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New system automatically recognises traffic signs and prevents unintentional speeding

October 30, 2006 In many parts of the world, automatic systems designed to capture speeding motorists are proliferating to such an extent that unless intense concentration and cruise control is employed, it’s easy to rack up regular $100+ fines for seemingly innocuous infringements. Many governments around the world now use their automated traffic fine systems as lucrative revenue raisers. Fortunately, technology is coming to the aid of the motorist too, and a new system developed in Europe by Siemens can automatically recognise speed limits on traffic signs and prompt motorists if they are transgressing so they can avoid speeding tickets. The system works with a camera in the car that scans the scene in front of the car for traffic signs and forwards the information to an onboard computer. With the help of the cruise control, the system then keeps the car within the speed limit. The risk of unintentionally driving too fast is particularly high when motorists are in unfamiliar surroundings or faced with road construction sites.  Read More

Ascari debuts 625bhp A10 supercar

October 30, 2006 The latest Supercar contender made its first appearance at the 2006 MPH show in Birmingham (UK) late last week in the form the A10 from British manufacturer Ascari. Announced last December, and billed as a performance equivalent to the Ferrari Enzo FXX, the 225 mph A10 has a 5-litre V8 engine, with a six speed gearbox as standard and an optional sequential gearbox. Designed and hand built in Banbury, the 625bhp A10 weighs in at around 1200kg, thanks to its lightweight six-piece carbon fibre body. Unlike the EUR1.5 million Enzo FXX, the A10 is road legal and will sell for EUR522,000 (US$665,000). Reaching 60mph in just 2.8 seconds and 100mph in less than 6 seconds, the manufacturer claims the A10 will become the fastest road going production car around a race track. Although it was announced that 50 of the remarkable vehicles would be built, latest information suggests only ten of the species will be created, so better get the chequebook at the ready.  Read More

Dual-speed supercharger for the Hummer H3

October 27, 2006 European automotive technology company, Antonov, will be showing its innovative 2-speed supercharger drive system at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show next week in Las Vegas with two mouth-watering implementations. A Hummer H3 (that's a stock H3 pictured) incorporating the patented technology will be presented at the show by Antonov’s US distributor Wheel to Wheel Powertrain and the system’s performance enhancing characteristics will be demonstrated at the show proving grounds in a Ford Mustang GT.  Read More

Citroen’s new C-Crosser SUV

October 27, 2006 Citroen has announced first details of a new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) that will go on sale in Europe from summer 2007. The versatile Citroen C-Crosser boasts four-wheel drive capability, exceptional levels of space and comfort and will will be available with a new generation 156bhp 2.2HDi engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Capable of producing a whopping 380Nm of torque, this diesel power plant also boasts impressive green credentials, offering low fuel consumption, the ability to run on 30% bio-diesel and a Diesel Particulate Filter System that reduces particle emissions to virtually immeasurable levels.  Read More

Adrenalin Murtaya Turbo heading to USA

October 25, 2006 Immediately it was launched this month in the UK the Murtaya by Adrenaline Motorsports of Cornwall was pronounced “Awesome…a true automotive landmark” by often blase automotive journalists and gurus of sports car design and development. With underpinnings from the Subaru Impreza WRX and featuring AWD powered by a turbo flat four in various states of tune from 150 to 395 bhp this lightweight (between 850 & 925 kg dependent on spec) can easily be encouraged to sprint to 62mph in sub three second times, making it one of the quicket accelerating cars in the world.  Read More

NISSAN electric vehicle for the elderly

October 25, 2006 The world’s largest Electric Vehicle symposium, the 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS22), opened this week in Yokohama, Japan. First EV off the rank was Nissan with a line-up led by the X-TRAIL FCV 2005 (pictured top left). Nissan has a long EV association, having built its first electric car, the Tama EV (bottom right), in 1947 and the world’s first lithium-ion battery powered vehicle, the Prairie Joy Electric Vehicle, in 1996. Two interesting EV concepts on the Nissan stand were the Hypermini (top right – an ultra-small two-seater 100 km/h urban commuter with an aluminium space-frame, neodymium magnetic synchronous traction motor and high-performance lithium-ion batteries with a 115km range) and the Micro UV. The Micro (bottom left) is almost a story in itself, as it was developed by Nissan subsidiary Autech under the sponsorship of NEDO (the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization established by the Japanese government in 1980 to develop new oil-alternative energy technologies) specifically for Japan’s aging population. With the increase numbers of elderly drivers, this ultra-small electric vehicle is fitted with an active interface technology to support drivers with failing motor-ability and response-time that may impair their driving capability.  Read More

The Rocket Truck

October 19, 2006
The Rocket Truck

October 20, 2006 Orion Propulsion President Tim Pickens, worked for several small aerospace start-ups before launching his own company. Along the way he was the lead propulsion developer for Burt Rutan on the X-PRIZE-winning SpaceShipOne at Scaled Composites, and he has worked on engine programs ranging from 100lbf to 50,000lbf thrust (a regeneratively-cooled rocket motor for NASA on the Fastrac Block II engine program). He also was a Project Engineer leading the design and construction of a prototype Space Shuttle Main Engine combustion chamber utilizing advanced aerospace materials and manufacturing processes. We could go on, but you get the picture. He knows his stuff, so it’s particularly interesting to see what Senior Propellant Specialist Pickens built when he decided to employ his expertise to build a 2750 lb thrust nitrous-oxide rocket-propelled truck. The engine is controlled by a hand-held gaming controller and dash-mounted LCD screens allow the pilot and co-pilot, (passenger) to watch the engine and add to the thrill of the ride. A video of the engine he is using firing up is available here. The truck will be on display this weekend at the X PRIZE Cup  Read More

The gorgeous Audi open-top TT

October 20, 2006 The new Audi open-top TT sports car will go on sale next month with first delivery dates in November 2007, and judging from the spec announced this week, the queue will be long … very long. The fully automatic ‘hands-free’ roof operation on the sister car to the world’s most beautiful car comes with improved sound insulation and the Advanced Audi Space Frame construction blends 58% aluminium and 42% steel (Coupe 69% / 31%) for outstanding weight distribution, excellent torsional rigidity and a kerb weight of just 1,295kg, the TT Roadster 3.2 quattro will sell for UKP 31,535 OTR. There’s a retractable spoiler to maintain downforce and maximise stability at speed but the real killer-app contained within these sleek lines is the futuristic magnetic ride system. The sophisticated dampers are filled with magnetorheological fluid containing minute magnetic particles that are influenced by an electromagnetic field. By applying a voltage to the system’s electromagnets, the viscosity of the fluid is altered by the affected magnetic particles, increasing resistance to damper movement to iron out pitch and roll when necessary, and reducing resistance when ride comfort takes precedence.  Read More

Fiat Adventure Concept Car changes colour

October 19, 2006 Not a great deal of information has been released in English about the newly revealed Fiat Adventure Crossover Concept Car shown at the Sao Paolo Autoshow to celebrate Fiat’s 30th anniversary in Brazil. Designed by Centro Estilo Fiat do Brasil, the Concept Car Adventure is powered by a 167 bhp five-cylinder 2.4 litre engine from the Fiat Stilo Abarth. The two-seater Adventure is painted in color-changing paint and accordingly varies in appearance from yellow to red.  Read More

Wild thing – the Hummer GT

October 18, 2006 The HUMMER GT from is certainly an eyecatcher, whether it’s at a standstill with its gullwing doors ajar, rolling at walking pace on its giant 30-inch seven league boots or exercising its 556 bhp supercharged engine hurtling the GT along the nearest autobahn at 225 km/h. The cockpit of the car is like the pilot’s console in the low flying aircraft it so very nearly is. There’s everything from color-coded instruments and a multimedia system including a navigation system, DVD player, TV receiver and two LCD-screens which are integrated in the dashboard and a specially designed roof console. It’s the high tech hamburger with THE LOT – for you, EUR133,900 (US$168,000).  Read More

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