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China’s Built a Road So Smart It Will Be Able to Charge Your Car

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The road to China’s autonomous-driving future is paved with solar panels, mapping sensors and electric-battery rechargers as the nation tests an ‘intelligent highway’ that could speed the transformation of the global transportation industry.

The technologies will be embedded underneath transparent concrete used to build a 1,080-meter-long (3,540-foot-long) stretch of road in the eastern city of Jinan. About 45,000 vehicles barrel over the section every day, and the solar panels inside generate enough electricity to power highway lights and 800 homes, according to builder Qilu Transportation Development Group Co. Yet Qilu Transportation wants to do more than supply juice to the grid: it wants the road to be just as smart as the vehicles of the future. The government says 10 percent of all cars should be fully self-driving by 2030, and Qilu considers that an opportunity to deliver better traffic updates, more accurate mapping and on-the-go recharging of electric-vehicle batteries—all from the ground up.

“The highways we have been using can only carry vehicles passing by, and they are like the 1.0-generation product,” said Zhou Yong, the company’s general manager. “We’re working on the 2.0 and 3.0 generations by transplanting brains and a nervous system.” The construction comes as President Xi Jinping’s government pushes ahead with a ‘Made in China 2025’ plan to help the nation become an advanced manufacturing power and not just a supplier of sneakers, clothes and toys for export. The 10 sectors highlighted include new-energy vehicles, information technology and robotics.

 

China also has a separate plan for developing its artificial-intelligence industry that calls for the nation to be the world’s primary AI innovation center by 2030. Part of that effort involves building what the government calls an intelligent transportation system. Coordinating the development of autonomous-driving cars and intelligent-road systems is a focus, said Yuan Peng, the deputy head of the transportation ministry’s science and technology department. “The ministry will help offer smart roads for the smart cars that are coming,” Yuan said.

China smart road, electric cars, autonomous technology, Qilu Transportation, car charging systems, transportation business, global EV sales, road infrastructure The road has an estimated life span of 15 years, matching that of traditional asphalt highways. (Image Source: Bloomberg)

Step one makes up a section of the expressway surrounding Jinan, an old industrial hub of about 7 million people that’s home to China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, which is also known as Sinotruk and includes Volkswagen AG’s MAN SE as a minority shareholder. Zhejiang Geely Holding Group also has a plant there making Geely brand cars. The road has three vertical layers, with the shell of see-through material allowing sunlight to reach the solar cells underneath. The top layer also has space inside to thread recharging wires and sensors that monitor temperature, traffic flow and weight load.

The solar panels spread across two lanes, which feel no different to a driver than the regular road, and are thinner than a 1-yuan coin standing on its edge. The test road is too short to deliver wireless recharging at the moment, Zhou said. “From the angle of the technology itself, charging is not a problem,” Zhou said. “The vehicles that can be charged wirelessly aren’t used on roads yet.” Qilu Transportation didn’t give a time frame for installing the sensors to transmit data and power to EV batteries. The road has an estimated life span of 15 years, matching that of traditional asphalt highways.

“The solar expressway does have market opportunities,” said Xu Yingbo, an analyst with Citic Securities Co. in Beijing.

“The key things that need to be addressed are costs and reliability, as well as how quickly it can have the compatible system in place.” In 2016, French construction company Bouygues SA started testing a 1-kilometer road in Normandy with solar panels layered on top. Tests of the Wattway road since have expanded to 20 locations, said Etienne Gaudin, who oversees the project at Bouygues’ Colas Group road-work division.

Wattway’s focus is generating electricity, and the company has no immediate plans to charge moving EVs, he said. Colas will start selling the project next year, prioritizing smaller locations such as charging stations and parking lots where traffic won’t block sunlight, Gaudin said. China will have 30 million vehicles with different levels of autonomous features by 2025, said Yu Kai, founder of Horizon Robotics Inc, a Beijing-based startup developing semiconductors for those types of cars.

The stretch of road in Jinan cost about 7,000 yuan per square meter to build, Zhou said, making the total cost about 41 million yuan ($6.5 million), according to Bloomberg News calculations. The threshold for mass adoption of the technology is about 3,000 yuan per square meter, the company said. The initial costs are high because Qilu’s research-and-development team developed the technology and made the materials in its own laboratories, and the costs should come down as the components are mass produced, Zhou said. Qilu is owned by the government of Shandong province, which includes Jinan.

Researchers started working on the project 10 years ago. Construction took 55 days on an existing part of the highway, and the road opened to traffic in December. Solar-powered heating elements keep the section snow- and ice-free. “In the future, when cars are running on these roads, it will be like human beings,” Zhou said. “The road will feel and think to figure out how heavy the vehicles are and what kind of data is needed.” Qilu said it is cooperating with several domestic automakers on the technology but declined to elaborate.

China smart road, electric cars, autonomous technology, Qilu Transportation, car charging systems, transportation business, global EV sales, road infrastructure The stretch of road in Jinan cost about 7,000 yuan per square meter to build, Zhou said, making the total cost about 41 million yuan ($6.5 million), according to Bloomberg News calculations. (Image Source: Bloomberg)

China accounts for half of all EV sales worldwide. It surpassed the US in 2015 to become the world’s biggest market for electric cars, with sales of new-energy vehicles—a category that includes battery-powered, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell cars—possibly surpassing 1 million this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The government set a sales target of 7 million NEVs by 2020. “The future of transportation is coming to us much faster than we expected,” Zhou said. “We need to make sure that roads are evolved to match the development of autonomous-driving vehicles.”


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Oppo A1K, Oppo A5s Tipped to Launch in India Soon

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Oppo is reportedly gearing up to launch two new smartphones in India – the Oppo A1K and Oppo A5s. The Oppo A1K will reportedly be a budget smartphone powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC paired with 2GB of RAM. The smartphone is also tipped to feature a 4,000mAh battery and will reportedly run ColorOS 6.0 based on Android Pie. On the other hand, the Oppo A5s has reportedly received BIS certification, which means the upcoming smartphone’s launch in India is imminent.

Starting with the Oppo A1K, it will reportedly be priced in the budget segment and might soon be launched in India. The Oppo offering is rumoured to feature a 6-inch or a slightly larger display with a waterdrop notch, although details like resolution and aspect ratio are not known. The Oppo A1K will reportedly be powered by the octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 SoC clocked at 2.0GHz, paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Oppo A1K will is tipped to be the first smartphone from the Chinese smartphone maker to come equipped with the MediaTek Helio P22 SoC.

The alleged specifications of the Oppo A1K, which come courtesy of MySmartPrice, also mention that the device will feature a single rear camera, but there is no word on the megapixel count. Additionally, the Oppo A1K will reportedly be available in a single storage configuration and will hit the shelves in Red and Black colour options. Oppo’s next offering is tipped to pack a 4,000mAh battery and will run ColorOS 6.0 based on Android Pie. The dimensions of the Oppo A1K will reportedly be 154.4×77.4×8.4 mm and it will tip the scales at 165 grams.

 

As for the Oppo A5s, key specifications and a render of the smartphone were leaked earlier this month. Now, the smartphone has reportedly received BIS certification in India, which is an indication that the Oppo A5s is inching closer to its official launch. The offering’s BIS certification was spotted by MySmartPrice, which also reported about the Oppo A5s’ NBTC certification in Thailand.

The Oppo A5s will reportedly be a refreshed version of the Oppo A5s that was launched in India last month. The Oppo A5s’ rumoured specifications also bear some similarity with the Oppo A7’s hardware, such as an identical rear camera setup and display. The Oppo A1K will reportedly feature a 6.2-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display with a waterdrop notch and will be powered by the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC. The smartphone will be launched in multiple configurations with 2GB, 3GB, and 4GB of RAM paired with 32GB or 64GB of inbuilt storage that can further be expanded via a microSD card (up to 256GB).

The Oppo A5s is tipped to feature a dual rear camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture. The front snapper will reportedly be an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture. The upcoming Oppo smartphone will run ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo, while its dimensions and weight will be 155.9×75.4×8.2mm and 170 grams respectively. The Oppo A5s might be available in Red, Black, Gold, and Green colour options. There is no word on the pricing or a definite launch timeline of the Oppo A1K or the Oppo A5s in India.

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Apple Watch spots heart issues, with limits: Study

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Researchers from Stanford University’s School of Medicine presented results from a giant study sponsored by Apple Inc that showed the Apple Watch can sometimes spot patients with undiagnosed heart-rhythm problems, without producing large numbers of false alarms.

The Apple-sponsored trial enrolled 419,297 people and was one of the largest heart-screening studies ever. The study, details of which are being presented today at the American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans, used the watch’s sensors to detect possible atrial fibrillation.

“The findings are exciting and encouraging, but clearly there is a lot more to be done,” said Lloyd Minor, dean of Stanford’s medical school. The study could help pave the way for more research into how modern digital tools can help improve health.

 

People who have atrial fibrillation are at risk of blood clots and strokes. In the U.S., it causes 750,000 hospitalizations a year and contributes to 130,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because it doesn’t always produce outward symptoms, it can go undiagnosed.

According to results presented Saturday, about 0.5 per cent of patients in the study — or almost 2,100 people — received notices from their watch indicating that they might have a heart-rhythm problem. That relatively low number showed that the technology wasn’t inundating people with worrisome alerts.

Further Study

Of the minority of patients who got notifications and agreed to wear a portable electrocardiogram for up to a week, about 34 per cent were found to have atrial fibrillation. That may be because atrial fibrillation can come and go, and doesn’t necessarily mean that the other 66 per cent didn’t have the condition, Mintu Turakhia, a Stanford professor of cardiovascular medicine and one of the leaders of the study, said in a statement.

Apple looks forward “to learning more about the impact of Apple Watch alongside the medical community,” said Jeff Williams, the company’s chief operating officer.

One unusual feature of the study is that it allowed people to participate without ever visiting a doctor in person. When the watch detected repeated periods of irregular heartbeats, patients got alerts to call in for a virtual consultation.

The study isn’t likely to immediately shift medical practice.

“We have got more work to do to understand specifically how the data form this technology can be integrated into routine clinical assessment and patient management decisions,” said Kenneth Mahaffey, a cardiologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, who chaired the study.

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Huawei P30 Pro to launch in India soon after the global announcement: Report

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It looks like India will not have to long for the Huawei P30 Pro after its global launch event on March 26 in Paris, France. According to a report , Huawei plans to unveil the Huawei P30 Pro in India days or weeks after the Paris launch event of the device.

The news agency quoted a source saying, “The company is dedicated to the India market and it aims to narrow the gap in the timing of global launches of flagship devices with this phone.”

Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro have been subjected to a number of leaks. From image renders to hands-on images and camera specifications to processor, we have a general idea of what these two phones will bring to the table.

 

While we have seen hands-on images of Huawei P30 Pro shared by Slashleaks which revealed quad camera setup with a periscope-style lens, recently, WinFuture revealed the full specifications of the device as well as image renders of the upcoming device.

Earlier Huawei VP of Global Product Marketing Clement Wong confirmed new Super Zoom feature of the phone. While Huawei shared teasers for the lossless zoom, we also got to see leaked camera samples of Huawei P30 Pro as well.

Huawei P30 Pro: Expected specifications and features

Huawei P30 Pro will likely feature a 6.47-inch FHD+ OLED curved display with 2340×1080 resolution, 19:9 aspect ratio, a tear-drop notch on top and an in-display fingerprint sensor. The device will be powered by Huawei’s latest octa-core Kirin 980 processor coupled with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage options.

At the back, Huawei P30 Pro will have two camera strips to host four cameras. One strip will carry a flash and probably a ToF (time of flight) sensor, while the other strip will have three camera lens– one of which is a square shaped periscope style ‘Super Zoom’ camera lens.

The latest leak reveals the camera specs as– 40MP primary camera with f/1.6 aperture + 20MP secondary wide-angle sensor with f/2.2 aperture + a third 8MP camera with f/3.4 aperture + a fourth Time of Flight camera. The front camera of the device is tipped to be a 32MP sensor.

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