With the majority of kinks worked out of the vehicle's design (we ended up adding a light but functional fairing, or shell-shaped windshield, and a sun awning), it was time to address the actual logistics of a cross-country road trip.
When I talked to Tanner Foust a few days before he attempted to break Johnny Greaves's 2009 four-wheel jump record of 301 feet, there was one question I had to ask: Really? The three-time X Games gold medalist, Hollywood stunt driver (Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, Dukes of Hazzard, Bourne Ultimatum) and host of the History channel's Top Gear USA laughed. "Yeah. Why are we doing this? It looks daunting on paper, but when you break down the science – certain miles per hour over this distance, ramp like this – you just make sure you hit that mark and let physics do its job. For a jump like this, it's all just science."
By Pierce HooverPosted 05.31.2011 at 9:36 am 1 Comment
Just weeks away from the start of the tour, we found ourselves with a working chassis, but without a body-like structure. Assembling and tuning the electric drive system had taken longer than we expected, but now we had to turn our attention to the problem of what this car would even look like.
Electric cars might be the future, but for some uses, like the demands of a delivery truck, they just don't have the power or range quite yet. But that doesn't mean giving up and using inefficient materials and construction while waiting for the electric revolution to come. UPS is testing out prototype plastic trucks that reduce the usual truck weight by 1,000 pounds, increase the mileage by up to 40%, and are even more easily serviced.
Someday your car will give you recommendations on where to eat, suggest more efficient routes between home and work, and even monitor your health. But for now it's just keeping tabs on your driving habits, recording your behavior in case it needs to be reconstructed after an accident.
Federal officials are poised to announce next month that all cars must contain a black box, similar to that installed on airplanes, to give authorities a glimpse of your activities in the event of a car wreck. The devices could help pin down what happened in the moments before a crash, helping authorities determine who is at fault for what, and eliminating uncertainty from human witnesses.
DETROIT — Within the next couple years, your car will notice if you have low blood sugar and tell you to have a snack; check local pollen counts and roll up your windows to prevent an allergy attack; and at lunch time, give you directions to the nearest healthy-eating establishment, pausing your iPod to broadcast the restaurant’s menu.
Using a suite of new apps Ford announced Wednesday, personalized medicine could soon be as simple as revving your engines. Now we just need someone to record some lines as KITT.
By Pierce HooverPosted 05.19.2011 at 10:55 am 7 Comments
We expected efficiency to be the key challenge as we constructed our cross-country, ultralight electric vehicle. After all, we'd decided the car would use no more electricity than a continuously burning 100-watt light bulb. But durability turned out to be equally important. This car wouldn't be like the high-efficiency concept EVs that are confined to indoor tracks at universities and research facilities--this would be taking me and my son over mountains. Lots of mountains.
Google’s self-driving cars aren’t even close to being commercially available, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t paving the way for their eventual rollout. Google is lobbying for legislation in Nevada that would make that state the first in which their cars could legally be driven on public roads, the NYT reports.