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  New technologies are everywhere and especially in our cars: ABS, airbags, lane change detection, GPS and more...

The continued evolution of carbon fiber doesn’t appear to be slowing down in the auto industry. With the material already being used extensively in almost all sectors of the industry, it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with some new way to use carbon fiber.

Turns out, Carbon Revolution has that new product with the first production one-piece carbon fiber rim.

The claim is that the carbon wheel is 40% to 50% lighter than its aluminum counterparts, improves fuel consumption by 2% to 4%, reduces CO2 emissions, and increases overall efficiency by 5%.

The product was born as a result of what the company says is a decade-long attempt at research and development. Take the admittedly obvious benefits of a lighter and sturdier wheel, and this new product is certainly worth the buzz it’s generating.

“Creating a composite wheel that is made entirely in one piece from continuous fibers is particularly challenging given the significant geometric complexities”, Brett Gass, Carbon Revolution’s engineering director, said.

As a man that has been with the company from the start, Gass’ extensive knowledge in the technology and the subsequent applications allowed them to push past the tribulations of producing a product that could potentially revolutionize the industry.

As far as meeting industry standards are concerned, Carbon Revolution has said that the carbon fiber wheels have met OEM And Certificate Body standards, including SAE 2530, TUV German Aftermarket, and German OEM AK-LH 08 standards.

So when we are reviewing supercars with killer V-8 engines, we are typically talking about 300-plus cubic-inches and hundreds of horsepower. Well, in the world of scale-model building, you have to take all of that muscle and scale it down to a size that can fit into a one-quarter scale model, and that takes some serious engineering.

For anyone that has ever assembled an engine, you know that keeping track of everything, putting the valves in correctly, seating the rings property, and other steps are immensely tedious, due the their complexity. Imagine doing so with everything shrunk down to a quarter of its original size.

That just so happens to be the specialty of Conley Precision Engines, and it has also just released for sale the world’s smallest supercharged, four-stroke V-8 engine. The Conley Stinger 609 displaces 0.1 liters, 100 cc, or 6.09 cubic-inches, depending on which standard of measurement you follow. Regardless of the measurement semantics, this engine is tiny, as it measures just 14 inches long x 6 inches wide x 8.25 inches tall and weighs in at a svelte 11.25 lbs.

As for power, this relative beast can crank out 5.5 horsepower at 9,500 rpm in its naturally aspirated state and hits 9 horsepower when you bolt up the optional supercharger. It’s the latter version that earns this engine it notoriety as a world-record holder.

You can have this engine for a base price of $5,695. Additionally you can add in stainless steel manifolds for $279, a set of polished-stainless manifolds for $595, painted valve covers for $125, high-duration camshaft for $279, and a supercharger for $1,695. That means in total, you can spend upward of $8,353 for this engine – obviously the price isn’t one-quarter scale.

Nine horsepower may not sound like much on the surface, but put in a one-quarter scale car, you will have a car that will easily eclipse the 100 mph mark. To boot, Conley engineered the engine to have the same rumble as any classic muscle that came from Detroit, just a little more high pitched.

Simply awesome.

Click past the jump to see more videos.

Source: Gizmag

So you may have never heard of QNX, but you likely interface with it on a daily basis, given you have a car with a computer-based infotainment system (Toyota Entune, BMW ConnectedDrive, GM’s OnStar, etc.). QNX is essentially to a car what Windows is to a PC – it allows the software and hardware to do their delicate exchange of ones and zeros to turn them into what you see on the screen.

QNX is actually in development of its second-generation operating system, which it has dubbed QNX CAR 2. This may sound like just another small and meaningless software changeover, but CAR 2 will include something that may revolutionize automotive infotainment systems – an HTML 5-based interface.

As it sits now, QNX builds the OS, but the manufacturer works the front end of its software in its own way, leaving the customer out of the equation. The HTML 5 interface will allow the manufacturer to set up the basic functions of the infotainment systems, but ultimately allow you to customize it as you see fit.

Additionally, the usage of HTML 5 will also help lower the gap between consumer electronics and automotive electronics, which currently have a 7- to 10-year gap between product cycles. Heck, your laptop is obsolete before you ever walk out of the store, yet some cars run the same cruddy infotainment systems they did in 2005.

Another huge relief that HTML 5 would bring to the automotive world would be the development of apps. As it stands now, cars are much like the iPhone – you have to buy licensed apps from the app store, which cost loads of money over time. With the introduction of HTML 5, you get the option of more open-source apps, like you do with an Android-based smartphone or tablet. No, we’re not trying to start a Mac vs. Android war; we’re just stating the obvious.

In turn, all of this should – theoretically – make bringing more advanced infotainment systems to the consumer at a lower price.

QNX expects to see CAR 2 start being used sometime in 2013 or 2014. We’ll keep an eye on this and bring you more information as it becomes available.

Check out the above video to see QNX CAR 2 in action, it’s pretty awesome.

In the land where the Transformers were born - no, we’re not talking about Cybertron - a new robot franchise is set to be born and it’s serving notice to everyone that they’ve got the perfect car-to-robot set-up that could potentially replace Optimus Prime and company.

It’s called Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter - no idea what that means - and the early renderings of the characters show some definite promise, particularly the licensed vehicles that are expected to be part of the franchise. Check out the photos and you’ll see that there’s a Toyota GT 86 , a Mazda RX-8 , a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO , and the Godzilla itself, the Nissan GT-R.

Created by Square Enix, the people behind the Final Fantasy video game franchise, Chō Soku Henkei Gyrozetter was first launched recently as an arcade game with an animated film version set to be released later this year.

No word on yet on whether this new animated franchise will head outside Japan, but from the looks of things, we’re expecting a lot based on what we’ve already seen.


On August 31st, the sun spewed a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) that dwarfed the Earth and on September 3rd, it came close enough to Earth to connect with our magnetosphere and cause an Aurora to appear. So what in the world does this have to do with cars? Well, let’s have a look.

In 1859, a huge CME – the last one since, by the way – caused a geomagnetic storm that then caused telegraph systems to fail, shock their operators, and even work while unplugged. Fortunately in those days, they didn’t rely on all of the high-tech things that we do.

Autonomous cars are all the rage lately, as we continue to cover the advances that Google and Cadillac are making in this area. Autonomous cars actually use one of the technologies that Mike Hapgood, a pace weather scientist near Oxford England, says will be hugely affected by a geomagnetic storm of large proportion – GPS.

Imagine if a moderate portion of the cars on the road are using autonomous technology using GPS in some way, like the Google car. People by nature become complacent and comfortable, therefore leading to many of these drivers not paying attention to the road, but instead playing video games, reading the paper, or eating lunch.

If a CME-caused geomagnetic storm should take place and knock out GPS satellites, imagine the massive traffic it would cause, at best. Even worse, it could result in major accidents, should these cars veer off of the road and out of control. That’s a scary possibility that this recent solar flare close call should bring to the forefront. The engineers must devise a backup plan that overrides the GPS part of autonomous driving, should the signal be lost.

This additional engineering process may ultimately delay the public release of these automated cars. If this simply goes by the wayside without any safety measure, besides human intervention, it could cause a serious issue.

Just a little food for thought...

Click past the jump to see two videos of the CME.

Just in case living in Singapore isn’t expensive enough for you and your supercars, a new high-rise residential tower is offering the kind of living arrangements only those with obscene amounts of money can afford.

Forget about the actual home, really. What makes the Hamilton Scotts “Sky Garage Apartments” so unique are the built-in garages that come connected to the actual homes. That’s right, no more worrying about parking spaces on the street because you can take your exotics up to your house with you!

High-tech elevators are in charge of bringing your cars straight from the ground floor all the way up to your home and straight into a glass-enclosed garage. With this kind of set-up, you won’t have to worry about leaving your high-priced exotics where you can’t see them, thus eliminating the dangers of these cars getting stolen.

So what’s the trade-off to have the opportunity to live in one of these homes? A home with a two-vehicle garage will set you back $7.5 million while a penthouse suite with a four-car garage will loosen up your pockets by a whopping $24 million.

Over the past three years, we’ve heard a great deal about Shelley , the autonomous Audi TT-S that was being co-developed between Stanford’s Dynamic Design Lab and the Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab.

Development for Shelley began back in 2009 and since then, the car has been blazing its trails, including its successful run up Pikes Peak in 2010.

Recently, Shelley was back in the hands of Stanford mechanical engineering Associate Professor Chris Gerdes who brought the car to the Thunderhill tracks for the latest round of high-speed tests and software upgrades. These new digs now instruct her when to brake, how tight to take turns, and when to punch the gas. Better yet, Shelley was able to complete the Thunderhill lap in under two and a half minutes, which isn’t stunningly fast, but otherwise impressive for a machine. Shelley is even getting close to the times achieved by actual human, professional drivers.

The testing is still far from completed and Shelley seems to gain new and more important layers in its quest to become one of the first fully autonomous cars. One particular sticking point that has yet to find a solution is the problem of getting a spinning wheel to grip the pavement akin to how it can recover from a slide on a patch of ice.

For now, testing and development for Shelley continues on. If you’re interested to see how the latest round of test runs went, you can check out the video above.

When Honda introduced ASIMO back in 2000 as a humanoid robot, it marked a landmark achievement in technological robotics. Recently, the Japanese automaker launched their follow-up with their first offering to the fast-growing European robotic lawn mower market with the introduction of Honda Miimo, the company’s first commercial robotic product for domestic use.

For all intents and purposes, Honda Miimo is a lawn mower, except that its more than just that. As a robotic lawn mower, Miimo operates what Honda is calling a ’continuous cutting’ system, typically mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week.

Whereas a traditional lawn mower needs to collect cuttings, Miimo creates clippings that are so small that they are dispersed into the lawn root system, which, in turn, breaks down quickly to act as a natural fertilizer, improving the health and quality of the grass that few lawn mowers in its market can replicate. Miimo also delivers excellent environmental benefits, including the fact that it doesn’t produce CO2 and is quieter than most gas models.

Suffice to say, Miimo takes the way robotic lawn mowers do their business in an entirely different light. Once installed, it needs minimal human interaction when it’s doing its job, which means that all of us can enjoy the rest of our day without having to worry about cutting our lawns.

For a company that has been working in the development of robotics since 1986, Honda’s follow up to ASIMO represents the first step towards giving its customers with robotic solutions to their everyday chores, something that would ring music to the ears of a lot of people.

Recently, we let you in on the news that Mercedes-Benz was working closely with the German government in testing vehicle-to-vehicle-to-object technology and that it brought models bearing this feature to the U.S. for its own testing purposes.

We have just received word that the testing process of these “connected” cars is not only a Mercedes job, as the DOT has brought in 3,000 vehicles to test their crash-avoidance skills. This is actually the second phase of product testing, but the first time that the DOT will actually test the Wi-Fi communication between these vehicles.

Once all of this information is gathered, the DOT will crunch the numbers and is expected to make a decision on continuing testing this technology or not sometime in 2013. the goal of this testing phase is to find out “how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real word,” according to David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

Now, don’t confuse this progress with movement toward automated vehicles. This is just one of the many major steps toward legalizing autonomous cars, but not the final decision. If this test goes well, then this does set the ball moving slightly faster on automated cars.

To read the DOT’s full press release, click past the jump.


Rolls-Royce is breaking new company ground with the launch of its latest app , which has been designed to help you find used Rolls-Royce models without so much of a hassle.

The app is called the Provenance Pre-owned Stock Locator and follows the Provenance app that Rolls-Royce launched last year for its certified pre-owned vehicle program. Among the features of the PPSL app include easy-to-navigate search filters, as well as a feature that allows users to be able to make direct auto comparisons.

The app works in such a way that users can search for certain Rolls-Royce models in a specific country. From there, they can specify the exact model depending on a number of variables, including the car’s model, age, mileage, budget, or color.

For all the neat features of the app, it does have one caveat. The app will only cater to the highest grade models, which will be determined by a team of factory-trained technicians, who, in turn, will subject the car to a comprehensive road test before grading them.

The PPSL app can be accessed on the company’s official homepage and is available for the iPad, PCs, Macs, and most smartphones.


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