Skoda develop a smartphone app that identifies what’s wrong with your car by listening to the engine

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Skoda has developed new technology it believes will make car mechanics’ lives easier – or possible make them redundant entirely.

The Czech brand – which sits under VW Group’s ownership – says it has completed successful trials of a smartphone app that can listen to any thuds, bangs or clatter produced by a vehicle and diagnose the problem from the sound alone.

Called the Skoda Sound Analyser, the manufacturer says it has a 90 per cent success rate of identifying issues with cars correctly.

a hand holding a small camera: Smart-phone app for car mechanics: Skoda has developed an application that listens to a car's engine noise to identify if it has an underlying issue that needs to be fixed by a technician

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Smart-phone app for car mechanics: Skoda has developed an application that listens to a car’s engine noise to identify if it has an underlying issue that needs to be fixed by a technician

Skoda has developed the system in house to be used by technicians in its franchised servicing departments to quickly detect whether any repair work is required. 

‘The system is so sensitive that it can recognise even the smallest irregularity in the engine sound and can suggest a range of service measures that might be needed,’ the car company said. 

To use the technology, mechanics only needs to record the engine sound via a smartphone microphone. 

It then records the noise made by the motor and compares it to stored sound patterns. 

If it identifies there is a difference to the rumble of a healthy engine, the app uses an algorithm to determine what might be the problem causing the discrepancy and how it can be resolved.

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Skoda says the software has already been fine-tuned to be able to recognise ten patterns, finding the correct problem nine times out of ten.

How does the app identify when there’s a problem with a car? 

NASA delays commercial crew mission to study Falcon 9 engine issue

WASHINGTON — NASA is delaying the launch of the first operational SpaceX commercial crew mission to the first half of November to provide more time to review a problem during a recent Falcon 9 launch attempt.

NASA announced Oct. 10 the Crew-1 mission, which was scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 in the early morning hours of Oct. 31 from the Kennedy Space Center, will now launch no earlier than early to mid-November.

The delay, the agency said, will provide more time for SpaceX “to complete hardware testing and data reviews as the company evaluates off-nominal behavior of Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators observed during a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt.” NASA did not identify the specific launch attempt in question, but an Oct. 2 launch of a Falcon 9 carrying a GPS 3 satellite was scrubbed just two seconds before liftoff because of SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk later described as an “unexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator.”

“With the high cadence of missions SpaceX performs, it really gives us incredible insight into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions,” Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said in the agency statement. She said an investigation into the problem is ongoing “and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week.”

Both the Crew-1 and the GPS 3 missions are using new Falcon 9 first stages that have not previously launched. After the GPS 3 scrub, SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon 9 Oct. 6 carrying 60 Starlink satellites using a booster making its third flight. SpaceX has yet to reschedule the GPS 3 launch.

NASA said the issue with the Crew-1 mission will not delay another Falcon 9 launch, of the Sentinel-6

Judge Rules Apple Can Keep Blocking Fortnite, But Not Unreal Engine

In the latest chapter of the Epic Games vs. Apple feud, a federal judge granted an injunction Friday to keep Apple from terminating Epic’s developer account but also said the tech giant wouldn’t be compelled to bring Fortnite back to its App Store.

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In short, the temporary restraining order that Epic won against Apple in August is now permanent, but Fortnite still won’t be returning to the App Store for the foreseeable future.


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It’s a development that maintains the status quo but notably lets Epic Games and the company’s who depend on its widely popular software tool, Unreal Engine, breath a sigh of relief knowing that Apple won’t be able to cut off support on iOS any time soon.

“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate this action for the future of the digital frontier, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders. Thus, the public interest weighs overwhelmingly in favor of Unreal Engine and the Epic Affiliates,” Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers said in Friday’s ruling.

In case you haven’t kept up with the bitter tit for tat Apple and Epic exchanged over the summer, here’s a quick recap. In August, Epic made a ridiculously theatrical show of trying to circumvent the “Apple Tax,” the 30% cut that Apple gets of any in-app transactions on iOS, with its popular Fortnite game, which resulted in Apple booting the title from its App Store. Epic promptly filed an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant, and since then the two have bandied press release after scathing press release. Apple filed a countersuit arguing that Epic’s stunt threatens to undermine its entire iOS ecosystem and also tried to ban the company’s developer account in retaliation. Epic fired back by winning a temporary restraining

Judge makes permanent the injunction preventing Apple from banning Epic’s Unreal Engine


Fortnite has been kicked out of the App Store.

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The battle royale between Epic Games and Apple continues, with a judge on Friday denying a request to force Apple to allow Fortnite back into the App Store while legal proceedings continue. But the US District Court for the Northern District of California also ordered Apple to allow Epic to operate its Unreal Engine developer account in the App Store, Mac Rumors reported.

This means a temporary injunction that allows Fortnite to be banned but doesn’t allow Apple to block Unreal Engine is now permanent.

Apple and Epic didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, but Apple told Bloomberg it’s “grateful the court recognized that Epic’s actions were not in the best interests of its own customers.”

Apple and Epic will continue their court battle in May 2021. This follows Epic suing Apple on Aug. 13 after alleging that the iPhone maker’s rules requiring a 30% cut of all app sales are anticompetitive. Epic broke Apple’s rules by turning on a hidden code in Fortnite through which players could buy items directly from Epic at a discount.

Apple banned Fortnite from the App Store as a result.

Read more: Epic suing Apple and Google over Fortnite bans: Everything you need to know

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New Skoda smartphone app listens to your engine to pinpoint faults

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Skoda has completed trials of a new smartphone app that it believes could make life much easier for technicians at Skoda dealerships and service centres across Europe. 

Called the Skoda Sound Analyser, the app has been developed in-house by Skoda and is a simple diagnostics tool that warns of potential faults in Skoda cars by simply listening to the engine running. 

Skoda says the system is so sensitive it can hear even the slightest irregularity in the idling of the engine, and can suggest a range of services and fixes on the spot. 

The app records the sound of the engine and compares it with a set of control recordings of healthy Skodas. It can spot discrepancies in the sound signals, and uses an algorithm to suggest the best course of action to a technician. It converts the audio file into a spectrogram – a visual depiction of the acoustic signals – and compares them with the control set for deviations in the spectrogram pattern.  

The system has an accuracy of “over 90 per cent,” according to Skoda, and it doesn’t work on just engine issues. Apparently, the Sound Analyser app can also bring to the attention faults in the steering system, the gearbox and even the air conditioning compressor. The brand says more is to come, too. 

Trails of the app have been running since June 2019 across a range of 14 European markets, and a total of 245 Skoda dealers and service centres have taken part in the pilot. 

Stanislav Pekař, Skoda’s Head of After Sales said: “Sound Analyser is a prime example of the new opportunities digitalisation at ŠKODA can create, even in terms of after sales. We will continue to consistently use artificial intelligence technologies to offer our customers an even