Google Autonomous Car Round-Up

Google, those scamps that know everything about you, have, over the last couple of days gone all press crazy with the release of various bits of PR relating to its new baby autonomous car. Or e-car. I think. This post will be a short round up of what the various news sources have been saying, along with some videos by Google themselves.

First up, the Conservative party’s megaphone, the Daily Telegraph, and a piece that is not only pro, but, in a slightly back-handed way, questions the validity of the HS-2 rail project.

‘It changes, too, even the biggest infrastructure projects: HS2 may go very fast, but so can cars and these ones will pick you up from where you are and take you where you need to be, slashing total travelling time.’

Fair point.

 

The BBC, with a fairly bland piece, explain the in’s and out’s…

 

This is google themselves, taking the safety angle. Really this is the most obvious thing to talk about, because no matter how many people-caused traffic deaths we experience, something involving a machine is always going to seem that bit more difficult to articulate.

 

The Guardian, have done a bare bones report, but through the New York Times, address why there are no controls.

 

The indefatigable Jalopnik have not only covered the news, but posed a QOTD. Interesting angle, really. Getting to the centre of what people think about something is often about fear or happiness.

 

Car don’t seem to be interested. Autocar, on the other hand, straight from the typing fingers of Lewis Kingston have written what is probably the most simple and informative piece of them all.

 

But then something funny happened. Looking for a laugh I rolled up to the that supplier of fear and hate, the Daily Mail. And do you know what? Actually, it is them who have done the best job. Comments section still makes for entertaining reading, though…

Seen anything else that’s grabbed you? Comment below.

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The Machines Are Coming For The Young Turks

By Tim Smith

Autonomous cars are coming. That much (pending some kind of disaster, which may or may not be perpetrated by The Machines themselves) now seems certain.

Interestingly, the main hurdles between you and sleeping off a huge hang-over on the way back from the Big Smoke would seem to both ethical and legal in nature.

The Young Turks (no, not the early 20th century nationalist, monarchist movement based in Turkey) have attempted to touch on this.

It is clearly a very large subject, and this video acts as the very tip of the West Indies to what is going to happen over the coming years.

Oh, and they get carried away with rise of The Machines japes. Because of course they do.

 

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New Passat Gets More Diesel Power To Bully You With On The M1.

By Tim Smith

The new generation Volkswagen Passat, due in early 2015, will tick all of the relevant tech boxes, being both lighter and more powerful than the current generation.

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Did you know the Passat name is 41 years old? The next generation will be the mk.8. The last big shift was the B5/5.5. That was the generation that shook (along with the Golf mk.4) the whole motoring industry up with its rather brilliantly put together cabin, clean, handsome looks and an excellent diesel range. It was the first car I had regular access to, and although it never really excited me, it was a very nice place to be for long and not so long journeys.

The next one (although, as usual, the concept sketches don’t really tell us much) will be ‘up to 85kg lighter’, using a mix of ‘high-strength, hot-formed steel and aluminium’.

Passat 8_02

Headline power-units (it’s what F1 says these days, so yes, that’s a thing) are a 2.0 litre bi-turbo diesel with a claimed 240ps (236bhp) and a rather large 500nm (368ft.lb) and a plug-in hybrid model capable of a claimed 31 miles on battery power alone.

The former will contain all of that twist within VW’s familiar 4Motion  Haldex based four-wheel-drive system.

Expect the usual elastic trickery on the equipment side with TFT display’s, Park Assist, LED lights, and an intriguing piece of software called ‘Trailer Assist’ that will reportedly help you, the driver, to reverse a, erm, trailer.

There is also a new suite of safety systems.

All in all, this could be another big shift for the currently capable but also-ran Passat.

Passat 8_03

Full Press release below:

Volkswagen has revealed the first technical details of the all-new Passat Saloon and Estate, ahead of the cars’ unveiling in July and their public premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October.

The eighth-generation Passat will bring with it a range of new technologies and features, to ensure that even after 41 years and over 23 million sales worldwide, it remains as competitive as ever.

Thanks to the use of advanced materials – including high-strength, hot-formed steel and aluminium in certain areas – the new Passat is up to 85 kg lighter than its predecessor, helping it to claim expected fuel-efficiency improvements of up to 20 per cent. 

Despite exterior dimensions that are actually marginally smaller than those of the previous Passat, interior space is improved, with more leg- and head-room, as well as increased luggage space.

A highlight of the Passat’s new range of engines is a high-performance, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering 240 PS and an extraordinary 500 Nm from 1,750 rpm.  This engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A plug-in hybrid model will also be offered, with potential to travel 31 miles on battery power alone, and with a potential maximum range of around 600 miles.

Other new technology to be offered on the new Passat includes the Active Info Display, which replaces the instrument cluster with a fully configurable interactive 12.3-inch TFT display; a heads-up display; the latest Modular Infotainment System, including the Car-Net remote app; a further-developed 360-degree Area View function; and the latest generation of Park Assist. This newly developed Park Assist includes the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces – useful, for example at supermarket car parks, where access to the boot is important. It also includes a world-first Trailer Assist, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.

Other safety technology includes Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert; Traffic Jam Assist which makes stop-and-go driving more comfortable; Emergency Assist, which can potentially halt a vehicle when the driver is incapacitated; and the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking, which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to add pedestrian detection.

All new Passats will feature LED tail lights, while headlights will be halogen or LED.  In conjunction with Dynamic Light Assist, one of the two LED headlight options automatically adjusts the beam for maximum illumination of the road without dazzling other traffic.

Further details and first pictures of the Passat will be available in early July, ahead of the car’s public unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in October. UK sales will start before the end of the year, with first deliveries expected in early 2015.

(ends)

 

 

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Steve Sutcliffe Loves The New Cayman GTS. Yes. He. Does.

By Tim Smith

I love driving. You love driving. It’s why you’re here.

I think I love driving more than almost anything else. Except the obvious, of course. That’s like like comparing, well, the obvious with driving. They’re just different, but I love them both very much.

Steven ‘Steve’ Stutcliffe likes the Cayman GTS very much, thank you very much. I think he likes it more than anything else. And you know what? I’m just well jel.

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Here’s All Of Friday’s Crash Taken Care Of

By Tim Smith

‘All of the car crashes in this video are non-fatal’ notes the description. Good thing too, because almost all of them are caused by just a tiny slice of missed concentration.

Drive safe this weekend.

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This Is Something That Is Happening In The World.

By Tim Smith

Meet ‘Milky’. It’s a V8 engined milk-float.

‘Compared to my 600+bhp Nissan competition car, this was still more of a pig than a cow to drift,” says the former British Drift Champion Matt Carter. “With no seat belts or doors, it was a case of hanging on rather than hanging the tail out!’

Quite.

Oh, and Falken now do a lovely range in unusually sized tyres. Yes they do.

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That’s am old Buick/Rover V8 poking its nose out there.

 

 

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Nice. Tracksuit.

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BMW Do Some Gran Turismo, May Have Revealed The M4 DTM Car

By Tim Smith

Karin Habib, Director of BMW design, states at the beginning of this little ditty of marketing and gaming that;

‘The first time I heard about the idea for us to design a car for GT6 I actually didn’t quite believe it, but at the same time I thought it was a pretty amazing opportunity for us.’

Wait, you didn’t quite believe it? Really? Really, really? Really, really, really?

A surprised man.

A surprised man.

Anyway, given the chance to do this type of project you could be forgiven for thinking that the designers might go a bit crazy; a nuclear power plant, or hubless wheels or some crazy glue sniffing aero package.

Nope.

What we get is better and worse, all at the same time.

Hullo, there. Are you the M4 DTM?

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