Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Driverless Pod Cars Transport Passengers Around London's Heathrow Airport

pod cars
Driverless cars are just catching on in this country, but they’re already zooming around London’s main airport, ferrying passengers from their people-driven cars to the terminal.

Twenty-two of these automated pods are operating at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the shiny new terminal occupied by British Airways. They were built to replace a duo of diesel buses that formerly drove in a loop from the car parks to the terminal, pausing at various stations no matter how many people were present.

The electric-power pods, which can accommodate up to four travelers and their bags, travel up to 25 mph along 2.4 miles of paved guideways, which can be customized to fit any path. They don’t require a special railway or magnetic field — just lines that can be used for optical navigation. The pods can even maneuver through light snow, according to their manufacturer, ULTra PRT. The New York Times says the autonomous pods have not been in any accidents.

The first trials started in April, and service became fully operational this summer when the buses were removed from rotation, the Times says.

Passengers have to press "start" when they get in, to ensure efficiency and to prevent people from making the pods move while they’re empty. About 800 people per day use the pods, the Times says.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New Autopilot Cars in the Planning

Autopilot car
An autopilot car that can drive without a human controlling it is the auto-industry’s latest vision as it continues its quest for a future where accidents are nonexistent. The views on using technology for something like this are still mixed.

A couple of major car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, have expressed an interest in this new auto piloted vehicle, while others like Volvo remain unconvinced, insisting that humans should be in control of their vehicles at all times.

Volkswagen has plans to release an auto piloted vehicle that will be able to control driving tasks like steering and speed. This is not the first attempt at an auto piloted vehicle by Volkswagen. The company has been working on the development of a new type of automated vehicle for over six years now.

In 2005 Volkswagen won a contest for the best automated vehicle. The vehicle in question was a Touareg soft-roader which was able to drive over 200 kilometers by itself in off-road conditions.
Although the company has had some mild success with these earlier models, they mainly served to pave the way for their new and improved Temporary Auto Pilot system, also known as TAP.

This new system uses components which are already ready for production. The first vehicles in this range produced by Volkswagen were complicated and needed processors, cameras and many other technological gadgets. This new range of vehicles will run with the help of a cruise control that can adapt to different situations.

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BMW i4, i5 next to join the BMW i family: report

Following last week’s unveiling of the all-new BMW i3 and BMW i8 electric and plug-in vehicles, rumours have started circulating about the next additions to the line-up, said to be the i4 and i5.

The i3 all-electric city car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will hit the market in 2013 as the first vehicles in the new BMW i family.

According to BMW Blog contributor and brand insider, Scott27, the i4 will be a smaller two-seater sports car based on the i3 with a design influenced by the i8.

“i4 would offer a plug-in electric or range-extended electric drivetrain. The idea comes from not everybody will be able to afford the i8 but here is the more accessible offer.”

Scott27 says the i5 will be a much more important vehicle for the brand, however, as it will feature a more practical, family oriented sedan layout.

“i5 is seen as the ultimate test for BMW i and will be a mid-sized four door sedan-esque coupe again using the powertrain from the BMW i8.”

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Friday, August 05, 2011

New Chevrolet launched in Windhoek

chevrolet captiva
Auas Motors, the Opel, Chevrolet and Isuzu dealer in Namibia, this week officially launched the new version of one of its most popular models, the new Chevrolet Orlando and Captiva in Windhoek.
Speaking at the launch, Tim Hendon, Chevrolet brand manager at General Motors South Africa said its company launched a Chevrolet Captiva sport utility vehicle (SUV) with a fresh new look.
He added that the new Captiva ushered in a new era of design when it was first launched in the international market five years ago.
According to Hendon, the new car was designed by a fresh and youthful design team that drew on global inputs and design cues to define this mid-sized SUV for world markets.
“The design includes a number of interior upgrades, improved power trains for better performance and efficiency, refinements to the chassis, a new advanced electronics package and lower interior noise and vibration levels,” he said.
The latest Captiva is immediately identifiable by its new face defined by a dual-port grille with black honeycomb inserts, chrome surrounds and prominent Chevrolet bow-tie insignia set in a body colour grille surround.
The engine choice of the new car is now between a 2.4 litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine or a 3.0 litre V6 direct injection petrol engine. Both are latest generation engines from Chevrolet.
“A new headlamp treatment sees the lamp clusters sweep forward into the front corners of the vehicle with polycarbonate lenses providing a smooth surface over the functional elements of the lamp cluster. The overall sleek appearance of the Captiva is defined by a swept windscreen and roof line that provide a sleek aero profile. The side view is complimented by a tight tyre-to-body relationship imparting a well-grounded appearance,” said Caroline Thomas, product communications manager of General Motors South Africa.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Nissan to unveil their new sedan on 3rd August

Nissan India will unveil its new sedan, which is based on the same V-platform as the Micra on the 3rd of August.

Nissan had launched the Micra petrol in mid-2010 and launched the diesel version of the Micra by the end of 2010.

The new sedan is known as Sunny in the Chinese market. This new sedan will come with 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine options.

Watch this space for more updates on the new Nissan sedan.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hyundai Equus gets 2011 top large premium car honors

Another day, another honor for Hyundai. Competing against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Lexus LS, the perennial leaders, the Hyundai Equus luxury sedan has for the first time earned the top spot on J.D. Power and Associate’s APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) Study for large premium cars.

It marks the first time since the survey’s inception in 1996 that a car other than a Mercedes, BMW or Lexus has claimed the large premium category. The base starting price for the Equus is $58,900.

Hyundai, which began selling cars in the United States in 1986, had its overall biggest jump in the ranking, improving from 28th in 2010 to 15th in 2011.

The study, now in its 16th year, surveys new car buyers after 90 days of ownership, asking them to rate their impression of their vehicle’s design, content, layout, and performance. Vehicles and their brands are scored on a 1,000 point scale.

The Equus totaled more than 900 points, the highest of any individual car.

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