even before the driver climbs on board.

This new customer experience welcomes the driver and invites him or her into the vehicle with a thoroughly choreographed routine. During the journey, the new “My Modes” use an all-encompassing interplay of various functions to conjure special moments from a combination of vehicle characteristics and the interior ambience adapted to the situation at hand.

Processing data leading to further personalisation…

The new BMW iDrive constantly processes a large quantity of self-generated data, information available online and data imported from the BMW Group vehicle fleet to implement the driver’s wishes in a context-related way.

This is paving the way for even greater personalisation, and this system is called the “BMW ID.”

This system recognises repetitive situations, learns from them and provides suggestions on how functions can be activated accordingly. There is even more to keep the system up to date: Remote Software Upgrade allows the new BMW iDrive to benefit from regular over-the-air improvements, integrate additional functions and stay up to date at all times.

Design approach and operating concept.

The BMW iX all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle was developed from the inside out. It’s the same story with the user experience for the new BMW iDrive. The wishes of those travelling in the iX underpin how the user experience is designed – in all its facets and for all the senses.

Advances made in the field of digital design are likewise reflected in the design of a user interface which not only fulfils its functional role but is also clear, aesthetically pleasing and rich in detail.

This artistic approach creates surprising moments, with graphic presentation on the displays precisely designed, down to the last pixel.

The interaction between driver and vehicle becomes a unique experience in which the boundaries between the digital and analogue worlds melt away.

The digital design’s use of form fits in neatly with the geometric structures of the analogue elements in the new BMW design language. A prime example is the use of clear, minimalist design in both the exterior and interior of the car, which is reflected in the pure, reduced design of the digital elements of BMW iDrive.

The Curved Display takes centre stage…

The most distinctive new addition to the physical components on board is the BMW Curved Display, which groups together the information display and control display. This curving screen offers a futuristic interpretation of the traditional driver orientation in the cockpit design of BMW models. The BMW Curved Display is angled clearly towards the driver , making the intuitive touch control even more straightforward. In this new BMW Curved Display, the screen areas of the 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display merge together into a single unit.

The “Act, Locate and Inform” principle, which ensures information is distributed clearly and screen redundancy is avoided, takes the signature BMW driver orientation of the cockpit design to a new level. Pre-filtering ensures that only information relevant to the driving situation is presented to the driver – and always shown where they can absorb it as quickly and easily as possible.

Voice control and the touch function of the BMW Curved Display were prioritized as usage options in the development of the new BMW iDrive. The number of buttons and switches has been reduced by almost half. At the same time, control clusters for relevant and frequently used basic functions are retained where customers expect to find them. The control panels on the centre console and instrument panel have an all-new, minimalist design. The familiar iDrive Controller is the central control element on the centre console. The Touch Controller, designed in an extremely smart glass-effect finish for the BMW iX, is encircled by a bezel painted in Gold Bronze.

The upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant performs the role of a digital character which can engage in natural dialogue with the driver and front passenger – similarly to a relationship between humans.

More about the Graphical User Interface in a following report…

Last but not least, we are looking forward to drive some BMW and Mini products in June, and maybe get a first “real” experience of the iDrive also in the coming months…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

BMW presents on Monday 16 March their 8th Generation of iDrive…

BMW stunned the automotive world 20 years ago with their iDrive BMW opened a new era of in-car operating technology.

Keen to get a grip on the constantly expanding array of functions in vehicle interiors, in 2001 BMW instigated a paradigm shift in the then new BMW 7 Series.

Today, BMW developers and designers focusing on user interaction and user experience have faced up to a new set of challenges. The 8th generation of BMW iDrive brings about another paradigm shift – this time to a new kind of relationship between driver and their vehicle. Needless to say, we are very intrigued and will certainly follow the premiere online!

Indeed, You can follow the world premiere live at www.live.bmwgroup.com, on Monday, 15 March 2021, 15:30 GMT.

You can also follow the @BMWGroup social media channels for the live broadcast.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bmwgroup/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BMWGroup

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BMWGroup

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/BMWGroupView

We would say, don’t miss it!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

In-car cinema is amongst us: the top all-electric Mercedes EQS gets a unique MBUX Hyperscreen.

Mercedes is making another breakthrough in terms of dashboard infotainment. In 2018 the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) was unveiled in the current A-Class, and there are now more than 1.8 million Mercedes-Benz passenger cars equipped with it on the roads worldwide. A few months ago, the second generation of this learn-capable system debuted in the new S-Class. The next big step now follows in the form of the new EQS and the optionally available MBUX Hyperscreen.

The large, curved screen unit stretches almost the entire width from the left to the right A-pillar. In addition to its sheer size, the high-quality, detail-loving design also provides a “wow” effect. This aesthetic high-tech look is the emotional dimension of the MBUX hyperscreen.

Added to this is artificial intelligence (AI): With software capable of learning, the display and operating concept adapts completely to its user and makes personalized suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions.

Thanks to the so-called zero layer, the user does not have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The most important applications are always offered in a situational and contextual way at the top level in view. In this way, numerous operating steps are taken away from the EQS driver. And not only him: The MBUX Hyperscreen is also an attentive assistant for the passenger. It receives its own display and operating area.

“The MBUX Hyperscreen is both the brain and nervous system of the car”, says Sajjad Khan (photo here above) , Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG and CTO. “The MBUX Hyperscreen continually gets to know the customer better and delivers a tailored, personalized infotainment and operating offering before the occupant even has to click or scroll anywhere.”

We are of course quite keen to get acquainted with this Hypersreen…hopefully soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class: four wheeled luxury reinvented…

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, in hightech silver

A new S-Class redefines the benchmark of luxurious motoring. This time, the high-tech innovations are centered around driver and passengers. We name a few of them: The second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) débuts in the new S-Class. Not less than five(!) screens are installed. New 3D driver display for the first time allows spatial perception of the scene with a real 3D effect thanks to eye-tracking. There is also a very large head-up display with augmented reality content. When navigating, for example, animated turn-off arrows (“fishbones”) are virtually and precisely projected onto the road lane.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class interior: leather siena brown

Using cameras in the overhead control panel and learning algorithms, MBUX Interior Assist recognizes and anticipates the wishes and intentions of the occupants. It does this by interpreting head direction, hand movements and body language, and responds with corresponding vehicle functions. For example, if the driver looks over his/her shoulder towards the rear window, Interior Assist automatically opens the sunblind.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, interior: leather siena brown

The active ambient lighting with around 250 LEDs is now integrated into the driving assistance systems, and is able to reinforce their warnings visually.

The latest generation of the Driving Assistance Package has new and numerous improved functions. One example is the intelligent compliance with speed limits.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, exterior: hightech silver

The new S-Class is also easy to manoeuver:  Thanks to rear-axle steering (optional), the S-Class is as manoeuvrable as a compact car in the city. The steering angle at the rear axle is up to ten degrees. The turning circle is reduced by up to two metres.(!)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class DIGITAL LIGHT

More than 50 electronic components in the new S-Class can be updated with new software over-the-air (OTA). These include the entire MBUX infotainment system, the driver display, the driving assistance systems and the MULTIBEAM LED and DIGITAL LIGHT lighting systems. You don’t need to visit your dealer for this anymore…

The S-Class is also safer than ever. When a side impact with another vehicle threatens, the vehicle body can be raised by the E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension (optional) within a few tenths of a second.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, interior: leather nappa black/carmin red

It is expected that from the second half of 2021 the S-Class will be able to drive in conditionally automated mode with the new DRIVE PILOT (optional extra), in situations where traffic density is high or in tailbacks, on suitable motorway sections …in Germany.

The revolutionary headlamp technology DIGITAL LIGHT (optional extra) allows completely new functions, e.g. the projection of marking aids or warning symbols onto the road ahead. In each headlamp, DIGITAL LIGHT has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs with light that is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is therefore more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, exterior: hightech silver

When the new S-Class is launched, six-cylinder in-line petrol and diesel engines in various output classes will be available, with a V8 engine with integrated starter generator (ISG) and a 48-volt onboard electrical system to follow shortly afterwards. A plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of around 100 km will follow in 2021.

Of course, books can be written about this new S-Class; We will in the near future, describe some of these new technical and electronic breakthroughs in more detail…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

New Kia Sorento PHEV revealed…

In the premium SUV market, Kia shows its mettle. Alongside the Sorento Hybrid, here comes the plug-in hybrid version, combining the 13.8 kWh battery pack and 66.9 kW electric motor with 1.6-litre T-GDi engine and six-speed automatic. Besides all the power and eco-friendliness, it should be remembered that the fourth-generation Sorento has an innovative platform designed from the outset to accommodate electrified powertrains.

This means generous cabin and luggage space and both five- and seven-seat layouts. These new generation electrifieds are popular: In the first half of 2020, electrified models – including mild-hybrid, parallel hybrid, battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles – accounted for around one in four of all Kia vehicles sold in Europe.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Clean power

The PHEV Sorento boasts the 1.6-litre T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine, which, on its own, produces up to 180 ps and 265 Nm torque.

The engine is paired with a high-capacity 13.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack and an electric motor which produces 66.9 kW and 304 Nm torque.

Combined, these powertrain components enable the Sorento Plug-in Hybrid’s powertrain to produce up to 265 ps and 350 Nm torque. More than enough here. Power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission allows the full power of the engine and motor to be transferred in parallel.

The new model represents Kia’s first use of an independent battery pack water-cooling system in a PHEV, ensuring optimal heat management and efficiency for the high-voltage battery pack. For the 66.9 kW electric motor, the rotor benefits from a new two-stage lamination process to reduce noise and vibration levels.

The engine features Kia’s latest ‘Smartstream’ innovations, including Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology, which regulates the duration that the intake valves open and close depending on driving conditions.

Practical

The dedicated platform also offers plenty of cargo space: up to 809 litres (for seven-seat models) or 898 litres (five-seat models) with two rows of seats in place. In seven-seat models, with all seven seats in place, boot space is 175 litres (compared to 179 litres for its Hybrid counterpart).

Visually, Sorento Plug-in Hybrid models retain the same modern exterior design as other variants in the line-up, with ‘eco plug-in’ badges and a charging port on the rear quarters standing out as the only points of differentiation.

Inside, the cabin also remains largely unchanged, although the 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster is redesigned, with new graphics and dials to provide drivers with a clear picture of the powertrain’s status. It enables drivers to keep track of the battery’s state of charge, as well as the flow of electric and gasoline power through the powertrain. The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system also features new functionality to enable drivers to easily locate vehicle charging points on-the-go.

Premium infotainment tech and driving aids…

The touchscreen infotainment system enables full, seamless smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. A powerful 12-speaker BOSE® surround-sound audio system is also available, delivering a more immersive sound to all passengers, as well as a cabin Mood Lighting system, with up to 64 colours for users to choose from.

The Sorento Plug-in Hybrid offers a range of Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) technology with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detection and FCA Junction, which detects vehicles at junctions when turning; Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM); Surround View Monitor (SVM) and Blind-spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA); Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA); Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go (SCC) and Navigation-based SCC (NSCC), and so much more. It even helps you with parking in tight spaces…

We are eagerly awaiting a first drive with this new Kia Flagship. In the meantime, here are some photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

The new Coyote UP brings you even more safety…

Sitting snugly on your dashboard, the new Coyote UP has an interactive voice assistant… you just say “Hey Coyote!”

Experienced drivers treasure it: the Coyote driver assistant. This unique device, which sits snugly on your dashboard in your live of view, is now better than ever. In the beginning of this year the European manufacturer Coyote introduced their latest model, the Coyote UP, which has two new features: a voice assistant for improved safety behind the wheel, and their patented “Predictive Safety technology”. We explain you here more about it. Just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The Coyote UP embodies an new generation…

Times evolve, and the expectations of the customers too. Good reasons for the Coyote engineers to develop unique extra features, such as their own voice assistant which is able to understand requests in ordinary language. This language feature is interactive: it allows drivers to raise and confirm alerts without taking their eyes off the road or removing their hands from the wheel, using the simple phrase ‘Hey COYOTE!’

Your safety-bringing companion on the road…

Other new features have been incorporated into COYOTE UP:

A 3.5 inch touch screen that is discreet and easy to read.

A single physical button that simplifies interactions with the device.

Excellent visibility at night

A new interface that is simple, ergonomic and intuitive.

Automatic mode change between day (white background) and night (black background) which prevents dazzling the driver.

and equally during the day…

Last but not least, there is this so-called “Predictive Safety technology. ”

Based on an algorithm that analyses community data which have been made anonymous, this Predictive Safety feature contributes to better hazard identification and awareness.

It wars you of dangerous curves ahead and idicates the safe speed…

At each bend in the road that has been identified as dangerous*, the driver receives a contextual alert which provides a recommended speed for taking the bend safely. 

Predictive Safety allows members of the Coyote community to:

1.Negotiate bends confidently 

2.Drive with knowledge of what lies ahead 

3.Manage their speed even better 

This free feature will be initially implemented through a software update on all Coyote UP and NAV+ products during the first quarter of 2020.

Coyote’s unique strength: its user community.

In addition to the new voice functionality and Predictive Safety, the device incorporates all the technology developed by COYOTE. Road alerts and hazards will be reported in real time by the community of over 1.6 million users in Belgium.

The screen displays maximum recommended speed and any disruptions on the route ahead. COYOTE once again offers an ad-free service so as not to distract users. Personal data transmitted by its user community remain anonymous and are not used for commercial purposes.

Coyote aims to contribute to road safety by providing precise, reliable and real-time alerts to its members as well as to its various partners, including the Federal Police. Its information is actually also made available on several platforms: connected devices, applications, on board systems in cars (partnerships with Renault, PSA Peugeot-Citroën and Parrot) and various interfaces specifically developed in the context of public and private partnerships. 

Made in Europe, for its European users…

Coyote operates in eight European countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Poland. The Coyote community has 5.5 million members in Europe, including 1.63 million in Belgium.

The European user community is very important to COYOTE, and has played a central role in the product’s design: through their feedback and the needs they have identified, our loyal customers and ambassadors have worked alongside COYOTE to co-create this new device.

COYOTE manufactures the COYOTE UP in France (it is designed in the Paris region and Bordeaux; assembled in partner factories in Caen and Rennes).

This European user community is very important to COYOTE, and has played a central role in the product’s design.

We unpacked our Coyote UP, further user experiences soon!

The COYOTE UP is available from 13 January 2020 on the website http://www.coyotesystems.be at a price of €229 including VAT. The device is also available in Coyote stores and at all the usual points of sale.

We have now unpacked our COYOTE UP, and will soon report on our user experiences!

More soon, stay posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel