Category: Gizmology

By on September 30, 2015


Tesla finally rolled out its third model, the Model X last night to loyalists and some media (not us) Tuesday in California.

The SUV’s falcon doors and ludicrously insanely fast 0-60 mph times (3.2 seconds for a car that weighs 5,441 pounds) may get most of the headlines, but the rest of the car’s features and specifications are just as impressive. Tesla says that the batteries in its Model X — which are the same as the Model S — are good for 250 miles. The combined torque for its front and rear engines motors, which produce 259 hp and 503 hp respectively, is more than 700 pound-feet.

And the air filtration system inside may protect you from mustard gas, or something.

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By on September 21, 2015

Apple Logo Circa 2005

Apple will formalize what kind of car it may produce (or have already produced) by 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the report, the Cupertino, California-based company has labeled the car a “committed project” but stopped short of saying that the car would be delivered to consumers by 2019. The report only indicates that the car could be ready for consumers, finalized or conceptualized by engineers by 2019.

If all this seems vague, consider that most of the project’s executives have essentially vanished into witness relocation after joining Apple to work on the car.

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By on September 15, 2015

Mercedes-Benz "Concept IAA"

While it may or may not be the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-class (note: probably not), the automaker took the wraps off a transforming concept car that grows in length significantly at highway speeds to better cut through air.

The Mercedes-Benz IAA concept (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) was shown off Tuesday in Frankfurt and, according to the automaker, can grow by 390 millimeters to achieve a drag coefficient world record of 0.19. (The current generation Prius is around 0.25, for reference.)

The whole thing is powered by a hybrid powertrain that’ll never see the light of day and sports an interior array of electronics that’s probably something out of “Minority Report.” It’s the moveable aerodynamic elements on the IAA that could see production, and there are a lot of them.

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By on September 9, 2015


Apple today rolled out a slew of gadgets including an iPad the size of the 10 Commandments, a new iPhone that sounds a lot like the old iPhone that likes to be touched and touched hard, a Pencil that Steve Jobs never wanted and a Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. The new Apple TV may be what most people will be talking about and it could change how we watch motorsports. Imagine in-car feeds between cars chasing each other, live scoring and timing underneath the feeds, cold beer in your fridge and no lines at the bathroom.

We live in exciting times, people. Read More >

By on September 5, 2015

Toyota announces $50 million in funding partnership with MIT and Stanford University for artificial intelligence research collaboration.

Toyota announced Friday it would invest $50 million in research facilities at Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study and develop artificial intelligence for future safety and autonomous driving.

The facilities will teach computers to recognize and monitor objects — a swerving car vs. a parking one was provided as one example — on the road that drivers are too busy for because “Candy Crush.”

The joint programs at MIT and Stanford will first develop enhanced safety systems designed to “share control” with drivers and computers. Eventually, researchers believe, people will just forget that they care and give up driving to the robots.

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By on September 5, 2015

2016 Lexus ES 350

New Lexus cars will regularly report to dealerships their conditions and any engine trouble, Automotive News reported.

The service, which is dubbed Enform Service Connect, will be added to new Lexus models starting with the 2016 ES. The opt-in service will be bundled with the Enform connectivity service, which costs $139 each year after the first year.

According to the report, the vehicle will submit via telematics information about the car’s condition and mileage to Lexus service locations, who may call owners to schedule maintenance. A monthly report may be generated for owners to see their cars’ statuses and to totally remind you not to cheat on your local Lexus dealer with that other Jiffy Lube, OK?

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By on September 3, 2015

Tesla Building Circa March 2015

According to the Tesla Motors Club, the referral program that would award one Model X to a lucky loyalist in exchange for referring 10 new Model S buyers may already be over. “Kevin2686″ may likely be the North American winner for the free Model X considering he managed to refer 10 new buyers.

Forum members say Kevin2686 spam posted his referral link, and indeed on a CNET news story about the promotion a user named “Tesla2000″ offered $1,000 up front and $1,000 later with a link to Kevin2686’s referral code. In Tesla’s relatively vague referral language:

“Please note that we may withhold credits, discounts or other awards where we believe customers are acting in bad faith or otherwise acting contrary to the intent of this program.”

This may not end well.  Read More >

By on September 2, 2015

Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

BlueIndy, the nation’s first electric car sharing service, launched in Indianapolis on Wednesday, according to Time, but with controversy.

The car service, which uses Bollore Group electric cars, has met initial opposition with the Indianapolis City Council, who’ve taken aim at the mayor who launched the project with Bollore — whose other EV car-sharing cities include Paris and London.

The cars shouldn’t be parked in downtown spots, council members say.

“The mayor needs to understand that even though this is one of his pet projects, he is not above the law,” City council member Zach Adamson, told WXIN.  Read More >

By on August 31, 2015

Google Autonomous Vehicle Prototype Circa December 2014

Self-driving cars could usher in a new form of terrorism, an investment analyst writes (via SlashDot).

Alex Rubalcava, who is an investment advisor in California, says that autonomous cars would be “the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists.

“A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself.”

Criminals in Denver have already used burners, pre-paid cards and fake names to rent Car2go cars for drive-by shootings.

Read More >

By on August 28, 2015

Mazda Mobile Start

Mazda’s remote start app, which the automaker rolled out last month, has been suspended until Sept. 2 while the automaker restores its servers, the automaker said in an email Thursday to owners.

… we regret to inform you that, due to a system outage at our supplier’s data center, the MMS website and smartphone application are currently unavailable. We anticipate full system recovery on September 2, 2015.

The email notice stated the service was crippled by a “power outage that affected the data servers.”

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