Self-Driving Trucks Hit The Roads In Europe

When it comes to vehicles, there are two new technologies that people are looking forward to. First off there are electric vehicles, with Tesla’s new Model 3 getting billions of dollars worth of pre-orders, then there is the move to automated vehicles. With driverless vehicles gaining momentum, a set of self-driving trucks have hit the roads of Europe in a demonstration that’s set to show the technology off to the world.

Six manufacturers took part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, courtesy of the Dutch Government. Truck platooning refers to the ability for automated trucks to follow one another in close procession, making use of a slipstream to reduce carbon dioxide and fuel usage.

Travelling from different parts of Europe to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with companies like Volvo and Daimler watching as their vehicles picked up cargo from the port before heading back to different locations all around Europe.

With self-driving trucks already looking to be tested in the UK within the year, it could be sooner than we think before large companies start using automated vehicles to deliver their goods. With companies like Google looking to create and release a self-driving car just one of many self-driving ideas, including a self-driving pram, you could soon get to put your feet up and enjoy a movie on those long road trips.

Tesla Reveals Their Model 3 Electric Car

Technology companies love-making new toys, especially those that people have wanted for years. When it comes to technology, people have been looking forward to affordable electric vehicles, something which the company Tesla have been keen on creating. This may all come true with Tesla revealing their Model 3 electric car.

With their long-term plan always being that the high-end electric cars, like the Model S, were just a way to bring the technology to everyone at an affordable plan, it is safe to say with the Model 3 they are one step closer to the dream. At its debut event in Los Angeles, the Model 3 appears just like any other car. With a range of 215 miles, the Model 3 will give people access to electric vehicles for everyday drives, and with 0-60 in under six seconds and supercharging as standard the car already gives a wide range of options that make it stand out above electric vehicles before you get the $35,000 price tag.

While a little more expensive than the initial guesses at $25,000, the pre-orders of the Model 3 seems to have already caught people’s attention with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk stating the over 115,000 pre-orders have already been received. You may have to wait a year or two, with the delivery of the Model 3 not expected to begin until 2018, so a small wait until that new car of your dreams but just in time for testing on the new roads that could see your car charging as you drive.

Want to Watch a Movie in Your Self-Driving Car? Ford Wants You To!

We all know that Ford is one of many companies that are looking at self-driving cars. They’ve even tested their cars in the snow, a weather most of us don’t like driving in at the best of times. What do you do when you don’t have to drive? That half hour trip to and from work every day, or the four-hour drive to see family. Ford has an answer and that’s to keep you entertained with a movie in your self-driving car.

Ford has recently filed for, and obtained, a patent that relates to “autonomous vehicle entertainment system”.  What this actually means if you will be able to put your feet up as a screen comes down over the front of the car, letting you enjoy as the projector between your seats brings you the latest in entertainment.

That’s right, you will be able to enjoy a cinema experience while being driven around by your car. In flight movies built into your car doesn’t sound all that bad does it?

Personally, I like the idea of having something to do in your car, but would you feel safe staring at a screen while you are driven down the motorway at high speed with no one watching out for the broken car or driver that crashes into your favourite automated car.

Lead Behind Apple Car Leaves Company

Its been on the cards for a while that Apple has been looking at making a car. They’ve even gone so far as to invoke the wrath of Elon Musk by taking in staff straight from Tesla. The Apple Car project hasnot been shown off to the public yet, but it’s already caught people’s attention, it would seem to be in trouble though with the lead behind the project leaving the company.

Steve Zadesky, an employee with an impressive 16 years at Apple, is said to have been running the secret project behind the companies exploration into vehicles for two years; Zadesky is departing from the company for personal reasons.

Zadesky started for Apple in 1999 and has worked on their first iPod’s and iPhones, meaning he has been there to see some of their greatest moments. With a recent expansion for the electric car project, offering to triple their staff from 600 to almost two thousand, the projects green light for 2019 looks to be getting closer and closer.

This latest revelation could be yet another to a long line of knocks that the project has taken, with reports coming in that they have not only had trouble laying out goals for the project but that they have been given “ambitious deadlines” which the teams involved feel might not be attainable.

People leaving companies can come for various reasons, personal or professional, but the biggest threat is that leaders of projects and experts in their areas leave when the project is at its most vulnerable. If the information is correct we wish Zadesky the best in the future and look forward to seeing Apple’s progress with this project.

Tesla Supercharger Catches Fire

Tesla cars are well-known sites all around the world now with the Model S being known as a rather amazing piece of technology. The electric sports car contains a ludicrous mode which can accelerate 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, a rather impressive sight. The S model, however, is getting some bad attention in Norway when it went to top up.

Tesla’s electric cars are known for being the first step into reliable and everyday usable cars, however, a particular owner got a surprise during a routine action in Norway. After pulling up the a supercharger station, and inserting its plug for the lithium-ion battery pack, the vehicle caught fire. The owner was not at the car when the incident happens so no one was harmed, but as you can see from the image above, the car was not so lucky.

While people are quick to argue and debate over what could have caused this user one Reddit user, bjornnyland, was quick to point out that this was a temporary station which actually delivered 13kW more than a standard station, which typically deliver 105 kW. After stating that he had used the charging point several times and that it had stopped on more than one occasion, he was quick to state that it may or may not have had something to do with the fire.

30% Car Owners Would Give up Their Vehicle Before Their Smartphone

The Frog 2015 survey of 1999 people across China, Denmark, Germany and the United States investigated modern attitudes towards car ownership. The data indicates that 53% of the sample use their own vehicle compared to 14% on public transport. Interestingly, 37% of car owners revealed they could easily give up their vehicle without it affecting their daily routine. Additionally, 30% admitted they would rather give up their car than their smartphone. At first, this seems unbelievable but it makes sense when you consider vital tasks like e-mail and web browsing are just a touch away.

On another note, travelling long distances to reach office spaces could theoretically become an outdated notion as people begin to work from home. Similarly, virtual presence devices might be accepted although that does seem like a long time off. In today’s market, it’s incredibly expensive to run a vehicle especially if you’re under the age of 30. Petrol prices and insurance costs are absolutely staggering.

Smartphones are now an integral part of daily life and becoming more influential as each passes. The advent of cheap, Android handsets have broadened the appeal and contributed to many people’s social media addiction. Clearly, many struggle to live without a smartphone, and this is shown quite clearly in the Frog study.

Cheap Electric Car? Lose The Steering Wheel!

Electric cars are all the rage these days. With big companies like Tesla and even public transport like buses and shuttles in airports and between towns. So why do the public not take up electric cars if they are cheaper to run and better for the environment? Two big problems, first being that the batteries drain quickly and secondly the cost of the cars; one man hopes to have solved the second problem.

Mark Frohmayers came up with the idea eight years ago, the idea of creating an electric vehicle that would be great for a little runaround and would come in quite cheaply. With all the companies building large vehicles, Frohmayers saw a gap in the market where people could just afford a simple electric vehicle.

Arcimoto was born, a start-up for affordable electric vehicles, and has since shown off a few three-wheeled prototypes, but sadly over the eight years the company never quite felt happy with the overall goal. That was until now, with a car that meets all the criteria they set out, and it will cost less than $12,000 (£7772 approximately).

Their latest model, the SRK, ditches the steering wheel. The three-wheeled vehicle features two seats and the vehicle is officially classed as a motorcycle and features a range of 70 miles with speeds up to 85miles per hour. Only 105 inches long, the vehicle fits in small spaces and with the option to fully enclose the SRK (instead of the frame style protective shell).

Could you see yourself commuting to work on an SRK? Or would you need a little more distance and power? Could you ever see yourself getting a run around vehicle such as this or will you always want something to carry you and the family on holiday?

The Tesla Autopilot System is Surreal

Tesla is certainly a pioneer of vehicle technology and continues to innovate in this market. The concept of autonomous cars is becoming more widely accepted and provides a glimpse into the future. Recently, Tesla’s Autopilot system was showcased in a real world scenario. The software is capable of detecting the speed and behaviour in densely populated areas.

As a result, the system automatically steers, swaps between lanes and adjusts speed. Additionally, it can navigate to a parking area and perform parallel parking. At first this appears bizarre and almost frightening given our distrust towards technology and familiarity with manual driving. Once that initial hurdle is over, the driving is quite serene and less stressful than the typical daily commute.

Despite this, there are still some safety concerns in regards to pedestrians and unexpected events. Clearly, the Autopilot system requires a great deal of further testing and first-hand experience before consumers feel confident using it. Its potential though is nothing short of revolutionary. While some car enthusiasts love driving, others find it to be a daily annoyance. This is usually caused by aggressive drivers.

Would you feel comfortable in an automated vehicle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Toyota Reveal New Concept For Hydrogen Powered Car

We live in a wonderful age, we’ve begun to create technology that merges both the digital and the real world together in augmented reality and even where people can drive a metal car powered by sunlight. The human imagination has created and continues to create an amazing array of technologies, and Toyota have shown off some ideas they might play with in the future.

At the Tokyo Motor show, they revealed images of two design concepts, which are both futuristic and yet one is also classic in a way. First off, have a look at the present, with the S-FR. Looking similar to modern-day cars now, this model could soon be at your door steps.

Next, however, is the parent of design, with clear inspirations from the days of old we were presented with the Kikai.

Looking like a modern take on a classic hot rod the revealed engine leaves little to the car fanatics imagination. Finally, the last design is one from the future and is quite simply titled the FCV Plus.

Not only does the FCV feature a very futuristic look but it is designed to run some rather interesting technology.

For example, it would powered purely by hydrogen and that power would be diverted to four individual electric motors that are housed in each of the wheels. This means that aside from the fuel tank and cells located either at the front or back of the car, all the rest is freed up for the passengers.

Could you see yourself getting into a FCV within the next ten years? What about the S-FR and Kikai, would you like to own any of these vehicles?

Thank you Engadget for the information and images.

Autonomous Car Accident Reports Finally Released

We love looking to the future of car technology, be it how the car is powered or how the car is controlled. We now have a pretty consistent means of powering the vehicles thanks to Tesla and the impressive battery system, but controlling the car is still under scrutiny. Companies such as Google are pioneering the push for autonomous vehicles (AV), but what about the safety of said vehicles?

Californian DMV has now released accident reports from the collisions that involved Google’s autonomous vehicles. I can safely say, on behalf of the human race, that we fail.

In all scenarios, the AV was either stationary or slowing to a stop due to traffic or pedestrian conditions and the accident occurred due to another driver not paying attention. There were three recorded accidents that happened when the vehicle was being controlled by the human driver, but that was due to bad judgement and taking control from the autonomous mode.

It has already been acknowledged that AV’s are too safe for public roads and this is just further proof that humans aren’t ready to share the road with perfect drivers just yet.

Personally I can’t see AV’s integrating in human driving society for a long time yet. They would likely work best in closed circuits or where safety is key, so airports or even densely populated city centre areas.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think we are ready to share the road with AV’s? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Apple Could Have A Car By 2019

More and more companies are finding new and innovative ways to expand their brands, with the likes of Google and Microsoft making everything from the computers you use and the software you tap away on to the augmented reality glasses and self-driving cars you wish you could have now. The latest to join the car party at least could be Apple according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to initial reports, a “source with knowledge of the matter” has stated that Apple could be looking at creating an Apple branded electric car as soon as 2019. Apple has been looking at this for many years now and has been studying if it would be feasible to create an Apple car.

With permission to triple their staff (which currently stands at around 600 people), it could be sooner rather than later for Apple to make a splash in the automotive industry.

With companies like Tesla, who have just announced the Tesla X’s price and shown that the Tesla S doing over 450 miles on a single charge, Apple could be coming into some steep competition.

Would you like to own an electric car made by Apple? Finally, and most importantly, would it be called the iCar?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of Tech News Today.

Innovative Gentleman Constructs Helicopter From 54 Drones and Garden Chair

Recently I wrote an article concerning an individual who thought it would be quite interesting to fly a drone into the stands at the US open Tennis tournament. This was a bad example of how to implement drone usage, this example below is a crazy yet fantastic example of how to use drones in a creative manner, a gentleman who goes by the YouTube moniker gasturbine101, as you do, has managed to construct a helicopter out of 54 drones and a garden chair.

You know you would like to see it, below is the video, as you can see its pretty crazy to say the least, imagine flying this past your next door neighbours bedroom window at 5am in the morning, they will feel as if they have been on the Jack Daniels all night.  This contraption is powered by four cell batteries and the estimated cost of construction has been around the £6000 mark.  oh and, if it looks like a machine powered by drones and fly’s like a machine powered by drones then the name would be? Yes you guessed it “The Swarm Manned Aerial Vehicle Multi-rotor Super Drone”.

For those who like detail then Gasturbine101 states that he used 54 counter-rotation propellers, six grouped control channels with KK2.15 stabilization. The off weight is around 148kg, max lift, approx. 164kg.  The Endurance is 10 minutes and Power is approximately. 22KW.

With a lot of tinkering this invention could be quite revolutionary, the only slight thing is that I would be concerned about my head if I sat hovering in one of these, if an incident happened then your head is not a million miles away from those propellers.  gasturbine101 also states that the craft might “need a tail rotor for spot turns.” it’s certainly a stunning piece of kit which might bring personal transport devices one step closer to reality, especially if a sizeable company adopted and invested in this notion with the aim of developing it for consumer use, iplane of Googlehover.

Below is the full transcript found on gasturbine101 Youtube channel its easier to have all the tech information in one place

Europe Might Take the Lead in Adopting Electric Vehicles

It’s really surprising to hear something like this, but the fact is that Europeans are more interested in electric vehicles. I know the EV hype has been going on in the US for quite some time, but according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, Europe has seen a 78% rise year over year in Q1 2015. So if you were eyeing these futuristic vehicles, it’s time to get informed because you never know when they might rule the EU roads!

Of course, the majority of people interested in acquiring EVs are found in countries such as France, Germany, UK, but the interesting thing is that developing countries are interested in them as well. It might not be a big number of them, but selling a dozen or more EVs instead of a couple of them is still big progress for a developing country. The report states that there are already a little over 53,000 EVs sold in the EU, with more to come in the near future.

The huge gap between the US and Europe EV sales seems to come from two problems. Fuel prices are about the same amount you get for a full EV recharge in Europe and the distance that a regular individual travels is in the range of what an EV can offer. These two factors are really a game-chager for EV adoption. I myself live in the EU and to be honest, I would definitely choose an EV over a fuel-powered vehicle anytime, should I be given the option to choose between the two.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Komu

Researchers Prove How They Can Stop a Corvette with a Simple Text Message

Since a couple of hackers found a way to remotely control a Crysler, we’ve heard a lot of similar successful attempts on other vehicles. The latest comes from researchers over at the University of California, who have taken an interest in third-party devices coupled to the TCUs.

The TCUs are directly linked to a vehicle’s Controller Area Network bus, who sends and receives messages from all systems. The thing is that TCUs also have a SIM card to send data back to the manufacturer or insurance companies. This is how the researchers were able to discover, target and compromise a Corvette’s systems with just a simple text message.

The researchers made a two-staged attack, first by updating the device’s software, then making use of funnel commands which could be sent directly to the CAN bus. They were able to prove on a Corvette that they can remotely start the windshield wipers and ally the breaks while the car was moving.

In the researchers’ paper, they state that finding mobile numbers for TCU SIMs is fairly easy, having assigned numbers that start with the 566 area code. They also said that the TCUs are not cryptographically signed, allowing them to install the malicious software update without the TCU knowing and that TCU NAND flash units share the same SSH key, allowing hackers to use it on other TCUs.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Nokia Finally Found Someone to Buy Their HERE Maps!

It has been a long search for the best buyer, but it seems that Nokia finally found somebody to buy and further develop their HERE Maps technology. As reported previously, it was thought that Microsoft will buy the HERE Maps technology, seeing that it wanted its mobile phone business. However, the recent change in the company led to believe that Microsoft may move away form the smartphone market.

Uber was interested in Nokia’s technology too, offering an outstanding $3 billion for it. But it looks like Nokia did not agree with what Uber had in mind for their technology, so they declined the deal after all. However, recently, there have been some rumours that some German vehicle maunufacturers were interested in the technology too.

Nokia declined to make any comments on the matter, but a new report surfaced and we finally know that the company is close to signing the deal with Audi, BMW and Daimler for $2.71 billion. This is less than what Uber offered, but Nokia did state that it would sell the HERE technology to someone who really has the means of improving it, didn’t they? Besides, the deal seems to be the best offer Nokia is going to get.

Besides, the German manufacturers want to use the high-definition real-time digital maps to help develop self-driving cars and automotive safety systems. On top of that, they also want other vehicle manufacturers to pitch in and help them with their plans. So as far as the details show, Nokia really hit their target on selling the technology for a lot of money and to a company, well companies, who have the means on improving it, don’t you think?

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information

Faraday Future Officially Confirm Launch Date for Their First Electric Car

First thing’s first… who is Faraday Future? According to their website, they may be a soon-to-come competitor for Tesla Motor’s electric cars. But this is not why they are so interesting to talk about. What is more interesting is when they plan on releasing their first car and who they have on their side.

Faraday Future, commonly known as FF for short, may become the leading pioneers of electric cars in the near future. Oh sure, they follow the same “100% electric, zero-emission, fully-connected” principle as Tesla Motors and the rest of the electric car manufacturers, but there are two things that set them aside from the rest.

One of the things worth mentioning is that they plan on allowing customers to customize their vehicles “in ways you’ve never even considered possible”. We don’t know any specific details at the moment, but when you hear something like that and take into account the possibilities of what could be done to an electric car, your mind sparks, doesn’t it? Still, anyone could say that, but what makes their plans a bit more ‘believable’? Now we come to the second important bit.

According to sources, FF already has important people working for them. From Tesla’s chassis designers and the director of Wal-blue Chevrolet Volt, to the engineering staff who worked on BMW’s i8 concept car. This is probably what sets them aside from everyone else on the market right now. Also, when you get together people who worked on important projects like the ones previously mentioned, you pretty much can expect anything.

However, we still need to see more of what they plan to bring to the market. At the moment, all we know officially is that they will be releasing their first electric car in 2017. There is also a picture of what looks like their first model, though we don’t know if it is a concept or the actual car they are working on. More details about the company can be found over at their website here.

Image courtesy of Faraday Future

Stationary Electric Vehicle Batteries May Be Getting Much Cheaper Than Anticipated

Have you heard the big headline in the electric car market? No? Well, some of you might have heard that Tesla is now selling its own stationery storage batteries. But you might ask, how is it a big thing? Those types of batteries were around for years, but they have never been cost-effective. The thing is, they are becoming more cost-effective than ever before, according to another study.

It is said that the price for installing one of these batteries in a home would have cost more than $23,000 last year. In May, Tesla announced that the price of such a Li-ion battery would start at $3,500, with an installation price of just $500. Ok, so it’s cheaper than ever before to install a battery in your home, but how is that cost-effective when charging it? Well, times are changing and businesses are making a lot of progress too. Tesla announced that it is currently building a “gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada, having Panasonic making its Li-ion batteries.

The above example is just what we would expect in the near future. However, two researchers from Stockholm stated that the cost of battery packs has fallen drastically. From $1,000 per kWh in 2007, it plunged down to $300 per kWh. Due to this price drop, Tesla and similar electric car manufacturers are now refurbishing old electric vehicle batteries to sell for stationary storage. Also, Tesla said that it also takes feedback very seriously and is now looking into increasing the discharge rate of batteries during continuous use, from 2.2 kilowatts to 5 kilowatts.

This does not mean we will see electric cars being a solution and everyone dropping gas cars overnight. Researchers state that the cost of battery packs needs to fall below 150 per kWh before significant shifts towards electric vehicles take place. However, they estimate that a cost level of 200 – 250 kWh might hit before 2020, so we are just a few years away from potentially switching to electric vehicles.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Uber Set to Buy out Tesla’s Autonomous Car Stock

We all know that the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution is coming, be it in the form of cars, trucks or busses; we are destined to rely on these vehicle types in the very near future.

Uber, ride share taxi company has recently announced that they want to purchase every autonomous vehicle that Tesla will produce in 2020. Now for those of you that haven’t been paying attention, Tesla is currently the worlds leading EV company producing the ground breaking P85D, which can give cars such as the Mercedes SLS AMG a huge run for their money.

As we already know, Uber has a range of vehicles from luxury, suburban and even hybrids; so the jump to an all EV is a step in the right direction for taxi services and this could be something that more tansport services could adopt in the near future.

Now it’s not all about the economy and paying drivers, autonomous cars can analyse the road in front of them and adjust the suspension to suit the conditions. They are also 10x safer than a traditional human driver and even marginally quicker due to being constantly connect to other vehicles and traffic services in the area.

Would you get a ride in an autonomous vehicle when they become available? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to ComputerWorld for providing us with this information.

You Can Now Use Your Hyundai Car Features From Your Apple Watch

Hyundai is keeping up with the times and trying to make your car interaction experiences more impressive than ever. Earlier this year, it launched the Android counterpart, allowing users to interact with their Hyundai cars from Android devices. Now the company has shifted its focus on the latest gadget on the market, namely the Apple Watch.

Hyundai launched the Blue Link car platform on the App Store, offering all features previously showcased in the Android version. Therefore, you can start and stop the engine with just a tap, remotely lock the car’s doors and even find your car on the map. The latter are just a few examples of what the Blue Link app allows you to do, but the best part of it is the Siri integration, where you are able to interact with your car through voice commands.

Hyundai’s Blue Link app for iOS is said to be compatible with all of its cars that have the Blue Link feature. However, the approach is not that uncommon. BMW has a similar app called BMW Remote App that lets you pretty much do the same things Hyundai’s app does, while Volkswagen and Porsche apps are also available for you to make the most out of your driving experience.

The question here is, will you as a driver prefer to interact with your car from your watch or through voice commands, or do you prefer to just keep your keys in your pocket as usual?

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of RushLane

Tesla Model S Let Loose on Autobahn for 12 Minutes

Elon Musk, owner of Tesla the electric vehicle (EV) super giant, set out to build electric cars that could go fast and so far; he has delivered. Who can question the massive 691BHP from the Tesla P85D; well it works well on a drag strip or for short periods of time, but the Tesla has a problem that all batteries face when used for a while; heat.

The battery gets so hot during extended hard usage, that the car reduces power to protect the battery and other electrical systems. That’s not a good thing for testers, Top Gear reportedly hit this barrier during testing and there are numerous videos of Model S owners struggling on the Nurburgring.

Well this issue has been taken on board and has been ironed out, at least in Germany, where this Model S owner posted a video of him hitting 125MPH on the autobahn for around 12 minutes. I will warn you, the video is rather boring; he’s going in a relatively straight in for 12 minutes, what else do you expect?

Now 125MPH isn’t amazing; that’s around 90% of most ‘sporty’ hatchbacks top speed, so most cars can do this and for longer than 12 minutes. This is, however, the first step in EV’s that can compete with the big autobahn cruisers. Imagine future races being held with EV’s, OK you don’t have the sound; but I can live with that.

Thank you to EVObession for providing us with this information.

Tron: Legacy Motorcycle Replica Auctioned for $77,000

People pay a lot of money on things they like on the big screen. But fortunately, some of the things they buy are quire awesome. Take the bike from Tron: Legacy for example. Who wouldn’t want to own such an electrical-powered beauty? I would!

Disney’s Tron: Legacy had its debut back in 2010 and since then, there have been a few people interested in buying a replica of the light cycle. Parker Brother’s Custom Choppers are said to have sold 10 such replicas for a price tag of $55,000. Even so, it looks like others are still interested in buying more of them.

An auction held by father and son Paul and Chris Andrews that took place on the 2nd of May at RM Auctions Sotheby’s brought forth everything from model car engines to customized classic cars. Amongst them was another Tron: Legacy light cycle replica, which apparently found an owner willing to spend $77,000 on it.

The vehicle is said to run on a 96 volt electrical motor and comes with light features to recreate that Tron: Legacy look and feel of the real light cycle. Would you have bought something similar if you had the money? All I can say is this:

Thank you Geek.com for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of and tenminutes

Google’s Self Driving Cars May Become ‘Too Safe’ for Urban Areas

Google has worked on improving the safety features of their self-driving cars for some time now. Despite that, the cars have seen their fair share of accidents, all of which the company claims it was not the fault of their cars.

Some accidents involved other cars hitting the rear of the self-driving vehicles, others hitting them sideways and there is word of a case where a self-driving car was hit by a driver who went through a red light. This means that Google has successfully achieved their goal of providing state of the art algorithms that are more attentive than a human. However, other consequences may arise from these ultra-safe rules.

Google and other manufacturers that activate in the autonomous vehicles market have managed to prove that self-driving cars are a lot safer than humans. But sometimes, a human’s recklessness may prove to come in handy in urban environments. For example, in crowded areas, a self-driving car’s algorithm may keep the car from ‘pushing forward’ as people continuously walk in front of it.

In the above situations, a human would get tired of waiting at some point and push forward. This does not mean that he will hit other people, rather than he knows that people would jump out-of-the-way and stop. Also, if a pedestrian is not looking and still heading in front of the car, a human can quickly react and stop the vehicle to prevent the accident.

This is just one of many situations a computer is not capable of understanding and coping with, marking it as the last milestone between the extremely safe and ‘shy’ cars that are just entering the market and the fully fledged autonomous vehicles we see in sci-fi movies. So having said all of the above, would you troll a self-driving vehicle on the streets?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Tesla Sets Another World Record

Elon Musk must be sitting in his office gleaming with how well his cars are doing; who knew all-electric vehicles were set to change the motoring world as much as they have. This time, a team of drivers have set yet another world record cross-country time from Los Angeles to New York City.

Previously a Tesla team did the journey in 76 hours, but that was all about efficiency rather than time; reason being that fast charge stations weren’t fully covering the entire length of the journey so more care had to be taken with efficiency. This time however, Tesla quick charge stations cover the entire path and the team managed the task in 58 hours and 55 minutes, smashing the previous EV record by around 90 minutes; set by Edmunds last year. This doesn’t even compare to the world record for non-EV’s, set at a mere 28 hours and 50 minutes by the Gumball Rallyers in 2013.

The key to this task was efficiency and speed, spend as little time as possible recharging while maintain the highest average speed; sadly EV’s only drawback is the charging time. The team only spent 12 hours and 48 minutes charging; this was achieved by following a much larger support vehicle in a process known as “drafting”; this enables the front car to take the brunt of air resistance, leaving a sort of air tunnel effect directly behind for following cars to take advantage of.

Once charging times go down and ranges go up, it won’t be long before electric cars become the car of choice for long-distance traveling.

Thank you to EVObsession for providing this information

Cheap Electric Vehicles May Arrive on the Market Sooner than Expected

A recent analysis states that electric cars may soon be competing or even surpass gas cars on cost. This means that electric cars won’t be just a luxurious accessory for the few.

Manufacturers tend to keep the cost of lithium-ion batteries found in electric cars a strict secret, but a recent peer-reviewed study of more than 80 estimates reported between 2007 and 2014 suggests that the costs of battery packs are lower than assumed by energy-policy analysts.

The study suggests that batteries found in EV manufacturer cars such as Tesla and Nissan cost around $300 per KW/h in 2014. This estimate is much lower than the most optimistic projections published this year and even below the average projections published for 2020. The study also tells that the batteries could even reach $230 per KW/h by 2018.

People are also said to be more interested in EVs if the battery costs between $125 and $300 per KW/h. Having the battery cost be a quarter or even half of an EVs price tag, cheaper batteries would make the vehicle itself more cheaper. Alternatively, car manufacturers can maintain the current EV price tag, but offer a battery with much longer ranges instead.

The range factor on an EV is also a crucial thing for buyers, because it would be cheaper to fill an EV with electricity than a car running on gas. It is said that charging an EV with a 300 mile range would cost less than $10. Also, the study states that if batteries fall as low as $150 per KW/h, this may lead to “a potential paradigm shift in vehicle technology”.

The analyst report that the cost of battery packs is falling around 8% each year, which they say is likely to continue at this rate in the following years as well. However, Luis Munuera, an energy analyst for the International Energy Agency, and Pierpaolo Cazzola, a transport policy analyst for the same agency, tend to be sceptical about the peer-reviewed in question, but they do seem to agree about “events moving quicker than expected in lithium-ion battery technology”.

Thank you MIT Technology Review for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Just Made Its PhysX Source Code Free

‘Free’ looks like the word everyone is using recently when it comes to technology. After we saw Epic make its Unreal Engine 4 available for free, it now looks like NVIDIA is taking the same approach with its PhysX technology by giving away its source code for free.

While some bits of the PhysX technology were available for free on Windows, the developer now has given the full source code, which means that it will include the PhysX Clothing and PhysX Destruction features.

By having the full source code free and available for anyone out there, developers will be able to take full advantage of this world-class physics effect in their games, as well as speed up the adoption of the technology in future games.

Unreal Engine 4 itself has the Clothing and Destruction technologies integrated into the engine. However, developers can now add the technology in their own game engines, should they choose not to use the UE4 engine.

The aforementioned technology has been seen in titles such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, Lords of the Fallen, Monster Hunter Online, Daylight, as well as the upcoming title, The Witcher 3.

All PhysX technologies can be found in the NVIDIA GameWorks library, including the latest version of PhysX, namely 3.3.3. It is said that the latter version brings improved stability and performance, along with features such as constrained rigid body dynamics, collision detection, scene queries, character controller, particles, vehicles and much more.

The GameWorks library can be found on GitHub and accessed via the NVIDIA GameWorks Developer Program.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

Is BMW Building a Car With Apple?

German magazine Auto Motor und Sporthas reported that Apple and BMW are in close talks over building a car together. They say that the companies are interested in developing the BMW i3 as an Apple-designed vehicle. They also say that Apple is developing an operating system for the car and that they plan to sell it through Apple Stores.

BMW, on the other hand, has denied the claims. In a statement to Reuters, they said that they are not working with Apple on developing a car.

“The BMW spokesman said: ‘We are in regular talks with companies from the IT and telecommunications sector, including Apple, concerning topics like connected vehicles. Developing or building a car is not a topic of these discussions.'”

While Apple may not be building a car with BMW, they could certainly be collaborating on the in-car infotainment systems. Apple has CarPlay, a system that integrates with a number of new BMW vehicles. It could be the case that they are working together on a more integrated and taylor-made system, but this is not yet clear.

This rumour is one of many recently that suggest that Apple could be building a car. Credible reports from both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have said that the company is hard at work on one, but these claims have been disputed by some. It’s been suggested that these rumours are fake, but that they’re being ‘leaked’ intentionally by Apple in an effort to keep investors happy. Others have also said that Apple would be stupid to build a car and that they probably won’t release one.

The same things were said about the iPhone. At the time, many said that Apple wouldn’t possibly want to enter the phone business, thanks to its low margins and tough competition. Considering how wrong those people were, it wouldn’t at all be surprising if Apple really did build a car.

Source: Auto Motor und Sport Via: MacRumors

Volvo Cars Will Be Able to Talk to Each Other in the near Future

Have you ever thought that cars can talk to one another? If not, prepare to be amazed. Volvo apparently is working on a new technology which allows their cars to “talk to each other” in real-time, delivering warnings to drivers about black ice conditions or disabled vehicles on the road.

It seems the technology is currently being tested in Sweden, where the cars are said to be gathering data from their wheels in order to detect and determine if they are encountering black ice. Once the black ice is detected, the car transmits a GPS location to a Volvo server, which in turn sends the data to other vehicles nearby.

Drivers of those cars see a small warning icon on the dashboard to alert of the black ice ahead. The icon gets bigger as the car approaches the dangerous area, said Erik Israelsson, project leader for safety at Volvo, during a demonstration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It is said that the system is also implemented to activate the car’s hazard lights, sending an alert to nearby cars when they are activated to notify other drivers of potential hazard lying on the road ahead.

Technology such as this one seems to be a keyword in the industry, having scientists working on even more complex systems. However, compared to others, Volvo’s vehicle-to-vehicle system is said to be coming out as soon as next year, having it be implemented in the successor model of XC90 SUV.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information