We need computer sight to make smart homes smart

The smart home won’t be built using apps and connected devices. To truly embed computing into our home environment we need better computer vision, projectors and a new understanding of computing.

GM opens up OnStar with peer-to-peer car sharing service

The around 6 million subscribers to GM’s OnStar connected car service can now rent out their cars to other drivers via a deal between the auto giant and peer-to-peer car sharing startup RelayRides. The partnership was announced back in October of last year.

How Intel Labs is using data to curb energy use

Intel Labs held an annual showcase in San Francisco on Tuesday and it showed off how it’s researching ways to use data to help curb energy consumption in residential homes, in offices, on factory floors and across smart cities.

Who’s liable in the share economy?

The tragic story in which a man rented a car in Boston via peer-to-peer car sharing company RelayRides and wound up seriously injuring four people while losing his life, raised a familiar question for the share economy: Who’s responsible?

Cars, gadgets on collision course at CES

The line between car and home entertainment center is getting blurrier by the minute as electronics makers and car companies take to the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 and concurrent Detroit Auto show to strut their stuff. Here’s a sampling of the news.

How connectivity is revolutionizing everything

Blazing fast networks, cheap silicon, always-on devices and a torrent of data will fundamentally change everything — how we consume media, how we work, and even who we are. We examined 10 areas that show how connectivity is profoundly changing the present and future of technology.

GM partners with RelayRides for car sharing

Auto giant GM is making its first move into car sharing by partnering with San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car sharing startup RelayRides, using its communications system OnStar. RelayRides also says it is in advanced discussions with GM about an investment.

Got EV Range Anxiety? There’s an App for That

Cell Phone and EV Panel: Edward Pleet, Ford Motor Company, and Nick Pudar, OnStar, at Green:Net 2011The electric car has encountered a number of hurdles in its ongoing path to the mainstream, and they haven’t all been technical. More human challenges, like range anxiety, have served as hindrances in the wide-scale consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EVs.)
As big carmakers move more and more into the electric vehicle market, engineers are working overtime to develop applications that will help ease customers’ minds and smooth the transition to EVs, representatives from Ford Motor Company and vehicle technology firm OnStar said in a panel at Thursday’s Green:Tech 2011 conference.
“When we did development of the [first Ford] electric vehicle, we discovered that the EV requires a different level of connectivity,” Edward Pleet, a business development manager in Ford’s connected services organization, said.
Providing consumers with in-depth information about their vehicles creates a positive feedback loop that benefits both car drivers and the environment. “With better choices, people will make better decisions,” said Nick Pudar, the business development VP at OnStar, which develops technology for General Motors.
While many industries, including healthcare, have benefitted from opening up to using independently developed applications, it may be a while before developers can hack out new apps for cars. “We’re very interested in making available appropriate APIs for third party developers,” Pudar said. “[But] our primary objective is to ensure vehicle operation is safe and secure.”
But amid all the opportunities to develop new apps, carmakers have to be careful to not alienating consumers with too much technology at once. “The key is keeping it simple for the consumer,” Pleet noted. “If the process is [too] complex, at that point, people check out.”

Plug-In Cars Meet Smart Grid, Courtesy of OnStar, Comverge

General Motors has been talking for years about using its OnStar system to hook up the plug-in Chevy Volt to the smart grid and this week gave a peek into how that might happen in partnership with demand response player Comverge.