USPS unveils next-generation mail truck with electric drivetrain option

Defense contractor Oshkosh is the winner of a years-long contest

By Sean O’Kane 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a years-long competition. The new truck will be built by Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh and can be fitted with both gasoline and electric drivetrains. But it won’t hit the road until 2023.

Oshkosh winning the contract is a potentially major blow to commercial electric vehicle startup Workhorse, which was one of the three remaining bidders. The company’s stock price plummeted following the announcement, and trading was halted multiple times.

The USPS has been looking to replace its existing mail trucks for years now, and it started taking solicitations for new designs back in 2015. The need for new trucks is urgent. The ones currently on the road are not only woefully out of date — they don’t even have air conditioning — but they’re a major fire risk.

The switchover was supposed to start happening in 2018, but the program experienced multiple setbacks. The USPS repeatedly extended deadlines in the early going at the request of the bidding manufacturers, and then when they finally delivered the first prototypes, many of them were faulty, according to an Inspector-General report released last August. The program was hit with further delays once the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Continue reading… “USPS unveils next-generation mail truck with electric drivetrain option”
0

The measure of: Aptera Motors’ solar electric vehicle

By Siobhan Doyle

A San Diego-based motoring start-up has created a solar electric three-wheeled car that doesn’t require any charging.

Developed by Aptera Motors, the futuristic solar electric vehicle (sEV), which has an almost Jetsons flying-car-like aesthetic, features more than 3m2 of solar panels that are integrated into the body. This set-up allows the driver to travel up to 45 miles (72km) a day and up to 11,000 miles per year entirely on energy harnessed from the Sun “in most regions”, according to the company.

The car can also be plugged in like any other electric car and its fast-charging technology can offer a top model charge rate of up to 500 miles of range per hour.

“With Aptera’s ‘Never Charge’ technology, you are driven by the power of the Sun,” says co-founder Chris Anthony. “Our built-in solar array keeps your battery pack topped off and anywhere you want to go, you just go.”

Continue reading… “The measure of: Aptera Motors’ solar electric vehicle”
0

Nissan’s New Pod Concept Turns Remote Working into a Dream

By  Fabienne Lang

The company unveiled its office van concept that lets you work from anywhere.

Remote working just became a lot cooler thanks to Nissan. The Japanese car company unveiled its NV350 van on YouTube last week, and it’s been specially refurbished to house a remote office pod. 

With remote working becoming part of regular life lately, Nissan has smartly jumped on the bandwagon to offer an alternative for those who can’t stand working from home — or who simply want a change of scenery. 

The van allows people to work from anywhere, but it’s sadly only a concept at this stage. 

Continue reading… “Nissan’s New Pod Concept Turns Remote Working into a Dream”
0

The cloud-based car is arriving

By Joann Muller, author of Navigate

The notion of the car as a “computer on wheels” is moving past the realm of hype and closer to reality, which will transform the driving experience and improve road safety, too.

Why it matters: The arrival of long-promised technologies like 5G connectivity and new high-performance computers means cars will improve over time, instead of depreciating the minute they leave the dealer lot. 

  • With software updates, buyers will be able to add features or services that weren’t available at the time of purchase or enhance their ride with customized apps.
  • And once 5G is widely deployed, cars will also be able to communicate with each other and with the surrounding ecosystem, providing situational awareness and helping to avoid collisions.
Continue reading… “The cloud-based car is arriving”
0

Mercedes-Benz integrates its front-of-car technology into one single AI screen

 BY: IRMA VENTER

From a manual radio, to a single in-car touch screen, to a large, easy to operate, curved 141-cm screen that reaches from one side of the car to the other. Also add to this the fact that the system is willing to learn through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). 

This is the evolution of the in-car information and entertainment system, incorporating the instrument panel, traditional centre screen, and a new added screen for the front passenger, into one continuous digital screen.

The Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX Hyperscreen is set to make its debut in the new EQS electric vehicle, set to launch later this year in selected global markets.

“With our MBUX Hyperscreen a design vision becomes reality,” says Daimler group chief design officer Gorden Wagener. “We merge technology with design in a fascinating way that offers the customer unprecedented ease of use.”

Continue reading… “Mercedes-Benz integrates its front-of-car technology into one single AI screen”
0

Indy has selected the AI-powered cars for its autonomous challenge race

By Mariella Moon

Indy-has-selected-AI-powered-cars-autonomous
It’s the first autonomous vehicle race to be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indy Autonomous Challenge has revealed the vehicle participating universities will have to program and race in October 2021: the Dallara IL-15 racecar. IAC has made the announcement during its press conference for CES 2021, where it also hosted discussions about the commercialization of autonomous vehicles and technology in motorsports. The competition, which has a $1.5 million prize purse, challenges universities to build AI algorithms that can power an IL-15 that has been fitted with hardware and controls that enable automation.

Back in 2020, IAC announced that 37 universities from 11 countries registered to compete, with teams being composed of members with varying expertise. There are undergraduate and graduate student participants, as well as faculty and industry experts in AI, machine learning and robotics. To win, their AI-powered car must be able to beat all other participants in a 20-lap race around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. The winning team will get $1 million, while the rest of the purse will go to the hackathon and simulation race winners before the main event in October.

Continue reading… “Indy has selected the AI-powered cars for its autonomous challenge race”
0

Russian tycoon aims to revolutionize auto making one micro-plant at a time

russian-tychoon-revolutionize-auto-making-1
The Arrival’s bus
  • Owner of Arrival Ltd., Denis Sverdlov believes that micro-factories will help reduce production costs compared to huge plants.
  • His company aims to start producing electric buses and vans next year.

Russian-born entrepreneur Denis Sverdlov wants to revolutionize automaking, replacing Henry Ford’s century-old conveyor-belt assembly lines with tiny factories that cost far less.

While most of the industry aims for big sales numbers that will keep huge plants busy, his Arrival Ltd., which will start producing electric buses and vans next year, is betting that doing just the opposite will help reduce production costs. Its micro-factories need about $50 million in investment, compared with $1 billion for conventional ones, and 10 of of them could make as many vehicles as a traditional outlet for half the capital expenditures and in a 10th of the space, it says.

“Arrival has spent the last five years developing our unique model and proprietary technology and is now laser-focused on delivery,” Sverdlov, who’s founder and chief executive officer, said in a Zoom interview. “We are not using metal stamping, welding and paint shops. Instead, we are using aluminum for chassis, proprietary composites for bodies and structural adhesive.”

Continue reading… “Russian tycoon aims to revolutionize auto making one micro-plant at a time”
0

Japan Set To Abolish Gas Powered Cars By Mid 2030s

Tyler Durden's PhotoBY TYLER DURDEN

japan-abolish-gas-powered-cars-by-mid-2030s

As if the speculative EV mania needed any more fuel thrown on its fireJapan is joining numerous other countries – and California – in setting a date to make all new cars electric and “eco friendly” by the mid 2030’s.

The country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said they are considering abolishing conventional cars and shifting purely to hybrids and electrics within the next 10 to 20 years, according to Nikkei

The move is part of a broader plan for the entire country to go “zero emissions” by 2050. Vehicles made up 16% of the country’s total emissions in 2018, according to the report. An official announcement is expected later this month at a conference attended by experts and car industry executives. This will be followed by more concrete plans and timelines. 

Continue reading… “Japan Set To Abolish Gas Powered Cars By Mid 2030s”
0

Mini Urbanaut concept hints at how its cars could look in a decade

B5748838-F660-4637-A932-23B5875B1C65
Mini Urbanaut concept hints at how its cars could look by the time new petrol and diesel vehicles are banned – and it can convert into a living room on wheels at the push of a button

  • Mini has unveiled an electric and self-driving compact car concept it sees as a vision for vehicles sold in 2030
  • At a turn of a switch, the Urbanaut mini-MPV doubles as a relaxing sanctuary for drivers and passengers
  • It features a comfortable sofa in the rear, fold-down dashboard day-bed, rotating chairs and a dining table
  • The windscreen swings open from the top hinges to provide what designers have called a ‘street balcony’

Continue reading… “Mini Urbanaut concept hints at how its cars could look in a decade”

0

Tesla opens world’s largest Supercharger station

F101E58A-0431-4B7D-904D-50BE533D94BC

It is located between two of Tesla’s biggest markets.

Tesla has been quickly expanding its Supercharger network lately and it just reached another milestone by opening the world’s new largest Supercharger station.

Tesla’s fleet is growing at a fast pace and the automaker is adding more electric vehicles to the road than any other automaker.

At the same time, the company is trying to keep up its infrastructure, like service centers, mobile service fleet, and charging infrastructure in order to support its growing fleet.

Tesla’s charging infrastructure mainly consists of the Supercharger network, arguably one of the company’s greatest assets.

Continue reading… “Tesla opens world’s largest Supercharger station”

0

Honda launching world’s first production car with ‘eyes-off’ self-driving tech by mid 2021

8679A479-891D-4936-A1E2-38AFA12FFA55

Japanese officials approved Honda’s Automated Drive feature to be deployed on the upcoming Honda Legend.

Honda has received regulatory approval from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) to begin selling vehicles equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving, the automaker announced on Wednesday.

In a press release, Honda highlighted that it would begin the sale of the Honda Legend equipped with its all-new “Traffic Jam Pilot” feature by the end of the company’s fiscal year (March 31, 2021). The feature is reportedly similar to GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s Active Drive Assist in the sense that all road conditions must be perfect before Traffic Jam Pilot can be activated.

However, unlike the current domestic offerings where the driver is still technically in control of the vehicle, SAE J3016 defines Level 3 as a vehicle-operated functionality while engaged.

Continue reading… “Honda launching world’s first production car with ‘eyes-off’ self-driving tech by mid 2021”

0

Quantum sensors could let autonomous cars ‘see’ around corners

414D2E82-9FC2-40C1-BE97-D13018845410

High-precision metrology based on the peculiarities of the subatomic world

Quantum computers get all the hype, but quantum sensors could be equally transformative, enabling autonomous vehicles that can “see” around corners, underwater navigation systems, early-warning systems for volcanic activity and earthquakes, and portable scanners that monitor a person’s brain activity during daily life.

Quantum sensors reach extreme levels of precision by exploiting the quantum nature of matter—using the difference between, for example, electrons in different energy states as a base unit. Atomic clocks illustrate this principle. The world time standard is based on the fact that electrons in cesium 133 atoms complete a specific transition 9,192,631,770 times a second; this is the oscillation that other clocks are tuned against. Other quantum sensors use atomic transitions to detect minuscule changes in motion and tiny differences in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields.

There are other ways to build a quantum sensor, however. For example, researchers at the University of Birmingham in England are working to develop free-falling, supercooled atoms to detect tiny changes in local gravity. This kind of quantum gravimeter would be capable of detecting buried pipes, cables and other objects that today can be reliably found only by digging. Seafaring ships could use similar technology to detect underwater objects.

Continue reading… “Quantum sensors could let autonomous cars ‘see’ around corners”

0