Google Maps is bringing traffic estimates back to its estimated travel time feature, and this time it’s relying on realtime data obtained from third party reports and drivers voluntarily running Google’s “My Location” feature on their Android phones. The reboot hopes to stifle user frustration with the old traffic estimate feature and, hopefully, to make Google Maps a more accurate predictor of transit times in urban areas around the globe.
Future self-driving cars could make traffic smoother and safer, among plenty of other potential benefits, but one thing you don’t hear much about — and should — is their utility for people with physical limitations. For example, Steve Mahan, who has lost 95 percent of his vision. He becomes Google Autonomous Car Driver #1 in the video past the jump.
GPS devices are great, but sometimes I want to throw mine out the window. There’s something so obnoxious about the Garmin voice, especially when you disregard its navigation choice and it tells you it’s “reCALCulating” in that disapproving tone. A new haptic steering wheel concept would be so much friendlier! Instead of smarmy commentary, the wheel simply vibrates to tell you which way to turn.
Early this year, when it became clear that the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf had missed their 2011 sales targets, critics declared the electric-car revolution over. Yet at Detroit's annual North American International Auto Show in January, plug-in cars abounded.
You'll need to rethink the way you drive, literally
By Jon Alain GuzikPosted 02.13.2012 at 12:47 pm 15 Comments
The ActiveE is BMW's all-new electric vehicle, designed as a 'beta' version of the forthcoming i3. Based on the swell little 1 Series Coupe, the Active E uses similar drive train and battery technologies as the i3, but in a less future-luxe package.
BMW says the Active E represents the second part of their three-phase electric vehicle development plan, which will culminate in the series production of the BMW i3 electric vehicle sometime in 2013.
Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster on Earth, drops its passengers a life-flashing 418 feet. Ferrari World's Formula Rossa, the fastest, literally takes riders' breath away at speeds of up to 150 mph. Though thrilling, these are phenomena of degree, not kind. BRC Imagination Arts, a Southern California design firm, has proposed something entirely new: a ride that creates the sensation of zero gravity for up to eight seconds at a time.
By Lawrence UlrichPosted 02.03.2012 at 11:09 am 14 Comments
Since unveiling the 911 Carrera in 1963, Porsche has built many dozens of variations, ranging from convertibles to racing editions to subtly tweaked versions distinguishable only to board members of the Porsche Club of America. Full-blown generational revamps have been rarer. When the seventh Porsche 911 arrives this month, 90 percent of the vehicle's components will be new or redesigned. The result is a car that corners more evenly and consumes less gas, yet is substantially quicker than its predecessors.
By John VoelckerPosted 01.20.2012 at 12:05 pm 28 Comments
Until now, there hasn't been an all-electric car fit for road-tripping. But Tesla's Model S, due out late in 2012, is made for extended drives. Its battery goes up to 300 miles on a charge. Its cabin is spacious enough for seven passengers. And it can get up to cruising speed fast—the Model S accelerates from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds.
Recently I converted my old Ford pickup to diesel, and I needed to make a bracket to hold a throttle position sensor, which helps to control the new transmission. Often I wing this sort of thing, working from notebook drawings or cardboard models. But this time I decided to use 3-D CAD modeling, CNC manufacturing and 3-D printing to design and fabricate the part to the exact specifications I wanted.
The cloud of doom that hovered over the last several North American International Auto Shows is finally gone. Detroit's Cobo Hall was a busy place this week, as the world's automakers unveiled an inspired crop of attractive sedans (many of them hybrids, and some with a plug), sports cars, and concepts. Here's a look at the highlights.