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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In recent years, documentaries about how stuff gets built have become more and more popular. So, the guys at Alfa Romeo have decided to proudly show us some details on how the 4C sports car is being built. And they do have some moments to be proud of, as all of you with a car geek soul will see in the pics and video below.
With a range that is almost entirely of European fame, Alfa Romeo really needs some added excitement up if it’s going to be a success in the US. The hype was started by the beautiful and lavishly exclusive 8C Competizione/Spider. But, as that sports car ended production, so did the buzz surrounding it, and there is no better time for a smaller, more affordable sibling. Especially if it’s going to be produced in larger numbers.
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Peugeot’s all-new ‘Design Lab’ has just been launched to offer external clients design services for just about any product or vehicle you can think of. Those ‘external clients’ better have deep pockets though because the Peugeot Design Lab isn’t just a pokey back-street office where a couple of 2nd-rate designers bang out the odd sketch here and there. The Peugeot Design Lab uses all the technical and human resources available at the Peugeot Design Centre headquarters, and it has offices across three continents, in the cities of Paris, Shanghai and Sao Paolo.
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The Quadrofoil is the perfect example of intelligent engineering. It was created by three Slovenian designers who decided to take an entirely fresh approach to recreational watercraft design. Amazingly, despite the Quadrofoil’s complexity, the team managed to develop a prototype in only six months. The vessel made its debut at Slovenia’s Internautica exhibition last week.
Reaction to the prototype has been so positive that a production run of 100 for this year has already begun. Its ambitious creators hope to be manufacturing more than 10,000 per year from 2013. The fact the Quadrofoil is on offer for EUR 15,000 ($19,100) makes that goal seem plausible, as there’s nothing else quite like it and most brand-new recreational watercraft come with a comparable price tag.
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China, the land where the People’s Liberation Army keeps the population ‘liberated’ by means of invasive monitoring and violent oppression, has just announced the results of their People’s Car Project (PCP) run by Volkswagen. Launched 11 months ago in China, the project has had 33 million visitors to the website, and collected more than 119,000 ideas. Turning some of those ideas into reality, at the Auto China 2012 show in Beijing Volkswagen displayed three vehicle and technology concepts conceived by participants in the project.
“The ‘People’s Car Project’ in China marks the beginning of a new era in automobile design”, Luca de Meo, Director of Marketing, Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented. “We are no longer just building cars for, but also with customers and at the same time initiating a national dialog which gives us a deep insight into the design preferences, needs and requirements of Chinese customers,” de Meo said. The concepts chosen for development were the Hover Car, the Music Car and the Smart Key.
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Motion Simulation, a UK based company founded in 2008, are now offering the first commercially available 180-degree spherical racing simulator. The TL1 is their first design, and according to the company’s boss, Johnathon Bell, while developing the product the company paid special attention to the details: “There has always been a gap in the quality of experience between simulation software and hardware”, Bell explains, “like screens, cockpits, steering wheels and pedals. The technology and information has been there in the software and whilst steering wheels and pedals have improved greatly the visuals and driving environment let the experience down. We have given high value to every part of the simulator to ensure our customers get the most realistic experience available. Our aim is to take the Simulator as close as possible to the real thing and TL1 is just the start.”
Housing the world’s first 180-degree spherical projector screen and a variable position seat, the Motion Simulation TL1 is said to offer an unrivalled, immersive, simulation experience. Designed and manufactured in cooperation with the Ariel Motor Company, the TL1 is intended to appeal to a broad range of users, including professional race drivers, entertainment companies, and gaming enthusiasts with large bank balances.
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For the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Delphi – the giant automotive parts supplier, and Franco Sbarro – the crazy Swiss car designer, have joined forces to develop a sports car called the ‘F1for3′. The name is says it all really. It’s basically a Formula One inspired sports car with three seats.
Aside from the sporty-looking bodywork, Delphi are using the F1for3 to showcase their latest generation of in-vehicle high-speed internet connected products; including a smart user interface, world-standard mobile TV tuner, and a slim line roof module with integrated reception system.
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Experiments in synchronized flight, involving swarms of nano quadrotors, conducted by researchers at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania, make for some very impressive YouTube clips!
The insane levels of stability, agility and control which the quadrotors are capable of make them perfectly suited to aerobatic flight. But when they are synchronized, and flown by computer control, the nano aircraft really start to look almost eerily self-aware. The part where they organise themselves into little squads in order to advance through an open window is quite frankly scary, and exactly what I expect to see when the robots start to monitor us 24/7 in advance of their uprising.
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Volkswagen have just released details on their Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) technology which will underpin a large selection of the next-generation of vehicles from VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT. The MQB system (the acronym is taken from the German ‘Modularer Querbaukasten’ ) is designed to simplify the design and production of future vehicles fitted with transverse-mounted engines. The system standardises many vehicle parts and components, making it easier to build different models, even from different brands, on the same basic platform.
The first new vehicles to be produced based on the MQB platform will be the successor to the Audi A3 and the next generation Golf. But in the future the technology will be rolled out for many of the Volkswagen Group’s most important models, including the Polo, Beetle, Golf, Scirocco, Jetta, Tiguan, Touran, Sharan, Passat, and the Volkswagen CC. In the future, all of these models could theoretically be produced on the same assembly line – despite their different wheelbases and track widths. The same would be true of the equivalent models at Audi, Skoda and SEAT production facilities.
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The Autonomo 2030 Concept is a proposal for a highly-advanced, self-driving vehicle which could help significantly reduce congestion within some of the world’s largest cities. The concept was inspired by a combination of bio-mimicry, artificial intelligence and sustainability.
As the world’s population increases, the strain on existing transportation infrastructure will continue to increase. Drivers in mega cities like Los Angeles are already experiencing excruciatingly slow commutes on a daily basis. And without some radically new ideas things aren’t going to get better anytime soon. Recognising this, the Autonomo 2030′s designer, Australian Charles Rattray, decided to offer a new solution.
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