New tech for Lamborghini: What3words joins Alexa

In most modern cars and SUVs, the navigation system on the dashboard helps drivers plan their road trips, providing them with routes to customer meetings or directing them to matches. soccer on their child’s away field. But where is a Lamborghini Huracán driver going?

Wherever that might be, a new navigation system starting with 2022 models should help get the car there – and hopefully more definitely. A dashboard-mounted app called What3words is coming to these Lamborghinis, and it will be the first of its kind to integrate Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa feature.

Previously available in other cars, but without Alexa, the What3words system divides the world into 57 trillion 10-foot (3 x 3 meters) squares and assigns each unique three-word address code chosen random from a custom standard dictionary.

Chris Sheldrick, chief executive officer of What3words, based in London, said: “The Huracán app is important. “So many drivers struggle with entering addresses and end up in the wrong place.”

With the goal of enhancing both the speed and accuracy of car navigation systems, What3words is supposed to fix common problems like duplicate street names. To illustrate a few things: There are 367 Park Streets in California; Australia has 521 George Street; and in Greater London, there are 14 Cathedral Streets.

“Traditional addresses are often unsuitable for voice input,” added Mr. Sheldrick, “and a lot of the time, the best addresses don’t have any at all.”

For example, a Huracán driver who wanted to see the San Francisco Bay from the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge would first display an image of the bridge on the What3words screen, and then identify the corresponding coded 10-foot square. with that position. After saying the code aloud — in this case, “the focus is the scar” — the driver will follow Alexa’s instructions to that exact spot.

The navigation system is part of Lamborghini’s efforts to meet customer expectations beyond horsepower. According to the report, this year will be the last year the company offers only internal combustion engines – in 2023 the company is expected to launch hybrid models, with all-electric engines coming. by the end of this decade. (All this technology and power can pay off for Lamborghini, 2021 announces best year everdelivered 8,405 cars.)

“We started with the car and its driver,” said Luca Giardino, head of connectivity at Lamborghini. “Huracán links computer software and hardware in ways that strengthen that relationship. What3words allows to focus more on the pure driving experience – without being distracted by not sure if you’re getting to the right destination. “

Mr. Sheldrick, a former music promoter and organizer, developed What3words to solve the problems frequently encountered by touring musicians. For example, he recalls an incident in Italy when a driver unloaded a truck carrying musical instruments an hour north of Rome, instead of an hour south of Rome. In another, a frantic keyboardist called him from somewhere in London and said, “Don’t panic, Chris, but we might have just sound-tested the wrong wedding.”

Mr. Sheldrick contacted a schoolmate who is a mathematician in the hope of developing a system that would be as accurate as GPS latitude and longitude coordinates, but easier to use and faster. Immediately after their conversation, the friend created the application’s first three-word addressing algorithm on the back of an envelope.

“Lamborghini was a pioneer in being the first to implement this system,” said John Scumniotales, product manager for Alexa Automotive. “They certainly won’t be the last. We’re excited to see how this partnership progresses. ”

Huracán drivers don’t pay to use the system – What3words charges a flat fee for Lamborghini and other companies to purchase the app.

“People around the world are using What3words to find, share and describe places faster and easier,” said Mr. Sheldrick, “from festival-goers to delivery drivers to organizers. events and postal services.”

Silent versions of What3words technology have been adopted by other automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, Lotus, Tata Motors and Ford, on select models. The app is free to download on Apple iPhone and iPad and on the Android platform, and can then integrate with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

This can be really handy when I’m trying to figure out what parking lot to use, says Chris Gerdes, a professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford and co-director of the university’s Center for Automotive. when I go to my son’s soccer games. Search.

While advanced navigation tools like What3words keep their promise, Mr. Gerdes said he remains skeptical that they will propel carmakers on the fast track towards fully autonomous cars. . Creating and arranging the complex mosaic of automated cameras and sensors, machine learning tools and algorithms needed to achieve reliable self-driving cars are major engineering challenges, he said. much more.

“A successful autonomous system requires the self-driving vehicle to be constantly aware of other objects and vehicles” – and how they are moving, says Gerdes.

While widespread self-driving capabilities may still be in the future, complex electronic equipment and computer applications are being used more and more in the future. high-end “driver’s car.”

The $200,000 Huracán V-10, for example, with 602 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 2.5 seconds, is pretty sturdy given computer-aided performance. Its “predictive system” adjusts driver inputs in a way that can even correct errors when shifting gears.

Indeed, in conversations with company executives, the chief executive officer, Stephan Winkelmann, indicated that Lamborghini is ready to operate autonomously as a future option in “urban traffic situations.” dense cities where driving is not fun”.

And Mr. Gerdes said Lamborghini representatives recently visited Stanford to see a demonstration of the center’s autonomous racing cars.

The growing development of technology is remarkable. Former Ferrari director Sergio Marchionne once famously described the idea of ​​a tram with a crouching horse badge as an “almost obscene concept.” But in 2013, the 963-hp La Ferrari, the company’s first car to use a hybrid powertrain consisting of a V-12 internal combustion engine and two electric motors.

Last year, Ferrari added a third electric motor to the SF90 Stradale to increase power to 983 hp. Purosangue, the much-anticipated automaker, First SUVwhich is expected to offer a plug-in hybrid when introduced this year.

“If you look at where modern cars are going, I definitely think autonomous driving will become part of the enthusiast car experience of the future,” said Mr. “It will be very possible to create cars that enthusiasts drive when they want to and can then switch to autonomous driving when they don’t.”

The Patrick Ottis Company of Berkeley, California, is widely ranked among the world’s leading restorers of vintage Ferrari cars and engines. Mr Ottis said in May he would “mark half a century of Ferrari internal combustion engine repair”.

His shop is keeping up with Ferrari updates. “We have just hired a talented Ferrari mechanic with 40 years of experience,” said Mr. Ottis. “He is completely adept with all new models, including La Ferrari.

“Since he’s been here, I’ve driven a few newer Ferraris, and when I get into a three or four year old Ferrari it’s so amazing I can’t even appreciate it. That’s when I realized how wonderful the future is. And it will continue. “ New tech for Lamborghini: What3words joins Alexa

Fry Electronics Team

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