Daimler Buses, the world’s biggest bus manufacturer, has unveiled its autonomously driving city bus of the future, which recently drove for the first time on a route of about 20 km in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.On a section of the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) line in Europe, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot drives at speeds up to 70 km per hour, stops to the nearest centimetre at bus stops and traffic lights, drives off again automatically, passes through tunnels, brakes for obstacles or pedestrians and communicates with traffic signals.The driver is on board and monitors the system, but with a much easier task than before. Daimler Buses is the world’s first manufacturer to put a city bus into automated operation in a real-life traffic situation.Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Daimler Trucks & Buses said: “With our Highway Pilot, we showed nearly two years ago that autonomous driving will make long-distance truck transport safer and more efficient. We are now putting this technology into our city buses with CityPilot.”
more than 12 miles in a congested urban environment, according to recent reports.The technology was demonstrated recently on a bus-rapid-transit (BRT) route from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to a town called Haarlem, in the Netherlands — a 12-mile route filled with traffic lights, bendy roads, tunnels, etc. During the demonstration, the Mercedes bus only needed the driver to take control when there was oncoming traffic (required by local laws).The CityPilot technology utilizes a mix of cameras, radar, and connected data, in order to pilot a bus autonomously — allowing for navigation through busy areas with lots of people, traffic lights, and uncommon obstacles. The technology also allows for the bus to autonomously open and close its doors, to brake in case of emergency, and to travel up to 43.5 miles per hour
The company’s new ProPilot autonomous technology will make its debut in the new Nissan Serena 5-door minivan set to be released soon in the Japanese market. A US release is reportedly planned as well, but no timeline has been revealed as of yet. It’s also not clear if the US debut of the technology will be in the Serena or in a different model.The ProPilot technology works by controlling the vehicle’s steering, braking, and acceleration automatically, through the use of a mono-camera paired with image-processing technology. The technology can reportedly recognize and react to vehicles traveling in front of the car, and also lane markers, in 3-dimensions. It will reportedly maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead. “Safe”is a preset choice which is tweakable by the user.Autoblog provides more, stating that, “the autonomous technology may give drivers the ability to take their hands off the wheel, but it doesn’t necessarily tolerate it. According to Automotive News, a torque sensor on the steering column senses when the driver is touching steering wheel. If no torque is being applied, a warning light comes on, which is followed by a chime.
French jet ski champion Franky Zapata made some serious waves back in 2011 when he showed off his ambitious water-jet Flyboard, which uses a jet ski motor to pump water through a pair of boots and hand-held stabilizers. Just this April he upped the ante significantly, with a new device that swaps out water jets for jet engines, and quickly used it to start breaking records. Things are continuing to move at quite a pace, with US company Implant Sciences today announcing its intention to purchase Zapata Industries. The company is a leading manufacturer of explosive detection tech for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
A fully fledged drone service dropping items off across the US is a ways off yet, but the concept has now edged a little closer to reality with 7-Eleven carrying out the nation’s first drone delivery to a customer’s home. The retailer teamed up with drone startup Flirtey to complete the shipment, whose flying robot was loaded up with Slurpees and other snacks to give convenience store a new kind of meaning.The deliveries began at a 7-Eleven store in Reno, Nevada, a state where Flirtey has set up shop with an office at the University of Nevada, looking to grow its technology at one of just six federally approved drone testing sites in the US.
As part of a partnership between the US departments of energy and transportation, a 2020 vision for a national fast charging network will be developed, with potential longer-term innovations that include up to 350 kW of direct current fast charging. According to the administration, a 350 kW DC system could charge a 200-mile-range battery in less than 10 minutes. For comparison, Tesla just boosted some of its Superchargers’ power capacity to 145 kW, which is claimed the fastest currently available.Another interesting part of the initiative is the Battery500 research consortium led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which will receive up to $10 million per year for five years to develop a cheaper, lighter and more powerful battery. Specifically, the goal is to triple the energy of current batteries to 500 Wh/kg, with 1,000 electric vehicle cycles, while lowering the cost of a battery pack to below $100/kWh – the point at which electric cars are considered to become price competitive with gas-powered models.
Once autonomous driving goes mainstream, Tesla owners will have the option to add their vehicle to the shared fleet. “Have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost,” Musk said.Instead of gathering dust in your garage or tempting thieves in the parking lot, the Uber-meets-Zipcar concept enables your vehicle to earn money for you while it’s not in use—whether that’s a few hours a day or a few days a week.”This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla,” according to Musk.And in cities where demand exceeds the supply of customer-owned cars, Tesla intends to operate its own fleet, promising available rides “no matter where you are.”