There's little doubt that drones will play an increasingly prevalent role in our skies in the future, so any aircraft manufacturer that wants to stay ahead of the curve is either already building them, has some in the pipeline, or is madly trying to get them up and flying. Piaggio Aerospace is not a newcomer to the game of flight by any stretch of the imagination, being one of the oldest airplane manufacturers in the world. It is, however, perceived as more of a civilian and business aircraft manufacturer. But it is determined to make its mark in the lucrative defense and security sector and the successful maiden test flight of its Prototype 001 P.1HH HammerHead UAS is an important step down that path.
For motorcyclists wishing to balance the inequities of the road-going pecking order, this could be the perfect mount. Vespa's 150 TAP might only be good for 40 mph, but the integrated M20 light anti-armor cannon shoots 75 mm rounds capable of penetrating 100 mm of armor from four miles.
There was an unusual shape in the skies over Italy last week as the Piaggio Aero Company and Selex ES successfully completed the first flight of the aptly-named Hammerhead UAV on Thursday, November 14, near the Trapini Air Force Base. The aircraft was remotely controlled from the ground, with no crew on board, while two chase planes kept the UAV in sight during the flight.
The convergence of the car and the motorcycle we forecast last year
looks set to continue with the first public showing today at EICMA 2010 in Milan of a range of three and four wheeled scooters by Italian start-up Quadro. The start-up is particularly exciting because the company is to be run by Luciano Marabese, the man who designed both the Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter and the Yamaha Tesseract four-wheeled motorcycle shown in 2007. The new machines will use an hydraulic tilting system patented by Marabese. In 2011 we’ll see the 350cc three-wheeled Quadro and later in the year, a 500cc four-wheeler. The four-wheeled motorcycle will evolve into a full family of supersports, hybrid, electric and off-road models, offering better braking, faster cornering and more safety and stability than a motorcycle.
Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence
has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.
Piaggio's MP3 was the world's first hybrid three-wheeler and at EICMA this week, it showed what is likely to be the first two-wheeled hybrid – the Piaggio USB (urban sport bike). The combination of a highly efficient, low-emmission GDI (gasoline direct injection) two-stroke motor and an electric motor, the USB is much smaller than it looks in the images and weighs in at just 130 kg. The USB runs 50km (30 miles) on electric only, and returns 1.5 l/100 km (156 U.S. mpg and 188 imperial mpg).
The Piaggio Group's
claim that its new MP3 Hybrid is “destined to revolutionize urban mobility” would normally be classified as a somewhat overreaching PR claim. Though a highly optimistic viewpoint in view of the machine's US$12,500 price tag, a 33% premium over the 250cc version, the MP3 Hybrid is a landmark vehicle in that it is the first hybrid motorcycle at the same time as offering a number of significant safety features that make the miserly 60 km/l (140+ mpg) three-wheeler a compelling choice for commuters. We've spent some time on the 250cc version of the MP3 and can vouch that it is just as manoeuvrable and enjoyable as a motorcycle yet much safer and surefooted. While the stupidly named MP3 doesn't actually play music, we believe it will make an impact when it goes on sale in Europe next month. Expect to see the hybrid on U.S. Roads next year.
October 15, 2008 It's not a car and it's not quite a scooter. Peugeot's HYmotion3 compressor concept vehicle is an original mix of previously seen design elements - a semi-enclosed shell akin to BMW's C1 or the Benelli Adiva
and the carving 3-wheel layout
of Piaggio's MP3
- with hybrid drivetrain technology added to produce a 2-person vehicle that promises low CO2 emissions as well as greater safety and weather protection than conventional scooters.
October 30, 2007 What a hoot! Piaggio’s
new carving three-wheeler
, with two independently suspended front wheels, opens up yet another whole new category of motorcycle
– a category that will surely explode once people get a glimpse of the ability of these stunning bikes. The MP3’s triangle footprint produces some sensational handling characteristics, making it an exceptionally fool-proof learner/commuter bike – as well as a hilarious hooligan tool for more experienced riders. Gizmag spent an afternoon with the scooter
that just won’t let you mess things up.
Italian manufacturer Piaggio, the maker of Vespa, is set to become the first company to release a hybrid drive scooter following an announcement that it is developing hybrid versions of its Vespa LX, Piaggio X8 and Vespa MP3 (the carving three-wheeler)
models. The new hybrid system, which has a working title of HyS (Hybrid Scooter), can operate in full electric mode with a range of around 20 kilometres as well as hybrid mode - whenever the rider needs to accelerate more aggressively, the electric motor kicks in, providing about 85 per cent extra performance. Piaggio’s HyS system is a parallel hybrid in which a combustion engine and an electric motor incorporated into the gearbox casing are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the rear wheel. The system uses drive-by-wire and the in-built electronic management combines the two engines to offer not only better acceleration but also a significant reduction in fuel consumption (up to 170 mpg or 1.67 liters/100 km) and in CO2 emissions, only 40 g/km (using 65% the hybrid modes and 35% the electric one). Perhaps the most exciting prospect is the hybrid MP3 which enjoyed such success as a 250cc it has since been developed as a 400cc version and was recently shown as a stylish 500cc Gilera – a sportier hybrid version of the 500 would enjoy exceptional performance.