Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Urban Transport

The Qugo, by Urban Mobility Europe

Dutch company Urban Mobility Europe has created a personal electric transporter that offers a silent and eco-friendly mode for getting around the city or parklands. Named Qugo, the three-wheeled transporter has a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and features a patented construction that offers a flexible and smooth ride, which according to the makers is “like skiing on the road."  Read More

The proposed Virtual Traffic Lights system could make lights like these obsolete (Photo: S...

If you’ve ever seen two groups of ants meet up with one another on intersecting paths, you’ll notice that they don’t crash into each other. Instead, the larger group instinctively takes the right-of-way, followed by the smaller group – the same thing applies to bees and termites. Inspired by this behavior, Carnegie Mellon University telecommunications researcher Ozan Tonguz wondered if the same thing could be applied to traffic flow.  Read More

JTEKT demonstrated the NOBOROT's stair-climbing capabilities at JIMTOF 2012

Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Kamata lab are working on a new wheeled robotic vehicle that can climb stairs. Called the NOBOROT, it uses a proximity sensor to detect when it is next to a step and is able to maintain a level posture while ascending and descending to ensure a smooth ride.  Read More

The LidoLine passing London Zoo's Snowdon Aviary

London's canals have "lost their original purpose," claims [Y/N] Studio. It's not wrong. Though London is often dismissed in the industrial history of Britain, it is dismissed wrongly. The capital was a haven for smaller-scale, artisan and skilled industries such as silk-weaving, cutlery and watchmaking; but also heftier trades like brewing and sugar-refining in the East. As with industrializing Britain as a whole, London's canals were the arteries that provided essential resources such as coal and timber to the city's factories and workshops. No more. [Y/N]'s novel idea is to revive the glory days of the Regent's Canal by joining modern-day "raw materials (workers) to the place of production (work)" by having Londoners swim to work using a dedicated swimming lane, dubbed the LidoLine, in the canal itself.  Read More

The Light Bohrd Urban Commuter has front and rear LEDs

With the increasing focus on sustainable urban transport comes an increasing call for proper safety infrastructure and products. We've recently seen LED bicycle helmets, and now a company called Light Bohrd has developed LED helmets and skateboards for commuters that use their feet for pushing rather than pedaling.  Read More

The Mando Footloose is a folding e-bike with a chainless drivetrain

A bicycle born out of auto industry technology, the Mando Footloose makes claim of using the world's first chainless series hybrid technology for an e-bike. Like other pedal-assisted electric bikes, the bike combines manual and electric power. Unlike other pedelecs, it eliminates the chain and transforms the cyclist's motion directly into electricity.  Read More

Ergon's CF3 Pro Carbon suspension seatpost

Nobody likes getting a sore butt (or numb “other areas”) while cycling, yet a lot of cyclists also don’t want the added weight of a suspension seatpost – even a snazzy one like the BodyFloat. Well, those individuals may well be interested in Ergon Bike Ergonomics’ forthcoming CF3 Pro Carbon seatpost. Made from two parallel carbon fiber leaf springs, it actually weighs less than some conventional carbon seatposts.  Read More

BodyFloat works by levitating a rider over their bike and terrain via a patent-pending und...

Looking for a way to make his frequent bike journeys a little less arduous while assisting rural village development in Kenya and Uganda, veteran frame builder Paul Barkley found that existing spring seats just didn't offer the kind of action, adjustability, performance and comfort he was looking for, so he set about designing one that did. When he discovered that the first prototype worked much better than expected, he set about refining the design. After spending more than a year riding, testing, racing and tweaking, he teamed up with keen cyclist Charlie Heggem to form Cirrus Cycles and bring the BodyFloat to market. The seatpost suspension system is claimed to smooth out the terrain below by levitating the rider above the bike, resulting in a comfortable ride and allowing for a smooth, comfortable and efficient pedal stroke without bounce, flex or wasted energy.  Read More

Conceptual image of the Toyota Smart Insect (front)

Automakers have been toying with the idea of single passenger vehicles in an attempt to reduce emissions in urban centers, and Toyota's Coms is one such example. The company is showing off a new concept version based on this ultra-compact, single passenger electric vehicle dubbed the "Smart INSECT" at CEATEC JAPAN 2012 this week. Short for "information network social electric city transporter," it would connect the home, vehicle, and people in new ways through Toyota's cloud services.  Read More

The Freefold commuter travel system is said to maintain the shape of a business suit jacke...

If you're the kind of businessman who travels cheek to cheek with commuters on the metro or subway – or who cycles to work – then you'll know that by the time you change into your once-pristine suit at the office, it can look more like a "before" image from a steam iron commercial than something fit to impress the boss. Tony Higson's crusade against creases started with Suit Commute, and is now about to enter the next phase with Freefold.  Read More

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