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Self-driving cars are coming no matter what, but just what can they offer to the world? Well, how does a drop of vehicle-related injuries by 90% sound? Or helping the US economy save $450 billion annually? That should be something that turns heads, yes?
The numbers come from independent research by the Eno Center for Transportation, who also says that 40% of fatal crashes in the US involved either alcohol, drugs, fatigue or distraction. These factors would all but disappear if you took the driver out of the equation, and had a self-driving car at your disposal.
In order to get to those numbers we explained above - 90% reduction in accidents, and saving the US economy nearly half a trillion dollars per year - we need the adoption of self-driving cars to constantly expand. The take up is going to happen, as we have Google, Mercedes, Nissan and Toyota all building their own self-driving vehicles. I for one, cannot wait for our self-driving overlords.
While Microsoft may have the market on Ford vehicles, it appears that both Kia and Hyundai are preparing Android as the in-car system for their 2014 models. At the moment, Kia has a version up and running called UVO 2.0 which features a custom app store. UVO 2.0 is said to be compatible with Android and iOS smartphones for multimedia streaming.
Hyundai is said to be featuring UVO 2.0 in its 2014 models as well. With two major manufacturers adopting the open source Android platform as their in-car computer system, Microsoft should play very close attention to how it proceeds from here, or it may face another debacle like it did with Windows Phone. Tesla is also considering adopting a version of Android for its in-car control system as well, which is not that big of a surprise, given Elon Musk's relationship with Google.
We can all talk about lithium ion-powered cars, thanks to Tesla Motors and other companies, but what about air-powered cars? Well, Indian car maker Tata has constructed a prototype vehicle that is powered by air, the Airpod.
Tata completed testing on two vehicles, both of which are powered by compressed air. The Airpor has a top speed of around 50mph (or 80km/h) and can travel a distance of around 125 miles (or 200km) before it needs to be 'recharged' or re-gassed. For what seems like forever, the idea of an air-powered car has been futile, but it looks like Tata could be ahead of the curve, for now.
The Airpod by Tata has pretty much zero emissions, and costs just a dollar or so per 100 miles to run - which is unbelievably efficient. The Airpod's tank holds around 175 liters of compressed air, that can be refilled at gas stations, or even at home. All you have to do is be at a compatible spot, activate the on-board electric motor and then it will suck in air from the outside.
The best thing about the Airpod is that it would cost under $10,000 to buy, and mixed with the super cheap running costs, this could really change the world. A total of three people can sit in the Airpod, but that might be a bit cramped by the look of things.
The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has relaxed its rules on electronic devices being used during flights. The New York Times reported the news, saying that the FAA will issue a new set of recommendations to ease "most of" the rules on flights this week.
There will still be restrictions in place, with the FAA not allowing calls to be made on the plane, using Wi-Fi or sending e-mails and text messages during takeoff. The FAA's changes won't take effect until sometime in 2014, so don't go whipping your electronic device out on your next flight in the US.
Thermal imaging is getting quite popular, but it looks like Formula 1 racing could be one of the sports it really excels in. At this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, the technology was used to see Paul di Resta's car involved in a crash.
A thermal imager was set up behind the cockpit, which gave us his point-of-view in thermal imaging of the crash. We can see the front tires heat up, glowing bright orange after numerous times around the track. As he hits another car, we can see one of the orange-colored tyres fly upward, which looks quite amazing compared to real-life footage.
Google, whatever you do, make this happen. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Mountain View-based everything giant is talking with automotive manufacturing giants about the possibilities of designing and launching its own self-driving cars.
The company has reportedly talked with Magna International and Continental AG, one of the world's largest auto parts suppliers, about building a self-driving car that Google is designing. The company is said to be considering a "robo-taxi" fleet, but right now we don't know if Google would operate the driverless vehicle service on its own, or sell the self-driving cars to anothe company.
Whatever happens, this should receive some serious media attention. If Google could get this right with its Maps service, Navigation, Now and Glass, we could be in for a truly next generation means of travel.
It looks like Tesla Motors' Model S electric car is about to sell a bunch more vehicles, after it received five stars for all of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's tests.
There were four tests involved: front, side, pole and rollover. The Model S from Tesla scored five stars in every single test, which is somewhat of a record considering most safe cars score five stars on the frontal crash protection test, and four stars for side impact protection. Tesla adds in its announcement that during a previous roof crush test used during validation, the machine failed when applying more than 4 G's of pressure.
This pressure is the same as stacking four of the Model S cars on top of each other, all without the roof breaking - quite incredible. The NHTSA has said that the total scores made up of five stars for all tests, is one of the highest on record for a production vehicle, but how did Tesla do it?
A new report from Wired.com is cluing us in on some plans that Mercedes has to integrate Google Glass into its vehicles. The company is said to be working closely with Google to bring Google Glass technology to its high-end line of luxury cars. The company already has a functioning prototype that appears to work very well.
During a demo, Wired's Damon Lavrinc said that he was able to acquire door-to-door navigational directions that were being sent straight to the tiny piece of glass in front of his eye. "We definitely see wearable devices as another trend in the industry that is important to us," says Johann Jungwirth, Mercedes' North American R&D President & CEO. "We have been working with Glass for roughly six months and meeting with the Google Glass team regularly." I don't want to spoil everything for you, so head over to Source #1 for the full article.
The man behind PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, has just unveiled his plans for the "Hyperloop" transport system that he one day hopes to see passengers take from Los Angeles to San Francisco, faster than the speed of sound.
Musk unveiled a 57-page PDF, which you can read here, which explains that Hyperloop would transport people and cars between cities in aluminum pods that travel up to 800 miles per hour, inside elevated tubes. Musk said he was inspired by the pneumatic tubes that transport mail around some buildings as his inspiration for Hyperloop.
Musk is a big fan of transport, using his billions of dollars he's made from his various ventures such as PayPal to develop the electric car company, Tesla. He didn't stop there, as he also spent money on a private spaceflight company, SpaceX. Musk has said that the Hyperloop would be a "cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table."
Google Glass has just received a big injection of confidence from Mercedes-Benz, who are working on a Google Glass project that combines both pedestrian and automotive directions that would take their users from door-to-door.
MBRDNA President and CEO Johann Jungwirth told the Silicon Valley Business that he wants Google Glass to seamlessly transition between walking and in-car navigation. This would actually be quite useful, as you'd be able to wear Glass, with it directing you on where to drive, but to then get out and the navigation to continue... that would be stellar.
We obviously won't see this in any Mercedes-Benz in the near future, because Glass isn't exactly ready for the consumer let alone ready for mass deployment in vehicles.