Engineering Newswire: Autonomous Car Tech Connects To Everything

This Engineering Newswire looks at building a battery that won’t overheat, transforming your kitchen with a revolutionary refrigerator and taking a ride in a vehicle that connects to everything.

Samsung’s Smart Fridge

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung unveiled its Family Hub Refrigerator featuring a Wi-Fi touchscreen enabling families to connect, manage food and entertain like never before.

The 21.5-inch touchscreen allows you to display your calendar, notes, recipes and weather; look inside remotely with a built-in interior camera; create shopping lists and order groceries; and stream entertainment, including news, music and TV.

The Family Hub can also serve as a control center for connected household gadgets. The Family Hub refrigerator pairs nice with Samsung's SmartThings gear as well as devices from other companies.

Can’t remember how much milk you have left at home? Just use the phone app to access the cameras in the fridge to ascertain your milk levels when you’re at the grocery store.

To keep up with family updates and messages, an app called Stickies syncs Post-it-style notes to the fridge that are created with the mobile software, so you can let the whole family know you’re going to be late for dinner.

Samsung plans to release the Family Hub refrigerator this spring and will be priced around $5,000. Then the whole family can gather around the breakfast table to stare at the new “Fridgertainment” system and keep up with the Kardashians together.

‘Vehicle-to-Everything’ Autonomous Tech

You may remember last year when Delphi used its own automotive technologies to “drive” a vehicle autonomously from San Francisco to New York.

The company took its automated driving to the next level at CES 2016 by showcasing its vehicle-to-everything (V2E) technology.

Vehicle-to-everything is actually a term that encompasses vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-pedestrian, and vehicle-to-traffic light technology. This means V2E allows cars to communicate with traffic lights, signs, streets, cars, and even pedestrians.

Because of this advanced software and hardware, Delphi’s car can see all vehicles in the immediate vicinity and detect when a nearby car abruptly decides to get in the same lane as the Delphi car.

In addition, the car can talk to traffic lights and city infrastructure, by using Dedicated Short Range Communications to recognize the status of traffic lights and to anticipate yellow and red lights. 

And finally, the car can leverage a special chip in a smart phone to be alerted when a phone-obsessed pedestrian is about to step into oncoming traffic.

While the V2E capabilities are a long-term development, Delphi’s vehicle-to-vehicle software will be installed on the 2017 Cadillac CTS next year.

Lithium-Ion Batteries That Won’t Overheat

Lithium-ion batteries' longer-lasting energy powers many of our most-modern gadgets, ranging from smartphones to electric cars to really any type of portable electronic.

But they're also susceptible to overheating and sometimes even catching fire. Most recently, for example, you might have seen headlines about the dangers of exploding hoverboards.

Lucky for us (and our gadgets), researchers at Stanford University think they might have a solution.

These researchers were able to successfully coat a battery electrode with a thin film that expands when it gets too hot, thus preventing the continued conducting of electricity.

As a result, the battery completely shuts down when temperatures exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit, then automatically restarts once temperatures dip.

Stanford says that these lithium-ion batteries of the future could provide a faster, more reliable solution for improved safety, not to mention soothe fears of exploding smart devices for both

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