Category: cars

NEW Driverless Aerial Vehicle For Transporting Humans

The “EHang 184”, created by Chinese Company Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science & Technology Co., Ltd. has become the world’s first Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, AAV for transporting humans across the sky. Unveiled at CES in Las Vegas last year, the vehicle can carry 1 passenger, has 8 propellers and 4 wings thus “184.” The passenger simply punches in their desired destination into the touch screen or their smartphone app, then sit back and relax. EHang officials say the vehicle is designed for traveling short to medium distances – generally 2 to 10 miles with a top speed of 60mph. Riding in a driverless car is hard for me to think about, but being air-borne without a pilot takes it to a whole new level. From what I understand there is no option to take over controls of the 184 from inside the vehicle and every flight is remotely monitored from a control room. EHang claims they have equipped the 184 with a “fail-safe system”. The independently developed fail-safe system ensures that if any components malfunction, or if there’s damage while the AAV is in-flight, i.e. from a bird, the aircraft will immediately begin taking the necessary precautions to ensure safety. The system automatically evaluates the damage and determines the next best course of action for its passenger’s. The communication system was also designed with special encryption to safeguard from hackers. Head of Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency recently announced at the World Government Summit that the 184 autonomous drone would be flying in Dubai by July. No official launch date has been set by the company, but they believe commercialization will begin in a few months. The U.S. may not be far behind the game as officials from Nevada are seeking to partner with EHang to test the 184. Interestingly the EHang produces zero emissions as it is battery powered. I heard the price was somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000, which seem insanely high when you consider a small but proven helicopter such as the Robinson R44 Raven I costs $355,000 brand new, has a 350-mile range and can transport 3 passengers at 4000 feet. I suspect once the EHang hits the market and more competition comes into the space prices will come down significantly. Watch a video of the 184 in action HERE. (Source: DailyMail)

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Google Founder Larry Page Releases First Footage of “Flying Car”

Google founder Larry Page recently showed off “Kitty Hawk,” a new startup company that bills itself as making a much-anticipated “flying car”. The company describes the Kitty Hawk Flyer as an “all-electric aircraft” that is designed to operate over water and doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly. In fact, Kitty Hawk promises people will be able to learn to fly in minutes. Kitty Hawk hasn’t said exactly what the Flyer is too be used for, recreation or true travel, nor has it set a price for a retail version. But the company is enticing eager pilots with a $100 three-year membership that offers priority placement on a waiting list, company-branded gear and the ability to attend company events. Members will also get a $2,000 discount off the eventual retail price. Again, this thing looks really fun, but I’m uncertain about the specifics. I have heard that people are concerned that it could be extremely loud. Even a normal-sized drone is fairly noisy and larger octocopters are wildly noisy. Reporters witness this thing’s short test run over Clear Lake in California said it’s as loud as a speedboat. Of course, you can’t really gather that from the promo video Kitty Hawk recently released. Imagine a world with these things filling our skies and lakes…it would be nuts. The Flyer isn’t considered a drone, it’s an Ultralight aircraft per FAA regulations. This is why there’s no pilot’s license required. If you are scratching your head on why Larry Page would be getting involved, he’s hardly alone in his interest. Industry giants like Airbus have proposed multiple takes on a flying car, as have dozens of startups from around the world. And, coincidentally or not, Uber recently held a conference in Texas about its own flying carambitions. Anyways, Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk looks as if they have a working prototype that you can see in action HERE. It’s the first footage released of this Google-backed “flying car.” (Source: New York Times)

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Bentley Jumping Into The Electric Car Market

Bentley ​recently ​made their first jump into the electric car market at the 2017 International Motor Show​ in Geneva​. Bentley is saying in a recent press release, “The 6e represents a first step on a journey that will change the way today’s drivers think about mobility and what it can be”. Most believe this is Bentley’s attempt to challenge Tesla in the luxury electric category. ​Tesla’s sporty electrics do push into the luxury tier, but Bentley believes there’s an extra luxury stratum that is above anything its Californian rival can produce. The 6e is a car intended to challenge what we can expect from an electric car as it brings Bentley’s limousine-like qualities of luxury and opulence to a distinctly more compact form than its established Continental and Flying Spur models.​ Wolfgang Dürheimer, the chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, said during an interview in Geneva, “electric vehicles don’t necessarily need to look like a refrigerator. They can be appealing. They can be sexy. They can be emotional.”​ Of course this Bentley lives up to the name as the 6e delivers with its’ inside luxury and the outside appearance – see pictures below​. Of note, are the rear-view cameras that replace mirrors and the “lopped off” crescent shaped steering wheel with two glass topped buttons – one for an extra boost and the other for adverse driving conditions and of course you are surrounded by a rich luxurious leather interior. From what I understand the 6e can currently travel 190 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately since it’s still in the concept process Bentley has not provided a final list price. Generally, you will not pick up a Bentley for less than $180,000, so I expect prices to start in that neighborhood when the 6e is actually released. Industry analyst believe they will most likely release the 6e in Chinese and European cities first, saying those countries are a bit more concerned about air pollution and appear more receptive to the technology. Bottom-line, Bentley believes they need to have options for their current customers should environmental demands dictate. The “electric vehicle” is clearly going to start taking more market share. (Source: Bloomberg, The Verge)

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