Apple Inc. partners with HERTZ for Driver-less cars testing.

Apple Hertz self driving car

Tip: HERTZ as we all know is one of the leading Car Rental providers in the world. From Airports to Malls, there are thousands of HERTZ outlets in all the leading cities in the world. Due to declining profits and market speculations on what will happen to the CAR RENTAL industry once DRIVER-LESS cars hit the road, the stocks of Hertz holdings have taken a lot of beating. The price has reduced nearly 75% over the past 12 months.

Apple Inc. has always been known to be the forerunner and innovator in any new vertical. From revolutionizing the way you hear music to how you use your mobile phone, they have always been the pioneers of innovation. But this time with the upcoming DRIVER-LESS cars, they are lagging behind Goolge’s WAYMO and TESLA. But this has not stopped the technology giant from proceeding. Apple Inc. has also been silently testing its Driver-less cars technology for the past couple of years ( partnering with a variety of providers ). Many have sighted Apple testing a fleet of Self-driving vehicles powered by tis technology in and around SFO. But now, they have announced this interesting partnership with the Car Rental major Hertz to test their Autonomous technology.

Apple Hertz self driving car

Apple will be leasing the Lexus RX 450h sports vehicle from Hertz ( at their Donlen fleet management unit ). When Apple announced its Car project some years ago, there were huge speculations if APPLE was getting into manufacturing cars. But Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc. has made it very clear that the company will focus more on developing a fantastic technology that would power any Self-driving car than manufacturing the entire car itself. The project is called ‘Titan’ and is headed by Mr. Bob Mansfield.

Apple’s partnership with Car Rental provider Hertz is very interesting as recently Google’s Waymo has partnered with another Rental giant AVIS. This has bought some good hope in the mind’s of investors ( who were worried about the Car rental market ). The shares of Hertz spiked a whooping 13% on release of this news.

What we see is there are 2 sides to this entire Driver-less cars equation. On one side are the Car manufacturers trying to get their vehicles ready for the Autonomous revolution. On the other side are core technology companies that are using the opportunity to develop Software and algorithms required for this market. Jumping into this band wagon are also the good old Microprocessor and chip making companies like Nvidia, Intel etc. As more and more of the game un-folds we will see the raise and change of many industries.

Volvo Joins hands with Nvidia for its Driver-less cars.

Volvo driver-less car

Tit Bits: In CES 2016, CEO of Nvidia Mr. Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the Drive PX2. This is nothing but a supercomputer developed exclusively for the upcoming Driver-less cars. The Drive PX2 comes with the power of 150 Mac Book Pro’s and 12 CPU cores. Nvidia believes that the cars of tomorrow need extensive processing power under its hoods to instantly process inputs from the numerous sensors and cameras that would be equipped in the self-driving cars. Such super powered processors can help Autonomous vehicles even detect things in heavy snow!

The more interesting news is that VOLVO is partnering with NVIDIA to make use of this tremendous computing power. On the other hand Volvo is working with AutoLiv to power the Artificial Intelligence in its own Driver-less cars. VOLVO as we know is the leader in manufacturing safety first cars. They are now bullish in bringing out the most fascinating Driver-less cars by 2021. With such strong partnership and technology, there is no question that VOLVO is going to manufacture a truly amazing and safe Autonomous car.

Nvidia Drive px2 self driving

Volvo and Autoliv have created a joint venture under the name Zenuity. NVIDIA along with Zenuity is hoping to create next generation Machine Learning and deep learning systems that will power the underlying AI to be super aware of any objects, movements and safety threats around the Driver-less cars. It is expected that AutoLiv will also sell this product to other OEMs via. its existing network.

In a statement, the CEO of Autoliv Mr. Jan Carlson said: “We now have full access to the leading computing platform for autonomous driving. Autoliv, Volvo Cars and NVIDIA share the same vision for safe, autonomous driving. This cooperation will further advance our leading ADAS and autonomous driving product and solution offerings to the market.”

Note: VOLVO is known for inventing the SEAT BELT. They made the patent open source so any automobile company can use it for the safety of the passengers.

Volvo driver-less car

The race to create the most intelligent and flawless Driver-less car is getting heat day by day. More and more Car manufacturers ( in fact All ) are jumping into the bandwagon and spending billions of dollars to get their technology ready for this autonomous revolution. We will soon see more and more of partnerships among companies to share and utilize the expertise of each other.

While Tesla and Waymo are leading the run in the Self-driving car space, other Automobile giants like Mercedes, Fiat, Ford, Volkswagon, Volvo are catching up fast. The Driver-less car space has reached extreme maturity and any player not willing to participate can cease to exist in the near future. This has created a lot of heat in the automobile space and every player is spending huge budgets in getting their play right.

What does the Google Waymo deal with AVIS Budget mean?

Driver less cars Waymo Avis

Ok, there are 3 parts to this story.

  1. AVIS Budget: One of the biggest Car Rental companies in the world with thousands of branches word wide.
  2. Google Waymo: Pioneer in developing Driver-less cars software and hardware. Been testing its technology on road for many years now & trying partnership with companies like UBER, LYFT etc. to bring its technology to the roads.
  3. Driver-Less Cars: The hot and happening trend across the globe ( or at-least in leading cities ). Nearly all research firms have unanimously agreed that this is going to be a multi-trillion dollar industry in the very near future.

WAYMO ( the self driving unit inside Google ), has been into Driver-less cars research for many many years. But in the recent years the tech giant seem to slip slightly behind TESLA in being the leader in this Self-Driving cars space. Thanks to the vertically integrated approach by TESLA, they are able to stand out in the Autonomous vehicle race ( as they own both the hardware & the software piece ). Being a car manufacturing company, TESLA was able to go ahead and integrate its Driver-less cars technology into its own cars without any process over-heads and complexities. This led to TESLA to quickly bring the commercial cars on the road with the technology built-in.

Now, its WAYMO’s move & they are doing what they have been doing good historically. ie. Make partnerships with leaders in the space to integrate its technology and hot the road running.

AVIS Budget as we all now does a fabulous job in its niche ie. Car Rentals & can easily be said as the leader in the industry. They have millions of vehicles under their belt serving millions of customers worldwide. With this deal, Waymo an easily get the much wanted advantage to take its Self-Driving technology to the roads in real-time.

Driver less cars Waymo Avis

As of now the deal allows Waymo to deploy its Driver-less cars for testing in Phoenix AVIS facilities. If this works out fine, they can roll it out in more AVIS locations. For AVIS Budget group, its a very important step, as it gives them an early foothold in the Driver-less car rental space ( which is obviously the future of Car Rentals ).

On Monday, Avis officially announced that it would provide the required ” Fleet support and maintenance services ” to the self-driving Waymo cars in the city of Phoenix. And much the amusement of the people in the city, Waymo is offering free rides 🙂

John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo earlier said, “Avis Budget Group is an ideal partner to provide fleet support and maintenance. With thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places.“.

The entire Car Rental industry stocks have been going down steep on speculations about “What will happen to this industry once Driver-less cars comes into scene”. This new deal between Google Waymo & Avis Budget group has bought in positive sentiments & clarity to investors. Avis stock has raised a whooping 14% as a reaction to this partnership.

But still the big question remains. What will happen to the thousands of other small & medium Car rental businesses around the globe. Would they need to create partnerships with such giants to survive? Or is there an alternate solution coming up? Lets wait and see.

Tesla Preparing to Launch ‘Uber-Style’ Mobility Services

Smart car manufacturer and one of the most prominent car innovators, Tesla motors are gearing up for their premium launch of their “Uber-Style” mobility services in the forthcoming year. The news comes fresh off Tesla’s website on self-driving capabilities of the new Models S vehicle that will roll out with fully autonomous features.

Although this service currently remains unnamed Tesla Network, the electric automaker is preparing to enter the field and ride-hailing services that were first introduced CEO Elon Musk in his master plan in July.

“Please note that using a self-driving Tesla for car-sharing and ride-hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year,” read the website’s disclaimer. The market potential for Tesla Network had interested Barclays analyst Brian Johnson enough to write about it in a note to investors quite interestingly. Although a Tesla Network could “excite the market” over its potential earnings stream, it was a costly proposition, he wrote.

“While we think ride-sharing/hailing is the future of mass-market mobility, we have some financial concerns with the idea of an OEM-owned fleet,” Johnson wrote.

Details of these have remained sparse and Tesla says that it will roll out the details on the “Tesla Network” that are to start off next year. Some of the details of these were first released in Elon Musk’s “This past July. Master Plan quote from Musk below:

 

“You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost.

This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.”

 

The Tesla Network apparently goes hand-in-hand with full self-driving at some point too. Musk envisions your car being put to use while your at work, or sleeping or doing something else that doesn’t require use of your own vehicle. Like plenty other automakers, Tesla has been planning on adding mobility services for some time. In Elon’s “Master Plan”, Part Deux” in July, Musk included a system in which a Tesla owner could add a car to a shared Tesla fleer using a simple mobile app.

For the owner of Tesla, it would offer and opportunity to generate income and lower the cost of ownership. In cities where car ownership is lower, Tesla would operate its own fleet, Musk wrote elaborately in his master plan.

Global growth in Uber’s ridership, along with its Pittsburgh self-driving car test project has brought a great deal of attention to the ride-hailing company. Alliances with Toyota and Volvo were formed this year, while potential partnerships with Google and Tesla appear to be fading away.

It’s an interesting fact that Google had invested $ 258 million in Uber as the technology giant explored mobility services that could fir with its self-driving car project. But in May, Google had begun testing a carpooling service that could take business away from ride-hailing leaders Uber and Lyft.

David Drummond, Google parent company Alphabet’s executive said in August that he resigned from Uber’s board because of the increasing competition between the companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. Uber had been using Google’s mapping software for its drivers, but recently began developing its own maps. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick said that when Tesla’s vehicles become fully autonomous, he would be interested in buying every one of them. The comments had been relayed by a venture capitalist during a Silicon Valley awards dinner, and so far appear to have been more of a conversational topic than a business alliance.

 Bottom Line:

With the start of a new era, General Motors has been leading the way this year is mobility services through its investment in Uber’s competitor Lyft and through starting up its Maven car sharing division. Ford had also taken the opportunity to introduce Smart Mobility and announced acquisition of Chariot that happens to be an app-based, crowd-sourced shuttle company and collaboration with Motivate to launch Ford GoBike in San Francisco. An interesting fact is that mobility solutions have gone way beyond automakers could ever imagine. Around $ 27 billion dollars into the ride services sector have been invested in the past decade. Let’s wait for more mobility solutions worldwide.

 

Alternative fuels and fuel-powered vehicles

Fuel isn’t getting any cheaper but with the rise in population, there is plenty of demand for vehicles. While there are various alternative fuels, alternative vehicles to gasoline, there are hybrids, electric cars too. But, what if there were cars that run on alternative fuels that sound too wacky to be true? Sounds like I’m goofing around right? But, the following article speaks otherwise. You’re sure to be baffled and stunned after reading the various alternative sources that can power vehicle.

With the price of $ 4.00 a gallon, gas prices aren’t a distant memory and hence alternative fuels are all the rage to cut expenditures. What would happen if the vehicles ran out of the existing fuels, how would travel be possible then? Between hydrogen fuel cells, bio diesel, electricity and compressed air, the industrialized world is hard at work creating the next generation of non-oil consuming vehicles. These new, eco-friendly chariots deserve at least as much attention and fanfare as the fuels that power them, especially these 7 models that are certainly worth propagating.

7. Hydrogen fuel cells:

Hydrogen powered cars… Hmmmm, why didn’t I think of that? Well, anyways the prospect of hydrogen-powered cars has been enticing eco-friendly motorists for years. In fact, car-makers are grappling with a whole host of technical challenges to efficiently store hydrogen in a vehicle or how to prevent it from freezing and/or catching fire and this has not stopped the creation process of fuel-efficient, hydrogen-powered proof of concept cars. Mercedes Benz is one such company that has taken that one extra step to bring out a luxuriant bad boy into the market with a hefty price tag.

6. Compressed air:

Compressed air? You’ve got to be kidding, or may be not. This is quite tantalizing among all other alternate fuel sources because its Compressed AIR!!.  That’s pretty much what it takes to get this car on the go. The concept was designed by French engineers and was supposed to be available to American drivers by 2010. The AIRPOD works on a similar concept and albeit its challenges, it is noteworthy. The concept that was designed on compressed air required nothing more than compressed air to cruise around at the speed of 35 MPG. The advantage is that this car is supposedly an affordable one and is to bag a price tag of $ 20,000/-.

5. Vegetable Oil:

This is a drool worthy concept to environmentalists and tree huggers. The idea of developing a car that runs on Vegetable oil seems pretty wacky to say the least. Ever since the idea was first proposed, the reality is pretty much in existence from its proposed state. Experts at Volkswagen have developed with their clean conscience a bio diesel-powered beetle and this requires very little waiting time. There is a fleet readily available for sale/rent. HQ in Maui, this is the nation’s first ever Bio-Beetle, so yaay for environmentalists.

4. Ethanol

Most of us are already using ethanol in our vehicles, as federal law requires a certain percentage of it to be in the gasoline we buy. But by 2010, Suzuki Motor Company begin selling cars that are completely, 100% powered by it. Where’s the car if its real you ask?

There’s a picture below that proves the point. The first ever car to run on this technology was the E25 sedan that was to go on sale in Brazil.

 

3. H20 (Gulp!! Yes, you read that right…WATER!!)

Japanese car (called the Genepax) can travel roughly 80 kilometers per hour, for an hour, on just one liter of water as its fuel source. Hydrogen electrons from water power this car in order to produce electricity that in turn is used to power up this car. To all the critics who so dismissively assumed no car could ever run on water, the Genepax is a most welcome retort!  Meanwhile, there is another car being developed in India by a small autopreneur who is using a similar concept.

2. Electrical power

Bzzrrrttt, hell yeah!! If a car can run on veggie oil, why not electricity? Believe you me, this is possible and this is no fantasy. There is a vehicle that has been designed by the French automaker we all love (Peugeot) who conceptualized this car and this car looks pretty space age-ish with its flaunt worthy 2 seats and such. Its 2 huge front wheels can also rotate at different speeds and swivel a full 360 degrees. There has been no announcement on when this car would come to reality, but doesn’t just reading all of this motivate you? I sure am!!

1. Wood pellets (aka Biomass)

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

If the above astonishments haven’t taken you by surprise, then how about a dose of wood? The car pictured here literally rubs on wooden pellets. That’s right – essentially the same thing one might burn in a wood stove or campfire for heat is what powers this rugged, outdoors-y vehicle. Its all part of what is known as biomass, a catchall term referring to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel.

Bottom Line:

Hope these alternative sources have blown your mind, if not try some vegetable oil 😛

 

2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

BMW is a known player in the field of plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs. After having debuted its super fabulous i8 super car in the year 2014, the bars have certainly been raised and now its time to perform better. Its 2016 and the market demands more, owing to change in the trends and preferences, the company has launched the X5 xDrive40e series that also happens to be BMW’s 1st non i-brand PHEV. This also entails upon the German automaker’s entry into the small yet expanding luxury PHEV SUV segment. Albeit it’s new entry, the xDrive40e is built on the tried and true X5 car platform.

This is reminiscent of the X5 that was one of the first luxury SUV’s that had debuted around 17 years ago and now the X5 xDrive 40e takes the same tradition that involved combining sophisticated utility along with fun, performance along with standard all-wheel drive together in one fat and luxurious package. BMW adds to this limited electric-only operation via a lithium-ion battery pack and emission-free operation—but it all comes at a premium price.

What powers this machine?

The 2016 BMW X5 xdrive 40e comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline powered engine that has 240 HP power and an additional 111-horse power electric motor. The total power generated by this beast is 308 Hp and that’s no joke. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes.

Interiors and features:

In terms of features, this vehicle comes equipped with xenon adaptive headlights with dynamic auto-leveling along with Corona rings, LED fog lights, hill descent control, adaptive cruise control, power-folding and heated side mirrors, four-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and driver’s seat memory functions, keyless entry and ignition, a sliding panoramic moon-roof with a power interior sunshade, front and rear parking sensors, and interior ambient lighting. On the tech side, you get the BMW Assist tele-matics system, Bluetooth for phone and audio, BMW Online and BMW Apps connectivity, the iDrive infotainment interface with a touchpad controller, a navigation system with a 10.2-inch display and real-time traffic information, 3D maps, and a 200GB hard drive.

The standard audio system features CD/DVD, AM/FM HD Radio, satellite radio, USB, aux-in, and 20GB of storage for audio files. Special PHEV tech includes BMW eDrive with range and charging-status display, charging station search, charging timer, and cabin preconditioning via the My BMW Remote app.

The M Sport trim adds 20-inch M wheels, an aerodynamic kit, special exterior trim, an M steering wheel with paddle shifters, aluminum roof rails, multi-contoured front seats, interior wood trim, and an anthracite headliner.

How technically sound is this car?

The biggest technical advantage of the BMW X5 x Drive 40 e is the PHEV technology that comes on board. An eDrive button in the center console is used to click through the power train settings. The default Auto mode allows the gas engine and electric drive systems to work together, while Max locks the vehicle into all-electric mode until the battery is depleted. There’s also a Save Battery setting that conserves the battery’s energy for Max use later. There is an iDriver controller and a touch pad on top that although takes some getting used to but it’s a nice and convenient management option. As with all BMWs, the xDrive40e uses hybrid connectivity, so some features are available via an embedded SIM card, such as online search, while others, like several streaming music services, are delivered through the BMW Apps platform and your smart phone.

 

Pricing:

Getting onto the most essential part of this article, the pricing. In terms of pricing, the 2016 BMW X5 xdrive 40e comes with an introductory price of $ 62,000 and comes available in various trims. Pay an extra $ 1100 and get the luxury line, while the xLine is priced at $ 2000 extra. The Sports costs $ 4350 more. The additional accessories carry a separate price tag in case you require any of them.

Performance:

In terms of performance, the xDrive40e offers superb spirited performance that comes with quick acceleration and incredible handling. A point to be noted is that this car only has a minimum of 14 miles of electric-only range and has a fuel economy of 25 mpg on highways. It takes around 3 hours to charge the battery with the 3.6 kW onboard charger with 240-volt. While the factory-supplied 120-volt charging cord that plugs into any standard wall socket takes about seven hours to recharge a completely depleted battery. That’s sadly a turnoff for electric cars.

Bottom Line:

The main question arises that is this vehicle worth the money and is the worth spending 60K+ on? Well, if you take plenty of short trips in electric-only mode, the vehicle would be a safe bet.

 

 

Kia boosting hybrid; electric rides by 2020

Kia is increasing its plans to get into the market and it is continuing its plans to significantly increase the number of green cars in its future lineup. The company is the child company of Hyundai and they hope to become the second biggest seller of green cars worldwide after Toyota.  This is going to involve more hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric cars and some hydrogen fuel-sell cars.

Michael Cole, in a tellurian lineup’s European trainer pronounced, “the sum will embody new variants of existent models, such as a hybrid chronicle of a Kia Optima hire automobile sole in Europe, and a plug-in hybrid chronicle of a Niro hybrid application vehicle”.

The total of this is going to include a new variant of existing models, such as a hybrid version of the Kia Optima station wagon sold in Europe, and a plug-in hybrid version of the Niro Hybrid utility vehicle. Its hybrid and plug-in hybrid power trains are lifted from the Hyundai Sonata, which shares a platform with the Optima.

In 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the Niro is Kia’s first dedicated hybrid model and Kia calls it a crossover, but the Niro’s styling is somewhere between wagon and SUV, and it will launch with only front-wheel drive available. The Soul EV will most likely be the only battery-electric model for now. The electric version of the funky compact Soul is only sold at certain dealers in the U.S states deemed by Kia to be sufficiently electric-car-friendly. European boss Cole also said Kia will launch its first production hydrogen fuel-cell car “around 2020.”

The proposal suggests that the new model would likely use the second-generation fuel-cell power train being developed for parent Hyundai’s next hydrogen model. The next fuel cell Hyundai is expected to roll out in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics, which are to be held in South Korea. A Kia variant would likely follow, though little else is known about it at this point. Hyundai has hinted that its next fuel-cell vehicle will be another crossover, replacing the current Tucson Fuel Cell.

Kia may follow Hyundai’s lead and offer a fuel-cell crossover as well, but no details about the model have been confirmed.

Meanwhile, the launch of the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback with hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric power trains will likely go a long way toward meeting Hyundai/Kia’s ambitious green-car goal.

Here’s and example as to how Kia is setting up measures of creating hybrids, the 2017 Kia Niro cuts a fine example on how the strategy is working slowly but on the right track.

 The 2017 Kia Niro:

The 2017 Kia Niro is a dedicated subcompact hybrid crossover; the only one on the market, and it offers a good way to combine high fuel efficiency with ever-more-popular crossover styling.

The 2017 Kia Niro breaks new ground as the first dedicated hybrid crossover SUV–which is to say, there’s no gasoline-only Niro. It joins the world’s limited roster of dedicated hybrids, which is headed by the Toyota Prius, now in its fourth generation. The latest entry besides the Niro is the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, which shares underpinnings with the new Niro.

Given the surging popularity of car-based crossover utility vehicles, the subcompact Niro may find an audience among buyers of small SUVs who want high fuel efficiency–Kia is targeting an EPA rating of 50 mpg combined–but avoid conventional hatchbacks. While the newest Kia has a crossover shape, however, Kia has not yet mentioned offering all-wheel drive–but we suspect it’s on the way. And for the smallest SUVs, often used mostly in cities, that may not be as much of a drawback as for larger family haulers.

The lines of the Kia Niro neatly split the difference between what could be considered a conventional wagon and a genuine utility vehicle. It’s just thick enough through the cowl and front end to qualify as a sleek crossover, led off by the characteristic Kia grille and etched in smoothly rounded lines. Think of it as a sleeker, butcher version of the similarly sized Kia Soul tall wagon, if you like.

 

Power train:

That power train uses a 103-horsepower direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, running on the ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle, combined with the company’s own six-speed dual-clutch transmission. In between those two components, a 32-kilowatt (43-hp) electric motor contributes its own torque and can propel the car on its own under some driving conditions. Kia quotes combined power output at 146 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The company said its “strong and confident” look is atypical of dedicated hybrids, and indeed there’s almost nothing in its lines to indicate the advanced powertrain underneath. Despite the crossover shape, though, Kia says careful aerodynamic work has reduced the drag coefficient to 0.29, low for any kind of utility vehicle.

Bottom Line:

Kia seems like a pretty confident brand guided by its parent company, Hyundai. The company seems to have plenty of promise and potential that should give a boost of hybrid cars by the year 2020.

HYPERLOOP: Is this the future of traveling?

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where brilliant minds explore, innovate and create something exceptional is what our article is going to take us through. Historic innovations, latest technology legendary things have happened here.

The MIT team is one of the several ones working on the future of traveling. Yes, I am talking about the Hyperloop, a vision for insanely rapid travel put forth by Silicon Valley’s most interesting and one of the most successful men, Elon Musk.

We know the Tesla man in the automobile world but he is the driving force of Hyperloop. The commute from San Francisco to Los Angeles that is currently a few minutes shy of 5 hours or approximately an hour’s journey by flight could be cut to just 30 minutes.

Yes, Hyperloop is definitely the future of travel.

So,What is Hyperloop?

Hyperloop is a conceptual transport system in which passengers are loaded into pods and fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600mph (1,000km/h). This sounds more like something you’d see right off some sci-fi movie or a spy movie. However, prototype pods have already been tested and a running along magnetic tracks much like the maglev trains that are currently used in countries such as Japan.

Air pumped out of the tubes reduces resistance that allows high speeds to be achieved. This potentially used less energy than a normal train.

This breakthrough idea could most certainly reduce journey times over long distances. That being said, there is more to it than meets the eye and the eye looks at various challenges before the idea becomes reality.

Mr Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX published a white paper outlining a way to use airtight tubes to propel pods at speeds of up to 1130 km/h, he set a challenge to anyone and everyone who wanted to build the technology.

There’s a small twist to it. Mr Elon is not paying the firms. However, he has committed to funding a series of tests. His target is set to the year 2021 where humans would travel on Hyperloops around the world. The MIT team is one of more than 20 non-commercial groups also designing a Hyperloop pod – with money coming from SpaceX in the form of a competition.

Phases:

The project was split over 2 phases. A design contest that MIT, had won in January and an on-track test, which is coming up in summer. This might either be it or it could also be a colossal waste of time. The barriers to Hyperloop becoming a reality are enormous.

How does Hyperloop work?

With all that’s said, the obvious question arises. How does Hyperloop work?

Air Bearings or Maglev:

FRICTION!!!

That’s one of the major problems that anything that moves faces. Friction against surfaces and the environment. But, Hyperloop proposes to move away from traditional wheels by using air bearings for pods instead. This will have the pod floating on air. This concept is similar to maglev in which the electromagnetic levitation of the train means that there is no friction like a traditional train that runs on tracks.

  • Fun Fact: The Maglev can achieve speeds up to 500 km/h in Japan.

There is another proposal from Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that uses passive magnetic levitation. This means magnets are on the trains and work with aluminum tracks. Current active maglev needs powered tracks with copper coiling, which can be expensive. Hyperloop will take this technology to another level and would take traveling through low-pressure tubes.

The Hyperloop is built in tunnels that have had some of the air sucked out to lower the pressure. So, like high altitude flying, there’s less resistance against the pod moving through the tunnel, meaning it can be much more energy efficient, something that’s highly desirable in any transit system.

The air bearing and passive maglev ideas are designed not only to levitate the pod, but also see the pod moving through the air, rather than pushing the air in front of it and dragging it along behind. The air cushion will see the air pumped from the front of the pod to the rear via these suspension cushions.

The tunnels envisioned are metal tubes, elevated as an over ground system. Musk has suggested that solar panels running on the top of the tunnels could generate enough electricity to power the system. It could also run as an underground system too.

 

Proposed speeds:

Hyperloop is being proposed as an alternative to short distance air travel where the system will be much faster than existing rail networks and much cleaner than flights.

Speeds of over 700mph are suggested for journeys, but there are practical implications that have to be considered on a short stop-start journey, such as the acceleration and deceleration sensation that passengers would go through.

Hyperloop in Action:

Currently, Elon Musk has barely announced much about the Hyperloop. There is going to be a 1-mile track built by SpaceX adjacent to Hawthorne, its California headquarters. The plan is to have a competition for students with their various pod designs in the summer of 2016.

The planning documents that have already been shown off planned a route between LA and San Francisco, a 354-mile journey, which would cost around $6 billion in construction. This is based on a passenger-only model whereas one that can also transport vehicles too would be $7.5 billion. This extra expenditure would be worth it since more people could use the system, offering potentially larger returns.

How much will Hyperloop cost to a layman?

According to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies CEO Dirk Ahlborn the cost of a ticket should be around $30 mark to get a passenger from LA to San Francisco. That, he says, should allow the company to pay back its initial costs in eight years. Weather this will actually be the final price of a ticket remains to be seen. To my opinion, you’ve got to have some deep pockets in order to commute on Hyperloop. But, its totally understandable that the company needs to achieve its ROI at the earliest.

Bottom Line:

Innovation is exciting. You’d definitely want to travel once in a life time on the Hyperloop if not commute.

Arch Motorcycles- The Keanu Reeves brand

Matrix superstar Keanu Reeves is an absolutely marvelous person by heart and in the motorcycle world. Sounds a bit absurd right? Well, the 50 year old actor’s dream (just like most celebrities) started off by wanting a custom made bike. Instead, Keanu ended up owning a bike company (sigh!! Celebrities and their lifestyle)

Anyhow, the actor says that he had a “Harley Davidson Dyna” that he wanted to customize and what he was doing was, well lets just say “up to the mark”

That’s when Reeves says “I met Keith Oliver at Bill Walls, who was doing some custom seats, and I wanted a sissy bar. And he was like, ‘Yeah, this dude needs some help.’ He called Gard Hollinger, and we rode over later that day. Hollinger just looked at me and said, ‘You know, I don’t make sissy bars, but why don’t you come inside and see what we do here?’

 

ARCH:

Keanu Reeves chose the company’s name “Arch” because an arch “Provides strength, connection and passage.” Many models were bandied about- Enemy, Nemesis as well as Rival. Later, they settled on the alphanumeric KRGT-1.

"Arch Motorcycles"
“Arch Motorcycles”

So, What’s this bike all about?

Arch’s first motorcycle looks pretty modish and built for the 21st century. The bike comes with its proprietary S&S powered 2032 cc Twin Cam V-Twin phone that is a Harley Davidson “clone” motor however, the styling of this bike is of a “sport cruiser” the likes of which haven’t been since Victory’s V92SC. This bike is just downright impressive and it should be. Bikes such as these come from a 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility and there is definitely something with it.

It has a 2-piece gas tank that isn’t something you’d probably be reminded of the Fat Bob. It comes machined from aluminum billet and it also houses a K&N air cleaner that comes accompanying a downdraft induction system.

SPECIFICATIONS
|Arch KRGT-1
ENGINE TYPE|OHV V-twin
DISPLACEMENT|2032cc
SEAT HEIGHT|27.8 in.
FUEL CAPACITY|5.0 gal.
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT|538 lb.
PRICE|$78,000

 

Design:

The road race-style solo tail is engineered from billet and is weight-bearing. This bike carries plenty of design touches that are stunning. The arch double-cradle steel frame is coupled to the billet swing arm along with billet side plates. The bike has a billet oil tank that accompanies the engine and its gearbox. It also carries a bandit belt working with right-side chain final drive. It also has an upswept yoshimura exhaust with carbon-fiber end cap. That said, it also has a cove-style reflective Led taillight along with tidy bar-end mirrors. Buyers have the liberty to choose 2 or 3-inch bar risers, forward or mid-controls along with narrow or wide-mounted foot pegs. All of these come machined from billet and they are created using a sophisticated computer-aided design program. Strangely enough, this bike has no brand name or model designation anywhere on the bike except the dash.

"Arch Motorcycles"
“Arch Motorcycles”

The KRGT-1 has a long 68-inch wheelbase and its 613 pounds heavy. The bike comes with heavy muscle and respectable composure along with ISR brakes that carry twin 6-piston calipers up front that provide immense stopping power. Its rear suspension is also designed in such a way that makes up for an exceptional cruiser. The rear 240/40-18 Michelin commander tire makes the KRGT-1 feel like nothing so much as a Diavel. It comes with a 6-speed baker gearbox that helps immensely. The KRGT-1 that’s based on a custom Harley-Davidson Dyna that Reeves brought to Arch co-founder Gard Hollinder half-finished with a passenger seat and sissy bar. It’s almost a café racer.

"Arch Bikes"
“Arch Bikes”

Costs:

This is by far something that makes a boutique brand unique from the rest. Wondering about the costs that go into making the KRGT-1? Well, you’ve got to know that the company plans to sell only 50 units of this motorcycle. Here comes the major part, this motor cycle is priced at a whooping $ 78,000/-. It’s certainly stunning to hear such a huge price tag. Many would consider settling in for a luxury car rather than settling in for this expensive a bike. But, if you are really in for limited edition bikes and you want to settle for nothing less, this is certainly worth the dollars you spend. After all, its got Keanu Reeves vouching for it.

 

“Keanu’s Bike”

Bottom Line:

The KRGT-1 is an exceptionally designed motorcycle that comes at a premium price. This isn’t a bike that you would come across every day. It redefines a completely new sector named sports cruisers. It’s bikes like these that will set a rider apart from the rest.

Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100- self-driving luxury

If you’ve got enough dough to drive around in a chauffeur driven ultra-luxury car, here’s a car that defies all that you’ve believed in and give you an entirely different perspective.

The idea of self-driving cars isn’t something that you might find fresh. But, like every other car manufacturer, Rolls Royce wanted to join the league but differently.

Rolls Royce Vision Next 100

On the 16th of June, Rolls Royce, at a press event held in London, the luxury carmaker unveiled its newest concept car that goes by the name Rolls-Royce 103EX, its vision of what the future of one-percenter travel will look like. Without further wordplay, here’s what the Vision Next 100 looks like:

Interiors:

Open the single door that brings you into a space that is uniquely designed for the disgustingly wealthy people. The interiors comprise of a cream colored textured finish with a whole lot of wood paneling.

Seats? Oh that? Well, that’s quite old school. Here’s something better:

Rolls, instead of seats have opted for a silk-covered couch. Or, to use the company’s own words: “A beautifully textured, ivory-colored luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed, and from which they command.”

 

This happens to be Rolls Royce’s vision of the next 100 years of extravagant automobiles and this is certainly next generation. The car comes with incredible technology, the most advanced features and plenty more.

It also seems to have some sort of holographic internal display that forms its logo out of semi-luminescent specs that swirl around the interior of the car. According to a video from Rolls-Royce, it’s an AI assistant with a “soul,” called Eleanor. It’s unclear whether this would be part of an additional upgrade package, or a futuristic version of OnStar.

Very soon, Eleanor will become a Rolls-Royce owner’s personal digital assistant and chauffeur. The future system’s artificial intelligence allows ‘her’ to remind occupants about itineraries, schedules, appointments and other tasks which apps such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Now already do.

However, Eleanor can do something neither of the aforementioned assistants can do: drive your Rolls.

Exteriors:

The outside of this palace styled car looks like something ripped right out of the retro-futurist settings of a Tim Burton Batman film. Although, this is a concept car, the Vision NEXT 100 not only continues the spirit of Rolls-Royce’s elegance, but steps into the world of advanced driver assists by introducing the “Voice of Eleanor” (Eleanor is the winged female visage gracing each Rolls-Royce hood).

The concept car is electric, has a self-stowing luggage compartment, and doesn’t need a steering wheel or dashboard, as those would be “superfluous in this model,” Rolls-Royce claims.

Once at its destination, the VISION NEXT 100’s glass canopy will lift, giving room for occupants to stand while still being sheltered from the elements. The doors of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 will then automatically open and a running board will slide out with a splash of red light simulating the red carpet entrance every time a person exits the car.

Narrow, 28-inch wheels created from 65 individual pieces of aluminum will convey owners to their destination in a “futuristic catamaran”. Through Rolls Royce VISION NEXT 100 ‘Grand Sanctuary’ concept, customers will be surrounded by handcrafted wood paneling (similar to many other Rolls-Royces) with a generous OLED screen viewable from the rear passenger ‘sofa’.

Since this view of the future is a fully-autonomous vehicle, there’s no need for unsightly steering wheels or other inconvenient contrivances. In fact, the VISION NEXT 100 could be mistaken for a small viewing room on wheels, filled with a transparent screen, pillows, sumptuous interior materials, and drapery.

In the similar fashion that the ‘Spirit of Ecstacy’ design was used for the vehicles of the past, the Voice of Eleanor will be the guiding theme for vehicles of the future. And, of course, the graceful Eleanor figure will still stand front-and-center on the ‘futuristic catamaran’.

The designers say the 28-inch wheels; hand built using 65 individual sections of aluminum is enclosed creating the impression that the car is skimming across the road’s surface.

“The Rolls Royce patron will continue to be a famous figure in the future” says the director of design, Giles Taylor.

“I envision that the Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 will play a key role in these people’s lives, guiding and conveying them effortlessly through their life’s journey in an exquisite sanctuary where they can reflect in peace ahead of arriving in the grandest style.”

Bottom Line:

While there’s no guarantee that a vehicle like this will be hitting the streets of the nicer parts of town anytime soon—or even at all—it does show that Rolls Royce has a plan for bringing its distinctive brand of conspicuous consumption into the self-driving age. “In a future where transport is commoditized—void of beauty, space and form-RR will definitely stand apart” the company said on its webpage.