10 Techno-Cool Cars

Spectrum picks the 10 most technically sophisticated cars for 2003

8 min read
Volvo Safety Concept car
Photo: Volvo

The auto industry is quick to entertain new ideas but slower to implement them. Although Robert Bosch perfected diesel fuel injection in the 1920s, it was decades before the technology made it into the mass market for gasoline engines. Mostly, the auto industry waited for technology to prove itself elsewhere. Antilock brakes were first used in aircraft landing gear; GPS navigation in military and nautical applications; seat belts and noise abatement in aircraft; and build-to-order sales in PC manufacturing. Car companies, for the most part, contented themselves with the niceties of design—artfully molded sheet steel, glowering grilles, white walls, and cup holders.

In defense of Detroit, there were sound reasons for this technological wariness. A fuel-saving gizmo costing more than the fuel it saved would make no sense. Safety features that were godsends to sailors and aviators mattered less in cars, least of all to the drivers who had to pay for them. Neat inventions that made engineers salivate often left dollar-wise buyers cold.

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Acer Goes Big on Glasses-Free, 3D Monitors—Look Out, VR

Is this what’s needed to bring augmented reality to the home office?

4 min read
A standing tablet computer shows a blow out of a car that appears to be coming out of the display.

Content creators are a key target for Acer's glasses-free 3D.

Acer

Acer, the world’s fifth largest PC brand, wants to take the growing AR/VR market by the horns with its SpatialLabs glasses-free stereoscopic 3D displays.

First teased in 2021 in a variant of Acer’s ConceptD 7 laptop, the technology expands this summer in a pair of portable monitors, the SpatialLabs View and View Pro, and select Acer Predator gaming laptops. The launch is paired with AI-powered software for converting existing 2D content into stereoscopic 3D.

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DARPA Wants a Better, Badder Caspian Sea Monster

Liberty Lifter X-plane will leverage ground effect

4 min read
A rendering of a grey seaplane with twin fuselages and backwards-facing propellers
DARPA

Arguably, the primary job of any military organization is moving enormous amounts of stuff from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of that stuff is weaponry, but the vast majority are things that support that weaponry—fuel, spare parts, personnel, and so on. At the moment, the U.S. military has two options when it comes to transporting large amounts of payload. Option one is boats (a sealift), which are efficient, but also slow and require ports. Option two is planes (an airlift), which are faster by a couple of orders of magnitude, but also expensive and require runways.

To solve this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to combine traditional sealift and airlift with the Liberty Lifter program, which aims to “design, build, and flight test an affordable, innovative, and disruptive seaplane” that “enables efficient theater-range transport of large payloads at speeds far exceeding existing sea lift platforms.”

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Bridge the Gaps in Your ADAS Test Strategy

Full-scene emulation in the lab is key to developing robust radar sensors and algorithms needed to realize ADAS capabilities

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Achieving the next level in vehicle autonomy demands robust algorithms trained to interpret radar reflections from automotive radar sensors. Overcome the gaps between software simulation and roadway testing to train the ADAS / AV algorithms with real-world conditions. Sharpen your ADAS' radar vision with full-scene emulation that allows you to lab test complex real-world scenario, while emulating up to 512 objects at distances as close as 1.5 meters.

Get this free whitepaper now!