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Aerodynamics

The 'world's most efficient production car'

Back in 2009, before the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were ready for market, the world heard loud, overinflated claims of "367" and "230" mpg ratings. Talk is cheap, and actual EPA testing sent those ratings rocketing right back down to Earth at 99 mpg-e and 60 mpg, respectively. Volkswagen is the latest to get in on the 200+ mpg game, claiming its XL1 will be capable of 261 mpg (European cycle). Thanks to a radical approach that slashes weight, optimizes aerodynamics and wrings every last drop of fuel, Volkswagen may actually make good - or at least get close.  Read More

The Bowlus Road Chief

Caravans make a nice change from holidays in hotels, but they can be as aerodynamic as a shoe box and often about as attractive. Canadian tech entrepreneurs John Long and Helena Mitchell are taking a step forward by going a step backward and reviving the Bowlus Road Chief of the 1930s. It’s an updated version of the classic American design that they call a “revival of an Art Moderne style with 21st century touches.”  Read More

The Aerodynamic Trailer and Truck

If you think your average annual gas bill is expensive, imagine how much the shipping industry spends to ship all forms of goods around the globe with its fleets of massive trucks. The Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamic Truck and Trailer aims to save a little of that fuel, money and pollution.  Read More

GasPods are tiny stick-on airfoils, designed to lower your vehicle's wind drag

Chances are, at some point you’ve seen vehicles that were designed with streamlined little knobs on their hoods or roofs, to improve their aerodynamics. While such features have been shown to work, they generally haven’t been available as an aftermarket product. Now, however, if you want those knobs on your car, you can have them – in the form of GasPods.  Read More

The Nike Pro TurboSpeed features golf ball-inspired dimples - Sleeve detail

The Nike Pro TurboSpeed is, as the name vividly suggests, a track uniform that offers professional athletes an advantage over their rivals. Through the clever use of aerodynamic techniques more commonly found on golf balls, the company has found a way to shave milliseconds off a sprinter's time. Or at least that's the bold claim Nike is making.  Read More

A depiction of Blue Origin's Space Vehicle

When it comes to spacecraft that may take the place of the now-defunct space shuttle, it would probably be fair to say that most people probably think of the SpaceX Dragon. It’s sometimes easy to forget, however, that SpaceX is a private company, competing against others for NASA’s business. One of those competitors is Washington state-based Blue Origin, established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos (SpaceX was co-founded by Elon Musk, of PayPal fame). Although the company has been rather secretive about the space vehicle that it’s developing, it recently announced that the design has done well in a series of wind tunnel tests.  Read More

Kai Richter (left) and Holger Mai of DLR inspect the installation of humpback whale-inspir...

Oh, those humpback whales and their weird fins. First, they inspired more efficient wind turbines. Next, their unique qualities were copied by undersea turbines used to harness tidal flow energy. Now, they’ve led to rotor blades that allow helicopters to be more maneuverable. It all comes down to bumps along their leading edge, known as tubercles.  Read More

Pilot Matthew Tanner is raising funds to build a vertical-winged stunt aircraft, which cou...

Matthew Tanner is a Colorado-based air show pilot who also competes in aerobatics competitions and teaches Air Force pilots how to fly. His current stunt aircraft of choice is a Laser Z300. Much as he is able to do with the nimble little airplane, he wants to be able to perform aerial maneuvers that no one has ever seen before. In order to do so, he intends to equip the plane with a pair vertical wings.  Read More

The new version of the Ferrari 599XX track car features a rear wing with electronically-ro...

For the past couple of years, many of the technologies destined for Ferrari’s road-going supercars were initially developed on the automaker’s track-only 599XX. Based on the 599 GTB Fiorano, the 599XX is made in very limited numbers, and serves as a kind of mobile testbed for new ideas. While it is possible for a few of Ferrari’s favorite people to buy the cars, the company still prepares and drives the vehicles on their behalf, at test tracks and race tracks in Europe and the U.S. Although the car was premiered in 2009 at the Geneva International Motor Show, the latest version is being presented at this month’s Bologna Motor Show. One of the more noteworthy features on the new model is its active aerodynamics system.  Read More

Mercedes' Aero Trailer, being pulled by an Actros tractor unit

Being in Belgium in November for a truck show may or may not be your cup of tea/mug of Java, but Mercedes is at least doing its best to make the "Trailer 2011" exhibition interesting. The truck design world moves at a glacial pace compared to the consumer automobile business, and new models have to provide serious and significant commercial improvements if they are to be accepted by the trucking fraternity. Coming off the back of the well-received launch of its new Actros heavyweight tractor unit, Mercedes brought along a trailer concept design that aims to match and extend the significant commercial and environmental advantages of that unit. It looks cool, too.  Read More

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