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Automotive

The original Volkswagen Van sketch

August 10, 2007, We’ve already written up the fact that it’s 60 years since Volkswagen produced the first Transporter (nee Kombi, nee Bulli, nee Camper) but when we saw this sketch that started it all, we got all weak at the knees and felt compelled to do it all again. Inspired by a vehicle staff had built to transport heavy panels around Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory, this is the actual concept sketch that led to the first Volkswagen T1 van, famous for its split-windscreen.  Read More

On-road pollution monitoring for car exhausts

August 8, 2007 In the future drivers may only have to glance at their dashboards to see the pollution coming out of their vehicle's exhaust. A new laser measuring device capable of recording the levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane directly from the inside of an exhaust has been constructed by a team from The University of Manchester. By monitoring a vehicle's emissions while driving along, it is hoped the system will potentially help people reduce their emissions by adjusting their driving style. Monitoring gases inside the exhaust is faster and more sensitive than the normally used extractive measurement techniques which involve the gases being caught in a box and tested while the engine is idling.  Read More

Nissan boosts pedestrian protection

August 6, 2007 Every year an estimated 780,000 pedestrians die worldwide in automobile accidents – that’s 65% of total automobile related fatalities. This tragic level of pedestrian injuries affects the GDP of countries by 1-3% and exceeds malnutrition, war, and liver cancer as an international cause of death. With a forecast of 60 million further injuries and six million deaths over the next decade in developing countries, car manufacturers like Nissan are investing in ways to curb this trend such as the “pop-up hood” - a safety measure to be introduced for the first time in the the Skyline coupe scheduled for release in Japan this year.  Read More

LifeHammer

August 6, 2006 More than 43,000 people died in car accidentsin the US during 2005 – 500 of whom died as a result of being trapped in their vehicle before rescue teams could extricate them. In case of a collision, many buses buses and trains are equipped with emergency hammers, but the average trapped automobile driver has to wait for the Jaws of Life to arrive with emergency services – leaving them vulnerable to further injury from leaking batteries or fuels, unexploded airbags or debris whilst still trapped in the vehicle. LifeHammer and ResQMe are personal devices to cut through seat belts and punch out windows that are designed to form an effective first line of defense in case the unthinkable, but statistically likely, happens.  Read More

SANYO car reversing camera improves rear-view perspective

August 3, 2007 Backing up your vehicle is often a "hit or miss" situation and relying on guesswork can lead to expensive vehicle damage or even danger to life and limb. SANYO's new CCA-BC200 rear view backup camera system with AirCam technology is a new rear view camera that employs advanced digital processing to deliver accurate, natural-looking rear view images. Freed from distorted wide angle images and hard-to-interpret "fish-eye" perspectives, the camera is designed to enable drivers to negotiate tight spots and make critical back-up manoeuvres with safety and confidence. The CCA-BC200 digitally creates visual guidelines that appear on your car's video monitor screen (monitor not included). These helpful guidelines make it easy to align your car while backing into parking spaces or parallel parking. Guidelines include vehicle width and distance indicators at two, four and eight feet.  Read More

Bentley's newly released Continental GT Speed - the first Bentley ever to top 200mph and i...

August 2, 2007 Three times the speed limit’s just not enough for some. These tortured souls are left to seek purely numeric goals from their car’s speedometer and 200mph is a lofty target to achieve in a street car – particularly if you wish to attain such speeds in style. Bentley’s exclusive Continental GT maxed out at a tantalizing, but for some ultimately disappointing, 198mph, and now the company has atoned for their sins with the creation of the new Continental GT Speed. Fifty extra horsepower bring it up to 600bhp, making it the most powerful production car Bentley has ever built and nosing its top speed up to 202mph. The GT Speed retains all the luxury and decadence of its predecessor, while adding a harder performance edge.  Read More

MINI's new Clubman

August 2, 2007 Mini seems very keen to pack all the technology it can into the newest addition to its range – the Mini Cooper Clubman. Almost but not quite a Mini wagon, the Clubman seats five in relative comfort, with a backwards-opening barn door behind the passenger door opening out to give your friends some sense of dignity as they climb into the back seats. The Clubman also features run-flat tyres, smart regenerative braking and a clever fuel-saving system that automatically stops the engine when you’re sitting at the lights in neutral with the clutch out, firing it back to life in an instant the minute you put the clutch down. Twin rear doors, each with its own windscreen wiper, finally give the Mini a decent carrying capacity, but the extra space doesn’t get in the way of the model’s famous go-kart style handling. Safety-wise, the cabin is packed with airbags from all directions, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, Cornering Brake Control, Stability Control and a hill assist system that stops the Clubman from rolling backwards on hill starts. A technophile’s delight, the car even provides a real-time analysis of what gear you should be in for maximum fuel efficiency. Dear Mini designers, it appears you’ve left out the kitchen sink…  Read More

Callaway's C16 open-top Speedster - the next american supercar, putting out over 700 horse...

August 1, 2007 America doesn’t have a strong tradition of ultra-high end supercars. The Vector WX3, Mosler MT900S, Vision K2 and Cunningham V12 were all fine cars but failed to make a splash in the market, much less create the sort of dynasties the European brands have spawned. Renowned Corvette tuners Callaway are lining up a shot at the title with the upcoming unveiling of their Callaway C16 Speedster, which starts with a Corvette C6 base and basically reworks everything for maximum power, speed, slippery aeros and style. The hardtop and convertible C16s, released earlier in the year, were magnificent beasts, but Callaway has left no panel un-tweaked in the design of the big-brother flagship Speedster. Its hand-made supercharged engine grunts out 700-odd horsepower, enough to take it well over 210 mph – and these sorts of speeds will feel even faster thanks to the topless, twin-screen cockpit. Retailing at just over US$300,000 and custom-tailored to every buyer, the Speedster is nearly three times the price of its lower-spec siblings, and it looks absolutely stunning.  Read More

Design drawing of the new Panamera Sports Coupé

August 1, 2007 GoAutonews is reporting that first Porsche four-door sedan, the Panamera, will be produced with a range of engines including a V10 model and a hybrid version using the same drivetrain as the Cayenne hybrid revealed last week, potentially giving it the mantle of the world's fastest hybrid.  Read More

Peugeot's 308 RC Z concept car, set to be unveiled at the upcoming 2007 Frankfurt IAA auto...

July 31, 2007 One of the highlights of the upcoming 2007 Frankfurt IAA motor show in September is sure to be the Peugeot 308 RC Z concept car. The brutish, muscular looks of the 2x2 hatchback coupe are unashamedly reminiscent of the Audi TT, and Peugeot is using the concept to test the waters on a sporty variant of the standard 308. While the company points out that the aim of the RC Z, like any concept, is "to pioneer technical and styling ideas free from the constraints of volume production", the fact that it shares so many components with the existing hatchback hints that the RC Z might be quite close to production-ready. So the response it receives at Frankfurt, the world's largest motor show, could be very telling.  Read More

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