Tag Archives: cars

GoFar will help you save money on gas

This smart device will help you improve your car’s efficiency and improve road safety. 

While electric and even solar cars are gradually making their way to the market, for the vast majority of drivers, they are simply too expensive to justify — even despite the money that they may end up saving on gas. Fortunately, one Australian startup has devised a new solution that aims to reduce fuel costs, diminish carbon emissions and ultimately enhance driver safety, all without having to trade in that older ride.


Recently launched on Kickstarter, GoFar is a smart device that is installed on a dashboard and provides users with intuitive, real-time feedback so that they can find the most sustainable way to drive their vehicle. This is accomplished by identifying a car’s sweet spot — in other words, the optimum throttle position that maximizes power yet minimizes gas guzzling.

Aside from the aforementioned gadget (called Ray), the system is comprised of a dongle and an accompanying mobile. The dongle is plugged into an OBDII port, powered through the car’s battery and provides output on engine diagnostics. Meanwhile, Ray is situated on the dashboard and paired with a smartphone over Bluetooth Low Energy to receive the data, which is also logged in the cloud.


Embedded sensors precisely track and calculate an engine’s sweet spot and offer real-time metrics through subtle lights. For instance, blue means you’re saving while red means you’re not only burning fuel but money as well. This feature was inspired by Formula One racing, where drivers rely on a dashboard LED light display to determine the right shift points for the car so that they can achieve optimal speed.

Aside from improving vehicle efficiency, this latest smart solution brings that older car into the Internet of Things era with actionable analytics. So much so that GoFar technology can inform drivers of how much their aggressive acceleration, harsh braking and touch-and-go maneuvers actually cost them. Wondering which way to work is the fastest? The team will make it super easy to conduct experiments to test various routes or decipher which fuel type gets more miles for less.


So how much savings are we talking? According to its creators, it can be well over $500 per year for everyday commuters. Want one for yourself? Race over to its official Kickstarter campaign, where GoFar is currently seeking $50,000. Shipment is slated to begin this fall.

Worldwide IoT market to exceed $7 billion by 2020

Analysts at IDC confirm a transformation is underway that will see the worldwide market for IoT solutions increase from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to a staggering $7.1 trillion in 2020. Indeed, consumers continue to experience and embrace IoT in their homes, cars and in many other aspects of their daily life.

Globally, individuals are developing a high affinity for full-time connectivity, which makes consumer IoT a compelling proposition. Businesses are also intrigued by the efficiencies, business process implications and revenue opportunities IoT solutions are capable of generating.

“Businesses are taking the necessary steps to gain a deeper understanding of IoT and the overall value,” explained Vernon Turner, Senior VP of IDC’s Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer, Network, Telecom and Sustainability Research. “Technology vendors are evolving their solutions in a supply-driven market that’s edging toward becoming a more demand-driven market.”

Carrie MacGillivray, Program VP, Mobile Services, IoT, and Network Infrastructure at IDC, expressed similar sentiments.

“The worldwide IoT market is exploding… IoT solutions are at the heart of IDC’s view of the third platform and the four pillars — mobility, social business, big data/analytics, and cloud — resulting in millions of applications available to billions of end points.”

MacGillivray also noted that developed regions (currently) garner the majority of the IoT market, representing approximately 90% of installed units. However, the worldwide IoT install base is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% from 2013 to 2020.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is well-positioned to benefit from the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT). According to Oppenheimer & Co. analyst Andrew Uerkwitz, Atmel is one of a handful of companies that makes microcontrollers (MCUs) that will increasingly be in demand.

“As we move toward Internet of Things, if you think about everybody’s connected devices today, everybody has about three to four connected devices, meaning connected to each other in some way. And we believe within five to 10 years, that’s going to be about 10 devices,” said Uerkwitz. “Everyone’s going to have 10 things that are connected to the Internet or connected to a smartphone or just generally connected whether it’s in the automobile, in the home or in the office.”

As Uerkwitz points out, a number of devices, such as thermostats and televisions that may not currently be connected to the Internet will increasingly become “smart devices.” 

As this trend plays out, those devices will require the components that Atmel supplies.

“So, their core business has thousands of customers trying to add these microcontrollers to devices, consumer electronics and we think that core business will grow nicely,” Uerkwitz added.

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out Atmel’s recent IoT SoMa panel on the subject here, Patrick Sullivan’s EELive! 2014 presentation and our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.

The IoT isn’t just a fancy buzzword

Writing for ZDNet, Ken Hess says the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just a fancy buzzword that describes how a refrigerator alerts its owner to buy a new bottle of milk or pick up some fresh vegetables for dinner.

“[The IoT] is so much more. How much more is only left to your imagination and to your budget. You can do as little or as much with IoT as you want,” opines Hess. “For example, if you operate food distribution business, you could install sensors in your trucks that send temperature, humidity, and dock-to-dock travel times back to your home office for analysis. You can also more accurately track the exact expense required to deliver each food product or container to the customer.”

Hess also notes that the IoT is not just about gathering data, but rather analyzing and leveraging information collected by various sensors. His favorite example? The Internet Coke Machine at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Computer Science department.

“One of the computer science students in 1982, David Nichols, had the original idea to poll the Coke machine so that he didn’t waste a trip to the machine to find it empty. He and a group of fellow students (Mike Kazar (Server Software), David Nichols (Documentation and User Software), John Zsarnay (Hardware), Ivor Durham (Finger interface) together to create this now famous connected vending machine,” writes Hess.

“From their labs, they could check the status of the sodas in the vending machine. I’m pretty sure they didn’t realize the international effect this would someday have when they devised their plan. Nor did they realize that anyone beyond themselves would care.”

Indeed, says Hess, serious IoT is coming to the world in a big way and has far reaching implications for big data, security and cloud computing.

“If you look at some of the projections for the next few years, you’ll have an idea of what I mean,” he continues. “Internet-connected cars, sensors on raw food products, sensors on packages of all kinds, data streaming in from the unlikeliest of places: restrooms, kitchens, televisions, personal mobile devices, cars, gasoline pumps, car washes, refigerators, vending machines, and SCADA systems for example will generate a lot of data.”

Hess concludes his article by stating that readers won’t have to keep their ear too close to the ground in 2014 to hear about the IoT.

“If you do, you’re just not listening. IoT isn’t a marketing term or tech buzzword, it’s a real thing. You should learn about it and how it can help your company learn more about itself,” he adds.