Toyota, Audi Prep Self-Driving Cars

Standard

Toyota Motor Corp. and Audi AG are throwing their hats into the ring of potential suppliers of self-driving vehicles.

Both auto makers confirmed on Thursday that they will be demonstrating autonomous-driving features at the Consumer Electronics Show in the coming week, signaling a new effort to raise the technology’s profile among consumers.

In a preview video posted to its website on Thursday, Toyota showed a five-second clip of one of its Lexus brand cars outfitted with various sensors and the caption, “Lexus advanced active safety research vehicle is leading the industry into a new automated era.”

Apple Makes a Wrong Turn as Users Blast Map Switch

Standard

Apple Inc.’s move to replace Google Inc.’s mapping software with its own on its mobile devices sparked a world-wide consumer backlash, marking a rare strategic blunder by a company more accustomed to rave reviews from users.

As Apple prepped its stores for the first sales of the iPhone 5 on Friday, the company faced vociferous complaints from consumers over the mapping application it released this week, which replaces the Google maps that have been part of the iPhone since the device’s initial 2007 release. The new maps come installed on the iPhone 5 and will be seen by other users who upgrade their iPhones and iPads to the company’s latest iOS 6 mobile operating system.

Cars Pump Up IQ to Get Edge

Standard

LAS VEGAS—Auto makers want their cars to be able to drive into the cloud.

Manufacturers like General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz Cars division are using the Consumer Electronics Show here to show off a set of computer services that operate online, or through the “cloud,” and allow customers to remotely track their cars, diagnose what’s wrong with them and potentially avoid collisions.

Sony Faces Suits Over PlayStation Breach

Standard

Plaintiffs lawyers are targeting Sony Corp. with class-action suits after a breach of the company’s online-game network compromised the personal information of millions of users.

In one lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court’s Northern District of California, videogame player Kristopher Johns said Sony’s security was negligently poor and the company failed to encrypt personal information.

Big Blue dreams of a big green battery

Standard

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Spike Narayan watched a Tesla electric sports car rocket from zero to 60 mph (100 kph) in less than four seconds and knew batteries would be the next big thing.

“It’s hard to understand you’re not in a gas powered Porsche,” Narayan said as he recalled the demonstration outside IBM’s Almaden Research Center in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“Your head snaps back from the speed.”

The vision underscored the importance of battery power to Narayan and other IBM researchers who led a future-of-batteries conference that ended Thursday at the center.

Spending on U.S. rail seen stuck at the station

Standard

CHICAGO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – Major U.S. freight railroads and their advocates have argued for years that government investment is needed in the country’s rail system to take freight off congested highways and keep the economy moving.

But supporters say rail investments have been largely ignored by Congress, suggesting political support is lacking, despite warnings action must be taken sooner rather than later.