Cops in Maryland are quickly cutting down on their time spent running license plates by using what are called automatic license plate readers (ALPR). These nifty devices scan your plates automatically and check for insurance, validity, and other key safety issues. This is all well and good, according to civil liberties watchdog, the ACLU, but what they do with said information has the ACLU up in arms.
The ACLU has growing concerns with how long the information is retained in these ALPRs and worries that this ever-rowing data may eventually allow the government to precisely predict every move you make. So for all of you conspiracy theorists that think the gummament is watchin’ ya, this is just another nugget to keep in your head.
In a released statement, the ACLU says:
“If license plate scans, which are typically stamped with a location, time, and date, were used just for these purposes and deleted shortly thereafter, privacy concerns would be minimal to non-existent. After all, police can run license plates against these databases themselves. ALPR technology simply cuts down on the time and manpower required to perform these functions on a large scale.
The privacy issues arise with the retention of the information. A police officer will not forever remember the exact location and time of an innocent motorist’s travels. With ALPR technology, those details can be stored indefinitely, creating an ever-growing historical record of the daily comings and goings of every Marylander. As ALPRs become more ubiquitous and that record becomes longer and more detailed, it will become possible for the government to determine a person’s exact movements during any given time period.”
However, the police taking records of our license plate activity is one of the more primitive tracking devices that the government has access to in order to track us. There are many more active and precise devices that we all use on a daily basis that allows the government to keep tabs on us.
To see what other devices the government can use to track us, simply click past the jump.
Yesterday, we brought you an exclusive interview with Paul Dallenbach following his death defying accident at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Now, we have managed to get our hands on a few more bits of exclusive material, thanks to Paul and his PR rep.
The first bits of material we received were the actual images of the trees that Paul’s 1,400-horsepower racecar plowed over. As you can see in the images, he snapped those pines like they were No. 2 pencils. The second image shows us his mangled open-wheel racer laying covered in what appears to be fire-extinguishing foam.
The last bit of material took some time to get, but it was well worth the wait. Paul has graced us with the first look at his in-car footage from the accident. We never knew exactly how far into the race he was when the accident occurred, but it turns out that he was less than a minute from the starting line before careening into the woods, according to the footage, which you can see above.
The sheer violence of the impact really shows us just how lucky Mr. Dallenbach was to survive this ordeal. What an amazing piece of footage and what an amazing man to be willing to share all of this information with us.
A huge thank you to Paul, Mary, and the entire Dallenbach Racing team. Best wishes on a full recovery to Paul and we can’t wait to see him behind the wheel again.
Pikes Peak is the home of the dramatic wreck, thanks to its 156 twists and turns over a 12-mile-long mountain course. Thanks to Paul Dallenbach, we got a really cool first-hand account of one of the two most dramatic wrecks of this year’s run. Fortunately, he is doing well and seems ready to hop back in the driver’s seat.
By far the most dramatic wreck, but only because we get to see the entire thing unfold, is the one that Jeremy Foley and his co-driver endured. As his Lancer Evolution was heading toward an area very appropriately named “Devil’s Playground,” Jeremy lost control of his Evo and went straight over the hill, rolling about 10 times – by our count – before finally coming to a smoking rest. The two had Dallenbach-like luck, as neither broke any bones, according to reports, but the co-driver is suffering from a sore shoulder. Check out the dramatic video above.
Click past the jump to see additional footage of other wrecks from the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
TopSpeed Interview: Paul Dallenbach’s Amazing Crash and Even More Amazing Survival (UPDATE: Post Crash Pics)
Pikes Peak is by far one of the most treacherous courses in the U.S., as it climbs a total of 4,720 feet over a span of 12.42 miles and it boasts 156 turns. Even on its own site it says “Competitors and vehicles must be in top shape simply to finish...let alone win!” The video above shows exactly what can happen when even the slightest error in a car can cause a deadly crash scene.
Fortunately for the racing world, Paul Dallenbach, the driver of the 1,400-horsepower monster you see taking high-speed plunge into the trees, cheated death this time around. We were interested in how he was feeling, so we gave our Paul a call and checked on his recovery process. He felt so good, he was able to give us a short interview about the crash, so our readers can get a good idea of what actually went on.
UPDATE 08/14/2012: Check out our images of the Dallenbach’s race car post crash, as well as the state of the scene after the crash!
We were also able to get a video of the crash from the car’s onboard camera!! Check it out above!
Click past the jump to read what Paul had to say about this gut wrenching wreck.
After a huge wildfire delayed the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, it has finally had its day in the spotlight, and it did not disappoint. The entire PPIHC was chock-full of craziness and highlights, along with some low-lights worthy of mention.
The biggest highlight of the day was seeing a record set at last year’s race fall. It fell not only once, but twice in only 10 starts. Switzerland’s Romain Dumas – a PPIHC rookie – fired up the hill, completing the course in just 9:46.18 in his 2012 Porsche GT3 RS. This demolished the 9:51.278 record set by Nobuniro Tajima In 2011. Just 10 starts later, Rhys Millen, an 18-year PPIHC veteran, beat Dumas’ time by 0.02 seconds in his 2012 Hyundai Genesis coupe. Yeah, figure that one out; a Hyundai beat a Porsche GT3 RS.
Dejected, Dumas vowed never to race Pike’s Peak again, claiming it is unfair because he raced in rainy conditions, while Millen got a drier track to run on. In all honesty, though, 10 starts just doesn’t seem like a long enough time frame to cause a huge discrepancy in track conditions. We’re calling “Sore loser” on this one. That’s no way to get a good name in the racing world.
A huge low-light in this year’s race is the fact that the 2011 champion and former record holder, Nobuniro Tajima, didn’t even get a shot at the title, as his electric motor burned up. Tajima had a pretty good chance to win the race in back-to-back years, but that was apparently not in the cards this year. We’re sure he’ll be back near the top next year.
Let’s take a look at the top-3 in each class, plus the top-10 overall results.
Click past the jump to see these results.
There are tons of racing circuits in the world right now, but the fastest rising one in the U.S. is the Global RallyCross Championship circuit. You have super-fast cars on multiple surfaces (dirt, mud, sand, pavement, etc.) with little room to maneuver, plus they throw in obstacles and and ramps. No, we don’t mean relatively cushy dirt jumps in regular rally circuits. We mean ramps with huge gaps between them. So, who can blame us for falling in love with it?
It looks like the FIA is a little envious of the GRC and is planning to start its own international global rallycross circuit. With this potential entry into globalizing its rallycross circuit, the FIA is rumored to have forbid its drivers to participate in GRC. This would take some pretty high-level names out of the GRC, like Ken Block, Sebastien Loeb, Tanner Foust, and Liam Doran. To make matters worse, Tanner Foust is actually the points leader in the 2012 season, so that would be a major shakeup if the ban comes mid-season.
As we said, these are just rumors right now, but with multiple sources spreading the same whispers, there is likely some truth behind it. We have shipped off an email to GRC to get a quick statement and to see if there is any truth behind this, but we really doubt that they will confirm or deny the rumors.
For now, we just have to kick back and wait to see if the FIA follows through with this ban and if it’ll affect the 2012 season.
Typically the words “eco-friendly” and “performance” don’t mix together well, but sometimes they pull it off. A great example of a successful attempt is the ACAT Global Ferrari 575 by JBR Motorsports. ACAT Global specializes in making less expensive and lighter catalytic converters, whereas JBR focuses on building bad-ass race cars; a match made in heaven. This modified Ferrari 575 is set to take on one of the largest challenges in the world, and that is to overtake the world land speed record – in the Grand Touring class, of course – at the Bonneville Speed Flats.
JRB and ACAT have been tight lipped about what this Ferrari 575 has behind the rear seats, but we are 100 percent certain that it is a little more than the standard 515-horsepower 5.8-liter V-12 that the stock 575 boasts. Granted, that engine is good, but certainly not enough to beat out the Ferrari record of 232 mph.
The exterior of the Ferrari 575 is draped in a coat of French Blue Ferrari Racing paint with graphics by custom-graphics-extraordinaire, Troy Lee, but the remainder of the exterior modifications are still unknown at this time. We are certain that the Ferrari will boast a lower ride height to help with aerodynamics and a series of diffusers on the rear to help reduce the drag on the rear of the Ferrari.
As we approach the August 11th debut of the Ferrari 575, given it passes its 3-day testing phase, we will learn more about this super-fast Ferrari. We will pass information along to you, as we receive it.
Click past the jump to read the press release regarding its record-setting attempt.
Autonomous driving is on the tips of all of our tongues at any given moment, as it is the most likely “next generation” step in the automotive world. One of the key components of perfecting automated driving is the introduction of car-to-car-to-object communication – communication between cars and traffic-control devices. Think of it as a Facebook for the automotive world. Every car needs to update its status and plans to all of the other cars and the traffic controls “in its network” (in the area), so that they know how to plan accordingly.
Sure automated driving works okay via a series of sensors, but that only allows so much. This social networking allows car to plan routes, avoid traffic, avoid accidents, and so forth, ahead of time. Germany has taking the driver’s seat in this matter, by introducing the Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (sim TD) - which allows controlled testing of these communication systems. Mercedes-Benz is one maker that will provide Germany with cars for this testing program and has now chosen to do some of its own car-to-car-to-object testing at its own facility in Palo Alto, California. During its infancy, this system will utilize the network of cars to sense a line of stopped cars over the peak of a hill or around a blind turn, helping prevent a rear-end collision because the driver and automated sensing devices couldn’t see the stopped cars.
In the long run, this system may end up being the basis that automated driving on a regular basis spawns from. Using sensors alone to eliminate the driver’s need to control a car is pretty dangerous, as the sensors can only see what the human eye can see. This automotive network, on the other hand, allows the car to see things well in advance, making automated driving the safest driving method. That sounds like a good plan to us.
We’ll keep you updates as testing continues.
This picture may be a little old — from the 2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed rally — but it still captures the essence of rally racing. Not only are rallys hard to photograph because of the limited angles you have, but the high speeds and bouncing that the cars do make it nearly impossible.
Well, Kolin Tregaskes caught Colin McRae’s Subaru WRX heading up the Goodwood Forest Rally at the Festival of Speed. Yup, Goodwood has more than just an awesomely technical road course.
You get to see this blue rocket propelling between the trees, likely at speeds most of us would not hot on the interstate, let alone off road. In his trail is nothing but a light cloud of dust.
Even with Tregaskes’ steady hand and likely high-end digital camera, the violent bouncing of McRae’s car still comes through as a light blur. This makes you wonder exactly how these rally drivers can even see the path they are piloting.
Nice grab by Kolin Tregaskes. Make sure to catch his entire Flickr portfolio here to see other great shots.
Evanta Motor Company has made itself a nice niche in the automotive realm by manufacturing extremely accurate reproductions of some of the rarest Aston Martins in the world. The latest model it is selling is likely one of the most unique models to date.
Not only is this a model of the famed DRB1 that Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori piloted, but it is a full-size model. On the surface that sounds normal, but when we say “model,” we mean that as in the type you bought in the toy store as a kid... Yup, this model is a disassembled “AirFix” type model.
If you don’t recall, these are the types of models where the pieces are molded into square frames and you have to twist the pieces from the frames to separate them. This model includes all of the basics you would see in the standard “AirFix” model, including: race-ready seats, fiberglass body panels draped in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green, grille, wheels and tires, steering wheel, dashboard, gear shifter, and even a replica of the 1959 Le Mans trophy.
No, you can’t whip out the superglue and throw this bad boy together. This 20- by 10-foot beast is intended to sit in a rather spacious collection and be viewed by awe-struck onlookers. Everything in this kit is 100 percent identical to the model that won the 1959 Le Mans and to make it even more desirable, Evanta is including an Aston Martin baseball cap signed by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, both of whom past away earlier this year.
You can catch a glimpse of this massive dedicatory piece at the Goodwood Revival Car Show, which kicks off on September 14th and lasts through the 16th. If you have some extra scratch laying around, you can also snag up this one-off piece, as Bonhams will be auctioning it off at the Revival Car Show. Unfortunately, no estimated pricing was given, but we are certain it’ll fetch in the $100,000 range.
Click past the jump to read Evantra’s official press release.
The Lexus LFA is unquestionably one of the best-sounding exotic sports cars currently on the market. Its 552 horsepower, 4.8-liter V10 engine delivers an incredible howl unmatched by any of its competitors and the following video helps to demonstrate just how incredible the LFA sounds. Oh yeah, and it also appears to be quite tail-happy too.
Captured at an exclusive Lexus Spindle Night in Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan, three LFAs, including the uber-exclusive LFA Nurburgring Edition were brought together into an outdoor arena to perform what only can be described as a lovely Japanese ballet.
After all, drifting is arguably the largest and most internationally-recognized sport to have ever come out of the Land of the Samurai, and this video helps to demonstrate just how happy the Japanese are to test the true performance capabilities of every car out there.
Check out the video above and keep the following performance stats in mind. As mentioned, the LFA’s 4.8-liter V10 engine pumps out a Lamborghini Gallardo-equalling 552hp at an incredible 8,800 rpm at 354 lb-ft of torque at 6,800 rpm. Most impressively however, is the fact that 90 percent of that torque is available between 3,700 rpm and the car’s 9,000 rpm redline!
Anyone that has seen Super Troopers can appreciate the fact that some cops do play pranks on one another. As a friend of many law enforcement folk, I can attest to the fact that it does happen and its usually benign. Things like the cat prank are awesome and completely innocent, though no officer would ever actually do it, as it undermines his authority.
Alright, meow, enter in several boneheads from Florida and you have a complete and utter failure of a prank. It’s not that the prank itself was not a success, but rather the fact that said prank could have killed many people if it had gone awry.
These two officers we’re talking about meow decided it would be funny to go speeding through a construction zone at 90 mph and get a fellow officer to chase them. After a little while the car stops in the middle of the road, with the chasing officer still unaware of the “prank,” and the driver hops out as if he is about to run.
The pursuing officer, Christina Fowler, draws her gun, then the driver finally identifies himself as fellow officer, Marc Thompson, just before bursting into a fit of ridiculous laughter. In the speed car were two other officers, a sergeant and another beat officer. For this “prank,” Thompson and the sergeant were terminated and the officer in the rear got a one-day vacation without pay.
The firings are being contested by the union, but in our opinion, these guys got what they deserved. Imaging if a worker was late getting off his shift at the construction site and was hit by Thompson’s car. That prank wouldn’t be so funny then...
What would have really made us laugh is if Fowler would have very business-like just written Thompson a ticket, or better yet, taken him straight to jail for his idiotic idea of a joke. Check out the above video to see the idiocy unfold.