Tag: cars

Rolls-Royce Reveals Its New Phantom: ‘The Most Silent Car In The World’

Rolls-Royce revealed its new £350,000 Phantom in London tonight – describing it as ‘the most silent motor car in the world’

Whisper it softly, but the quietest and most technically advanced Rolls-Royce Phantom ever was launched in London tonight.

The flagship Rolls-Royce is designed to whisk the world’s wealthiest around in near silence and the lap of luxury – and it comes with its own dashboard art gallery for those who can afford the £350,000 price tag.

The new Phantom even paves the way for a future all-electric Rolls-Royce, ready to comply with Government moves to ban the sale of new ‘conventional’ petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040.




On the basis that silence is golden and the new Phantom limousine is ‘a work of art’, Rolls-Royce say their new Phantom is ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ and the quietest Rolls-Royce ever made –at least for the pampered chauffeur-driven occupant in the back.

The launch was hailed as another big vote of confidence in Britain – with the big Roller exported around the globe and considered the pinnacle of British automotive craftsmanship

The new Phantom even paves the way for a future all-electric Rolls-Royce, ready to comply with Government moves to ban the sale of new ‘conventional’ petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040

Bosses at Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW – which earlier this week announced they were building an electric Mini in the UK – said the new Phantom demonstrated that they remain ‘fully committed to the future of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’, based at Goodwood, in West Sussex.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Bugatti One-Ups Itself With Its New Divo Supercar

The Bugatti Veyron and Chiron already both rank in the top ten fastest cars, ever. But in the never-ending arms race for the extreme, Bugatti thinks it can one-up itself.

Today, in front of the super sophisticated audience that the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance tends to attract, company bosses pulled back an electric blue sheet to reveal the Bugatti Divo.

Bugatti has found its automotive niche—building road-going hypercars—and the Divo pushes the definition as far as possible by iterating on the Chiron.

The sheet gradually revealed mat grey bodywork underneath, rippling with sharp angles and gaping inlets. In your rear-view mirror, this thing would look like an angry shark.

The huge inlets mean engineers have been able to improve cooling and increase downforce by 198 pounds over the Chiron, with the help of a 23 percent larger rear wing. The car is also 77 pounds lighter.




Engineers stiffened the chassis, and increased the camber of the wheels for better handling. “It also looks very cool on the car,” says Winkelmann.

Bugatti didn’t reveal a 0 to 60, but top speed is 236 mph, and it says the car can handle the Nardò track in southern Italy a full eight seconds faster than the Chiron.

Propulsion comes from an eight-liter, W16 engine, which makes 1,500 horsepower.

Drivers will only be able to make use of all that on a track, where the car would look perfectly at home, with a blue stripe highlighting the front splitter and sills.

The stripe motif is also carried into the interior, with bright blue accents on the racing seats and steering wheel.

If you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. You’re also too late. Bugatti is only making 40 cars, and they’ve all sold.

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Simple Tricks For Better Gas Mileage

No matter what kind of car you drive, you can be getting better fuel economy than what you’re getting now. Did you know you can get better mileage by never filling up your tank?

It’s true, and most of these tips and tricks will extend the range for any car ever made, even if it’s electric. Some of them are effortless, and some require dedication, but they’ll all work.

Ditch the MPG ratings

Numbers can be manipulated any which way you want, but the simple truth is that MPG doesn’t really tell you how much money you’re spending on fuel.

G/100miles, on the other hand, will. How do you figure it out? Just type in your MPG in Google as “XX MPG per 100 miles,” and multiply your answer by whatever you pay for fuel in your area. Bam.

Now you know how much or little the following tips will help you, so you can see if it’s worth it.




Lay off the damn loud pedal

You’ve heard this one before about a million times, and you know what? It’s still true.

Every time I see some moron in a Prius out accelerate me off a light I wish I had the legal right to pull him or her over, pry their eyes open Clockwork Orange-style and force them to watch Jeremy Clarkson getting better fuel economy in a BMW M3 than the Stig in a Prius.

Even the worst fuel-sipping cars made will become gas guzzlers when you floor it. More acceleration requires more energy. Guess where your car gets its energy from.

And the brake

Obviously you’ll have to stop at some point, but if you know you’re turning soon or there’s a sharp bend in the road, coast for a bit.

There are two reasons for this. 1) all your brakes do is convert your forward momentum into heat energy, and even the best energy recovery systems don’t capture 90% of that energy.

2) if you don’t slow down for a turn you have to take it faster, which is not only fun, it means you don’t have to accelerate as much.

Last year, I compared hypermiling in a hybrid to some seriously fun driving. After 100 miles, the difference was one freaking dollar’s worth of fuel.

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Google’s Self-Driving Cars Rack Up 3 Million Simulated Miles Every Day

Google uses its giant data centers to simulate 3 million miles of autonomous driving per day, the company has revealed in its monthly autonomous driving status report.

That’s a really long way — like driving more than 500 round trips between NYC and LA — but it actually makes a lot of sense. Americans drove some 2.7 trillion miles in the year 2000 alone and Google needs all the data it can get to teach its cars how to drive safely.

The real advantage comes when Google’s engineers want to tweak the algorithms that control its autonomous cars.




Before it rolls out any code changes to its production cars (22 Lexus SUVs and 33 of its prototype cars, split between fleets in Mountain View and Austin), it “re-drives” its entire driving history of more than 2 million miles to make sure everything works as expected.

Then, once it finally goes live, Google continues to test its code with 10-15,000 miles of autonomous driving each week.

The simulations also allow Google to create new scenarios based on real-world situations — adjusting the speeds of cars at a highway merge to check performance, for example.

Engineers can then design fixes and improvements and check them in the simulator, ensuring that things are as operating as safely as possible before Google’s cars make it out onto real roads.

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Jaguar Unveils Its First All-Electric Vehicle, Designed To Take On Tesla Model X

Jaguar revealed its first battery electric vehicle Thursday, and it appears to be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model X sport utility vehicle.

During the reveal Thursday, Jaguar even staged races between the two vehicles.

Like the Tesla Model X and Model S, the I-PACE is powered by two electric motors. Like a Tesla it has a trunk where the engine would otherwise be.

Notably, the car is available now.

As of this moment, it is available to own,” said presenter Jack Whitehall, at the unveiling event held at the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.




The car has a single-speed automatic transmission, common in electric vehicles. Jaguar estimates the I-PACE has 240 miles of range on a single charge. It goes 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

Jaguar designed the battery to last 10 years, said Ian Callum, director of design.

The car is also loaded with tech inside, like a navigation system that suggests nearby charging stations, and the ability to learn and adjust settings inside the vehicle to match a driver’s preferences.

The I-PACE also has an Amazon skill that works with its affiliated mobile app.

The I-PACE first debuted as a concept vehicle in 2016. Thousands of customers have already expressed interest in the I-PACE, Jaguar said.

The I-PACE’s battery will be capable of reaching an 80 percent charge in just 40 minutes, Jaguar said, and the vehicle has been tested in temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 104 degrees.

The official public debut of I-PACE will be at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday. Jaguar Land Rover is a unit of India’s Tata Motors.

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Charging Your Phone While Moving Around? Be Amazed By This Wireless Gadget Charger!

Scientists at Stanford University in the US have developed a device that can wirelessly charge a moving object at close range.

The technology could one day be used to charge electric cars on the highway, or medical implants and cellphones as you walk nearby.

“In addition to advancing the wireless charging of vehicles and personal devices like cellphones, our new technology may untether robotics in manufacturing, which also are on the move,” said Professor Shanhui Fan.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature, wireless charging would address a major drawback of plug-in electric cars their limited driving range. A charge-as-you-drive system would overcome these limitations.

“We can rethink how to deliver electricity not only to our cars but to smaller devices on or in our bodies. For anything that could benefit from dynamic, wireless charging, this is potentially very important,” Fan said.

The team transmitted electricity wirelessly to a moving LED light bulb but the demonstration only involved a one milliwatt charge, far less than what electric cars require.

The scientists are now working on greatly increasing the amount of electricity that can be transferred, and tweaking the system to extend the transfer distance and improve efficiency.

According to the research, the transfer efficiency can be further enhanced if both coils are tuned to the same magnetic resonance frequency and are positioned at the correct angle, but scientists found that was a complex process.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

 

Changing Lanes Is Simple For Human Drivers. Not So For Autonomous Cars.

A driver sits engrossed in her laptop screen, catching up on emails as the car barrels down the highway. In the next lane, a father helps his kids finish homework while their vehicle swiftly changes lanes.

Nearby, an empty car returns home after dropping off its owner.—

These are the self-driving cars in which humans can be mindlessly commuting in as few as five years, some ambitious estimates claim.

It’s a highly disruptive technology that’s coming on a lot faster than people expect,” says Barrie Kirk, executive director of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence.

He helps governments and companies prepare for the advent of automated vehicles.

Many automakers and tech firms have already entered the driverless car manufacturing game. Now it’s a race to perfect the technology and start selling these Knight Rider-style vehicles.




Companies hype the cars as the best safety feature since seatbelts and airbags, but there’s a sense that phasing driverless cars onto public roads may be anything but a smooth transition.

Self-driving car advocates, like Kirk, believe in the technology’s potential to save thousands of lives.

Humans, generally, are poor drivers,” he says. He would like to see human drivers banned from roads to make room for an all-automated-vehicle world.

Drivers’ mistakes are responsible for more than 90 per cent of crashes, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found.

Kirk hopes automated vehicles can eliminate 80 per cent of such collisions — a number often cited by advocates.

In 2012, 2,077 people died in car crashes on Canadian roads, according to Transport Canada. If Kirk’s estimate holds, about 1,500 of those victims could have avoided an accident.

If you’re got a whole bunch of sensors that give you a 360-degree scan, 30 times a second,” he says, “humans can not come anywhere close to that.

There will be time to adjust before the new fleet of robot cars takes over roads.

We’re not going to be in a situation where we go from no automation to fully autonomous or self-driving vehicles,” says David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada.

Some people already own low-level autonomous vehicles, like ones that parallel park once the driver has properly aligned it. Some U.K. cities have started experimenting with low-speed self-driving shuttles on closed streets.

Even if safety is somewhat disputed, there are other potential benefits that can make the pursuit of these cars worth it.

Seniors, disabled people and others unable to drive will gain mobility. Families may need to own fewer cars if vehicles can travel empty to pick up and drop off family members.

Cities may require fewer parking spaces if cars can return home after dropping off owners.

But to see all those benefits and ensure safety isn’t compromised, these cars must be carefully brought into the public realm, says Shladover.

It has to be done in a sensible way.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

MIT Invented A Tool That Allows Driverless Cars To Navigate Rural Roads Without A Map

Google has spent the last 13 years mapping every corner and crevice of the world.

Car makers haven’t got nearly as long a lead time to perfect the maps that will keep driverless cars from sliding into ditches or hitting misplaced medians if they want to meet their optimistic deadlines.

This is especially true in rural areas where mapping efforts tend to come last due to smaller demand versus cities.

It’s also a more complicated task, due to a lack of infrastructure (i.e. curbs, barriers, and signage) that computers would normally use as reference points.

That’s why a student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) is developing new technology, called MapLite, that eliminates the need for maps in self-driving car technology altogether.




This could more easily enable a fleet-sharing model that connects carless rural residents and would facilitate intercity trips that run through rural areas.

In a paper posted online on May 7 by CSAIL and project partner Toyota, 30-year-old PhD candidate Teddy Ort—along with co-authors Liam Paull and Daniela Rus—detail how using LIDAR and GPS together can enable self-driving cars to navigate on rural roads without having a detailed map to guide them.

The team was able to drive down a number of unpaved roads in rural Massachusetts and reliably scan the road for curves and obstacles up to 100 feet ahead, according to the paper.

Our method makes no assumptions about road markings and only minimal assumptions about road geometry,” wrote the authors in their paper.

Once the technology is perfected, proponents argue that autonomous cars could also help improve safety on rural roads by reducing the number of impaired and drowsy drivers, eliminating speeding, and detecting and reacting to obstacles even on pitch-black roads.

Ort’s algorithm isn’t commercializable yet; he hasn’t yet tested his algorithm in a wide variety of road conditions and elevations.

Still, if only from an economic perspective it’s clear repeatedly visually capturing millions of miles of roads to train cars how to drive autonomously isn’t going to be winning mapping technology for AVs; it’s just not feasible for most organizations.

Whether it’s Ort’s work, or end-to-end machine learning, or some other technology that wins the navigation race for autonomous vehicles, it’s important to remember that maps are first and foremost a visual tool to aid sighted people in figuring out where to go.

Like humans, a car may not necessarily need to “see” to get to where it’s going—it just needs to sharpen its other senses.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

A Self-driving Uber In Arizona Kills A Woman In First Fatal Crash Involving Pedestrian

An autonomous Uber car killed a woman in the street in Arizona, police said, in what appears to be the first reported fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the US.

Tempe police said the self-driving car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and that the vehicle hit a woman, who was walking outside of the crosswalk and later died at a hospital.

There was a vehicle operator inside the car at the time of the crash.

Uber said in a statement on Twitter: “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident.” A spokesman declined to comment further on the crash.

The company said it was pausing its self-driving car operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.




Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO, tweeted: “Some incredibly sad news out of Arizona. We’re thinking of the victim’s family as we work with local law enforcement to understand what happened.

Uber has been testing its self-driving cars in numerous states and temporarily suspended its vehicles in Arizona last year after a crash involving one of its vehicles, a Volvo SUV.

When the company first began testing its self-driving cars in California in 2016, the vehicles were caught running red lights, leading to a high-profile dispute between state regulators and the San Francisco-based corporation.

Police identified the victim as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg and said she was walking outside of the crosswalk with a bicycle when she was hit at around 10pm on Sunday. Images from the scene showed a damaged bike.

The 2017 Volvo SUV was traveling at roughly 40 miles an hour, and it did not appear that the car slowed down as it approached the woman, said Tempe sergeant Ronald Elcock.

Elcock said he had watched footage of the collision, which has not been released to the public. He also identified the operator of the car as Rafael Vasquez, 44, and said he was cooperative and there were no signs of impairment.

The self-driving technology is supposed to detect pedestrians, cyclists and others and prevent crashes.

John M Simpson, privacy and technology project director with Consumer Watchdog, said the collision highlighted the need for tighter regulations of the nascent technology.

The robot cars cannot accurately predict human behavior, and the real problem comes in the interaction between humans and the robot vehicles,” said Simpson, whose advocacy group called for a national moratorium on autonomous car testing in the wake of the deadly collision.

Simpson said he was unaware of any previous fatal crashes involving an autonomous vehicle and a pedestrian.

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GM Will Launch Robocars Without Steering Wheels Next Year

The future of driving doesn’t involve driving — at all.

That’s the big takeaway from a first peek inside General Motors new autonomous car, which lacks the steering wheel, pedals, manual controls and human drivers that have come to define the experience of riding inside an automobile for more than a century.

The means the Cruise AV — a fourth-generation autonomous vehicle based on the Chevy Bolt EV — is in total control.

GM submitted a petition Thursday to the Department of Transportation, asking for the government to let it roll out the new vehicle, which it says is safe.




GM plans to mass produce the vehicle as early as next year, the automotive giant announced Friday.

The manufacturer is touting the vehicle as the world’s “first production-ready vehicle” built with the sole purpose of operating “safely on its own with no driver,” a degree of independence known as “level 4 autonomy.”

GM is one of several companies testing level 4 vehicles. A California-based autonomous vehicle startup called Zoox and Alphabet’s Waymo have also tested level 4 cars.

GM is already testing second and third generation self-driving Cruise AVs on busy streets in San Francisco and Phoenix with a human engineer in the vehicle.

It relies on cameras, radar and high-precision laser sensors known as lidar for navigation.

Beginning in 2019, the fourth-generation of that vehicle will be used in a ride-sharing program in multiple American cities, where “the vehicles will travel on a fixed route controlled by their mapping system,” Bloomberg reported.

To improve safety, the vehicles will share information with one another and rely on two computer systems, which operate simultaneously so that if one computer encounters a problem, the second computer can serve as a backup, according to GM’s self-driving safety report.

The report says the Cruise AV was designed to operate in chaotic, fluid conditions, such as aggressive drivers, jaywalkers, bicyclists, delivery trucks and construction.

The company has access to vast dealership networks, nationwide influence and manufacturing prowess, potentially offering a GM-driven ride-hailing service the opportunity to supplant the Silicon Valley start-ups that have been seeking for years to disrupt the auto industry.

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Pass it on: Popular Science