Reuters reported that Samsung is angling to buy Blackberry, which is the current supplier of QNX — the operating system that UConnect runs on.
Samsung is no stranger to UNIX-style operating systems, with its portable devices running Android — which itself is based on Linux. The South Korean company dominates cell-phone and tablet sales, partly thanks to its copying of Apple’s user interface and product design (according to court testimony). However, the QNX division of Blackberry would likely be kept with the same personnel.
Ford recently switched from Microsoft’s automotive operating system to QNX, after numerous embarrassingly easy hacks which allowed researchers to remotely control Ford and other cars with Microsoft-based telematics. QNX is a hardened operating system designed to prevent such issues, and Chrysler’s UConnect has proven far more reliable than Ford’s Sync in the field as well.
Fiat’s telematics still use Microsoft, and smaller Chrysler products tend to have the Fiat system as an entry level system.
Reuters reported that Samsung was offering at least $13.35 per share, far above the Canadian firm’s normal trading value in recent weeks ($9.71 – $12.60). However, a recent story in Bloomberg News stated that a spokesman from Samsung had denied the deal. An unnamed source at Blackberry itself was quoted as saying that they are often approached but would want a greater premium, given the company’s belief that its future will be far brighter than analysts predict. In addition, any deal would have to be approved by a relatively protectionist Canadian government.
Samsung has, however, created a set of secure programs on the new Blackberry BES12 server. Blackberry’s automotive and phone systems have been converging to provide coders with a single set of programming interfaces so that code can easily be written for both phones and cars.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently tested cars to show that gas mileage can drop by up to 22% in short-trip driving (3-4 miles) during even mildly cold weather — with hybrids faring even worse, dropping by up to 34%.
The lab looked at 600 conventional vehicles and 14 hybrids under “normal” temperatures (around 77°F) and cold-weather conditions (20°F).
Culprits include friction from oil and other fluids, the engine running at below-optimal temperatures (when leaner gas/air mixtures kick in), the added power from heated seats, defrosters, and such, higher aerodynamic drag due to denser air, and lower tire pressure which increases rolling resistance. For hybrids, one issue is lower battery performance; either way, the alternator has to work more to keep a charge. Finally, icy or snow covered roads increase wheel slip, and can bring energy-consuming all wheel drive into play.
In addition, many owners still do extended warm-ups, especially now that many cars have remote starters. It is not unusual to find people leaving their cars running in winter, while they run errands indoors.
The DOE and EPA issued some recommendations, which may seem obvious:
Park in a warm place, such as a garage (or, we add, in the sun)
Combine trips to drive less often with a cold engine
Reduce idle warm-up times; modern cars usually do not require much warming up (this is in the owner’s manual)
Shut off seat warmers and defrosters when not needed
Check the tire pressure regularly
Use the correct oil for cold weather
Preheat the cabin of a plug-in hybrid or electric car
A new Chrysler patent application shows a unique full folding back glass design, and while this patent isn’t officially related to the Jeep Wrangler, it is used for the illustrations, and there is no vehicle in the current lineup that would accept a design like this as well as the Wrangler.
The lengthy patent application shows a new backglass design for a vehicle that has a very flat rear face, a flat roof, an angle of roughly 90 degrees where the body lines meet, and backglass that opens independently of the surrounding body work – all of which suggests that this Is the next generation Jeep Wrangler.
The current generation of the Wrangler has backglass that opens away from the bodywork with struts that hold it up high enough to access the entire opening for easier loading and unloading. On the 2014 Jeep shown here, the spare tire swings out of the way and the backglass opens upwards.
This new patent application shows a similar design, with backglass that is hinged the same way, with similar struts and a similar shape. However, this backglass folds all of the way up to the roof, with clips built into the roof that allow the driver to open the backglass of the vehicle, pin it down, and drive away with a great deal more airflow (or just have it further out of the way for cargo loading). This design also has clips inside of the vehicle where the driver may clip up the struts after disconnecting them to swivel the glass up onto the roof.
The patent application states that the reason for including this system is to allow Jeep Wrangler owners to enjoy the open air feeling while the roof is attached, while allowing owners to be able to haul large cargo, such as lumber. Imagine pulling off the front roof portion of the current Wrangler, cranking down the windows, and folding the backglass up onto the roof – you would have almost as much of the open air feel as you would with the entire roof removed.
There are some objections on the Allpar forums. As an example, note the amount of mud on the back glass of the Jeep shown above. If that window hadn’t been there, the mud would have ended up inside; and driving with rear glass open could cause the vehicle to pull in exhaust fumes if the front windows were not also open, or while idling at a halt.
Even with these downsides, there are likely people who would love to be able to lock the backglass of their Jeep Wrangler open while driving with the top on, so the next generation Wrangler may include this as an optional package. There is also the possibility that this backglass design is intended for a fixed roof model that would offer the option to drive with the backglass open because the owner cannot remove the roof altogether. It could also serve as another “look what we have” item that will never get used.
The company may build in safeguards, such as position sensors, to ensure that drivers don’t leave the rear window open with the front windows shut and the full roof in place.
Chrysler may also simply have patented it to prevent other automakers from using it. This could be something that we may see on the next generation Jeep Wrangler, but it could also end up being an accessory item feature or nothing more than a protected design that we will never see on the road. Join the discussion.
Long ago, Chrysler chose QNX, a secure form of UNIX, for its telematics systems (“UConnect”). Fiat, meanwhile, continues to use Microsoft-based systems, but not in its Maseratis, which share Chrysler’s setup.
Ford, which had originally chosen to base its “Sync” system on a Microsoft operation system, has formally announced its long-rumored switch from Microsoft’s software to QNX, now owned by Blackberry.
The move comes after owners complained about constant reboots, the unavailability of climate controls, and inconsistent operation, and after several computer scientists easily and remotely hacked into Ford cars due to weaknesses in the software.
While Ford will develop its own software to run on top of the QNX operating system, the move is a sort of endorsement of Chrysler’s choice, and may lead Fiat to consider dropping Microsoft eventually — thought the Italian branch of FCA only recently renewed its contract with Microsoft.
FCA uses Microsoft-based systems in its smaller setups and QNX-based systems in its larger ones, so that the same vehicle might be available with both a small-screen, Fiat “UConnect” and a large-screen, Chrysler “UConnect” system.
The QNX-based version of Ford’s software will be dubbed “Sync 3.” Thanks, Ray.
The Renegade is fairly hefty, at around 3,000 lb with front wheel drive, but it has to be capable to dealing with severe challenges to a its torsional rigidity, and apparently some of the weight may be due to enhanced safety measures.
The car did well in the front deformable barrier test, at 40 mph, and achieved the maximum score in the standard 50 kp/h side impact; even the “more severe” side pole impact provided good protection, though there was only marginal protection against whiplash. 1½ year and 3 year old child dummies also scored maximum points. (From autoevolution.com via chryslerondemand.com)