Travel Tips For the 2019 Holiday Season
By now, a lot of you have probably made plans for the holidays. You’ve packed your bags, scheduled your itineraries, and you’re just about set to head for your much-needed Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, you also need to face the facts. As much as you’ve planned for the coming days, Christmas season is a beast of its own. Not only are you likely to hit congested highways, but you’ll also have to deal with potentially serious weather conditions on the road to Vacation Town. The good news is that if you prepared accordingly, the next few days won’t have to be as stressful as you fear. On that end, we’ve prepared a handy holiday travel guide that should minimize your travel angst so you can enjoy the season the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed.
2019 Peugeot Boxer 4x4 Concept
Overlanding might not be a new concept over in the States, but to Europeans, it kind of is. With that in mind, Peugeot has taken a bold step in coming up with a concept car - better said, van - that’s supposed to do one thing and one thing only: offer freedom of movement regardless of how rough your path gets.
Mind you, this is not the sort of delivery truck that delivers your Amazon order or that fancy new pair of shoes you just bought online - the regular Peugeot Boxer is well-equipped for that job, and if you happen to live in Europe, then you also know that Sochaux’s workhorse is quite popular and a frequent favorite of both entrepreneurs and larger companies. That aside, let’s have a look at just what sort of backbone can the humble, hard-working Peugeot Boxer offer to support your overlanding ambitions.
Ford’s Flexibus Is Your New Cute and Affordable Camper
Campers are making a comeback in various shapes, as trailers or as fully fledged vehicles. So there’s no surprise that carmakers will, now more than ever, look to secure a piece of that pie. They’re currently doing just that when it comes to e-scooters, which have showed enormous lucrative potential over the past years and show no sign of slowing down. All that despite governments beginning to launch laws that would moderate their use.
Coming back to the topic at hand, Ford has just introduced its own version of an affordable camper. It’s called Flexibus (pretty suggestive, don’t you think) and was unveiled at this year’s Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, Germany. Essentially, the Flexibus is an entry-level RV, if you wish, that addresses those customers who want a vehicle they can go camping with but one that’s also usable for daily errand running. This is where Flexibus comes into play.
Halfbike 3 Lets You Dance While Riding, Sort Of
Halfbike 3 is the prodigy of Martin and Mihail, two architects based in Sofia, Bulgaria. They started from the idea that humans are built and programmed genetically to move and spend their time outdoors, so that’s how this intricate, odd-looking hybrid came to exist. Oh, and its makers say it bridges the gap between man, machine, and dancing. We, however, think it’s best suited for short commuting distances and people who don’t have time to hit the treadmill daily.
Airstream’s Bambi And Caravel Camper Trailers Are Back
Hardcore camper trailer fans know that Airstream’s travel trailer portfolio is a hefty one. Sure, their products are positioned on the high end of both quality and price, but your buying options just got more varied. Why? Well, Airstream is bringing back the Bambi and Caravel camper trailers, viewed by many as camping classics. So, before you jump for joy and check your bank accounts, here’s what you need to know about the two new additions to the Airstream range.
Land Rover Teams With Clarks for New Men’s Shoe Collection
Land Rover has launched a new line of footwear, in collaboration with shoe brand Clarks. The new collection, called the “Life.Limitless” range, starts with three designs for Fall 2018, specifically the CLR.51N, CLR52.N, and the CLR53.N. Each shoe draws on a specific function and purpose that adheres to the core principles of the two brands. The partnership between Land Rover and Clarks will run for five years and will include two Life.Limitless releases every year, one in the spring and one in the fall.
New Hyperloop Pod Unveiled, Could Go Into Service Next Year
Meet the world’s first full-scale hyperloop capsule, called Quintero One (quintero in Spanish means “fifth”), a 32-meter/105-foot plane without wings or windows, for lack of a better comparison. It’s expected to be “optimized and ready for passengers” in 2019, and its makers are touting it as possibly the safest form of transportation in the world.
The Boring Company Releases a Map Showing Potential Tunnel Routes Under Los Angeles
Just a few months after receiving approval to begin tunneling from the SpaceX parking lot into Los Angeles, Elon Musk and The Boring Company have released a map that shows a conceptual layout for tunnels throughout the city. None of this is official and will require approval from Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, and other city Governments in the county area, but serve as a basis for feedback from said governments and the public. This could be our first real preview as to what the layout of the tunneling system will be like upon completion. Let’s take a better look at it!
Elon Musk Hopes to Connect O’Hare International to Downtown Chicago via High-Speed Loop
Elon Musk’s The Boring Company is going to submit a bid to fund, develop, and operate a high-speed transit system in Chicago. The decision comes in response to the local government’s request for proposals from applicants who are interested in designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining a transit system that connects Chicago O’Hare Airport to the city’s downtown area, delivering passengers between the two points in 20 minutes or less
On-Demand Aviation Could Be Closer To Reality Than We Think
The prospect of air taxis has long been a pipe dream for this world. But it might not stay that way anymore now that Uber and NASA have finalized a partnership that will sensually turn “on-demand aviation” from fantasy to reality. Together, the two companies hope to start doing test runs of flying taxis by 2020 - yes, that’s a little over two years away - in certain locations around the world, including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.
The announcement was made by no less than Uber’s own head of product, Jeff Holden, who laid out new details about the company’s ambitious Project Elevate program. Included in his speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal is the announcement that the ride-hailing service has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, which aims to create a new air-traffic control system that will specifically manage the low-flying, possibly autonomous aircrafts that Uber plans to develop to make up its fleet of air taxis. The goal, according to Holden, is to bring UberAir into the forefront of public transportation by “performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before.” Holden added that the road to getting there will be made easier by “combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of airspace experience.”
Whereas the full details of the Uber-NASA partnership haven’t been made clear, this partnership is far from a cosmetic one. There’s already a groundswell of support growing for the propagation of this technology, most notably from Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s leading the charge in turning Los Angeles into a true city of the future in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Rest assured, as the project evolves and becomes more feasible, expect more and more cities, and possibly countries, to jump aboard the prospect of seeing a full-fledged, fully operational, on-demand aviation offering in their locales.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Hyperloop One Gets a New Name and Another Elite Investor
If you didn’t think Hyperloop One had a serious chance of doing something amazing for the transportation world, well you better think again, as it just got a new vote confidence and a new investor. That investor is none other than Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, another billionaire industrialist that resides somewhere in the same level of playership as Elon Musk. With this investment, Branson not only gives his seal of approval and confidence for the company but also finds himself sitting as a member of the board of directors and even brought about a name change too: Virgin Hyperloop One.
Now, there’s no word as to how much Branson has actually invested, but you know It’s a pretty significant amount of cheddar if the company is being rebranded to include “Virgin” in the name. And, whether or not the company even needed the investment remains to be seen, considering the fact that it has recently announced receiving $85 million in financing, which brings its grand total up to $245 million. Its total valuation is approaching 10-figure numbers at this point, but it should be pointed out that somehow this company has managed to suck up truckloads of cash without any type of product, revenue stream, proof of safety, or even government approval. So, let’s just say that there are a lot of people out there hoping that “Virgin HyperLoop One” is as successful as it’s been played up to eventually be.
Keep reading to learn a little more about Virgin Hyperloop One
Will the First Humans to Step Foot on Mars have Internet Access?
Musk threw out some pretty hair-raising news at the 2017 IAC conference this year, including his plans to use the BFR (Big Fucking Rocket) to transport humans almost anywhere on earth in less than a half hour, ideas about colonizing the moon and using it as a jump-off point, and even how he would manage to gain financing to build the BFR and interplanetary transport system he’s idolized for years now. Of course, the BFR and ITS are just pipe dreams at the moment, but Musk seems to be on top of trying to make them happen. And, what’s more important is that he confirmed that Mars is still on the docket for the future, and the journey may be taking place a lot sooner than we think. Shortly after IAC 2017, Musk took part in an “ask-me-anything” (AMA) forum on Reddit, and it didn’t take long for questions to start coming in. Among questions about the BFR and SpaceX in general, was what seemed to be the most important question of all:
“Does SpaceX have any interesting in putting more satellites in orbit around Mar’s (or even rockets) for internet/communications before we get feet on the ground?”
Of course, this question is important for two different reasons. First off, it would be nice to be able to communicate with our interplanetary travelers once they arrive on our red neighbor. But, of course, we know humans can’t live without the internet for days, and we have to be able to post selfies during the sunrise and sunset on Mars, right? Okay, all jokes aside, it’s actually quite a good idea, and Musk seemed to tease us about it a bit: “If anyone wants to build a high bandwidth comm link to Mars, please do.”
Keep reading for the rest of the story
Elon Musk Wants to Send You from Los Angeles to Shanghai in 36 Minutes
I don’t know how many times I’ve come to you guys with news that Elon Musk is changing the world and revolutionizing travel, and yet, here I am again with another new development. Okay, to be fair, this isn’t really a new development, but more like a refreshed idea based on other ideas that have already been partially set in motion. Call it an expansion of Elon’s mind and the answer the question we were left with earlier in the week when Musk mentioned he had recognized some “unrealized applications” of SpaceX technology. Well, today the man finally got to speak his mind at the IAC2017 (International Astronautical Congress), and his main talk involved the redefining of his first manned mission to Mars. We’ll talk more about that later, as there are some pretty cool things to discuss, but what’s more important is that Musk is – for once – thinking with a more down to earth approach.
So down to earth, in fact, that he’s talking about traveling anywhere in the world – that’s right; from any location to any location – in less than an hour. We’re talking about Hong Kong to Singapore in 22 minutes or Los Angeles to London in just 32 minutes. Hell, a trip from L.A. to N.Y. would take just 25 minutes. That’s right; we’re talking about crossing the country in less than a half hour and crossing the world in less than an hour – now that’s what I like to call fast. Apparently, this will be possible with Elon Musk’s theoretical rocket, dubbed BFR or “Big Fucking Rocket” (no, we’re not kidding about the name,) which will lift a SpaceX spaceship into orbit around the earth. The ship with then target its destination and begin its descent back to the planet, ultimately settling on floating pads near most major cities. Neither the rocket or spaceship exist at this time, but Musk claims construction could hopefully start within the next six to nine months. Want to learn more about it? Keep reading!
You Can Now Buy Snacks During Your Uber or Lyft Ride
A new startup is bringing somewhat unconventional vending services into the hands of Lyft and Uber drivers, allowing them to offer up thinks like snacks, pain relievers, and even phone chargers to their riders. The startup is known as Cargo and has a nifty little setup that includes a display case for the vehicle and inventory, as well as a web portal where customers pay for their purchase. Apparently, drivers get to sign up for free, and it appears as if the stock is given out on consignment and is even automatically tracked and delivered as needed, based on the driver’s sales. And, this isn’t some tiny little startup either, as the company has reportedly received as much as $1.75 million in seed funding and is already operating in New York City, Boston, and Chicago.
Of course, the company is still in the embryonic stages of deployment but claims to have received requests from drivers in 49 states. And, that’s really not surprising, considering that drivers are reportedly making $100 – $150 extra a month just from vending sales alone. The system operates rather simply for something that could be complicated. Customers simply insert a basic URL into their phone, plug in the number of the vending machine in their ride, and choose what they want to buy, be it an iPhone charger or a pack of spearmint gum. Payment is made electronically, and once completed, an alert is sent to the driver who then hands over you’re your goodies for the trip home. So how much do drivers get paid? Keep reading to find out.
Google Trips Is A Must-Have For The Modern Tourist
Google is launching a new travel app called Google Trips. The app hopes to assist those stricken with wanderlust by providing one go-to solution for organizing everything involved with modern travel.
Speaking in an interview with The Verge, Richard Holden, VP of product management at Google, said the new app arrives after two years of development in the tech giant’s travel offerings.
Included in the trip planner and organizer is a way to consolidate plane tickets, rental car info, and hotel reservations, but the app also helps travelers after they’ve arrived at their destination, including visitor guides for over 200 cities.
Further fun ideas come thanks to activity recommendations, such as sightseeing, shopping, and restaurants suggestions, which are customized based on info pulled from your Google profile. According to The Verge, the app will even consider the length of your stay and the weather in its recommendations (so, for example, if it’s raining out, the app won’t suggest a walk in the park).
Travel can be pretty intimidating, so the app rounds out its offerings with all the critical stuff you might need, including currency information, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
However, one of the biggest features is the ability to use the app offline, which is particularly useful if you don’t want to pay out the nose for data when traveling internationally.
Google Trips is free to download, and will work on both Android and iOS devices.
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Get Through the Airport at TopSpeed with the Modobag
If you’re someone who travels by air a lot, you probably spent a lot of time walking from one side of an airport to another. By the time you finally get through the long waiting lines, dealing with security (hopefully not getting stripped search on your way) and to your terminal, those cramped airline seats are almost comfortable. But, one company is hoping to make your travel through the airport fast and more efficient with the Modobag. Essentially an all-electric scooter in the form of a luggage bag, you can actually ride this thing through the airport. And, the best part is, its 100-percent approved by the TAA and TSA for carry on.
The bad itself has a weight limit of 260, so it’s accommodating even for taller and larger riders. With a compact and lightweight battery, the Modobag takes a full charge from a standard 120-volt socket in just one hour and can travel up to six miles on that single charge. There are even two speed settings – indoor and outdoor – that limit the bag’s speed to 5 mph inside and 8 mph outside. For the record, that’s two- to three-times faster than crossing the airport on foot. It’s built with a crush-resistant aluminum chassis and has a high-strength ballistic nylon shell for extra stability. According to Modobag, the built-in battery can last at least 4,000 charges, and there are two USB ports for charging mobile devices on the go as well.
For now, the total weight of the bag has yet to be disclosed, but Modobag is still undergoing the final stages of fine-tuning, so that’s understandable. From the looks of the video you’ll see in a moment, it doesn’t appear to weigh too much. For now, the Modobag is considered “InDemand” on Indiegogo and has raised a total of $388,704 as of the time of this writing. As of September 9th, 2016, this figure was 664-percent of the funds originally requested. Pricing is listed at $1,495 for a single bag, but it is currently on special through Indigogo for $1,095 plus shipping (about 26-percent off.) The company is also offering a tracking application for $69 (no more lost luggage,) a two-bad deal for $2,125 (28-percent off,) five bags for $5,225 (30-percent off,) or the “Company Pack” of 10 bags for $9,950 (33-percent off).
Keep reading to see the Modobag in action and to learn a little more about it.
Soberanes Fires Continue To Burn, Monterey Car Week Undeterred
With the 66th annual Monterey Car Week kicking off in a few days, some 85,000 auto enthusiasts are expected to arrive on the central California coast to take part in various car shows, auctions, racing events, and cruises. However, attendees will need to share the road with the 5,000 firefighters currently battling a devastating wildfire located just south of Monterey.
One of the biggest issues is access to Highway 1, the main artery that runs north to south through the central coast. With the huge increase in traffic expected for MCW, concerns are being raised over whether or not firefighters will be able to get to and from the frontlines.
However, according to a report from local NBC affiliate KSBW, Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol have given the event the go-ahead, and are working with organizers to make sure firefighting efforts aren’t hampered.
Some of the changes include a truncated route for the Tour d’Elegance, a classic car cruise that traditionally includes a run south into Big Sur. This year, the route has been shortened to 35 miles, rather than the usual 70. There will also be stricter parking enforcement, and additional law enforcement in high-traffic areas.
So far, the Soberanes wildfire has burned more than 70,000 acres and destroyed 57 homes. Hundreds of locals have been forced to flee, and the fire has been blamed for three injuries and one fatality. Acting Governor Tom Torlakson has declared a state of emergency in Monterey County.
Thankfully, the majority of the firefighting effort is now centralized south of Monterey, and it’s expected that the increase in traffic won’t have a major impact on firefighting efforts.
“We feel pretty comfortable that we are able to get in and out of the areas that we need to in case of emergency,” Cal Fire Capt. Mark Edria told KSBW.
Cal Fire is reporting that the fire is currently 60 percent contained. You can find updates on the firefighting efforts here.
The wildfire is thought to have originated from an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park.
Continue reading for the full story.
Who’s This TopSpeed Superfan?
Here at TopSpeed, we’re used to seeing awesome cars. Bugattis, Ferraris, Lambos – they’re all an everyday occurrence around the office. But a certain fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro SS has just snatched our full attention. It was spotted wearing the TopSpeed logo at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California.
The owner wasn’t around the car, so the photo is the only information we’ve got. Nevertheless, the car is proudly sporting our logo. Its black color nicely matches the car’s racing stripes, the blacked-out panel between the taillights, and the five-spoke wheels. Interestingly enough, the car also wears a U.S. Air Force license plate rather than official state tags. California law allows 90 days to obtain tags after a vehicle purchase, so perhaps this 2010 to 2013 Camaro SS is this superfan’s new baby.
Congrats on your purchase, superfan. And assuming you’re a member of the Air Force, thanks for your service to the country. Feel free to reach out. We’d love to hear from you! Lastly, thanks to my good friend Matt Nixon for spotting the car and grabbing the photo.
Ladies And Gentlemen, China’s Traffic Straddling Bus Is An Actual Thing Now
Note: Image above courtesy of Shanghaiist
If you have Facebook or any other social media platform, you’ve probably seen video renderings of the traffic straddling bus that’s supposed to cure traffic woes all over the world. It was a novel idea, and like many ideas of that ilk, it was subject to a lot of debate. A lot of people loved it. A lot of people hated it. And that was when the straddling bus was nothing more but a rendering. If by some miracle it actually ended up becoming the real thing, imagine what kind of debate it would create. Well, let the words fly now because China has actually built a working prototype of the traffic straddling bus. More incredibly, it’s about to go on a real-life test run.
To be fair, the traffic straddling bus isn’t just an idea that was thought of one day and created the next. The proposal has actually been on the table for years but it wasn’t until May 2016 when an actual mini model - yes, that happened too - was unveiled at the 19th China Beijing International High-Tech Expo and computer-generated renderings of the bus hit social media. Since then, the video has been shared viewed and shared millions of times with some people lauding the ingenuity behind it while others openly mocked the idea as a too much of a “Jetsons kind of thing.”
The reactions surrounding the proposal didn’t deter the developers of the bus, who, somewhat shockingly, only took a few months to actually create the first prototype of the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), as it will come to be known from now one. That test run will take place in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, about 186 miles southwest of Beijing. Since the TEB is still a long ways away from becoming fully functional, the initial run will only feature one bus carriage running on a controlled track measuring just 300 meters in length. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
Once it becomes fully operation - if it ever reaches that point - one TEB can will be able to carry as many as 1,200 passengers at a time and travel at speeds of about 37 miles per hour. More importantly, it would prove to be a far cheaper solution than building subways or train platforms. It still sounds a little silly thinking about it, but the TEB has made it this far to remain skeptical about its potential. All that’s left for the developers is to make sure that it lives up to that potential.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
What do you get with an unlimited budget, your own in-house design and engineering team, and an itch to go camping? You build your own rolling Swiss Army knife. That’s exactly what Bran Ferren has done over the last four years, all in an effort to show his six-year-old daughter the far reaches of the globe.
Looking something like the RV from The Lost World: Jurassic Park, this all-inclusive rig boasts everything from a three-level living section to FLIR cameras and an on-board motorcycle lift. It’s called the Kiravan, named after Ferren’s daughter, Kira, and playing off the English term for a recreational vehicle. But it’s plain to see this is no ordinary caravan.
When asked how much it cost to design and build, Ferren frankly responded with, “I have no idea, but it’s more than a Chevy station wagon and less than a 747.” Cost really wasn’t a factor for Ferren, who made is money doing special effects for Hollywood, leading Disney’s Imagineering department, and running his own company, Applied Minds. “[Money] was not a fundamental driver, so there was not a notion of a ceiling in price of what this can cost, it was just about making sensible decisions about using high-quality products with a very high degree of craftsmanship.”
Sensible might not be the word most would choose to describe the Kiravan, but Ferren says his creation showcases what unlimited thinking can achieve. “Consensus thinking is poison to design – all you do is drive toward mediocrity. For me, I would rather move hard and strong in a bold direction, a novel direction, take the chance of a complete failure and disaster, than do something that’s kind of okay. The world does not need more stuff that’s kind of okay.”
The project is still in development, but once finished, the Kiravan will be able to traverse remote reaches without the convenience of civilization nearby.
The winter holidays have come and gone, and before you know it, the roads will look a whole lot more inviting. Now is the time to start planning that epic road trip that’s been swimming around in the back of your brain, and if you’re looking for inspiration, just hit play. Chronicling a six-day journey across the western U.S., this ten-and-a-half minute video features a nice mix of sports cars enjoying incredible scenery via winding ribbons of tarmac. This is driving nirvana.
Adventure Drives was responsible for organizing the event, offering participants a departure from the craziness of rallies like the Gumball and Bullrun. Instead, AD focuses on actually enjoying the journey, without the bravado of who got the biggest speeding ticket.
The video starts in Denver and ends in Napa Valley, bouncing between Telluride, Park City, Zion National Park, Las Vegas, Death Valley, and Mammoth Lakes along the way. The caravan is made up of the usual suspects, such as exotics from Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Porsche, but the roster also includes more accessible machines, like a Subaru BRZ, Audi A5 Cabriolet, and a first-gen Acura NSX.
There are plenty of videos out there showcasing the world’s great driving roads, but watching this, you realize you don’t need a passport to enjoy them. So – what are you doing this summer?
It was the scorching, early morning sun that greeted me as I walked from the side door of the hotel into the parking lot. The sticky humidity hanging in the Florida air instantly salted my skin with perspiration. As my eyes adjusted to the daylight, I caught my first glimpse of Chevrolet’s newest pony car – the sixth-generation Camaro. There it was, in various trim levels and colors, all 11 examples that Chevy had brought for the trip.
My driving partner and I had the fortunate luck of drawing keys for a 2SS-trimmed model coated in Summit While and fitted with the six-speed manual transmission. This would be ours for the next 36 hours as we trekked north and then west through the pan handle of the southern most state. New Orleans was our destination, but two day’s worth of driving and nearly 900 miles lie in between.
All this was part of Chevrolet’s “Find New Roads” campaign, a somewhat unorthodox media event that traveled the country giving journalists some unprecedented seat time and free reign to plan routes and stops. Though the Orlando to New Orleans leg is what I traveled, the cars had been traversing states from the west coast to the east coast, traveling through the Midwest. This leg would point them west once more, though on a decidedly more southern latitude. Chevy’s goal: to get the new Camaro to all 48 contiguous states.
Completely redone for 2016, the Camaro underwent a significant diet in switching to the Alpha platform. It also hit the gym for more power with its trio of new engines and took cotillion classes for more refinement, especially within the interior. There’s no harder test on a vehicle’s livability than to road trip it. Chasing the sun for hours on end reveals the tiniest of details that would otherwise go unnoticed. Small annoyances become headaches while well-executed components can make the trip more enjoyable. I found both.
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