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  • Google patent would glue pedestrians to self-driving cars

    Google just got a patent for a special kind of coating on self-driving cars that could help prevent pedestrian injuries.
    The company wants to coat autonomous vehicles with a sticky substance so that if they hit a pedestrian, the person would be glued to the car instead of flying off.

    "[The pedestrian] is not thrown from the vehicle, thereby preventing a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object," says the patent, granted on Tuesday.

    Google (GOOGL, Tech30) explains that an "adhesive layer" would be placed on the hood, front bumper and front side panels of a car. A thin coating would protect it until an impact occurred.

    Google's plan for self-driving cars is well known. The company has been testing its vehicles on roads in California and Arizona and is reportedly looking to hire people to test its cars for $20 an hour.

     

    The company now has 23 self-driving Lexus cars on the road and 34 of its mini prototype cars. The fleet is traveling about 10,000 to 15,000 miles every week in self-driving mode.

    Related: Google takes on Echo and Siri with 'Home' and assistant

    Google believes self-driving cars can help people get around easily and safely, but its vehicles aren't perfect.

    The company says all but one of the accidents so far have been the fault of human drivers in other vehicles. The one accident that Google admitted its self-driving car was responsible for was a fender bender that caused no injuries.

    Google's ultimate goal is to have a system of cameras, sensors and software that can predict and avoid almost all dangerous driving situations.

    "However, while such systems are being developed, it must be acknowledged that, on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian still occur," Google said in its patent filing.

    While the double-sided tape concept could mitigate some pedestrian injuries, the concept is far from ideal if it pinned a victim between the car and another object.

    "Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

    CNNMoney (New York)

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  • NAIAS: NEW AMERICAN SUPERCAR FORCE 1 V10 DEBUTS AT 2016 NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

     

    The high performance low production sports car Force 1 is a two seater with an all carbon fiber body.

    Today an all-new American Super Car 2016 Force 1 V10 was unveiled. It was unveiled by the legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker. Along with the American race car driver Ben Keating during the NAIAS 2016.

    The Force 1 is a two-seat, all carbon fiber-bodied race car. The high-performance, low production sports car was manufactured in Auburn Hills. The car was launched by the new company VLF Automotive. Fisker is a partner and design chief at the VLF Automotive. Bob Lutz is the Chairman at VLF Automotive.

    According to Lutz, Force 1 is another dramatic example of their company. VLF Automotive will be combining proven world-class platforms and components. The elegant designs by the company will produce stunning bespoke luxury sports vehicles. 

    Fisker and Keating entered into a partnership in early 2015. They bonded over their mutual love of cars. They discussed the possibilities which could emerge if their skill sets intersected. 

    "What inspired me most about building this partnership with Ben is that he is the most passionate Viper racer in the world and understands performance metrics in cars, both on the track and on the road, better than anyone I've ever met," said Fisker.

    "He's developed a unique active suspension for superior handling and ride, which is seamlessly integrated into the Force 1, enhancing performance whether on track or road."

    "To work with Henrik as one of the world's best designers to create a super exciting, wide curvy body for this amazing car is the opportunity of a lifetime," Keating said.

    "Plus, it's the perfect vehicle to showcase many of the incredible performance features we've been working on for years. It really is the chance to start with an amazing initial platform to develop an incredible American super car with exceptional design and performance.

    The all carbon fiber body makes the Force 1 V10 a lightweight vehicle. The car contains 21-inch high wheels and high performance Pirelli P Zero tires. It has one of the most powerful naturally aspirated road engines. The car claims to deliver the best performance in its price class. 

    "In the case of Force 1, there is an extremely pushed back green house," Fisker explained.

    "The sculpture on Force 1 is like a family succession to Destino, dramatic and powerful, relative flat surfaces on the high end of the body side, with lines full of tension, emerging onto a rounder lower section, where Force 1 has a large functional outlet. The sculptural hood has unique, large, negative surfaces, as in the family of the Destino, with six highly needed air intakes and outlets for the 745-HP 8.4 L V10 engine. The windscreen wraps around into the side glass, followed by an elegant, yet aggressive side line sweeping up towards the rear deck. The graphics are uniquely sleek with ultra-thin lights in front and UTV laser-blade tail lamps, the thinnest tail lamps in the world, at the rear. The day light opening (DLO), or side window, has a completely new and never before seen graffic that ends up in a sharp spear."

    Supercar Force 1 V10 will go in production at the end of April 2016 in Auburn Hills. Initially only 50 units of Force 1 V10 will be produced.

    And the deliveries of this new American supercar will start in third quarter of current year through Ben Keating's Viper Exchange. This supercar will be available at base starting price of $268,500. 

    The NAIAS (North American International Auto Show) is hosted at the MGM Grand Detroit. 2016 will be the ninth year of the ultra-luxury automotive event. The NAIAS constitutes the release of more than 50 new cars. NAIAS will last from the 16th to the 24th of January, 2016.

     

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  • The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class can almost drive itself

    The 10th generation of the venerable Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a lesson in old world luxury and enough modern technology that the car is almost capable of driving itself.

    Daimler staged the global reveal of the 2017 E-Class in Detroit on Sunday night, the eve of the 2016 North American International Auto Show.

    The midsize luxury sedan is longer than the previous model, with a muscular front end and single-piece taillight.

    For the U.S., the car will go on sale this summer with a turbocharged 2-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine with 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes said there will be more engine choices later. There will be diesel engines for Europe; a plug-in hybrid is expected down the road.

    The car has a nine-speed automatic transmission and the suspension offers sport and comfort modes as well as introducing a new air suspension system to automatically control the ride height depending on how fast the car is going to improve ride and fuel economy.

    The E-Class introduces the idea of touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, which can be swiped like a smartphone to control the infotainment system without having to take hands off the steering wheel. The infotainment system also can be controlled with voice commands or a touch pad with a controller that recognizes handwriting in the center console.

     

    The seats can be heated — along with the door armrests, center console and steering wheel.

    "The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment," said Thomas Weber, head of Daimler's Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

    "The new E-Class takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving," he said.

    The optional Driver Assistance Package Plus will accelerate, brake, steer and change lanes for you. The "Drive Pilot" follows traffic up to 130 m.p.h.. as the "Steering Pilot" reads the surroundings and reacts accordingly. Put on the turn signal and the car will change lanes for you if the lane is clear.

    The automatic braking system watches for vehicles coming at cross streets and can stop the car to avoid collisions. The car also has evasive steering assist which augments the driver’s steering input in sudden maneuvers to avoid an accident.

    The audio system even emits a carefully designed sound when a collision is imminent to cause occupants' eardrums to tense, reducing the likelihood of ear injury from the noise of a collision.

    It is arguably the most technically advanced luxury car on the market. Daimler has received a license in Nevada to test the standard production E-Class as an autonomous vehicle. Other automakers authorized to test in the state have all been research vehicles.

    Pricing for the 2017 model has not been announced.

    Alisa Priddle: source

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  • BMW shows off mirrorless car at CES

     

    The rear-view and side-view mirrors in the i8 are replaced by three cameras and a special screen to show drivers what's behind and around their cars.

    The i8 concept car was unveiled during the CES in Las Vegas.

    Two of the cameras are on the exterior of the car where side mirrors are normally located. But the struts that hold the cameras are significantly slimmer than existing designs.

    bmw i8 concept car side view camera ces 2016

    The third camera is placed inside of the rear window. The car's software stitches all of the video feeds together for a very wide view of the road.

    A high-resolution video is streamed to a screen where the rear-view mirror would be.

    bmw i8 concept car interior mirrorless ces 2016

    "Dangerous blind spots have been consigned to the past," BMW says about this technology. "The image of the traffic behind the car covers a greater viewing angle than could be observed using the interior and exterior mirrors. No adjustment of the cameras is necessary."

    The car's software system will also provide warning signals on the screen if it senses dangerous obstacles.

    Trimming the side mirrors provide more than just improved safety, BMW says. The new design will reduce wind noise because they are "optimized aerodynamically and aeroacoustically."

    The loss of bulky side-view mirrors should also help improve gas mileage, which automakers are always looking to do in order to meet tougher fuel mileage rules.

    The main catch to BMW's idea? The car would be illegal to drive in the United States right now. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules require rear-view mirrors.

    GM has created a similar feature for its new Cadillac CT6. But the CT6 has a standard rearview mirror that can also stream high-resolution video from a camera mounted on the back of the vehicle.

    -- CNNMoney's Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report

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  • BMW Unveils Tech-Packed i8 Spyder Concept at CES 2016

    Automakers around the world spend much energy in the months leading up to CES—the global consumer electronics and technology trade show that takes place every January in Las Vegas—designing their next-generation model with the ultimate goal of impressing consumers while also creating a new wave of technology within the industry. This year, at CES 2016, BMW unveiled i Vision Future, a concept car the German automaker hopes will be the new gold standard in smart interior technology.

    The i Vision Future has a sleek exterior that mimics BMW’s i8 Spyder model (launched in 2012), but the technology inside is what sets the vehicle apart from other prototypes at the 2016 CES thus far. Although the concept car contains all the bells and whistles consumers have come to expect—such as touch-sensitive surfaces, voice control, and connectivity with personal devices—it’s the AirTouch technology that has created buzz.

    Researchers at BMW found a way for sensors to recognise movements made with the hand. This means that the panorama display can be operated without the driver having to actually touch the surface. With the flick of a wrist, for example, i Vision Future drivers will be able to call home, navigate directions, or change the track to an album. Within the BMW i Vision Future, drivers are greeted with an impressive 21-inch panorama display that’s mounted on the passenger-side dashboard. Motorists will be able to seamlessly control functions both inside and outside of the vehicle with the new AirTouch technology.

    bmw-unveils-tech-packed-i8-spyder-concept-ces-2016-02.jpg

    The interior of the BMW i Vision Future, which debuts the company’s AirTouch technology.

    During the presentation, Klaus Fröhlich, a member of the board of management of BMW AG, did not specify when the car would be ready for consumers but said the company would “build it as soon as possible.”

     

     

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