Brandmotion Insider

  • Brandmotion to Be Part of Self-Driving Cars in ‘Mcity’

    University of Michigan facility will test autonomous driving and inter-vehicle communication in mock city

    SOUTHFIELD, MICH., March 27, 2015 (MEDIAWIRE) – Brandmotion, leading supplier of forward-looking technology solutions for the automotive aftermarket, today announced its participation in a major initiative to further autonomous driving and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. The University of Michigan is creating the Mobility Transformation Center, in partnership with government and leading tech companies, as a means to test and develop the infrastructure and in-vehicle components to make self-driving and environment-aware vehicles a reality. Brandmotion will provide logistical support and strategic input to facilitate development for both OEM and aftermarket applications.

    Mcity, the nickname for the Mobility Transportation Center (MTC) facility, is just that: a mock city that allows developers to test a fully autonomous driving experience in a real-world environment. With completion scheduled for July 20, the 32-acre facility on U of M’s North Campus will include buildings, streets, highways, elevated roadways and complex intersections to create immersive simulations of on-road scenarios.

    Mcity 2

    “If we are going to be living in a world where vehicles talk to other vehicles, the aftermarket will play a critical role,” said Jeff Varick, president and founder of Brandmotion. “Otherwise, it will take much longer to achieve any kind of critical mass, and that’s what V2V requires.  We see it as a very exciting opportunity for our customers, to help drive the adoption rate, and we are very pleased to be able to contribute our unique knowledge of the aftermarket to the goals of the MTC.”

    Brandmotion produces a series of Authentic OEM™ driver safety systems and components that seamlessly integrate with factory installed displays, wiring and fixtures, resulting in an enhanced driving experience that rivals factory installed systems. In addition, the company continually invests in innovative products, such as its Qi-based FreedomCharge vehicle-specific wireless charging systems for phones, to allow drivers to benefit from new-car features in their current vehicles. As Mcity will incorporate a series of wireless transceivers—both in vehicles and on road fixtures such as light poles—that enable the communication from vehicle to vehicle and from vehicle to environment, Brandmotion will provide its extensive expertise on the integration of in-vehicle components to work with existing displays, sensors and networked systems in the vehicle.

    Brandmotion joins 26 partner companies as participants in the initiative, with a goal to have a viable autonomous network on the streets of southeast Michigan by 2021.

    "The technology involved on the path to the autonomous vehicle has far-reaching potential to save lives, improve efficiency and decrease damaging effects on the environment,” continued Varick. “We’re proud to be a Michigan-based company, working closely with such an innovative group of technology leaders in a project that will change the face of roadways in America and beyond.”

    For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • Samsung Leads The Way In Wireless Charging

    s6 on qi puck The newly released Galaxy S6 on a wireless charging puck. Photo Credit: Mobile Syrup

    Phone manufacturers are always looking for the newest features to pack into their smartphones. In a market segmented by so many different brands and choices, its difficult to differentiate one product over another. Companies will often update existing features or add in novelty applications to garner consumer attention, but every so often they will get one that sticks.

    S5 side profile The Galaxy S5, with an unobtrusive Qi wireless charging adapter underneath the battery door.

    Samsung may have seen the trend years ago when Qi wireless charging first started to appear on the market. As far back as their Galaxy S3 flagship smartphone, phone users could remove their battery covers on their devices and see a few metal contacts next to the battery. They weren’t labeled, but did serve a purpose. Samsung had foreseen using wireless charging but never touted the ability. These metal pins were placed there as a way for wireless charging adapters to send power to the battery without having to “install” a permanent accessory in the phone. There was no need for an App either, it was just an effortless way for users to charge their phone

    S5 Group S5 without its battery cover.

    Fast forward to the Galaxy S4 and S5 models, and you’ll still find the same metal pins meant to incorporate wireless charging into the phone. With the release of the newest Galaxy model, the S6, Samsung took the technology a step further and built wireless charging directly into the phone.

    S5 Adapter Group Left: Arrows indicate metal pins for wireless charging adapters. Center: A credit card sized Qi wireless charging adapter for the S5. Right: AN S5 with a wireless charging adapter placed on top of the corresponding metal contacts.

    The Galaxy S6 isn’t the first phone to have Qi wireless charging built directly into the device and surely isn’t the last, but Samsung phone do have a certain ubiquity in the market over competitor’s devices such as the Droid Turbo and Droid Razer Maxx. The Samsung S3,S4 and S5 are some of the most common phones on the market, the S6 will most likely see the same success. As many companies try to outdo one another, wireless charging stands a good chance of becoming a very common feature in this year’s upcoming phones.

    Have a Galaxy S3, S4 or S5? Wireless charging adapters like the one shown in this article are available at www.brandmotion.com/freedomcharge. The one stop shop for all of your wireless charging needs!

  • Which automakers have embraced the wireless phone charging trend?

    Yukon Wireless Charger The wireless charging system found in the 2015 GMC Yukon, seen at the North American International Auto Show.

    When the North American International Auto Show comes to Detroit it becomes apparent why it’s called the Motor City. The event draws thousands of car enthusiasts and industry personnel to experience the upcoming cars for the year. This year was no exception. One of the most notable features being adopted is wireless phone charging. Gadget lovers will rejoice as they no longer have to worry about having a separate charging cable on hand, just set the phone down and go!

    Cadillac-phonecharger-ft Cadillac's hidden charging system behind the display radio.

    Cadillac and General Motors have embraced wireless charging by equipping a number of vehicles in their 2015 line up. Cadillac has the most vehicles with the feature of any automaker. Vehicle buyers can find the feature in the 2015 models of the Cadillac SRX, Escalade, CTS and ATS. You can see wireless charging shine in the stylish interiors of these high-end vehicles in the photo above.

    Chevy and GM have also incorporated the technology into their 2015 Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Yukon Denali. Drivers will find the accessory conveniently located in the center console armrest so their phone will never be out of sight and definitely not out of reach. It's standard on the LTZ, or part of an optional $2,900 package on the LT. Brandmotion also offers the al la carte solution, part number FDMC-1273. For model years 2007-2014, use part number FDMC-1272.

    toyota-main The 2015 Toyota Camry wireless phone charger found forward of the gearshift.

    Toyota was one of the first automakers to incorporate wireless phone charging in their vehicles beginning with the 2014 Avalon and now the 2015 Camry and Prius. Buyers can get the charger standard on the Camry XLE trim level. The wireless charging option is not available on the LE, Hybrid LE, and SE. Brandmotion's al la carte solution will ship in February.

    acc-4 The Jeep Cherokee's unique, ski boot-like phone charger.

    For those looking for a vehicle with more utility and the convenience of wireless charging, the Jeep Cherokee may be the perfect fit. Located in the armrest, the wireless charging accessory feature is a ski boot-like clamp that secures the phone while driving.

    14-07-06-lexus-nx-qui-wireless-charger The Lexus NX's wireless charging system, found inside the armrest.

    Rounding out the list of automakers adopting wireless charging is high end car maker Lexus. The company has added the accessory to the available options for the 2015 Lexus NX. This futuristic looking car is a prime candidate for the gadget lover who wants the most up to date vehicle styling with all the latest technology.

    Other OEM manufacturers will be jumping on this emerging technology in the coming years. Ford, Lincoln, Nissan and many others are rumored to have added wireless charging to 2016 vehicles. Maybe next years North American International Auto Show will have double, or triple the number of vehicles offered with the technology. We’ll be sure to fill you in on the newest cars to come equipped with this option.

     

  • Brandmotion Releases 3 Types of Factory Display Radio Interface Cameras

    ford 4 inch with image Pictured is a MyFord 4" Display Radio. Traditionally, a difficult radio to integrate with, Brandmotion now has a solution for.

    Here at Brandmotion, we have noticed a trend that more and more cars are coming with display radio systems instead of the traditional one-color radios. However, most cars do not come with a back up camera that connects into this screen, unless purchased with an expensive trim package. In 2015, we are launching a full line of vehicle specific Factory Display Radio Interface back up cameras. Pay for the safety you want and skip the features you can live without.

    We’ve even tapped into factory radio displays that previously had no solution in the market. The 4” MyFord display now has a Brandmotion solution for virtually any Ford vehicle, including the F150. Also available are kits for GM/Chevy MyLink radios, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep UConnect radios, as well as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes factory display radios.

    These cameras are designed to look factory and save you time and money on installation. Thanks to their in-line programming module, these kits require no need for dealer reflashing. Each kit comes with everything you need to complete the job. Brandmotion offers bundling options with a next-gen Panasonic OEM camera, or a Universal Snap-in CMOS Camera with parklines, or just the harness and programming module sold separately.

    You’ll find the 3 types of interface kits offered through Brandmotion listed below:

    7773kitsquare

    1) Camera Interface Harness Kit:
    For those that are looking to supply their own camera, we offer the vehicle harnessing and radio interface module by themselves. This is great for custom jobs and work with any camera with an RCA connector. The cameraless kits will feature a 9002-27xx part number.

    8701camera angledsquare

    2) OEM Camera Interface Kit:
    When it needs to look factory, choose our OEM camera option. Included in this kit is all the components you’ll need to tie in to the factory screen, plus, our new Gen 7 Panasonic OEM Camera (part # 9002-8701). This camera sports a crisper and brighter image over the previous generations. When your customer demands the same quality they get from the factory, this is the camera for them. These bundled kits will feature a 9002-87xx part number.

    7603 camera head

    3) Parkline Camera Interface Kit:
    If your customer is looking for parklines, our Universal Snap-in Camera (part # FLTW-7603) is the perfect option for them. Included in this kit is all the components you’ll need to tie in to the factory screen. The small lip-mount camera protrudes slightly near the vehicle’s trunk release and provides the driver with a parklined view of what’s behind them. These bundled kits will feature a 9002-77xx part number.

    Please look at the latest app guide at: Rear Vision Application Guide. For current part numbers and compatibility questions email info@brandmotion.com or call us at (734) 619-1250.

     

  • Will you be going wireless?

    Chances are, you own a smartphone. They’re a common sight nowadays and can be found in most people’s possession at any given time. In 2007 Apple released the first generation of its ever popular iPhone, and since then, it has spurred a competition among the world’s cell phone manufacturers to produce the thinnest, feature-packed smartphones. However, for every feature that’s built-in, battery life suffers. Keeping that battery going is often a struggle between finding a power outlet, having the right kind of charger, or if you’re really having bad luck, both.

    Cable chargers are messy and bulky. It seems as though they have been over-looked when it comes to design and functinonality. They create a tangled mess, are an eyesore in both your home and car, and don’t fit well in your pocket.  So, why not rid yourself of the wire all together?

    FDMC C-200 FreedomCharge by Brandmotion is the first aftermarket wireless phone charger for vehicles. A seamless design gives users a convenient and cable-free way to charge their phones. Pictured is the FDMC-1210 Universal Kit.

    The idea of wireless charging has been around for a long time, originally demonstrated by Nikola Tesla, an inventor, in the 1800’s. Until just a few years ago, the technology was relatively unknown. Now, phone companies and car manufacturers are seeing the convenience and wide array of applications in wireless charging pads.

    No longer do you have to fumble around with your cable to plug the phone in. Simply place the phone on the pad and it will begin to charge. Imagine sitting at a restaurant with your phone on the table, charging. The technology is not just being touted as a novelty for electronic devices.  Battery drain from apps is a constant problem for phone users. Streaming music and using GPS are two heavily taxing tasks that a battery must cope with, not to mention internet and camera usage. By simply placing a phone on the mat, you can keep a steady stream of power flowing into the phone without any interference.

    The wireless charging standard, Qi, has a unique advantage over conductive chargers (the ones requiring metal contacts). Qi uses magnetic induction to pass through a multitude of surfaces in order to carry a charge from the transmitter to the receiver (your phone). This allows designers to keep a uniform surface and seamless design for vehicles and furniture.

    Ditching the cord is becoming more of a reality. You can expect to see a number of new products in your car and home being released as the technology is adopted. You’ll save yourself the hassle of trying to find an outlet and charger in the process!

  • Inductive vs. Conductive Wireless Charging

    Wireless Charging: Inductive vs. Conductive
    There’s no doubt about it; wireless charging is becoming the new standard for charging electronic devices. However, many users are still uncertain as to how wireless charging actually works.

    There are two different methods that are currently being used to wirelessly charge electronic devices: inductive charging and conductive charging.

    What is inductive charging?
    Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to facilitate the exchange of energy between two objects. Inductive charging works by using an induction coil placed within a charging station to create an electromagnetic field. A second induction coil, placed on the portable device being charged, takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it into an electrical current that is used to charge the device.

    Nokia

    What about conductive charging?
    Conductive charging is a method that requires a physical connection to be made between the portable device’s battery and the charging station. Special attachments are made that are fitted to the electronic device, making it compatible with the charging base. The wireless charging base is able to detect when a compatible device has been placed on it, and passes an electrical current from the base to the electronic device through the special attachments.

    What’s the difference?
    The main difference between the inductive and conductive charging is that conductive charging requires a physical, metal-to-metal connection to be made in order to work, while inductive charging can be achieved through a variety of different surfaces.  There are clear advantages and disadvantages to each method, but the Qi (inductive) method provides more opportunities for the development and future applications of wireless technology, using multiple materials and surfaces.

    Car and cell phone manufacturers alike, are turning to Qi, and making it the go to standard for wireless charging. The technology is becoming more common and is being featured in more and more devices, as well as the newer car models.

    Be on the lookout for Qi enabled devices and the cars in the very near future.

  • Brandmotion Ships Vehicle-Specific Wireless Charging Phone Kits

    Initial mix of four models includes universal “trim to fit” version

    FCShip-1

    SOUTHFIELD, MI, July 8, 2014 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – In 2015, The Toyota Camry will join the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, 2014 Toyota Avalon and a handful of other vehicles as the only ones to be equipped with wireless phone charging from the factory. Well before that, Brandmotion will make custom-fit wireless charging a reality for just about every other vehicle on the road today. The Southfield, Mich.-based provider of innovative, vehicle-specific safety, convenience and customization solutions announced it has begun to ship the first four kits in its FreedomCharge line.

    FreedomCharge features a sturdy charging surface that is shaped to fit the available console tray on a specific vehicle. Designed for professional installation, it connects directly to the vehicle’s electrical system so that no wires are seen. For vehicles that the line does not currently cover, one kit features a pad that can be professionally cut to fit any console tray or flat surface up to 10.5 by 7.5 inches, and installs with the same invisible hard-wired connections.

    FCShip-2FCShip-3

    “We anticipate the carmakers will be the catalyst for a major marketing push outlining the benefits of wireless charging in the car,” said Jeff Varick, president of Brandmotion. “Our message on top of that is simple – you can get the same benefit they are offering in new cars, in a kit that’s made specifically for your car – today. And for a whole lot less than buying a new car.”

    FreedomCharge is built to the Qi (pronounced “chee”) standard, which is the same standard used by all major automakers, smartphone builders and most accessory manufacturers. This ensures its compatibility with new smartphones and devices as they are introduced. The liquid-resistant pad surface stands up to internal temperatures and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. It will not harm, nor will it be damaged by, devices or objects placed on its surface that are not Qi-enabled.

    Currently available models include Part No. FDMC-1220 for the 2013-2014 Ford Fusion; Part No. FDMC-1240 for the 2011-2014 Toyota Camry; and Part No. FDMC-1260, which fits 2009-2014 Ram trucks with bucket seats. Part No. FDMC-1210 is a customizable kit in which the charging pad can be cut to fit an available flat console tray area.

    Two adapter sleeves are shipping to fit late-model iPhone models that do not feature built-in wireless charging. Part No. FDMC-1105 fits around the iPhone 5 and 5S, and Part No. FDMC-1106 works with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Additional sleeves will be made available for phones not equipped with wireless charging.

    Brandmotion is also shipping a home charging kit, Part No. FDMC-1100, which plugs into a 110-volt outlet and includes the charging mat.

    Brandmotion will continue to expand the FreedomCharge line with new vehicle applications every month. For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • What is Qi?

    What is Qi? You may have heard the term used in conversation before, but in recent years, it has taken on a new meaning. When you’ve heard the term, yoga may come to mind, but what about your phone? The 21st Century Qi (pronounced “chee”) is becoming the new standard for charging your phone…wirelessly.

    cell-phone-chargers copy

    The ubiquity of cell phones has brought with them a mess of tangled cords and a plethora of different chargers. Cellphone and electronics manufacturers have sought to rid your counter tops, nightstands, and now - your car - from the mass of cables you steadily build up with each new device you purchase.

    w1-4-480x300

    A group of Qi adopters, The Wireless Power Consortium, consists of 188 member companies. This group is making major strides towards firmly embedding its wireless charging standard. Four major automakers; Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Toyota have adopted Qi as their standard for wireless charging in their upcoming vehicles, and others are expected to follow.

    You may be asking yourself, “How does it even work?” In order to charge a device, there needs to be an imbedded magnetic coil in the device that can be placed on top of a charging pad with a similar coil. This pairing transmits electricity a short distance from one device to another. Newer Android based phones are already being shipped with the technology built-in. However, Apple devices still need a sleeve to support this feature. The cases might not be such a bad thing since most phone owners have cases on their phones in the first place; stylish and low profile versions are already available in stores.

    The technology is already on the market and more devices are being built with the feature each day, it’s up to the consumer to adopt it.

    If you could cut the cord and free your phone, would you?

  • Brandmotion Expands Direct-Connect Camera Line

    Four new models fit increased number of vehicles equipped with display radios

    SOUTHFIELD, MICH., June 5, 2014 (SDG MEDIAWIRE) – Brandmotion, the Southfield, Mich.-based developer and supplier of integrated safety and personalization solutions for the automotive aftermarket, announced it has significantly expanded its line of direct-connect rear vision cameras for vehicle-specific applications. The product additions enable Brandmotion resellers to leverage the higher number of vehicles that come with display radios from the factory but that are not equipped with rear vision.

    As part of the expansion, Brandmotion introduced four new models and upgraded an existing top seller. Each of the kits comes equipped with an Authentic OEM™ camera that fits the recommended factory position at the rear of the vehicle. Vehicle-specific wiring harnesses with factory-match connectors pair the camera with the factory display radio.

    “In our research, we see the trend of carmakers moving toward larger display radios in order to offer consumers more features down the road,” said Jeff Varick, president of Brandmotion. “We can thank the smartphone and the industry’s desire to make their use in the vehicle safer by building their functionality into larger, touch screen car radios. At the same time, we can leverage the larger screen to create a safer driver experience when maneuvering the vehicle in and out of parking spaces and tight spots.”

    New to the line are part No. 9002-8538, which fits select 2013-2014 General Motors vehicles, and part No. 9002-8536, designed for Subaru vehicles in the same year span. Part No. 9002-8532 has been upgraded to work with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango equipped with a 52-pin factory connector and either 8.4-inch or 5-inch display, extending its application from 2008 to 2014 on select Chrysler vehicles.

    Part No. 9002-8535, another line addition, is the company’s first application to work with 2013-2014 Mazda vehicles, and part No. 9002-8534, designed for select 2014-2015 Toyota vehicles equipped with a 24-pin factory connector, is a highly sought-after consumer solution.

    The new kits join the recently released part No. 1009-6503 (2013-2014 Ram equipped with 5-inch or 8.4-inch display), as well as parts No. 9002-8537 (2012-2013 Honda Civic), 9002-8531 (select 2011-2014 Chrysler vehicles) and 9002-8530 (2012-2014 Toyota vehicles). In addition to the time-saving and reliability enhancing aspects of the installation, four of the kits require no additional programming from the dealership to initiate them with the display radio.

    Brandmotion will continue to expand the line as more vehicles become equipped with factory display radios. For more information, contact Brandmotion at (734) 619-1250, visit Brandmotion.com or follow Brandmotion on Facebook at facebook.com/brandmotion.

  • 3D Printing and What It Means For the Automotive Industry

    In recent years, the 3D printing industry has seen explosive growth. It seems like there are new companies popping up everyday with their own version of the printers. Three-dimensional printers are part of an ever-expanding manufacturing industry, and with each passing year, their print times shorten and the amount of printable materials increases. Automotive companies like Ford have already invested in this technology to make prototypes, and even NASA is adopting this new tech.

    These printers work by depositing a thin layer of a selected material on top of a previous layer, gradually building up the object. The ability to literally print parts from scratch will give companies and hobbyists alike, a number of advantages.

    Check out the clip of a turbocharger housing being printed at the 2014 SEMA Summit.

    Set-up Shop Anywhere
    Traditional manufacturing processes can take weeks or even months to deliver new parts, not to mention, they require huge facilities. If you’re not looking to get into manufacturing, you can still print items from the comfort of your own workshop in a variety of materials, NASA even created a food printer for the International Space Station.

    A Do-It-Yourselfer’s Dream
    With 3D printers, production possibilities are endless. The printers are able to produce any object without having to create a mold. This means, hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers can produce one-of-a-kind trim pieces for their vehicle or home.

    Research, Develop, Print
    Early test methods involved having a small number of parts produced to test. However, when a part didn’t perform quite like the engineers had believed it would, production and testing would come to a standstill. Companies now have the ability to print a part, test it, and make any necessary changes before sending it to production. Ford has been aggressively adopting 3D printers to reduce costs and part development. They have managed to cut development times by 25% and can now send sand molds directly to a foundry instead of making a second casting.

    Hard To Find Parts
    As years pass, the availability of parts for older car models becomes more and more scarce. Utilizing a 3D printer, part manufacturers or even hobbyists could make a replacement for that hard to find piece. You might also expect to see more one-of-a-kind vehicles and modifications on the road in the near future.

    Going Green
    There has been a majorpush for the green movement in recent years. Unfortunately, in manufacturing, waste is always an issue. Three-dimensional printers offer a solution to this age-old problem. Instead of producing large batches of parts, of which some may never be used, printers can make the exact number of parts that are needed. This will reduce unused inventory and wasted material.

    Three-dimensional printers stand to make a large impact not only within the automotive industry but many other aspects of daily life. We will see more and more products being printed in the very near future.

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