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The Chrysler MyGIG Automotive Infotainment System

September 23, 2006 As automotive audio and navigation systems accelerate in their evolution, the initial feeble attempts of the manufacturers to recognise the massive sociological importance of the MP3, new media compatibility, in-car storage and a rapidly changing marketplace have not exactly been championed by mid-tier manufacturers. Chrysler Group announced a major step forward this week with the bundling of entertainment, information and communication into its new MyGIG multimedia head unit which combines navigation with real-time traffic, hands-free communication and multiple ways to save and play high-quality audio and images. You can rip music from the CD to the 20 gigabyte hard drive which has full Gracenote capability, a USB 2.0 interface and both voice (an advanced voice recognition system in English, French or Spanish that recognizes over 100,000 words) and 6.5-inch touch-screen control. The unit will be available first in the 2007 Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Nitro and Jeep Wrangler.  Read More

Transparent All-wheel-drive Ford Transit revealed at Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show

September 23, 2006 - A new all-wheel-drive (AWD) Ford Transit has been revealed this week at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Show in Germany. The AWD system automatically provides stepless torque flow to the front wheels when required on slippery surfaces. This new derivative is specifically targeted at customers who frequently face low friction surfaces, adding more flexibility and reliability to their transportation needs and will be rushed into production for sale in the first quarter of 2007. The 'intelligent' system increases traction without affecting road performance or ground clearance and was developed for the needs of utility companies, hotels, agricultural and forestry companies and police forces.  Read More

It’s a van – but you’d be hard pushed to notice!

September 22, 2006 Making its debut at next week’s Paris Motorshow, the Corsavan Concept pushes the new Corsa base to a sportier level, while demonstrating how the three-door car looks as a city van. The Corsavan is powered by a 90PS 1.3-litre CDTi engine with six-speed gearbox. Black side panels replace the Corsa’s rear windows without detracting from it’s coupe-like lines. Black leather sports seats and piano-lacquer surfaces complete the interior, while a fully-lined load bay with a half-height bulkhead translates into a very competent panel van, with a versatile load area.  Read More

The wheelchair-accessible limousine

September 22, 2006 Dignity Transportation caters for those in the Canadian community with special transportation needs. As its fleet has grown, it has commissioned numerous specially-built transportation designs from wheel-chair accessible taxies to full size vans to wheelchair accessible buses. Recognizing there was a demand for a truly luxurious wheelchair accessible limousine. The result is the Dignity Star, an 8 passenger limo-inside-a-van that began life as a 2006 Dodge High Roof Sprinter 2500 SHC. Believed to be the only such vehicle in North America, the luxurious wheelchair-accessible limousine accommodates two wheelchairs and six people on a curved leather couch and takes Special Needs Transportation to a new level. Inside it’s the usual over-the-top spec with control over everything from climate control to a 20" LCD TV, five-speaker sound system with four sets of wireless headphones, laptop connectivity, DVD/CD system, ad infinitum. In terms of accessibility, it has the lot.  Read More

Hummer World Run 2006 near Munich

September 21, 2006 Hummer fans situated in the United States are well positioned to get their fill but beyond American borders, Hummers are few and far between unless you’re near a military base. Accordingly, if you’re European-based and keen to see the latest on offer in the radical customisation the beasties attract, the HUMMER WORLD RUN 2006 in Zorneding near Munich, is the place to be on October 7 and 8. The world’s first international meet for owners of the American SUV is being staged and promoted by Geiger Cars, Europe’s largest HUMMER dealer and perpetrator of some of the most stunning show and go cars on the planet. Numerous other attractions await visitors such as free test drives with various HUMMER models and rides in the 10-meter long HUMMER H2 stretch limo pictured. There’s also a competition with a Hummer for a year as the first prize.  Read More

Kia pro_cee’d concept car previews all-new Kia cee’d hatch to launch in 2007

September 20, 2006 The custom of Asian manufacturers giving ridiculous names to their export offerings was taken to new levels today by Korean auto manufacturer Kia in naming its latest concept car the pro_cee’d, complete with an underscore and apostrophe. Set for a Paris Motor Show debut later this month, the strikingly styled, pro_cee’d showcar is based on the forthcoming three-door ‘sporty hatch’ version of the all-new Kia cee’d C-segment model. This five-door family hatchback has its world premiere (in production-ready form) at Paris and will be manufactured at Kia’s first European assembly plant in Slovakia from November 2006.  Read More

The Unimog Dual-mode Road-Railer

September 20, 2006 The potential benefits of an affordable dual-mode road-rail vehicle are immense and we’ve featured previous concept vehicles in this vein from Hokkaido, Toyota (a very clever hybrid eco-friendly transit system) and Silvertip Design’s stunning Bladerunner. Now Unimog special-vehicles division has taken the wraps off a production road-railer at the Innotrans 2006 show in Berlin. Unimog’s exhibit features eight road-railer models illustrating numerous implementation scenarios on both road and rail. These include a Unimog road-railer for cost-effective shunting or manoeuvring of hauled loads of up to 1000 tonnes, a vehicle equipped with an access-platform for overhead-line maintenance and an auxiliary vehicle with crew's quarters and hydraulic equipment for rerailing derailed wagons. The vehicles are equipped with hydraulically lowerable guide wheels, with the drive on the rails being provided by the vehicle's wheels. A broad range of special railway equipment is optionally available for the Unimog road-railer, including an inductive train control system.  Read More

The American-built Brammo Rogue GT – 850 bhp and 225mph

September 19, 2006 First details have emerged for the Brammo Rogue GT; the first V12 supercar designed and built in the USA. Brammo Motorsports has partnered with Ryan Falconer Industries to bring the famous Falconer V12 to the automotive marketplaceand the launch version of the car will use a naturally-aspirated 10 litre V12 engine tuned to deliver 850bhp and 1,000 Nm of torque. The Rogue GT will weigh in at 1315 kg and have a top speed in the 225-230 mph range, running through Xtrac’s new transverse transaxle six-speed transmission system which is designed to handle high levels of torque of up to 1,100Nm. But wait, there’s more - the Brammo/Falconer V12 engine can deliver a power output of up to 1,100 bhp in normally aspirated, and up to 1,600bhp (1,200kW) when turbocharged or supercharged, so it’s quite possible that the Bugatti Veyron’s days as the world’s fastest road car are numbered.  Read More

Moonbeam the 100mpg DIY car costing US$2500 (and 1000 hours)

September 19, 2006 In a world where the price of oil is trending towards infinity, large companies are quickly seeking alternative energy sources for transportation. Jory Squibb decided he’d build an economical vehicle using conventional technology, and set about creating it from second-hand motorcycle parts. The resultant vehicle, christened MOONBEAM, gets 80-85 mpg around town and under economy run conditions (max 40 mph) delivers 105 mpg. Two scooters for the bits cost US$500, and the entire project took 1000 hours (a year of 20 hour weeks) to complete, with a total of US$2000 costs beyond the initial scooters. Moonbeam has a Variable speed transmission, so there’s no gear shifting (hand controls only). So if Jory can do this, from existing parts, in his garage, in his spare time, why is it that Honda, Toyota et al can't deliver us a 100mpg automobile?  Read More

Nissan test advanced road traffic system aimed at reducing accidents and easing congestion

September 18, 2006 Nissan is set to begin testing an intelligent transportation system in Japan that allows vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to help reduce traffic accidents and ease congestion. The system uses information obtained from nearby vehicles and roadside optical beacons to wirelessly alert drivers to potential danger from approaching vehicles. It also provides drivers with fastest-route information with Nissan’s probe server collecting city –wide traffic data from the mobile phones of Nissan’s CARWINGS navigation service subscribers, taxi services, and vehicle data collected by mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo. This information is then sent to the driver’s navigation screen where it is displayed as real-time maps showing the traffic flow and density. Screen shots and diagrams here.  Read More

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