Fake City Being Built to Test Real Driverless Cars
Humans are almost preoccupied with how we get from point A to point B. This week's roundup features jet-powered cars, a self-driving car, a concept Cadillac and airless tires. The Equinox race car concept from automotive designerBen Tabbitt
features two jet engines atop six wheels and multiple stability fins. It's a wonder that such a vehicle wouldn't just lift off into the wild blue yonder. Who knows. It might. The car is strictly a concept, but we love the way it looks.
Although this hot rod looks like a racing car, it's actually a four-passenger, street-legal vehicle based on Delta Technologies' all-electric DeltaWing ZEOD RC. The Atlanta, Ga.-based companyunveiled
the concept earlier this week and say they want to produce a sleek street vehicle that has all of the aerodynamic, lightweight and handling benefits of their race car. Cool.
It's almost an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp, but BriTek's airless tire is exactly that. It's comprised of two layers of rubber -- one inner and and one outer. Adjustable spokes stretch the inner layer of rubber to increase or decrease tension. While riding over a road, the inner layer gets compressed and then releases elastic potential energy that's converted into forward momentum.
This car is strictly a concept, but dang, it's cool. It comes from industrial designer, Ondrej Jirec, who worked it up while studying at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Although no where near production, we can always dream about it.
Google via Youtube
Until now, the Toyota Prius has been the vehicle behind Google's self-driving car. But this week, Google unveiled a super cute self-driver that looks like the offspring of a Mini Cooper and an Volkswagon bug sans the steering wheel. At first, this car will likely follow pre-defined routes at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. But we have to start somewhere, right?
A team of engineers and automotive designers are working on a flying car that sports a jet engine. Greg Brown and Dave Fawcett's GF7 will feature a luxury sedan for a body. On the highway, it will motor around via an electric engine. For the air, a jet engine will power this puppy up to 550 mile per hour. Whoosh!
be 3D-printed? Fruits you say? No, fruits can be 3D-printed. Cambridge, England-based Dovetailed has come up with a way to print fruits, including apples, pears and raspberries. The foodie printer relies on spherification, a molecular-gastronomy technique that creates fruit-flavored droplets. According to the company, the taste, texture, size and shape of the fruit can all be customized.
Recess time at school is much reduced compared to what it was decades ago. That combined with bad food and the allure of electronic, couch-sitting games is leading to childhood obesity. Attivo wants to give kids a good reason to get outside and play. To that end, they've designed playground equipment that exercises the entire body as well as improves agility and coordination. For example, a climbing station works the upper body and a skateboard ramp improves balance and builds core muscles. An inventive goal has a net down the center, which allow two groups on either side to use it. Great for smaller spaces.
AT Design Office
Chinese construction company AT Design Office wants to make living at sea, well, livable. They've designed a floating city concept that would drift along ocean currents like an iceberg. The structure would be self-sustaining thanks to farms, hatcheries, recycling systems, a central ventilation shaft and a tidal energy plant at the bottom of the structure.
University of Wollongong
Fly eyes see perfectly fine in moist environments. So scientists decided to mimic the hexagonal structures in a fly's eye to create anti-fog materials. A coating made from the material could be used on any glass product or to protect wires and electronic networks from freezing.
It’s nice to see Detroit getting busy again.
Engineers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have started construction on a simulated city center that will be used to test partially automated and fully driverless cars.
The patent-pending Mobility Transformation Facility will take up 32 acres on U-M’s north campus, and be administered by a partnership of auto industry leaders and university researchers.
The idea is to provide a real-world simulation of dense city traffic for the next generation of partially and fully automated vehicles. In addition to a section of a four-lane highway, the test center will have merge lanes, road signs, stoplights, intersections, construction barrels, roundabouts, a railroad crossing, building facades and even — eventually — mechanical cyclists and pedestrians.
“We will actually be writing code for the test facility,” said U-M researcher Edwin Olson, on the Michigan Engineering project page. “We’ll be able to trigger tricky traffic signal timings, or a pedestrian stepping into the intersection at just the wrong time, for example.”
It’s not just hypothetical far-future tinkering, either. The public/private Mobility Transformation Center hopes to enable a automated mobility system in downtown Ann Arbor by 2021. The concept is to create an environment where all moving vehicles, with drivers or without, are networked and communicating with each other.
No word on whether the research team will try to simulate a national basketball championship, when 20,000 drunken undergrads spill onto the streets. But I’m sure there’s an app for that.
Credit: Michigan Engineering