GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel

January 12, 2018 by  
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You won’t need a steering wheel in the autonomous cars of the future. General Motors (GM) just brought us a little closer to this bold new reality with the Cruise AV. It lacks that apparatus along with pedals and manual controls – and they’d like to see the driverless cars on the roads next year. GM’s Cruise AV could hit the streets as soon as 2019. They’ve filed a safety petition with the Department of Transportation for their fourth-generation of the car. The company says the Cruise AV is the “first production-ready vehicle built from the start to operate safely on its own, with no driver, steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls.” Related: Toyota’s ultra customizable self-driving vehicle can transport people, goods, or services GM said they spent hours of real-world testing to develop the Cruise AV. The car company acquired LIDAR technology company Strobe last fall, with Strobe’s engineers joining GM’s Cruise Automation team to develop the technology for self-driving cars. The car is equipped with advanced sensor systems and has two main computer systems, so if the primary computer fails the secondary system can jump in. A crash-imminent braking system also serves as a backup, ready to hit the brakes if needed. “Our Cruise AV has the potential to provide a level of safety far beyond the capabilities of humans,” GM said in their 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report . GM says all their autonomous vehicles will be electric . They paint a vision of a world free of car crashes – since human driver error is “the primary cause of 94 percent of crashes,” according to GM , their driverless cars could help pave the way for safer road travel. They’re also marketing self-driving cars as offering mobility no matter a person’s age or physical capabilities. You can read GM’s 2018 Self-Driving Safety Report here . Via General Motors ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Images via General Motors ( 1 , 2 ) and Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors

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GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel

All-black solar panel from California achieves groundbreaking 19.4% efficiency

January 12, 2018 by  
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California -based Solaria has designed a sleek, all-black solar panel with more than just a pretty face. The company manufactures products with less space between the monocrystalline silicon solar cells for better efficiency than conventional solar panels, which tend to hit 15 to 17 percent, according to the company. In contrast, their black PowerXT solar panel boasts an efficiency of up to 19.4 percent. How is Solaria able to achieve better efficiency? Per a datasheet , they run a patented cell cutting and module assembly process and eliminate busbars and ribbon interconnections. On their website the company claims cells “are cut and overlaid without soldering which creates a highly reliable power unit assembly. The PowerXT module is electrically designed to reduce the power losses due to shadowing across the module by utilizing parallel connections between sets of sub-strings within each quadrant of the module.” Black backsheet and frames complete the look of the all-black panel Solaria describes as “one of the highest power modules in the residential solar market.” Related: Black butterfly wings provide inspiration for superior solar cells The Solaria PowerXT: Residential series panels offer a maximum power of 320 to 350 watt peak capacity. The company said the system would cost less because more efficient panels generate more energy per square meter, lowering installation costs and number of panels installed. Solaria’s datasheet didn’t offer a price for the module. But in a December press release on the PowerXT 350Wp, Auburn Solar owner Peggy Matson offered a hint, saying, “Solaria is great looking, highly efficient, and priced right so we can offer very competitive deals to our customers – often beating our competitors by thousands of dollars.” Solaria’s solar panels come with a 25-year warranty. This week, the company announced they’ve raised $23 million in funding to expand production. They also offer building integrated photovoltaics PowerView products – architectural glass that generates clean power on windows, facades, skylights, or other structures. + Solaria Via Electrek and Solaria ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Solaria

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All-black solar panel from California achieves groundbreaking 19.4% efficiency

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