Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

September 5, 2018 by  
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There’s finally hope for those tired of waiting on mile-long taxi stands at the airport. Developed by architect Steve Lee of Los Angeles-based Aprilli Design Studio , the Autonomous Travel Suite is a solar-powered electric vehicle that could revolutionize the future of travel and urban design. Lee was inspired to create the driverless  mobile suites to provide travelers with a comfortable door-to-door transportation service, complete with a memory foam mattress, kitchen and mini bar, a washroom and work space. Recently chosen as a finalist in the Radical Innovation Awards , the self-driving hotel suite would be part of an Autonomous Hotel Chain. Conceptualized as a personal rental car and hotel room, the self-driving cars are meant to be an extension of what Lee calls a “parent suite,” offering all of the comforts of a luxury suite while on the road. Related: GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel When not in use, the solar-powered cars would charge in a docking facility at the main hotel, of which the mobile unit would serve as an extension. Guests would be able to choose between different room types and sizes at different prices, and they could order custom features, such as a televisions or extra beds. The futuristic design was created with the busy traveler in mind, offering a driverless, door-to-door car service  that would allow guests to work or rest while on the go. The car interiors would include a foam mattress, a wash room and a working space, along with ample storage for luggage. In addition to the comfy living area, the suites would be built with smart glass, which can be dimmed for privacy. At the moment, the driverless hotel suite on wheels is just a concept, but Lee maintains that its real-world cost would be beneficial to travelers. Pricing would be cost-effective, because the solar-powered cars would bundle both transportation and lodging. + Aprilli Design Suite Via Curbed Images via Radical Innovation Awards

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Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

Why Elon Musk’s bid to take Tesla private is a good bet

August 10, 2018 by  
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Is the $85 billion deal a good roll of the dice? Another maverick ex-CEO says yes.

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Why Elon Musk’s bid to take Tesla private is a good bet

The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years

May 30, 2018 by  
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Good news for the planet: the electric vehicle (EV) industry hit a new record last year, with more than one million EVs sold, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The result? There are now over three million electric vehicles on roads worldwide. And if that weren’t good enough news,  Bloomberg has reported  that the number of EVs traveling the streets could triple in just two years. The IEA just released their Global EV Outlook 2018 report, and it contains some exciting news for the electric vehicle industry. On average, sales could climb 24 percent each year up to 2030, and by the end of this decade alone, the global EV fleet could boast 13 million vehicles. The number of electric buses increased to 370,000 from 345,000 in 2016, and there are now 250 million electric two-wheelers such as scooters or motorcycles. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden In their press release on the report, IEA said China is still the world’s biggest electric car market; it accounted for over half of the electric cars sold in 2017, with almost 580,000 cars total. The United States followed with approximately 280,000 cars sold last year. To keep up, the world will require at least 10 more battery gigafactories , Bloomberg said. Demand for cobalt and lithium is increasing and could rise tenfold unless technological advances reduce that figure. 60 percent of cobalt in the world is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where child labor still occurs, so battery manufacturers have been pressured to show their wares are made sustainably. Charging infrastructure is keeping pace with the electric mobility revolution, according to the IEA, which said there were nearly three million private chargers around the world at homes and workplaces in 2017. There were also 430,000 public chargers, and about one-quarter of those were fast chargers . The IEA credited electric vehicle growth largely to “government policy, including public procurement programs, financial incentives reducing the cost of purchase of EVs, tightened fuel-economy standards and regulations on the emission of local pollutants, low- and zero-emission vehicle mandates and a variety of local measures.” + Global EV Outlook 2018 + International Energy Agency Via Bloomberg Image via Wikimedia Commons

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The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years

Canada set to purchase Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion

May 30, 2018 by  
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The Canadian government is planning to buy the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from major energy corporation Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion in an effort to secure its construction. The controversial project, which would triple the current capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline and run from the tar sands of Alberta to the Pacific Coast, is a major priority for Ottawa . The pipeline has suffered delays due to opposition from indigenous communities and environmental groups. Alberta and British Columbia have also been at odds over the potential environmental risks of the project. With the Canadian government’s financial and political support, the project is more likely to move forward. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project would vastly increase Canada’s ability to export oil to Asia. Canada possesses the world’s third largest oil reserves, but 99 percent of its oil exports are sold in the U.S.  While the government’s takeover of the project has reassured its backers that it will be built, with construction starting in August, it also raises the stakes for Ottawa. “It’s a chess move that allows the project to proceed and positions it as a national interest,” infrastructure expert Matti Siemiatycki told the Guardian . “[But] it’s also highly risky because now the government bears the risk.” The government intervention to save the project is based on the idea that investing in oil today will pay off in the future, something that is far from certain. “The pipeline expansion presumes there’s going to be a high demand for oil going forward for decades — but there’s significant risk that that may not prevail because of changing technologies and changing demand,” explained Siemiatycki. Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought Meanwhile, environmental and indigenous groups continue their opposition. “The cost that they did not calculate in their $4.5 billion purchase is that Indigenous frontlines will stop this pipeline,” Tsleil-Waututh member and Coast Salish Watch House spokesperson Will George said in a statement. “The Watch House will continue to stand in the way of pipeline development, and I will continue to meet the responsibility passed on to me by my ancestors to protect the water and land.” In a statement, Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema asserted that “Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built — a project that Kinder Morgan itself has indicated is ‘untenable’ and that faces more than a dozen lawsuits, crumbling economics and a growing resistance movement that is spreading around the world.” Even with government support, it remains to be seen whether the project will ultimately be completed. Via the Guardian Images via Bureau of Land Management Alaska (1, 2) and William Chen

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Canada set to purchase Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion

These new electric trucks from Volvo could soon be collecting your garbage

May 17, 2018 by  
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Swedish multinational manufacturing company Volvo has revealed its two new electric truck models, designed with tasks such as delivery and refuse collection in mind. These electric trucks could replace those currently on the road for these services, vehicles that are a major source of diesel emissions in urban areas worldwide. “This opens the door to new forms of cooperation with cities that target to improve air quality, reduce traffic noise, and cut congestion during peak hours since commercial operations can instead be carried out quietly and without tale-pipe exhaust emissions early in the morning or late at night,” Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said in a statement . Volvo’s new electric trucks seem well suited to European cities, many of which are moving towards reducing or even eliminating the use of internal combustion vehicles in the coming years. The newly revealed models also recognize the rising consumer demand for cleaner air, thus cleaner vehicles. “We believe that the technology today is mature when it comes to performance, range and weight in these type of applications in city use,” said Nilsson. Volvo plans to continue to develop new models of electric trucks going forward. Related: Volvo will only sell electric cars starting in 2019 One of the trucks, the Volvo FL Electric, is smaller than other models so as to better serve the needs of dense urban areas. “Today, each of our 300 conventional refuse vehicles emits approximately 31,300 kg carbon dioxide every year,”  Rüdiger Siechau, CEO of Stadtreinigung Hamburg,  said in a statement. “An electrically powered refuse truck with battery that stands a full shift of eight to ten hours is a breakthrough in technology.” Because of its electric engine, the Volvo FL Electric is able to deliver cargo inside a building without producing health-harming emissions. The silent engine also opens up new possibilities for serving cities. Volvo’s electric trucks follow its previous production of more than four thousand electric buses and their ongoing reconfiguration of its battery supply chain, which would ensure a more positive environmental impact. Via CleanTechnica Images via Volvo Trucks

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These new electric trucks from Volvo could soon be collecting your garbage

7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

May 1, 2018 by  
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The days of stuffing the family and gear into a cramped, dark camper are long gone. Today’s transforming mobile homes are packed with technology that allows them to expand at the push of a button, double (or triple) in size, and conquer the most rugged of landscapes. Read on to check out seven high-tech tiny homes on wheels for nature-loving wanderers. The De Markies Trailer triples in size There are few things we love more than a tiny camper that doubles in size — unless it’s a camper that triples in size. At first glance, the incredible De Markies trailer doesn’t look like much of a camper. It’s a tiny, nondescript box on wheels — until its accordion-like ends are folded out, tripling its interior space. The inside is equipped with collapsible furniture, a full kitchenette with a four-person dinette table and a spacious lounge area that can adjust to be open-air. The De Markies camper was created by Dutch designer Eduard Bohtlingk more than thirty years ago, proving that good, strategic design is timeless. The Air Opus camper inflates in 90 seconds Adventurers know the value of being efficient while on the road — and that’s why the Air Opus is a godsend. The innovative camper is equipped with a self-inflating system that pops up in 90 seconds flat, with just a simple flick of a switch. The added space and saved time are great advantages when setting up camp. When it’s time to hit the road again, the Air Opus has quick-release valves that deflate the camper in 30 seconds. The entire structure can be folded up and ready to go in less than two minutes. The Homie expands in a minute When it comes to the next generation of miniature recreational vehicles, the cute little Homie — designed by Wide Path Camper — is leading the pack. When folded up, the camper measures just 58 inches long, 57 inches high and 39 inches wide. But when the outer shell is rotated back 90 degrees and fastened to the front inner shell, it expands its interior substantially. Its compact size and handy setup make it a great weekend camper. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Beauer’s camper telescopes to 3X its size Tiny and sleek, the Beauer 3X embodies all there is to love about the modern-day trailer. French company Beauer was inspired by the compact ease that a typical tear drop camper offers, but wanted to increase floor size when parked. Using a “nestled can” design, the Beauer 3X structure expands outward to three times its size in about 20 seconds. The Sealander pulls double duty as a boat Campers often cater to land-loving adventurers, but rarely do we see a design crafted to go on both land and water. The Sealander is an innovative, one-of-a-kind caravan that pulls double duty as a boat. Once on-site, the camper just needs a motor attachment before being eased into the water. A sun roof gives the camper an open-air option while navigating the high seas… or just any old lake. All of its components are corrosion free, so rust will never be a problem. Fiftyten turns any pickup into a tiny home Fiftyten Adventure System can transform most pickup trucks into tiny mobile homes. The camper is comprised of three parts: first, a simple tray with side storage and a pull-out rear drawer provides space for supplies. Second, a large box that fits on the tray can be equipped with a kitchen module. And finally, a pop-up camper on top of the box provides extra space for sleeping, or it can serve as a storage area for bikes, kayaks and other gear. The Doubleback extends 6 feet in an instant At first glance, the Doubleback Van looks like a normal van. However, the vehicle hides a few astonishing secrets within its humble exterior. With just the press of a button, a rear compartment automatically slides outward, doubling the interior space. The top of the van has a roof that can be elevated, revealing space for a drop-down bed and three windows. Inside, there is another fold-out bed, a dining area and a small kitchen. The strategic space-extending features allow the Doubleback Van to comfortably house four people. Images via Eduard Bohtlingk, Opus Campers , Wide Perth Camper, Beauer, Sealander , Fiftyten , and Doubleback Van

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7 transforming mobile homes for adventuring in the great outdoors

Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

April 19, 2018 by  
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If you use ride-sharing services but still worry about their impact on the environment, Lyft has got you covered. The company has just announced that it will invest millions of dollars to offset its carbon emissions. Co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green said in a blog post that the ridesharing company will become “one of the world’s largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets” as they make all their trips carbon neutral from now on. According to Zimmer and Green, while all cars will be cleanly powered at some point in the future, climate change isn’t waiting, so they’re taking action. Lyft is partnering with 3Degrees to offset carbon emissions from their rides around the world. Zimmer and Green said, “The stark reality is that transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. As a growing part of the transportation ecosystem, we are holding ourselves accountable to being part of the solution.” Related: VW unveils fully electric six-seater specifically for ridesharing Lyft rides will be carbon neutral due to “the direct funding of emission mitigation efforts, including the reduction of emissions in the automotive manufacturing process, renewable energy programs, forestry projects, and the capture of emissions from landfills.” These projects will be based in the United States. 3Degrees will oversee “the independent verification of all projects according to rigorous third-party standards” and ensure the company is “only supporting emission reductions that are new and would not have happened but for Lyft’s investment.” The company offered nearly 50 million rides last month. Green and Zimmer said they feel responsible for Lyft’s impact on the Earth, and they joined the We Are Still In movement spearheaded by former New York City mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg to show support for the Paris Agreement . Lyft expects to offset more than one million metric tons of carbon in the first year — the equivalent of taking hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the streets or planting tens of millions of trees . The co-founders said this isn’t their full solution to the issue of climate change, but it is one step forward. + All Lyft Rides Are Now Carbon Neutral Images via Lyft

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Lyft is making all their rides carbon neutral

There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

April 19, 2018 by  
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Everyone knows that California’s San Andreas fault is a ticking time bomb ready to erupt – but a new study shows that another fault right under the East Bay is far more dangerous. The Hayward fault could decimate major cities like Oakland and Berkeley, killing hundreds and destroying tens of thousands of homes. And according to scientists, “it’s just waiting to go off.” ? This week, scientists published a landmark study that detailed a 52-mile fault centered under Oakland, California. If the fault were to erupt – and it is only a matter of time until it does – the US Geological Survey estimates the toll would include at least 800 killed, 18,000 injured, 400,000 displaced and 52,000 homes destroyed. Most homes would be destroyed by the 400 fires scientists estimate would ignite, and the shattered water infrastructure would complicate firefighter’s efforts to put them out. Related: The mega-earthquake that will probably someday wipe Seattle off the map “This fault is what we sort of call a tectonic time bomb,” USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David Schwartz said. “It’s just waiting to go off.” There are certainly larger faults out there (like the San Andreas), but what makes the Hayward fault so deadly is that 2 million people live right on top of it. For reference, the 1906 quake that devastated San Francisco was centered off the coast and impacted a city of 400,000 residents. The Hayward fault is relatively active, with a major earthquake every 150 years or so (give or take 75 years). Its last major earthquake – a 6.8 – was 150 years ago this October. In 1989, the 6.9 Loma Prieta shook the Bay Area and caused about 60 deaths and $82 billion in damage. A similar quake on the Hayward fault today would be 10 times as bad, and even homes that stood during the Loma Prieta quake could be shattered. The bottom line is that the cities and citizens along the fault need to work to improve infrastructure, secure homes and make sure that they are prepared for the next big one. It’s easy to get complacent when it has been a while since the last earthquake , scientists say, but that’s when you have to be most prepared. Via LA Times Images via Jeff Pierre

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There’s a California fault far more dangerous than San Andreas – and it’s ready to go off

Finland’s two-year universal basic income experiment is coming to an end

April 19, 2018 by  
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The Finnish government is planning to conclude its much-touted universal basic income experiment at the end of a two-year study period instead of extending it. Since early 2017, the Finnish government gave 2,000 unemployed Finns between the ages of 25 and 58 an unconditional monthly payment of 560 euros, or $690. “Right now, the government is making changes that are taking the system further away from a basic income,” Kela researcher Miska Simanainen told Svenska Dagbladet . Though there had been plans to include workers in the basic income experiment starting in early 2018, this did not happen. Because workers were not included, researchers are limited in their ability to analyze the impact of universal basic income in promoting career changes or job training. “Two years is too short a time frame to be able to draw extensive conclusions from such a vast experiment,” basic income expert Olli Kangas told YLE . “We ought to have been given additional time and more money to achieve reliable results.” While Finland’s experiment is wrapping up with potentially disappointing results, basic income is an increasingly popular social policy among tech sector leaders, such as Elon Musk , Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and futurist Ray Kurzweil. Related: Stockton, California is launching the first basic income experiment in the US Finland’s government seems less enthused about basic income. The Finnish government recently passed a bill that requires unemployed people to work at least 18 hours over three months or risk losing their benefits. “When the basic income experiment ends this year, we should launch a universal credit trial,” Finnish Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told Hufvudstadsbladet . Such a trial could be modeled on the United Kingdom ‘s system, which combines various benefits and tax credits into a single account. More comprehensive results from Finland’s basic income experiment will be available after the trial’s conclusion at the end of 2018. Via Business Insider Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia

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This amazing underwater hotel room lets you sleep while surrounded by marine life

April 19, 2018 by  
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Putting a positive new spin on the expression “sleeping with the fishes,” a new hotel suite at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in the Maldives lets guests sleep underwater. The first-of-its-kind hotel suite – called the Muraka – is a two-level residence that has an underwater living and sleeping area. Guests can experience being surrounded by the beautiful ocean waters and get a firsthand glimpse of the marine wildlife. However if the thought of sharks floating around you while you sleep doesn’t give you a heart attack, the price tag might: the Muraka starts at $50,000 a night. The undersea villas – which are expected to open in November 2018 – will be the first of their kind in the world. While other hotels have underwater suites , the Muraka (which means “coral” in Dhivehi, the local language in the Maldives) will be the first one to be set in real ocean waters instead of man-made aquariums. The luxury suite spans two floors, with the upper floor floating on the waters and the ground floor submerged more than 16 feet below the ocean surface. Related: Underwater Hotel Gets Green Light to be Constructed in the Maldives The suite was designed by the same team behind the resort’s underwater restaurant, Ithaa . Crown Company director Ahmed Saleem and engineer Mike Murphy thought of everything on their latest hotel venture , including open air decks on either side of the suite to offer a chance to enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset. The dual-level suite can sleep up to nine guests and includes a gym, butler’s quarters, and a bar. There are two bedrooms and large living areas on the top floor, and a large bathtub in the master bedroom faces the ocean. On the lower level, guests can marvel at the surrounding ocean world from their undersea bedroom , living area and bathroom. “Driven by our inspiration to deliver innovative and transformative experiences to our global travelers, the world’s first undersea residence encourages guests to explore the Maldives from an entirely new perspective below the surface of the sea,” said Saleem in a press statement. + Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Via Architectural Digest Images via Conrad Maldives Rangali Island  

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This amazing underwater hotel room lets you sleep while surrounded by marine life

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