Augmented reality interface is brought to your helmet

An augmented reality interface is brought to your helmet with the Livemap helmet. It puts GPS, speed and other parameters in front of your face. It also has a built-in camera as well as voice and audio. Watch the video here.

Transcript: Livemap puts GPS, speed and other parameters In front of your face. Receiving route information while allowing drivers to be fully focused on the road. Livemap automatically adapts to the environment, even in poor visibility conditions. The Livemap helmet has a built-in camera to capture data. In-helmet audio allows the driver to listen to music and talk on the phone. Voice control is also in the helmet, which allows you to be notified about your route and speed. Livemap pre-orders are $1,500 with a retail price of $2,000. Learn more at livemap.Info

[Source: Autoblog]


1942 Dodge Carryall from WWII featured on ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’

On this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno takes a look at a unique Dodge Carryall, both in its past and present states. The Carryall is a 1942 model restored and modified by Winslow Bent at Legacy Classic Trucks in Wyoming. According to Bent, the truck spent time in Tunisia during World War II. Obviously it’s no longer a military vehicle, but Bent explains that he and his crew built the truck to still be extremely durable, since its new owner wanted a support vehicle for classic car rallies around the world and in remote locations.

To reach this end, the Carryall’s original inline-six has been replaced with an intercooled Cummins 4BT turbocharged dieselfour-cylinder. Bent modified the engine to make less power than it could in order to make the engine understressed and longer lasting. In total, it makes only 130 horsepower, but 380 pound-feet of torque. It also features a boxed frame and heavy duty axles. It’s plenty practical, too, with a large roof rack, winch, and even an on-board welding setup. But it’s not all hardcore upgrades, since it also has air conditioning. Check out all the other cool details and listen to Leno and Bent geek out over leaf springs and intakes in the video.

Watch an airbag inflator (without the bag) go off in slow motion

Airbags are among a variety of devices that you hope never to experience firsthand, but also still want to see go off. And there are many videos on YouTube that show this happening. There aren’t as many that show what happens behind the bag, and the video rectifies that.

It starts off with your typical slow-motion video of just a normal airbag inflating and busting through the steering-wheel plastic. But after that, the videographer disassembles an airbag down to the explosive core to show how that works. The result is just a split-second burst of sound and gas, but in slow motion, you get a pretty spectacular show of ultra-hot gas and even some sparks radiating from all the little holes around the cartridge.

The video wraps up with a makeshift cannon with the cartridge at the bottom and a cylindrical wooden projectile to get an idea of the force generated by the airbag. The results are remarkable, with the projectile ripping a clean hole in the cover facing the cannon and smashing into a heavy tool case. And that’s as good a time as any to remind readers to not try this at home, just enjoy the video.

[Source: Autoblog]


Amtrak train was doing 80 in a 30 mph zone when it jumped tracks


The fatal derailment of an Amtrak train south of Seattle on Monday is likely to intensify scrutiny of the national passenger railroad company’s safety record, which was already under the microscope following a series of fatal incidents.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said late on Monday that a data recorder retrieved from the rear locomotive showed the train was traveling at 80 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone when it jumped the tracks.

The NTSB said it was too soon to say if that contributed to the crash, which killed at least three people, and it could take months for the board’s investigators to reach a conclusion.

Amtrak’s co-chief executive, Richard Anderson, told reporters earlier on Monday he would not speculate on the cause of the crash, and that safety was the firm’s top priority.

But he acknowledged that positive train control (PTC), a system that automatically slows trains if they are going too fast, had not been installed on that stretch of track.

Just last month, the NTSB chairman issued a scathing critique of Amtrak’s culture, saying a future breakdown was likely, and the board made nine safety recommendations.

“Amtrak’s safety culture is failing and is primed to fail again, until and unless Amtrak changes the way it practices safety management,” Robert Sumwalt said on Nov. 14.

Sumwalt’s statement was made in conjunction with the NTSB’s findings into a fatal Amtrak accident in April 2016 in Pennsylvania, which it said was caused by “deficient safety management across many levels of Amtrak and the resultant lack of a clear, consistent and accepted vision for safety.”

In that crash an Amtrak train struck a backhoe tractor on railroad tracks in Chester, Pennsylvania, killing two maintenance workers and injuring 41. It occurred a few miles south of the site of a May 2015 derailment in which eight people were killed and more than 200 injured.

Sumwalt told a hearing the board’s investigation “revealed more than two dozen unsafe conditions and not all of these were rule-breaking by frontline employees.”

Amtrak named former Delta Air Lines Chief Executive Officer Anderson as co-CEO last summer.

Anderson also told reporters on Monday that Amtrak took NTSB recommendations from investigations “very seriously” and was continuing to make investments that the board recommended.

Amtrak said in a memo to employees in November seen by Reuters that it had been “transforming our safety culture” since the Pennsylvania incident and had made numerous reforms, including to communication, training, safety efforts and creating a team that conducts safety audits. It also expanded drug and alcohol testing.

Slow rollout of PTC safety system

On Monday, a U.S. congressman from Washington state called attention to the slow rollout of PTC.

“We don’t know that it could have saved lives … but it is a disappointment to me that we’re not further along in the implementation of installing PTC,” Representative Denny Heck, a Democrat, told CNN.

Congress had mandated the implementation of PTC nationwide by the end of 2015, then extended that deadline until the end of 2018 when its installation became more complex than anticipated.

“There is a money issue because while Congress mandated the implementation of PTC on the railroads they didn’t give any money for it, so it is self-funded,” said Allan Zarembski, director of the Railroad Engineering and Safety Program at the University of Delaware.

Zarembski cautioned against assigning blame for Monday’s accident, noting that Amtrak does not own the track where the accident occurred.

It is owned by the Seattle-area Sound Transit agency.

“The railways generally are very safe,” he said. “I’m very reluctant to point the finger and say the railroads are a major problem here.”

A spokesman for Sound Transit, Geoff Patrick, said the track had recently been upgraded to handle passenger trains from its prior use for slow-moving freight trains.

He said Sound Transit was part of the incident response and was working with the NTSB in its investigation.

Reporting by David Shepardson and Daniel Trotta


What’s causing this traffic jam? If you tailgate, it’s caused by someone like you

Perhaps you’re one of them — someone who, in the rush to get from points A to B, instinctively creeps up on the rear bumper of the cars or trucks ahead of you, one after another, until they either switch lanes and allow you to pass or speed up themselves. Or maybe it just seems inevitable in heavy traffic. But a new report suggests that such tailgating is actually a big cause for “phantom traffic jams” that arise seemingly out of nowhere.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in a new journal article say that maintaining an equal distance between cars in front of and behind you could allow drivers to get where they’re going twice as quickly. They call the approach “bilateral control” and base it in part on observations of how starling birds fly together in tandem.

“We humans tend to view the world in terms of what’s ahead of us, both literally and conceptually, so it might seem counterintuitive to look backwards,” says MIT professor Berthold Horn, who co-authored the article in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems. “But driving like this could have a dramatic effect in reducing travel time and fuel consumption without having to build more roads or make other changes to infrastructure.”

Of course, human nature is tough to change, and conditions on roads will always be unpredictable and prompt interruptions in the flow of traffic by individual cars, which the researchers call “perturbations.” So the researchers suggest that car companies update their adaptive cruise-control systems by adding front and rear sensors (most only employ a front-bumper sensor). It’s similar to a system Honda began developing years ago, and Horn plans to do work funded in part by Toyota to test whether this method would help traffic move more quickly but also more safely for drivers.

That approach, rather than requiring a massive coordinated network of connected vehicles, would simply require new software and some inexpensive hardware upgrades. “Our work shows that, if drivers all keep an equal distance between the cars on either side of them, such ‘perturbations’ would disappear as they travel down a line of traffic, rather than amplify to create a traffic jam,” Horn says.

[Source: Autoblog]


Compromise version of tax bill reportedly spares EV credits


House and Senate Republicans working to hash out differences between their respective versions of tax reform packages have reportedly spared a federal tax credit meant to spur sales of electric vehicles. Bloomberg cites a Republican familiar with the negotiations who didn’t want to be identified divulging details before the final bill is released.

House Republicans last month passed a bill that would have ended the $7,500 EV tax credit. The Senate’s version, which left it intact, will reportedly be part of the reconciled package. The proposal to scrap the credit drew criticism from automakers like General Motors, the trade group Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and environmental groups.

Critics of the incentives say electric vehicles typically attract more well-heeled buyers who don’t need subsidies and that scrapping the credit could save $200 million over the next 10 years. But GM CEO Mary Barra said earlier this week that loss of the credit “changes the equation” for car buyers and automakers. And losing the credit “will stop any electric vehicle market in the U.S., apart from sales of the highly expensive Tesla Model S,” Xavier Mosquet of Boston Consulting Group, who tracks the growth of battery powered vehicles, told Bloomberg News. “There’s no Tesla 3, no Bolt, no Leaf in a market without incentives.”

The tax credit was originally created as part of the 2009 federal stimulus bill, with availability capped at the first 200,000 qualifying plug-in electric vehicles sold by each automaker.

GOP lawmakers also reportedly spared a tax credit for wind energy production. The House version had proposed to roll the wind industry’s 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit back to 1.5 cents.

[Source: Autoblog]


Uber charges rider over $14,000 for ride across Toronto


When the bars close or a game or concert ends, Uber’s surge pricing can be astonishing. You might have your own horror stories, but they probably don’t compare to that of a Toronto rider who claimed he was charged over $18,500 Canadian (about $14,400 USD) for a 20-minute ride, as reported by The Comeback.

Twitter user Emily Kennard posted a screenshot of the digital receipt, which was originally posted to the rider’s private Instagram account.

According to Kennard, her friend disputed the charge, but Uber remained firm on the price. Eventually, though, Uber relented, admitting a mistake and refunding the ride. In a statement to The Comeback, an Uber spokesperson said, “There was an error and we have provided a full refund. We sincerely apologize to this rider for his experience. We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening and we are working to understand how this occurred.”

Uber has created enough trouble for itself recently, including a lawsuit from Waymo, a sexual harassment scandal, an FBI investigation, a power struggle with its former CEO, and, most recently, news of a hack that breached the data of millions of users.

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