Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

October 2, 2017 by  
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What will the electric car of the future look like? Renault has given us a sneak peek with the Trezor – a futuristic self-driving car powered by a 350 horsepower electric powertrain that can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. To enter the vehicle, the entire hood, windshield and side windows lift up – but you still have to jump over the side of the vehicle to get in, since it does without conventional doors. The vehicle also uses a rechargeable energy storage system to recover energy during braking and there are two batteries – one at the front and one at the back. The Trezor is a concept car , but it does explore the potential styling and technology that could debut on future electric cars. Its sleek, long profile is an artist’s dream. The interior feature a red wooden dashboard that incorporates the luggage compartment. The tailor-made trunks are held in place with leather straps in front of the driver and passenger. Although the wooden dashboard and red leather seats appear to be inspired by sports cars from the past, the Trezor features the latest technology with a L-shaped touchscreen that’s connected to a large dashboard screen in front of the driver. The curved OLED touchscreen is protected by a layer of Gorilla glass . The rectangular steering wheel features touchscreens that replace the traditional buttons on today’s steering wheels. The touchscreens provide access to the car’s three drive modes: neutral, sport and self-drive. In the self-driving mode, the exterior lighting changes to let other drivers know that the car is in autonomous mode. The steering wheel also comes apart and stretches out lengthwise to give a better view of the dashboard, so that the driver can watch a film or just look at the scenery. Renault’s Trezor was recently showcased at Designjunction during the London Design Festival . Renault and Nissan have announced plans to introduce several new fully-electric cars in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed that at least some of the technology in the Trezor concept will be offered in a production car. + Renault + London Design Festival Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Renault and Mike Chino

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Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

April 21, 2017 by  
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Forget the flying cars you’ve seen in sci-fi movies because the air transportation of the future is going to be way better than we imagined – at least, if Lilium Aviation has anything to do with it. The aviation company recently unveiled their all-electric, self-flying car. And while there are quite a few flying car prototypes driving, er, flying around right now, Lilium sets itself apart with its electric engine and vertical takeoff, which the company successfully tested for the first time this week. The vehicle is powered by 36 electric jet engines. Electric powered-flight is just developing, but Lilium has figured out how to make it work in its prototype. “It’s the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” co-founder Patrick Nathen told The Verge . The battery consumes 90 percent less than current drone aircraft. The craft has a flight speed of 186 mph with a range of 186 miles per charge. Related: AeroMobil is launching a flying car that you can actually buy this year Lilium’s prototype is a two-seater, but the company plans to eventually make a 5-seat vehicle that can be used as an air taxi. For the maiden voyage, the craft was remotely piloted from the ground, but the company is shooting for manned flight night. The final version will be piloted autonomously and you will be able to book a flight using your smartphone, just like a Lyft in the sky. Via The Verge

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VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

April 21, 2017 by  
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Forget the flying cars you’ve seen in sci-fi movies because the air transportation of the future is going to be way better than we imagined – at least, if Lilium Aviation has anything to do with it. The aviation company recently unveiled their all-electric, self-flying car. And while there are quite a few flying car prototypes driving, er, flying around right now, Lilium sets itself apart with its electric engine and vertical takeoff, which the company successfully tested for the first time this week. The vehicle is powered by 36 electric jet engines. Electric powered-flight is just developing, but Lilium has figured out how to make it work in its prototype. “It’s the same battery that you can find in any Tesla,” co-founder Patrick Nathen told The Verge . The battery consumes 90 percent less than current drone aircraft. The craft has a flight speed of 186 mph with a range of 186 miles per charge. Related: AeroMobil is launching a flying car that you can actually buy this year Lilium’s prototype is a two-seater, but the company plans to eventually make a 5-seat vehicle that can be used as an air taxi. For the maiden voyage, the craft was remotely piloted from the ground, but the company is shooting for manned flight night. The final version will be piloted autonomously and you will be able to book a flight using your smartphone, just like a Lyft in the sky. Via The Verge

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VIDEO: Self-flying electric car successfully takes its maiden voyage

The new Nissan Leaf will be able to drive autonomously on the highway

January 6, 2017 by  
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With the arrival of electric cars like the Chevy Bolt and the upcoming Tesla Model 3 , the Nissan Leaf hasn’t received the attention that it did when it first went on sale at the end of 2010. Nissan is getting ready to bring the spotlight back on the Leaf with an all-new model set to launch in the “near future.” While we’ve heard reports about a much longer driving range, Nissan’s CEO has also confirmed that the next Leaf will be able to drive autonomously on the highway. Without going into to too much detail, Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn revealed at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show that the next-generation Leaf will feature the automaker’s new ProPILOT technology. Related: Nissan’s next-generation Leaf prototype can drive over 310 miles on a single charge “At Nissan, from the beginning, we work to bring the right technologies for the full spectrum of our vehicles and the most amount of people,” said Ghosn in his keynote. “This takes more than innovation. It takes ingenuity. And it’s exactly what we deliver through Nissan Intelligent Mobility.” Nissan’s autonomous driving technology, called “Seamless Autonomous Mobility,” or SAM has been co-developed with NASA. The technology partners in-vehicle artificial intelligence with human support to help autonomous vehicles make decisions in unpredictable situations. According to Nissan, the technology could potentially enable millions of driverless cars to co-exist with human drivers on an accelerated timeline. Ghosn also confirmed that Nissan is working with Microsoft to build the next generation of connected car technologies. Although Nissan says that the next Leaf will arrive in the near future, we don’t have an actual confirmed date. + Nissan All images @ Nissan

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The new Nissan Leaf will be able to drive autonomously on the highway

New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy

January 5, 2017 by  
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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week in Las Vegas, with an increasing number of automakers using the show to showcase their latest technological innovations. This year, Toyota is giving the world a look at the future with its Concept-i vehicle which can not only drive itself, but also uses Artificial Intelligence to build a relationship with the driver. According to Toyota, the Concept-i is designed from the inside out to give the vehicle a warm and friendly user experience. While its interior looks spacious and inviting, the more significant part of the Concept-i is its advanced artificial intelligence system that builds a relationship with the driver that is stronger than learning driving patterns and schedules. The Concept-i is designed to use multiple technologies to measure emotion, mapped against when and where the driver travels around the world. Related: Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car In addition, the AI system uses advanced automated vehicle technologies to enhance driving safety. Under certain conditions, drivers will have the choice of automated or manual driving based on their personal preference, but the Concept-i also has the ability to fully take over if the driver’s engagement declines. The system monitors driver attention and road conditions, with the goal of increasing self-driving support as necessary. The warm and friendly part of the Concept-i starts with a next-generation user interface that serves as a platform for the vehicle’s AI Agent, nicknamed “Yui”. Instead of displaying important information on a digital screen, Yui uses lights, sounds and even touch to communicate critical information. Colored lights in the foot wells indicate whether the vehicle is in automated or manual drive, projectors in the rear deck project views onto the seat pillar to help warn about blind spots and a next-generation head up helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road. The Concept-i’s exterior also displays information, like “Hello” to greet the driver and passengers as they approach the vehicle. The rear of the concept communicates to other drivers about upcoming turns or warn about a potential hazard, while the front communicates whether the Concept-i is in automated or manual drive. Toyota hasn’t announced any production plans for the Concept-i, but Toyota does expect to start on-road evaluation within the next few years in Japan. + Toyota All images @Toyota

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New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy

Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

January 4, 2017 by  
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While Tesla and Google are busy developing the technology to make cars drive themselves, other auto companies are dreaming up what those autonomous cars of the future might look like . Fiat Chrysler just gave us a first look at its all-electric, self-driving car of the future ahead of the vehicle’s official debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. Far from a sporty coupe, the Chrysler Portal is a family car primed to leave present day minivans in the dust. The self-driving Portal looks rather similar to the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, although it sports a slightly narrower wheel base. The Portal also does away with the driver and front seat passenger doors in lieu of a single sliding door on each side. It’s worth noting that Chrysler isn’t actually calling the Portal a minivan, despite its appearance. Rather, Chrysler says the Portal is “next generation family transportation designed by millennials for millennials” which serves as “an open and serene atmosphere that bridges work and home.” Related: Chrysler and Google team up to create a self-driving minivan Among its many enticing attributes is the promised range of the all-electric vehicle – a whopping 250 miles or more on a full battery charge. Chrysler promises a 350-kilowatt fast charger that can juice up the battery enough in 20 minutes to travel up to 150 miles. The Portal’s cockpit looks drastically different than any car currently on the road, of course. Stripped down and minimalist in design, the self-driving concept car still features the essentials for human driving: a gas pedal and brake as well as a steering ‘wheel’ that looks more fit for a sci-fi set than a family van. Via The Verge and Autoblog Images via Fiat Chrysler

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Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car "designed by millennials for millennials"

Israel to test electric roads that wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive

January 4, 2017 by  
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Forget the charging port—the roads of the near future could power your electric car while you drive, eliminating the need to ever stop to recharge or refuel again. Israeli startup Electroad is working to pave the way towards a greener world with technology that retrofits existing roads with buried coils to inductively charge electric vehicles. The team has already performed successful tests of the technology, and will be demoing the electric roads on a larger scale with a public bus route in Tel Aviv . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkpcavw_vFI Founded with the goal of reducing global emissions, Electroad promises a more cost-effective, efficient, and cleaner way to travel. The startup uses technology that relies on electromagnetic induction —the basic principle behind wirelessly powering smartphones and rechargeable toothbrushes—to power electric cars with renewable energy while driving. Although other companies like Qualcomm and KAIST also work with wireless vehicle charging, Electroad’s CEO Oren Ezer says that while the concept is the same, the technology is different. “Our technology is flexible,” said Ezer. “Only copper and rubber is needed, and deployment is quick and easy. You can retrofit one kilometer of road in just half a day, from night to morning.” The installation process begins with an asphalt scraper that digs an 8-centimeter-deep trench. A second vehicle installs the wireless energy charging strips and fills the trench back up with asphalt. Smart inverters with real-time communication are installed on the sides of the road. A coil unit attached beneath the electric vehicle receives power transferred over a small 24-centimeter air gap. Radiation is minimized and locally shielded for driver and passenger safety. Related: KAIST Launches First Road-Charged OLEV Electric Buses in South Korea Electroad plans to focus on public transportation first before opening the platform up to private transit. The startup successfully tested their technology with an electric bus five months ago in Tel Aviv and opened 20 meters of retrofitted electric road outside their lab. Soon the company will test out the technology on a public electric bus with a set route in Tel Aviv. Since the bus will drive on electric roads, it won’t need to be recharged though it will have a small battery to allow the bus to drive up to five kilometers without an electric current. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ-DzXirW08 “We remove the energy source,” said Ezer. “The electricity will come from renewable energy transferred to the road. This is a really sustainable solution. A battery for an electric bus can cost $300,000 and weigh 5 tons. If you remove the battery then the bus is much lighter and requires less energy. This technology is cost saving. If you compare it to diesel buses, it’s half the price. If you just start with public transportation it will save money and then you can open it up to taxis and trams. Payback is very fast.” Ezer has a dream to turn all of Israel’s transportation electric with inductive charging. Electroad received a research and innovation grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 and recently completed a program at Capital Nature , an accelerator that focuses on emerging renewable energy in Israel. The startup plans to test their technology on a public bus route in Tel Aviv next year. + Electroad + Vibe Israel Tour courtesy of Vibe Israel Images © Electroad , last image © Lucy Wang

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Fiskers EMotion has the Tesla Model S in its sights

November 1, 2016 by  
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Legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker teased us last month with the promise of a 400-mile range electric sports car that could potentially create stiff competition for the Tesla Model S, and now he’s released a few images to show off his creation . His new company, Fisker Inc , is aiming sky-high, claiming its upcoming offering, an all-electric luxury sedan dubbed the EMotion, will be capable of “fully autonomous driving” and powered by a graphene-based battery. As with Fisker’s previous forays into the EV market, there are a lot of lofty promises attached to this burgeoning design, and time will tell whether the company can back them up. Fisker released a sneak peak of the nose end of his new EV in late October. The EMotion sedan looks somewhat similar to the Tesla Model S, but is more angular and almost robotic in nature. The EMotion is also outfitted with dihedral “butterfly” front and back doors, a departure from the norm. It’s worth mentioning that while the Tesla Model S has standard doors, fans will be familiar with the falcon-wing doors on the Model X, which actually caused a delay in the SUV’s release date due to their complicated operations. It’s no surprise that Fisker found a way to incorporate some wow-factor in the door department of his new EV. Related: Fisker promises a 2017 comeback with a 400-mile range electric sports car Fisker is falling short in one important area when it comes to this new design, where it comes to evidence. Tesla is famous for teasing about new products or functions and then swiftly delivering demonstrations, but so far Fisker is all talk and no show. There’s been no word on who will produce the self-driving technology Fisker plans to use (whereas Tesla developed its own) and the next-gen graphene battery tech is also a mystery at this point. With the Model S having a top range around 300 miles, far and above that of other electric luxury cars, Fisker will have to put his money where his mouth is in order to convince the world that he can actually create the dream car that will send a shockwave through the EV market. Whether Fisker Inc has what it takes to knock Tesla off its throne is another story, and we’re sure Elon Musk will have a thing or two up his sleeve to keep the competition exciting. Via The Verge Images via Fisker Inc

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Fiskers EMotion has the Tesla Model S in its sights

Why Italian earthquakes could pile up in a ‘domino effect’

November 1, 2016 by  
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Three earthquakes measuring over 6 on the Richter scale have hit Italy in the span of a little over two months, killing 297 people in the 6.2 August quake. On October 30, another destructive 6.6 earthquake battered central Italy, devastating the historic Basilica of St. Benedict. Now a seismologist from an Italian national institution said there could be more quakes in a process akin to a ‘domino effect.’ Seismologist Gianluca Valensise of the National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology in Italy told Reuters, “An earthquake measuring 6 or larger creates stresses that are redistributed across adjacent faults and can cause them to rupture, and this is probably what we have seen since August. This process can continue indefinitely, with one big quake weakening a sister fault in a domino process that can cover hundreds of kilometers, in principle.” Related: Dozens killed by powerful earthquake in picturesque rural region of central Italy Italy has seen processes similar to the domino effect before. In 1783, Southern Italy experienced five earthquakes that measured 6.5 or higher in under two months. In 1997, two earthquakes struck central Italy over two days and about 20 days after still another hit, with small ones scattered in between. Valensise said the 2016 earthquake sequence thus far is “on a larger scale” than in 1997. On August 24, a 6.2 earthquake rattled central Italy. This past week the region saw a 6.1 earthquake on Wednesday, and a 6.6 earthquake on Sunday. Valensise said the August earthquake is connected to the others through a “geodynamic link.” He can’t predict whether or not there will be more large quakes in central Italy this year, but said there will certainly be aftershocks for “at least a few weeks.” But since fault lines to the southeast and northwest of the beleaguered central region have been hit lately, according to Valensise, “if the process of stress redistribution finds other faults close to rupture level they could go off in the next days or weeks.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons and US Army Africa on Flickr

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Why Italian earthquakes could pile up in a ‘domino effect’

Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car

May 19, 2016 by  
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For the past year, rumors have been swirling that Uber is getting into the game of self-driving cars . The company opened the Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, where journalists spotted a vehicle that looked suspiciously like a driverless one marked with the Uber logo. This week, the company officially announced in a press release they are testing a self-driving car on the streets of Pittsburgh . The car is a hybrid Ford Fusion, and while it has “self-driving capabilities,” a driver will be present to take over if needed. Along with testing its autonomous function, the car will collect data for maps . According to Uber, the vehicle has been equipped with “a variety of sensors including radars, laser scanners, and high resolution cameras to map details of the environment.” Related: The self-driving car didn’t start with Google, or Tesla Uber allowed Pittsburgh Tribune-Review journalist Aaron Aupperlee to take a ride. He said , “The car’s sensors detected parked cars sticking out into traffic, jaywalkers, bicyclists, and a goose crossing River Avenue.” The transportation networking giant claims they still have a long way to go, but that they’ve received support from Pittsburgh city leaders including the mayor, who expressed excitement that Uber is pursuing innovative technology in his city. Uber said the city environment in Pittsburgh is the perfect place to test out their self-driving car, since it has to face challenges such as snow, hills, and narrow roads . While many have focused on the developments coming out of leaders like Google and Tesla in the self-driving car sphere, The Verge reports many experts are actually following Uber’s progress as they stand to benefit more as a company from autonomous technology. In their press release heralding the Pittsburgh test car, Uber said self-driving vehicles could save millions of lives, claiming, “1.3 million people die every year in car accidents – 94 percent of those accidents involve human error.” Via The Verge Images via Uber and Wikimedia Commons

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Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car

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