Video: Ford engineer builds haptic shift knob with 3D printer, Xbox controller

Filed under: Etc., Technology, Videos

Ford's haptic vibrating manual gearshift knob

Vehicles with manual transmissions have been equipped with shift indicators (illuminated or audible) for decades. While some are used to improve performance, most are designed to encourage more fuel-efficient driving. Regardless of the original objective, nearly all drivers become desensitized or learn to ignore the illuminated lights and arrows after just a few short hours behind the wheel.

Enter Zachary Nelson, a recent MIT graduate and an engineer with Ford. Working at the automaker’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan, Nelson devised a haptic shift knob that vibrates when it’s time to select another gear. “I wanted to create something that expands the car’s capabilities and improves the experience for the driver,” said Nelson. “I decided to use OpenXC to provide a new kind of feedback for the driver through the shift knob.”

The process, greatly simplified, has the vehicle transmitting data wirelessly from its on-board diagnostics (OBD) port using a Bluetooth OpenXC adapter. The knob uses the innards of a Microsoft Xbox 360 controller for vibration. “I decided to have a little fun with it and installed an LED display on top that shows the gear position and colored lights that glow from inside at night similar to the ambient lighting in Mustang,” adds Nelson.

Overall, it’s a rather fascinating idea that you can check out in the video below. The software-driven haptic shift knob allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road, while the vibration can be set to alert one of many different parameters, including optimal fuel efficiency, quickest acceleration, maximum torque, redline shifting and so on, giving it many different uses.

Continue reading Ford engineer builds haptic shift knob with 3D printer, Xbox controller

Ford engineer builds haptic shift knob with 3D printer, Xbox controller originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Honda to shift production schedules in North America

Filed under: Japan, Plants/Manufacturing, Acura, Honda

2011 honda accord

2011 Honda Accord – Click above for high-res image gallery

Honda is continuing to adjust its production schedules in the wake of the March 11 earthquake in Japan, and the shuffling will reportedly continue at U.S. plants as well.

The plan is to run full production shifts at U.S. facilities on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May 9 through July 1, with a single eight-hour shift added for Thursdays. With the exception of Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana plant, all U.S. facilities were running two shifts prior to parts shortages. Workers at these facilities reportedly won’t feel the pinch of the abbreviated production schedules either, as they will have the choice of staying home or completing training without a pay penalty.

Honda spokesperson Ed Miller reportedly told Automotive News the reason for the shift is that it’s more efficient to run operations that way. The automaker likely won’t make any decisions about U.S. production beyond July 1 until the situation is more clear.

On Monday, Honda announced it was suspending June and July dealer orders for the CR-Z, Civic Hybrid, Fit, Acura TSX and Acura RL. Those vehicles are built in Japan, where shortages are still severe. At this point, the Japanese automaker is expecting operations to return to normal production before the end of the year.

This is all very bad news for Honda, and it’s bad for consumers as well. It appears that Honda showrooms are likely to be very short on product for an extended period of time.

Honda to shift production schedules in North America originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 May 2011 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Segler moves back to Mini in BMW management shift

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs, BMW, Mini

Dr. Kay Segler

Over at BMW corporate headquarters in Munich, it’s time for another game of “reise nach Jerusalem” – German for “musical chairs” (don’t ask us why) – shifting senior management around various departments. Following the announcement of management installed at the automaker’s new i Division comes a shift in senior staff at the M Division and at Mini.

The reshuffle revolves around Dr. Kay Segler (pictured), who was in charge of the Mini brand between 2004 and 2008. Over the past few years, Segler’s been running BMW M GmbH, but will now be moving back to his old job with the small car subsidiary. His role at M will be taken up by Dr. Friedrich Nitschke (not to be confused with the 19th-century existentialist philosopher Nietzsche), who was until now in charge of product development for Mini. Details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: BMW]

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Segler moves back to Mini in BMW management shift originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 04 Apr 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Review: Shift 2 Unleashed [w/videos]

Filed under: Toys/Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Gets Real

Shift 2 Unleashed Review – Click above for high-res image gallery

It was a risky proposition: taking a series as fabled for its antics as Need for Speed and placing it into the cold, calculating hands of a simulation developer. That developer is Slightly Mad Studios, which has roots to the SimBin team that created the groundbreaking GTR on the PC. The resulting game was the first Need for Speed: Shift – truly a fresh title and, more importantly, a truly great racer, managing to straddle the console racing and simulation genres and do both admirably well.

Now, it’s sequel time. Ian Bell, sim-racing guru and co-founder of Slightly Mad, said that this game has the “most advanced physics system ever released.” We’re not sure we’d go quite that far, but in testing this one we’re quite confident in saying that this is certainly the most realistic Need for Speed game yet, which is perhaps why it’s officially shedding that prefix and just billing itself as Shift 2 on the PS3, xBox 360, and PC. Still, not everyone will enjoy the punishment this game can offer, so read on to see whether this is one supercar sim that’s for you.

Continue reading Review: Shift 2 Unleashed

Gallery: Shift 2 Unleashed

Continue reading Review: Shift 2 Unleashed [w/videos]

Review: Shift 2 Unleashed [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Mar 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Tommy Milner laps Laguna Seca in NFS: SHIFT 2 Unleashed

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Toys/Games

Tommy Milner Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed lap

Tommy Milner Need For Speed Shift 2: Unleashed lap – Click above to view video after the jump

Tommy Milner made his mark driving for BMW Rahal Letterman in last year’s ALMS series alongside Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner. Together, they won the team and manufacturer championships in the ALMS GT Class.

Milner also managed to win the Dubai 24 Hour race overall in the Need For Speed BMW Z4. This year, Milner’s behind the wheel of the Compuware GT2 Corvette C6.R, and managed 3rd in class at Sebring.

To promote Need For Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, Milner took some hot laps of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca driving a GT1 Corvette C6.R. Without any driving aids, Milner laid down a 1:21.709 lap, just two seconds behind the GT1 lap record of 1:19.304. Click past the jump to check out a video of Milner’s lap.

[Source: YouTube]

Continue reading Video: Tommy Milner laps Laguna Seca in NFS: SHIFT 2 Unleashed

Video: Tommy Milner laps Laguna Seca in NFS: SHIFT 2 Unleashed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Mar 2011 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed goes drifting with the help of Vaughn Gittin Jr. [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Toys/Games

interior view in need for speed 2 unleashed

Getting sideways with Shift 2 Unleashed and Vaughn Gittin Jr. – Click above to watch video after the jump

Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed will be arriving in stores on March 29th, and to tie all you gamers over until then, the NFS team has put together a video highlighting the features that may make it a must-have for racing-sim fans. Whether you prefer smoothly linking corners or destroying rubber in a fit of sideways shenanigans, Shift 2 Unleashed has got you covered.

The drifting aspect of the game was locked down with the help of Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his 2011 Ford Mustang GT Formula Drift racer. The game features a unique Helmet Cam view, which places the driver’s “eyes” where they would go in real life. A road racer will look towards the apex of a turn but a drifter will stare out the side window – both of these styles are accounted for in the game, and the result looks pretty amazing.

Click past the jump for a video showing off Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed and its new features.

[Source: YouTube via Left Lane News]

Continue reading Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed goes drifting with the help of Vaughn Gittin Jr. [w/video]

Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed goes drifting with the help of Vaughn Gittin Jr. [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Feb 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Pagani Huayra tearing up SHIFT 2 Unleashed

Filed under: Performance, Europe, Videos, Toys/Games, Luxury

Pagani Huayra in Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed

Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed Pagan Huayra – Click above to watch video after the jump

We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but chances are pretty slim that you’ll ever get the opportunity to slide behind the wheel of the new Pagani Huayra. Blame it on the numbers. Pagani is only planning on cranking out so many Huayra models, and there just so happens to be a shave under 7 billion people on the planet. Throw in the fact that each of the 700-horsepower Italian exotics will carry a price tag of near $1.35 million and the odds start to look even more bleak.

Hey, at least you’re in good company. We’re sitting in the exact same boat as you.

Fortunately for all of us, then, the Need for Speed franchise has come to our rescue. While we may not be able to find out in person just how fast 740 pound-feet of torque can move a 3,000 pound supercar, we will get a shot at flinging the carbon-fiber creation down a few virtual streets in Shift 2 Unleashed. In fact, the game is the only racing outlet to feature the newest addition to the Pagani family, so if you want to play with this bad boy, you’re going to have to pick up the latest addition to the Need for Speed library. Hit the jump for a quick trailer.

[Source: Need For Speed]

Continue reading Video: Pagani Huayra tearing up SHIFT 2 Unleashed

Video: Pagani Huayra tearing up SHIFT 2 Unleashed originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Kia lining up third shift in GA to meet Sorento demand

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Crossover, Kia

2011 Kia Sorento SX

2011 Kia Sorento SX – Click above for high-res image gallery

Kia is fresh off a fantastic 2010 in which the Korean automaker increased sales by 19 percent versus 2009, boosting its market share from 2.9 to 3.1 percent. A major reason Kia fared so well in 2010 was the success of the Sorento, which managed 109,000 sales for the year.

Automotive News reports that Kia will look to increase that total in 2011 by adding a third shift to the company’s West Point, Georgia plant. Kia feels that stronger Sorento sales are inevitable given the fact that the U.S. auto market is picking up speed. Add the fact that dealers have reportedly been asking for more Sorentos for months now, and increasing production becomes more of a no-brainer.

Kia hasn’t yet announced a start date for the plant’s third shift, though dealers tell AN that additional Sorento CUVs will begin hitting retail stores “in the next couple months.” In the meantime Kia will be looking for additional workers in Georgia, and we’re thinking the Korean automaker will receive more than enough applications.

Gallery: 2011 Kia Sorento SX

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Report: Kia lining up third shift in GA to meet Sorento demand originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 18:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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