cartechboy (2660665) writes "Google showed us what it feels is the car of the future. It drives itself, it doesn't have a gas or brake pedal, and there's no steering wheel. But that last one might be an issue. Back in May California's Department of Motor Vehicles published safety guidelines aimed at manufacturers of self-driving vehicles. After seeing Google's self-driving car vision, the California DMV has told the company it needs to add all those things back to their traditional locations so that occupants can take "immediate physical control" of the vehicle if necessary. Don't for a second think this is a major setback for Google, as the prototypes unveiled weren't even close to production ready. While the DMV may loosen some of these restrictions in the future as well all become more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles, there's no question when it comes down to the safety of those on the road."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Tesla's Superchargers are the talk of the electric car community. These charging stations can take a Model S battery pack from nearly empty to about 150 miles or range in around 30 minutes. That's crazy fast, and it's nothing short of impressive. But what does it take to actually build a Tesla Supercharger site? Apparently a lot of digging. A massive trench is created to run high-capacity electric cables before the charging stations themselves are even installed. A diagram and photos of the Electric Conduit Construction build out have surfaced on the Internet. The conduits connect the charging stations to a power distribution center, which in turn is connected to a transformer that provides the power for charging cars. It took 11 days to install the six charging stalls in Goodland, Kansas. If you thought it was a quick process to build a Supercharger station, you were clearly wrong. Now, what ever happened to those battery swapping stations?"
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "A US juggler facing child sex abuse charges, who jumped bail 14 years ago, has been arrested in Nepal, after the use of facial-recognition technology. Street performer Neil Stammer travelled to Nepal eight years ago using a fake passport under the name Kevin Hodges. New facial-recognition software matched his passport picture with a wanted poster the FBI released in January. Mr Stammer, who had owned magic shop in New Mexico, has now been returned to the US state to face trial. The Diplomatic Security Service, which protects US embassies and checks the validity of US visas and passports, had been using FBI wanted posters to test the facial-recognition software, designed to uncover passport fraud. The FBI has been developing its own facial-recognition database as part of the bureau's Next Generation Identification (NGI) programme."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "We all know Tesla is working on its Gigafactory, and it has yet to announce officially where it will be. But the automaker did announce a shortlist of possible locations, and California wasn't on it. The state has quickly been trying to lure Tesla to get back into contention. Now the state may waive environmental rules which would normally make construction of such a large manufacturing facility more difficult. Apparently, Governor Jerry Brown's office is currently negotiating an incentive package for Tesla that would waive certain parts of the nearly half-century-old California Environmental Quality Act. Not only that, but state officials are reportedly considering letting Tesla begin construction and perform damage mitigation later, along with limiting lawsuits that could slow down the project. Let's not forget some massive tax breaks to the tune of $500 million. Is California stepping out of bounds here? Is it about to be in hot water, or does this all sit just fine with everybody?"
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Skeptics will ask what happens to electric-car batteries once they leave the car? Do they just end up in landfills? This is a great question, and the answer is no, not really. While some could be recycled, that doesn't seem like a realistic plan as the stuff inside lithium-ion batteries is cheap, and technological breakthroughs will make it dated. But a secondary use, that's more realistic. The idea of these massive battery packs being re-purposed for something else is completely real. Maybe they'll be bundled to a solar panel system on a house to both create and store renewable energy for peak utility times. So will these battery packs end up creating more waste by going to landfills? Not likely, but they also might not get recycled."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Self-driving cars are coming, that's nothing new. People are somewhat nervous about this technology, and that's also not news. But it appears self-driving cars are already hear, and one idiot was dumb enough to climb out of the driver's seat while his car cruised down the highway. The car in question is a new Infiniti Q50 which has Active Lane Control and adaptive cruise control. Both of which essentially turn the Q50 into an autonomous vehicle while at highway speeds. While impressive, taking yourself out of a position where you can quickly and safely regain control of the car if needed is simply dumb. After watching the video, it's abundantly clear why people should be nervous about autonomous vehicles. It's not the cars and tech we need to worry about, it's idiots like this guy."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Humans seem to fear the idea of self-driving cars. Why? The reasons we have accidents are more times than not because of human error. A recent study by Insurance.com which polled 2,000 licensed drivers in June 2014 found that 61 percent of those surveyed said they would make better driving decisions than a computer. While one would love to believe such a thing, it's a fact that computers drive better than humans. This may not be true today, but very, very soon, once software is tidied up, autonomous cars will make far better drivers. Why? Because humans are taking selfies, putting on makeup, and reading email while behind the wheel of the car they are supposedly driving. Self-driving cars don't get hammered before driving, they can't take selfies, and they certainly aren't reading the most recent Buzzfeed article. Human error accounts for up to 95 percent of all traffic accidents. So the next time you think you're a better driver than a computer, you aren't."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Remember four years ago when Tesla's new headquarters in Palo Alto, California seemed like a big risk? Yeah, time flies and now the Silicon Valley startup is already running out of room. Apparently the electric-car maker is already looking for 200,000-300,000 square feet of office space in the lower Peninsula market. Part of the motivation is that the company would like to have employees closer to its Fremont factory, which is 20 miles from its current headquarters. With heavy traffic that journey can take up to an hour or more. While not looking to relocate its headquarters, Tesla's simply looking to expand its space. Meanwhile, we all eagerly await to hear if the Gigafactory will indeed end up being built in Nevada."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Tesla says the future is electric cars, but many are skeptical that battery technology is advanced enough. It seems researchers just created pure lithium anode which is considered the 'holy grail' of battery tech. Existing lithium-ion batteries rely on the movement of lithium ions between the anode and cathode--and back--as the battery charges and discharges. While it's currently the best option for powering electric vehicles (and consumer electronics), there's room for improvement. The researchers at Stanford University just created that improvement. The pure lithium anode has the potential of boosting battery efficiency by a large margin over today's units. It proveds higher energy density, lighter weight and more power. A lithium anode would be ideal, but it's also unstable as the lithium expands during charging, causing cracks and fissures in the anode. Then lithium ions escape and battery life is reduced. That, and lithium anodes chemically react with the electrolyte, further reducing its life. Researchers fixed this issue with a carbon nanosphere arranged in a honeycomb structure. Is this the future? Did Standord's researchers just truly create the holy grail of battery technology?"
cartechboy (2660665) writes "We've covered the Bloodhound SSC before because it's being built to go at least 1,000 mph. That's just crazy. Throughout the car's development the team has kept us updated on how it's constructing and testing various components. The latest development has the team testing the wheels to ensure they won't explode at 1,100 mph. How do you test such a thing? You run the wheel up to 1,100 mph and see what happens, naturally. We know the record speed attempt will be live streamed for all to view, so if something catastrophic does happen, we'll know about it as it's happening. In the past we've learned about the Bloodhound SSC's anatomy, brakes, and engine. The team is clearly working hard to ensure both the driver's safety and the ability to control the car in case the worst happens. The question still remains: will the Bloodhound SSC actually break the speed record and hit 1,000 mph, safely?"
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Earlier in the week we heard that Tesla and Panasonic had reached an agreement to build the gigafactory together, and today that became official. Now it seems that things are farther along than anyone thought. In fact, construction of the plant might already be secretly underway in Nevada. This is of course interesting as Tesla hasn't officially announced where the gigafactory will be built. Something called Project Tiger is currently underway east of Reno, and there's a lot of construction workers, heavy equipment, and a heavily guarded fenced barrier around the site. The volume of dirt being moved is 140,000 cubic yards, which matches the gigafactory dimensions given earlier this year by Tesla. Is it possible that Tesla's actually building the gigafactory before even announcing its location? It seems so, yes."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Tesla's been pretty quiet regarding its upcoming gigafactory lately, but that's about to change. It seems the Silicon Valley startup has reached an agreement with Panasonic in regards to the gigafactory, and Panasonic's going to end up having skin in the game. While the electronics giant was originally skeptical of Tesla's battery factory, it now isn't just on board, it's actually going to participate in the construction of this new facility. It's reported that Panasonic will invest 20 billion to 30 billion yen (194 million to $291 million at current exchange rates), and supply fabrication machinery necessary for cell production. That means Pansonic could end up footing the bill for $1 billion of the total $5 billion anticipated investment required for the gigafactory to get off the ground. If things continue to move forward the Gigafactory should be online by the end of 2017."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Golfing and cars, not much in common there. But that's about to change thanks to a new technology from a research lab at MIT called Smorphs. The idea is simple: put a set of dynamic dimples on the exterior of a car to improve its surface aerodynamics and make it slipperier, and therefore faster. Pedro Reis is the mechanical engineering and research spearheading this project. A while ago Mythbusters proved the validity of the dimpled car form in a much more low-tech way. The concept uses a hollow core surrounded by a thick, deformable layer, and a smoother outer skin. When vacuum is applied, the outer layers suck in to form the dimples. The technology is only in its very earliest stages, but we could see this applied to future vehicles in an effort to make them faster and more fuel efficient."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "A few weeks ago we heard about a challenge being thrown down to hack a Tesla Model S. It seem that challenge was both accepted and accomplished. Chinese internet security company Qihoo has announced it's found ways to remotely control aspects of the Model S, even while the car is in motion. The company posted screenshots showing several vital functions of the car disabled--such as ABS and traction control--while the company also "discovered ways to remotely control the car's lock, horn and flashing lights." Obviously this move could simply be a PR stunt by Qihoo. Forbes suggested it might be a way to scare Tesla's CEO Elon Musk into doing business with Qihoo. Tesla said, "WE hope that the security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith."
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Most normal road cars aren't designed to handle track conditions, though, newer performance cars have become surprisingly good at going around a track. It seems the same can't be said for the Tesla Model S which faltered during a hot lap around the legendary Nürburgring. Racing driver Robb Holland piloted the electric car around the 14-mile track, but after just one third of the loop the Model S went into reduced-power mode to help preserve the battery. Before this happened Holland described the car as too heavy, too short of mechanical grip, and devoid of steering feel. He did praise the electric sedan saying it's probably capable of a 9-minute lap if it doesn't overheat, and for a brand new car company that didn't exist a decade ago, it's an impressive vehicle. So it seems the Tesla Model S isn't perfect at everything, yet."