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Electric vehicle offers Android tablet as dashboard IVI system

Apr 14, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 42 views

T3 Motion announced a two-passenger electric vehicle that comes complete with a detachable Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet in its dashboard. The Galaxy Tab will act as the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) computer for the three-wheeled R3 series plug-ins, offering navigation, entertainment, and vehicle diagnostic monitoring, says the company.

When T3 Motion unveiled its GT3 electric vehicle prototype last June, it was said to offer an Apple iPad as its dashboard computer. This month, however, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based firm unveiled an updated version called the R3 series that swaps the iPad out for the most popular Android-based tablet to date, the Samsung Galaxy Tab (pictured).

The Galaxy Tab's screen is only seven inches, compared with 9.7 inches for the iPad, making it perhaps a better fit for the compact, three-wheeled vehicle. The Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor, and offers a 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, a three-megapixel camera, and a front-facing videocam. Wireless features include 802.11n, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and 3G with voice telephony.

R3 series prototype

Embedded above the drive controls, the Galaxy Tab will bring navigation, email, web browsing, audio, video, and much more to the R3, says T3 Motion. The design lets users detach the tablet from the dashboard to carry the Tab with them as a portable device.(Given the car's open design, in fact, drivers may be force to tote the tablets in order to avoid theft.)

The tablet will also hook into the R3's telematics to offer on-board vehicle diagnostics, and the company says it is looking into drive-mode safety features, which conceivably might disable some functions or add specialized interfaces. Presumably the dashboard dock will also charge the Galaxy Tab, although this was not stated.

R3 with embedded Galaxy Tab

The two-passenger R3 Series features an AC induction motor powered by lithium-polymer battery technology, and has a range of 80-100 miles per charge, says T3 Motion. The vehicle is said to offer a top speed of 70-120 mph. The R3 is licensed as a motorcycle, enabling use in carpool lanes, among other benefits.

The R3 Series is built with a proprietary rear-wheel design incorporating a patent-pending, wide-stance wheel with dual tires sharing a single wheel, says T3 Motion. The back-wheel design is said to improve traction, stability and handling, while the "low rolling resistance and rounded profile" of the rear tires is touted as increasing energy efficiency. The motorized tricycle also offers a multi-link, dual-shock rear suspension claimed to be similar to systems found in Formula One racing cars.

Exterior and interior of R3

T3 Motion is known for its flagship T3 Series Electric Stand-up Vehicle (ESV), launched in 2006. Available in over 17 countries, the T3 is used by over 700 agencies for public safety applications, says the company. The R3, however, is slated for the general consumer market.

Stated Ki Nam, T3 Motion CEO, "The size and capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Tab are perfect for the R3 Series — a forward-thinking tablet for a forward-thinking car."

Promotional video of R3 on YouTube
Source: T3 Motion
(Click to play)


T3 Motion says it completed the R3 series prototype on April 5, but does not say when the vehicle might be commercially available. The price, however, is expected to run from $25,000 to $35,000. More information on the vehicle may be found on its R3 page.

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