Saturday, January 31, 2009

How California Could Affect Car Choices

It seems in some circles that the recent directive from the Obama Administration on fuel efficiency is creating alarm among automakers:

President Obama's order to the Environmental Protection Agency to review whether to grant a government waiver that could allow California to pass tougher fuel economy and emission standards for automakers than the federal government could significantly change the vehicle choices consumers have in the next decade.

If the EPA grants California a waiver, the move would allow the state to require that vehicles achieve fuel economy equivalent to 35 miles per gallon by 2017, three years earlier than mandated by a federal regulation passed in 2007. The new fleet average would be 42.5 mpg by 2020.

California also would make it tougher in some ways for the auto companies to meet the state regulation than the federal one. That's because carmakers have been preparing to meet the new federal standard with future vehicle plans that include smaller engines, electric vehicles, and hybrids. But the phase-in of the California plan starting in 2011 and accelerating to 2017, they say, could force rapid price hikes on vehicles and slam automakers already hurting from the global recession. Under the rules, the auto companies would have to invest far more in new technology.

Read in full - 'How California Could Affect Car Choices'


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Train in Spain Replaces the Plane

The rain in Spain falls mainly...... no, sorry, scrap that: it's now the train in Spain...


The trains in Spain are doing better than planes as a growing web of high-speed lines carrying sleek bullet trains steal hundreds of thousands of passengers from airlines and cut emissions in the process.

As the government pumps more money into the system, Spaniards are abandoning commercial airlines so quickly that domestic flights carried 20 percent fewer people last year. That's big news in a country that has long depended upon commercial aviation to connect its major population centers.

Spain has been late to the train game in part because it is larger than other European countries and its major cities are typically 300 miles apart. For that reason, Spain has long favored air travel, and it has been a boon for the nation's airlines.

But no more.

Read full article: 'The Train in Spain Replaces the Plane'


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Santa Pod to repeat Alternative Energy Race Day

It's now official that the UK’s Santa Pod drag strip is to hold another Alternative Energy Race Day following the success of the inaugural event in 2008:

Last year’s event saw entries from Lotus, Vectrix, Bike magazine and Green Fuels UK fighting wheel to wheel with a number of small independent and club entrants on the quarter mile track. For 2008 the net is being cast even wider to include businesses, universities and individuals.

Entry for the event at the FIA approved venue is free to any eligible vehicle, with the fastest time of the day taking home the title and a trophy.

Read more at - 'Santa Pod to repeat Alternative Energy Race Day'


Solar and wind powered car planned by US students

News in that two Californian high school students have revealed ambitious plans to build a solar and wind-powered sportscar:

This two seater sportscar is to be powered by 212 kilowatt motor that is said to be capable of accelerating from nought to 60mph in under four seconds and to a top speed of 155mph. The car will use a solar-powered battery to get up to speed after which airflow passing over the vehicle will be used to power an onboard turbine. Generated electricity will be stored in ultra-capacitors and are combined with energy also stored in a battery that is charged by solar panels located on the roof of the car.

Read more - 'Solar and wind powered car planned by US students'


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First mass-market electric car from a major car maker

It is being heralded as the first mass-market electric car from a major car maker.

Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car

(Mitsubishi's i-MiEV electric car Photograph: PR)

Mitsubishi has unveiled the first mass-market electric car from a mainstream car maker.

Slightly bigger than the Smart ForTwo but with a similar design, the i-MiEV — which goes on sale in the UK later this year — is based on the i, Mitsubishi's existing city car. With room for four adults, it has a top speed of 87mph and produces the equivalent of 57 horsepower. Its lithium-ion battery has a range of 100 miles and can be charged from flat to 80% in 20 minutes using Mitsubishi's bespoke high-powered charger; otherwise, a normal mains electricity socket will charge the battery from flat to full in six hours. Mitsubishi estimates that the car can travel 10,000 miles on £45 of electricity at current UK domestic prices.

Now that makes good economic sense. Next question - electricity production to support added infrastructures?

Read in full - 'first mass-market electric car from a major car maker'



Aeromobilities is based on the 2006 Cosmobilities conference on Air Time Spaces in Lancaster. It provides a broad introduction to the study of air travel, airspaces and aviation from the perspective of the social sciences and the humanities. The book makes a strong case for a systematic, interdisciplinary study of some of the most powerful forces that have shaped our mobile globalization.

‘Aeromobilities’ by Saulo Cwerner, Sven Kesselring and John Urry, available from all good bookstores or direct from the Routledge website.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Aeromobilities, Globalization and Social Theory 1. Aeromobilities and the Global 2. Global Transfer Points: the Making of Airports in the Mobile Risk Society Part 2: The Production of Airspaces 3. >store>forward> Architectures of a Future Tense 4 Connecting the World: Analyzing Global City Networks Through Airline Flows 5. Airport Codes/Spaces 6. Air Craft: Producing UK Airspace 7. Around the World in 80 Airports Part 3: The Social Life of Air Travel 8. Airborne on Time 9. A Life in Corridors: Social Perspectives on Aeromobilities and Work in Knowledge Organizations 10. Getting into the Flow Part 4: Governing Air Travel 11. Science, Expertise, and Local Knowledge in Airport Conflicts: Towards a Cosmopolitical Approach 12. Helipads, Heliports and Urban Air Space: Governing the Contested Infrastructure of Helicopter Travel

Click to read more on 'Aeromobilities'


Saturday, January 17, 2009

RFID Revolution: Your cars will be tagged

The Economic Times writes about government proposals in India are seeking to make it mandatory to fit RFID-enabled devices in the cars manufactured > in India:

It will be the responsibility of the car manufacturers to ensure that all new cars have these radio-frequency identification tags. It is believed that RFID tags would help in traffic management as traffic violations by motorists could be tracked and all violations identified. Also, motorists would get charged automatically as soon as they enter a toll area.

The RFID-based system that is proposed to enable tracking of vehicles relies on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transporters . An RFID tag is an object that can be fitted on any object for the purpose of identification using radiowaves.

“The expected increase of cars and SUVs from 2005 to 2035 is 13 times (35.8 million to 236.4 million vehicles), while two wheelers are expected to increase about 6.6 times (35.8 million to 236.4 million vehicles). This coupled with declining share of public transport is leading to severe problem of congestion , inflicting a high cost on the economy in the form of travel delays, loss of productivity and increase in road fatalities and air quality deterioration. Therefore, enabling every car with RFID would help the government track them remotely,” an official said.

Read more at - 'RFID Revolution: Your cars will be tagged'


Thursday, January 15, 2009

The flying car

Here's the latest attempt to beat traffic congestion... it's the newest attempt to create the flying-car concept. Yet this one seems to be getting off to a flying start! (sorry....).. and is currently on its maiden voyage.

It is the ultimate off-roader and it is coming to an airstrip near you. The flying car has been talked about for almost as long as cars have existed, and now a prototype built by a small American company is finally ready to make the idea a reality.

The Terrafugia Transition is a two-seater plane that at the touch of a button converts into a road-legal car. It takes its maiden flight next month and is scheduled to hit the showrooms by next year. You can’t help but wonder whether, if Bob Nardelli and Rick Wagoner, of Chrysler and General Motors respectively, had been forward-thinking enough to fly into Washington DC in swept-wing Dodge Vipers and Cadillac Escalades instead of corporate jets when they were seeking bailout cash, they would have been showered with government money, downturn or no downturn.

Read more at - 'The Flying Car'


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

T-ray scanners – the future for airports?

Euronews has a video post on a new type of scanner that uses a terahertz or T-ray camera that scans people for hidden weapons, and which could be the future of airport security:

Watch video here at 'T-ray scanners – the future for airports?'


Monday, January 12, 2009

Army developing ‘synthetic telepathy’

Here we go again: more news on what the military is attempting to develop in terms of mind-interface-technology. It appears that the U.S. Army is developing a technology known as synthetic telepathy that would allow 'someone to create email or voice mail and send it by thought alone. The concept is based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph, or EEG'. Well, this has been going on for a while - see 'Opening Pandora's Box' by Kingsley Dennis. The post continues here:

Image: Synthetic telepathy image

Known as synthetic telepathy, the technology is based on reading electrical activity in the brain using an electroencephalograph, or EEG. Similar technology is being marketed as a way to control video games by thought.

"I think that this will eventually become just another way of communicating," said Mike D'Zmura, from the University of California, Irvine and the lead scientist on the project...

...The first is to compose a message using, as D'Zmura puts it, "that little voice in your head."

The second part is to send that message to a particular individual or object (like a radio), also just with the power of thought. Once the message reaches the recipient, it could be read as text or as a voice mail. While the money may come from the Army and its first use could be for covert operations, D'Zmura thinks that thought-based communication will find more use in the civilian realm.

Read more at - 'Army developing ‘synthetic telepathy’'


Cars With Black Boxes

Euronews has a short video on how some manufacturers are beginning to add airplane-like black boxes to their cars. Brazil, for example, will make it law for all cars manufactured from summer 2009 onwards to have the black boxes fitted. Not only will they track the cars but they will also offer personalised insurance as well as automatic distress signal in the case of accident.

See video here in 'Cars follow planes with black boxes'