Spike Aerospace, a Boston-based company currently developing the world’s first supersonic private jet, have just announced that in the interests of performance and safety, their S-512 jet won’t have any windows in the passenger cabin. Instead the passengers will view the world outside on massive ultra-high definition displays that run the length of the cabin.
Spike Aerospace say there are several reasons for removing the windows from the cabin. Firstly, windows cause significant challenges in designing and constructing a strong, safe, aerodynamic aircraft fuselage. They require addition structural support, which in turn adds to the overall weight of the aircraft, reducing performance and efficiency.
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Rinspeed’s annual pilgrimage to the Geneva Motor Show – where they show up with some outrageous concept, blow some industry minds, then slink off back to their mountain hideout in Switzerland and start planning next year’s show car – was no different in 2014.
The Rinspeed XchangE was based on a Tesla Model S, and from outside of the car wasn’t changed much from the original car – except for a drab olive paint job and silly looking grille. But on the inside its like ABBA met up with the Jetsons and they all went for a shopping trip at Sharper Image (before it closed down).
The Rinspeed XchangE features a range of cutting edge technologies, including an autonomous driving system, built-in tablet computers, a 32-inch 4K monitor for work or entertainment, Harman’s latest infotainment system, a superfast and secure internet connection, RFID technology to identify the driver and other passengers and allow access to the vehicle’s functions, a multi-function steering wheel which can be moved to the center of the dashboard when not in use, and, of course, a coffee machine.
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At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, nanoFLOWCELL AG – a high-tech research company based in Liechtenstein – unveiled their first research vehicle. Called the QUANT e-Sportlimousine, the vehicle was designed to showcase the company’s latest innovations in the field of charge transfer, electrical storage and recuperation.
The QUANT e-Sportlimousine is powered by an intriguing electric-drivetrain dubbed the nanoFLOWCELL drive. The company say it features an entirely new electrical energy storage system and is set to generate new and innovative ideas for ongoing research into battery development, specifically in the field of flow-cell technology.
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Feast your eyes on this! The AeroMobil flying car from Slovakia. The vehicle has been in development for no less than 20 years, but it’s only just recently got off the ground… So to speak. The AeroMobil’s designer, Stefan Klein, is currently working on version 3.0 of the vehicle. But the previous version, 2.5, has already been tested, both on the road and in the air.
The latest version is almost identical in configuration, but it has a much sleeker and more futuristic appearance. Its creators say the AeroMobil is perfectly suited to its dual role, making use of existing infrastructure created for automobiles and planes, and makes true door-to-door travel possible.
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Volvo has developed a revolutionary lightweight battery concept that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. The material, consisting of carbon fibres, nano structured batteries and super capacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.
As part of an EU-funded research project, including nine other major companies, Volvo was the only car manufacturer in the project. The project was designed to explore a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The research project took place over 3 and a half years, and is now realised in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.
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Ford will use next year’s 24 Hours of Daytona as a test ground for their new 3.5 litre V6 EcoBoost racing engine. Michael Shank Racing has signed up as the first team to put EcoBoost power behind its Daytona Prototype car. The 2014 Riley Technologies Daytona Prototype car features a new look with Ford styling cues created by lead Ford production designer Garen Nicoghosian, with aerodynamic support from Ford Racing chief aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus.
“At Ford Racing, we really put great emphasis on racing production-based vehicles as well as production-based technologies,” says Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “We’re proud to bring a direct-injected, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine to the United SportsCar Championship in a field of competitive V8-powered entries. We want to show Ford EcoBoost’s capabilities as an engine that provides both performance and fuel economy, on and off the track.”
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The ASAP watercraft is an electric-powered personal watercraft which has been specifically designed to assist lifeguards in getting to swimmers in trouble as soon as possible.
The ASAP water rescue craft is smaller, lighter and cheaper than conventional jetskis, meaning that more lifeguarding stations can afford to operate the vehicle. Of course it’s no substitute for a powerful jetski in large swells or when the swimmer (or swimmers) are far away from shore. However for rescues closer to the beach – but far enough out that paddling on a recue board or simply swimming would waste valuable time – the ASAP would be ideal.
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If you’ve been watching the news lately then you may have seen that Elon Musk, PayPal co-founder, Tesla co-founder, and SpaceX founder has another ambitious venture in the pipeline. Almost literally. His idea is to create a super high-speed link between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The carriages would travel in a airtight tube at over 700 mph, and the 400 mile journey would take roughly 30 minutes.
If it sounds a little crazy, that’s because it is. But Musk has made is name – and quite a substantial lump of cash – out of making the far-fetched and near-impossible a reality. Make no mistake though, his Hyperloop Alpha system is merely in the advanced concept stage. Not a single inch of the track – or tubing – has been laid, and there is currently no date set for doing so. Although 7 to 10 years is the projected build time from start to finish. His plans for the Hyperloop are open source, meaning that anyone can expand on the design and – if they have the money – build it.
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67 year-old Australian entrepreneur Paul Halstead, who made his money from the IT business, has decided to have another crack at building his own car. He tried it in the 1980s by converting Alfa Romeo Sprint Coupes in to mid-engined V8 beasts clothed in Kevlar bodywork. The HAL Giocattolo, as it was called, also had Brembo brakes and trick suspension developed by F1 engineer Barry Lock. Unfortunately he only managed to build 15 examples before having to shut down the operation due to lack of interest and sales. Possibly because the car was so spectacularly ugly.
This time around Halstead has also decided to make a crazy-engined automobile. Except that from the initial sketches, it’s clear he’s also concerned with how it looks. The sketches show a low-slung sleek supercar with uncluttered bodywork and an all-glass canopy. However it’s what’s lurking beneath that’s the real story. Powering the as-yet unnamed HAL supercar is a… Wait for it… 14-litre V16 with an estimated peak power output of 1,200 horsepower!
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Here’s something which looks like it came straight out of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. However thankfully it has a far more benign purpose. The Aether airship concept is a proposal for a large luxury airship which is more like an airborne cruise ship than an actual means of getting from A to B.
The Aether airship concept was created by designer Mac Byers as his final year project while studying Transport Design at Huddersfield University in England. The concept, while extremely futuristic in its appearance, is actually based on technology being developed by the US company Aeroscraft.
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