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Oracle

Platypus

The French-designed Platypus is a new and immensely practical two-person electric underwater exploration concept designed to travel for eight hours above the water at 10-12 knots (18.5-22.2 km/h), or below the water at 3-4 knots (5.5-7.5 km/h). Most importantly, it offers a safe and stable below-water platform that requires no operating equipment to be worn by the pilot or passenger other than masks because the pontoons contain an integrated compressor which supplies air via hoses. The Platypus requires no license, produces no local emissions, is completely silent and offers plenty of storage space and a stable platform for many applications including diving, photography, bird watching and eco tourism.  Read More

The Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak research Vehicle

Not long ago, there was informed debate on whether a purpose-built computer would ever beat a chess master. Now mobile phones have achieved Grand Master status. Computers continue to get exponentially faster, not to mention considerably smarter through improved software, whereas humans are effectively nearing their limits. Hence, it’s arguably only a matter of time and R&D focus before computers (plus improved sensors and software) surpass any specific human capability. This week Audi revealed that its Autonomous TTS research car had completed the 12.42-mile Pike’s Peak mountain course in 27 minutes. An expert driver in the same car would take around 17 minutes – now we have a benchmark, the race is on, and it's almost inevitable that a computer will one day outdrive the best of our species, and it may be sooner than you think.  Read More

Team BMW Oracle with Larry Ellison at the helm hold the trophy aloft

The America’s Cup has been run and won, and will return to America where it has resided for the vast majority of its century and a half history. Larry Ellison’s Team BMW Oracle trimaran trounced the Swiss Alinghi team’s Catamaran as two of the most technologically advanced boats on water fought out a one-sided event.  Read More

BMW Oracle rocks the America's Cup

There’s an old maxim in racing, and it goes along the lines of “when the flag drops, the bulls**t stops” and after more three years of legal action and posturing between the teams' billionaire principals, Larry Ellison and Ernesto Bertarelli, it was a much awaited start in many ways that mercifully kicked off the America’s Cup yesterday. Just 40 nautical miles (nm) later, the whole event seems all but over, as BMW Oracle was clearly faster downwind and particularly so upwind in comparison to the defending champ Alinghi V in conditions which were expected to favor the Swiss team. The racing was compelling and very spectacular, but in the best of three series, with the second race scheduled for Sunday …  Read More

Catch the Wind's Racer's Edge laser wind sensor tool.

Imagine you're a competitive sailboat racer, about to go into the richest and most storied of all sailing races with a squillion-dollar boat and a razor-sharp crew. Now imagine somebody hands you a device that can quite literally map out the wind activity up to a kilometre out in front of you, showing wind speed, direction and turbulence - and giving you the almost superatural ability to adjust your sails and take maximal advantage of a wind pattern before you even reach it. It's almost an unfair advantage, isn't it? Well, this is the situation that BMW Oracle Racing's Russell Coutts finds himself in as the team gears up to take on defending champions Alinghi in the 2010 America's Cup. The device is called a Racer's Edge laser wind sensor, and it's built around a technology base that's being used to optimise wind power generators. We caught up with Phil Rogers, CEO of Catch the Wind, Inc, to find out more.  Read More

The BOR 90 under testing in San Diego

America's team BMW Oracle Racing (BOR) has taken full advantage of a "wide open" set of design rules for this year's America's Cup to produce one of the most staggering and ambitious vessels ever seen on the water. Throwing out the cloth main sail, team BOR have fitted the BOR 90 with a gargantuan, motorized, solid carbon-fiber wing, nearly twice the size of a Boeing 747 wing at 190ft, or 57 metres tall. The engineering and logistics surrounding this incredible boat are mind-boggling - imagine trying to work out where to store the giant wing structure, how to transport it and how to fix it vertically onto a boat - let alone how to sail the thing - but the benefits of a non-deforming main sail include the potential for the multimillion-dollar trimaran to travel at up to 2.5 times wind speed. It's a crazy, massively expensive and hugely risky experiment that's never even been prototyped, and will only get a few weeks' worth of testing before it races in February.  Read More

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