New York To Get WiFi From Their Buses This Year

We all love the internet, from the ability to check up on your friends the other side of the world to the ability to read your favourite news sites while on the go. The problem though is that you often find yourself looking for a connection, be it from your mobile service provider or a nearby router. New Yorkers won’t have that problem later this year as they look to give you access to WiFi from their buses.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking to deploy the first 70 buses which will be equipped with WiFi in the second or third quarter of this year. Currently, the MTA expect the new buses to expand, with 18 buses’ coming to Manhattan, 70 in Brooklyn and 209 in the Bronx area alone.

Alongside the WiFi feature, the new buses will include LCD screens to bring you the latest information and 55 USB charging ports, for those times when your phone is about to die before a busy meeting.

While the new buses are a new feature and will replace up to 40% of the buses currently running under MTA, their old buses will also be updated with WiFi and USB ports, meaning that no matter which bus you get, eventually you’ll be able to charge your phone and finish your episode on Netflix without having to be late to your friends party.

Driverless Lorries Coming to the UK

When it comes to cars, there is one topic on every companies lips, driverless technology. The ability to take a car from your house to the shops, to work, and then back home without ever pressing the pedals or touching the steering wheel. From Formula E announcing that they will start racing driverless vehicles and London looking to get driverless pods within the year, what could be next? Driverless lorries.

The Department for Transport is keen on being seen as a forerunner for technology, from driverless cars to electric car charging roads. The latest plans seem to be creating a driverless “HGV platoon”, with up to 10 computer controlled lorries being driver mere metres away from one another. The trial for the project, set to take place later this year, will see the vehicles driving down the M6 with the front vehicle being driven by a person.

Some have been sceptical about the plan, though, with the president of the AA, Edmund King, saying that while it may work in other countries it might not be the right thing in the UK.

His reasoning for this doubt was that “The problem with the UK motorway network is that we have more entrances and exits of our motorways than any other motorways in Europe or indeed the world”.

While plans like these are great, I can see where King is coming from. Ten lorries blocking your exit on the road would be a pain. While having regular automated lorries would help reduce traffic in the long run and perhaps even ease congestion, I can see people be scared and sceptical until they are a regular sight on the roads.

Image courtesy of the Daily Mail

New York Going Green With Electric Streetcars

Electric cars are all the range, with Tesla dominating the market and Apple soon to enter the market. While they are expensive at the moment, electric cars are quickly becoming public transport with buses and shuttles cutting down emissions and traffic all in one go. The Netherlands started the process with their electric shuttles, and soon New York will join them.

One of the things that you associate with America is the street cars, the little red trams that run down steep roads and ring that bell as they approach. With an estimated cost of $2.5 billion, the new tram system will run between Astoria, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn at around 16 miles in length. Named the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX for short), the new streetcar is estimated to take around three years in design with another four to build. With 7 years before you can ride the new system, 2020 will be a busy year for electric vehicles in new york.

With the average speed of the proposed streetcars being just 11.3mph, while not speedy you will get great views and reduced carbon emissions as you ride along the route shown above.

With some questioning why they are creating a new form of transport rather than adding dedicated bus routes along the waterfront, the new plans are already under fire before they even begin. What do you prefer? A new bus or do you think transport like streetcars are underrated?

Hyperloop Construction Begins

The hyperloop has been one of Elon Musk’s many ideas that has gathered a lot of public attention. From the Space X rockets to Tesla, Musk is known for going beyond the normal and his idea of a Hyperloop was included in that list. Now that idea is becoming a reality.

First purposed by Musk, the hyperloop would work by creating a vacuum in which you could propel a pod carrying people around the country at high speeds. So imagine all those Sci-fi movies which had you stepping into a pod and speeding into the distance? That could soon be you!

Estimated to be able to transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 30 minutes the pods could go as fast as 760mph. The first step of construction is a 5-mile test track in Quay valley, the test track won’t just be for testing, though. It is designed to be the start of the system, with analysis and improvements made all throughout 2016 and 2017, while passengers will have to wait till 2018 to get a ride on something that will leave cars and roller coasters in the dust.

The idea behind the hyperloop is simple, use our understanding of physics and transportation to create a new, cheaper, more affordable and quicker form of transportation. Imagine taking a train journey across the country and then suddenly realising before you even open your book that you’re at your destination.

First Hyperloop Track to Start Construction Within Weeks

The first test track for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop transportation system will begin construction in California next month, the project’s Chief Operating Officer Bibop Gabriele Gresta revealed at the Transport to the Future in London event this week.

Speaking to Dezeen, Gresta hailed Hyperloop as “the closest thing to teletransportation,” and said that “It will change completely humanity.”

The brainchild of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk, Hyperloop is a transportation system based around magnetically propelling sealed carriages through vacuum tubes. Construction on the $150 million (£98 million), five-mile test track will begin in November in the Quay Valley region of California, estimated to take 32 months to complete, and aims to transport 10 million passengers during the prototype phase. The first testing period will involve firing empty trains through the Hyperloop tubes at speeds of 760 miles-per-hour. “We will crush every record on the ground,” Gresta boasted.

“You can substitute the entire flight industry from Los Angeles to San Francisco with one tube, four times,” Gresta added. “Now if this will not disrupt the air industry I don’t know what will.”

While the prototype will be built in the US, forming part of a proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco route, Gresta believes that the first commercial Hyperloop will likely be contructed abroad. He said, “There are other countries that are in a more advanced discussion phase and they have the political will, the lack of infrastructure, a high density of population and less regulatory problems to make it happen.”

Image courtesy of Dezeen.

Boris Calls Out Uber For “Breaking The Law”

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is known for a lot of things, from his wacky antics to the ‘Boris’ bikes that you can ride around London. He has even pledged that London will have 5G by 2020. This time, his words were a little less welcoming and was targeted at a common form of transportation, Uber.

Boris Johnson has a weekly column in the Telegraph and this week it would appear he has used it to defend the classic sight of black London taxi’s and this week he has gone on the offensive.

Johnson is the chairman of Transport for London and has often spoken about the transportation within London. In July, Johnson stated that Uber drivers would need to pass a knowledge test to be able to work in London, but his more recent comments state that the law is clear and that only hackney carriages (the other name for black cabs) can be hailed on the streets.

Another possible area for discussion is that only black cabs can operate with a taxi meter, meaning that fare calculating apps like Uber technically breach this law. Either way, Transport for London are looking at amending the law regarding taxi’s to help clarify systems like Uber, from their rights and responsibilities to outlining just how they can operate within cities like London.

Are you a Uber user? Do you think that Uber should be held to the same standards as a taxi company?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Thank you BBC for the image.

Electric Bus Hopes To Power Your Normal Routes Envioromentally

We’ve all heard about electric cars. They’ve gone from the thing of dreams to powering sports cars and family friendly SUV’s. It’s hard to deny that electric vehicles are clearly something for the future, with companies and countries looking at new and innovative ways to use the environmentally friendly vehicles. The British government is even looking at building roads which will help charge your car while you drive down the motorway, how can that not show that electric cars are here to stay? But what about other modes of transportation?

Think about how many times you see that buses pass you, is it once a day or do you see it every hour like clockwork? Proterra, a new start-up, looks to help cities run a cleaner service by replacing those old petrol based buses with a new electric bus.

With the bus allowing automated docking with a charger, and with the charger looking to take at most five minutes, it could see that bus running the same schedule with almost none of the pollution. Currently, they have recorded a single charge lasting as much as 258 miles, a little longer than just popping down to the shops.

With towns and cities replacing their old petrol buses for new hybrid vehicles with a mixture of electric and petrol, we could maybe see cities push out petrol all together in their public transport.

Could you see your daily bus route running green and silent? Would you be willing to wait a few minutes at the start of your journey knowing it’s going to be cheaper and nicer on the environment?

Thank you Fast Co Exist for the information and images.

 

Netherlands First To Introduce Self Driving Shuttles To Public Roads

We’ve been hearing about them for a while. Self-driving cars are a popular thing for people, companies and countries, Companies like Google, who state that their self-driving cars are actually too safe for urban areas, and Heathrow, who operate a self-driving pod system at terminal five, it would seem that automated vehicles are going to be a big thing in the near future. While Google is testing their self-driving car on public roads it has its limits, and it would seem the Netherlands are going to be the first to introduce automated shuttles to the public roadways.

Titled WEpods, the small shuttles can fix up to six people in and are planned to run between two towns in the Netherlands. Ede and Waegeningen are about seventeen-minute drives away from one another, with the latter being a large center for farming and agricultural research thanks to its university.

The buses will be designed to go at roughly 15 miles per hour and will have a real person monitoring via camera so that if anything goes wrong they will be able to quickly respond. Set to be the first permanent public use of an automated vehicle without a dedicated human presence, the project hopes to launch on the 30th November this year.

Would you be excited by a similar project coming to where you live? Would you feel safe in a bus without a driver or would you prefer to have someone there just in case?

Thank you Gizmondo for the information. 

Image courtesy of Wageningenur.

All aboard The Circle Lines Giant Three-Speed Travelator

I’m not sure this concept is particularly sane, a group of architects revolutionary idea centres on replacing run of the mill trains with high-speed travelators.

According to the architecture practice NBBJ who envisage a future where trains are replaced on the line’s 17 miles of track with three speeds of travelators, the result according to them would be a “considerably quicker, more enjoyable and healthier journey”. Below is the concept artwork for this idea of three travelators which would run alongside each other at various speeds, this is from walking speeds of 3mph to a top speed of 15mph. Commuters would therefore move between three moving conveyor belts which would in theory increase their speed each time.

What is compelling is there are more than 114 million people who use the circle line each year, this makes it one of the most congested lines in London and the company reckons commuters would in theory travel faster on foot than on conventional public transport.  There are two separate narrative thought patterns when contemplating such a vision, the pro side would be a healthier and spacious environment with which to reach a destination, after all, trains are known for being hot and rather uncomfortable even at the best of times.  The negative side would be how safely you could travel on foot without injuring yourself or others, moving onto a 15 mile an hour platform would be rather interesting.

It’s radical and would require a complete redesign of the transport infrastructure, one school of thought would be as the population increases year on year, eventually public transport would reach its limit despite a drive for expansion by successive governments and alternatives would therefore need to be considered.  This concept may not be the best solution, but it would be very entertaining to Wizz to your destination, especially if you laid down for a nap while on the conveyor belts.

Thank you cityam for providing us with this information.

Podulator – A Sign of Future Transport?

James May is known for a lot of things, amongst which is the show Top Gear of which he only recently stopped hosting. Known to have a keen interest in motorised vehicles, James’s latest twitter post is of a different type of vehicle.

As seen above, James seems to be at Heathrow, advertising the future of transport displayed at Terminal 5. The pod-based system allows you to travel between the station at terminal 5 and the two based in terminal 5’s car park. The system is not a new one, with it celebrating over 1 million autonomous miles back in 2013.

Featuring 3.8 kilometers of one-way track for the pods, it’s almost like a personal train between the stations. The one comparison I can draw is with trains, but the private and personal carriage like nature reminds me of the old cabin based trains, for those who have never experienced this, think about the Hogwarts train (shown below).

With companies like Google making automated cars, we could soon see Pod like cars working on a large scale, across an entire city or maybe even a country? Could companies like Uber and your local taxi soon be replaced by automated cars which you call at the press of a button?

Thank you Ultra Global PRT for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Ultra Global PRT and Harry Potter Wiki.

Russia Wants to Build Supersonic Transport Plane

It is usually North Korea that is in the headlines when we hear some ridiculous news, like flying to the sun and back in one night. This time it is Russia that is trying to grab the world’s most ridiculous headline with their proposed new super airplane. The Kremlin propaganda outfit RT cites design specifications from Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission, the new PAKTA transport plane will have the ability to fly at supersonic speed while carrying massive amounts of cargo. While this would be really cool, and maybe possible if the best heads in the world got together, it’s highly unlikely that Russia can pull something like this off.

Russia wants to upgrade their air fleet that mostly consists of Soviet-era aircrafts and dedicated $130 billion through 2020 for this. The PAKTA is part of this and the next-generation carrier is touted as being able to travel at supersonic speeds, carry up to 200 tons of cargo, and have a range of 4,350 miles. But it would also need a massive amount of fuel and long runways, which would limit the airports it can land on. It would also need a very wide wingspan, making it an easy target for enemy fighters.

The payload capacity of 200 tons is 80 tons more than the US’ largest cargo plane, the C-5 Galaxy. Another thing that stands out is the hybrid engines. The main engine is gas powered, but it also has two electrical turbines. While electrical motors are making a leap forward in the automobile industry, they are far from suited for aircraft use. It will be interesting to see if Russia can pull this off, or if it’s just a front to funnel a lot of funds into a private company.

Thanks to Business Insider for providing us with this information

AeroMobil to Launch Flying Car by 2017; Driverless Model to Follow

Slovak roadable aircraft developer AeroMobil aims to have the first flying car on the road (and in the sky) by 2017, the company’s CEO Juraj Vaculik revealed at South-by-Southwest (SXSW), with the promise of an automated version to follow.

Vaculik believes that personal transportation is overdue a reinvention, and that driverless flying cars will usher in a revolution.

The current prototype of Vaculik’s flying car, the AeroMobil 3.0, is not a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) craft, so demands a runway to take-off and land, so its practicality is limited. The AeroMobil’s functionality would need local governments to build flying car runways and free up airspace, while drivers would, of course, require a pilot’s licence.

That’s not to say that the craft is being aimed at the average consumer: AeroMobil will target the wealthy, since the two-seater vehicle will cost over €200,000 when released in 2017, according to Vaculik. A four-seater driverless version is penciled in for release soon after.

Source: TechSpot

Mythbusters Hosts Take Giant Mechanical Spiders for a ‘Spin’

Mythbusters, that crack team of engineers from America who re-create a whole array of things, from old wives tales to movie stunts, simply to prove if they can actually be done or not. Probably their most notable work being proving the Mento’s and Coke projectile.

Well today, we see one of the hosts, Jamie Hyneman, pursuing a recreation of robotic spiders; could be the start of many nightmares here. They already have an active web series which can be found here if you wish to catch up.

“The first episode shows Hyneman and Savage discussing the inspiration behind the project, as well as the first meeting with Kernerworks about possible spiders’ possible design.

In the second episode of the series, we see Hyneman in the Kernerworks workshop looking at an early comp of his racing spiders.

The third episode reveals what can go wrong when testing the spiders. After a series of last-minute tweaks, Hyneman and Kernerworks do their best to troubleshoot all the issues with the spiders. No one said making giant robotic racing spiders would be easy.

Finally, in this fourth episode, we see the creepy results in action. Hyneman and Savage take the racing spider robots outside to watch them run in all their glory.”

Now the spiders are prototypes obviously, but they are a far cry from Hyneman’s initial goal of a ride along arachnids; still pretty awesome though.

“I had this image of us riding these giant spiders across a desert, cresting dunes, like some sort of camel race…but it is and always was just an experiment,” Hyneman says in the video. He adds, “I have some ideas about how I can improve the design in the future.”

Thanks to Cnet for this information

Meet the Drone-Based Hoverbike That Could Revolutionise Travel

We all know how easy to use drones are. Many of us have taken to the skies with a drone, performing tricky stunts and captured amazing video footage, but what if we could ride one of those drones?

Well, this project, the ‘Hoverbike’, is said to be exactly that. It utilises drone-like technology to make manned-flying easy and even cheap. Its creators say that pretty much anyone can get the experience of flying a helicopter at a significantly lower price and with significantly less training using the Hoverbike. The most exciting thing however, is that all of this is apparently just around the corner.

The developers of the bike have had a successful Kickstarter campaign, drawing more than double the money they requested. They did this through selling scaled drone prototypes that backers could receive to see the Hoverbike technology in action.

You can see those prototypes and more in the video below.

Source: Speed Society

Meet Elio – The £4,500 Car With Three Wheels

Many have attempted to produce low-cost and efficient forms of personal transport. We’ve seen innovative vehicles like Renault’s Twizy and more personal solutions like the Segway. One new American company believes it has the solution at this year’s CES.

The Elio is a new car-type vehicle, that has three wheels and a very small engine. It is a car though, one safe for road use and one that does 84 miles per gallon.

Yes, gallon. Of fuel. This vehicle is not electric, as many of these things are. It seems that the desginers of the Elio have simply aimed for low cost of manufacture rather than cost of fuel, however it looks like that they’ve attempted to offset that by utilising such a small engine and weight of the overall vehicle.

The car is sort of in production, but there’s a waiting list, with distinctions between refundable and non-refunable deposits towards the car. Those who place a non-refundable deposit get place higher on the waiting list, but with a risk of course.

Source: The Verge

 

Cadillac Video Rearview Mirrors Standard from 2016

From 2016 the Cadillac CT6 will feature video rearview mirrors as standard. The vehicle will be the first car to feature such technology on all models.

The camera will be of “high dynamic range” allowing drivers to see in all weathers delivering a “video feed [that] reduces glare and allows a crisper image in low-light situations, versus a traditional glass electrochromatic, or auto-dimming, rearview mirror.” The small display delivers quite a high resolution for its size and purpose, 1280 x 240 to be exact and it promises to bring a filed of view up to 4 times higher than standard mirrors. The company isn’t completely giving up on traditional mirrors however, drivers will still be able switch to a conventional mirror with handy little button.

Although this example is the first, this is something we can expect to see more often now since the US Government made it mandatory for all new cars to feature rearview cameras after 2018.

Source: The Verge Image: General Motors

Driverless Cars to Be Tested in Four UK Cities

Driverless cars will be tested in 4 UK cities starting 1st January. Coventry, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Greenwich in south-east London will be the first to see the vehicles hit public roads.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne announced the plans during today’s Autumn Statement in Parliament. The initiative was launched back in July, but plans are now starting to take shape. Mr Osbourne also announced an extra £9 million of government funding for the project, adding to the earlier £10 million.

The project is formed of a number of schemes backed by different companies and organisations. In London there will be the Gateway scheme which is being organised by the Transport Research Laboratory consultancy, in Bristol there will be the Venturer consortium, which is backed by insurance company Axa, while Coventry and Milton Keynes will see the UK Autodrive programme, which is being backed by Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Arup.

The individual schemes will test and experiment with different issues facing the introduction of driverless vehicles, such as insurance implications and the effect of the vehicles on reducing traffic congestion.

Source: BBC News

First ‘Poo Bus’ Gets to Work in Bristol

A bus entirely powered by human and food waste has gone into service.

The waste is converted into bio-methane gas through a process called anaerobic digestion, with gas being able to propel the ‘Bio Bus’ for up to 186 miles. The Bath Bus Company, the people behind the new bus, estimate that their new bus will ferry 10,000 people between Bristol Airport and Bath city centre.

Mohammed Saddiq, General manager of GENeco, the organisation the creates the gas, told the BBC:

“Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself.”

Now I’m sure we’ve all travelled on some smelly buses, but let’s hope there’s never a fuel leak on this one, because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to get a bus smellier than a leaking ‘poo bus’.

Source: BBC News

 

New Mini-ITX Configurations Announced By OriginPC and CyberpowerPC

OriginPC was one of the first manufacturers to offer the monstrous Titan Z card in their custom-build PCs. However, the chassis availability capable of housing the graphics card was limited, until now that is.

The manufacturer announced that NVIDIA’s Titan Z can now fit in some if its select mini-ATX cases, making the company one of the first to offer the smallest 4K PCs on the market. The mini-ATX line capable of handling the Titan Z is the Chronos lineup, having the Corsair 250D and Silverstone RVZ01 mini-ATX cases up for grabs for users wanting a small-size Titan Z configuration.

The Titan Z base configuration announced for the Chronos lineup is set to include Intel’s i5 4460 clocked at 3.2 GHz, the ASUS H97I motherboard, 8 GB of Kingston HyperX memory and a 500 GB hard disk solution, all being priced at $4600.

In addition, CyberpowerPC appears to have announced their own new small form factor PC builds with the addition of the Fang Battlebox. The small form factor case is said to be ready for travel, allowing for a small cage to be fitted inside of a hand plastic carrying case in order for users to take their builds to gaming parties or other gaming events.

Though the Battlebox is designed to be compact, the company states that the design was made with airflow in mind, having and additional option for water-cooling solutions as well, depending on the unit and selected video card. A quick swap tray for hard drives has also been fitted inside the box, having users granted a way to quickly swap between work and leisure data wherever they travel.

In terms of base specifications, the Fang Battlebox is said to one with Intel’s Core i3 4150, 8 GB of memory, 1 TB hard drive solution and integrated graphics, having CyberpowerPC pricing it at $620. Users who want more can get the Intel i7 4770K, 16 GB of memory, 2 TB of hard drive and 128 GB of SSD solutions, as well as NVIDIA’s GTX 780 configuration at the price of $1600.

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of OriginPC and CyberpowerPC

Unmanned Transport Pods To Be Deployed In Milton Keynes, UK

Milton Keynes (UK) is planning a new futuristic approach in terms of transportation. The town is preparing to replace the existing old and noisy buses with a fleet of 100 ULTra PRT transport pods. Each pod has a capacity of 2 passengers plus room for luggage and travels at a speed of 12 miles per hour. As per the initial plan, pods will carry passengers between downtown area, train station and business district. Fares are estimated to be £2 per trip and pedestrians will have to use a smartphone app to hail a pod.

The pods are driven by computers but can be controlled by passengers in case of any problem. A similar system is already in place at Heathrow airport in London and is being used for shuttling passengers from terminal to terminal. The system is operational since 2011 and there have been no major incidents so far.

With an estimated budget of £65 million, the pilot project would require laying down special roadway and charging stations for the pods. The special roadway would contain safety bumpers to separate the pods from regular traffic and charging stations would be set up en route. The current plan is to have the system up and running by 2015 and fully operational by 2017.

If everything goes well and the project succeeds, the idea is to have pods no longer run on restricted lanes, paving the way for driverless public transport systems and personal vehicles.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7OxvLuK83g[/youtube]

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Tech Spot