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CES 2019: Sprint pairs Curiosity IoT with 5G to power smart cities, autonomous vehicles

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(Image: Sprint)

Sprint has announced at CES 2019 that Greenville, South Carolina, will see its first smart city build-out based on both its Curiosity Internet of Things (IoT) platform and mobile 5G network connectivity.

As part of the project, Sprint will deploy Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology as well as a dedicated IoT network and “micro-positioning” technology aimed at enabling connected vehicles, smart machines, and autonomous drones to operate and react in real time.

“Greenville government officials and staff are placing their trust in … leveraging the power of Sprint mobile 5G and Curiosity IoT networks to bring smart city use cases to life,” Sprint SVP of IoT and Product Development Ivo Rook said during CES on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Greenville is hoping to attract startups to the city, as well as companies wanting to conduct R&D across artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and autonomous vehicles use cases.

Sprint further announced on Tuesday at CES that it will be constructing a smart vehicle test track in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, which will also utilise Curiosity IoT, 5G, and micro-positioning tech.

The Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners will feature a 1.5-mile test track equipped with nodes to trial AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicle applications including vehicle-to-vehicle communications, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and over-the-horizon warning systems.

“Sprint is bringing together Curiosity IoT, micro-positioning, and HD mapping, all enabled by our upcoming mobile 5G network, to develop and test the most advanced technologies in the industry,” Rook said.

“It will be possible, for example, to test how connected cars can communicate to make lane changing and highway exiting safer and more efficient, how above-road warning messages might instead be sent to and displayed on car dashboards, and how drivers might receive in-car alerts about approaching connected emergency vehicles,” Sprint added.

Non-profit incubator Prototype Prime is recruiting startups across software and hardware to deploy 5G in Peachtree Corners, Sprint said.

Lastly, Sprint announced on Tuesday that it is launching “precision mapping technology” with Mapbox, again using its Curiosity IoT and later its 5G network.

“Smart machine-based services need to be able to make immediate mobility decisions similar to the way a driver might react to construction, traffic or other obstacles on a street,” Rook said.

“Sprint’s Curiosity IoT network with mobile 5G provides platform services that make that real with high bandwidth, edge computing for object detection and data processing, and super low latency,” Mapbox CEO Eric Gundersen added.

Mapbox had developed its Live Map technology previously, using data from hundreds of millions of sensors as well as AI to build real-time accurate maps. Using Curiosity IoT and 5G will provide lower latency and higher bandwidth to improve this system, Sprint said.

Sprint had announced the launch of its Curiosity IoT platform, developed in partnership with fellow SoftBank-owned company Packet, back in September.

The operating system makes use of Arm’s Platform Security Architecture, which includes open-source firmware and security analysis; Arm Pelion Data Management for IoT data and analytics; Arm Pelion Connectivity Management and Arm Kigen SIM solutions for managing and provisioning SIM connectivity across any device deployed on any network, including cell, satellite, and LoRa; and Arm Pelion Device Management for baked-in security, over-the-air firmware updates, and management for IoT devices on-premises and in the cloud.

Thanks to Packet’s bare metal servers, the virtualised and distributed IoT core then reduces the distance from 1,000 miles down to less than 50 miles between the device generating data and the IoT application processing the data.

Sprint on Monday also confirmed that it will be launching a Samsung 5G smartphone in summer 2019, as well as unveiling the smart home small cell solution with LTE called Trebl with Magic Box.

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2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat sells out completely

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The latest announcement will come as no surprise to anyone who follows Dodge muscle cars. Most car guys and gals knew last summer when Dodge announced it would build the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat for six months that every one of the units would be gobbled up. Some speculated that a six-month build window meant there would be lots of the vehicles made.

Production has been limited to 2000 units, and all 2000 of them have been spoken for. Reports indicate it took about three months for Dodge to fill every build slot it had available. Orders stopped in January 2021, but Dodge does say that there may be some dealer-allocated units left available for a limited time.

What that means is there may be some inventory available on dealer lots, but you can bet they will be massively marked up. The starting price for the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is $82,490, including the destination charge. The claim to fame for the Durango Hellcat is the supercharged 710 horsepower V-8 that makes 645 pound-feet of torque.

The SUV features all-wheel-drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It can reach 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds. It would make the ultimate tow vehicle with an 8700-pound towing capacity. Deliveries are expected to start this summer, and each buyer gets a free day of high-speed driving at the Bondurant High-Performance Driving School in Chandler, Arizona.

One bit of bad news has surfaced from Dodge head Tim Kuniskis on the Durango Hellcat returning for 2022. He stated that emissions regulations would prevent the V-8 from being packed into the Durango after the 2021 model year. Specifically, 2022 model year vehicles are held to new evaporative emission requirements the Hellcat doesn’t meet in that platform.

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Paul Walker’s beautiful 1980 BMW M1 AHG heads to auction

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Paul Walker was an incredibly popular actor that tragically died very early in his life. Walker left behind a daughter and other family members, along with an incredible collection of cars. The BMW M1 seen in the images here was part of the AE Performance collection chaired by Walker and Roger Rodas before being acquired in 2014 by the current owner.

The vehicle is chassis number WBS0000009430109 and reportedly came from the factory as a solid white vehicle. It received its BMW blue and red livery paint job as part of an AHG Studie treatment. Every car sent to AHG received a unique paint job of the customer’s choice by Hermann Altmiks, and each of them had “altmiks lackdesign” painted under the left rear tail light.

The package also included aerodynamic panels inspired by M1 racecars. Those components included a new front air dam, side skirts, and rear spoiler. The front bumper and surrounding fascia on the car did receive a repaint in 2016. The car has flared fenders and three-piece 16-inch BBS wheels shod with modern tires.

Ventilated disc brakes are at all four corners, and the car is essentially restored to like-new condition with standard suspension. The interior features black leather and checkered cloth on the doorbell inserts, headliner, and rear firewall. The car does have air conditioning, power seats, and a cassette player.

Power comes from an in-line-six cylinder engine with fuel injection and six individual throttle bodies. Cars tuned by AHG were upgraded to produce 350 horsepower, and the vehicle has a manual transmission. Currently, it’s up for auction at Bringatrailer with nine days to go. As of writing, the vehicle is bid up to $390,000. It’s a beautiful car, and with celebrity ownership in its past, odds are the price will go higher.

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2021 Infiniti QX80 Review – Four-wheeled fratricide

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Sometimes buying smart involves hoops and hurdles, and other times it’s as easy as two dealerships probably occupying the same lot. So goes it for the 2021 Infiniti QX80, the automaker’s biggest and burliest SUV, making its pitch for seven or eight seat excellence but finding Nissan may have stolen its thunder along the way.

The QX80 has road presence, not least because of its scale. A full 17.5 feet long and over 6.5 feet wide, it’s unapologetically huge, draped in chrome and riding – in Premium Select 4WD trim – on 22-inch forged dark aluminum-alloy wheels. For the 2021 model year the line-up kicks off at $69,050 (plus $1,395 destination) for the QX80 Luxe; Premium Select adds all-wheel drive among other things, and starts at $76,450.

Under the vast hood is Infiniti’s familiar 5.6-liter V8 engine. It now produces a hefty 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, funneled to all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission and a two speed transfer case. It’ll tow up to 8,500 pounds, and do 0-60 mph in about six seconds.

You’ll want a straight road for that. Point the QX80 at the horizon and plant your right foot, and the beefy SUV hunkers down and surges forward. It doesn’t feel so much fast, as potent: I’ve never faced down a rhinoceros as it builds up to a gallop, but I suspect it’s a similar experience to the Infiniti’s acceleration.

At 5,706 pounds it weighs more than the average white rhino, however, and so corners are better taken at more sedate speeds. With the suspension dialed in at the soft end of the scale there’s no shortage of body roll if you try to hustle too rapidly, though the upshot is the sort of plush ride you used to have to drive a 70s Lincoln to achieve. Factor in “you only wanted to use one finger, right?” levels of power steering boost, and it’s clear this behemoth was made for cruising.

Within that niche, it does admirably. The V8 thrums in the background, but generally noise isolation keeps the irksome world outside at a long arm’s distance. Infiniti’s 7-speed slurs discreetly, but an eighth ratio for even quieter highway work wouldn’t go awry. Inside, meanwhile, there’s decent space for as many as eight, though usually Infiniti outfits the QX80 with seven seats. The second row is no compromise, with Premium Select spec getting captain’s chairs and a large center console between them.

The third row is a little smaller, but not so much that only the smallest kids need be slotted back there. Power adjustment helps balance their space with the trunk: there’s 16.6 cu-ft with all the seats up, 49.6 cu-ft with the third-row down, and a positively capacious 95.1 cu-ft with the third and second row down. The seats themselves are a little bulky, however, particularly the captain’s chairs.

Infiniti doesn’t stint on the leather, and there’s tri-zone climate control, heated – though not cooled – front seats, a power tailgate and power moonroof, remote start, and a heated steering wheel. A 360-degree camera, blind spot warnings and assistance, and lane departure warnings and detection are standard, too, as is Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Bose 13-speaker audio system. Adaptive cruise is standard, too.

That all looks good on a checklist, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Infiniti’s InTouch Dual HD infotainment system looks dated and is frustrating to use. The graphics – particularly in the navigation system – are tired, even with a recent update, and the whole thing feels disjointed. Factor in the profusion of buttons on the steering wheel and center console, and it just doesn’t feel as modern and sophisticated as its rivals or, indeed, a SUV with a near-$80k sticker as tested.

Infiniti has a problem, then, and like in the best horror stories it’s coming from inside the house. Nissan’s Armada has always been the QX80’s more affordable sibling, and since the 2021 Armada revamp it’s no longer the value compromise but the sensible pick, period.

Exterior styling is subjective, but there’s no argument that Nissan’s upgrade to the Armada’s center console puts it leagues ahead of what the QX80 makes do with. A single 12.3-inch wide-aspect touchscreen handles the heavy-lifting, with a straightforward panel of knobs and buttons for the HVAC. It looks better, and feels faster and more intuitive than the Infiniti’s system, and the fact is that the rest of the cabin feels eight- or nine-tenths to what the QX80 offers in terms of materials and comfort.

A top-spec 2021 Armada Platinum 4×4 is $67,900 plus destination, however, or about $10k less than the starting price of this midrange 2021 QX80 Premium Select 4WD. Both share the same engine – and the same driving dynamics – and both are fairly thirsty, the Infiniti rated for 13 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 15 mpg combined. I got about that with my own mixed driving.

Perhaps there’s more cachet in putting a QX80 on your driveway than the Armada, but seldom has paying for a prestige badge resulted in such an obvious compromise. The new Armada has gone from nipping at Infiniti’s heels to overtaking it, and it’s tough to argue against the wise money getting spent on the Nissan.

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