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Mike Hanlon

Suzuki's Q-Concept

Suzuki's Q-Concept is a narrow-track, lightweight tandem two-seater, "positioned between conventional motorcycles and cars" according to the Japanese manufacturer. Two years ago at the last Tokyo Motor Show, we did a major article and video on narrow-track vehicles, forecasting that cars would get smaller and lighter, and the Q-Concept fits the bill perfectly.  Read More

Few road-going cars have seen variable aerodynamics beyond the raising of rear  spoilers i...

Honda's AC-X is a plug-in hybrid concept that at first glance appears to be relatively conservative. It is not conservative in the least, and when the vehicle's full capabilities are unveiled in Tokyo a few weeks from now, we expect it to have front and rear bumpers which raise and lower to offer better aerodynamics depending on the speed, an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode which does not require the driver to steer, a radical smart key device and some very interesting 3D GPS displays which stretch right across the dashboard to give the passenger an unprecedented view of the surroundings.  Read More

Honda Microcommuter Concept outsmarts the smart

Mercedes Benz iconic smart fortwo was several decades ahead of its time when it was first conceived by Swatch in the late eighties. Now Honda's Micro Commuter Concept looks like it will take the basic design and update it to the world of today, with social networking, heads-up display, advanced aerodynamics, seating for three (1+2) similar to Gordon Murray's T25 and T27 city cars, luggage capacity, a customizable exterior and last mile transport in the form of an ingenious fold-up electric two-wheeler known as the Motor Compo.  Read More

Honda's electric Canopy (Gyro) 3-wheeler

Honda has finally added electric propulsion to one of its most enduring and successful commuter vehicles – the Japan-only three-wheeled scooter. Used extensively throughout Japan's congested urban environment as a commuter and delivery vehicle with a 50cc four-stroke motor, the Honda Canopy (aka Gyro) delivers 100 mpg. Converting the well-protected three wheeler, with its capacious cargo space, to an electric-only vehicle is a no-brainer and is certain to create an insatiable demand in non-domestic markets everywhere.  Read More

Honda to show electric supersports RC-E motorcycle at Tokyo Motor Show

At long last, the world's largest and most influential motorcycle manufacturer appears to be getting serious about electric motorcycles, announcing it will be showing a supersports motorcycle concept at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. Named the RC-E, the images released by Honda indicate a a super sports motorcycle designed solely for the "the joy of riding."  Read More

Honda's Intelligent Horse

If the horse is not humanity's favorite animal, it should be, as it has served us far better than any other domesticated animal. It has been the predominant form of personal transport for the last millennia, has done more work for us than any animal, and its mastery became the fundamental military technology which helped Genghis Khan build the biggest empire in history. The notion of using advanced technologies to replicate and extend the personality and functionality of the horse gave Honda a wonderful platform to explore in its latest design concept. Part sci-fi and part technology-crystal-ball-gazing, here's what a synthetic Horse V 2.0 might look like 200 years hence.  Read More

Foxconn's parent company, Taiwan-registered Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is getting int...

The world's industrial robotics industry will get considerably larger in the near future as Taiwan-registered Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (best known as Foxconn) has announced plans to begin building industrial robots. Its initial plans of building one million industrial robots for its own purposes will nearly double the number of industrial robots in the world (currently The International Federation of Robotics puts that number at 1,095,000). Foxconn is best known as the largest exporter in China, the assembler/manufacturer of Apple's iPad and iPhone and for the extraordinarily high suicide rate of its employees.  Read More

Both sides of the 1396 Richard II horary quadrant

You just never know what you've got in the shed. This horary quadrant was found in a bag of old pipe fittings in a shed on a farm in Queensland, Australia, forty years ago. Last year the owner of the quadrant was surfing the internet and came across this article where he recognised not just the same tool, but the same stag-coronet insignia that was on his quadrant (he thought it was an astrolabe) signified it was made for King Richard II (of England). He subsequently contacted the British Museum, which identified the item sitting on his desk for the last forty years as a 1396 horary quadrant. It will be auctioned next month and is expected to fetch between GBP150,000 and GBP200,000.  Read More

The Nissan NV200 which won the tender for the Taxi of Tomorrow

Four years ago, New York City officials convened a group of taxi drivers, owners and passengers, to create a set of goals for the next New York City taxi cab, a project called the Taxi of Tomorrow, an attempt to re imagine the entire taxi system. The results are in. Today the Nissan NV200 taxi which won the job until 2023 will be shown to the public at the "Taxi of Tomorrow" Design Expo. To me, it looks a lot more like a Taxi-designed-by-Committee than a Taxi-of-Tomorrow - a gas-engine and a basic van design. Where did it all go wrong?  Read More

Roper Steam Cycle set to become most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction

One of the world's most valuable motorcycles will go under the hammer early next year. Built by Sylvester H. Roper, one of two people with legitimate claims of having invented the motorcycle. Though built in 1894, 27 years after the first Roper Steam Motorcycle, the machine is one of a very small number of motorcycles built by Roper (around nine), and was ridden by him regularly before his death in 1896. The Roper Steam Cycle hence has a provenance of massive historical importance, and is expected to establish a new world record for a motorcycle sold at auction in Las Vegas on January 12 – 14.  Read More

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