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August 25, 2017 News of the Day: Audi A8 Gets Advanced 3D Audio System, GM Recalling Battery Packs on Some Chevy Bolts, VW CEO Knew About Emissions Cheating in July of 2015

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【Summary】August 25, 2017 News of the Day

Original Eric Walz    Aug 25, 2017 1:59 PM PT
August 25, 2017 News of the Day: Audi A8 Gets Advanced 3D Audio System, GM Recalling Battery Packs on Some Chevy Bolts, VW CEO Knew About Emissions Cheating in July of 2015

Audi A8 Gets Advanced 3D Audio System

Audi vehicle are packed with technology — not just under the hood. Audi just gave its flagship A8 luxury sedan a sound system to match the car's advanced technology. The car will now come with a new Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System that promises to deliver a unique acoustic experience through '3D sound'.

The system makes use of 23 speakers with lightweight neodymium magnets assisting in low-distortion, hence delivering high-resolution sound quality. The 3d audio system was first introduced in the Q7 back in 2015 and the A8 has been supplied with an evolved version of it that includes the rear of the cabin. Two full-range loudspeakers in the A-pillars and two in the headlining above the rear seats develop surround sound.

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The 1,920-watt amplifier by Bang & Olufsen, which operates efficiently due to ICE power technology, generates 3D sound with its digital signal processor. It produces little waste heat and abundant audio output. One unique feature is that the system also amplifies the signal of the woofers, which reproduce sound that is especially energy-laden, such as a low bass note from an organ.

When the infotainment system is switched on, the two tweeters extend electrically out of the instrument panel. Bang & Olufsen uses Acoustic Lens Technology to ensure that the sound is distributed in a horizontal 180-degree fan.

To produce the 3D sound, the new sound system draws on an algorithm that Audi has developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen. It uses stereo or 5.1 recordings to calculate the information for the third dimension and processes it for the four 3D loudspeakers.

The sound system can be configured to best optimize the audio depending on the number of occupants in the car. The occupants can also adjust the subwoofer volume independently of all other loudspeakers.

Then there is one more special function for watching movies, known as Movie Set, which provides passengers the same quality as in front of a big screen in the cinema. The system localizes every voice individually and adjusts the balance accordingly. For example, if a character appears to the right of the picture, their voice is also played from the right.

GM Recalling Battery Packs on Some Chevy Bolts

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General Motors said on Friday it had informed a small number of owners of its Chevrolet Bolt electric cars about a battery problem that could cause a loss of propulsion.

Some early Bolt models may incorrectly report remaining range at low states of charge due to lower battery voltage, resulting in the car halting abruptly. The company said under 1 percent of the more than 10,000 Bolts sold to date were facing the problem. GM said it would arrange for service of the affected cars.

Kevin Kelly, ‎senior manager for advanced technology communications at GM, says the problem is due to one or more battery cells, which are manufactured by LG Chem, malfunctioning in the battery pack.

GM expects that less than 1 percent of the more than 10,000 Bolt EVs are affected by the issue and they plan to replace the entire battery pack of all the affected vehicles.

The Bolt EV is a small crossover all-electric vehicle with 238 miles of range and a $37,500 starting price. The Bolt is the first electric car in the U.S. market to offer more than 200 miles of driving range per charge at a starting price of around $35,000.

VW CEO Knew About Diesel Cheating Scandal in July of 2015

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A former senior quality manager at Volkswagen has told investigators he informed then-CEO Martin Winterkorn on July 27, 2015, that the carmaker had "cheated" during emissions tests in the United States, German media reported on Friday.

Volkswagen (VW) has said its executive board did not learn about the severity of emissions test cheating using illegal software until late August 2015.

VW has acknowledged it installed software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide, damaging its global business, leading to billions of dollars in fines, and prompting the departure of Winterkorn.

But questions linger over who knew the software was illegal, and when they found out. The timing is important because VW is being sued by investors for holding back market sensitive information - an allegation it denies.

According to a report by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR published on Friday, the unidentified quality manager told German and U.S. investigators that Winterkorn phoned him on July 27 to enquire about problems with the certification of new models in the United States.

He says he then told the CEO that VW had "cheated" in the United States, the report said.

Winterkorn in January declined to tell German lawmakers when he first learned about systematic exhaust emissions cheating but said it was no earlier than VW had officially disclosed.

In a settlement with U.S. authorities, VW said a meeting with senior managers took place in late July after U.S. regulators threatened not to certify VW model year 2016 vehicles for sale.

"VW AG supervisors requested a briefing on the situation in the United States. On or about July 27, 2015, VW AG employees presented to VW AG supervisors," the plea agreement, which VW filed with the U.S. District court, Eastern District of Michigan, said. However, VW has said managers' assessment at the time was that its violation of U.S. environmental rules could be resolved amicably, and potential penalties would not be dissimilar to those received by rival manufacturers, and therefore manageable.

The Notice of Violation issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 18, 2015, which brought the scandal into the open, came as a "surprise" to VW and "presented the situation in a completely different light," the company said in an annual report.

Intel Studying Ways to Make People Accept Self-Driving Cars

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There are many people that have reservations about being a passenger in a car with no driver behind the wheel. Intel is looking to address this problem. It's one thing for our autonomous test cars to take us for a drive with a safety driver behind the wheel. But soon there won't be anyone in that seat. When will you be ready to get in?

The promise of autonomous vehicle technology is tantalizing. Some experts predict that we can save millions of lives and grant mobility to all just by removing humans from the driver's seat. But the difference between theory and practice comes down to this: People are afraid of robot cars. A recent AAA study found that 75 percent of Americans are scared to ride in one.

The good news is that Intel believes this is this is a solvable problem. The company is creating an interactive experience between car and rider that is informative, helpful, and comfortable – in a word: trustworthy. Intel's user experience research team showed this potential in a recent Trust Interaction Study with autonomous car passengers.

This limited, qualitative study was conducted with consumers who had no previous exposure to driverless cars other than those they had seen in their city. They were invited to take a ride in a driverless test car in exchange for their feedback about the experience. Five trust interactions were prototyped and evaluated: requesting a vehicle, starting a trip, making changes to the trip, handling errors and emergencies, and pulling over and exiting. We interviewed them before and after their ride and also recorded their reactions during the experience.

The focus was on trusting the machine and understanding the human-to-machine interfaces (displays, touch screens, vocal cues and more) that provide the means for passengers to interact with their driverless cars.

Although limited in scope, the results were unanimous. Every single participant experienced a huge leap in their confidence level after their journey. Even those who came in apprehensive about self-driving cars acknowledged that autonomous vehicles are a safer mode of transportation and felt excited about the growth of this market.

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