A specialized magnesium alloy, created by developers at the University of Waterloo, has proven benefits when compared to aluminum. It’s stronger, lighter, less expensive, and more flexible. The weight of this new alloy allows the car to use far less fuel than it would if constructed from a denser metal, producing fewer greenhouse gases overall.
Ford has put over one billion dollars into its research sector in hopes of creating lightweight vehicles that can be powered without the use of fossil fuels, and it’s not the only company trying. Fuel usage could be decreased by 80% simply by swapping out steel for magnesium, the most an ideal metal for creating environmentally friendly cars.
Magnesium isn’t very popular mainly due to its price, performance, and flexibility. If an ideal magnesium alloy can be created, however, those issues can be overcome. The five-year NSERC Magnesium Network program discovered that magnesium and zinc, when combined in the right quantities, offered a stable but ductile material. Added calcium and cerium only strengthened the alloy’s qualities.
The texture of the alloy was determined through the use of neutron beams, which probe far beneath the metal’s surface. Because the calcium and cerium were negatively affecting the alloy’s texture, the NSERC team heated and cooled the material to effectively harden its elements. This greatly improved the durability of the alloy, putting it into the figurative folder of future possibilities.
This year, the team is looking into other ways to make the magnesium-zinc alloy better for use in automobile manufacturing. If they can find a way to create a material that meets all industry standards, the world of cars as we know it could be forever changed.
The General Motors plant in Oshawa expects to open up 500 more jobs for pickup truck manufacturing by mid-2018, when the location can raise its production maximum.
The plant will be used to finish developing Chevrolet Silverados, working with frames pre-built in Fort Wayne, but no news has been released about the new model that will be developed completely in Oshawa.
In addition to offering employment to a potential 500 new plant workers, General Motors has given its current employees retirement bonuses, allowing retirees that leave between August 1st and January 1st to hold onto their extra payments from the winter holidays.
These new policies were put into place through a conference between Unifor and General Motors in September of 2016, when the companies agreed to deliver the Fort Wayne truck frames to Oshawa and offer employees clear pension options. Unifor was confident that General Motors Oshawa would be North America’s sole truck and car manufacturing location.
With the awaited debut of more jobs and employee benefits, General Motors and Unifor have definitely made a level-headed decision.
A new bill in the state of Louisiana will make it mandatory for only commercial cars and trucks to wear vehicle inspection stickers. This bill will affect all areas except Ascension, Iberville, Livington, East Baton Rouge, and West Baton Rouge due to the current carbon emissions law.
For the past fifty years, nearly all vehicles in the state have been required to undergo testing for their safety features every two years, and receive a sticker at the end of the process. Each car owner is charged $10 USD for the testing, and vehicles without a recent sticker can be charged $500 and potential prison time.
It may seem like a good way to make the roads safer, but it’s hard to say how much the tests prevent driving mishaps and if the mandatory fee contributes to the quality of the tests. The traffic force is given a $40 million cut from the fees, but the overall budget of the sector $164 million to $120 million and will greatly affect the budget of the police force as a whole.
The new bill would require each driver without a sticker to pay $5.25 each year to fund police services, which would cover the price of creating and distributing the stickers. Louisiana would join the ranks of the thirty other US states that only require commercial vehicles to receive inspections and stickers that indicate them.
To ensure the vehicles on the road are still safe, the state will have to run tests to determine how much inspections improve road safety, and if the result is significant, find an alternative.
Ford’s 2015 title of world’s best-selling sports car for its Mustang model has returned for 2016, starting a streak that could last a while.
More than 150,000 Mustangs were purchased last year, and around 30% of them were purchased outside the US, the biggest contributors being Germany and China.
Ford built nearly 400,000 Mustangs in one plant alone, mainly for foreign buyers, and its growth is expected to go from almost one-fifth to almost one-third this year. The car manufacturer also plans to target six more countries with the newest version of its most popular sports car.
The new-and-improved 2018 Mustang will include a stylized anterior, a 30cm tri-display mode instrument cluster, a 2.3 liter EcoBoost, and an automatic ten-speed transmission that the driver can choose to use or to forgo. Looking for more? This Mustang also offers with its 5 liter V8 and MagnaRide dampers, both of which truly pack a punch.
If you need more proof that this sportscar won’t be falling out of favour any time soon, just take a look at its Facebook page: over eight million people have liked the Mustang, making it the most popular vehicle even as far as social media goes.
With the Mustang’s current popularity and the next model’s flashy new upgrades, Ford won’t have to worry about ranking high, if not the highest, for the next few years.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport has given the go-ahead to Samsung to begin trials with their autonomous car.
The company’s driverless Hyundai will be tested in South Korea, though this first test might also be Samsung’s last, as it has no future plans to manufacture vehicles. In fact, this test is being completed for the sole purpose of improving software in self-driving cars.
This particular Hyundai will be equipped with a variety of sensors alongside Samsung’s self-learning algorithms, and will then be tested in many different scenarios. The car should have no problem navigating on its own, though subtle movements will take time to perfect. Samsung is looking into ways to code the system to beat those difficulties.
Despite not having plans to develop its own autonomous vehicles, Samsung will be creating sensors and modules for computers. That way, customers can purchase some parts from Samsung and the rest from another source to make their own ideal device.
With all of its new projects and its past success, Samsung has a lot to look forward to.
When Consumer Reports ratings for Tesla’s Model X and Model S vehicles dropped upon removal of an automated emergency brake, the company responded by reimplementing the safety feature.
Although the system seems like something that should never be excluded from a high-tech car, it can only be engaged at a speed of 45 kph or less. This is good news for people that drive around city centres and residential areas, but is largely insignificant for highway drivers.
Tesla’s scores are expected to improve in the months to come, when Consumer Reports reevaluates the updated models. The electric vehicle enterprise hopes to introduce the braking system at higher speeds in the years to come, which could push them to the top of the list.
The creation and testing process for automated braking has too many elements to rush, meaning Tesla has no exact timeline for the appearance of a 140 kph braking capacity. While possible, it’s much safer to opt for the current automated braking system at a lower speed, but higher success rate.
The popular Dakar Rally, hosted in South America, isn’t an easy race. It offers over 9000 kilometres of uneven roads, which show no mercy to participants, and dozens of petrol vehicles go head-to-head for the highest categorical ranking.
Considering how tough the event can be, everyone was shocked to hear that the Acciona EcoPowered race car completed the course while burning nothing but electricity.
Tests with the vehicle began in 2015. When the car couldn’t finish the race, it was tested again in 2016 to no avail. It seems 2017 was the lucky year, as the Acciona finally completed the rally, ranking higher than the quarter of gas-powered vehicles that tapped out early.
This year’s Acciona crew was prepared for the challenges ahead. Despite failing to place, the vehicle succeeded in becoming the first fully electric car to finish the Dakar Rally of the total 18,000.
Acciona’s homebase in Spain created the 100% EcoPowered vehicle as a giant step forward in renewable energy research and utilisation. Its 250 kW electric motor, 150 kWh lithium batteries and 100W fast-absorbing solar panels allow it to race for 200 km before a 60-minute recharge period. These characteristics make it the strongest electric car ever built.
Of course, the Acciona’s intense power is overkill for everyday life. But the creation of a consistent and functional electric automobile brings us one step closer to ridding of gas-powered cars for good.
What everyone thought was an eco-friendly source of energy has turned out to be one of the primary sources of carbon give-off. Artificial dams, used for electricity and agriculture, emit nearly one gigaton of greenhouse gases annually. This shocking news may seem sudden, but carbon studies have quite the history.
The science of greenhouse gas emissions gained popularity at the beginning of the 21st century. However, that research focused mainly on dams that supply electricity and only two different types of greenhouse emissions. Today’s researchers have expanded their horizons, collecting data on various gases and reservoir constructions. Findings conclude that 1.3% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions stem from all types of reservoirs, primarily methane at a whopping 80% contribution to the global warming effect.
Methane, as it turns out, is worse for the planet than carbon is. The particular construction of dams is what allows them to emit such a large amount of these harmful gases. Soil with high carbon content sucks up too much oxygen too fast, creating a plethora of methane-producing microorganisms. For comparison, marshlands run by the same principle and give off an unpleasant odour as a result.
Fortunately, a treaty that could greatly reduce the global warming effect is in the beginning stages of development. By taking into account this newly found information, strategies can be tailored to the state of the planet. Reservoirs will certainly not be eliminated, but they will be updated to release far less greenhouse gases.
The next big steps to decreasing our effect on the environment won’t be easy, but when completed, they’ll bring nothing but a positive outcome.
Hermes will be trying out autonomous robots on wheels to pick up deliveries in Southwark, having collaborated with Starship Technologies to build the tiny electronic couriers. The tech company’s robotic devices have already been implemented in other parts of London for Just Eat deliveries.
The inspiration behind the project came from Hamburg, Germany, where wheeled robots took packages straight to customers within the city’s building complexes. While this method seems convenient, it could cause problems in highly populated cities, as crowded sidewalks already exist, and adding small robots into the equation could be a recipe for disaster.
For now, Hermes is only sending small groups of their new robots within a three kilometre radius of the its main locations. The robots measure 55cm in height, 70cm in length, and 18kg in weight. Each one can reach a speed of 6.4km/h while carrying up to 10kg within their walls.
In many ways, these terrestrial robots are a better option than airborne drones, which can easily break the legal rules of aerial devices and don’t carry as much while doing so. There are safety issues with putting things into the sky as well, while grounded robots can be watched and repaired with ease.
Until several successful trials have been completed, every robot overseer will take on three robots to track and guide with built-in cameras. If this works out, up to one hundred robots at a time could be assigned to a single individual.
With the success of Hamburg’s food courier robots, Southwark should be in for a pleasant surprise with these little guys.
Apple joins the ranks of multiple tech companies after developing a driverless car and getting the okay to try it out in California. Uncertainty lingered for months as to whether Apple would go through with such a large project, but now it’s official.
On the list of self-driving vehicle testers are automakers like Ford and Honda, though they’re joined by larger companies like Tesla and Uber who have created their own versions of the independent automobile. Unlike others, Apple was near silent about its participation in the developing trend, and it was a pleasant surprise to hear it would be following through.
Having been the thirtieth company to receive a permit, Apple will be testing three 2015 Lexus RX540h models in conjunction with six drivers. These cars may be among the twelve million self-driving automobiles expected to be used by the public in eight years’ time. It’s up to Apple whether it will hold onto its permit for later use, or strap down and get testing immediately.
Although the successful tech company has kept many details of its future plans under wraps, a letter it wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested permission to collaborate on an autonomous vehicle project. As expected, Apple is diligently reading up on all things machine.
Apple has also shown interest in simulating car crashes and collecting data from real ones in a way that hides identities in order to preserve privacy. Finding a functional way to do this will allow the automotive industry to correct its mistakes and improve its weaknesses.
Will Apple beat out the rest for the best driverless car? Only time – and tests – will tell.