I was hugely excited to be invited to London yesterday to take part in the Hyundai Drive Different Test. During the day, I had the opportunity to drive both a Petrol and Electric powered Hyundai Kona around the streets of Finsbury Park and Highgate.
You can watch the video below or listen in to the podcast episode!
During the test, my eyes and head were tracked by specialist cameras, my heart rate was measured and the pressure-sensitive steering wheel was monitored. The cars themselves had custom-built computers on-board monitoring the vehicle itself and all this data was fed back to Hyundai’s servers to give me two driving scores for the petrol and electric cars.
This was following research by Hyundai which revealed that there are 36,750 different ways to drive a vehicle!
The company got together with University of Warwick’s Dr Mark Hadley and driving expert Gary Lamb in which they devised the Drive Different Test (DDT). The test was to mark the growth that Hyundai has made in the alternative fuel marketplace of hydrogen, hybrid and pure electric vehicles.
The test compares a variety of driving styles in a range of vehicles including alternative fuel models. By using pupil tracking, facial recognition and of course artificial intelligence (AI), the test can accurately measure drivers skills under different conditions.
Hyundai researched 2000 drivers habits and have produced a report that identifies common styles with the top five listed below.
Confident – 28%
Fair and measured – 24%
Calm – 19%
Nervous – 7%
Aggressive – 7%
Men were more likely to label themselves as confident drivers (31%) than women (25%), while women were more likely to describe themselves as ‘nervous’ behind the wheel.
The survey also looked at AFV owners specifically, and their attitude to driving, and found that;
92 per cent say they never beep at another driver
Over two-fifths (42%) slow down and let buses move in front of them
Over one third (37%) always ensure they thank other drivers on the road
But it wasn’t all generosity and courtesy on the road for AFV drivers. One fifth (20%) ‘amber gamble’ and speed up on an amber light to get through the traffic lights.
Gary Lamb said: “There are many things that impact someone’s driving style, their technical skill of course but also confidence, experience and even the music they listen to and until they actually get behind the wheel you can never predict which way it will go. Over my 25 years as a driving instructor, I’ve seen them all. What’s interesting now is that alternatively fuelled vehicles are also affecting our driving style.
“As 2040 draws nearer, and our cities and motorways fill with zero-emission capable vehicles, I’m excited to see how the way we drive will change, hopefully for the better.”
Sylvie Childs, senior product manager at Hyundai added: “Our research, along with the growth in sales figures, shows there is a real appetite for low and zero-emission vehicles in the UK. With this campaign, we hope to educate the public on how they can drive cleaner and more efficiently, whether they keep their current petrol vehicle or are in the market for an electric model like the KONA Electric or IONIQ Electric.
“We’ve found we all drive differently, with thousands of different styles, but we all can be united by a common cause of driving cleaner and preparing our cities for a zero-emission future.”
Digital imaging devices mean that we do not even have the flash anymore, let alone the bang. Things truly have come a long way. In fact, even after around 200 since the first camera was created, the imaging device industry is showing no signs of slowing down. With many new digital developments and trends being available to the general public. The most important of which you can read about in my post below.
First of all, let’s take a look at the current trends in digital security systems. Of course, digital CCTV has been around for a while now. However, with more powerful cameras on the market at a much lower price, this technology is becoming available to a much broader demographic of people.
In fact, you can walk into just about any high street stores and pick up a good quality CCTV system like Arlo Ultra 4K UHD Wire-free system to take away. Ready to install the same day if you like, for a very reasonable price indeed.
In terms of specific developments in this area, there is one big one that really stands out. Facial recognition and social uproar associated with it is no small thing! After all, this technology has the potential to recognise the person it is filming and track their movements. Something that is excellent news for a homeowner that wants to catch a burglar, but not so wonderful when in the hands of a totalitarian regime, as Hong Kong will testify. Then there are all the questions of personal privacy that comes along with the issue of facial recognition too.
Luckily, we don’t have it here in the UK yet! Except we actually do because some businesses have started to use in public places such as St Martins Square In London. Of course, all of our identity data is securely encrypted and is not currently being compared to national databases unless we are involved in wrongdoing. Yet, the unease with the possibilities for misuse in this area may not outweigh the home security benefits its offers to provide.
Additionally, another development to be aware of the areas of security systems is the introduction of digital doorbell technology with imaging built-in. The benefits of which are you can screen your visitors, and check the comings and goings in your home. You can even use them to appear home when you are not. The latter creating a security advantage, as burglars are very unlikely to try their luck in a property that is occupied.
There are quite a few new trends in the area dash cams that you need to be aware of. One, in particular, that is worth knowing about it, a development called dual mirroring. A feature that allows dash cams to continue recording not just up to an accident but during as well. This being something that has two main benefits. The first of these is that it has obvious applications for establishing blame after an accident has occurred. While the second is that it can also encourage other road users to drive more safely as well.
Then, there is the fact that many dashcams are now being built with touch screens, something that makes them vastly more comfortable and more convenient to use. Lastly, it’s worth noting that some models such as the Campark R10 are now being offered with high-resolution night vision include. Something that should help to keep the image they produce crystal clear, day or night, and so make identifying any wrongdoing on the roads that much easier.
One area in which developments in digital imaging devices are leaping forward is Smartphones. Although, with many of us having them on our person at all times, it really is no surprise.
Of course, the most apparent development here is the new iPhone 11 with its two rear-facing cameras rather than the usual one. In fact, this new dual-camera system that is equipped with night modes, and ultra-wide is the foundation on which Apple is building their marketing campaign.
However, smartphone photography and videography enthusiasts will be doing themselves an injustice if they do not also consider the alternatives on the market as well. In fact, you can get a thorough lowdown of all the latest developments on close iPhone rivals such as the Google Pixel 3 and HTC U12+ by reading posts such as New Phone? Dare to be Different, before you make your purchase. Something that it is well worth your time, especially if you are looking to keep the price of your smartphone down, but still get some fantastic images.
Robust and waterproof, action cameras such as the GoPro are built to be used out of doors. Of course, you will find that the tech is being continually pushed and developed in this area as well. In fact, one recent development in particular that many people will be interested in is the ability to live stream from such devices. This being something that will appeal to YouTubers and social media aficionados especially.
Finally, when it comes to digital imaging tech, the webcam is a common feature in most homes. Whether it is for catching up with relatives that live on the other side of the world or creating your latest vlogging masterpiece to be uploaded on Youtube.
However, until very recently, using a webcam was a very static affair. That is, you could only film within the cameras limited range when it was placed in a particular spot. However, that is all about to change with the advent webcams that track movement as you cross the room.
Now, this might not sound like that much of a big deal, but it actually is. The reason being that as a viewer, you can a much more immersive and encounter with these types of digital devices. While those filming know that they do not have to concern themselves with manipulating the camera and can instead relax into a much more natural experience. Something that makes this digital imaging device trend, one that we are likely to see a lot more of in the future.
Apparently using your Laptop in a Cafe at the weekend is no longer a ‘thing’. According to the Daily Mail, a cafe owner in Belsize Park has placed a ban on the use of laptops during weekend hours because it takes up valuable space during busy periods.
The ban has caused a regular customer to accuse the owner of bullying. Francesca Specter said, “the ban amounts to bullying of those who want to spend time alone”, she continues ‘I live by myself and part of my weekend routine is I go and get some headspace and enjoy breakfast and brunch by myself at one of the local cafes. The owner took one look at the iPad I was reading my paper on and said you can’t do that in here. I thought it was a situation where I was being bullied and I was by myself so I was in this minority. I had to leave and haven’t been back since.’
The owner, Mojgan Mohajer said ‘My cafe is quite small,’ she explained. ‘I received a lot of complaints from customers during the weekend that lots of people were coming with a laptop and sitting and they couldn’t have a table.’
Computers and tablets are used widely, in fact anywhere you can find somewhere to sit, be it train, bus, park bench or cafe, you will find staring at a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Personally, I’m siding with Mojgan. She does have a small cafe and although during the week she would like to attract people to her establishment at quieter times, the weekends will be much busier and she, of course, would like to maximise her income on the busiest day.
With regard to the bullying accusation, I’m speechless.
You can listen in to my chat with Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk where we talk about using devices on public WiFi hotspots.
Welcome to Episode 149 – It’s all go again with the mobile phone market in the UK, the confusion surrounding Mobile Virtual Network Operators and actual network operators becomes confusing again! Virgin Mobile is currently carried by EE which in turn is owned by arch-rival BT, so now Virgin is moving to Vodafone. It shouldn’t affect your service, but you should check your coverage as EE and Vodafone may differ!
Britbox has now launched in the UK, although it was launched in the USA some time ago. Britbox offers BBC and ITV material and will also offer Channel 4 and Channel 5 stuff to in time. It becomes confusing when much of the material is still offered on BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My5, you can even pay for some of these services to remove the adverts with ITV Hub+, 4+. I’ve signed up to check it out, so more on this later. I’m not terribly sure it has room to operate alongside global players such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV. Time will tell.
UK Drone registration is now compulsory for anyone flying an aircraft over 250g. Operators have until the end of the month to register their drones. It requires the payment of a £9 annual fee and you must affix your Operator ID to any drones you choose to fly.
Xiaomi compares the photo quality of the Mi Note 10 to that of professional high-end DSLR systems and allows users access to quality not seen before on Smartphones.
The Penta-camera setup includes 108MP primary camera, 20MP ultra-wide-angle camera, ultra-telephoto lens, 12MP 50mm portrait lens and macro lens. It also supports ‘Super Night Mode giving soft-lit, sharper images in low-light. Alongside are dual soft light and dual flash.
The display is a 6.47 inch AMOLED hyperboloid screen curved to fit the body of the phone and making a beautifully comfortable grip with an embedded in-screen fingerprint sensor.
Inside, the device packs a Snapdragon 730G with Adreno 618 GPU with AI capability. Memory is plentiful with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage. NFC and infrared remote control are included as is the standard headphone jack and 1216 superlinear speaker.
Power is provided by a 5260mAh battery supporting 30W fast charging. Xiaomi suggests 30 minutes charging to 58% and 64 minutes to 100%.
Like many of us, both our family cars have a Dashcam fitted. My wife has a standard front-facing model and my car has a dual camera model. Fortunately, we haven’t yet needed to rely on footage from our dashcams in court, although some years ago, I used ‘helmet-cam’ footage as evidence in a road-rage incident. Having cameras in both the cars and when cycling illustrates that driving on the roads today can be hazardous.
Now with the clocks changing and the darker, more hazardous winter months upon us, it is more important than ever that our cars and associated equipment is ready for this time of the year. We need to check our fluid levels, tyre tread and make sure that we carry additional warm clothing in the car in case of breakdowns or traffic snarl-ups.
One thing we might have overlooked is items such as sat-navs and dash-cams. Many of these items may have been installed in our vehicles for some time, in fact, we may have inherited them when buying vehicles or they have simply been passed from car to car over the years.
It’s incredibly important that these gadgets function as well as possible and it’s absolutely irrefutable that dashcams have improved in picture quality and functionality over the years, so it may well be time to look at an upgrade!
Todays’ dash-cams have superior quality video and vastly better optics, allowing them to work in low light situations where our current cameras just show noise. The resolution of these devices has also improved to allow for the recording of UHD quality video. All of these improvements mean that should you be involved in a road traffic incident, your camera will have been able to record the highest possible evidence which you might need to rely on later on. Added to this Dash Cams from the likes of Nextbase can also contact the emergency services in event of an accident if you aren’t able to!
With all this in mind, the folks at Nextbase have got together with Halfords to provide an upgrade scheme to help drivers purchase the latest Nextbase dashcams. You simply need to take you current dashcam or sat-nav (regardless of age) to your local Halfords shop and you will be able to receive at 20% discount on Nextbase Dashcams and your old device will be recycled at an approved electronics goods recycling centre,
Richard Browning, Director of Nextbase, commented: “As we approach some of the darkest, harshest days that this climate has to offer, we wanted to do something to help those with Dash Cams that are no longer fit for purpose on UK roads. Our partnership with Halfords has allowed us to do just that, offering the best Dash Cam on the market for every price point at a very significant 20% saving. There really is no excuse for not having a top-of-the-range Dash Cam with this promotion. My hope is that the offer inspires people to take a second, look at the Dash Cam in their vehicle and ask themselves: ‘do I trust this to make a difference if/when the time comes to use it?’ If the answer is no, then you need to make your way to the closest Halfords ASAP.”
Daniel Tomson, Halfords’ car technology expert added, “We’re encouraging drivers to do everything they can to prepare for darker nights and make sure that they and their vehicles are ready for the clocks going back. Poor lighting and weather conditions can make driving a hazard at this time of year, so it’s important that you’re driving with a Dash Cam with great night vision and crystal-clear image quality. We would encourage anyone shopping at Halfords to take advantage of this offer as it will help keep our roads safer and means that drivers can access the latest award-winning Nextbase models at a significantly reduced price.”
For more information, click here to visit Halfords website
As promised, the ‘Helmet Cam’ video I was talking about at the beginning of the article is embedded below.
I’ve recently returned from a family summer holiday in Wales which took us through the beautiful mountains and valleys and onto the even more spectacular coasts of beaches of a very beautiful part of Great Britain. Our holiday gave us plenty of chances for quiet evenings snuggled together in an old converted farmhouse.
What better time but to slip on a set of headphones and listen to my favourite music and while away the evening. Fortunately, I was armed with a set of Edifier H880 Over-ear wired headphones and boy was I impressed!
As is now the want in this age of ‘product unboxing’, the H880’s come in a sleek matt black foam padded box, with the headphones sitting securely in the purpose made inset. After taking them out of the box and fitting them over my ears, I found the fit both comfortable and snugly over my ears and instantly silenced a large amount of background noise.
The H880’s are wired headphones and stored neatly underneath the headphones are two boxes, the first comes with a very long 3.5mm to 3.5mm gold plated connector lead, you also receive a shorter 3.5mm to 3.5mm lead which includes inline volume control and hands-free function for use with smartphones. Finally, there is a 3.5mm to 6.35 mm adapter. The second box contains a very smart soft-touch material storage bag which the headphones neatly fold up into for safe and portable carrying.
Once set up and plugged into my phone, it was now time to test them out. I connected them to my Sony Xperia 1 phone using a USB Type-C adapter and cranked on the music.
On a technical level, the H880’s use 40mm polymer drivers with cavity control technology which gives a superior bass response. Frequency response is in a range of 20Hz – 20kHz, sound pressure is 100dB, nominal impedance is 24ohm all powered by a closed moving coil.
The headphones feel very well constructed using alloy and durable metallic connectors. The leatherette ear pads along with the padded head attachment were extremely comfortable and although very well insulated, didn’t get too warm after wearing them for extended periods.
Most importantly, the music reproduction was superb, my Xperia 1 supports Dolby Atmos, so the sound is very good and I found the H880’s provided a very enjoyable listening experience. Bass wasn’t overbearing and treble and midranges were excellent too. Vocals were crisp and clear and on the whole, I was really impressed! It really goes to show that wired headphones are still the obvious choices of music fans as they don’t suffer delay and compression that can sometimes be obvious on Bluetooth headphones.
At a shade over £100, the Edifier H880 over-ear wired headphones are a contender for those of us that don’t mind sitting in a chair enjoying music.
Like many of us, I have become used to playing music through my smartphone in hands-free mode, especially when I’m getting ready for work in the morning. Our phones now have sufficient audio production and volume to produce music at a respectable quality, but their physical size limitations mean that they aren’t able to produce similar results to traditional speakers.
Portable speakers have become a popular addition for the music enthusiasts and casual listeners and we now expect excellent audio quality from extremely low-cost devices and fill the gap where our smartphones fail. So, this month I have been testing the Edifier MP200 Bluetooth 4.1 Portable Speaker.
The MP200 is a relatively small cubic speaker measuring 2-inches in each direction. Featuring both IP54 rated splash and dust protection, the speaker is coated in brightly coloured rubberised material with the addition of a hand-string to carry around your wrist or hang in your bathroom. The Micro SD card slot and Micro USB charging port are both sealed with a rubber cap which means it will function appropriately in a bathroom or even outdoors on a camping trip or barbeque courtesy of its IP54 rating. You may have seen IP ratings on your smartphone packaging, it’s a 2 digit rating scale the ‘5’ of IP54 means it is ‘dust protected’, whereas the ‘4’ means it is ‘splash proof’.
The speaker comes with three buttons on the top which control which allows you to power on the device (with a pleasant start-up sound), pause or stop the music and a ‘call answer’ function when it is paired to your phone (although I’m not sure I would be up for conducting a hands-free call in the shower!). On the side of the speaker up two further volume up and down buttons. All these buttons situated underneath the rubberised material and easy to operate.
Edifier is quoting 12 hours playing time between charges which fits in well with my experience of using the speaker for a few minutes every morning and not needing to charge it for weeks. So it should happily provide entertainment for many hours at a time.
Audio quality, the speaker really shines and provides an incredibly impressive full range of sound and when cranked up, it doesn’t lose quality. I’ve used several of these kinds of this type speaker and I was really impressed with the MP200.
The audiophiles, the specs are as follows:-
Noise Level: ≥30dB(A)
Freq. Response: 150Hz~14kHz
Input Sens: Bluetooth / USB audio streaming: 300 ± 50mFFS
Input Type: microSD card / Bluetooth 4.1 / USB audio streaming
Speaker Unit: 2 inches (48 mm)
Range: 10 metres (Bluetooth 4.1)
The MP200 is a fabulous speaker, available in seven colours and at £29.99, it’s a bargain (and a great gift idea for the up and coming festivities).