Continental presents concept tire that adjusts to road conditions

September 13, 2017 by  
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When was the last time you checked the air pressure in your car tires ? Most of us don’t pay as much attention to our tires as we should, but Continental recently unveiled two technologies that could pay attention for us. One technology alerts drivers should a tire become damaged, and another could actually change the rim width and tire pressure for better driving on slippery or uneven roads. Continental is showing off their tire technologies, ContiSense and ContiAdapt, at the Frankfurt Motor Show . With the help of sensors embedded in the tire, ContiSense measures temperature and tread depth and then sends that data to a driver over Bluetooth to a smartphone or to a car receiver, with the help of electrically-conductive rubber . If a nail or something else punctures the tire, ContiSense is able to alert the driver far faster than other systems. Related: Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire ContiAdapt takes a more active role in tire functionality. Micro-compressors in the wheel can adjust the tire pressure on their own, and the system can modify how large the contact patch is to optimize the tire for varying street conditions. There are four combinations so a tire can cruise easily in wet, slippery, uneven, or normal conditions. Continental says the system also allows for very low tire pressure when, for example, a car is navigating deep snow or black ice. Continental also has a concept tire featuring both technologies. This tire design boasts three different tread zones ideal for driving on surfaces that are wet, slippery, or dry. The tread zones are activated depending on the rim width and tire pressure chosen by ContiAdapt. New Atlas said the two technologies will soon be added to Continental’s portfolio, which includes ContiSeal, allowing for automatic sealing of holes, and ContiSilent, which reduces tire and road noise. Via New Atlas and Continental Images via Continental

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Continental presents concept tire that adjusts to road conditions

The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger

September 13, 2017 by  
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The Free Store, a non-profit organization and grocery store based in Wellington, New Zealand, is serving food for free and aiding in the fight against food waste . Originally started as a two-week-long art project by artist Kim Paton in 2010, the store has now grown into a more permanent institution, stocking its shelves with surplus food from bakeries and supermarkets. In redistributing free food that would otherwise have gone to waste, the Free Store has proven to be a valuable community space. “There are no conditions on who can come to The Free Store,” said co-founder and director Benjamin Johnson. “There are no criteria. Anybody can come for whatever reason and take whatever they want.” Food waste is a major social problem in New Zealand , as it is in much of the industrialized world. Kiwis, or residents of New Zealand, dispose of approximately $625 million worth of food (120,000 tons) each year. Globally, it is estimated that total food waste weighs up to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, people still go hungry. “We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry . We could facilitate a connection between the two,” said Johnson. Related: Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods The Free Store is made possible through support from volunteers , donors, and around 65 suppliers, located around Wellington city center eager to put their surplus food to good use. According to Johnson, the Free Store distributes between 800 to 1,500 food items each weeknight between 6 PM and 7 PM, averaging about 250,000 food items; that amounts to $1 million worth of food saved per year. Since its establishment, the Free Store has spread to four locations throughout New Zealand, adapting their model and funding structure to fit each area. “All you need is a space to operate from, surplus food, people who need the food and will come and take it, volunteers, and a committed group of people who can actually do it,” said Johnson. “There has to be local ownership. In every area where there’s a Free Store, there needs to be a deeply rooted community of people.” + The Free Store Via EcoWatch Images via The Free Store

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New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

September 13, 2017 by  
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The presence of water on Earth used to help set our planet apart from others, but not anymore. NASA researchers recently uncovered evidence of water on Vesta, the second biggest body in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars . Essam Heggy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Inverse, “The more we search, the more we find ice and water in the solar system, and the more we realize water is not unique to our planet.” Recent discoveries – like that of water on Mars or hints of water on TRAPPIST-1 planets – have us questioning what we thought we knew about H2O in the solar system. It’s likely found on the dwarf planet Ceres and the moons Europa and Enceladus, too. Researchers used information from NASA’s Dawn mission , which explored Vesta between 2011 and 2012, to uncover the best evidence for water on the large asteroid we’ve found yet. Related: Scientists just discovered snow on Mars Led by Elizabeth Palmer of Western Michigan University , three researchers scrutinized the Dawn data. The probe discovered regions that were unusually smooth; the researchers think the surface variations weren’t only the result of cratering processes, like on the Moon, connecting them with high hydrogen concentrations, strongly suggesting Vesta is home to ground ice. Heggy, who was part of the research, said Vesta was once thought to be a dry body. These findings suggest we were probably wrong about that. The presence of ice in an asteroid belt opens up intriguing possibilities, since asteroids can easily be knocked out of their orbits to other areas of the solar system. Heggy said comets transport water molecules throughout solar systems. Could asteroids play a role in transporting water too? Even if that’s true, Heggy said it’s too early to guess how they might have impacted Earth’s water supply during its primordial days. The journal Nature Communications published the research online yesterday. Via Inverse Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech ( 1 , 2 )

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New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system

Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

October 26, 2016 by  
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You can now buy beer shipped by a self-driving truck . Autonomous truck company Otto , which was founded by two former Google employees and has now joined with Uber , just made history with the ” world’s first shipment by a self-driving truck .” They transported 51,744 Budweiser beer cans around 120 miles through Colorado . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0Kzb3haK8 An Otto truck ferried the beer from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, passing through the Denver downtown area on the way. A professional driver was present in the truck, but monitored the vehicle while in the sleeper berth rather than the driver’s seat. The truck was equipped with lidar sensors, radar, and cameras to navigate the Colorado roads, and steered, braked, and accelerated without any human help the whole trip. According to Otto, the state of Colorado offered full support for the venture. Related: Two ex-Google employees are turning existing trucks into autonomous vehicles According to an Otto blog post on the momentous drive, “When you’ll see a truck driving down the road with nobody in the front seat, you’ll know that it’s highly unlikely to get into a collision, drive aggressively, or waste a single drop of fuel.” Otto envisions their self-driving trucks could help drivers. In a blog post on joining Uber , they cited an article from The Atlantic that said about a third of 3.5 million U.S. truckers will face a serious accident during their careers. Also, turnover in the trucking industry is rapid; companies lose around 90 percent of drivers yearly as the drivers seek better opportunities. When Otto joined with Uber they hoped to create a freight network that would create such opportunities for drivers. Otto said, “Our self-driving trucks will allow drivers to rest while their truck is moving, and our platform will ensure drivers can easily find loads and are paid fairly…Self-driving trucks together with a marketplace create a virtuous cycle where everyone benefits.” + Otto Images via Otto and Otto Facebook

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Self driving semi-truck makes the first ever autonomous beer run

Man drives truck through crowd of protestors at the Dakota Access pipeline protest

October 12, 2016 by  
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On Monday, a man in a white pickup truck drove through a group of protestors in Reno, Nevada, critically injuring one 59-year-old woman and leaving four others with minor injuries. The group had gathered in protest of Columbus Day and the advancing construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. Several observers caught the incident on video and the Reno Police report an investigation is underway. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX0Qvk7YbnU&feature=youtu.be The group of 40 protestors had gathered underneath the Reno Arch to take a photo on Monday evening when they were approached by the truck. Exchanges can be heard between the protestors and the driver, instructing him to “just go around” the group. Instead, the driver revs his engine and drives through the group, leaving several injured. One woman, named Kitty Colbert, is currently at the Renown Regional Medical Center, which described her condition as “serious.” Despite her injuries, she has posted to social media that she is “in good spirits.” Related: Actress Shailene Woodley arrested at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest After the driver drove through the crowd, he reportedly pulled down another street and called to inform the police of what happened, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal . The names of the driver and his passenger have not been released, but they have been identified as 18 and 17 years old, respectively. Quanah Brightman, executive director of United Native Americans Inc. , says the young man was “stalking” the group and asks that they be charged with a hate crime for targeting their group. So far, the police report both men are cooperating with the investigation and there is no mention of charges at this time. Yesterday, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve issued a statement on behalf of the Reno City Council: “Public safety is our highest priority, and I want all Reno residents to know that we are working swiftly and diligently to make sense of the events that took place last night. Please be advised that the Reno Police Department will hold anyone responsible accountable for their actions once the investigation has concluded.” Via Grist , Reno Gazette-Journal Images via YouTube (screenshot)

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Uber launching self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month

August 18, 2016 by  
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Uber has been quietly working on research and development for its own self-driving cars, and the first units in its autonomous fleet will tool around the streets of Pittsburgh before the end of this month, according to a new report. Bloomberg broke the exciting news today, backed up by an interview with John Bares, who heads Uber’s autonomous car project at the company’s Advanced Technologies Center. The company aims to eventually replace its human drivers with a self-driving fleet that passengers can summon on demand through the smartphone app, just like always, but different. Last spring, residents of Pittsburgh first spotted Uber’s research car , and the rideshare company finally  confirmed its self-driving car project a few months ago. Later this month, Uber’s self-driving test fleet will hit the road with humans in the driver seat (both for safety and legality) and passengers will be able to use their smartphones to summon a ride like usual, without knowing whether they will be picked up in one of the new cars. Although Google, Tesla, Ford, and other companies have all been testing self-driving cars on the road, this may be the first time any company has invited the public to participate in the testing process. Related: Uber’s self-driving test car spotted on the streets of Pittsburgh Right now, the self-driving cars are factory Volvo XC90 models that have been retrofitted with sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers to control the vehicle’s driving mechanisms. Bloomberg reports that Volvo has delivered just a few of these modified SUVs so far, but will reach 100 by the end of the year. Volvo and Uber have apparently agreed to invest $300 million in developing a fully autonomous car by 2021. Uber may source self-driving cars from other manufacturers, but little is known about whether the company has any deals in the works. For now, we’ll wait and see how the ridesharing company’s new self-driving prototypes perform in downtown Pittsburgh, and wonder which company will be next in line to put members of the public in the backseats of their own autonomous vehicles. Via Bloomberg Images via Uber

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Uber launching self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month

World’s most efficient electric car gets an outrageous 26,135 MPGe

August 2, 2016 by  
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One little three-wheeled car is zooming ahead to the future, with an outrageously efficient electric engine that rates a staggering 26,135 mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe). The TUfast eLi14 , created by a team from Germany’s Technical University of Munich, is not only the first car in the world to achieve such a high efficiency rating, but its MPGe rating is also more than 200 times as efficient as the average electric car on the market. Although the TUfast eLi14 isn’t designed as a daily commuter, the technologies used to achieve its record-breaking efficiency could someday be applied to mass market cars, leading to a world with a lot less fossil fuels. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQNGPqBaIaw The efficient little speedster was originally developed two years ago to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon. Like many experimental vehicles, the finish line of that race was far from the end of development for the TUfast eLi14. The students and graduates who created the electric car , who call themselves the TUfast Eco Team , continued to work on the tiny racer, upgrading its motor, coils, and wheels until it was efficient enough to score the Guinness World Record for Most Efficient Electric Vehicle. The record was awarded July 16. Related: 7 hot green cars unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show The TUfast eLi14 is a low-riding bullet of a car , with room for just one person inside its teardrop-shaped body. Because the vehicle was designed to maximize efficiency, the driver must lie down to operate the EV, resulting in a super compact ride with little wind resistance. Riding on three wheels for maximum stability, the EV underwent several runs at Audi’s test track with upgrades in between. The car finally achieved an energy use of 1,232 km/kWh (765.53 mi/kWh), which converts to the equivalent of 26,135 MPG. A Toyota Prius, by comparison, gets a measly 120 MPGe. This means the TUfast eLi14 could theoretically travel as far as 6,808 miles on a single liter of premium unleaded gasoline. Talk about an epic road trip. + TUfast Eco Team Via Carscoops Images via TUfast

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Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the self-driving bus of the future

July 19, 2016 by  
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Mercedes-Benz just gave us a glimpse of the future of urban transportation with its new self-driving bus. The semi-autonomous Future Bus is a much safer bus that is also more efficient and more comfortable than today’s conventional buses. Thanks to several cameras and radar systems, the semi-automated city bus relieves the driver’s workload, while its predictive driving style saves wear and tear while lowering fuel consumption and emissions. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus utilizes autonomous CityPilot technology that was originally introduced in the self-driving Actros truck that the automaker presented two years ago. Mercedes-Benz says that the technology has been further developed for the Future Bus with several functions. Thanks to a dozen cameras combined with long and short-range radar systems, the CityPilot technology is able to recognize traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. It can also detect obstacles, like pedestrians, on the road and automatically stop on its own. The Future Bus also approaches bus stops automatically, where it opens and closes its doors. Related: Mercedes-Benz’ self-driving hydrogen Tokyo Vision car is a lounge on wheels To demonstrate the technology Mercedes-Benz has established a 12-mile track where the Future Bus is able to drive on its own with a number of tight bends, tunnels, numerous bus stops and some high speed sections. The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot will be making its first public journey on part of Europe’s longest BRT route (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit) in the Netherlands. The route links Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem. + Mercedes-Benz All images @ Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz just unveiled the self-driving bus of the future

Google’s self-driving AI could legally be considered a ‘driver’ according to the Feds

February 12, 2016 by  
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One of the biggest obstacles to getting self-driving cars  road legal in America may have just evaporated. In a decision that could change the way we think about car travel, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared that the computer in Google’s autonomous cars can be considered the driver , for all intents and purposes. This position could eventually pave the way for autonomous cars to hit the streets – with or without a human occupant. Read the rest of Google’s self-driving AI could legally be considered a ‘driver’ according to the Feds

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Lush green oasis and rooftop farm will reinvent Paris streets

February 12, 2016 by  
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