Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Car

The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman (Photo: BMW)

When MINI Cooper came out with its Mini Countryman in 2010, it looked like what it was – a 4x4 crossover for people who like MINIs, but occasionally need to drive through a field or live on steep, icy hills. This year, MINI’s John Cooper Works sub-brand comes out with its version of the Countryman that takes the bucolic MINI and gives it a heavy dose of racetrack style and technology.  Read More

The Su Rui can be controlled at distances of up to 10 m (33 ft) using a remote control

When we think of remote control cars, we generally think of scaled-down vehicles that can easily get caught up underfoot. Not so Chinese automaker BYD, which has upsized the remote control car with the release of its Su Rui model in China. The mid-size family saloon that seats five includes Remote Driving Control technology that allows the driver to get out of the car and drive it using the included remote control “key.”  Read More

The Eggasus is a three-wheeled electric vehicle fitted with an electric hub motor, enclose...

Fans of personal, futuristic eco cars have something to "eggcited" about with the arrival of Eggasus, which is slated for northern hemisphere fall launch in the US. The designers are currently taking orders of the cute, no-emissions three-wheeler, which recently made the finalist list of the Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge.  Read More

Terrafugia flying car during Phase I flight test (Photo: Terrafugia)

Six years after the initial announcement that Terrafugia, Inc. would develop a "roadable airplane", the Transition has completed the first phase of flight testing. The flight testing, carried out at Plattsburgh International Airport in northern New York State, assessed the light sport aircraft's full performance envelope. The Transition prototype was reported to perform "exceptionally well", allowing the testing to be carried out quickly.  Read More

Design By Many recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station com...

Design By Many, a challenge-based design community, recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station competition. First prize was awarded to the HMMY team for its Plug + Play concept. The smart-looking electric vehicle charging station attempts to stimulate awareness of the gap between production and consumption of energy. The design "generates a renewed consciousness of energy use in our modern lives," according to HMMY.  Read More

Ford used the Hackathon event to get creative with potential features

Automakers have begun slowly integrating social networking into vehicles via advanced infotainment systems that provide voice-activated social functions. In a recent collaboration with Facebook called "Hackathon," Ford gave the world a glimpse of what in-car social networking 2.0 might look like. It's scary and intriguing at the same time.  Read More

It may not look like it there, but that's a pickup truck, convertible and SUV

Major automakers come up with pretty cool concepts on their own, but for really "wow-worthy" designs, sometimes you need to pay attention to what the other firms are doing. Take the MILA Coupic concept from Austrian engineering firm Magna Steyr. This innovative concept gives you the hauling capacity of a pickup truck, the family moving comfort of an SUV and the stylish driving enjoyment of a convertible - all from the same driver's seat.  Read More

Kia's Track'ster concept is a sporty, powerful reinterpretation of the Kia Soul, with raci...

The Chicago Auto Show got underway on Wednesday, and Kia had one of the noteworthy debuts of day one. The company's Track'ster concept is essentially a race-inspired hot hatch version of its popular Soul. The car gets a potent powertrain and aggressive look. Kia is clearly empowered by its recent success. Once essentially the baby brother of Hyundai, a brand that itself has a historical reputation as a cheap, entry-level automaker, Kia is really starting to come into its own. According to the company's numbers, it launched more new models in the US between 2009 and 2010 than any other automaker and was one of the world's fastest growing auto brands.  Read More

The new eight-speed Chrysler 300 Luxury Series sedan

Chrysler has launched its new 300 Luxury Series with what it has dubbed “the most luxurious and fuel-efficient Chrysler flagship ever.” Coupling a ZF 8HP45 eight-speed automatic transmission to a 292 horsepower, 3.6-liter aluminum Pentastar V6 engine, the 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series sedan gets 31 mpg (7.5 l/100 km) on the highway and 19 mpg (12.4 l/100 km) in the city, for a combined fuel economy figure of 23 mpg (10 l/100 km).  Read More

A group of Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology have de...

Who needs face detection when your car can know who's sitting in it based on their rear-end? A group of Japanese researchers at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology (AIIT) have developed a car seat that can identify drivers while they're sitting down. The way the technology works is pretty simple. The seat is retrofitted with 360 different sensors. Those sensors take into account things like your weight, the highest value of pressure on the seat, and where you come in contact with the seat. The idea is that we all sit in car seats relatively the same way each time, so the seat should be able to tell who is sitting in it, ensuring that the person is the owner of the car rather than a car thief.  Read More

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